$1,500 Build

Want to build the very best high-end gaming PC possible for $1,500? This guide sets out all the very best component picks to get you up and running. The system we profile here offers the perfect balance of CPU and GPU power, along with high-end yet cost-effective parts in every other category. The goal: maximum frames per dollar! And while you can certainly find plenty of other "PC part picks" all over the Internet, we actually buy and test just about every mainstream CPU, GPU, and RAM configuration on the market to make sure you're getting the absolute best combination of gear. Feel free to browse the many benchmarking articles in our Gamer's Bench section to learn more about the specific components we're recommending in this guide.

For June 2017, we carry on with some changes we brought to this build last month, including a great SilverStone case and Thermalright cooler. The two most critical components, however, have been the same since early 2017, specifically the combination of an Intel Core i7-7700K processor and a GeForce GTX 1070 8GB video card. You simply can't get better performance per dollar with any other combo. The 7700K operates at a blistering 4.4GHz core clock thanks to its aggressive Turbo mode, and with Hyperthreading on board, it's ready for the latest multi-threaded games, which its cheaper Core i5 cousins are not. The GTX 1070 has been a dream card for high-end gamers ever since its release a year ago, and it's only gotten better with age, thanks to a steep price drop! Also on the build list is a 500GB-class solid-state drive paired with a 1TB hard drive, a combo that offers great performance for the OS and all your favorite apps and games.

Need help building your system? Have no fear, because our step-by-step Guide to Assembling a High-End PC (2017) will help you put your new system together. Want to know how this system compares to all our other builds? Just check out our TBG PC Build Comparison Page. If you still have questions, just post them in our Reader Forum. By the way, if you'd like to have your system featured in The Gallery once it's up and running, just let us know! 

We update this build monthly, as prices and components in this market change quite frequently, and a few dollars here or there could buy you a lot of performance. To see our past builds and prices, just flip over to the $1,500 Build Archive page. And if you're looking to outfit a whole new setup, see our Monitor Buyer's Guide and our Peripherals Buyer's Guide for recommendations in the monitor, keyboard, and mouse categories. 

We use Amazon's real-time pricing engine to give you the most up-to-date U.S. prices available, and we also include links to Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and Amazon Germany, with regional substitutions made when necessary. Your use of these links ensures that we can continue to update this guide regularly.

The $1,500 High-End Gaming PC - June 2017

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-7700K

    The Core i7-7700K, released in January and based on Intel's newest Kaby Lake architecture, is the best pure gaming CPU on the market. It offers a high 4.2GHz base clock, and actually runs at 4.4GHz with a full quad-core load thanks to its aggressive Turbo mode. That's far higher than its predecessor, the Core i7-6700K, which ran at 4GHz under just about any load. And as with all Core i7 processors, the 7700K features Hyperthreading to accelerate modern well-threaded games. And if you're lucky like we were, your 7700K sample will even overclock to 5GHz!

    The Guru's Tip:

    To see for yourself how much of a difference this makes, check out our Gaming CPU Shootout, pitting two Hyperthreaded processors against a standard non-Hyperthreaded quad-core.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte GA-Z270XP-SLI

    Packed with great features at an amazingly-low price, this board is a perfect match for this build. Based on the brand-new Z270 chipset with all of Intel's latest updates, this board doesn't skimp on connectors. It has eight USB ports (including USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports), a full array of PCIe slots, and a single M.2 slot that will work with either standard SATA M.2 solid-state drives or high-end PCIe SSDs. And of course, this board supports the Core i7-7700K out of the box, unlike many Z170 boards. It's also the lowest-cost board on the market that supports dual video cards in an SLI configuration!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We used this board in one of our test builds, and it's truly fantastic. It easily overclocked our sample 7700K to 5GHz!

    Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Armor 8G

    These are exciting times for gamers, as the GeForce GTX 1070 provides awesome gaming performance at a very reasonable price. It offers 25% higher performance than previous-gen cards at the same pricepoint. And with 8GB of onboard VRAM, it's equipped for the future of gaming, not just the present. This particular model is a true bargain, offering a quiet, powerful cooler along with a big factory overclock.

    The Guru's Tip:

    To learn how the GTX 1070 performs, check out our in-depth analysis of 4K Performance on the 1070 in single and dual-card SLI configurations!

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 Black

    Because games and other applications can take serious advantage of RAM speed on Intel's latest platform, we're spec'ing an ultra-fast DDR4-3000 kit. Need more convincing that this is the right move? See our DDR4 gaming benchmark analysis! And we're now recommending 16GB of RAM, as we've found several games released in recent months taking up nearly 8GB on their own.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Due to a serious supply shortage, RAM prices are heading upwards, and in fact have increased over 40% in a matter of months. But don't wait around hoping for prices to drop; they are actually expected to continue rising for at least another few months. We update the RAM selection in this guide regularly to catch the very best prices.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX300 525GB M.2

    Solid-state drives are the future, and the future is here! SSDs make every aspect of using a computer better, from their silent operation, much faster boot times, and near-instant game loading times. This drive is among the best SATA-based drives on the market, and comes backed by Crucial's reputation for the highest reliabilty in the industry. Note that to install this M.2 model, you'll need a jeweler's-type screwdriver set.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The huge NAND chip shortage that has caused RAM prices to spike is doing the same thing to SSDs. We are constantly updating this build to make sure that the products we recommend still offer our readers a great value, but be forewarned that prices have continued to climb so far this year.

    Hard Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 1TB

    To provide bulk storage, we recommend the fast, quiet, and ultra-reliable Blue drive from WD.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Need even more space? Go with the Toshiba 3TB drive, which provides among the best capacity per dollar ratios of any drive on the market.

    Case:

    Silverstone RL05BR-W ATX Case

    Featuring great style at a great price, this case also happens to offer mind-blowing cooling capability. That's thanks to its two front-mounted 140mm (with red LEDs) and a big vent up top, which can be fitted with additional fans if you so choose. Even better, it has the headroom for big 140mm tower coolers, and you'll see our recommended pick later in this guide. If you're not into the red trim, you can also pick up this case with "blacked out" trim, although it still has the red LED lighting. Note that while this case will work well as equipped, we recommend you add a 120mm exhaust fan, listed below. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Take note: the SilverStone RL06 that we previously recommended and featured in our high-end assembly guide is not compatible with the current edition of this buyer's guide. That's because it doesn't have room for the 140mm CPU cooler, nor for the DVD burner. If you'd like to go with the RL06, please use the Cryorig H7 cooler, drop the DVD burner, and use the USB version of Windows.

    Fan:

    Arctic F12 PWM 120mm Fan

    Because the case we've picked doesn't have an exhaust fan, we highly recommend you add this to your system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Arctic's F12 is among the least expensive fans on the market with both PWM support and a fluid-dynamic bearing for silent operation.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova 550 G2

    EVGA can't be touched in the power supply market. This Superflower-designed unit is among the best Gold-rated PSU on the market, despite the very reasonable price. Of course, you get fully-modular cables for ease of installation, ultra-quiet operation (with a hybrid fan mode that only runs at load), and a long 7-year warranty. As with all EVGA products, it also comes backed by the best customer support in the business, bar none.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This 550W unit is more than sufficient for this system as configured, which will only draw about 250W at load based on our extensive testing of this exact setup!

    CPU Cooler:

    Thermalright Macho Rev. B

    Thermalright is one of the oldest names in the cooling business, and has a well-deserved reputation for building quiet and effective coolers. The Macho is one of its very best, equipped with a silent 140mm fan, six massive heatpipes, and an impressive aesthetic design. That makes it our top pick around $50.

    The Guru's Tip:

    To learn more about this cooler, check it out in our 140mm CPU Cooler shootout!

    Optical Drive:

    LG 24x DVD Burner GH24NSC0B

    The case used for this build has space for a DVD burner, so go ahead and add one to your system. It makes software installation a lot easier!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The motherboard comes with the SATA cable you'll need to connect this drive to a SATA port.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10

    Windows 10 kept the stability and performance improvements of Windows 8, but totally revamped the user interface, returning much of what users loved about Windows 7. We think it's without a doubt the best Windows ever!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Given that this system has an optical drive, we go with the discounted DVD version of Windows 10.