PC gaming is one of those things that you can buy into cheap, but which you can’t reap the benefits for fully until you get a better rig. Our best $800 gaming PC build strikes the higher end of the “sweet spot” between price and performance. This build is way past being a console killer, while still being sub-$1000, which is starting to get into premium builds.
So, what exactly should you expect from a $800 build? Well, our goal is to give you a complete PC gaming experience with room to grow down the line. Specifically, you should expect:
Top-notch Performance. This machine performs well above current consoles, even on the level of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. VR and 1440p should both be achievable with this PC build.
Great aesthetics. For $800 it’s not enough to just perform well, the PC itself should also look nice. That’s why we choose a case that allows all the pretty internal parts to be shown off.
Upgradeability. While $800 will last a long time with the right components, this machine is still made to be very upgradeable. You should get great performance out of the system as-is, but the modern CPU architecture means you shouldn’t ever be hurting for upgrades. Chances are, you can probably go through a GPU upgrade or two without ever needing to up your CPU at all, thanks to the potent i5 we’ve put in this build.
How We Choose the Parts and Components
Our goal here at WePC is to use our expertise to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money. (Well, that is one of our goals, along with world domination, of course.)
How do we do this? Well, a lot of research for starters. We check what other professionals in the industry have to say, such as Linus Tech Tips, JayzTwoCents, and Tech Deals, about upcoming products and components. And obviously benchmarks, like the ones found on Tom’s Hardware.
Since prices change somewhat often, expect to see changes to our builds every few months or so.
The Best $800 Gaming PC Update:
Intel Core i5-8400
The Intel Core i5 in this build will provide stellar gaming performance and shouldn’t bottleneck any potential GPU upgrades.
MSI RX 580 8GB Video Card
1080p killer, 1440p/VR powerhouse. That’s really all there is to say here.
Patriot Signature Line 8GB DRR4-2400
With a full 8GB of RAM, multitasking and gaming shouldn’t be any problem whatsoever for this powerful PC build.
Corsair CXM 550W 80+ Bronze-Certified Power Supply
A strong semi-modular power supply from Corsair.
Rosewill Nautilus ATX Mid Tower Case
Rosewill Nautilus is an excellent midrange case with plenty of room for expansion and great out-of-the-box cooling.
Estimated $807.24 at Amazon
(Price are accurate as of December 2, 2018. Click the button to see the latest prices)
Onto everything that’s going to be stuffed inside to make this beast of a system.
The i5-8400 provides stellar gaming and all-around performance. With this CPU, you won’t need to worry about bottlenecking any graphics card you might slap in here for years to come. You’ll also be able to get much higher framerates in CPU-dependent games, and thanks to all the cores multi-threaded workloads (like rendering and streaming) shouldn’t be a problem, either.
Unlike some older i5 processors, the i5-8400 actually supports hyperthreading! This essentially adds another virtual core per physical core, which makes this i5 good at streaming and rendering in a way that previously only i7 processors could achieve.
MORE: Best CPUs for Gaming
The RX 580 8GB is potent, even beating out the GTX 1060 3GB and trading blows with the GTX 1060 6GB. This makes it perfect for VR gaming and a strong contender for 1440p gaming. Since we have the 8GB version in this build, the RX 580 is by far the best value GPU in this price range by a considerable margin, and for that reason it’s what we selected for this $800 PC build.
This 8GB RAM kit comes at a higher clock speed than your typical DDR4 RAM, and should provide all the RAM you need for most gaming and multitasking scenarios. The marginal speed boost won’t do too much to add to your gaming experience, but the difference is there and worth the money spent.
While this SSD is certainly more expensive than our previous pick for this build, it’s a far superior value pick. The ADATA Ultimate SU800 SSD offers better price-per-gigabyte than just about every other SSD we can find on the market, and you’ll be able to use that storage to its fullest potential for your operating system, programs, and favorite games.
For your media and non-favorite games, put it on the HDD we listed below.
As long as you’re buying from a trusted brand like Hitachi and getting good price-per-gigabyte, you don’t need to think too much about the hard drive you’re buying. Fortunately, the Hitachi Ultrastar 2TB HDD is far from an afterthought- boasting some of the best value for HDDs in this price range and manufactured by one of the top hard drive providers, your content will be in good hands here.
Use the 2TB of included storage to store your single-player games, movies, media, and everything you aren’t playing on a super-regular basis. You’ll want to save your primary eSports titles for your SSD, where you’ll be able to take the most advantage fo your speed.
Due to rising prices, we weren’t able to fit a modular PSU in our cheaper builds despite having been able to do so last year. This is a shame, because a modular PSU is one of the best improvements that you can make for your building experience, but here in this price range, we’re finally able to amend that.
Aside from the whole “modular” deal, this PSU also comes from Corsair. While many may focus on Corsair for their stellar keyboards, their PSUs are also known to be among the best in the industry, so we’re happy to recommend them here.
To be honest, this is an entry-level motherboard. That being said, this shouldn’t impact your gaming experience in any reasonable way, unless you’re looking to overclock…but at this price range, overclocking-capable hardware is a bit out of your reach. We recommend taking a look at one of our higher-end builds if you want to do that.
While this may be an entry-level motherboard, it’s still manufactured by Gigabyte, one of the most trusted manufacturers in the industry. For that reason, we’re still confident recommending this motherboard in our $800 PC build.
The Nautilus is pretty much everything you need out of a midrange PC case. It’s a large ATX Mid Tower case, featuring 2 intake fans and 1 exhaust fan out of the box, as well as plenty of room inside for future expansion, large GPUs and even a liquid cooling setup, if you want to install one down the line. The large side panel window gives a clear look inside at your components.
In terms of cooling, expansion and general quality, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a competitive build in this price range.
Why is this the Best $800 Gaming PC?
We regularly check competitor’s lists to make sure we’re ahead of the curve and choosing sensible parts. Some may make ridiculous sacrifices to things like CPU power and storage space just to stuff a high-end graphics card into their system even though its performance is going to be throttled; we do our best to avoid this on WePC.
All of our builds are thoroughly researched to ensure that bottlenecks aren’t a concern and that you’re getting a balanced gaming PC with reliable hardware that will last you for years to come, even if you don’t upgrade anytime soon. With the i5 we’ve included in this build alongside the RX 580-- the best value GPU currently on the market-- we’re confident that you’ll have great gaming experiences at 1080p and 1440p well into the future.
What games can this PC run?
In this section, we’re going to tell you how this game should be able to run your favorite games.
- Fortnite - At 1080p, you should be able to easily max out this game at 60 FPS or higher. 1440p should still be playable at 60 FPS, but you may need to turn down a few settings.
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds - 1080p60 at high-to-max settings should be achievable, but 1440p may require some tuning down to medium or low settings.
- Monster Hunter: World - MHW is quite intensive, but 1080p60 shouldn’t be a problem for this build at high settings. 1440p60 will be much harder to achieve, though, and may require some settings turned down.
- League of Legends - League of Legends is a fairly lightweight eSports title, so 1440p60 and 1080p144 should both be achievable at high settings.
- Dota 2 - Same as above.
- Overwatch - At 1440p and Ultra settings, Overwatch should be playable at 60 FPS. This makes 1080p an easy sweep as well.
- Rainbow Six: Siege - At 1440p and high settings, Siege should be playable at 60-70 FPS.
- Warframe - Warframe should be playable at 1440p60 on high settings and 1080p144 on high settings- it’s quite well-optimized.
- Grand Theft Auto V - GTA V should be playable at 1440p60 with medium-high settings and high-max settings at 1080p.
- Team Fortress 2 - TF2 is primarily CPU-dependent, so you shouldn’t encounter any issues at 1440p here. If you want to push your frames higher, though, you’ll want to go down to 1080p and turn down some settings.
Similar Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $800
We may have come up with the best $800 gaming PC, but not everyone has the time, luxury, or even the patience to build their own PC.
Below we have included the 5 best prebuilt gaming PCs under $800. If you want to read more about them, then you can check out the product guide.
Upgrade Path for this Build
While this machine is very solid for the price this is plenty that can be changed to make it better from the get-go or in the future.
Note: Of course, these upgrades will increase the price.
While the stock cooler is fairly fine, it’s better to get an aftermarket cooler to make sure you open up more opportunities and upgrades in the long run. Cryorig H7 may not be the best of the best but should do fine to ensure that your locked CPU is provided with all the cooling it needs.
Not to mention that this also works fine if you wish to upgrade your CPU to an unlocked CPU like the i5-8600k, which, will be covered next.
This unlocked version of Intel’s i5 8th gen processor gives you not just plenty room of processing speeds at stock but it’s also overclockable. Essentially, it’s a much better CPU than the one we have in this build. If you wish to upgrade your gaming experience a tad more, go get this.
If you’re going to spend the extra money on this, though, you’re also going to want to upgrade your motherboard in order to utilize the chip’s overclocking capabilities. We’re going to discuss that below.
This is similar to the B360M motherboard we have in this list but has a $30 difference. If you could spare $30 more on top of the build, then, by all means, do get this Z370 motherboard instead of the B360M.
It offers better audio, extra features, higher build quality and most importantly, it gives you the ability to overclock your processor and make the most out of it. However, you can only do this with a K-series processor, like the 8600K mentioned above.
OS Options and Recommended Peripherals
Most peripherals should be taken care of, especially if you’re dropping $800 on a PC. Still, we wanted to give a few recommendations to accompany this system.
NOTE: These will raise the price of the build!
For a gaming PC, the only real option for an operating system is Windows. While there has been some significant strides in recent years for Linux and Mac support for games, the options are nowhere near what is offered on Windows.
Previous licenses for Windows can be transferred to new machines, but you may need actually get ahold of Microsoft to complete the transfer process.
However, if you still need to obtain a copy of Windows 10, you can do so from places like Newegg or directly from Microsoft.
Mouse and Keyboard
Your mouse and keyboard are vital aspects of your gaming setup. These are the tools you will go into battle with, and you haven’t already got some, we have some suggestions for you.
For the keyboard, we recommend the AUKEY KM-G3 RGB Mechanical Keyboard. While it doesn’t offer fully-customizable RGB like higher-end keyboards, it does offer a stellar value and build quality for its price, in addition to being fully-mechanical.
If you’d like some cheaper picks, you can also click here.
We’re going to offer two monitors here: a 1440p monitor running at 60 Hz, and a 1080p monitor running at 144 Hz. The former will provide superior size and image quality, while the latter will provide a smoother, more responsive experience for supported multiplayer games, like Warframe or Overwatch.
Our 1440p pick is the AOC Q2778VQQE monitor. It’s 27 inches and boasts a 1440p resolution to match it, allowing for a more immersive gaming experience.
BenQ Zowie XL2411P monitor
Our 1080p144 pick is the BenQ Zowie XL2411P monitor. Its 24 inch size is standard for its 1080p resolution, but with its 1ms response time and 144 Hz refresh rate, it’s particularly suited to gaming competitively.
If neither of these suit your tastes, consider taking a peek at our massive 20 monitor roundup to find the best-suited display for you.
Here are our picks for sound in this PC build.
The HyperX Cloud Revolver S Gaming Headset. Boasts 7.1 surround sound and a noise-canceling microphone, which makes it perfect for heightened situational awareness and better communication with your teammates.
Invest In Antistatic Equipment
Buy an anti-static wristband and/or anti-static mat. This will protect your components from static discharge, which is an extraordinarily unfortunate and unlucky way to lose your brand-new hardware, albeit statistically unlikely. If you want to be sure, though, you should be using an anti-static wristband, and you can click here to read a guide.
Watch Building Guides
Building a PC might seem intimidating at first, but in truth, it’s not all that difficult. The embedded video above is one of our favorite build guides out there, presented by our friends at Tek Syndicate.
Install OS Via USB
We highly recommend that you install your OS via USB. To do this with Windows, download and run the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.
In either of these cases, make sure you have at least a 4GB USB stick at your disposal for the creation of installation media.
That is everything to build the best $800 gaming PC! This machine comes out to be a powerhouse, being able to handle the most demanding games with ease and push most games into 4K. Even upgraded consoles like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X won’t be able to hold a candle to this build in terms of resolution, framerate, or graphical fidelity.
The system is easily set up to allow for plenty of upgrade options as well. Whether you want to drop in a second stick of memory, or upgrade the card (which you won’t have to do for awhile), this build makes upgrades a breeze.
How’d you find our build? Are you having troubles or thoughts of sacrificing some parts but don’t know which?
Reach out to us! Comment below and let us help you out directly.