$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 October 2018, this system's gaming power is delivered by the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB, which is absolutely the best value in a high-end GPU. While Nvidia has launched some new GPUs at the ultra-high-end (i.e., $800 and up), for typical high-end gamers, nothing has changed, save for the fact that the 1070 Ti is not at its lowest price ever! In this build, it's backed up by the awesome Intel Core i7-87000K six-core CPU with Hyperthreading, which is the best all-around gaming processor available. Add in 16GB of high-speed RGB RAM from Corsair, a 500GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard drive, and you're set up for years of serious gaming. We've also spec'd this system with a 650W Gold power supply and an SLI-compatible motherboard to ensure that you can add a second GTX 1070 Ti video card down the line for some serious SLI action! To make it all come together, we recommend a sleek new RGB case from Thermaltake, which will sync with the motherboard and RAM to put on quite a light show. 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 - October 2018

The Pre-Built Option

    The High-End Gaming PC:

    iBUYPOWER Slate 9210 Gaming Desktop PC

    We've recently added a new pre-built option to the guide for gamers who are just interested in getting right into their games. 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 panel, RGB lighting, and built-in wireless networking. The advantage you'd get by building your own system is a bigger solid-state drive, plus enhanced upgradeability, thanks to the higher-end SLI-compatible motherboard and power supply we recommend in the build-your-own option below.

The Build-Your-Own Option

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-8700K

    Offering by far the best gaming performance you can get in a CPU today, the Core i7-8700K, based on Intel's latest "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 3.7GHz base clock and 4.7GHz Turbo mode, along with Hyperthreading, it has processing power to spare.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that the 8700K can only be used with a Z370-based motherboard. Z270 boards are not compatible.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte Z370XP SLI

    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), Gigabyte's Fusion RGB controls, two M.2 slots, and support for running dual video cards in SLI!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that only the upper (long) M.2 slot on this board supports SATA-based drives, which is what's used in this build. The lower slot will only work with PCIe drives.

    Video Card:

    Zotac GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Mini 8GB

    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. It will have no problem handling any game at resolutions up to 2560 x 1440. And thanks to big closeout deals, the 1070 Ti is at its lowest price ever!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Nvidia will be releasing its new line of RTX 2000-series GPUs in late September, but they'll be starting at $600, meaning they're no replacement for the more budget-friendly GTX 1070 Ti!

    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. 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:

    This sweet-looking RGB set can be controlled using the motherboard's RGB software.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX500 500GB M.2

    A price war is raging in the SSD market, which means you can now get this awesome SATA-based 500GB drive from Crucial for well under $100. It uses 3D TLC NAND to provide top-end speed and is the least expensive 500GB SATA 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. Remember to install this drive in the upper M.2 slot on the motherboard, as the lower slot does not support SATA drives

    Hard Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 1TB

    For bulk storage, we recommend the Blue 1TB from WD. It's fast, quiet, and reliable. While it certainly won't match the speed of an SSD, it's good for media and apps you run less often.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, you'll be installing your operating system on this PC's solid-state drive, which will provide amazing overall responsiveness. You'll also want to put your most-used games on the SSD.

    Case:

    Thermaltake V200 Tempered Glass RGB

    Thermaltake knocks it out of the park with it's awesome new V200. Offering exceptional style and features at a surprisingly-low price, this case simply has no competition. It offers up four 120mm fans (three with RGB lighting), a built-in RGB lighting controller, plus a full-size tempered glass side panel.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The RGB lights on this case can be easily sync'd up using the RGB header on the motherboard we recommend for this build, providing a much more cohesive lighting scheme.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova 650 G2

    This unit offers Gold-rated compatibility, a fully-modular design, a zero-fan mode, and full SLI compatibility, despite coming in at an exceptionally-low price. It's backed by a 7-year warranty (extended to 9 years for a limited time!) and the best customer service in the business.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This 650W unit is more than you need to build this system as spec'd, but we're recommending a little extra capacity to allow for adding a second video card down the line to run in SLI.

    CPU Cooler:

    Cryorig H7

    Cryorig's H7 took the cooler market by storm, immediately establishing itself as the best sub-$40 model ever released. See our full review to learn more!

    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 may look simple, but it packs in the best technology you'll find in a gaming mouse today!

    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 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 this monitor is also available with an upgraded IPS panel for an extra $100 or so.