The Best $1,500 High-End Gaming PC Build – September 2021

By Ari Altman | Published September 1, 2021 | Updated September 17, 2021

$1500 BuildCRITICAL UPDATE:

Due to the ongoing cryptocurrency mining craze, it’s currently impossible to buy video cards at retail prices. Therefore, you have two options if you want to game now. Either buy a pre-built gaming PC or build up a new PC using a GPU selling for over the retail price. We present both options in this guide. Based on current market conditions, we do not believe this generation of GPUs will ever return to MSRP, so lower prices will have to wait until late 2022 when the next generation arrives!

Your Ticket to High-End Gaming!

Do you want to build the best high-end gaming PC possible for $1,500? Then you’ve come to the right place! The build 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 build checks off all the boxes!

This Month’s Build, Featuring Intel and Nvidia!

For September 2021, we recommend builders of the $1,500 High-End Gaming PC Build go for AMD’s Ryzen 5 5600X, a six-core, 12-thread CPU that is by far the best value among high-end gaming chips. And after nearly a year of waiting, it’s finally possible to order a GPU to go along with this CPU, namely Nvidia’s ultra-popular GTX 1660 Ti 6GB. Yes, prices are elevated above MSRP, but that’s just a fact of life right now, and rather than keep waiting, we suggest you jump into gaming… or go for the pre-built gaming PC we list down below!

This build is also equipped with a fast 1TB PCIe solid-state drive and 16GB of high-speed DDR4-3600 RAM. For the case, we recommend a sleek tempered glass model from Corsair, while the build is anchored by a Gold-rated 650W fully-modular power supply. Learn more about this build and post your questions in our YouTube overview.

Parting Thoughts

If you want to accessorize your new build, check out our top keyboard, mouse, and monitor recommendations at the end of this build 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. Throughout our guides, we provide links to Amazon, Newegg, or B&H for our US readers, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU, with substitutions made based on regional availability. Your use of these links helps support this site, allowing us to continue to update this guide regularly.

The Pre-Built Option

  • The High-End Gaming PC

    ABS Master 10400F/RTX 3060 Ti @Newegg

    $1400

    INSANE DEAL! This pre-built system offers a ton of power for the money, making it a far better value than building your own. It packs in an Intel Core i5-10400F 6-core, 12-thread CPU, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060Ti 8GB video card, 16GB of DDR4-3000 RAM, and a 1TB NVMe solid-state drive. As a bonus, it has a full suite of addressable RGB fans, plus an included gaming keyboard and mouse!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Given the current GPU situation, you are seriously better off buying this pre-built gaming PC versus going the DIY route unless you truly want to have the building experience.

The DIY Build

  • CPU

    AMD Ryzen 5 5600X @Newegg

    $273
    AMD’s Zen 3 architecture made a huge splash in the PC industry. Beating Intel on a clock-for-clock basis for the first time in decades, and with far lower power consumption, the Ryzen 5 5600X is the perfect CPU for this build. And it brings along with it the most advanced platform in the business, which will provide you tremendous upgrade potential down the line should you wish to drop in an even more powerful CPU.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU includes a Wraith Stealth cooler, and for this build we suggest you use it.

  • Motherboard

    MSI B550 Gaming Edge WiFi

    $190
    This feature-packed board gives you everything you need for a PC build at a great price. Dual M.2 PCIe slots for high-speed SSDs (the top slot being Gen 4), six USB ports (including a Type-C port), and built-in WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5. It also has the ample power delivery system required to support any Zen 3 processor.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This board also has a modern Type-C header, allowing you to use the Type-C port built into the case we recommend for this build.

  • Video Card

    Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB

    $592

    Offering high performance in a compact package, along with very low power use, the GTX 1660 Ti  6GB is the best GPU you’ll find at its current pricepoint. It’s significantly faster than the 1660 due to a much more advanced memory subsystem.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Yes, this is selling for over twice its MSRP, but chances are prices will remain inflated for many months to come. If you'd like a better deal, consider the pre-built machine we listed earlier in this guide.

  • Memory

    Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3600 C16 Black

    $85
    To get the most out of your PC Build, you want 16GB of RAM, and this kit comes in at a great price. But more importantly, with a combination of serious speed (3600MHz) and serious timings (16-18-18), this isn’t just a slow 3200 kit rebranded to sell at a higher price, it’s the real deal!
    The Guru’s Tip

    With this 2x8GB (16GB) configuration, you'll still have the option to add another two sticks later on to bring the total up to 32GB!

  • Solid-State Drive

    XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe

    $110
    Harnessing the power of cutting-edge TLC V-NAND, the NVMe protocol, and the PCIe interface, this SSD is by far the fastest drive at its pricepoint. It can hit sequential speeds of up to 3500MB/s! Note that you’ll need a jeweler’s-type screwdriver to affix it.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This will slip right into one of the motherboard's M.2 slots.

  • Case

    Corsair 4000D Airflow

    $95
    The 4000D is simply the best performance-oriented case you can get for the money, thanks to its fantastic airflow design, dual 120mm fans, and a plenty of builder-friendly touches, like excellent cable routing, captive screws, and plenty of fan mounts.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Get a closeup view of this case and ask questions about this build in our YouTube overview, linked to earlier in this guide!

  • Power Supply

    EVGA Supernova 650 G3

    $80

    EVGA offers a ton of value in its Supernova line, and this model is no exception. You get 650W of Gold-rated power, fully-modular cables, and a zero RPM under low loads for silence and increased lifespan. The best part: an incredible 7-year warranty and EVGA’s unbeatable customer support.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This power supply has plenty of headroom for upgrades to your system down the line.

  • Operating System

    Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive

    $130
    Windows 10 was a big step up from Windows 8.1, and Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every six months. And the USB version installs in under 5 minutes, meaning you can get right into using your system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Windows 10 can also be downloaded at a savings of around $10 - all you need is a flash drive with at least 8GB of capacity.

Optional Products

  • The 24-inch 165Hz Gaming Monitor

    Asus VG248QG

    $200

    Asus pioneered the high-refresh rate gaming monitor years ago, and has returned to the mid-range market with the VG248QG, which boasts amazing specs for the price. It gives you a 24″ 1920×1080 TN panel with a refresh rate overclockable to 165Hz (144Hz is standard), plus a 0.5ms (GTG) response time. It boasts adaptive-sync technology compatible with both Nvidia and AMD to provide stutter and screen tearing, plus a highly-adjustable stand to dial in just the right ergonomics.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This monitor is a perfect match for the GPU recommended in this guide!

  • The Budget Gaming Keyboard

    Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard

    $47
    Pick up a great keyboard at a great price with the G213. It’s quick, quiet, and responsive, and it also has sweet RGB backlighting, of course!
    The Guru’s Tip

    The lighting on this model can be controlled via the GHub software.

  • The Pro Gaming Mouse

    Razer Basilisk X HyperSpeed Wireless

    $38
    Offering cutting-edge performance, there’s nothing like the Basilisk X for anywhere near the price. Ultra-sensitive sensor, Razer’s awesome HyperSpeed wireless system, and perfect ergonomics. It’s a great mouse!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Remember, you're getting a great wireless mouse for the same price as many wired mice.

  • The Mainstream Gaming Headset

    Corsair HS60 Pro Surround

    $48
    If you need a good headset at an unbeatable price, we recommend Corsair’s excellent HS60 Pro Surround headset. Light, comfortable, and stylish without being in your face, it’s a great headset for gaming, and can even be used with mobile devices that have a 3.5mm analog jack.
    The Guru’s Tip

    To provide surround effects, this headset uses a USB adapter, which you connect in line with the attached 3.5mm audio plug.

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