Best $1500 Gaming PC Build

With a budget of $1,500, you are into the high-end range of gaming PCs. With a budget this high, we are much less constrained by the price of an item. We can afford to have perks like a high quality PSU, 100% SSD storage, a watercooler, an overclocked CPU, fast RAM, and so much more.

The combination of the newly released i5 9600K and the RTX 2070 will run any game at 1440P on maximum settings at over 100 FPS.


Best $1500 Pre-built PCs

Though we usually will crap on pre-built PCs pretty hard on this site, pre-builts in the $1500 range are actually pretty good.

The custom build we have here is still better than all of the $1,500 pre-built PCs — but not by that much.

However, the quality of parts like the motherboard, RAM, storage, and case on pre-builts is almost always inferior those of that on custom builds.

Check out our guide on the best prebuilt PC’s under $1000 or under $800 as well

Best Pre-built PCs for under $1500

Pre-builts are known for having poor quality PSUs. It’s a good idea to immediately switch them out when you get a pre-built.


iBUYPOWER Trace

Overclocked Intel i7 8700K | CPU Watercooled | Nvidia RTX 2070 8GB | 16GB DDR4 RAM | 2TB HDD | 240GB SSD | Wifi | Windows 10

This PC is going to perform nearly identically to our custom build, with both builds the same GPU and nearly identical CPUs. Like all three pre-builts here, there is only 240 GB of SSD storage so you might have to rely on the slow hard drive more than you want to.


CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Master GMA1394A

AMD Ryzen 7 2700 | CPU Watercooled | Nvidia RTX 2070 8GB | 16GB DDR4 RAM | 2TB HDD | 240GB SSD | Wifi | Windows 10

Although the Ryzen 7 2700 is weaker than the i5 9600K on our custom build, that shouldn’t matter too much for gaming as this pre-built sports the same RTX 2070 card that our $1500 custom build has.


ZOTAC GAMING MEK1

Intel i7 8700 | Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti 8GB | 16GB DDR4 RAM | 1TB HDD | 240GB M.2 SSD | Wifi | Windows 10

This Zotac pre-built is the weakest of the three, cheapest of the three, and is also is the smallest of the three. Don’t let this picture deceive you, it’s actually really small with a custom-made case containing all the components crammed in a Mini-ITX motherboard.

Though it’s GTX 1070 Ti is weaker than the RTX 2070 on the other two pre-builts and our custom build, the MEK1 contains a NVMe M.2 SSD unlike the slower SATA SSDs on the other two pre-builts.


What is this Build Designed for?

Performance

With this monster build, you’ll be able to play any game on virtually any display — 1080P, 1440P or 4K — with good performance for years to come.

Looks

It would be irresponsible for us to make this build look ugly, as we have the freedom the budget to pick whatever internal components and case we wanted.

Elite-Tier Components

The large $1,500 budget allows us to choose top-tier components — a 3000 MHz RAM set, a fast SSD, an RGB case, and an 80+ Gold Seasonic PSU.


 Our Gaming PC for Under $1500

PartModelDetails
CPU
Intel i5 9600k6 Core / 3.7 GHz
GPU
EVGA RTX 2070 XC8GB GDDR6
 
CPU Cooler
Corsair H60120mm AIO Watercooler
Memory
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB3000 MHz
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z390 UD LGA 1151DDR4
SSD
Crucial MX500 1TB 560/510 MB/s read/write
HDD
WD Blue 1TB 3.5″ HDD 7200 RPM | 6 Gb/S
PSU
Seasonic FOCUS 650W GoldSemi-Modular
Case
NZXT H500i ATX RGB
PRICE
$1,450 – $1,550Price of Components Vary Day-to-Day

 

 Why Choose This PC?

There’s lot’s of websites on the internet giving our guide son what parts to pick, so why choose us when there’s so many other gaming PC builds out there?

  We put heavy emphasis on reliability

We want your PC to last as long as possible, so we do not included parts with potential reliability problems, even the is higher for better quality alternatives. For example, we usually recommend the slightly pricey SeaSonic PSUs for their amazing reliability and warranty.

  Frequent updates to our content

These build guides are dynamic and are updated very often as new products hit the market and prices on existing components change. You can always rely on this site to have the most updated content as we scan each PC build guide every few weeks.

  Our PC builds are designed deliver superb performance in all areas, not just gaming

We know all of you plan to do more on your PC than just gaming, whether it is work, school, or just browsing the web. The most optimal setup for pure gaming is probably not good for everything else a desktop PC is used for. For this reason, we do not try to cram in the most powerful GPU we can find in a budget that can’t support it because we would be making unwarranted sacrifices in other crucial components.

 

As you can see here, we went slightly over $1,000 for this build. If you’re going to spend $1000 on a PC, paying an extra $50-60 isn’t a huge price if you want a truly well-rounded PC with quality parts.

Scroll to the bottom of this page if you want to see ways you can cut the price of this build to under $1000.

15 Common Questions for New PC Builders

 Parts List


 CPU

Intel i5 9600k

The i5 9600k is the newest 9th gen Coffee Lake Refresh flagship i5 CPU. It has six cores running at a max clock speed of 4.6 GHz on Turbo Boost, which is really good but still basically the same as the previous generation i5 8600k. You could switch this out with the 8600k and not notice any difference as the 9600k gives only a 3-5% performance boost compared to the 8600k.

Please overclock this CPU if you get it! If you don’t, just get an i5 8400.

For gaming purposes, there’s getting an i7 or i9 CPU is overkill, as games are much more dependent on graphics card power than CPU power.


 GPU

 

EVGA RTX 2070 XC 8G GDDR6

Unlike the i5 9600k which is functionally the same as last gen CPU it replaced, the RTX 2070 provides a colossal ~40% performance boost over the GTX 1070 it supersedes.

This card will be able take anything you throw at it and give you 100+ FPS.


 CPU Cooler

Corsair Hydro Series H60

A basic AIO water cooler for your CPU that is pretty affordable as well. You don’t really need a water cooler even for overclocking because Intel CPUs are really good at thermal management now, but a $1.5k budget allows you to splurge on luxuries and show off your build a bit.


 Memory

 

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3000 MHz

16 GB of really fast 3000 MHz RAM. You shouldn’t need more than 16 GB for gaming unless you are playing a very RAM hungry game like modded Cities: Skylines.


 Motherboard

GIGABYTE Z390 UD LGA 1151

A full sized ATX Z390 motherboard for the new 9th gen Intel CPUs. You need the Z390 chipset to overclock K-series CPUs like the i5 9600k.

You can use a motherboard with the older Z370 chipset if you do a BIOS update.


 SSD

Crucial MX500 1TB

The Crucial MX500 1TB is a fast SSD with a whole terabyte of storage. For a lot of people 1TB of storage is all they need. If you’re one of them, don’t bother buying any other drives.


 Hard Drive

WD Blue 1TB 7200 RPM 3.5″ HDD

1TB of hard drive storage if the 1TB SSD isn’t big enough for whatever crap you will have your PC.


 PSU

Seasonic FOCUS 650 Gold

650 watts of power is more than enough for the i5 9600k and RTX 2070, even after overclocking, especially from a high quality tier 1-2 power supply from the Seasonic FOCUS series.

This is the semi-modular version of the power supply. If you want a the same PSU, but fully modular, get the Seasonic FOCUS Plus 650. But if you aren’t going to use custom cables, there’s not reason to spend extra money going fully modular.


 CASE

NZXT H500i ATX

A very well designed and high quality case for just a hundred dollars. NZXT managed to fit a lot of tech into this relatively compact case which still manages to be a proper full sized ATX case.

What differentiates the H500i from the standard H500 is it’s integrated smart Fan and RGB light controller (RGB fans and light strips come with the case) that is accessed through the downloadable NZXT Cam software.

Upgrade Options for this Build

If anything in our $1500 build seems a little underpowered and you can expand your budget, here are some great upgrade options for each individual part.

 CPU

See Options

Intel i5 6600K

Although you won’t derive any benefit from an i7 over the i5 9600k if you’re just gaming, getting an i7 will make your PC much more capable as a workstation. The extra two cores on the i7 9700k give you a 40% boost in multi-core performance over the i5.

However, you will be paying a pretty hefty price of around $150 for this upgrade, so don’t bother with the i7 if you are just going to game as you’d just throwing money away.

 GPU

See Options

EVGA Geforce GTX 1070Ti 8GB GDDR6

If you’ve got an extra $100 to throw away and want to get better gaming performance, upgrading to a Nvidia GTX 1070Ti is probably your best course of action. You get around a 10-20% increase in GPU performance with the GTX 1070Ti compared to the GTX 1070.

This EVGA GTX 1070TI has a good heat-sink design and is one of the quieter cards as well.

Don’t worry about CPU bottlenecking — the i5 6400 is a very good processor.

Also, make sure to check out possibly SLI if you have a high budget and want even more, or even finding a used graphics card that is lower priced for its model.

 CPU Cooler

See Options

Corsair Hydro Series H100i Liquid Cooler

A larger 240mm AIO watercooler if you think the H60 is too puny. It will make maintaining ideal temps easy.

 Memory

See Options

If you want more RAM (this is the better option)

Corsair Vengeance LPX 32 GB 3000 MHz

If you look closely, this is the same RAM that is in the build guide, but instead of 2×8 GB sticks, we now have 2×16 GB sticks for 32 GB of total RAM.

2×16 GB is better than 4×8 GB because using all four RAM slots actually slightly reduces memory performance.

If you want better RAM (bad choice :c)

Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 3200 MHz

Faster RAM!!!

It’s probably not worth it for most gaming applications, but then again it looks cool and doesn’t cost that much more than the 3000MHz Corsair Vengeance.

If you really only about about aesthetics, these two RGB RAM kits look better.

G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series 16GB 3000 MHz


CORSAIR Vengeance RGB PRO 16GB 3000 MHz

 Motherboard

See Options

Gigabyte Z390 AORUS PRO

The Gigabyte Z390 motherboard in our build is a basic Z390 motherboard that will do everything we need it to do, but there are a lot more pricier Z390 mobos that have a few more bells and whistles — mostly better overclocking features and cosmetics though.

If you want a better overclock, you will have to spend more on the motherboard.

The AORUS PRO delivers better VRM performance and will be better for CPU overclocks.

 Storage

See Options

XPG SX8200 480GB M.2

The XPG SX8200 is the best budget M.2 SSD out there. It costs a lot less than Samsung M.2s but is about 90% as fast as them.

Most new motherboards support M.2 SSDs, so why not take advantage of this by getting one? Use this M.2 drive, which is around 2-3x faster than even the current generation of SATA SSDs as your windows boot drive. It’s really easy. Just plug it into your motherboard and it’s good to go.

 PSU

See Options

EVGA Supernova 850 G3 Fully Modular

If you plan on adding a second GPU for SLI in the future, you’ll need more than 650W of power. Here is the the EVGA G3 850, a fully modular top tier consumer PSU with 850W of power output.

 Case

See Options

We think MasterBox Pro 5 RGB ATX Mid-Tower  is a very nice case, but here are a couple of other nice options if you it doesn’t suit your tastes.

Options to Reduce the Cost of Build

If you want to reduce the price of this built, you can actually save quite a bit of money ($100-$200) and get away with no measurable loss in FPS performance as long as you don’t touch the GPU or RAM amount.

 CPU

See Options

Intel i3 8400

If you’re not interesting in overclocking, buying a unlocked K-series Intel CPU like the i5 9600k is a waste unless you somehow find a really good deal on one.

Instead, just opt for a standard locked i5.

 GPU

See Options

EVGA GTX 1070 Ti SC 8 GB GDDR5

While we don’t know why you would want to downgrade your GPU on a $1,500 build, the GTX 1070 Ti is your best downgrade option.

You will probably save $50-$100, but whether that is worth the 10-20% loss in gaming performance is up to you.

 CPU Cooler

See Options

Cooler Master 212 Evo

The Corsair H60 watercooler in the build is one of the cheapest AIO CPU water coolers, but it’s far from a necessary component. The classic Cooler Master 212 Evo is just fine for overclocking the i5 9600k.

An air cooler might even be the better option as it has a zero percent failure rate (unless you count the fan) while leaking issues and pump failures can plumage AIO water coolers.

Memory

See Options

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 2400 MHz

You can save a few bucks by going with the the slower 2400 MHz version of the Vengeance LPX RAM. This is basically the cheapest 16 gigs of DDR4 will go for, unless you want naked RAM without the casing — in which case you can save around 5 dollars.

 Motherboard

See Options

If you are using a K series CPU (i5 9600k, i7 9700k, i5 6600k, etc.)

All Z390 and the older Z370 chipset motherboards are more expensive than motherboards that don’t support overclocking. There’s no money that you can save here.

But if you are opting with a locked non-overclockable CPU (i5 8400, i7  8700)

Get this motherboard:

MSI B360-A PRO LGA 1151

 Storage

See Options

Cut out the SSD if you don’t like the idea of having a fast computer.

 PSU

See Options

Corsair CX Series 650 Watt 80+ Bronze 

A cheaper but still good quality 650W semi-modular PSU.

 Case

See Options

NZXT H500 ATX 

This is the standard NZXT H500 ATX case if you don’t care about the RGB and fan control stuff on the H500i. You save $30 with this option, and the rest of the case is built identically.

 

Peripherals

Defined strictly, the PC part of the “personal computer” is what is inside the case. You monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers are not really part of your PC, but you PC is just a useless brick without these peripherals.

We could write 10,000 words on peripherals right here, but we to want to keep this section short. Here are just a few peripheral recommendations tailored just for this $1500 PC build.

If you already have a good mouse or a good set of speakers, just save your money and use those!


Monitor

1440P G-Sync – Dell S2417DG

1440 x 2560| G-Sync | 165 Hz | 24″ | 1ms | HDMI | DisplayPort

The Dell S2417DG’s specs speak for themselves as this is a top-tier gaming monitor. Though the S2417DG is a relatively dated model, it’s impressive specs and integration of Nvidia G-Sync means that it is still a very expensive monitor — though still not nearly as expensive as newer G-Sync 1440P monitors like the ASUS ROG Swift PG278QR.

1440P – BenQ GL2706PQ

1440  x 2560 | 60 Hz | 27″ | 1ms | HDMI | Display Port

Here is a more affordable 1440P gaming monitor. The BenQ GL2706PQ doesn’t have G-Sync of the blazing fast 165 or 144Hz refresh rate, but still has nice perks like adjustable height and 1ms GTG response time.

One of the mistakes people tend to do is to pair a bad monitor with a good GPU, that’s just wasting potential.

 


Fans – Noctua NF-F12 PWM

120mm | 1500 RPM | SSO Bearing | 150,000 hours MTBF rating | 93.4 m³/h 

If you don’t mind Noctua’s trademark beige coloring, there’s few options that beat the Noctua F12 in noise to performance ratio.

 


Keyboard – Redragon K563 Surya RGB

Mechanical | RGB | Cherry Blue Equivalent Switches | 104 Keys | 5 Macro Keys| Aluminum Base

A well constructed and affordable RGB mechanical keyboard.

 


Mouse –Razer DeathAdder Elite

16000 DPI | RGB | Optical | Wired

The Razer DeathAdder Elite is consistently the most popular gaming mouse and is probably the most iconic gaming mouse thanks to Razer’s marketing. Though it’s tracking and clicks are excellent, the DeathAdder Elite is really know for its ergonomics. Be sure to turn off mouse acceleration however!

 


 Audio

Headset – HyperX Cloud Alpha

The HyperX Cloud Alpha is a pretty decent mid-range gaming headset — it’s the model that supersedes the Cloud II.

However, if you don’t have a good sound card in your PC, you will probably be better off with the Cloud II’s included sound card.

Speakers – Logitech Speaker System Z323 with Subwoofer

A set of basic PC speakers with a sub woofer.

 


 Operating System – Windows 10

Buying an operating system sucks since it’s often a cost that doesn’t come to your mind until you realize your PC won’t run without a proper OS. While Linux is free, the vast majority of us use Windows — which with a proper license is far from free.

If you don’t feel the need to buy an official license from an official vender, there’s many ways to get Windows 10 for very cheap or even for free.

On Kinguin, you can get a resale Windows 10 license for under $30.

If you’re ok with having an unlicensed version of Windows that has a small watermark and limited customization but otherwise is 100% fully functional Windows 10, you dont even need a product key.

Just click on the “I don’t have a product key” when you are booting Windows from a flash drive.

Building Your New PC

If you’re building a PC with a budget as high as this, the chance that this is your first build isn’t that high.

However, that doesn’t mean this build will be the same as everything else.

The installation of AIO cooling systems on high-end systems is far different than a simple air cooler on most builds. You’ll also have the option of overclocking your CPU, which is something you defininetly don’t want to mess up.

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