$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 September 2017, this build has been totally revamped to provide the very best bang-for-the-buck in light of current market conditions. After selling out across the globe due to the latest cryptocurrency mining craze, the excellent GeFroce GTX 1070 8GB video card has finally returned, and it's the perfect fit for the $1,500 build, offering excellent performance at both 1080p and 1440p. Also on board is the Intel Core i7-7700K quad-core processor, by far the best pure gaming CPU on the market, thanks to its exceptionally high core clock and 5GHz overclocking capability. This system also sports 16GB of high-speed RAM, along with the Crucial BX300 240GB solid-state drive, which is so new that it wasn't even available when we originally published this guide for the month. Combined with a 2TB hard drive, it will give you the best of all worlds! We've also listed some great optional accessories and upgrades to complete your build, from extra fans to peripherals to a monitor that would work perfectly with this system.

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 - September 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. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you're lucky like we were, your 7700K sample will even overclock to 5GHz!

    Motherboard:

    MSI Z270 SLI

    Absolutely loaded with features for the price, the this Z270 board from MSI is the best value going among Z270-based motherboards. It features the Realtek ALC1220 audio codec (the best available), dual M.2 SSD slots which both support either PCIe or SATA drives, 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:

    Zotac GeForce GTX 1070 Mini 8GB

    Due to the most widespread cryptocurrency mining craze in history, every GPU under $500 was swept clean of store shelves around the world this summer. Luckily for you, the GTX 1070 is finally appearing back in stock, and it provides excellent performance at resolutions up to 2560 x 1440, right where you'll want to be with a system like this.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We're updating this guide every day with the best possible GPU selection. Don't pay inflated $500+ prices.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 White

    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 heading way, way up, and in fact have doubled in price over the past year. But don't wait around hoping for prices to drop; they are actually expected to continue rising through at least early 2018.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial BX300 240GB 2.5"

    This brand-new drive from Crucial is shaking up the budget SSD market. Using 3D MLC NAND, which is much higher quality than typical planar TLC NAND seen at this pricepoint, it offers both more speed and endurance than any other drive under $100.

    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 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.

    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: 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 and do not buy the optional DVD burner.

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic SSR-550FX

    This brand-new Seasonic 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 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 based on our extensive testing of this exact setup!

    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:

    Dell Gaming S2716DG

    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 the Dell S2716DG, you get a 2560 x 1440 TN panel capable of a 144Hz refresh rate, and more importantly, G-Sync, which will work in tandem with the GTX 1080 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.