Building a gaming PC with $1500 should give you a high-end gaming experience – this build does that and more! You’ll be able to game comfortably in either 1440p or 4K with the help of the powerful GTX 1080, the i5 8600K, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM!
The following $1500 build is going to last you an extremely long time in terms of gaming desktops, and I’m pretty sure that it’ll completely blow your mind with the sheer gaming power it possesses. If you’re trying to build a gaming PC with a brand new Intel i5 processor and a GTX 1080 graphics card, this is without a doubt the build you’re looking for!
Without wasting any more time on this introduction, let’s get down to this seriously badass gaming PC build!
If you have any questions ask me in the comment section!
GPU Shortage 2018
Due to a recent and major GPU shortage, almost all graphics cards from the GTX 1050 Ti and up have become all but impossible to buy. This includes both AMD and Nvidia cards and there’s no way to say when the shortage will end.
That being said, building a gaming PC is going to be difficult right now if you can’t buy the graphics card you need. So, you have 2 (maybe 2.5) options.
Option 1 is waiting until the shortage ends, whenever that might be. It could be a couple of weeks or it could be a couple of months, there’s no way of knowing.
Option 1.5 is buying a GPU from a scalper who’s trying to sell it for 100% more than the actual value. This option sucks.
Option 2 is buying a prebuilt gaming PC. Now, I know you might have heard all sorts of bad things about buying a prebuilt desktop, but not all of them are bad! There are actually some great prebuilt options that offer really decent value. It won’t be of the exact same quality as if you built it yourself, but it’ll come with Windows installed and ready to fire up right out of the box. Sometimes, you have to take the good with the bad.
Below you’ll find some options that I’ve hand-picked for this level of build. They range from $600-$1500 in price and are ordered from cheapest to most expensive.
This high-end gaming PC build is perfectly suited for 4K gaming at 60fps in most AAA games. Due to the powerful GTX 1080, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and the insanely powerful Intel i5 8600K, this is without a doubt the strongest gaming PC build you can get at this level.
|Case||Corsair Carbide Spec 02|
|MOBO||MSI Z370 Gaming Plus|
|CPU||Intel i5 8600K|
|GPU||Asus GTX 1080 ROG STRIX|
|PSU||EVGA 650 GQ 80+ Gold|
|RAM||16GB 3000MHz DDR4 RAM|
|HDD||WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM|
|SSD||Samsung 850 EVO 250GB|
- 4K (UHD) 60fps AAA gaming
- Can be overclocked
- 10x USB ports total
- Integrated 7.1 audio
- Easy to expand
That’s about all you’re going to need, seriously. Building your PC is actually a lot easier than it sounds, and it’s something that you can easily accomplish by yourself. The actual build process is pretty straight-forward, and it’s about as easy as matching shapes together.
If you’re still thinking that it’s a super-difficult process, just click (or tap) below, skim through the video, and then you’ll know for sure.
Here are the basic steps that I follow when building:
- Install the Power Supply into the Case
- Install the processor (make sure the arrows line up)
- Install RAM (make sure they are in the right way before you try to seat them!)
- Mount the CPU cooler
- Place the rear I/O plate
- Mount the motherboard to the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
- Plug your GPU in
- Install any storage
- Plug everything into the appropriate spots
- Turn it on / Install OS & drivers!
Instead of me typing out a ton of of words to explain this process, why not watch this video put together by EasyPCbuilder.com? He does a great job of explaining everything in detail, and is going to get you running in 30 minutes.
The Best $1500 ‘High-End’ Gaming PC Build
Updated: January 1st, 2018
Corsair Carbide Spec 02
Good cable management, great cooling profile, side window, and comes with 2x 120mm fans!
MSI Z370 Gaming Plus
LGA 1151 socket motherboard on the Z370 chipset. Fully supports overclocking. Comes with 6x USB ports.
Cryorig H7 CPU cooler
Since the i5 8600K does not come with a stock CPU cooler, you need an aftermarket CPU cooler like the awesome Cryorig H7. View
Asus GTX 1080 ROG STRIX
8GB GDDR5x, incredible performance meant for high-end gaming!
Corsair Vengeance LPX (16GB)
2x 8GB DDR4 RAM at 3000MHz. Dual channel, CL15.
EVGA 650 GQ
650W semi-modular power supply, rated for 90%+ efficiency. 5-year warranty!
WD Blue 1TB HDD
3.5 inch, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache, quiet!
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
540MB/s read, 520MB/s write = amazingly fast!
If the i5 8600K is unavailable at Amazon, try Newegg instead.
Although not entirely necessary, some add ons like optical drives can sometimes improve your experience. Some, 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.
Want to up the ante on your case to something a little flashier? The Phanteks P400 is definitely the case I’d recommend! It comes with built-in RGB lighting as well as a 300mm RGB light strip! View
Corsair H80i V2 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 V2. View
Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD
An M.2-based NVMe SSD like the 960 EVO is a huge step up from basic M.2 or SATA SSDs. They offer significantly more speed, but at a much higher price /GB in comparison. View
Samsung Ultra-Slim External CD DVD±R/RW
External optical drives are pretty much the standard anymore. Most “modern” cases don’t even come with internal optical drive bays! View
This $1500 gaming PC build is going to eat up anything you throw at it, you’re pretty much guaranteed “future-proof” for a really long time. 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.
The GTX 1080 is currently the second fastest graphics card on the market when it comes to sheer gaming performance. Its 8GB of GDDR5x VRAM is enough to chew threw absolutely anything you can throw at it without an issue. 4K? Not an problem, the GTX 1080 has you covered and it won’t let you down. The only way to upgrade from the 1080 is the GTX 1080 Ti, or if you’re really hardcore the Titan Xp. Asus’s GTX 1080 ROG STRIX has 3x Displayport 1.4, 1x HDMI and 1x DVI-D making it perfectly suited for VR gaming and multi-monitor setups.
Corsair’s Spec 02 case is what I recommend in a lot of builds for a very good reason – it works great, looks great (imo) and doesn’t cost a lot. But, it’s not really a “high-end” case like this build deserves, I mean it’s not low quality by any means, it’s just not high-end. That being said, I would much rather be recommending a nicer looking, more high-end case like the Phanteks P400S in this build, but couldn’t fit it into the budget.
Intel’s brand new 8th gen i5 8600K is an absolute beast when it comes to gaming, content-creation, CAD, video editing, streaming, and pretty much anything else. This is thanks to it’s incredible 6 cores and 6 threads that’ll push up to 4.3GHz without requiring any overclocking. That being said, the i5 8600K fully supports overclocking and you can definitely squeeze more power out of it that way. Since it does not come with a CPU cooler, I’ve included the awesome Cryorig H7.
MSI’s Z370 PC Pro is a great motherboard for the price boasting all of the features we need. It features a great integrated audio chipset and a very good built-in ethernet controller. It has 6 SATA ports for added storage and it’ll support 4000MHz+ RAM without an issue. You’re also getting a total of 7 USB ports, multiple onboard fan headers and everything else you’ll need in a build at this level.
16GB of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM from Crucial’s Vengeance LPX line is everything you need, and then some. Most games still only require 8GB or so, but sooner than later that’ll transition into more and more games requiring more and more RAM – 16GB is a safe amount for now. You can always add more down the line if you need to.
With 1.25GB of internal storage, you shouldn’t run short anytime soon. Your Samsung 850 EVO SSD should be used to install your operating system on, as well as any games you plan on playing regularly, everything else can go on your HDD without a problem. There’s a lot of options for storage upgrades in this build, so you can pick larger / more drives if you want. Just make sure you get enough SATA cables for everything if you do add more drives!
EVGA’s GQ power supplies are very reliable and tend to have an awesome reputation and receive positive reviews everywhere you look. 650 watts is a lot of power for this build so you won’t need to upgrade the power supply anytime soon unless you’re planning on going big with a couple of GTX 1080 in SLI.
If you’re looking to get a high-end gaming PC build without breaking the bank, you’re in luck, because this setup is exactly what you’re looking for. The powerful GTX 1080 and the Ryzen 7 1700 will keep you gaming in comfort for years to come.
In comparison, if you were to go down to your local Best Buy and pick a prefab PC up for $1600 (I’m including the cost of OS), you wouldn’t get anything near the level of this beast. In fact, you would be getting ripped off, hard.
When it comes to choosing which operating system to run, you’re going to have to consider a couple of points. Your budget, and what you really need.
If you don’t mind putting up an extra ~$100 for a copy of Windows, that would be your best path to the most compatibility with programs, drivers and everything else. I usually suggest Windows 7, but if you want to take advantage of DirectX 12 (you do) then you will need to grab yourself a copy of Windows 10.
However, there is a free alternative, and that’s Ubuntu. It’s a Linux based OS which is actually compatible with a lot of programs and games. As Linux is becoming more and more popular, more dev studios are extending their support out to Linux based operating systems as well.
When it comes down to actually installing your operating system, you have a couple of choices to make. Do you want use Ubuntu? If yes, then you will need to create your own bootable flash drive, or something similar. Or, if you want to use Windows, do you want to use the factory disk? If so, then you will need to make sure that you grab the DVD drive linked above.
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/non-existent. To really enjoy your experience, you’re going to want some high-quality peripherals to accompany this high-quality build.
Acer Predator XB271HU
A great 27-inch 144Hz 1440p monitor with G-Sync capabilities and a 1ms response time!
Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum
Romer-G mechanical switches. Customizable RGB backlighting. All-around amazing keyboard for around $120!
Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum
The G502 Proteus Spectrum is a super versatile RGB mouse fit for every gaming situation!
Creative Sound BlasterX H7
Easily one of the best gaming headsets you can get, in my opinion. View
Logitech Z623 2.1 sound system
If you like a lot of bass then you’re definitely going to want to check out the Z623 by Logitech. 200W RMS/400W peak, 130W sub. View
If you have the option, you should definitely be using a wired connection over WiFi for the simple reason that a wired connection is generally faster and more reliable. But, if you have to use WiFi then you’re also going to need a WiFi adapter.
Picking an adapter is a little more complicated, but it doesn’t have to be something that gives you a headache. Your first course of action is to determine what kind of WiFi router/adapter you’re working with. Does it support both 2.4GHz as well as 5GHz, or only 2.4GHz? If it supports both 2.4 and 5GHz it’s an AC, if it only supports 2.4GHz it’s an N.
If you only have an N router/modem, you only need an N adapter to go with it, an AC adapter will work but it won’t give you any added benefits. If you have an AC modem/router, you should definitely pair it with an AC adapter in your PC so you can take advantage of the faster 5GHz band.
Sometimes internal adapters are better and sometimes USB adapters are better, it really depends on how your setup is and how far away you are from your WiFi modem. If you’re going to be tucking your PC away underneath of a desk or something similar, you’ll probably want to use a USB adapter with a USB extension for the maximum amount of reliability. If your PC is going to be on a desk free of obstructions, an internal adapter will be more suited for you.
A very affordable N150 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of 150Mbps on the 2.4GHz band View
TP-Link Archer T4U V1
A reliable AC1300 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of operating on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. View
Rosewill AC1300 Internal WiFi Adapter
A good internally mounted (PCIe) AC1300 WiFi adapter. View
When everything is said and done, this $1500 custom gaming PC is a complete beast for the price. Buying a prefabricated desktop equivalent of this would easily run you upwards of $2000 if not closer to $2500 or more!
Investing around $1500 into a gaming PC should ensure flawless 1440p gaming along with a great 4K experience – this build does just that. The 8GB GTX 1080 won’t break a sweat rendering most games, and the Intel i5 8600K is just the cherry on top when combined with a good amount of fast DDR4 RAM.
If you’re going to stream with this build, make sure you read my guide on how to stream on Twitch!
All-in-all, this build is exactly what you’re looking for, if what you’re looking for is a high-end gaming experience that can double as a strong workstation to boot.
Have a question? Ask me below and I’ll answer ASAP!