This is going to be the best $1500 PC build that you can buy right now. We’ve spent over 25 hours on researching the best parts for this build.
The best part?
You don’t have to waste any of your own time researching and trying to understand various technical aspects and compatibility issues.
Let us dive right into the build.
The Best $1500 Gaming PC Build For 2019
Updated: October 15, 2019
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Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, we will briefly go through the list of things you can expect from this gaming PC rig.
First of all, there’s the actual in-game performance. For this kind of cash, you shouldn’t settle for anything short of extraordinary, so we’ve made sure that this PC is ready to take you into the realm of 4K gaming, and with excellent frame rates to boot. You shouldn’t expect fewer than 60 FPS in 4K in most games. And we say this only to account for the most demanding and poorly optimized titles out there. Unfortunately, the FPS will drop as low as 50 in certain games, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is only at the highest of presets.
Now we’re not saying that you’ll have to downgrade to simply high graphics presets in order to enjoy a stable 60FPS framerate. Ultra presets generally don’t take into account the fact that 4K gaming really has no need for things like anti-aliasing since the pixel density is so high that it effectively acts as anti-aliasing in and of itself. So we think it’s fair to say that this PC can handle playing new AAA titles at a stable 60 FPS. You’ll need to tinker with the graphics a bit in certain games, but not in any way that would compromise the visuals.
VR and Streaming
Another thing worthy of note is that this PC is more than capable of tackling VR and Streaming. We’ll talk more about VR in the CPU section, but both the processor and the graphics card in this build are capable of running VR with ease. And as for Streaming, seeing as you won’t be streaming in 4K, you won’t have to scale down any graphics sliders for this.
And lastly, while we don’t think this PC will get obsolete any time soon, we still didn’t feel like locking you into some non-upgradeable hardware, a sentiment that you’ll find reflected in our choice of the motherboard and CPU, although more on those when we go through each of the individual pieces of hardware.
So, without any further ado, let’s begin.
The PC Build
The following are the components we’ve personally hand-picked to make this the best $1500 gaming PC that you can get at the moment.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
The third-gen Ryzen CPUs made a big and splashy entrance, but thankfully, none of the confidence the company and fans had in the Zen 2 architecture was misplaced. This increase in performance, however, was also met with an increase in price. For example, the Ryzen 5 3600X that we’re picked out for this build costs roughly as much as the previous-gen Ryzen 7 2700X.
Related: Best Ryzen CPU For Gaming
But is the Zen 2 architecture good enough to make this year’s Ryzen 5 CPU better than yesteryear’s Ryzen 7?
Yes, yes it is!
As far as gaming is concerned, the increased single-core performance of the Ryzen 5 3600X is enough to give it quite the edge over the aforementioned Ryzen 7. For example, running on the same RTX 2070 gaming PC the Ryzen 5 3600X will give you anywhere between 10 to 20 more FPS in Shadow of the Tomb Raider at max settings on 1080p. This gap is, of course, smaller on 1440p, but it can still result in a 10 FPS discrepancy – not something that should be ignored considering these two CPUs cost pretty much the same.
The only downside is that you will have fewer cores. However, as far as gaming is concerned, having access to 6 physical and 12 logical cores is already incredible, and you aren’t likely to find this CPU lacking even in VR. Although there is one rather disappoint downgrade – the cooler.
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Cooler: Wraith Spire
The Ryzen 3600X comes with the Wraith Spire stock cooler. Now this isn’t bad by any means, Wraith Spire can certainly hold its own; it can even handle some light overclocking, although having a more powerful aftermarket cooler would still be preferable in this case.
No, the Wraith Spire itself isn’t the disappointment, but the fact that the Ryzen 7 2700X comes with the Wraith Prism LED cooler, easily the best-performing and coolest stock cooler you can currently get with any CPU. Granted, the difference in CPU temperature between these two coolers is only 5 degrees Celsius at most, but if you plan on doing any real overclocking that those 5 degrees are going to mean a lot, which does end up hampering the cost-effectiveness of this CPU somewhat.
Still, we’d like to reiterate one final time that the Wraith Spire cooler is still excellent should you wish to run the CPU at factory settings.
Related: Best CPU Cooler
GPU: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Windforce
Now when we first made this build the RTX graphics cards had just come out and we called their maximum potential dubious. Still, we hoped the future for real-time ray tracing was bright, and now it seems our hopes are finally being realized. Not only are there already a few AAA titles that support real-time ray tracing, but we know that this trend will continue and that it will, in fact, become the norm now that real-time ray tracing has been confirmed for the PS5. Developers will not miss the opportunity to incorporate this feature in any big upcoming release. So if you’ve bought an RTX graphics card you made the right decision, and if not you should.
And here to power this particular PC build we have the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Windforce. This triple fan beast of a graphics card won’t leave even the most performance-hungry users wanting, easily able to push a stable 60 FPS in 4K with most if not all settings cranked up to eleven. And this is in some high-demanding but very poorly optimized titles, like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. In most games, the framerate only dips close to 60FPS 1% of the time!
Related: Best RTX 2080 Graphics Card
Now it’s obvious why we went with the Windforce version of the RTX 2080. It’s the most affordable one, and while $1500 is a lot it could not afford us one of the more expensive models. Nevertheless, we’d like to remind you that the difference between the best and the worse graphics card based on the same GPU will be minuscule when compared to other GPUs.
The only things that vary between them are the clock speeds and the cooling solution. And as you can imagine, a graphics card that carries the Windforce moniker does not lack in terms of cooling. The triple triangular fans with 3D curves spin in alternate directions for increased airflow and they turn off when the graphics card is in low load for a quiet user experience. The 6 direct touch heat-pipes also go a long way helping with the heat dissipation. And it even looks nice with some RGB lighting that goes well with the Wraith Prism Cooler, making your gaming rig noticeably awesome at just a glance.
Related: Best Graphics Card For Gaming
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB
If there was one thing we wish we could’ve bumped up in the previous build the most, it has to be the RAM capacity. 8 GB of RAM is sufficient for gaming, but just barely. At the moments, most games don’t require more than around 7 GB of active RAM use, but given that background, processes will also eat away at your stores of memory, 16 GB of RAM is the ideal amount here. Any more would be wasted for gaming, but any fewer would make the PC struggle a bit.
And for this build, we’ve singled out the Corsair Vengeance LPX memory sticks, a reliable brand with a proven track record. As always, we strongly feel that opting for the dual channel variant is much wiser, simply because you’ll still be able to operate your PC, even game, should one of the paired up 8GB sticks die. Alternatively, if your single 16GB stick gives out, that’s it, have fun living an analog life until you replace it.
Additionally, we’ve also bumped the memory speed up to 3000MHz. This isn’t a huge deal, but given that we had a couple of extra dollars at the end, we figured that this would be the best place to invest them in, just to bring the FPS up by a few frames.
Lastly, we’d like to mention that you can safely treat the RAM as maxed out and not needing any upgrades. Not even if you were using an RTX 2080 Ti. Games just don’t need that much RAM, and it’s more likely than not that DDR4 will get outdated before 16 GB of RAM stops being sufficient.
Related: Best RAM For Gaming
Motherboard: ASUS Prime X470-Pro
And the part that’s going to be keeping all of these different pieces of hardware together and feeding them power is the Asus Prime X470-Pro motherboard.
It may not be the most high-end solution, but it’s one that has everything you’ll need as a gamer, and even then some, with the inclusion of some nice RGB lighting.
It’s not an X570 motherboard, but considering how the only benefit you could possibly get from this new line of motherboards and their PCIe 4.0 interface is increased storage speed, this is still the most cost-effective solution. More importantly, it doesn’t sacrifice anything in terms of functionality.
The things we like the most about this particular motherboard are its two metal reinforced PCIe x16 slots. If you’re planning on using a monstrous triple-fan graphics card (which you are) then this is one of those small features that you’ll really appreciate. Plus, it’s a standout as far as VRM is concerned for the price range.
You’re covered RAM-wise as well, should you want to expand. The Asus Prime X470-Pro maxes out at 64 GB of RAM, with the maximum speed of 3600MHz. The motherboard even supports both SLI and CrossFire multi-GPU technologies. Not all RTX cards support SLI, but the RTX 2080 GPU is one of the ones that does. It’s one of the many upgrade paths you’ll have available, and if nothing else it goes to show that this is a quality made a motherboard.
Related: Best Gaming Motherboards
SSD: Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB
And it’s not just the CPU, GPU, and RAM that we are going all-out with. No, this PC build also has the best performing storage currently available in the form of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. This NVMe SSD is more four times faster than most SATA III SSDs, so if you’re hoping $1500 can afford you instantaneous responsiveness to all of your clicks and non-existent loading times, you will not be disappointed.
Unfortunately, we could only pack in 500GB of this storage before capping out the budget. If you’ve got a bit of extra cash to spare, you definitely won’t regret getting the 1TB versions, as you’ll be all set as far as future-proofing is concerned. But you could also just get a 1TB HDD for all the non-essentials. This would only have you exceed the budget by about $10-$20 – a nonfactor, really, considering the massive budget. In either case, you’ll definitely want to stick with this NVMe storage if you want to keep your PC master race pride intact since we know the next generation of consoles will feature SSD storage.
Related: Best SSD For Gaming
Power Supply: SeaSonic Focus Gold 550W 80+
The more that we looked at all the available PSUs at the price range we were going for, the more we kept falling in love with the SeaSonic Focus Gold 550W.
There simply isn’t anything about this PSU that’s short of amazing.
The build quality is immaculate, from the materials used to the 120mm Fluid Dynamic Fan, just as you’d expect of one of the best PSU manufacturers out there. So much so that it comes with a 7-year warranty.
On top of that, it’s certified 80+ Gold. This means that it’s one of the more efficient models, drawing less power and generating less heat. And with 550 watts, it’s powerful enough to get this high-end gaming rig going.
And the best thing is: this is a semi-modular PSU, meaning that you won’t have to suffer any unnecessary cable clutter. If you’re wondering why not fully modular, the thing is it only serves to inflate the price without really making your life significantly easier. Fully modular PSUs are best used with PCs that are built to be portable, and for better or for worse, portability wasn’t something we paid any attention to when making this build.
If you want your $1500 build chaperoned by a reliable PSU that won’t let anything happen to your precious hardware pieces, there’s no better option than this.
Related: How To Choose A Power Supply
Case: Thermaltake V200
And lastly, there’s the case. If you’re already buying a gaming rig as high-end as this one, it would be a damn shame not to put it in an appropriately awesome case, so we’ve spared no expenses here, opting for the Thermaltake V200.
Now you’ve probably guessed as much just by looking at the picture, but this case is truly something. Not only does it look absolutely amazing, but it can facilitate airflow in a way that not many computer cases in this price range can. It does so thanks to the three front RGB-lit fans and one exhaust fan on the back. Additionally, you can mount up to two more fans on the top of the case. For this, you can either use some of the front fans or buy new ones, bringing the total up to six!
Related: How To Choose A PC Case
All the 120mm front fans feature RGB that can be synced to the motherboard, so they’ll never look out of place. The X470 motherboard in this build is, of course, compatible.
And in keeping with the RGB gaming aesthetic, the left panel is entirely made of glass – 4mm tempered glass, to be precise. This means that the graphics card, the CPU cooler, and the motherboard all get their chance to shine (literally). As an added benefit, there’s also a built-in PSU cover, so that all the cables protruding from the PSU won’t take away from the magnificent look of this gaming PC.
There’s more we could say about this case, but we’ll leave you with this for now.
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That about does it for the hardware part of the build i.e. the part that’s covered by the budget. But, unfortunately, as incredible as this PC is, it’s just an impressive, shiny box without any peripherals.
It’s great if this gaming rig could inherit some peripherals from your old PC, but just in case, we’ve also listed some of the best peripherals for every category that will complement this PC. Some of them, like the mouse and keyboard, will always come down to preference and we know that there’s no single model we could pick that would be right for absolutely everybody, but others, like the monitor, need to adhere to a certain standard, otherwise they’d just be wasted on a computer this powerful.
So with all this in mind, let’s look at the peripherals we’ve picked out that will best suit this $1500 gaming rig.
Operating System: Windows
Let’s start with the simplest one: the operating system.
Not to sound like a broken record, but if you want the most optimal gaming experience, then there’s really only one choice and that’s Windows. Linux has its merits, but game compatibility isn’t one of them, and neither is it optimization. To put it in the simplest terms, this means that you’ll consistently be getting fewer FPS in Linux than you would in Windows running the exact same game with the same options.
Now, Linux does have the benefit of costing you only the time it takes to download and install it, so if this should prove to be the only option then we’d suggest going with one of the versions better suited for gaming, like SteamOS or Game Drift Linux. Nevertheless, it feels like settling here would be a huge waste if you’ve already gone and invested $1500 in all the hardware we’ve listed, so we can only recommend Windows here.
Related: What Is The Best OS For Gaming?
Monitor: Acer Predator XB271UH
Now, this is where things get a bit complicated, just because you have access to both higher resolutions and higher refresh rates.
The monitor we’ve highlighted is the one that offers both, settling for a respectable 2K resolution display, but with a 144Hz refresh rate – the Acer Predator XB271HU.
Although, it if were just that, it wouldn’t cost as much as the graphics cards. There are two things that make this monitor so much more expensive than some of the ‘budget’ 2K 144Hz models, and these are G-Sync and the IPS panel.
G-Sync is Nvidia’s proprietary take on the elimination of screen tearing normally achieved through the V-sync option in the graphics menu, only with the added benefit of being hardware-based, meaning that it won’t impact game performance like normal V-sync would. But while this is nice, what we love about this monitor even more than that is the inclusion of an IPS panel.
Most high refresh rate monitors use a TN panel. They’re much cheaper and offer much better performance, but this comes at the cost of image quality. The image on a TN panel display looks bleak and washed out. Getting an IPS monitor up to 144Hz definitely costs more, but the results are simply breath-taking, taking away any and all compromises.
Now, if you want a cheaper alternative without the G-sync and with a regular TN panel, then we suggest checking out the 24-inch AOC Agon AG241QX. It does have FreeSync, that’s rendered obsolete given that this PC uses an Nvidia graphics card, but FreeSync barely drives up the price of monitors at all, so from a cost-efficiency standpoint, this was easy to ignore in favor of all the other cool features.
Alternatively, if you value visuals over performance, you could get a 4K monitor. One of the best ones out there has easily got the be the 4K version of the Acer Predator – the XB271HK. It’s hardly the only option available, but what’s important about it is that it offers both G-Sync and it has an IPS panel. 4K gaming on a TN panel is a bit strange when you think about it because you’re not getting the main benefit of TN panels (the high refresh rate), but you’re still getting all the drawbacks (the washed-out colors). In a way, this defeats the purpose of the eye-candy that 4K is all about.
However, that’s just our opinion. The important thing here is to stay true to yourself. If you want an affordable TN 4Kmonitor, then get one – the Asus VP28UQG is one of our go-to recommendations in this case. And if what you want to do is game in 1080p at 200+ FPS, then get an Asus RoG Swift PG258Q and do just that. The possibilities truly are endless with a GPU this powerful behind the monitor, so just shop accordingly and have fun.
Related: Best Gaming Monitors
Mouse: SteelSeries Rival 600
Ah, the SteelSeries Rival 600, isn’t she a beauty?
And it’s fitting that the mouse has ‘Rival‘ in its name because we finally have a mouse that can rival and even surpass the famed Logitech G502 as the best all-purpose mouse on the market.
It’s simply gorgeous to look at, with some very stylish customizable RGB lighting and fits perfectly into your hand. The novelty that stands out the most on your first try will definitely be the silicone side grips that will ensure a firm control over the mouse as well as help with the durability.
On the technical side of things, this mouse features the TrueMove3+ sensor, marketed as the world’s most advanced sensor system.
The basis for this bold claim?
Well, it’s actually a dual-sensor that incorporates both true 1 to 1 tracking and the bleeding edge lift-off distance detection.
So is it really as good as it sounds?
Yes; although, if we’re being honest, most casual gamers won’t actually notice the improved lift-off distance detection. If, on the other hand, you’re a competitive gamer, you’ll be sure to appreciate it.
What’s more, the Rival 600 features one of the best weighting mechanisms we’ve seen so far, giving you full control of the way that mouse will feel in your hand. The last of many new innovations that we’d like to mention is the placement of the third button on the left side of the mouse. We’ve already seen many attempts at incorporating the third button here, but what we like the most about this vertical button that’s in front of the other two is that you’ll never press it by accident, as you would the ‘sniper‘ button on the G502.
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Keyboard: Corsair K95 PLATINUM
If you’re already going to game on a PC this grand, you should do it in style. And no keyboard does style quite like the Corsair K95 PLATINUM while at the same time sacrificing none of the substance.
Style-wise, you’re greeted with some of the sickest RGB lighting we’ve ever seen on a keyboard, and it’s fully customizable along with the ability to light up every key differently. Basically, whatever light show you can think of in your head can be done on this keyboard, with just a little know-how. It helps that the Corsair Utility Engine might very well be the best piece of keyboard software out there, with just how user-friendly it is.
But even should we omit the RGB for a second, this is still a marvelous keyboard, featuring an aircraft-grade aluminum frame, Cherry MX Brown mechanical key switches, and 6 programmable keys. The coolest features, for us personally, at last, have got to be the volume controls and the detachable wrist rest that, by the way, is dual-sided, so you can adjust it entirely to your liking.
It may cost more than most people would think to spend on a keyboard, but this here isn’t just any gaming keyboard, it’s a life partner that will grow old with you and never give out.
Of course, if you want something more affordable, the HyperX Allot Elite is an excellent choice that’s similar in a lot of ways.
Related: Best Gaming Keyboard
VR: HTC Vive
Just in case we didn’t repeat ourselves enough times, we’ll say it again: this PC can handle the full extent of VR. And there’s no better way to experience VR than by using the HTC Vive headset.
It’s not that it’s superior to the Oculus Rift from a technical standpoint; the two are rather evenly matched in this regard. But the Vive has one huge point going in its favor: SteamVR. Now, the Oculus Store isn’t bad, it’s not like it offers much that Steam doesn’t. But we’re willing to bet that everyone looking at this guide already has an expansive Steam library and probably zero titles purchased on the Oculus Store.
Couple this with the fact that the SteamVR also lets you play certain titles in VR that weren’t developed for it and becomes crystal clear why our pick goes to the HTC Vive.
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Controller: Xbox One Controller
VR or no VR, having the controller has become an absolute necessity for PC gamers in recent years. And to help you through all the controller-enabled games, we’ve elected the Xbox One Controller.
It offers the perfect mix of comfort and functionality. After all, it’s basically a direct improvement upon everything that the Xbox 360 controller was, and the 360 controller is still hailed as one of the best controllers for PC ever.
The hefty size and ergonomic contouring help make the Xbox One controller extremely comfortable, while the responsive triggers with integrated rumble make it an absolute joy to use in shooters and racing games. You’ll still prefer the DualShock 4 should the games you prefer be heavily D-Pad oriented, but given how this pretty much boils down to just fighting games and platformers, we feel that the Xbox One controller offers greater versatility and can, therefore, recommend it to all but the most specialized gamers.
Not to mention that the plug-and-play Windows compatibility will save you a headache or two.
The reason we didn’t highlight something more ‘high-end’ here, like the Xbox One Elite Controller, is because games that were made for controllers were made with the basic button number and layout in mind, so while the extra buttons are nice, they’re unnecessary in most cases.
As always, though, preference is all that matters, so if you don’t think the Xbox Box One Controller suits you, here‘s a good place to start looking for alternatives.
Headset: HyperX Cloud Revolver S
Having a good headset is oftentimes more important to a gamer than having good speakers, and we’ve spared no expenses here with the HyperX Cloud Revolver S.
This headset has everything a gamer could need: excellent durability, great sound quality, and extensive compatibility.
- Durability – the tough steel frame is there to ensure that this headset won’t break from simple fear of heights.
- Sound – not only do these headphones sound great, courtesy of the directional 50mm driver, they also offer an immense soundstage, something competitive gamers will be sure to appreciate; and that’s not even mentioning the Dolby Surround 7.1
- Compatibility – it isn’t often that you come across a headset that’s compatible with the PS4 and the Xbox One, as well as PC, so you’ll be covered should you ever feel the need to play some great console exclusives.
Additionally, check out this guide for the best wireless headsets, if that’s more to your liking or this one for the best budget solution, in case you won’t be using the headset as your primary audio device.
Webcam: Logitech HD Pro C920
Having a good headset is oftentimes more important to a gamer than having
And for those of you who plan on streaming, the Logitech HD Pro C920 still remains the best and most cost-efficient webcam to get. Its specs blow the competition entirely out of the park, what with the 15 Mpix camera and the 1080p resolution, and the technologies included are exactly the kind you’d expect to find in a Logitech webcam – the best there are.
You can find some more affordable alternatives here, but if you’re serious about streaming then the C920 is the most worthwhile investment.
Mouse Pad: Corsair MM800 Polaris RGB Mouse Pad
Finally, let’s finish off this guide with a bang – and by bang we mean the most vanity gaming accessory we’ve come across: the Corsair MM800 Polaris RGB Mouse Pad.
It’s just what it sounds like – a mouse pad that lights up; perfectly in keeping with the RGB theme present throughout this build.
It has some other cool features, like the firm rubber base and the low-friction micro-textured surface, but we’ve picked it almost entirely because of the lighting.
Related: Best Mouse Pads
Wrist Rest: GoldenClaw WR1
If you’re spending $1500 on a PC, then you surely should invest around $10 in a wrist rest. The GoldenClaw WR1 Wrist Rest is the perfect choice for that.
Keep your wrists protected with this firm and comfortable memory-foam wrist rest, which includes both a keyboard wrist rest pad and a mouse wrist rest pad.
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Samuel is GamingScan’s editor-in-chief. He describes himself as a hardcore gamer & programmer and he enjoys getting more people into gaming and answering people’s questions. He closely follows the latest trends in the gaming industry in order to keep you all up-to-date with the latest news.