Amazing $1200 gaming PC build to dominate 1440p in 2018

In Custom Builds, High-End Builds by Branton504 Comments

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If you’re looking to build a powerful gaming PC capable of maxing games out in 1440p for around $1200, then this is the one you need. The powerful GTX 1070 Ti is more than capable of handling 1440p gaming and it’s seriously going to blow your mind when paired with the brand new Ryzen 5 2600!

This build is exactly what you’re looking for if you want to build a strong PC capable of delivering smooth, immersive game play. Plus, there really aren’t many ways it could be improved upon without spending a lot more.

Without drawing this introduction out any longer, let’s get down to the build! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment section!

Summary

This high-end gaming PC build is geared towards 1440p @ 60fps gaming on ultra settings in most AAA games - but not all. It'll also be able to pull off 4K games that aren't so demanding if you really wanted it to. This build is exactly what you're looking for if you want to stream AAA games on high settings with good performance. 

The Hardware
CaseCorsair Carbide Spec 02
MOBOMSI GA-AB350-Gaming
CPUAMD R5 2600
GPUGigabyte GTX 1070 Ti Gaming 8G
PSUEVGA 550 G3 80+ Gold
RAM2x8GB 3000MHz DDR4 RAM (16GB)
HDDWD Blue 1TB 7200RPM
SSDSamsung 850 EVO 250GB 
Features
  • 1440p 60fps/1080p 144fps gaming
  • Can be overclocked
  • 10x USB ports total
  • Integrated 7.1 audio
  • VR-ready
  • Easy to upgrade
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1440p Killing $1200 Gaming PC Build

Updated: April 21st, 2018

  • Corsair Carbide Spec 02

    ATX mid tower case with good cable management and 2 included fans. Will support a liquid cooling radiator up to 240mm.
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  • Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming

    AM4 socket motherboard, B350 chipset, ATX, 6x SATA, 8x USB including USB 3.1.
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  • AMD Ryzen 5 2600

    6 core 12 thread 3.9GHz beast of a CPU for gaming. Comes with a good CPU cooler.
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  • Gigabyte GTX 1070 Ti Gaming 8G

    8GB GDDR5, 256-bit memory, amazing performance!
    See below for notes on GPU shortage.
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  • EVGA 550 G3 80+ Gold

    550W fully modular gold-rated power supply, up to 92% efficiency – this PSU won’t let you down!
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  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM

    2x8GB 3000MHz dual channel pair, CL15.
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  • WD Blue 1TB HDD

    1TB, 3.5 inch, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache.
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  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD

    2.5 inch, 540MB/s read, 520MB/s write.
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Estimated
$1199+
At Amazon
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Add-ons/Upgrades

Although not entirely necessary, some add ons like optical drives can sometimes improve your experience. Others, like an operating system, are significantly more crucial. If you’re installing your operating system from a disc opposed to a USB flash drive, then you’ll definitely need an optical drive.

  • [UPGRADE] Asus GTX 1080 ROG STRIX

    If you have a bit more gold in your coffers, you might want to consider upgrading your graphics card to a GTX 1080. Asus’s ROG STRIX model is easily one of the best options.
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  • Windows 10 (USB Installer)

    Windows 10 is your best bet when it comes to picking an operating system. This version is a USB installer.
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  • Corsair H80i Liquid CPU Cooler

    Instead of air cooling for your CPU, why not try a closed loop liquid cooler? Corsair’s Spec 02 case is guaranteed to work with the H80i.
    *You don’t need air cooling if you’re choosing to run liquid cooling!
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  • Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD

    An M.2-based NVMe SSD like the 960 EVO is a step up from basic M.2 or SATA SSDs. They offer significantly more speed, but at a higher price /GB in comparison.
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  • LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 external optical drive

    With more and more cases moving away from internal 5.25″ bays for optical drives and things of that nature, external ODDs have become increasingly popular, like this one.
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Warning: GPU Shortage

Finally! The 2018 GPU shortage seems to be coming to an end. But, most graphics cards are still overpriced by a fair margin.

That being said, building a gaming PC is going to be more expensive right now than it would have been say last year at this time. 

If you want to avoid the high prices your other option is buying a prebuilt gaming desktop. How times change, right? 

Below you’ll find some alternative options that I’ve hand-picked for this level of build based on specs and price. They range from $1000-$1500 and are ordered from cheapest to most expensive. 

High-end Desktops ($1000-$1500):
– iBUYPOWER AM002i (i7 7700 + GTX 1070 + 8GB RAM)
– iBUYPOWER AM900Z (i7 7700K + GTX 1070 + 16GB RAM)
– CYBERPOWERPC GXiVR3000CPG (i7 8700 + GTX 1070 + 16GB RAM)


Details

For a little more than $1200, this R5 1600X + GTX 1070-powered gaming PC is absolutely insane! It has more than enough power to completely blow your mind over and over again as you try your favorite games on it in either 1080p or 1440p! Keep in mind that the price above is for the core components only, you will still need an operating system, and any other peripherals you don’t currently have.

Corsair’s Carbide Spec-02 is my most recommended case for the simple reason that it works great and doesn’t cost a huge amount. It comes with 2 120mm fans (1 with red LED lighting) and enough space to add an extra 3 120-140mm fans of your choice. It’ll fit any mATX or ATX motherboard without an issue and any graphics card will fit inside no problem. That being said, there are lots of other cases that would work great for this build, so to make sure that your build is really your build, make sure you pick the case that you like best!

AMD’s Ryzen 5 2600 isn’t the most powerful of the R5 lineup per say, but it does offer the best value in my opinion. At around $199 it offers the best price vs performance ratio of any CPU in the price range, there’s even more added value when you consider the CPU cooler it comes with is rather decent in terms of stock CPU coolers.

Although the R5 2600 comes with a pretty solid CPU cooler, upgrading it would not be a bad idea by any means. If you want to do that, check out my list of the best air and liquid CPU coolers

The Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming is a great ATX sized AM4 socket motherboard for the price, it comes with everything you’ll need for the components in this build as well as the majority of any future upgrades. It gives you a plethora of USB options including multiple USB 3.1 ports, 6x SATA ports, CrossFire support, and a ton of on board fan headers.

400-series chipset: Because this build is running a new R5 2600, you might want to consider upgrading the motherboard to one that’s equipped with a 400-series chipset like B450 or X470. However, these boards are currently limited in terms of mid-range and budget options. Most of the boards available are X470 chipset and are running anywhere from $120-$200+

The GTX 1070 Ti is a complete and utter powerhouse when it comes to 1440p 60Hz or 1080p 144Hz gaming – and it can even take you into 4K if you don’t mind lowering some settings. Gigabyte’s GTX 1070 Ti Gaming 8G is a great performer with solid cooling and it’s one of the best-priced options available right now. Keep in mind that GTX 1070 Ti GPUs are selling for an increased price and if you can afford it, a GTX 1080 (about $100 more) would offer better value.

16GB of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM is a great amount and speed for a gaming PC at this level. Corsair’s LPX lineup is really awesome which is probably why it has nearly 5-star reviews pretty much everywhere. That said, there are other options available that come with LED lighting and things like that if you’re looking for something a little different.

EVGA’s G-series of modular power supplies are easily some of the most reliable units out there. The fully modular 550W G3 is tier 2 and offers plenty of power for this build. Being that this is a fully modular power supply, it will make cable management not only easier but result in a cleaner finished product as well. If you’re concerned that 550W might not be enough for this build, I can guarantee you that it is – even 450W would be enough.  

As far as storage goes, I picked you out a relatively standard HDD/SSD combo, and you’re going to have 1.25TB of space between the two drives, with the HDD holding 1TB and the SSD with 250GB. I would suggest installing your operating system to your SSD, as well as any games/programs you’re going to use a lot. Everything else can go on your HDD. Storage can be expanded well beyond the default amount, so feel free to add larger or more drives as you deem necessary.

All-in-all, this build is phenomenal, for $1200 you’d be hard-pressed to get a better gaming PC anywhere, and that’s a fact.

Operating System

When it comes down to picking an operating system for your build, you have a couple of options. One is free, the other is about $100.

windows-10-homeWindows is the first, and probably best option for the most people – specifically Windows 10. Not only is DirectX 12 a Windows 10 exclusive, but if you’re looking to play some Forza Horizon 3 on your new PC, well, it’s also a Windows 10 exclusive. When it comes to picking out your copy, Windows 10 Home is all that’s necessary, and you even have the option of buying an OEM disc or the significantly faster USB flash drive installer.

The free option would be downloading a copy of a Linux-based operating system like Ubuntu and going from there, there are other options but Ubuntu is generally the best. Although pretty decent, there are some downsides to running a Linux-based system, like less compatibility for games / programs.

Extras

If this is the absolute first gaming PC you’ve ever owned, then chances are high that you don’t have a very good keyboard + mouse combo, or that your monitor is sub-par to really enjoy your experience.

If you don’t already have these basic peripherals, you’re definitely going to want them. At the very least you’re going to need a keyboard, a mouse, some kind of audio, and a monitor. Luckily for you, we’ve featured some awesome products to cover each of these basic needs, just check them out!

Since picking a good monitor can often be a very subjective choice, I’ve put together this guide on how to pick the best monitor for gaming

One of the most important parts of putting together a good battlestation is ergonomics. Without a good, ergonomic chair to use, you’re going to be uncomfortable and you won’t enjoy your gaming sessions as much as you should. Because that’s definitely not what I want, I’ve put together this buyer’s guide containing 16 of the best chairs to use for gaming

  • BenQ GL2706PQ 27"

    A very solid 27-inch 1440p 60Hz monitor with a 1ms response time.
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  • Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum

    Romer-G mechanical switches. Customizable RGB backlighting. All-around amazing keyboard for around $120!
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  • Razer DeathAdder Chroma

    Razer’s DeathAdder is an awesome gaming mouse offering great accuracy and a lot of comfort!
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  • Kingston HyperX Cloud 2

    Kingston’s HyperX Cloud 2 is an absolutely amazing headset that’ll completely blow you away!
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About WiFi

Personally, I prefer using a wired internet connection over a WiFi connection, and this build would support that right away. But, if you absolutely have to use a WiFi connection, then you’re also going to need some kind of WiFi adapter.

When it comes to actually picking a WiFi adapter, it’s a little more complicated than simply picking the cheapest option and plugging it in. Sure, you could do that, but it wouldn’t deliver a great experience in most cases, especially not when you might be able to spend just $10 more to get significantly better speeds.

First, you should determine whether or not your router runs on the “N” or “AC” standard. N is older and only offers support for the 2.4GHz band (not great for gaming) where AC supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Ideally, 5GHz is the band you want to be using for any kind of online gaming as it offers the best performance, but N will work if it’s all you have.

Next comes time to actually pick your adapter, it should be the same standard as your router. This is because you don’t need (and won’t get better performance) if you’re using an AC adapter with an N router. But, if you have an AC router, you don’t want to miss out on taking advantage of the 5GHz band by cheaping out on an N adapter.

I hope that makes sense, because here are some suggestions!

  • TP-Link TL-WN722N

    A very affordable N150 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of 150Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
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  • TP-Link Archer T4U V2

    A reliable AC1300 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of operating on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
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  • Rosewill AC1300 PCIe WiFi Adapter

    A good internally mounted (PCIe) AC1300 WiFi adapter.
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Conclusion

For right around $1200, this build will keep you comfortably gaming for years to come. No big upgrades will be needed for a reaaaaally long time, and it’s not going to have any issues running games maxed out for the same amount of time. The GTX 1070 Ti is a complete beast and it’s going to blow your mind, I just know it!

Looking forward to streaming with this build? Make sure you read my guide on how to stream from Twitch

This PC is really a thing of beauty, you would be seriously hard-pressed to find a better $1200 build anywhere. This badass build is using some of the newest and best hardware that you could use, and it’s going to be noticeable from the first time you boot up your favorite game!

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or whatever else, feel free to leave it below! 

Get This $1200 Build!
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Author
Branton

Branton

Hi! I'm the founder and lead editor here at PC Game Haven. The first game I ever played on PC was Ultima Online way back in 1999, since then I've been hooked on every facet of PC gaming! Thanks for stopping by!

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Mike
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If I upgrade my cpu from the Ryzen 5 1600 to a ryzen 7 2700x will I need a bigger PSU than the 550 you have suggested (which I have right now)? I wanted to have a higher overclock.

Georgie
Guest

What sound card would you recommend

Pablito
Guest

Could you use the “GIGABYTE GA-AB350-Gaming 3” motherboard instead of the “GIGABYTE GA-AB350-Gaming” motherboard you listed

Pablito
Guest

If you were to get an optical drive to be in the case, connected by SATA, (NOT USB) what would you recommend?

Ryan
Guest

Im wondering what I should do if I wanted to get an intel 8 series instead of the AMD? Like what would I need to get and do differently? Thanks.

Console peasant evolving into the pc master race
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Console peasant evolving into the pc master race

Sigh,with all this going on my dreams of getting a pc are fading. I’ve really hoped to get to get a pc but it’s like it’s never going to HAPPEN. It’s really making me succumb to buying a nintendo switch. Branton hopefully with all your loving help by means of this site I hope that one day I’ll get my very own gaming pc

Console peasant evolving into the pc master race
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Console peasant evolving into the pc master race

Well, I would’ve bought the that you have recommended but since I live in india the price to ship it from the US to india is about 1000 dollars so yeaaaaa and everything we Indians buyk from amazon.in is so overpriced –

Anonymous
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I think with Amazon prime, even on an Indian account, you can get many products shipped from the US without any shipping cost. I’m not a 100% sure but it’s possible.

Console peasant evolving into the pc master race
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Console peasant evolving into the pc master race

Sorry I meant “gtx 1080 ti”

Console peasant evolving into the pc master race
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Console peasant evolving into the pc master race

Can I use a gtx 1080 to zodiac version?

Tresca
Guest

Would getting a 1440 144HZ refresh rate monitor to pair with this PC be overkill? Or would this PC be able to capitalize on that type of monitors capabilities? If so, would you be able to recommend a 144HZ monitor for 1440 gaming to pain with this PC?

Ryan
Guest

https://www.hsn.com/products/dell-inspiron-amd-ryzen-7-8gb-ram-1tb-hdd-windows-10-ga/8589702

How would this PC do for 1080p gaming?
Would I be able to upgrade the parts for it or do you not know?

Daniel
Guest
Thank you for the build once again, I replied awhile back regarding mobo/processor compatibility, and soon I’m about to start building my first pc. There were a few things stopping me in the financial spot, but there were questions lingering in the back of my mind. Since the gtx 1070 msrp is around 400, and has perhaps yet to dip back down, is it even worth to build with a gtx 1070 anymore? I feel perhaps its best to wait for tax season to get the gtx 1080 as you said up before, its 100 bucks away. Also, I was… Read more »
Mike
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Would this pc work well with an acer predator XB252Q 24.5 inch Full HD(1920×1080) nvidia gsync monitor with 240hz?