$1,500

Do you want to build the very best high-end gaming PC possible for $1,500? Then you've come to the right place! The system we profile here offers the best balance of CPU and GPU power you'll find in any build on the 'Net, along with high-end yet cost-effective parts in every other category. The goal: maximum frames per dollar without skimping on the stuff everyone else does, like a quality power supply and a big solid-state drive. The last thing you want is a hot rod engine in an old beater chassis, so we make sure your gaming PC checks off all the boxes!

For May 2019, we've updated this build yet again, now going with Intel's Core i7-9700K, an eight-core powerhouse able to overclock to 5GHz with the cooler we recommend. It's by far the best gaming CPU ever released at the $400 pricepoint. It's paired with the awesome GeForce RTX 2070 8GB, based on the advanced Turing architecture, which is the perfect GPU for gaming at resolutions of 2560 x 1440 or even 3440 x 1440. Also on the build list is a fast 1TB solid-state drive and 16GB of high-speed DDR4-3200 RAM, which both fit into our budget thanks to 20% price drops over the past few months. The system is anchored by a 550W Gold-rated power supply, and installed in a sweet RGB tempered glass case from Thermaltake. 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.

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 for those who decide that building a PC isn't for them, we also list our favorite pre-built system down below, so definitely give it a look if you just want to get into your games as fast as possible!

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 - May 2019

The Pre-Built Option

    The High-End Gaming PC:

    iBUYPOWER Gaming PC Desktop Trace 9230

    If you're not quite ready to build your own gaming PC, but still want the power of a customized system, check out the Trace 9230 from iBuyPower. Featuring nearly the same specifications as our DIY system listed below, it comes fully assembled and backed by one of the biggest names in the gaming PC industry. Just like our recommended build, it features Intel's Core i7-9700K eight-core processor, a GeForce RTX 2070 8GB video card, and 16GB of RAM.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The one area this PC falls behind a DIY system is in solid-state drive capacity. With just 240GB of SSD space (plus 1TB of hard drive space), you'll probably want to add another SSD down the line.

The Build-Your-Own Option

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-9700K

    Offering by far the best gaming performance you can get in a CPU at its pricepoint, the Core i7-9700K is a favorite of the gaming community. That's because it offers eight high-speed cores and headroom for overclocking up to at least 5GHz!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Due to massive production shortfalls, Intel processors have been selling out constantly. We regularly switch our product links to different stores to give you the best shot at grabbing one!

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X

    Being one of the least expensive Z390 boards currently available, this motherboard is an excellent buy for a gaming-focused PC. It of course supports overclocking of your CPU, while also including dual M.2 slots, eight USB ports, and an RGB Fusion header to control this system's built-in case lighting.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This board has two CPU power connectors in the upper left-hand corner, but only the 8-pin connectors needs to be connected for use with the 9700K.

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Windforce 8G

    There's simply no better value in high-end gaming today than the new RTX 2070 8GB. With performance that beats the previous-gen GTX 1080, along with next-gen features like Ray Tracing capability and a USB Type-C video output, it's the card you want for high-end gaming!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model has a huge cooler, giving it a big advantage over other models in its price range.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 Black

    PRICE DROP! Because games and other applications can take serious advantage of RAM speed on Intel's latest CPUs, we're spec'ing a fast DDR4-3200 CL16 kit for this build.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We strongly recommend 16GB of RAM, as we've found many games released over the past few years can take up over 8GB on their own!

    Solid-State Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 3D 1TB M.2

    Thanks to a major SSD price war, prices keep dropping on great drives. The Blue 3D from WD is now at its lowest price ever, making it the best pick among 1TB SATA drives thanks to its great performance per dollar.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that to affix any M.2 drive to the motherboard, you'll need a jeweler's-type screwdriver set. Also note that while the motherboard has two M.2 slots, only the longer (upper) slot supports SATA-based M.2 drives.

    Case:

    Thermaltake V200 Tempered Glass RGB

    Thermaltake knocks it out of the park with its awesome V200. Offering a distinctive style at a surprisingly-low price, this case simply has no competition. It serves up three 120mm RGB fans, a fourth 120mm fan in the rear, a built-in RGB lighting controller, plus a full-size tempered glass side panel.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Thermaltake's mid-range cases sell out regularly, so we occasionally substitute in other Thermaltake models.

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic SSR-550FM

    This unit offers Gold-rated compatibility, a modular design, and a zero-fan mode, despite coming in at an exceptionally-low price. It's backed by a 7-year warranty and the best reputation in the PSU industry.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This build will draw less than 350W at load, meaning you'll still have plenty of headroom with this unit.

    CPU Cooler:

    ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports DUO White

    The brand-new Freezer 34 DUO takes the prize for the best cooler available under $40. Featuring dual silent 120mm fans and a thick heatsink, this cooler offers a lot of bang for the buck. It also comes in a variety of colors, all available from the same link.

    The Guru's Tip:

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

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    PRICE DROP! There's no doubt about it: Windows 10 is a big step beyond Windows 8 in terms of both usability and features. And the best part is that Microsoft is updating it all the time, with major Spring and Fall updates coming each year.

    The Guru's Tip:

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

Optional Components

    Wireless Card (Optional):

    TP-LINK Archer T6E AC1300

    Add high-speed wireless networking to your gaming PC with this dual-stream 802.11ac PCIe card, rated at up to 1300Mbps of throughput!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This adapter performs infinitely better than all of the tiny USB-based adapters that sell for around the same price. Step up to the real thing!

    The Budget Gaming Keyboard:

    Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard

    Offering amazing features for the price, the G213 is by far the best pick among gaming keyboard under $50. Offering great responsiveness plus RGB lighting, it's both stylish and functional.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model even includes a wrist rest for additional comfort during long gaming sessions!

    The Pro Gaming Mouse:

    Logitech G403 Prodigy Gaming Mouse

    This is one of the lighest, fastest, most comfortable mice on the market, and it comes from the biggest name in PC peripherals, Logitech.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This mouse packs in the best technology you'll find in a gaming mouse today!

    The Bargain 144Hz IPS Gaming Monitor:

    Acer XF270HU

    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, frame-syncing via FreeSync, which will work in tandem with the RTX 2070 in this system to provide absolutely lag-free gaming without the slightest hint of tearing.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While FreeSync was originally developed for AMD video cards, Nvidia has finally seen the wisdom in allowing its use on Nvidia GeForce cards - all it requires is the latest drivers!