$1,500 Build

Do you want to build the very best high-end gaming PC possible for $1,500? This buyer's guide will set you up! 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 June 2018, this build is better than ever! We're still going with the high-end GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB, which is absolutely the best deal going in a high-end GPU. It offers performance nearly equivalent to the GTX 1080 for the price of a GTX 1070! It's backed up by the awesome Intel Core i5-8600K six-core CPU, which packs in more gaming value than any other CPU ever released. Add in 16GB of ultra-high-speed RAM (we're talking 3466MHz!), a 250GB solid-state drive, and new this month, a 1TB solid-state hybrid hard drive, and you're set up for years of high-end gaming. To make it all come together, we recommend a stunning Cooler Master featuring RGB lighting and a tempered glass panel at an amazing price. By the way, if you want to accessorize your new build, check out our top keyboard, mouse, and monitor recommendations at the end of this guide. Note that for those more interested in gaming than customizing their own PC, we now start this guide with a pre-built PC option.

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. One look and you'll see why this month's PC pick makes so much sense!

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 2018

The Pre-Built Option

    The High-End Gaming PC:

    iBUYPOWER Slate 9210 Gaming Desktop PC

    We've just added a new pre-built option to the guide, and honestly, for gamers who are just interested in getting right into their games, this is a fantastic option. In some ways, it's actually equipped better than the system profiled below that you can build yourself. It includes an Intel Core i7-8700K six-core processor, a GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB video card, 16GB of RAM, a 240GB solid-state drive, a 1TB HDD, and a liquid cooler.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This system even offers a tempered glass, RGB lighting, and built-in wireless networking. The advantage you'd get by building your own system is better upgradeability, thanks to the higher-end motherboard and power supply we recommend in our build-your-own option.

The Build-Your-Own Option

    CPU:

    Intel Core i5-8600K

    Offering by far the best gaming performance you can get in a sub-$300 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 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 the 8600K can only be used with a Z370-based motherboard. Z270 boards are not compatible.

    Motherboard:

    MSI Z370 SLI Plus

    Despite being one of the least expensive Z370 boards currently available, this model provides a ton of features for a Coffee Lake-based gaming system. On the list are eight USB ports (including a Type-C port), Mystic Light RGB controls, two M.2 slots, and support for running dual video cards in SLI!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This board of course provides full support for overclocking of unlocked 8th-Gen "K" processors.

    Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB Armor

    With the cryptocurrency mining crisis over, gamers can finally get their hands on GPUs again... at historic low prices! For this build, we recommend the powerful and efficient GTX 1070 Ti 8GB, which offers by far the best bang-for-the-buck in a high-end GPU today.

    The Guru's Tip:

    After months of reaping big premiums from coin miners, manufacturers have now dropped prices back to where they started, and are pushing big rebates through to move an oversupply of high-end video cards.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance RGB DDR4-3466

    Because games and other applications can take serious advantage of RAM speed on Intel's latest platform, we're spec'ing an ultra-fast DDR4-3466 kit. Need more convincing that this is the right move? See our DDR4 gaming benchmark analysis! And we strongly recommend 16GB of RAM, as we've found many games released over the past few years take up nearly 8GB on their own.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You can control the RGB effects of this RAM kit using the built-in RGB controls of the motherboard we recommend for this build.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX500 250GB M.2

    This brand-new drive from Crucial is shaking up the budget SSD market. Using 3D TLC NAND, it offers top-end speed and an ultra-competitive price. In fact, it's the least expensive 250GB SSD you can get in the sleek M.2 form factor. Running this drive alongside a hard drive gives you the ultimate combination of speed and capacity for the price!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that to affix any M.2 drive to the motherboard, you'll need a jeweler's-type screwdriver set.

    Hard Drive:

    Seagate FireCuda 1TB Hybrid Hard Drive

    For bulk storage, we recommend the Firecuda 1TB hybrid drive from Seagate. With 8GB of solid-state SLC cache onboard, it will replicate the SSD experience for your most-used apps, while providing the storage capacity of a traditional hard drive.

    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:

    Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 RGB

    Featuring great style at a shockingly-low price, this case simply has no competition. It offers up four 120mm fans, three of them featuring RGB lighting, plus a full-size tempered glass side panel.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You can even sync the lighting on this case with the motherboard we recommend for this build!

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic SSR-550FM

    This unit is among the best Gold-rated PSUs on the market, despite coming in at an exceptionally-low price. It's backed by a 7-year warranty and the best customer service in the business.

    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 H7

    The Cryorig H7 is by far the best cooler anywhere near its price, despite coming in at a very compact 145mm tall. It's also incredibly easy to install, thanks to coming pre-assembled! Learn more about it in our budget 120mm cooler shootout!

    The Guru's Tip:

    A lot of our readers still buy the ancient Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, but trust us on this one... the H7 is superior in every way!

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    A lot of "PC build guides" on the Internet neglect to include a copy of Windows in their price lists, simply to make the system seem cheaper than it really is. You know what kind of gaming PC you'll have without Windows 10? One that won't boot! So we give you the honest pricing on a PC build that includes Windows 10, the only OS you should consider if you're planning to game.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This USB 3.0 version of W10 will install in under 5 minutes!

Optional Components

    The Budget Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K55 RGB

    Offering amazing features for the price, the K55 is by far the best pick among gaming keyboard under $50. Offering legendary Corsair reliability plus RGB lighting, it's both stylish and functional.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model even includes a removable wrist rest!

    The Pro Gaming Mouse:

    Razer Basilisk

    Razer mice have a huge following among gamers, for good reason. The original DeathAdder basically took over the gaming market when it was introduced years ago, and the new Basilisk builds on everything Razer learned with the DeathAdder, while adding tons of improvements, including a more ergonomic design.

    The Guru's Tip:

    One of the coolest features the Basilisk offers is customizable resistance for its scroll wheel - that's definitely a first!

    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 this monitor, 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 1070 Ti in this system to provide absolutely lag-free gaming without the slightest hint of tearing.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that while this monitor has been discontinued (and in fact Dell has moved all its gaming monitors to its overpriced Alienware brand), the S2716DG remains the very best deal in a 1440p G-Sync monitor available today.