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

Updated: December 8th, 2018Author: BrantonCategory: High-End Builds572 Comments

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best 1440p gaming pc build for 1200 dollars

If you're looking to build a powerful gaming PC easily capable of maxing games out in 1440p for $1200, this is the one you need! The powerful RTX 2070 is well-equipped to handle 1440p-4K gaming and it's seriously going to blow your mind when paired with the AMD R5 2600x and 16GB of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM!

This build is exactly what you're looking for if you want to build a strong PC capable of delivering smooth, immersive gameplay AND being able to tackle some streaming and things like that. When it comes to this build, 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 them in the comment section!

1440p Killing $1200 Gaming PC Build

Updated: December 8th, 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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  • am4 socket x470 chipset motherboard

    MSI X470 Gaming Plus

    A great AM4 socket motherboard running the X470 chipset. 6x SATA + 1x M.2 NVMe. Integrated optical + 7.1 audio. 10x USB ports.
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  • amd r5 2600

    AMD R5 2600x

    AMD’s 2nd generation Ryzen 5 processor. 6-cores + 12-threads @ 4.2GHz boost clock. Can be overclocked and comes with a stock CPU cooler (AMD Wraith Spire).
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  • nvidia rtx 2070

    Gigabyte RTX 2070 Windforce

    8GB GDDR6, 256-bit memory, amazing 1440p + 4K gaming performance! Easily outperforms a GTX 1080!
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  • power supply

    EVGA 550 B3 80+ Bronze

    550W fully-modular Bronze rated power supply; up to 85% 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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  • 1tb hard drive

    WD Blue 1TB HDD

    1TB, 3.5 inch, 7200 RPM HDD.
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  • 240gb ssd

    Kingston A400 240GB SSD

    2.5 inch SATA-based SSD; 500MB/s read, 350MB/s write.
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*Hardware prices change daily, sometimes multiple times in a single day. Therefore, the price listed above should only be considered a rough estimate.
The tools you need:

That’s really all you need to assemble your new desktop. All of the mounting hardware and cables will come with the parts listed above. The only time you might need something extra is if you’re modifying the build on this page.

Recommended Add-ons

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.
  • 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.
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  • Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD

    An M.2-based NVMe SSD like the 970 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.
    View

Build Breakdown

For right around $1200, this R5 2600 + GTX 1080-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 1440p or even 4K! 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.

Case: 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!

Motherboard: The MSI X470 Gaming Plus is a great ATX sized, AM4 socket, X470 chipset motherboard. It comes with everything you’ll need for the components in this build as well as the majority of any future upgrades you might undertake. It gives you a plethora of USB options including multiple USB 3.1 ports, 6x SATA ports, an M.2 NVMe slot, and room for 4 sticks of RAM just to name a few. On top of that, you're also getting on-board RGB control headers, support for both SLI and Crossfire GPU configs, and high-quality integrated audio as well as Ethernet.

Processor (CPU): AMD's 2nd generation Ryzen processors are complete and utter beasts; and the R5 2600x is absolutely no exception. This 6-core/12-thread processor has a boost clock speed of 4.2GHz across all 6 cores which results in a ton of gaming potential. The R5 2600x is a unlocked CPU meaning it can be overclocked without an issue.

Although the R5 2600x comes with a good stock CPU cooler from AMD, upgrading it would not be a bad idea by any means - especially if you want to push high overclocks. If you want to do that, check out my list of the best air and liquid CPU coolers!

Graphics Card (GPU): The 8GB RTX 2070 is a complete and utter powerhouse when it comes to 1440p or even 4K gaming - to an extent. Gigabyte's RTX 2070 WindForce, is a great performer with solid cooling and it's one of the best-priced options available right now.

Raytracing aside, an RTX 2070 will outperform a GTX 1080 100% of the time in both 1440p and 4K. In fact, the performance difference between an RTX 2070 and a behemoth like the GTX 1080 Ti is often a matter of 10FPS or thereabouts; there's not a tremendous difference in any event. Out of all the RTX cards, the 2070 undeniably holds the best value.

System Memory (RAM): 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.

Power Supply (PSU): EVGA's 550 B3 is a good 80+ Bronze rated power supply with a semi-modular form factor and 5-year warranty. 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.

Storage: As far as storage goes, I picked you out a relatively standard HDD/SSD combo, and you're going to have 1.24TB of space between the two drives, with the HDD holding 1TB and the SSD with 240GB. 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.

Peripherals

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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  • Logitech G502 Proteus Core

    Logitech’s G502 Proteus Core 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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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 V3

    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.
    View

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 1080 is a complete beast and it's going to blow your mind, I just know it!

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! 

$1200 Gaming PC Build

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 crazy demanding. At the same time, this build is exactly what you're looking for if you want to stream AAA games with good performance and quality. 

Hardware

CaseCorsair Spec 02
MotherboardMSI X470 Gaming Plus
ProcessorAMD R5 2600x
GraphicsGigabyte RTX 2070 Windforce
Power Supp.EVGA 550 B3 80+ Bronze
RAM2x8GB (16GB) DDR4 @ 3000MHz
HDDWD Blue 1TB (7200RPM)
SSDKingston A400 240GB (SATA)
CPU CoolerStock (AMD Wraith Spire)

Features
  • 1440p 60fps+ gaming
  • Easy to upgrade and/or customize
  • Lots of USB ports
  • High-quality integrated audio and Ethernet
  • VR-ready!!
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About the Author
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Branton

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Hey there! I'm Branton, the founder and lead editor here at PC Game Haven. Since our launch in 2015, we've helped thousands upon thousands of gamers build their dream desktops, find the perfect peripherals, and more. Thanks for stopping by!

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Hey there! Thanks for updating the guide. I was wondering if you would change the GPU option

Anonymous
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Anonymous

didnt word that right, thanks for changing the GPU option

John
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John

I really want the 1080, but I don’t like the yellow on the back. Do you have a guide to change that, or do you know of another model without it?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Do you know of any good purple led case fans that I can use as an exhaust fan? If possible, looking similar to the LL Bora fans would help.

Kevin Kehoe
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Kevin Kehoe

Hey dude, I got my 1080 amp edition delivered yesterday. I have order the same case as you have in this build. I want to ask if the gpu sags with this case and motherboard. If it does can you recommend something to stop it ?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

GTX 1080 AMP isn’t in stock, anywhere. Did they stop production or did everyone just buy it all?

Devon
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Devon

Sorry, don’t know who to ask, my Lian Li 550 that I ordered is having issues syncing the remote and controller. Would you know how to do so? I have been searching for 10 hours yesterday.

Cleve
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Cleve

Ok got a question for you Branton. I’m think in the near future of upgrading my PC. I have Steam installed and will use that more often than anything else. I’d like to put that on a SSD but I would need at least 2 tb SSD. Any suggestions? Would there be much of a speed factor from. 4 tb HHD vs a 1 tb SSD and would it be worth the money to get an SSD over a HHD?

Cleve
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Cleve

Ok one more. I’m looking at the various 1080 ti cards and they are anywhere from $500 to over $1070, what’s the major difference.?