We know that RTX cards are all the rage now, but not only are they pretty darn expensive, there are also too few games that take advantage of this new technology.
This is why we did our best in this build to strike the perfect balance between price, quality, and performance with the GTX 1660 Ti! It may not be able to compare on a technical level, but with it, you’ll finally able to get the most out of 1080p gaming at a much lower price.
So with that in mind, we’ll now present to you the best gaming PC build under 800 USD, with enough power to topple last year’s $1000 solutions with ease.
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Top Gaming PC Under $800 For 2020
Updated: September 29, 2020
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So, what exactly can this PC do?
Why, we’re glad you asked because there are two points in which this PC excels: 1080p gaming, and overclocking.
Much like its predecessor – the hugely popular GTX 1060 with 6GB of VRAM – the GTX 1660 Ti is a graphics card that will let you max out almost any game in 1080p.
And we only say ‘almost any game’ because of some poorly optimized hardware-eaters out there like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. But even in such games, the framerate should never drop below 50 FPS, and keep in mind that this is with every single graphics setting turned on and cranked up the max!
Tinkering with the graphics options just a bit should easily get you a stable 60 FPS even in games like Odyssey and Metro Exodus.
As for most other AAA titles, they inch closer to 90 rather than 60 FPS.
And of course, then there’s overclocking.
Now don’t let the light adjective throw you off! This PC is stacked, and the only way we could’ve made it more overclocking-friendly would be by sacking the butchering the base performance. Still, there is some potential.
The Ryzen 3 3300X comes with a decent cooler that can handle some overclocking.
But don’t overdo it!
You’re free to inject that little extra bit of productivity into your gaming rig at any time, but if you’re looking to take it to the next level, you’ll, of course, have to invest in an aftermarket solution.
The same goes for the GPU. This build may not use a triple-fan monster of a card (nor do we recommend triple-fan GTX 1660 Ti cards as they’re dangerously close to the reference RTX 2060 in price, in which case the value goes in the favor of the RTX), but they can still handle the extra nudge in the right direction.
The PC Build
But enough of that!
We know why you’re here – to see whether the hardware we’ve selected elicits a concurring nod or a dissatisfied shake of the head. So without any further ado, we present the parts that will dominate the 800 USD price range in 2020.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X
There is no denying it.
Ryzen 3 3300X is the most cost-effective mid-range CPU out there.
It even beats out Intel i7-7700K in terms of single-core performance, all the while coming in at a lower price point with a stock cooler that actually presents some decent value.
Related: Best Ryzen CPU For Gaming
And besides, it’s no slouch either, what with a 3.8 GHz base clock speed and a boost frequency of up to 4.3 GHz that takes it comfortably above the widely-coveted 4.0 GHz mark.
And that’s without the overclocking, which we’ve already discussed.
To put the performance in perspective: in certain games, you’ll be getting a higher FPS with the Ryzen 3 3300X than you would with the Intel i7-7700K, which costs much more and requires an aftermarket cooler!
Now the amount of FPS will depend on the game – in fact, Intel still has the edge in certain titles. But we must emphasize that large discrepancies only really start kicking in way past the 60 FPS mark.
Related: Best CPU’s For Gaming
Before we move on to the next section, there is one more thing we have to mention.
Going with the 3300X might not be your first choice, and that’s perfectly fine.
However, in this case we made a calculated choice to go with a 3300X – a really good processor with an unexpectedly low price.
While it can’t compete with the likes of the R5 3600X, for example, it allows for more efficient budget management, and ultimately better value for the money you’re spending.
Naturally, if your budget is flexible enough, you can always go with the 3600X anyway. It will squeeze a few more FPS out of your games and it will be less likely to bottleneck any GPU upgrade you might get in the future.
But keep in mind that the 3600X is much more expensive, and in that case, you’ll have to make compromises regarding your other components.
All in all, there simply is no better CPU for this build if we’re looking to meet the $800 budget.
Cooler: Wraith Stealth
An awesome thing about the Ryzen 3 3300X is the fact that it comes with a stock cooler – the Wraith Stealth.
While it isn’t anything to write home about, it’s still amazing that AMD provides you with one free of charge which only adds value to this already-great processor.
It doesn’t have any extra features, like the LED lighting that the Wraith Prism has, but we certainly don’t mind this functionality over form approach.
Most importantly, it’s capable enough to get the most out of this build (which not many stock coolers are) without you needing to go invest into any aftermarket solution.
This is, of course, based on the premise that you won’t be doing any serious overclocking.
Related: Best CPU Cooler
GPU: MSI VENTUS XS OC GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
And here it is, the heart and soul of this build, the thing that makes it all work, the amazing GPU from Nvidia with a price-to-performance ratio that will leave any gamer satisfied– the GTX 1660 Ti.
More specifically, the MSI VENTUS XS OC GTX 1660 Ti!
Related: Best GTX 1660 Ti Graphics Card
The 1660 Ti is a truly great mid-range GPU.
While it’s no RTX, it’s still only one step behind the RTX 2060, and its price corresponds to its performance.
Like we’ve mentioned above, with a card like this you’ll be able to get the most out of 1080p gaming even in modern AAA games.
To put it in perspective, here are the results of some benchmarks so you can get an idea of what to expect:
Games like the Witcher III, Devil May Cry 5, and Battlefield V hover around the 100FPS mark in 1080p. The same goes for GTA V and Forza Horizon, while others like Ghost Recon and Far Cry 5 hover around 80 FPS on average.
Having said this, gaming in 1440p is no longer frustrating either!
In all the games mentioned above, you can get a stable 60FPS in 1440p without any problems.
Not too bad for an 800 USD PC, huh?
Related: Best Graphics Card For Gaming
When it comes to this particular MSI GPU, it has 3 Display ports and one HDMI port. It also has a large heat sink and two TORX 2.0 fans.
When it comes to bells and whistles, the MSI VENTUS XS OC gives you the ability to record your gameplay, and also to access the MSI Afterburner controls via Android or iOS devices.
And of course, the NVIDIA G-SYNC will give you a clean and tear-free gameplay for the ultimate gaming experience.
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB
As for RAM Memory, we’ve decided to go the extra mile and stack this gaming rig with 16 GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX running at 3200MHz.
You could technically get by on only 8 GB, but if the idea is to max out the settings in every game, you will certainly appreciate the extra mileage that you’ll get out of 16GB.
What’s even better that you won’t have to worry about closing all unnecessary background processes every time you want to game.
We’ve also chosen to inject that extra bit of performance by opting for dual-channel memory with two 8GB sticks.
This will not only have a positive effect on performance, but it’s also a better option than having a single 16GB stick since, should one of them fail on you, you’ll still be able to run on the remaining 8GB until you find a replacement.
Related: Best RAM For Gaming
Motherboard: ASRock B450 Steel Legend
The ASRock B450 Steel Legend is a budget motherboard that still has some special features to speak of despite its low price.
This is a pretty decent motherboard considering the price, with plenty of connectivity options that you can check out on ASRock’s website.
The motherboard uses the AM4 chip, it is compatible with the new 3rd-gen Ryzen chips out of the box, and it caps out at 64 GB of RAM, which is much more than you’ll need for the foreseeable future.
The most interesting things about this motherboard are the audio and the aesthetics.
When it comes to the audio, this motherboard will give you amazingly clear bass on your headset, but there is also no noise suppression which will enable your voice to come through clearly through your microphone.
This is pretty much ideal for streaming on a budget, so if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll love this motherboard!
There is not much to say about the aesthetics that you can’t already see on the picture. The ASRock Steel Legend has a very unique gray and black camouflage design along with some amazing RGB that you can easily control through your BIOS without needing any additional software.
And finally, we have the VRMs. This is the only place where this motherboard is quite mediocre, but that is to be expected at this price point.
Despite the heat sinks, the VRMs can get quite hot, so if you plan on doing some heavier overclocking we advise you to get an additional cooler to avoid any throttling.
That said, for a PC of this budget, the ASRock B450 Steel Legend should work perfectly fine. Not to mention that it will also look amazing in your chassis!
Related: Best Gaming Motherboards
SSD: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 250 GB
Now while the type of storage you use doesn’t have any direct bearing on performance in terms of FPS, going with an SSD will still improve your gaming experience by significantly reducing the time you’ll be stuck looking at loading screens.
But don’t go thinking that we’d choose just any SSD either. What we have here is 250GB of the Samsung 970 Evo Plus.
While you might think that 250GB is not enough for gaming and while, admittedly, we would be inclined to agree, the reason we decided on this NVMe SSD was that, as always, we sought quality over quantity, and at its current price the 970 Evo Plus was simply too good to pass up.
However, this does mean that you will have to get additional storage in the future, and here you have three options:
- Keep the storage you already own from an old PC provided that it’s functional
- Get a new HDD with plenty of storage
- Get a regular 2.5” SSD
The first option is the most budget-friendly, and what most of you on a tight budget will probably choose to go with.
The second and third options are for those who don’t own an old storage device, or for some reason don’t want to use it in their new PC.
Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages, and since the price difference is negligible, whether you’ll go with one or the other will entirely depend on your personal needs and preferences.
HDDs are slower, but offer more storage for the money, and have a longer life-span.
If this is what you want to go with we suggest the Western Digital Blue‘s 1TB option. It’s hardly gamer-grade, at only 5400 RPM, but this really is plenty given that all of your games should be on your SSD along with the operating system.
SSDs offer less memory for the same price and have shorter life-spans, but they are much, much faster.
If you plan on buying one of these we highly suggest the Samsung 860 Evo. It is the best SSD storage you can get for gaming.
It’s one of the fastest gaming-grade SSDs that use the SATA III interface, but more importantly, it’s one of the most durable and most reliable SSDs in this price range as well, and it even comes with a 5-year warranty to keep your mind at ease.
Keep in mind, however, that buying new storage will make you exceed the $800 budget. If that’s not something you are ready to do, another option is to go for one of the non-NVMe storage suggested above for your base build. This will make your PC slower, but you won’t have to worry about getting additional storage anytime soon.
Related: Best SSD For Gaming
Power Supply: Thermaltake SMART 700W 80+
And to keep this hardware running without any hiccups whatsoever we present the Thermaltake SMART 700W.
Not only does this PSU provide enough power for this build, but it also offers sufficient room for many future upgrades.
Moreover, the Thermaltake SMART is 80+ certified. This means that the PSU is more efficient than non-certified models. Ideally, this means that you should save up on some cash in the long run, but this is hardly the only reason we opted for this model.
What drew us to it the most is the added reassurance of quality that’s also reflected in the 5-year warranty.
Ideally, we would have liked to have included at least a semi-modular version of this PSU, but unfortunately, due to budget constraints we weren’t able to do that, so this PSU is non-modular.
Functionally, it will serve you just the same. You’ll just have to deal with an added bit of cable clutter, but thankfully this shouldn’t be much of an issue because the case that will be housing all of these components is none other than the Cooler Master MasterBox NR600.
Related: How To Choose A Power Supply
Case: Cooler Master MasterBox NR600
The Cooler Master MasterBox NR600 is hardly the most visually stunning computer case out there, but if you’re looking for the most cost-effective case that places functionality and quality as its top priorities, then no case in this price range can match it!
Related: How To Choose A PC Case
First and foremost the case has excellent airflow, 2 USB 3.0 ports, simplified cable management, and has some of the most easily manageable SSD/HDD racks you can get at this price.
It also comes with two preinstalled fans on the back and front, with support for two more on the top and two in the front of the case. Additional fans would certainly further improve the airflow, but they are not necessary.
Furthermore, the case has a sleek, minimalist exterior that fits into any environment, and a beautiful tempered glass side panel that will show off all the amazing hardware we’ve intended for it.
Related: Best Gaming PC Cases
But you need more than just hardware in order to game (although the hardware is the only thing that we took into consideration for the budget!) – you also need peripherals. And not just any will do, so to enhance the functionality of this PC we’ve handpicked some essential peripherals.
These are by no means irreplaceable, and if you’re happy with the equipment you’ve already got, feel free to just migrate it to this new gaming rig. But if you want cost-effective peripherals with the performance to match this PC then read on.
Operating System: Windows
Now like we’ve said, this PC is stacked, and while Linux has been making strides to offer better and better gaming experiences (with Wine and Steam even allowing you to play some Windows-only titles on Linux), Windows still remains the best option if you want to get the best performance out of your hard-earned hardware.
Related: What Is The Best OS For Gaming?
Monitor: Acer G257HU
Now here is where things get tricky. Like we’ve said, this $800 PC easily meets and even exceeds the best $1000 PCs of last year in terms of performance. In terms of value, this is excellent; it’s all any gamer could want!
But when deciding on peripherals to feature in these guides, we also have to make sure their price is proportional to the budget. And seeing how a monitor that could get the most out of a $1000 PC last year still costs pretty much exactly the same… well, you see where we’re going with this.
So with that in mind, we’ve decided to showcase more humble monitors without many extra features like G-Sync (which would be compatible with this PC). We also have to take performance into account, and this PC can cater to two distinct profiles of gamers.
It can handle 2K gaming at 60FPS (with some clever management of the graphics settings) for maximum eye-candy, so that will be one model, but there will also be a solution for those of you who are more interested in higher refresh rates than higher resolutions.
As for your 2K 60FPS needs, we figured the best monitor to cover them at a reasonable price would be the Acer G257HU. It’s not the largest 2K monitor, but at 25-inches it’s not like you’ll be missing out on a lot (27 inches is the largest a monitor should be for comfortable up-close viewing), and the pixel density will be amazing.
What’s more, 25 inches isn’t too large for 1080p gaming, so if ever a game comes that your PC won’t be able to run in 2K at a satisfactory quality preset, you’ll be sure to appreciate this monitor size. Couple this with the IPS panel and you’ve got a monitor that will wow you with its stunning image.
However, if you’re into competitive multiplayer, you’ll care more about performance than image quality. If this is the case, then you’ll want a 1080p monitor with a TN panel that can handle a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time without breaking the bank. And one of the best monitors that can meet these requirements has got to be the AOC G2460PF.
Related: Best Gaming Monitors
Mouse: SteelSeries Rival 110
But not everyone likes a heavy mouse. In fact, FPS games are all but sure to hate them. So if you want a faster, more high-octane gaming experience that’s perfect for shooters but also good for other genres, then you’ll love the SteelSeries Rival 110.
It may not look impressive at first glance, but it doesn’t look too shabby either, what with the simple but elegant LED-lit logo and textured grips.
Still, for a sub-$30 mouse, it definitely offers more than most, with a universal grip, high click durability, and best of all: some genuine customizability through the Engine 3 software that lets you fine-tune the acceleration, deceleration, and angle-snapping to your liking.
Related: Best Gaming Mouse
Keyboard: HyperX Alloy FPS
But it’s not just the monitor that has to keep up with the high standard set by the hardware – other peripherals have to keep up the pace too.
But you needn’t worry about that with the HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard, as two of its most prominent features are maximum effort anti-ghosting and full N key rollover (which basically means that if you pressed the entire keyboard with your forearm, all the keypresses would be registered).
Overall, it’s a rather compact mechanical keyboard with the Cherry MX Red keys that wouldn’t look too impressive if not for the red backlit keys (with dynamic lighting effects), but it still packs many hidden conveniences that you’ll be sure to love.
For example, it features a solid steel frame for extra durability, textured keycaps for added tactility, and a detachable cable for convenient portability. Plus, if you’re looking to save some extra bucks, you can get the tenkeyless version for $10 less.
And in case this is too pricey for you or you’re just not all that big on mechanical keyboards, we have an excellent alternative for you that’s only slightly cheaper but features both a keyboard and mouse – the ASUS Cerberus Combo.
The quiet membrane keyboard has a large ergonomic frame with an internal metal plate and drain holes to complement the splash-proof design (it’s also got all the essentials, like a switchable red/blue backlight, macro keys, and media keys).
And the optical mouse is also very respectable as far as bundled mice go, with rubber side grips and some nice weight to it.
Related: Best Gaming Keyboard
Gamepad: Xbox One Controller
We went out of our way to try and find the most cost-effective peripherals so far – ones that won’t leave your wallet in a state of decay but will still offer phenomenal performance for their price, but with the gamepad, this isn’t as easy.
Yes, there are many decent gamepads out there, and going with any of them is fine if you need the pad for just a game or two (and these games aren’t platformers or fighting games – in this case, the GameSir G3w still remains the most cost-effective solution if you can get over the flamboyant exterior).
However, if you intend to make thorough everyday use of the gamepad then you’ll be grateful for going with the Xbox One controller, trust us.
The DualShock 4 is just as good an option, but even with the Steam support, it can act a bit wonky at times, so we recommend the Xbox One controller to most users for the added convenience. Aside from the superior comfort, these controllers have the durability to match even the most demanding gaming habits.
And if you’re curious whether you personally might favor the DualShock 4 over the Xbox One controller, check out this video where we compare these two controllers.
Related: Best Controllers
Headset: Sound BlasterX H6
And if you also need a headset to take your gaming to the next level, we highly recommend the SoundBlasterX H6.
This new headset comes with plenty of cool features for gamines, most notably the virtual 7.1 surround sound and the new scout mode that will give you a borderline unfair advantage over your opponents in online shooters.
However, unlike the bulk of the competition, it doesn’t attain this excellence for gaming at the expense of everything else! If you need a headset that will be as good in games as it will be for watching movies or listening to music, then the H6 is like no other.
Not to mention the fact that it’s easily one of the most comfortable headsets in its price range, and with a great microphone to boot!
Related: Best Gaming Headset
Wi-Fi Card: TP-Link Archer T6E
We would have preferred it if the motherboard in this build had a built-in Wi-Fi card, but unfortunately, we had to sacrifice this feature in favor of a better GPU.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have a Wi-Fi card. There are some pretty amazing internal Wi-Fi cards that use a PCIe slot to connect directly to your motherboard, and you can get them for less than $40. One such card is the TP-Link Archer T6E.
The TP-Link Archer T6E can give you speeds up to 1.3 GB/s, it has a large heatsink, and is built for high-performance computing such as online gaming a video streaming.
But internal Wi-Fi cards are not the only option. Albeit slower, external Wi-Fi adapters are also a great solution.
They look exactly like USB devices, so you can put them in your pocket and carry them with you. In case this is something you’d be interested in investing we suggest taking a look at NETGEAR AC600 Dual Band Wi-Fi mini adapter.
Related: Best VR Headset
Wrist Rest: GoldenClaw WR1
One other thing you might enjoy – especially given that the HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard has no regard for ergonomics – is a wrist rest.
Now seeing how the keyboard on its own is already scratching the top of the price range proportional to the PC, we went ahead and choose one of the most affordable wrist rests to feature: the GoldenClaw WR1 Wrist Rest.
It’s the best and most affordable wrist rest around right now.
Related: Best Wrist Rest
And that’s about it for this guide. Now all that’s left is to put the pieces together.
In summary, there’s nothing else we can say but this: It’s a good time to be a gamer and the best time to build a PC that can max out 1080p for just $800! So seize the day and accept no compromises: gaming glory awaits!