This is going to be the best $1500 PC build that you can buy right now. We’ve spent days researching the best parts for this build, so we hope you like them.
And the best part?
You do not have to waste any of your own time researching and trying to understand various technical aspects and compatibility issues.
So without further delay, let us dive right into the build.
Table of ContentsShow
The Best $1500 Gaming PC Build For 2020
Updated: October 26, 2020
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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 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 framerates to boot.
You shouldn’t expect fewer than 40 FPS in 4K in most games. And we say this only to account for the most demanding and poorly optimized titles out there. The RTX 3080 is a beast that can easily run most AAA titles in 4K between 50 and 70 FPS at max settings. This is a major improvement compared to the 2080 Ti, and boy, are we excited about it!
VR and Streaming
Another thing worthy of note is that this PC is more than capable of tackling VR and Streaming.
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 either.
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 PSU, 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.
We know you’ve been dying to know which CPU would be good enough to run the RTX 3080 ever since it was first announced on Septermber 1st. Well, there has been lots of speculation, but we finally have the answer. Even the Ryzen 5 3600, when overclocked, does a pretty decent job when paired with the RTX 3080.
That said, you might be wondering why we didn’t include it in this build, and the reason is simple – we didn’t want just a “pretty decent” performance. We wanted to make sure that there would be no problems whatsoever if you bought this build.
While it would be great if you had a processor like the Ryzen 9 3950X or the Intel Core i9 10850K, you don’t have to. The Ryzen 7 3700X has 8 cores, 16 threads, a base clock speed of 3.6GHz, and a max boost clock speed of 4.4GHz.
It is a remarkable processor that will be able to support this GPU with minimal bottlenecking meaning that you’ll be able to enjoy the RTX 3080 in a cheaper build without feeling a big difference. That’s just how powerful the card is.
That said, as all Ryzen processors, the Ryzen 7 3700X is unlocked and it would be a waste to not use it to its full potential, especially when it might boost your FPS slightly as well. There is just one thing when it comes to overclocking – you have to have a great cooler. The more powerful the components, the hotter they run, and the better cooling solution you need.
Speaking of coolers, the next section is dedicated precisely to that.
All AMD high-end CPUs come with the remarkable Wraith Prism RGB cooler free of charge. However, when we say remarkable, we mean it only in comparison with all the other stock coolers out there.
Don’t get us wrong, the cooler is good, and it wouldn’t come with a CPU this powerful if AMD thought it wouldn’t be able to keep up with it, which is why we didn’t include an aftermarket cooler in this build.
Even so, stock coolers aren’t meant for overclocking. So if you are planning to use the Ryzen 7 3700X to its full potential we highly suggest you get an aftermarket solution once your wallet recovers.
GPU: RTX 3080
Finally, here’s the crown component of this build, the infamous RTX 3080.
This card is a big step for both the gaming industry and the gaming community. The fact that for $1500 you can now get some of the best components available in the market like the Ryzen 7 3700X and Nvidia’s new flagship, the RTX 3080 when only a few months ago the flagship GPU could only properly fit in a $3000 build is a huge improvement.
There has been endless talk about the new GPUs ever since they were announced and now we finally get to see them in action.
They do not disappoint!
The benchmarks show a remarkable leap compared to the previous generation, and more importantly compared to the 2080 Ti that seems to have become utterly irrelevant overnight.
Besides the sheer power and speed the RTX 3080 has features like the DLSS 2.0 which can make some wild improvements to your gameplay if the conditions are right.
DLSS is an acronym for ‘deep learning super sampling’. It can essentially recreate a 4K image in a 1080p resolution allowing you to play games (that you could run at 4K, but on a lower framerate) on a lower resolution and therefore higher framerate with a 4K experience thanks to the AI that learns more the more you play and gradually gives you a better-quality picture.
This is a very crude and simplistic explanation, but in essence it’s a very useful tool to have in your toolbox if you need it.
Finally, let’s take a look at some concrete numbers.
The RTX 3080 can run all modern AAA titles in 4K without breaking a sweat. For example, Shadow of the Tomb Raider runs at a stable 65 FPS in 4K, Far Cry 5 on 95 FPS, Metro Exodus at 75 FPS, and Division 2 at 65 FPS.
Keep in mind that all of these benchmarks were performed on an overclocked Ryzen 5 3600! While the CPU doesn’t have a huge impact on the FPS in most games, a better processor will certainly drive up the framerate up a notch.
When it comes to RAM, you can never go wrong with the Corsair Vengeance LPX. It’s a tried and true option from a reliable manufacturer that’s also easy on the wallet.
8 GB of RAM is sufficient for gaming, but just barely.
At the moment, 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.
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 opted for the memory speed of 3200MHz. 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.
Unfortunately, we opted for non-RGB sticks simply because the RGB variants are much more expensive, and the money you would spend on the lighting could instead be invested in improving the actual performance.
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.
And here’s the component that will keep this entire build running, the ASUS TUF Gaming X570 Plus.
The TUF line of motherboards has always been focused on two things – overclocking potential and durability, and the X570 Gaming Plus is no exception.
First of all, as we said in the PC Overview section, we made sure not to rob you of any upgradability options, and that’s where this motherboard comes into play. This is an X570 motherboard which means that it’s going to be compatible with the next-gen Ryzen CPUs.
Considering that CPUs are always the most difficult component to upgrade since often the motherboard has to be upgraded along with it, we think this is a pretty good deal.
Additionally, AMD processors are currently the only ones capable of using PCIe 4.0 meaning that you’ll be able to use both the RTX 3080 and your NVMe memory to its maximum potential. Even though you don’t essentially need to have PCIe 4.0 to run the RTX 3080, and it won’t make too big of a difference for now, it’s definitely a welcome feature that might become increasingly relevant as the years go by.
The ASUS TUF Gaming X570 Plus is a sturdy piece of engineering with military-grade components, a 6-layer PCB and outstanding VRMs. The motherboard is also equipped with plenty of connectivity options you can check out on their website linked above.
This is overall an amazing motherboard, but not without its flaws. Namely, we, and probably a lot of you, aren’t fans of the yellow accents since they don’t exactly fit all the builds and can look quite jarring if visible.
And the other thing is that it lacks Wi-Fi. Now, this is not something we personally mind too much since we prefer the stable connection that comes with wired gaming anyway, but Wi-Fi is never a bad thing to have. Luckily, Wi-Fi cards are pretty cheap and accessible, so if you absolutely can’t live without one there’s an easy solution.
For those of you looking for different things in a motherboard, keep in mind you will have to pay premium or else, hunt for discounts. Another possibility is to go with the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU that’s about $100 cheaper, overclock it, and use the money you saved for a better motherboard or aftermarket cooler.
Keep in mind that the builds we put together are not absolute, but simply what we think would give you the best performance or else, the best value for your money. But as always, you call the shots, and you should always buy according to your preferences and needs.
When it comes to storage we’ve made sure this PC build has the best performing storage currently available in the form of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus.
This NVMe SSD is more than 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.
However, you could also just get a 1TB HDD for all the non-essentials. This would only have you exceed the budget by a few bucks, but even that is not completely necessary at this point, or at least not right away.
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 NVMe storage.
For the power supply, we chose the Corsair RM850x that’s 80+ Gold certified and fully modular.
We opted for this particular PSU for several reasons:
- First of all, the wattage was just right. Nvidia’s recommended wattage for an average RTX 3080 system is 750W, but we wanted to go a bit higher just to be safe. Depending on if you overclock your CPU, your GPU, or even if you add a hard drive, the power consumption is going to increase and we didn’t want any potential problems to occur if we chose a weaker PSU.
- The second reason is that the Corsair RM850x is 80+ Gold certified which makes it a more reliable and efficient power supply that you can trust with expensive components such as the ones chosen for this build.
- We also chose a fully modular power supply simply because it’s convenient and easier to find among the Gold-certified models.
- Finally, there’s the price. Not only does it have all the features you need to run a system this powerful, but it comes at a relatively low price point considering its value. A perfect fit.
And lastly, there’s the case. Like we’ve mentioned above, most of the budget for this build went towards the GPU, so naturally, some of the other components had to suffer, and the case was one of them.
Fortunately, we were able to find an affordable case that met the criteria for this build.
The Cooler Master MasterBox NR600 is a minimalistic, highly functional case with great airflow and two preinstalled fans with room for 4 more 120mm fans which we advise you slowly acquire over time.
It doesn’t have any RGB or fancy features, aside from a gorgeous tempered glass side panel to show off your expensive components, but it doesn’t need any. The minimalistic design fits perfectly into any space and is a great feature in and of its own.
However, if this doesn’t quite suit your taste feel free to check out other options, just make sure to pay attention to the airflow. You won’t be doing yourself any favors if you opt for a glorified RGB oven.
Some of our suggestions are the be quiet! Pure Base 500DX for an additional $30, or (if you’re willing to stretch it that far) the Cooler Master MasterCase H500 for an additional $50. For more ideas, you can check out the link below.
That about does it for the hardware part of the build, in other words, the part that’s covered by the budget. But, unfortunately, as incredible as this PC is, it’s just a 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 as powerful as this.
So with all this in mind, let’s look at the peripherals we’ve picked out that will best suit this $1500 gaming rig.
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 only one choice, and that’s Windows. Linux has its merits, but game compatibility isn’t one of them, and neither is 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 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.
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 1440p resolution display, but with a 144Hz refresh rate – the Acer Predator XB271HU.
Although, if it were just that, it wouldn’t cost as much as the graphics cards. Two things make this monitor so much more expensive than some of the ‘budget’ 1440p 144Hz models, and these are G-Sync and the IPS panel.
G-Sync is Nvidia’s proprietary take on the elimination of screen tearing generally 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. And 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. Still, 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.
When we talked about the GPU in this article we said that this PC can run a lot of games in 4K without any problems. However, more demanding games will still work much better in 1440p unless you don’t mind choppy gameplay. This is the reason we chose to recommend a 1440p monitor as our first choice here instead of a 4K one. (well, that and the price).
However, if you have money to spare, and you are dead set on getting a 4K monitor then 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.
But, 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.
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 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.
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 if we forget about 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, at least, 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.
Since this is a monster PC we imagine you’ll be doing some heavy gaming on it, and for that you’ll definitely need a decent controller.
The Xbox Series 2 Controller isn’t just decent, however, it’s excellent.
Microsoft has gone a above and beyond to improve its customers’ experience by listening to feedback from loyal fans and gamers, and all that went into creating this new gadget.
It may seem like the improvements compared to the Xbox Elite are not that significant, but if you look at the implications of those changes their value become much more obvious.
Namely, this controller now has the USB Type-C charger, and a charging station that can be used directly from the case, or outside of it if you so desire. It also comes with several thumbsticks and D-pads that you can change depending on your preferences, just like with the Xbox Elite.
What’s different this time though it that the thumbsticks have adjustable tension, so you can customize them to your liking depending on the game you’re playing. The hair-triggers are now also adjustable with three different depths. What’s more, you can even have three customizable profiles you can switch between with a flick of a button.
And finally, our favorite addition – the shift key. You can designate one button of your choice to be the shift key, which then automatically enables all the other buttons to gain an additional function. And if you’re worried about it getting outdated soon, don’t be. This controller will work with the Xbox Series X, so if you get it, not only will you unlock a new mode of comfort gaming, you will also be able to enjoy it for quite a while with both your Xbox and your PC.
For $1500 you can now get a PC that beats last year’s $3000 build… let that sink in.
So if this PC can pull off 60FPS in 4K in the majority of modern AAA titles, it should come as no surprise that it can also comfortably run VR with astonishing results. Therefore, a VR Headset is something you should be looking into if you want to take full advantage of this PC’s capabilities.
This is a great year for VR with new headsets launching left and right, but the one that caught our attention was the HP Reverb G2.
This is what happens when HP, Microsoft, and Valve join forces – one of the best headsets on the market ready to compete with the Valve Index, but at a considerably lower price.
This headset comes with adjustable lenses that each boast a 4K resolution! Thanks to this incredible image quality, high-quality colors and contrasts your experience will become so much more immersive.
In addition to that, the field of view is much wider than the Reverb G1, at 108° according to HP. This is still less than the Valve Index, but not enough that you’ll notice it.
You’ll also be able to play multiplayer games and talk to your co-players without any issues as the headset has a great microphone and amazing headphones that are identical to the Index. However unlike the Index here you don’t have a headphone jack, so you’re forced to use the ones provided with the set unless you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
We say forced just because there is no other choice, but in reality, the audio system provided here is so good, not using it will actually diminish your experience.
When it comes to the controllers, they are reminiscent of the Oculus Touch controllers and even have the same button layout. What might not appeal to everyone, however, is that there is no finger-tracking. This isn’t a necessary feature for gaming, but we thought it’s something you should be aware of before buying.
While not completely identical, the straps for the Reverb G2 are pretty similar to the Valve Index. They are firm and easy to adjust, and the overall experience of having a VR headset on your head might be much more comfortable due to the Reverb G2’s lighter weight.
A very important thing about this headset is that it’s not wireless. It has a 6m long cable running from the back of the headset. Now, there are perks and downsides to this wired approach.
You’ll be able to play absolutely anywhere as the headset doesn’t require any base stations. This means that it’s much simpler to set up, and you can even pack it up and carry it over to your friend’s house if want.
Although the Headset has 4 cameras that do a really good job of tracking your movements, there are still blind spots and impaired tracking in overly light or dark rooms. This is where base stations would really come in handy.
And finally, something most of you won’t enjoy – the controllers are not rechargeable, but use regular AA batteries instead. The perk is that when the batteries die you just pop in new ones, and you can continue playing right away, but on the other hand, you’ll be burning through packets of batteries very quickly. But there’s a relatively easy solution to that – rechargeable batteries.
Now that we’ve laid out everything you need to know about this VR headset we realized just how many times we’ve compared it to the Valve Index. This is no wonder as, as we said, this headset was made in collaboration with Valve, but it’s clear that Valve didn’t hold back. This is a phenomenal headset that can easily compare and even compete with the Valve Index.
It’s, of course, not perfect, but it comes pretty close.
Now, if you don’t like some of the aspects of this headset, or you still find it too expensive, we suggest you take a look at the Oculus Quest 2. It’s a big improvement compared to both the Quest 1 and the Rift S, and it comes in two variants, one for $299 and the other for $399 with the only difference between the two being the amount of memory.
Having a good headset is more important to a gamer than having good speakers, and we’ve spared no expense here with the HyperX Cloud Revolver S.
This headset has everything a gamer could need: excellent durability, excellent 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.
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.
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.
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 aesthetics.
And finally, the last peripheral we want to mention is the HyperX Wrist Rest. Such an unimaginative name doesn’t quite suit this amazing product, but it shows that sometimes simple is best.
Wrist rests are something most people forget about. It doesn’t improve your FPS, nor does it often look particularly great, especially if it doesn’t fit the keyboard, but it’s a thing that once you try it, you can never go back.
This particular wrist rest is made of gel-infused memory foam. Just imagine it. A memory-foam pillow for your wrists to never again get a cramp or blister, and a cooling gel to keep your hands cool even during the most heated gaming sessions. It’s like a spa for your wrists.
We may have up-played it a bit, but this is a seriously quality-made wrist rest that won’t break the bank but that will certainly make your gaming or working sessions much more enjoyable.
And that’s pretty much that. All that’s left now is to purchase everything, hook it up properly, and keep it clean.
Good luck and have fun gaming on the best PC that $1500 can buy.