$1,500

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 March 2019, we've made some mid-month changes based on product pricing and availability to ensure you get the best bang for the buck possible. We're now recommending Intel's Core i5-9600K, a six core powerhouse able to overclock to 5GHz with the cooler we recommend. It's paired with a factory-overclocked version of Nvidia's awesome GeForce RTX 2070 8GB, based on the advanced Turing architecture. It beats the previous-gen GTX 1080, while offering next-gen Ray Tracing capabilities. Also on the build list is a 1TB solid-state drive and 16GB of high-speed RAM, which both fit into our budget thanks to massive 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. 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 - March 2019

The Pre-Built Option

    The High-End Gaming PC:

    iBUYPOWER Gaming PC Desktop Trace 9230

    If you just want to jump into gaming as quickly as possible, there's no better way to do it then to pick up the Trace 9230 from iBuyPower. Featuring an Intel Core i7-9700K eight-core processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 8GB video card, 16GB of RAM, a 240GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard drive, it will have you maxing out practically every game with the minimum of effort.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The one area where this PC skimps is in SSD space - we'd recommend upgrading it with the WD Blue 3D 500GB M.2 drive.

The Build-Your-Own Option

    CPU:

    Intel Core i5-9600K

    Offering by far the best gaming performance you can get in a CPU for under $300, the Core i5-9600K is a favorite of the gaming community. That's because it offers six high-speed cores, and can easily be overclocked to 5GHz on all cores!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Due to massive production shortfalls, Intel processors have been selling out constantly, so if you see this in stock, don't expect it to stick around long! We switch vendors often to catch the best availability.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte Z390 Gaming X

    Despite being one of the least expensive Z390 boards currently available, this model provides a ton of features. On the list are eight USB ports, dual M.2 slots, and six expansion slots.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This board is designed to support the highest-wattage CPUs available. That's why it has both an 8-pin and a 4-pin CPU power connector. The extra 4-pin is only required for pushing 8-core CPUs to the overclocking limit, which is a good thing, because most power supplies, including the one in this guide, don't actually provide this extra cable.

    Video Card:

    Zotac GeForce RTX 2070 AMP Extreme Core 8GB

    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 provides better cooling and lower noise levels than Nvidia's Founders Edition, along with a big factory overclock.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance RGB DDR4-3000

    Because games and other applications can take serious advantage of RAM speed on Intel's latest platform, we're spec'ing a fast DDR4-3000 kit. This kit also has slick RGB lighting that can be controlled via the motherboard or Corsair's iCUE software!

    The Guru's Tip:

    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.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 3D 1TB M.2

    A price war is raging in the SSD market, which means you can get an amazing amount of speed and capacity for the dollar. And we recommend you go straight for WD's Blue 3D 1TB, which after yet another price cut offers the best combination of speed, reliability, and capacity on the market!

    The Guru's Tip:

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

    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-550FX

    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

    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

    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:

    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 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 RTX 2070 in this system to provide absolutely lag-free gaming without the slightest hint of tearing.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This monitor has recently dropped in price, making it a fantastic deal!