Best Gaming PC Build Under $1500 of 2018 (60 FPS at 4k & 1440p)

$1500 gaming pc build

Whoa there!

You’ve climbed up pretty far in the ranks. With the best gaming PC build under $1500, you’ll enjoy the highest end of gaming, productivity and content production.

Let’s jump in.

Build Overview

Since we’re building a PC at such a high price range, it’s important that we don’t compromise on any form of power. This build is made to provide the best possible gaming, streaming, rendering and encoding experience at this price range.

This 1,500 dollar gaming computer was made with the following requirements in mind:

Incredible streaming/rendering performance. Now that you’re finally in this price range, you can start investing in incredible PCs that can do anything you throw at them. While i5s offer acceptable streaming and rendering performances for hobbyists, true enthusiasts and professionals need the high-end hardware capable of managing raw video and other productivity tasks as fast as possible.

Best-in-class gaming performance. You can get some of the best gaming performance on the market at lower price ranges, to be fair, but once you’re spending this much there’s no excuse not to have the best hardware on the market.

Fortunately, we managed to fit it all in. The i7-8700k won’t cause CPU bottlenecking in any modern titles, while the GTX 1080 is the second-best GPU on the market, beat only by its recent successor the GTX 1080 Ti.

The GTX 1080’s level of performance is the best of our builds so far. Offering up to 60 FPS at 4K and easily maxing out games at 1440p/1080p with even higher frame rates. This card is a powerhouse in every sense of the word.

The extra muscle ensures that it’s perfect for VR gaming, too. It operates well below the minimum spec developers target and therefore minimizes stutters, a known cause of nausea in VR gaming.

Room to step into an even higher echelon. While you’re on the high end, you aren’t quite at the top of the top tier yet. You still have some climbing to do. These steps up include the 1080 Ti, liquid cooling, VR headsets, and more…

How We Choose the Parts and Components

We carefully pick the parts according to what really matters for gamers in this price range.

We maxed everything out in this build. This $1500 gaming desktop screams power and performance. Being in the industry of building computers and gaming for almost 10 years now, we know how bad you want to experience premium gaming performance so much.

We’re talking 4k/60FPS gaming experience in this build. This is why we went with the GTX 1080 right away.

Everything is backed with premium parts and components to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money in this 1500 dollar raging beast. Although there’s still a GTX 1080 Ti out there - this still holds pure power when gaming.

Keep an eye on changes every month as we update our builds regularly to make sure you always get fresh components and the cheapest prices.

The Best $1500 Gaming PC Update:

Intel Core i7-8700k
cpu

Intel Core i7-8700k

Among the top-tier beast CPU in gaming, productivity - everything.

Cryorig H5 Ultimate
cooler

Cryorig H5 Ultimate

An air cooler that’s capable of keeping the beast CPU at low temps.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080
gpu

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080

A monster of a GPU that laughs at lesser cards.

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB)
ram

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB)

16GB of brutal Corsair Vengeance RAM.

ADATA SU800 256GB
ssd

ADATA SU800 256GB

A great Solid State Drive that’ll hold your operating system and ensure you have amazing loading times and user experience.

Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 2TB 7200RPM HDD
hdd

Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 2TB 7200RPM HDD

This 2TB hard drive will be more than enough to hold all the games and media you need, but won’t be as fast as your SSD.

Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Modular Power Supply
psu

Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Modular Power Supply

A reliable power supply from our friends at Corsair to keep this beast rig powered and running.

MSI Z370 GAMING PLUS CFX Motherboard
mobo

MSI Z370 GAMING PLUS CFX Motherboard

A Z370 motherboard that is perfect for overclocking purposes - with extra features on top of it.

NZXT S340
case

NZXT S340

An elegant black case with enough room for expansion.

Estimated $1472.55 at Amazon

(Price are accurate as of July 13, 2018. Click the button to see the latest prices)

Order This Build on Amazon

Build Details

This high-end computer was designed to bring out all the computing power you’ll conceivably need to beast out games at the highest resolutions and provide silky-smooth streaming/rendering performance.

This is the best 1500 dollar gaming desktop that you can get right now, and we’re going to walk you through every component we selected and why.

cpu
  • Intel Core i7-8700k

    Intel Core i7-8700k

The Intel Core i7-8700K offers a stupendous amount of power and a huge jump from our previous builds. Being tailored as among the top-tier gaming CPUs this 2018, any games you throw at it are no match. Streaming and rendering is where you really feel the power.

If you are planning on doing full time gaming and streaming and do high-end productivity tasks, this is the perfect CPU for you.

cooler
  • Cryorig H5 Ultimate

    Cryorig H5 Ultimate

The Cryorig H5 offers reliable cooling capabilities if you’re doing mild overclocking with the i7-8700K. The fact that Cryorig has been detailed and consistent with their models should give you everything you need as long as cooling performance is concerned.

However, if you are going to be really serious in overclocking the 8700K, then consider upgrading and get a larger radiator. (We’ll cover this later if you’re the OC type of guy.)

gpu
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080

Oooh boy.

The GTX 1080 in this build can finally push 4K 60FPS in the right games, with 1440p, 1080p and VR all falling to their knees in front of this king of graphics cards. While there is an even higher level of graphical performance out there, the GeForce GTX 1080 will likely destroy anything you throw at it in the foreseeable future.

Additionally, Gigabyte makes GPUs with great overall build quality and has pretty good customer service. That, combined with the pricing of this particular 1080, makes it a great pick.

ram
  • Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB)

    Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB)

Corsair is also recognized as a reputable manufacturer of quality RAMs. This 16GB memory kit offers more than enough RAM to make sure there’s no compromise in speed when multitasking, streaming while gaming and doing productivity work.

To make sure you’re getting the best value for your money, this comes in at a solid 2666Mhz clock speed to give you the all the boost you need.

ssd
  • ADATA SU800 256GB

    ADATA SU800 256GB

The ADATA SU800 M.2 SSD is a pretty great offering, due to both storage and sheer speed. With 256 GB of solid-state storage, you’ll have all the room you need to hold your operating system, favorite programs and a few of your favorite games. The Solid state drive will make your loading times practically non-existent, which is great for both launching your PC and getting into your games faster than ever.

hdd
  • Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 2TB 7200RPM HDD

    Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 2TB 7200RPM HDD

Hitachi makes some pretty solid hard drives, and this 2TB drive is no different. It’ll give you plenty of supplemental storage in addition to your SSD- we recommend storing all of your media and most of your single-player titles on this drive, while leaving your multiplayer games on your SSD.

psu
  • Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Modular Power Supply

    Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Modular Power Supply

This 750W 80+ bronze-certified modular power supply gives this 1500 dollar rig all the power it needs – and more. This is a semi-modular power supply, which means, you could save not just time but space to make sure you have quality airflow inside your rig.

mobo
  • MSI Z370 GAMING PLUS CFX Motherboard

    MSI Z370 GAMING PLUS CFX Motherboard

Motherboard is what you want to carefully choose for a rig that cost this much.

We went straight ahead to the high quality MSI Z370 motherboard to give the i7-8700k more power. It’s a motherboard designed for gaming so expect to see a significant boost and higher memory frequencies when overclocking the unlocked 8700K CPU.

case
  • NZXT S340

    NZXT S340

NZXT makes some incredibly well-built, aesthetically pleasing cases. For this reason, the NZXT S340 is a favorite for many enthusiasts and builders because of how it gives quality airflow, expandability, and style for a rig this powerful.

Why is this the Best $1500 Gaming PC?

We’ve checked what others have come up with in this price range.

What makes this the best 1500 dollar gaming desktop is the GTX 1080 graphics card. Others in this price range only went with the GTX 1070.

To top that off, we didn’t compromise anything!

We just made a careful evaluation of price and parts to make sure we’re not sacrificing performance or storage. As you can see, this $1500 build has a 256GB SSD for faster boot and loading times and another 2TB HDD storage.

Similar Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $1500

Considering the fact that not everyone is into the idea of building gaming desktops from scratch, we took the initiative to give you alternatives.

Aside from that, you may have also heard of the issue about Prebuilt vs Custom PC - Why You Should Buy a Prebuilt PC Now and decided to go with a prebuilt gaming PC.

No matter the case, we went straight ahead to browse the stores online and make sure there’s no stone unturned. All of these below are equipped with at least a GTX 1070 graphics card to make sure you get quality gaming experience.

In fact, the first one on the list is equipped with a GTX 1080 graphics card that’s paired with a Ryzen 5 2600X. All of these are carefully checked and hand-picked to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Potential Upgrades

We mentioned in the requirements section that you could climb to an even higher tier with this build. Here are our recommended upgrades if you want to take the Fifteenth-Hour Superpower to the next level!
Note: These will raise the price of the build!

Cooler

If you’re dead serious in overclocking your 8700K, by all means, get the NZXT Kraken X62. This is at the top of the food chain and you’ll never have issues with temperatures… ever.

This doesn’t only come with power but you also have the option to customize the RGB lighting to match your personality and theme. NZXT is known for manufacturing not just quality and performing products but also assures they are aesthetically pleasing and presentable.

ssd

From the same series as the SSD included in the original build, the Crucial MX300 1TB SSD offers the same great performance with nearly half the storage space. This is mainly for you folks who want a lot of your games to have great loading times and aren’t satisfied by only 500GB or so of fast storage.

Even with this, though, we highly recommend against storing media files on this drive, since you won’t get much returns from those. Raw video and other media files are also less ideal on SSDs, too, since they take up a lot more space and may wear down the drive faster.

gpu

The GTX 1080 Ti is, by all accounts, overkill. It can push most games at 4K/60 FPS without breaking a sweat, and when playing other titles at lower resolutions, it can go well over.

Effectively, you’re looking at a 20 FPS boost in most titles from the 1080 Ti to the 1080.

If you want to go a bit above the best gaming PC build under $1500 and future-proof a bit, the 1080 Ti may be the answer you’re looking for. Just keep in mind that performance bump comes at quite the price premium.

NOTE: This card was review-brigaded on Amazon by people upset about its price. No verified purchasers have complained about the card, and its price is now in line with other 1080 Tis. Don’t fret!

psu

If you’re overclocking your CPU or GPU, you’ll definitely want a better PSU. This 1000W PSU goes well over the power demands of this rig, and offers you plenty of flex room for upgrades in the future.

Additionally, its nature as a gold-certified EVGA PSU means you’ll enjoy great build quality, customer service, and a lower electric bill!

Don’t overclock without the extra PSU punch, though- that’s risking your whole rig.

VR Headset

VR capabilities have been a part of our builds for quite a while leading up this price point, but now they go from “capabilities” to “afterthoughts”.

No VR title will stand a chance against your i7/GTX 1080 combo. If you opt to invest in a VR headset, you can enjoy the smoothest, most immersive gaming experiences the world has to offer.

Of the two headsets, we recommend the HTC Vive more due to better developer support. Do note that buying these will add an extra $600 to $700 to the total cost of your build.

VR gaming isn’t cheap yet!

OS Options and Recommended Peripherals

Since you’re buying the best $1500 PC build, you might already have your OS and peripherals from your old PC. If you don’t, however, we’ve written up this section to help point you toward what you need.

Operating System

The Fifteenth-Hour Superpower is beyond powerful. It’s one of the most powerful builds we offer here on The Great Setup and, for most users, it goes well beyond any sort of practicality.

Consoles weep at the mention of it. Your old PC is already jealous.

However, before the Fifteenth-Hour Superpower can show its worth, it needs an operating system. For the best gaming and general compatibility, you’ll need to buy Windows 10.

If you can’t afford Windows 10, however, you may need to go with a free Linux distribution until you can. As far as those go, we recommend Ubuntu or Mint as the most well-supported and easy-to-use Linux distros.

Operating System

These will still be very hard to use and setup for most Windows-adjusted users, though.

Once you’ve chosen your OS, you’ll want to install it via USB. We’ll dive more into that in a later section.

Mouse and Keyboard

When someone says “peripherals”, these are the first that come to mind. They’re your main form of input, and you need them to use your PC!

Most will have at least a few laying around the house, but here are a few recommendations in case you don’t.

For Starters: ($15)

For Starters: ($15)

For an affordable choice, go with the Logitech MK120 Kit. It’ll do everything you need it to do as a basic mouse and keyboard.

Buying this, however, can mean missing out on the benefits of high-end hardware.

Only go with these if you don’t have any other option. To be honest, you may want to consider going to one of our lower-priced builds if you’re struggling to afford your peripherals and display.

For Advanced Users: ($100)

For Advanced Users: ($100)

The Logitech G502 is one of the highest-rated gaming mice on the market, and for a good reason. Even now, years after its initial release, it has one of the best optical sensors on the market!

In addition to raw sensory capabilities, the G502 has excellent build quality and can be customized through either its included weights or Logitech mouse software. For a truly high-end mouse, look no further.

The Redragon K551 has a lot to prove. It’s a cheap mechanical keyboard from a lesser-known manufacturer, which would normally indicate low quality.

However, the K551 proves its naysayers wrong by offering a genuinely great mechanical keyboard for around half the price of what you would pay for other big names. For this reason, we highly recommend this one.

Monitor

If you have an unused monitor or HDTV laying around, you can probably use that first. If you don’t have any displays, though, here’s our recommendations for some great 1080p displays!

For Starters: ($100)

For Starters: ($100)

The Asus VH238H is the cheapest 1080p monitor we’re willing to recommend with a gaming build. Fortunately, it can offer all the prettiness one would expect from an HD display and a respectable 23-inch size.

Although it has a low response time, it is still perfectly suitable for gaming…but we really recommend getting a better monitor to suit your build.

For Advanced Users: ($180+)

For Advanced Users: ($180+)

Since you’ll be pushing games well above 60fps at max settings with this build, we recommend you don’t buy anything less than a 144hz monitor or a 4K display. There’s no point in pushing all of those extra frames if you don’t have the extra resolution or refresh rate to justify the GPU power.

The Acer GN246HL offers entry-level 144Hz at a respectable price point. Use this if you want to enjoy 144Hz without any compromises on quality.

Acer XF240H is priced a little higher, but includes extra comfort/adjustment features for the trouble. This is a great 144hz monitor, too, and should serve you well alongside your Fifteenth-Hour Superpower.

Sound Options

Sound design is a huge part of gaming. Failing to invest in good sound hardware can leave you at both a tactical and entertainment disadvantage.

Don’t use crappy monitor speakers or earbuds- buy one or both of these for your PC audio!

Serviceable Speakers

Serviceable Speakers

The Logitech Z130 Speakers is a cheap set of speakers that gives you all you really need to get started. While paying for surround sound or a subwoofer may cost you extra, this is a fine starting point for those of you who don’t want to spend too much for a set of speakers.

Gaming Headset

Gaming Headset

Meanwhile, Corsair Raptor HS40 is a great budget-oriented gaming headset. It doesn’t have any real compromises as far as sound, mic and build quality go, which means it comes out of the box doing exactly what you need it to.

Getting Online

If you’re serious about competitive gaming and streaming, don’t settle for anything less than this 25-foot ethernet cable from Amazon. Ethernet cables offer the best performance and reliability for gaming and other network-intensive, latency-sensitive tasks.

If you must use Wi-Fi, go with the TP-Link Archer T4U. It’s a pretty great Wi-Fi dongle, but you’ll be sacrificing performance for convenience.

We really only recommend using Wi-Fi when you’re on the go.

Building Tips

You need to get everything right with the Fifteenth-Hour Superpower if you haven’t built a PC before. So to keep you from doing the mistakes every newbie PC builders make, check the list here before jumping in.

Take your time and read questions about building a PC in this link here. This should have all of your PC building concerns cleared out, leaving you to have a smooth building process down the line.

Invest In Antistatic Equipment

anti-static wristband To prevent static discharge from ruining your components, an anti-static wristband is an absolute must. You can also use an anti-static mat to rest your components on before you mount them. By properly setting up anti-static equipment, you don’t need to worry about zapping your stuff.

If you are unsure how to use it, we have a guide on how to wear an antistatic strap to help you with that

Watch Building Guides

This video guide will walk you step-by-step through the PC building process. Supplement it with the instruction manuals included with your components, and you should be fine.

For a more detailed list, our How to Build a Gaming PC guide includes everything a newbie builder needs - from deciding on a budget to maintaining the computer for year’s worth of usage.

USB

Install OS Via USB

If you have a 4GB+ USB stick laying around, congratulations: you cansave some money and space by just installing your OS via USB. Use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to create a Windows installation USB stick. UNetbootin or Rufus can be used to do the same with a Linux distribution.

Closing Thoughts

That’s it.

You now have the option to build the best gaming PC build under $1500 as of May of 2018.

Games at the highest of frames and resolutions, streaming, rendering and encoding without a breaking a sweat- with the power inside it, nothing can stand in your way.

It’s all in your hands now.

How do you find the build? Do you have issues picking the right one for you? Comment down below and we’ll help you out!

4 Comments

  1. Juan Manuel Lopez says:

    Very good components choice and a really helpful guides for us, noobs pc builders. Thanks!

    1. Not a problem. Stick around if you need help on anything else. 🙂

  2. Billy Bob says:

    Everything looks great except the PSU. Why skimp when the 620W is only 25 bucks more? You won’t be stressing the more powerful PSU as much as the lesser, which should result in cooler temperature and longer life. Since this is a gaming setup, we can assume the GPU and CPU will be pushed to their limits, which is going to give that minimum spec PSU a real workout. Never skimp on the power supply, it’s not worth saving a few pennies (relatively).

    1. I generally prefer not to update a PSU’s wattage if the total wattage of the system is ~100W below the system’s power draw. You’d be surprised how little wattage a lot of high-end systems use.

      Whenever I update this build next, however, I’ll reconsider the included PSU. If nothing else I’ll add a PSU upgrade option for people who see themselves making a lot of upgrades/overclocking.

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