Welcome to another sample PC build for DIY gamers which is here to aid you on your hunt for the current best value for money hardware when building a custom PC around this time of year. At the $800 price tier we start getting into seriously epic performance territory and by picking our good parts you can not only afford a very solid gaming system capable of flawlessly smooth frame rates in 1080p on maxed/ultra/extreme in-game settings (and quite good in 1440p, too), but it allows you to build an overall well-balanced, high-quality, aesthetically-pleasing gaming computer with a nice set of features, excellent cooling, and a ton of upgrade options for the future.
The star of the following best gaming PC build under $800 for late 2018 boasts a graphics card and CPU combination of the currently excellent value for money RX 580 8GB video card (well, if you find it for around $250 or less) and Ryzen 5 2600 processor, which really isn't a setup you'd likely see in a pre-built gaming desktop for this price, and shows that when you choose your own parts and build your own PC you can really stretch gaming performance as far as humanly possible.
Oh, and without sacrificing your other parts either, as pre-built systems typically have lower-quality supporting components whereas when taking the superior DIY path you can also pick a quality setup across the board that'll last you as long as possible, have the exact upgrade path that you want, and also look how you want. Speaking of looks, this $800 PC build is a real stunner too, with an RGB-filled tempered glass see-through case and matching white and black interior components.
Let's get straight into the build and why each part was chosen, including a full specs cheatsheet below, aggregated benchmarks from around the web for 1080p ultra (ie, the average FPS you can expect from this setup), and suggested accessories to go with it. Brace yourselves for a killer value gaming rig that's one of the overall best bang for your buck custom builds in our current lineup - in any price tier.
Best Gaming PC Build Under $800 (December 2018)
|Graphics Card||MSI Radeon RX 580 8GB Armor MK2 OC (Dual Fan)|
|CPU||Ryzen 5 2600 (2nd Gen, 6 Cores, 12 Threads, Unlocked)|
|CPU Cooler||Stock (comes with CPU)|
|Motherboard||Asus Prime B450 Plus (ATX, USB 3.1, 4 x DDR4 Slots)|
|RAM||Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB (DDR4, 2 x 4GB, 2666 MHz)|
|HDD||Western Digital Blue 1TB (7200 RPM, 64MB Cache)|
|SSD (system drive)||Kingston A400 240GB|
|Power Supply||EVGA 500 BQ (80+ Bronze, 500W, Semi-Modular)|
|Case||Cooler Master MasterBox Pro 5 (Mid-Tower, RGB Fans, Tempered Glass)|
$788 - $818 (US Dollars)
(Orders Parts on Amazon, Our #1 Recommended Store)
Notable Features Cheatsheet
|Estimated Wattage (Power Draw)||65W - 285W|
|RAM Slots||4 (2 slots free)|
|Max RAM Support||64GB|
|CPU Overclockable?||Yes (buy aftermarket cooler)|
|Built-in WiFi?||No (buy adaptor: see recommended add-ons below)|
|Hard Drives Supported||6x SATA Drives, 1x m.2 SSD|
|Case Fans||Included: 3 x 120mm RGB Fans (Front) + 1 x 120mm (Rear)
Extra Fan Mounts: 0 (Max of 4)
|Front Panel USB Ports||2 x USB 3.0 (+ tons more on rear of case)|
|Optical Drive Support?||No|
|Case Dimensions (L x W x H)||500 x 223 x 475 (mm)|
|Total Weight (Once Parts Installed)||~ 30 lbs|
|Max GPU/PCI-E Card Length||410mm|
|Max CPU Cooler Height||167mm|
|AMD CrossFire Support||Yes|
|NVidia SLI Support||No|
|Full Motherboard & Case Specs||Asus Prime B450-PLUS | MasterBox Pro 5 RGB|
Below are aggregated benchmarks based on extensive analysis of multiple online benchmark sources to estimate what frame rate you can roughly expect from a system like this month's best $800 gaming PC build in various AAA titles on maximum/ultra/extreme (whatever the game calls it...) settings in full HD (1080p) resolution.
Estimated Frame Rate for 1080p ULTRA/MAXED
(2600, RX 580 8GB, 2x4GB DDR4 2666MHz)
|Fortnite||95 - 105 FPS
|PUBG||65 - 75 FPS|
|Overwatch||120 - 140 FPS|
|CSGO||210 - 230 FPS|
|DOTA 2||140 - 160 FPS|
|GTA V||85 - 95 FPS|
|AS Origins||60 - 70 FPS|
|Battlefield 1||85 - 95 FPS|
|COD WW2||85 - 95 FPS|
|SW Battlefront 2||95 - 105 FPS|
|Witcher 3||55 - 65 FPS|
|Far Cry 5||60 - 70 FPS|
1080p (1920 x 1080):
1440p (2560 x 1440):
VR and 4K:
Green = 40FPS and Over (Smooth)
Orange = Under 40FPS (A Little Stutter/Lag)
Red = Under 30FPS (Quite Noticeable Stutter/Lag)
How We Calculate Average FPS & A Disclaimer
The average frame rate ratings for this custom build are an aggregated estimation based on careful cross-check analysis of multiple benchmark data from trusted sources around the web. Simply put, we've done the extensive performance research on this parts-list for you to save time, but we encourage you to not just take our numbers for granted and to always do your own research.
However, we do everything we can to make these as accurate as possible, please note there's no guarantee you'll get this exact average as there are different factors that could affect your frame rate such as other hardware differences, software differences (OS, drivers, game patches/versions, etc), cooling/airflow of your build, enabled game features/settings such as Anti-Aliasing, different RAM setups you might be using, and so on.
Also keep in mind these are averages, meaning that in the most action-packed scenes the frame-rate will go lower. For example, if we list the Witcher 3 average as 50-60FPS, your FPS may drop to 30-40FPS in the most intense scenes, so take that into account in your build planning.
We always err on the conservative side with our numbers though, so we'll round things down if we need to instead of rounding up, so you can rest assured our averages are pretty safe bets in terms of what performance you can expect from a PC build like this.
Confused About Frame Rates & Game Settings?
AMD's Ryzen 5 2600 prevails for this month's best $800 gaming PC build once again, as it's clearly one of the better value choices for a mid-tier gaming system like this, and is all the processing power you need to dominate 1080p gaming (or 1440p, for that matter). If you can't afford an i5, which costs a little more, the 2600 is a great cheaper alternative that pretty much matches it in gaming, though if you're spending $1000+ on your custom setup then do consider an Intel i5-8400 or i5-8600K for slightly better single threaded gaming performance.
Another plus to the Ryzen 5 2600 chip, on top of the excellent current value it offers at a price cheaper than Intel's current Core i5 range, is the fact that the stock cooler it comes with, the Wraith Stealth cooler, isn't just a cool-sounding setup but a very capable stock cooler. Stock CPU coolers - the ones that come shipped with CPUs - aren't always of the highest quality and efficiency, but these ones from AMD's latest Ryzen 2 range do shine. Point is, when getting a 2600 you absolutely don't need to get your own cooler, which'll save you some further coin.
You might be thinking "but why would I buy a cooler if it comes with one anyway and I won't be overclocking?", and to that I say fair point, however the fact is that Intel's current stock coolers are notoriously average and so theoretically if you were getting an i5 instead of the 2600, you'd probably wanna get your own $20 - $40 cooler (even if you aren't overclocking) which would further add to your overall cost (and the i5 is more expensive, remember). Long story short is that the Ryzen 5 2600 is not just cheaper, and similar performance-wise, but you don't need to get a cooler either. So overall it's great bang for your buck. If you'll be pushing the 2600 with overclocking though, then do get an aftermarket cooler though.
Now to what matters most as a gamer, your trusty video card, and the mid-range GPU battle is a tight one in this day and age. For a $800 gaming PC build, to squeeze out the most gaming performance you're looking at a card in the $200 - $300 range which brings us to the heated NVidia GTX 1060 vs AMD RX 580 conundrum. Specifically, the fastest cards you can get in this price range are the 6GB model of the 1060, or an 8GB variant of the 580.
So, what to do? 1060 6GB vs 580 8GB for a 1080p 60FPS ultra gaming PC? Ask around and you'll find opinions pretty split, but what do the facts and data say? Well, benchmarks don't help too much as the two cards are generally neck and neck frame-rate wise, with some games running faster on the 1060 and vice versa. See these benchmarks to see which games run faster on which card if you want to factor that into your decision:
Ultimately though, besides perhaps getting slightly stronger performance in a particular title, the choice of the 1060 6GB vs 580 8GB will come down to current pricing, and right now this is where the 580 wins as you can find a 8GB model for a fair bit less than the 1060 6GB. But feel free to get a 1060 if you can find one at a good price, as either GPU is going to serve you well for excellent 1080p performance on high/ultra settings for (hopefully) a few years to come.
Oh, and if you were wondering about the November released RX 590? Forget it - at its current price tag around 280 dollars or so, it's just not worth the slight 10% frame-rate improvement over the RX 580. If you crunch the numbers, you'll find the 590 costs around 30% more than the 580, and for only 10% gains it's hard to recommend. If you want to spend more on a GPU than the 580/1060 tier, go for a GTX 1070 instead which is better bang for buck than the 590, which is a release that hasn't impressed anybody.
Recommended Alternative GPU for $800 Build:
This overclocked MSI 580 is currently the #1 best-selling GPU on Amazon right now for a reason: seriously impressive value at around $210
Let's move onto the motherboard, which is always one of the trickier PC components to properly choose for a new computer as it's easy to get lost and confused in a sea of specs and endless options, especially if you're a first-time builder. See our guide to choosing the best motherboard for gaming for more in-depth detail.
Asus produce some of the overall best, most reliable and trusted boards out there, and we've gone with their all-new B450 board which is the very latest AMD chipset which is guaranteed to support the latest Ryzen 2 CPUs out of the box. If you weren't aware, when buying a B350 board and pairing that with the latest Ryzen 2 processors, there's a chance that you would need to do a BIOS update for the new CPU to work, as some of these older motherboards come shipped with the updated BIOS already whilst some do not (it's essentially luck of the draw sometimes which is frustrating).
But getting the latest chip such as our recommended B450 motherboard in this month's build ensures no such issue when buying the latest Ryzens. But overall, the difference between the now older B350 and the brand new just-released B450 is unnoticeable, so either will work just fine, but for the reason above and for the fact that it's the very latest standard is why we've gone for a B450. Specifically, we've included the Prime Plus edition, which is well-priced and has all the features you likely need for the $800 gaming build. Looks cool, too, and goes well with your other parts.
Keep in mind, like most motherboards there's no built-in WiFi, so if you want wireless you'll need to get a separate adaptor as usual (either a PCI-E card or a USB dongle; either will work fine). See our builds FAQ for more, but also keep in mind that we highly recommend using wired Ethernet for the best online gaming speed and stability.
For 800 bucks you can't really realistically fit in 16GB without sacrificing elsewhere on your parts-list, so the best balanced option in this build tier as a gamer is still 8GB, which despite what anyone tells you is all you need for maximum 1080p gaming right now and into the near future. You'd only absolutely need 16GB if you're a serious content creator or production pro, as workstation applications make use of extra RAM unlike the far majority of games today. Plus, you've got the 4 memory slots on your motherboard, meaning there's always room to upgrade to 16GB (ie adding another 2 x 4GB modules) later down the track to give you system a nice little general performance boost in a few years time or so.
As for RAM speed, as mentioned in more detail in our recommended $600 mid-range PC build, higher memory speeds are simply not necessary for a mid-range gaming setup and in most cases not worth the extra money. 2133, 2400 and 2666MHz is all the memory speed you need for gaming. To summarize what we said in that build, you'd only get a noticeably improved frame-rate from higher RAM speeds when and only when you're sporting a top of the range GPU like the 1080 or 1080 Ti.
With a mid-range GPU such as the RX 580 or GTX 1060, it's not going to make a difference, despite what some random may say on a forum. Although keep in mind that we're talking purely gaming here, and for other demanding applications the extra RAM speed may make more of a difference. So, for the best 1080p 60FPS ultra gaming PC build for this month, we've included good value for money modules from Patriot which run at a healthy 2666Mhz, and they look pretty cool and fit nicely with the overall look and feel of this build.
In terms of storage for the $800 1080p 60FPS Ultra gaming build, we've got the same 1TB hard drive stays as with most our other builds as it's a great value pick from ever-reliable Western Digital, and we also have an excellent value 240GB SSD from Kingston which can fit your operating system and a handful of other programs and games for extra-fast loading. Solid state drives are a fair bit faster than traditional hard drives, so they're recommended for your most crucial applications to load as fast as possible.
For the good-old power supply we've got a good-quality, well-priced 500 watt 80+ Bronze EVGA PSU which is actually all the power you need for a build of this nature, including plenty of wiggle room to accommodate future upgrades. A common newbie mistake is overestimating how much power you need for your parts, and whilst it won't hurt your PC to have a lot more power than you need, it'll hurt your wallet unnecessarily and as with all our recommended builds getting the most bang for buck is what we're all about to help you avoid overspending for no reason. This EVGA unit is also semi-modular which is a nice feature and helps to avoid excessive extra cabling within your case once your build is done.
As for your chassis to store your shiny new components for years to come, the MasterBox Pro is another great value for money case from Cooler Master (they have tons of excellent models), with a standout design and 3 pre-installed customizable RGB fans in the front to create various color effects. One of the best looking affordable mid-tower cases around with an awesome tempered glass side panel to show off your fairly powerful new setup, yet internally it doesn't let you down with good airflow, usability, decent cable management, and a solid set of overall features.
Of course, feel free to pick your own gaming computer case for this $800 parts-list as case selection is definitely more subjective than any other component, and you'll want to ensure the one you choose won't be an eyesore to you over the next few years. We'd suggest sticking to a mid-tower for this parts-list as you don't need the monster size and space of a full-tower unless you're doing some serious upgrades.
As with all our current recommended custom PC builds, 64 bit Windows 10 is what we recommend for the $1500 custom gaming build unless you have a seriously good reason to get another operating system like Linux. You have a few options with buying and installing Windows for your new PC:
See our top value for money picks of the best mice, keyboards, screens, headsets, etc, in our peripheral buying guides (see the top menu) should you need to buy these new and you're not reusing old PC accessories which is of course a good way to save money on your new setup. These parts will all come down to personal preference, and of course how much more you have to spend on top of your core components.
That's it for the current best gaming PC build under 800 dollars IMHO based on extensive objective analysis of the December market. These suggested builds are here to be used as a base for your build research, so tweak these setups 'till your hearts content, although they have been carefully designed as excellent examples of how to stretch your money as far as possible based on the current market so they're good to go as is if they fit your requirements.
Like all our recommended builds, if you're putting together your first PC fear not as it's very simple to do these days whether you're putting together a budget gaming system like this one or a more powerful high-end gaming computer, and in 2018 if you can build Lego you can essentially build a custom computer without problems if you simply follow a step by step article or video (see How to Build a PC Step by Step).
A hobbyist game programmer turned hardware enthusiast, Julien "cyberjulz" is the founder of BGC and has kept a keen eye on the latest in DIY gaming ever since starting BGC back in '06 as an almost laughably-basic and brief 20 page site with the aim to make building PCs more accessible to the average gamer since most resources weren't too noob friendly. Over countless reinventions and reiterations to the quality, depth and usefulness of the content over many years the site has steadily grown into the expansive, comprehensive and ever-updated first-time PC builder resource that it is today that now reaches and helps thousands of gamers and power users each month to more easily plan optimal setups for their exact needs. You can learn more about the BGC mission and ways to support it here.
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