If you haven’t built a PC in a few years, it’s a great time to build. New CPU releases from both Intel and AMD have put the PC builder in a much better spot.
Even if you built a PC just five years go, you’ll see below that in today’s market you get more cores, more speed, and better options all around for less money than you spent in the past.
In this post, I’ll show you 15 builds from as little as $150 all the way up to $2,500. This post is a summary of all the builds we currently recommend and keep up-to-date. You can see the review for each below the summary table. My hope is that this makes it simple for you to build, whenever you decide to.
15 Good Custom PC Builds for Q4 2019
Building your own gaming PC isn’t difficult if you’ve got the right parts. So, we’ve put together a list of builds for all budgets from as low as $150 to as high as $2,500. So, whether you’re trying to play in 720p or 4k, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Are these builds right for everyone? No. Still, they are a good starting point. Need help with building your PC? There’s an additional guide below. You can also ask us any questions you may have.
*To view all PC builds, please scroll or slide the following table.
|$200-$250||$300-$350||$400||450 to $500||$650||$750||$1,000 AMD||$1,000 Intel||$1250 Intel||$1250 AMD||$1500 Intel||$1500 AMD||$2000||$2500|
|CPU||AMD Athlon 200GE||Ryzen 3 2200G||Ryzen 3 2200G||i3 9100F||i3 9100F||i5-9400F||Ryzen 5 1600||i5-8400||i5 8600k||Ryzen 5 2600X||i7-8700k||Ryzen 7 1700||i7 8700k||i7-8700k|
|Motherboard||ASRock B450M-HDV||ASRock B450M-HDV||ASRock B450M-HDV||ASRock B365M-HDV||ASRock B365M||ASRock B365M pro 4||MSI B350 Tomahawk||MSI Z370 Gaming PLUS||MSI Z370 Gaming PLUS||ASRock X470 Master SLI||Asus Prime Z370-A||Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming||Asus Prime Z370-A||Asus ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming|
|RAM||G. Skill Aegis 8GB 2x4GB||Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x4GB 3000||Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x4GB 3000||G. Skill Aegis 8GB or 8x2GB||Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB 3000MHz||Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB 3000MHz||G. Skill Ripjaws 2x8GB DDR4-3000||G. Skill Ripjaws 2x8GB DDR4-3000||G. Skill Ripjaws 2x8GB DDR4-3000||G. Skill Ripjaws 2x8GB DDR4-3000||Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz 16GB||Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz 16GB||Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz 16GB||Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz 16GB|
|HDD1||PNY CS900 240GB||Kingston A400 480 GB SSD||Kingston A400 480 GB SSD||WD Blue 500GB||WD Blue 500GB||WD Blue 500GB||Mushkin Source SSD 250GB||Mushkin Source SSD 250GB||Mushkin Source SSD 250GB||Mushkin Source SSD 250GB||Crucial BX 300 240GB SSD||Crucial BX 300 240GB SSD||Samsung 960 Evo M.2 500GB||Samsung 960 Evo M.2 500|
|HDD2||WD Caviar Blue 1TB||WD Caviar Blue 1TB||WD Caviar Blue 1TB||WD Caviar Blue 1TB||Seagate Barracuda 2TB||Seagate Barracuda 2TB||Seagate BarraCuda 3TB||Seagate BarraCuda 3TB|
|PSU||EVGA BR 450W||EVGA BR 450W||EVGA BR 450W||EVGA BR 450||EVGA BR 450||EVGA BR 450||EVGA SuperNova G3 650W||EVGA SuperNova G3 650W||EVGA SuperNova NEX 650W||EVGA SuperNova G3 650W||EVGA SuperNova G3 650W||EVGA SuperNova G3 650W||EVGA SuperNova NEX 750W||EVGA SuperNova NEX 750W|
|Case||DIYPC MA01||Rosewill FBM-05||Rosewill FBM-05||Rosewill FBM-05||Rosewill FBM-05||Rosewill FBM-05||Corsair 100R||Corsair 100R||Corsair 100R||Corsair 100R||Phanteks Enthoo Pro M Tempered Glass||Phanteks Enthoo Pro M Tempered Glass||Thermaltake 71 TG RGB||Thermaltake 71 TG RGB|
|GPU||RX 560||RX 570 or GTX 1650||GTX 1660 Ti||RTX 2060||GTX 1070 Ti||GTX 1070 Ti||GTX 1070 Ti||GTX 1070 Ti||GTX 1070 Ti||GTX 1070 Ti||GTX 1080 Ti SC Black||GTX 1080 Ti SC Black|
|CPU Cooler||Stock||Stock Cooler||Stock Cooler||Stock||Stock||Stock||Wraith Spire Cooler (Included)||Stock Cooler||Cryorig H7||Cryorig H7||Cryorig H5 Ultimate||Cryorig H5 Ultimate||Cryorig H5 Ultimate||Corsair H100i v2|
Custom Gaming PC Builder’s Guide for 2019
You can get a lot more performance out of your gaming computer if you’re willing to build it yourself. So, here’s a guide to some of the basics you need to know about each part before you begin. If you’re on a budget, also take a look at our guide to cheap PC building.
Intel Vs. AMD Processors 2019 CPU Comparison
Want to know what processor you should get for your build? Here are our thoughts.
Ryzen is Relevant
AMD’s Ryzen lineup has really changed the face of the landscape in the CPU market. While Intel processors will give you a few more frames at the same price points, the Ryzen processors will give you more cores. Those same cores translate into some good performance in work-related tasks.
That being said Intel has added more cores to their processors as well in recent years. For example, I really like the i3-9100F for gamers. It’s a CPU that has no integrated graphics and it truly reflects that in the price point. I’ve seen them as low as $80. Considering they give you the performance of the i5-8400 it’s really a great deal.
Overall, you’ll have to decide whether more cores or more frames is what you’re going with. On the low end, under $100, I’d probably stick with the i3-9100F no matter what.
So, Whose Processors are Better Intel or AMD?
Rather than asking yourself this question, you should ask yourself what you plan to do with your gaming PC.
If you use your PC as an editing rig, it might be more advantageous to have those few extra cores.
Benchmarks are your friend. If you know what games and software you’ll be using, try and find reviews with performance benchmarks to show you how one CPU performs against the other.
Ryzen’s Future Performance In Games
There are some that will argue that in the future, the AMD Ryzen processors will perform better as manufacturers utilize more cores. That being said, by the time this really happens there will be other options in the market. So, instead of going on what could happen, I recommend you go with the results we’re seeing right now. For now, Ryzen is a great workhorse CPU but lacks the performance in games that Coffee Lake does.
NVIDIA Vs. AMD in 2019
PC gaming is all about having an experience that goes beyond what you can achieve on console. Your GPU is what makes the difference. And with better CPU options than we’ve ever had before, even low-end GPUs can handle some of the higher-end options.
I recently wrote my thoughts down on graphics cards for the $200 and $100 categories. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of AMD cards I’d reocmmend right now. The AMD RX 570 and 580 are in a great spot for 1080p gaming below the $200 price point.
Above that I’d probably recommend NVIDIA’s cards with the GTX 1660Ti being a solid mainstream gaming card and the RTX 2060 Super being my choice for 1440p gaming.
On the high end, I’d take a look at NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080Ti. While it’s extravantly priced, it’s what you want if you’re looking for the best performance.
Ultimately, be sure to build something that works for your current situation. Some of you may be fine with 250GB of storage while others need 8TB. It all depends on what you’re doing on a daily basis. For me, making sure my PC is most functional for my work first is most important. Here are some additional thoughts.
Graphics Card Budget Allocation
The graphics card, along with your processor, will be the biggest boost to your overall FPS or frames per second. For that reason, we try to allocate as much of our budget as possible to the graphics card. As long as you have a processor that won’t bottleneck, the graphics card will be the biggest overall performance indicator for your gaming PC in games.
That being said it’s important to have a functional PC first. This is especially true if you have enough graphical power for your needs. For example, if you’re playing in 1080p, you probably don’t need to go beyond the GTX 1060 6GB or RX 480 8GB at this point in time. Any additional money might be put towards other useful components for your custom build.
In our $150 build, we use an APU which combines a budget processor with slightly enhanced integrated graphics. These graphics give us enough to play basic games.
At each price point, we improve both the processor and the CPU in equal fashion until we hit the i7 sweet spot. In previous years, we’d have said this was the i5. However, having seen the i5 bottleneck in certain games, we now feel it’s a good idea to go with something more substantial for higher-end PC builds.
How to Allocate Your Budget
Above I’ve included PC builds for budgets from as low as $150 to as high as $2500. While these are the builds that many will like, I know that others will need to allocate their money towards various other costs instead.
That being said I do recommend purchasing the CPU you plan on having for the life of your motherboard. This tends to be something we stick with until the next PC build comes around. Other parts like the graphics card and additional RAM are much more likely to be upgraded during the life of your PC. In other words, you’ll want to spend a little more on your CPU to get the kind of processing power you’re willing to stick with for several years. Sacrificing in-game FPS performance from your GPU may be difficult at first but should extend the life of your PC.
A perfect example of this would be with Intel’s Sandy Bridge release. If you purchased an i3 at that time, it may have had a bottleneck in games like Battlefield 4. At that point in time, you’d be forced to either upgrade to another LGA 1155 processor or build a new PC altogether. Building a new PC would be pricey but enticing to avoid purchasing an older version of the processor. On the other hand, if you’d purchased an i5 up front, most likely you’d just be looking to upgrade just your graphics card.
Why Rebates Are Important:
If you’re willing to take the time to fill out the rebate and send it in, you can save a lot of money on your overall PC. If you’re willing to find the parts for your PC over a few months, then most likely you can save up to 25% on your PC. These savings are compounded when you find a product that’s already on sale and rebate. Power supplies are a big part of this and can often be found at a 50% discount.
Are Combos Deals Worth It?
For the most part, I’d say no. Combo deals often show a large savings number that doesn’t really add up when you find the individual components you’re looking for. Often times prices for particular components will go off sale just at the exact time combo deals come up. In addition, not being able to choose the exact parts you want for your PC comes with the cost of getting hardware that is poorly rated.
How Much Power Does Your Gaming PC Need?
If you’re looking for a good power supply and want to know how much power your PC needs, I recommend our post on power supplies for the money. In the post, I discuss not only how much power you need, but also show power supplies in tiers.
Speaking of tiers, whether or not you want to go with a high-end CPU depends on your budget. We recommend lower tier PSUs for budget builds and more long-term solutions for high-end builds.
For 2018 it’s likely that the power supply needs for even higher-end builds will continue to decrease. With more efficient CPUs and GPUs, it’s easy to get away with a low capacity tier 1 PSU and expect to use it for its lifespan.
What DDR4 Memory Should You Buy?
DDR4 is standard across most modern platforms in 2017. If you’re building an AMD Ryzen PC and want to hit that magic 3200MHz number, I suggest you take a look at our post on the best DDR4 memory for Ryzen. For Intel builds, find something inexpensive and fast. Of course, if you don’t have a Z270 or Z170 motherboard, you’ll likely be limited to 2133MHz. So, keep that in mind before spending extra.
How Much Do You Need?
While there are some games that go beyond 8GB of Ram in their needs, the performance impact is still minimal. So, unless you have a build that’s over $1,000, I’d stick with a 4x2GB configuration. APU builds should use multi-channel kits as they tend to improve performance overall.
How Fast Does Your Ram Need to Be?
I feel like the Ram sweet spot for DDR3 is 1866MHz. For DDR4 it depends on whether you’re using an Intel or AMD Ryzen CPU. Moderate improvements in FPS can be achieved by getting up to 3000MHz. And since ram seems to be expensive across the board, it’s hard not to spend that extra $10 on something that will give your system a bit more performance.
Do I Need a CPU Cooler?
If you’re not trying to overclock, then no. Believe it or not most PC builders and even enthusiasts do not overclock on a regular basis. So, quite a bit of money can be saved by eliminating the extra CPU cooler and get a processor that isn’t unlocked. Take an i5 as an example.
For $190 you can get an i5 that does a fantastic job in gaming. If I were to go with the i5, I’d pay another $40 for the CPU and anywhere from $30 to $100 for the CPU cooler. If, instead, you put that money towards a graphics card, it’s likely you’d get more performance in games anyway.
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether you truly plan on overclocking or not. If you do, you’ll definitely want a CPU cooler. For those overclocking a Ryzen processor, I suggest you try out the included Wraith CPU cooler to see how well it does before you go out and spend additional money.
What Monitor Should I Use for My Gaming Rig?
If you’re a competitive gamer, then likely you’ll want to pay attention to terms like input lag, refresh rate, and response time. Unfortunately, input lag is rarely listed.
To help you find the right monitor, we’ve written various posts on good gaming monitors.
Overall the best idea is to spend a little bit more on components that influence your PC’s FPS. Quality parts may also improve your computer’s overall longevity. Focus heavily on your processor and graphics card, and upgrade other components as they are needed.
Before you go be sure to take a look at our PC builds by budget above.