Best High-End Custom Gaming Computer Builds: November 2017


(Recommended $800 and $1200 Builds to Maximize Performance, Bang for Your Buck & Reliability)


Last Updated: Nov 23, 2017

The following are our current top recommended high-end gaming computer builds showing you how to maximize performance, reliability, cooling and aesthetics for your money when putting together a top-tier system. 

We've done the extensive, painstaking research for you to help you more easily choose the current best bang for your buck parts on the market for your new high-end gaming PC build.

These two builds specifically show you how to make the most of spending amounts of under $800 and $1200, and are suitable for flawless gaming in 1080p, decent 1440p performance, and will also hold their own when it comes to VR (although our extreme builds are ideal for VR or 4K resolution).

If these builds are out of your price range then don't worry as you can still build a high-performance rig capable of playing the latest games for a much smaller budget; head on over to this month's Budget Gaming PC Builds instead. Without further ado, let's get into the high-end gaming computer builds for buttery-smooth gaming for years to come.


Important to Know: Our suggested parts-lists below do not include Operating System Software or peripherals which you'll be needing for your new PC to be fully functional and ready to go.

We recommend getting Windows 10 and for peripherals see our top-rated gaming monitors, keyboards, mice, and headsets. Also, if you want a CD/DVD drive in your build, make sure you choose a case that has at least one drive bay and this is the drive we would pick.





Best High-End Gaming PC Build Under $800 (Nov 2017)



Gaming Performance:

1080p (1920 x 1080):

1440p (2560 x 1440):

VR & 4K:

FLAWLESS

GOOD

AVERAGE

The above is the average expected performance of this build at different resolutions when playing a typical, graphically-demanding modern game on high settings.


THE $800 HIGH-END BUILD
Graphics Card MSI RX 580 4GB
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 1500X 3.7 GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-AB350 (DDR4, USB 3.1)
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 8GB (DDR4, 2400 MHz)
Hard Drive WD Blue 1TB (7200 RPM)
Power Supply Seasonic S12II 620 (80+ Bronze)
Case Corsair Carbide SPEC-02 Mid Tower
TOTAL COST: $793

* Total cost is just an estimate as hardware prices fluctuate often


This is another carefully-considered, well-balanced, excellent bang for your buck custom gaming desktop build that will last you years and years of playing the latest games. It's going to provide flawless performance for 1080p resolution, but will also hold its own in 1440p as well. 

It's also upgrade-friendly, has great cooling and airflow, and looks seriously awesome when finished with the stylish case that includes a see-through side panel that reveals the inside of your case. Let's take a closer look at each component chosen, and more importantly why they were hand-picked out of the vast sea of hardware out there.


$800 Build Graphics Card:

MSI RX 580 4GB


First to what matters most to us gamers, the graphics card, and at this moment in time when it comes to getting a GPU in the mid sort of range, it's neck and neck between AMD and NVidia. With AMD you have the RX 570 and RX 580 (with 4GB and 8GB versions), and NVidia has their GTX 1060 (3GB or 6GB versions).

If you're a beginner, keep in mind those GB (gigabyte) amounts are referring to the video memory that the graphics card possesses and NOT your main system RAM/memory (which is also measured in GB).

Anyway, to be totally honest, getting any variation of the 570, 580, or 1060 is going to hold you in good stead overall when it comes to simply gaming. Choosing between them all will come down to price, availability (the 570 and 580 worldwide stock levels have been really up and down lately), cooling, brand preference, and looks.

I've picked out the MSI RX 580 4GB because at the time of publishing this because the price is good, it has good cooling, and because it will add to the look of this build as it fits in nicely with the cool red and black theme. You don't need the 8GB version, as 4GB is more than enough for the games of today and into the near future, but feel free to if you can find it at a good price.


$800 Build CPU:

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X 3.7 GHz


For a gaming PC build around this price the fairly recently-released AMD Ryzen 5 1500X is a great choice. This 4-core, 8-thread 3.7 GHz processor offers excellent bang for your buck when it comes to both gaming and other demanding non-gaming applications, and slightly edges out Intel's i5 range for this particular price range.

Don't get me wrong though; an i5 is still a formidable gaming weapon, it's just that Ryzen 5's are hard to ignore for their overall value for money right now. If you do choose an i5 though, don't forget to get an Intel-compatible motherboard instead, and stick to the non-overclocking models to save a bit of money.

Intel CPUs with a "K" in their model number (such as the i7-7600K) are designed for overclocking, so there's no need for them if you won't be overclocking. If you're curious, check out our introduction to overclocking, but we generally don't recommend it to most gamers. Especially not if you're just putting together your first rig.

As for CPU cooling, the stock cooler that comes shipped with the Ryzen 5 1500X, named the Wraith Spire, is very solid and all you need to keep your Ryzen running cool and quiet. That's assuming you won't be overclocking; otherwise you'll want to get an aftermarket cooler such as the Cooler Master 212 Evo to increase cooling further as the stock cooler isn't designed for overclocking.


$800 Build Motherboard:

Gigabyte GA-AB350 (DDR4, USB 3.1)


This is a good no-frills, well-priced motherboard that'll serve as a nice base for your AMD Ryzen rig. It has a total of four memory sockets, which will leave you with two free sockets for upgrades if you choose the memory we've suggested for this custom build (the board has support for up to 64GB).

The GA-AB350 also covers all the basics you'd expect from a good gaming motherboard such as solid built-in audio, LAN, plenty of USB ports and add-on sockets.

It also has CrossFire support should you want to add another AMD graphics card to the mix later on. Most modern motherboard's don't have built-in WiFi support, and this one is no exception, so you'll need a separate wireless adapter should you want wireless internet/networking.


$800 Build RAM:

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 8GB


As mentioned in our budget builds, 8GB is the sweet spot for gaming these days and any more is just a luxury. 8GB of memory in your build will allow you to fully maximize performance in most games for the foreseeable future.

Crucial has long been a reliable manufacturer with great value RAM, and the model we've included is no exception. Also, 2400Mhz is fast enough; in general the speed of your RAM rarely matters when it comes to most gaming setups, so there's no need to stress over the speed of RAM you get unless you're a true hardware enthusiast.

So just make your motherboard supports the speed you pick. But whilst speed isn't a hugely important issue when picking RAM, do definitely stick to DDR4 memory as they're the latest and greatest type of desktop RAM.


$800 Hard Drive:

Western Digital Blue 1TB


At this price point you could include an SSD as well as your main hard drive for storage, but I've decided to leave it out for this build as it would bring the total cost over $800 and would rather not downgrade another more important part just to accommodate an SSD.

But it's personal preference of course, and feel free to include a small to medium sized SSD (120GB - 240GB etc) if you want to to load your operating system and other programs onto for faster loading. If you do want an SSD for this rig, I'd consider the one included in the next build below.

As for the standard hard drive for this build, just like for both the budget gaming builds the 1TB Western Digital Blue stays as it's hard to beat in terms of value. 1TB is more than enough for most.


$800 Build Power Supply:

Seasonic S12II 620


Some beginners make the tempting mistake of picking the cheapest PSU they can get their hands on in order to cut costs on their build thinking that it doesn't matter, but as we've said before this is the last thing you want to do.

The quality of your PSU does matter and it's a definite risk to have a low quality unit powering your expensive components. You could say your PC is only as good as your weakest link.

For this month's $800 high-end gaming computer we've included a good-quality yet very well-priced Seasonic unit which is also bronze-rated PSU which is a nice bonus (even though the rating isn't the only determining factor of quality).

Seasonic are renown for quality PSUs, and this model is no exception. 620 watts is also more than enough for this particular parts-list, with plenty of wiggle room for any type of upgrade you may wish to make to this computer down the track.


$800 Build Case:

Corsair Carbide SPEC-02 Mid Tower


To top off this custom rig we have a stylish yet feature-rich mid-tower case, which is fairly priced too. It's got the quality, durability and looks of more expensive cases, yet for a very competitive price.

It's got a clear side panel so you can see the insides of your new masterpiece in action, and it comes with 2 pre-installed fans which is all the airflow you need for this setup. It's also got 2 USB 3.0 front ports, decent cable management features, and plenty of room for upgrades.

That wraps up the best gaming build under $800 (IMHO) for this month after hours upon hours of research and contemplation based on many years of designing custom rigs. If you need even more power, let's to move onto the next high-end computer build where we start getting into real enthusiast and hardcore-gamer performance territory.




Best High-End Gaming PC Build Under $1200 (Nov 2017)




Gaming Performance:

1080p (1920 x 1080):

1440p (2560 x 1440):

VR & 4K:

FLAWLESS

GREAT

GOOD

The above is the average expected performance of this build at different resolutions when playing a typical, graphically-demanding modern game on high settings.


THE $1200 HIGH-END BUILD
Graphics Card ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 1600 3.6 GHz
Motherboard ASUS Prime X370-Pro (ATX, DDR4, SLI)
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB, DDR4, 3200MHz)
Hard Drive WD Blue 1TB (7200 RPM)
SSD Kingston A400 120GB
Power Supply EVGA 650 GQ 650W (80+ Gold, Semi Modular)
Case NZXT Phantom 410 (ATX, Mid-Tower, White)
TOTAL COST: $1273

* Total cost is just an estimate as hardware prices fluctuate often


I know, I know, the aim was under the $1200 mark, and at the time of writing the current estimated total come in a little over that amount. But this build pretty much has it all with amazing gaming and non-game performance with the powerful pair of the heavyweight GTX 1070 8GB graphics card and super-fast Ryzen 5 CPU, a well-balanced list of quality, reliable parts designed to last, and a super sharp, seriously-cool white-theme with matching components that you'll be able to see in action via the see-through side panel of the awesome Phantom case.

This build is also very upgrade-friendly, with plenty of wiggle room in terms of space, power, and expansion ports/slots, and is also overclocking-friendly (all AMD Ryzen CPUs are able to be overclocked).

The ASUS motherboard is overclock-friendly too should you want to go down that path. But the build runs super-fast as it is, so there's absolutely no need to push your CPU and/or GPU unless you really want to (see our CPU and GPU overclocking tutorial for that).

A high-end gaming computer of this caliber is enough to please at least 90% of gamers out there and will have you playing the latest games very nicely in 1080p or 1440p for years to come, so don't think you need to spend any more than this unless you know you would use that power (such as for even better 4K and VR performance; see our extreme PC builds if interested).

As usual, let's now breakdown each component choice of this slick setup and explain the logic behind their selection. Each part has been carefully hand-picked for a reason.


$1200 Build Graphics Card:

ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 8GB


The 1070 is a killer card that has no equal right now in the $400 - $500 price range. Basically, it's a no-brainer for a gaming PC build under the $1200 sort of price range, and it'll absolutely dominate 1080p (full HD) gaming as well as provide a great 1440p resolution experience. 4K and VR will be decent too, though it'll depend on the title, game settings, and what sort of frame-rate you're happy with.


$1200 Build CPU:

AMD Ryzen 5 1600 3.6 GHz


We've stepped up from the previous high-end build's Ryzen 5 1500X to the next model up in the Ryzen 5 1600 for this rig. This is all the processing power you need for excellent gaming performance; don't think you need a Ryzen 7 (or Intel i7) for gaming as you're better off spending that extra money on a better graphics card.


$1200 Build Motherboard:

ASUS Prime X370-Pro


The ASUS Prime X370-Pro is a well-priced feature-rich motherboard that's perfect for a build of this caliber, and has all the features you need as well as great looks. No WiFi though, as most modern motherboard's don't have this built-in, so if you want wireless you'll need to get a separate adapter as usual (either a PCI-E card or a USB dongle; either will work fine).

It also has SLI support for the enthusiasts out there who may consider adding a second GTX 1070 to the mix later down the track. Speaking of SLI, the PSU included in this rig is more than capable.


$1200 Build RAM:

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz


As for memory we have the slick and super-fast Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM which matches the white theme of this build nicely, and more importantly is quality, speedy RAM from Corsair, another trusted name alongside Crucial when it comes to memory.

With these two modules you'll have another two spare sockets on your motherboard for future upgrades; the motherboard supports up to 64GB of RAM.

16GB really is quite a lot, and the maximum amount we can recommend for gaming. Anything more and you won't see a difference unless you're using highly-demanding non-gaming programs (pro video production, 3D rendering/animation, etc) and/or doing a ton of multitasking.

In fact, you could even go for 8GB of RAM instead and hardly notice a difference when it comes to modern gaming. Do so if you're looking to cut costs on this build without sacrificing many frames per second, otherwise just stick with 16GB when building a PC around this price as it means you're set for the future and won't have to worry about upgrading.

But yeah, anything over 16GB is overkill for gaming, unless you have the money to burn and building an extreme over-the-top system to last you as long as humanly possible.


$1200 Build HDD & SSD:

WD Blue 1TB

+

Kingston A400 120GB


For this build we've gone for a standard 1TB HDD as well as a good value 120GB SSD from Kingston. SSDs aren't recommended when building a super cost-effective build, but at this price point it makes a lot of sense to include one as the performance increase is worth it.

Whilst 120GB is a solid amount and will hold a few key games/programs as well as your Windows install for super-fast loading, feel free to go for a 240GB model instead to store more on there.


$1200 Build Power Supply:

EVGA 650 GQ 650W


For a high-end gaming computer build you really want to get a high-quality power supply, and this one is definitely that. 80-Plus Gold-rating, high-quality make and reliability, and semi-modular as well. Can't go wrong for the price.


$1200 Build Case:

NZXT Phantom 410


Last but not least we have our choice of enclosure to house the precious insides of your shiny new high-end gaming PC build. At this point in time the NZXT Phantom 410 Mid-Tower comes out on top as one of the very best choices for a value-for-money yet high-quality gaming PC case. We're big fans of NZXT in general and the Phantom 410 has the quality and features of an expensive top of the range case minus the huge price tag. At under 100 dollars at the time of writing it's seriously good value.

First of all, it looks amazing (pics don't do it justice) with a very sharp and sleek design. We chose white based on taste however feel free to pick whichever color you prefer as they're all the same (was hard to pick

Aesthetics aside, all of the other important aspects of a good case are present. You've got excellent airflow and built-in cooling (comes with 2 x 140mm fans and 1 x 120mm fan), tons of room to work with (it's a generously-sized mid tower), plenty of ports/bays, and a bunch of other nice features.

Highly recommended, however feel free to pick a different case if this one isn't up your ally. Most mid or full tower sized cases will do the trick, but do your homework on compatibility especially if it's a mid tower (some may not have enough room for a build of this nature).

That wraps our current best high end gaming computer builds for this month. Up next are our extreme builds if you want to really compile the ultimate system. Good luck and happy gaming!


NEXT: The Extreme Gaming PC Builds



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