Build the ultimate gaming PC for less than $1200
Building a gaming PC, while more expensive than your typical console, need not cost the world. Some will say you need to spend thousands upon thousands in order to stay current with PC gaming but this is not the case.
The core of a PC is useful for just about everything. We all use PCs in our everyday lives, so we pretty much all need one. What separates an ordinary PC from a gaming PC is, usually, the graphics card. Your GPU will usually be the most expensive component of your PC build and it’ll also have the biggest impact on visuals and performance. But, it’s also important not to totally scrimp on the other components though, as the right hardware can last you for years.
With huge games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Red Dead Redemption 2 on the horizon, we figure it’s the perfect time to be thinking about a new PC build to enjoy these AAA games looking and running at their finest.
Ultimate PC Gaming Build for Under $1200
So we’ve set ourselves the target of $1200. All in. $1200, from scratch, and you’ll have a complete gaming PC with a capable GPU, CPU, plenty of RAM, both HDD & SSD storage, a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and headset. Everything you could possibly need to begin PC gaming with performance that exceeds consoles.
We’ve settled on hitting under $1200 in order to provide the best price to performance we can find for our money. Now this isn’t about saving the pennies to get the absolute cheapest build possible, or spending ridiculous amounts of cash to get 4K running on Ultra with all the bells and whistles. This is for a PC build where you get what you pay for – quality performance for a reasonable price. We want to create the everyman PC build. So during this PC build guide for 2019 we will be aiming at the sort of PC most PC gamers, such as you and I, aim to have.
|Component||Check Prices||Current Price||Why this component?|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 2600||$118.00||AMD’s Ryzen range is proving a top choice these days for its affordability versus Intel’s chips. The new Ryzen 3000 series means the previous gen CPUs can be picked up dirt cheap. The 6-core Ryzen 5 2600 is an absolute bargain right now at $118.|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti MSI Ventus XS OC 6GB||$269.99||Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is one of the most popular graphics cards and it’s easy to see why. Sitting just below the RTX 2060, it offers comparable performance without the expensive raytracing effects. This makes the 1660 Ti a fantastic 1080p video card.|
|Memory||Cooler Master 16GB 3200MHz DDR4||$69.99||RAM is very cheap these days. We’ve come a long way from the sky-high prices in 2017. 16GB is more than enough for any modern game and 3200MHz memory can now be had for as low as $69.99.|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro||$124.50||Motherboards can easily be one of the most overwhelming components to purchase. For normal usage though, the Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro is a great budget mobo that maximises value for money.|
|Case||Fractal Design Focus G||$55.88||The sky is the limit for case designs but in terms of great functionality for a low price, it’s tough to beat the Fractal Design Focus G. It’s small yet will house ATX motherboards and has plenty of space to tuck in extra storage and slots for up to five fans.|
|PSU||EVGA 500 BQ||$64.99||A budget price PSU, the EVGA 500 BQ is a great, inexpensive choice with plenty of headroom to power a GTX 1660 Ti equivalent video card.|
|SSD||Crucial BX500 240GB||$31.99||SSD storage can quickly become expensive but a small 240GB driver should be enough to get you up and running. Install your OS on this SSD for much faster boot times, and prioritise your most used game installs to this drive.|
|HDD||Seagate BarraCuda 2TB||$54.99||While far slower, traditional hard drivers are still much cheaper than SSDs for mass storage. A 2TB drive can be picked up for just $55 and it has room for around 40 or so 50GB games.|
|CPU Cooler||Wraith Stealth Cooler||$0.00||AMD’s Ryzen 5 2600 comes with a Wraith Stealth Cooler bundled in. If you’re just running at stock clocks this will do the job.|
|Display||ASUS VG248QE||$259.00||Arguably the best 1080p monitor around for price to performance. The ASUS VG248QE packs a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response times, and a 24″ TN display.|
|Keyboard||Redragon K552||$32.99||At $33, the Redragon K552 is very cheap for a mechanical keyboard. It’s also reliable though with a sturdy build quality, great feedback, and a simple, stylish design.|
|Mouse||Cooler Master MM710||$49.99||With a unique hole-y design, the Cooler Master MM710 is the Swiss cheese of gaming mice. It’s lightweight yet offers excellent performance with its top-tier optical sensor.|
|Headset||Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset||$62.99||Proof that you need not spend a ton for a top quality gaming headset, the Logitech G Pro Gaming is ergonomic, has great sound quality and pro-grade condenser mic.|
Here it is, our first build. But, this is just the beginning. This is an ongoing project and this build will adapt and change based on newly released hardware and you. Yes, you. We’ll be running regular polls for which components you believe are the weak link, and then we’ll switch them out for something even better. Week by week, we’ll be building the ultimate gaming PC to be found at this price point.
The process of actually building a PC has never been easier, but picking from all the different components is still as tricky as ever. Do you go for a future-proofed graphics card? Does it matter if you only have a 400W PSU? We’re going to take these problems out of the equation by pooling all of our knowledge to ensure we’ve also got the best budget build you can get right now.
So this is our initial build. Everything you need for a gaming PC setup for under $1200. This build can play every game in the world today and includes a tower itself along with all the key components such as gaming monitor, mouse, keyboard, and headset.
But this is just the start. It’s time for you all to get your heads together in order to identify the weakest point of Ultimate PC Gaming Build for Under $1200.
Which of these components would you like to switch out for something else? Get voting for the component which you’d like to change and we’ll then run a further poll to decide what we’re going to replace it with.
We want your recommended hardware suggestions for this build so pop them in the comments section below and the hardware suggestions with the most up-votes will be considered for inclusion in the build!