$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.

We're constantly updating the July 2017 edition of this guide to respond to dynamic market conditions. With nearly all GTX 1080 video cards sold out due to cryptocurrency mining, most days it's impossible to buy one, but as of our most recent update, it appears they may be returning. To fit this beast of a GPU into our budget, we've modified our storage system, going with a hybrid hard drive from Seagate, which is a simple install-and-go solution that offers speedy NAND cache to accelerate often-used applications. Backing this system up is the ultra-fast Core i7-7700K processor, which has been the bedrock of this build since it was released in January 2017.

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. If you still have questions, just post them in our Reader Forum. Want to see what how far you can push this build in terms of gaming performance? Check out the awesome dual-GPU monster rig one of our readers put together, as profiled in the TBG Gallery. 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 - July 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

    Absolutely loaded with features for the price, the Z270X from Gigabyte is the best value going among Z270-based motherboards. It features the Realtek ALC1220 audio codec (the best available), a single M.2 SSD slot with both PCIe and SATA drive support, and eight USB ports (including USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports). 

    The Guru's Tip:

    This board will even support dual video cards running in SLI, giving you plenty of room to upgrade down the line.

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB G1

    Another day, another challenge finding a video card. Due to the most widespread cryptocurrency mining craze in history, every GPU under $500 has been swept clean of store shelves around the world. Luckily for you, The Tech Buyer's Guru is here to help. This particular GTX 1080 model is currently the least expensive 1080 model available for sale (as of our latest update).

    The Guru's Tip:

    We're updating this guide every day with the best possible GPU selection. Please do yourself a favor - if you have to, backorder a card around $500 (directly, not through a third party profit-seeker), rather than pay inflated $600+ prices.

    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.

    Hard Drive:

    Seagate FireCuda 2TB 7200RPM Hybrid Hard Drive

    For storage, we recommend the awesomely-priced Seagate FireCuda. Simply put, it has zero competition. With a big, fast 7200RPM mechanical hard drive backed up by 8GB of SLC NAND flash, it has the capacity of a hard drive, but the speed of an SSD in often-used applications, including the OS.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While we previously recommended a standard Seagate 2TB hard drive combined with Intels's Optane cache module, too many people, including some of our readers, are having trouble getting Optane set up. We've therefore pulled our recommendation of this product.

    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. Note that this case is also available with "blacked-out" trim.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Take note: we know that some of our readers are buying the SilverStone RL06 for this build, which we've reviewed and recommend, but unfortunately it 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, skip the DVD burner, and use the USB version of Windows.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova 550 G2

    EVGA can't be touched in the power supply market. This Superflower-designed unit is the very best Gold-rated PSU on the market, despite coming in at an exceptionally-low 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 300W at load based on our extensive testing of this exact setup!

    CPU Cooler:

    Thermalright Macho Rev. B

    The Macho Rev. B is legendary, thanks to its massive heatsink and quiet 140mm fan. That makes it our top pick around $50. To learn more about it, check out how it performed in our 140mm shootout review!

    The Guru's Tip:

    A lot of readers are still making the mistake of buying this cooler for use in cases that are too small to fit it, like the SilverStone RL06. Please stick to the wider RL05 we recommend in this guide.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    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:

    This USB 3.0 version of Windows 10 installs in under 5 minutes!

    Optical Drive (Optional):

    LG 24x DVD Burner (Opt.)

    The case used for this build has space for a DVD burner, so feel free to add one to your system. It makes installation of legacy software 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.