$1,500 Build

Looking for the sweetest $1,500 gaming pc you can buy? Then just follow this guide to get 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! Feel free to browse the many benchmarking articles in our Gamer's Bench section to learn more about how component picks affect gaming performance.

For December 2017, we've completely re-worked this system to provide the maximum gaming performance you can get for the price. It incorporates two hotly-anticipated components that have just been released: Intel's Core i5-8600K six-core CPU, and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 Ti GPU. This combo will power you through all your games at 1080p or 1440p resolutions without breaking a sweat. We also equip this system with 16GB of high-speed RAM, an impressive new M.2 solid-state drive from Western Digital, and a 2TB hard drive for your huge Steam game colleciton! And if you want to really customize your system, we've listed some great optional accessories and upgrades at the end of this guide, from extra fans to peripherals to an amazing G-Sync monitor.

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 building off of this guide, 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 - December 2017

    CPU:

    Intel Core i5-8600K

    Offering the best gaming performance you can get in a sub-$400 CPU today, the Core i5-8600K, based on Intel's new "Coffee Lake" design, is the current king of the high-end gaming landscape. It's the first mainstream six-core chip Intel has ever offered, and with its 3.6GHz base clock and 4.3GHz Turbo mode, it has processing power s to spare. That being said, it has a good chance of hitting 5GHz with overclocking, and the cooler we recommend later in this guide will take you there!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that despite being released on October 5th, the 8600K only became available for purchase in mid-November, and will likely be selling out on a regular basis through the rest of the year!

    Motherboard:

    MSI Z370-A Pro

    As the least expensive Z370 board currently available, this model provides a great starting point for a Coffee Lake-based gaming system. Remember, you need a Z370 board to support the 8600K. Z270 boards will not work, despite the same socket number (1151).

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this board will not support dual video cards running in SLI; for that, you'll need to step up to the Z370-SLI Plus.

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti SC Gaming 8GB

    Offering 15% higher performance than its predecessor, the GTX 1070, the new GTX 1070 Ti nearly matches the "big guns" GTX 1080 for a lot less money, making it an awesome choice for a top-end gaming PC heading into 2018.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Technically speaking, the GTX 1070 Ti combines the memory subsystem of the GTX 1070 with nearly the same GPU as the GTX 1080, which means it can overtake a GTX 1080 with manual overclocking. This is in fact the reason that Nvidia is not allowing any board partners to offer factory overclocked models - every single one runs at reference clocks, so there's little reason to spend more on "upgraded" versions!

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 Black

    Black Friday pricing is in effect on this product! 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 many games released over the past year take up nearly 8GB on their own.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Due to a serious supply shortage, RAM prices are spiraling out of control, and this kit will soon be over $200. Trust us, prices are just going to keep going up through mid-2018, so don't be afraid to pull the trigger now!

    Solid-State Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 3D 250GB M.2

    This brand-new drive from Western Digital is shaking up the budget SSD market. Using 3D NAND designed by SanDisk, along with the ultra-compact M.2 format, it's the best drive you can get at the price, and one of the fastest SATA-based drives ever released.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Running this drive alongside a hard drive gives you the ultimate combination of speed and capacity for the price!

    Hard Drive:

    Seagate Barracuda 2TB

    For bulk storage, we recommend the budget-priced Barracuda 2TB drive from Seagate. With its fast 7200RPM rotational speed and quiet operation, its a great place to store any large game collection, and thanks to a recent price drop, it's an incredible value, selling for just a few dollars more than most 1TB drives!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, you'll be installing your operating system on this PC's solid-state drive, which will provide amazing responsiveness in all applications.

    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: most of the RL05's competitor's in the case market do not have room for the potent 140mm CPU cooler we recommend. Please don't substitute any other mid-range case for the RL05 before ensuring it has 165mm of cooler clearance.

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic SSR-550FX

    This new Seasonic unit is among the best Gold-rated PSUs 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 10-year warranty. The only catch: it sells out on a daily basis!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This 550W unit is more than sufficient for this system as configured, which will only draw about 300W at load.

    CPU Cooler:

    Cryorig H5 Ultimate

    The Cryorig H5 Ultimate really is the ultimate cooler for under $50. We actually tested this cooler back when it cost a lot more, and found that it was a stout competitor. Now that it's dropped into "budget" 140mm cooler territory, it simply has no equal.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Please note that 140mm coolers like this model do not fit in many mid-sized cases, including the SilverStone RL06. Please stick to the wider SilverStone RL05 recommended 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!

Optional Components

    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:

    Note that you'll need an extra SATA cable to use this drive.

    Fan (Optional):

    Arctic F12 PWM 120mm Fan (Opt.)

    To improve your system's cooling potential, we recommend you install this fan in the open rear fan mount of the SilverStone case.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You can also install fans in the top of the case for even more airflow, so feel free to pick up two or even three of these fans if you want to "max out" your airflow.

    The Budget Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K55 RGB

    This is the best gaming keyboard you can buy for $50, period. This pricepoint has long been a wasteland of discontinued closeouts and pretenders to the throne from second-rate vendors, but Corsair stepped up in a big way in 2017 with its K55. Not only do you get a full set of gaming shortcut keys and media keys, but you also get three-zone RGB lighting for that custom look. And rare in a keyboard at this pricepoint, you also have a detachable wrist rest.

    The Guru's Tip:

    There's no reason to spend more than this on gaming keyboard unless you step up to a true mechanical model, like Corsair's Strafe.

    The Pro Gaming Mouse:

    Razer DeathAdder Elite

    Razer's DeathAdder has been around for years, and it's been among the best-selling gaming mice the entire time. But in 2017, Razer gave the DeathAdder its biggest upgrade ever. That "Elite" in the name isn't just marketing mumbo-jumbo. This model is far better than other DeathAdders that cost the same price, thanks to its ultra-sensitive sensor and the DPI selector switch mounted right on top.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Of course, you also get RGB lights on this model, and they actually look really good!

    The 27-inch G-Sync Gaming Monitor:

    Acer Predator XB271HU Abmiprz

    In our opinion, there's no single component that's more important to determining the quality of your gaming experience than your monitor. Sure, you need the right video card, but without the right monitor, you might end up burning GPU power and getting nothing for it. With this version of the Acer Predator, you get a 2560 x 1440 TN panel capable of a 165Hz refresh rate, and more importantly, G-Sync, which will work in tandem with the GTX 1070 we recommend to provide absolutely lag-free gaming without the slightest hint of tearing.

    The Guru's Tip:

    As a rule of thumb, we think you should spend about 1/3 of your PC's cost on your monitor. So, for a $750 PC, that's $250, for a $1,500 PC, that's $500, for a $3,000, it would be $1,000. We're just a bit over our target with the Dell, but it's so much better for gaming than what you can get for $500 that we think it's worth the extra cash.