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 Super is well-equipped to handle 1440p-4K gaming and it's seriously going to blow your mind when paired with the AMD R5 3600 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!
Best Pre-Built Gaming PC Under $1200
1440p Killing $1200 Gaming PC Build
The tools you need:
- A small Phillips screwdriver
Size #2 works well as a general rule.
- An anti-static wristband
Optional but recommended.
And lots of it.
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.
HOW TO BUILD YOUR PC...
Super Simplified Build Steps:
- Install the power supply into the case
- Install the processor (CPU)
- Seat RAM in the motherboard
- Mount the CPU cooler (don’t forget thermal paste if you're not using a stock cooler!)
- Insert the motherboard’s rear I/O plate into the case's rear I/O slot
- Mount the motherboard in the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
- Plug your graphics card into the motherboard
- Install storage drives
- Plug all power and data cables in where they're required (storage, case, motherboard, graphics card, etc)
- Turn your PC on
- Install your OS
- Install and update ALL drivers
If you’ve never built a computer before, then you probably want to take some time to learn the basics before getting ahead of yourself. To do that you have a couple of options you can choose from.
The first, and probably the easiest way for most people to learn is finding a walkthrough on YouTube from a reputable tech channel. Here’s one by BitWit as an example.
Alternatively, I’ve put together an in-depth guide on how to build a PC as well as a FAQ to address the most common questions and problems. I've also put together a short post covering 10 of the most common mistakes people make when building.
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.
For right around $1200, this R5 3600 + RTX 2070 Super-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: The NZXT H510 is an awesome mid-tower ATX case that takes everything the S340 did well and improves almost everywhere. It comes with everything you'll need right out of the box, including the mounting hardware you'll need and 2x 120mm fans. It can easily support custom or AIO watercooling setups with radiators up to 280mm.
That all 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: MSI's B450 Tomahawk Max is a great ATX sized, AM4 socket, B450 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 want to 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 lighting, support for Crossfire GPU configs, and high-quality integrated 7.1 audio as well as Ethernet. This board does not come with integrated WiFi, so if you need WiFi you'll also need an adapter.
Processor (CPU): AMD's Zen 2 processors are complete and utter beasts; the R5 3600 is absolutely no exception. This 6-core/12-thread monster has a boost clock speed of 4.2GHz across all 6 cores which results in a ton of gaming potential. The R5 3600 is a unlocked CPU meaning it can be overclocked without an issue.
Although the R5 3600 comes with a fairly good stock CPU cooler from AMD, upgrading it would not be a bad idea by any means - especially if you want to push really 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 Super is a complete and utter powerhouse when it comes to 1440p or even 4K gaming. ASUS's RTX 2070 Super 8G EVO is turning out to be a great performer with solid cooling and it's easily one of the best-priced options available right now.
An RTX 2070 Super will perform similarly to an RTX 2080 (non-Super) in both 1440p and 4K.
Note: Due to their popularity, all models of the RTX 2070 Super are fairly difficult to find right now.
System Memory (RAM): 16GB of Corsair's Vengeance LPX 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 650 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 the best 500GB SSD you could own - Samsung's 860 EVO. Although 500GB is a fair amount of storage, you may want to consider adding more. With that in mind, you should know that it's very easy to do. All you have to do is buy more drives and plug them in. The motherboard in this build will support up to 6 total drives between M.2 and SATA.
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.
Pairing an R5 3600 with the RTX 2070 Super is a recipe for success when it comes to 1440p and 4K gaming.
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 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.
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.
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!
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 RTX 2070 Super 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!