We've done the painstaking research to compile a top value sample 1000 US dollar custom PC below to aid your research
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2019
Welcome to another rig in our current lineup of the best value for money gaming desktop builds. In this particular guide our aim is to comprehensively explain how we would approach maximizing a 1000 dollar budget based on a combination of objective market research and our own subjective opinion based on many years of system design.
If you're planning to build the best $1000 gaming PC in Q2 2019 (April, May or June) this guide is for you and here to help you more fruitfully navigate the current Q2 2019 market and give you ideas on which components offer the current best bang for buck as a mid-range PC gamer looking to stretch your frame rate as high as possible.
Spending 1000 dollars on your gaming desktop is a nice amount that gives you plenty to work with to build a very good 1080p or 1440p gaming computer, but if you're a beginner building your first gaming PC build builder, with a fairly flexible budget like this it's easy to run wild a little with your component choices and haphazardly overspend on certain parts, whilst under-spending on others, and not putting together an optimally balanced list of parts for your specific aims (which in our case, pun intended, is gaming performance first and foremost).
In this $1000 gaming PC build guide we tap into many years of build design experience to not just strategically stretch gaming performance for the money, but to also take into account everything else that matters when building a good custom PC including overall build balance, optimal airflow and cooling, keeping your future upgrade options open, ensuring 100% compatibility, and last but not least maximizing the build's theme to look awesome in action once you've built your rig and your ascension to true PC Master Race status is complete.
For a $1000 custom PC the NVidia GeForce RTX 2060 is a clear winner to max frame rates for the money
An excellent mid tower that's easy to work with and has both superb aesthetics and airflow
When building a gaming PC build for 1000 dollars you can expect some seriously awesome gaming performance in either 1080p or 1440p; you can pretty much take your pick as to use either a 1080p or 1440p gaming monitor with these parts. See the estimated FPS benchmarks below for what sort of specific performance you can expect in 1440p, but generally speaking you will get a buttery smooth 60FPS in 1440p in many titles - even on ultra settings.
Although for the very latest, most demanding AAA games you won't get 60FPS on ultra settings (1440p), but you'll still get good performance. Plus, you can always dial back the graphics settings because you don't need ultra settings to experience a game to its fullest (and medium/high settings is still absolutely fine for 95% of people).
As for those wanting to stick to 1080p gaming (ie full HD, still the most common gaming resolution in 2019), you'll get blistering performance with this $1000 gaming PC build, and you can absolutely use a 144Hz gaming monitor with this hardware configuration because you'll get up around 144FPS+ in some games (depends on settings though).
Do tweak this build 'till your heart's content if you have any specific wants and needs, as part of the fun of building your own PC for some is designing something unique that stands out from the pack (see our build planning help service if you want our thoughts), but don't forget to always double and triple check compatibility and remember to keep in mind overall build balance, airflow and upgrade flexibility of your parts.
Without further ado I bring to you the best gaming PC build under $1000 - IMHO based what I would personally do if I were in your shoes right now and looking to assemble the greatest value custom setup for this amount. Please note that links below may be affiliate links: clicking them earns me a small commission if you make a purchase and helps to support the site and the endless obsessive hours that goes into these continually updated in-depth guides. Thank guys and hope this build helps in your research.
The $1200 High-End 1440p Gaming PC Build (faster 1440p and 1080p 144Hz performance)
The $800 1080p Gaming PC Build (good value 1080p build for 60FPS)
Best Gaming PC Build Under $1000 (Q2 2019)
|Graphics Card||Zotac GeForce RTX 2060 6GB Twin Fan Edition|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-9400F (2.9GHz, 9th Gen, 6 Cores, Locked)|
|CPU Cooler||Stock (included with CPU)|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z390 Pro4 (ATX, 4 DDR4 Slots)|
|RAM||Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB (DDR4, 2 x 4GB, 2666 MHz)|
|SSD (system drive)||Kingston A400 240GB|
|HDD (secondary drive)||Western Digital Blue 1TB (7200 RPM, 64MB Cache)|
|Power Supply||EVGA 550 SuperNOVA G3 (80+ Gold, 550 Watts, Modular)|
|Case||Cooler Master MasterCase H500 Mid Tower
Fractal Design FD-CA-MESH-C-WT-TGC Mid Tower
$930 - $970 (US Dollars)
(Adds All Our Top Picks to Your Amazon Cart in One Go)
Notable Build Features (for our top picks above)
|Wattage (Power Draw)||Up to 260W|
|RAM Slots||4 (2 slots free)|
|Max RAM Support||64GB|
|CPU Overclockable?||No (9400F CPU is locked)|
|Built-in WiFi?||No (buy adapter; see recommended wireless desktop adapters)|
|Hard Drives Supported||6 x SATA 6Gb/s Drives, 2 x m.2 SSD|
|Front Panel USB Ports||2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0|
|Optical Drive Support?||No|
|Case Fans||Included: 2 x 200mm (Front, RGB), 1 x 120mm (Rear)
Additional Fan Support: Top-Mounted 2 x 120mm / 2 x 140mm / 1 x 200mm
|Max GPU/PCI-E Card Length||410mm|
|Max CPU Cooler Height||167mm|
|AMD CrossFire Support||Yes|
|NVidia SLI Support||No|
|Full Motherboard & Case Specs||ASRock Z390 Pro4 | Cooler Master MasterCase H500|
Performance Overview by Resolution
1080p (1920 x 1080):
1440p (2560 x 1440):
Below we've compiled aggregated benchmarks based on analysis of multiple benchmark sources to estimate what frame rate you can roughly expect from this month's best $1000 gaming PC build in various AAA titles on maximum/ultra/extreme (whatever your specific game refers to it as) settings in 1440p - the resolution generally recommended for this custom PC.
This $1000 rig could definitely be considered a little overkill if all you're playing on is a standard 60Hz 1080p gaming monitor (which is the most common setup overall), and if that's all you're doing the $800 gaming PC build might be all the firepower you need. If you're using an expensive 144Hz monitor for 1080p then it's a different story as the extra CPU and GPU grunt of this setup is practical, and these $1000 parts will do fairly well in many games for 1080p 144Hz. Not all though, and you'll struggle to get 144FPS consistently (or anywhere near that in the first place) in the most demanding titles if you have a need to play on high/ultra settings. 144Hz monitors really do require a beasty rig, even in just 1080p.
As for 1440p gaming you'll get very solid frame rates as listed below. For 1440p 144Hz monitors, you'll want a lot more power than this build, unless you're playing less demanding games and/or don't mind turning down settings considerably. But overall, this $1000 gaming desktop is recommended primarily as a 1440p 60Hz rig, or a long-lasting "future-proofed" 1080p 60Hz setup (and/or budget VR setup).
Learn More: Gaming Refresh Rates Explained
Estimated Frame Rate for 1440p ULTRA
(i5-9400F, RTX 2060 6GB, 2x4GB 2666MHz)
|Overwatch||110 - 130 FPS|
|AS Origins||70 - 80 FPS|
|Battlefield 1||95 - 105 FPS|
|COD WW2||90 - 110 FPS|
|SW Battlefront 2||90 - 110 FPS|
|Wolfenstein 2||90 - 110 FPS|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider||70 - 90 FPS|
Learn More: What's a Good Gaming Frame Rate?
As always let's start off with the most important component in any gaming desktop, and when planning the best gaming PC build under 1000 dollars at this point of time the best card you can fit into your budget is the recently-released RTX 2060.
This is the most affordable of NVidia's new RTX range of GPUs with models ranging from $350 to $400, and is also arguably the best overall value for money pick of the new RTX GPUs, beating its bigger brothers (2070, 2080 and 2080 Ti) in terms of pure frames-per-dollar.
The 2060 naturally replaces our previously recommended GTX 1070, as it's the same price but better performance. The downside compared to the 1070 though is the 2060 only has 6GB of VRAM as opposed to 8GB, but this is a non-issue as the 2060 is clearly the faster GPU anyway. 6GB is plenty for modern 1440p gaming, and you only need more VRAM for 4K gaming.
Nothing beats the RTX 2060 in the $350-$400 GPU market
Which RTX 2060 to Get?
As for which specific brand and model of the RTX 2060 you should buy - good question. Is it simply a matter of finding the cheapest model you can get your hands on? Sometimes yes, assuming you want the best value for money, however you also should investigate any particular model that you consider buying. The Zotac RTX 2060 Twin Fan version is on the lower end of the 2060's on the market right now, but it checks out real good in terms of having no real flaws, and the cooling reportedly works effectively and without loud noise based on our research.
See this review here as an example. We've given it the nod for Q2 2019's best $1000 gaming PC build, and would buy it ourselves if looking for the best overall value RTX 2060. It looks crisp, too. It's simply cheaper because the Zotac brand name isn't on the same level as the big names like Asus or EVGA, who can afford raising their prices a little. Although to be fair a lot of the time the bigger names do actually ship superior GPUs with better cooling solutions, features, etc, but in this case you're not missing out on much by saving money with a Zotac model.
Top Pick: Intel Core i5-9400F (2.9GHz, 6 Core, Locked)
Intel Core i5-8400 (2.8GHz, 6 Core) (same ASRock motherboard is fine)
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X (2.9GHz, 6 Core) (and get Asus Prime B450 Plus motherboard)
The graphics card choice is pretty clear cut when assembling a 1000 dollar custom PC for the fastest gaming performance, as a RTX 2060 can't be beat in the 350-400 dollar range, but when it comes to picking your processor things are a little murkier as AMD really brings the heat in the mid-range CPU market. Their Ryzen 5 2600 and 2600X processors are great value, but as you can see from our current top recommended $1000 parts-list I've gone for an Intel i5 (specifically the 9400F; I'll explain why in a sec) which is not going to go down well with hardcore AMD fanboys. But hear me out as to why - there is method to the madness of avoiding the excelent bang for buck 2600 and 2600X if you're looking to maximize gaming performance for a specific $1000 build budget.
AMD vs Intel for ~ $1000 Gaming PC Builds (and Sith Lords)
Firstly, either Intel or AMD in this price range at this point in time in 2019 is going to be a good buy. The 2600 is top-notch bang for buck, and for a slightly cheaper build such as a $800 custom gaming PC or under it's a great way to keeps your costs as low as possible. For example, if you're building a 600-800 dollar system and gaming in standard 60Hz - an i5 or a Ryzen 5 is not going to give you any noticeable difference as neither is going to hold you back from getting a flawless 60FPS (which is all you need to aim for on a 60Hz monitor, or 75FPS for a 75Hz display).
But with a 1000 dollar budget for a gaming PC, you can easily afford the slightly costlier i5 range, which will actually grant you superior gaming performance as well because most games still primarily rely on single threaded power - and that's exactly where Intel shines through for gaming and the reason you'll see Intel chips beating AMD competitors (all other things being equal) in any reliable gaming benchmark from a trusted source. That's not say AMD isn't good for gaming though, as the performance difference isn't huge.
However, if you're a picky gamer wanting to fully maximize gaming performance and get the highest frame rate that you can possibly get (which matters for things like 144Hz monitors where you'll want to get 100-144FPS+), Intel is often the slightly better choice. But also keep in mind to factor in the overall usage of your system, as some gamers also want great workstation/multitasking performance, which is where AMD can sometimes have the upper hand as they usually have more cores and threads than competing Intel models (though to confuse things further, Intel is the better choice for certain applications such as some Adobe programs).
So all that is a long way of saying that it doesn't really matter too much whether you go Intel or AMD for a gaming PC build around $1000, unless you're gaming in high refresh rates where you're objectively better off with Intel thanks to its super single threaded performance, and unless maximizing productivity and multitasking is as valuable (or more) to you than gaming in which case you should lean towards Ryzen.
Only a Sith deals in absolutes; avoid anyone who shouts on forums like:
"JUST ALWAYS BUY X. IF YOU BUY Y YOU'RE STUPID".
Although to be fair, they'd say "your" instead of "you're" now wouldn't they. Ramblings from a metaphorical high-horse aside, hardware choices always depend on the nuances, as everyone's specific wants and needs are going to be slightly unique. Unless you like taking advice from a Sith, in which case more power to you and go ahead and listen to raging fanboys. But this isn't the site you're looking for; our motto is Jedi-like after all.
Okay, let's look at specifically why the 9400F was chosen for the Q2 2019 recommended $1000 parts-list.
Intel Core i5-9400F vs i5-8400 for Gaming in 2019
The 9400F is the latest 9th generation i5 having just been released in early 2019, and is a great value option if you won't be overclocking (and never plan to) as it's a "locked" CPU (meaning it can't be overclocked). It also comes with an adequate stock cooler, which isn't optimal for cooling and noise under load, though it gets the job done for a basic gaming rig and you can always upgrade later (see our overclocking-friendly $1200 gaming build for i5 cooler recommendations).
It improves upon the previous i5-8400 in terms of performance, but only marginally, so the i5-8400 is just as good a choice for gaming. However, the newer 9400F is actually cheaper hence why we've included it here as our top pick for Q2 2019. Why does it cost less than the older i5-8400? It doesn't include integrated graphics, while the 8400 does. All that means is that you need a discrete (ie dedicated) graphics card to display graphics on your PC, as the CPU cannot do it if you didn't have a graphics card, but this is a non-issue as a gamer as there's no point using integrated graphics unless you're building a super cheap $400 build or less (as the performance is super limited compared to the endless power possibilities of a dedicated graphics card).
However, there is one small caveat to this - some people (not many, though) may have a need for an iGPU (ie integrated graphics) such as when utilizing hardware video capture to not impact GPU performance. In this or other rare instances where an iGPU would be handy - such as being able to output graphics if your graphics card fails - consider the 8400 instead of the 9400F. But for most gamers I'd just get the new 9400F, especially when it's cheaper as it'll give you better gaming performance.
Top Pick: ASRock Z390 Pro4 (ATX)
MSI Z390-A Pro (ATX) (another top value board guaranteed to support the 9400F without needing a BIOS update)
ASRock Z390 Taichi (ATX, WiFi, SLI) (if you want a better board with WiFi)
Asus Prime B450 Plus (ATX) (if using the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X or 2600)
ASRock are a more affordable manufacturer and essentially the poorman's ASUS. But don't get me wrong as they produce many boards worth considering which don't sacrifice on quality and features. If you chose wisely, you can find a bargain board from them that has everything you need, and the Z390 Pro 4 is exactly that and fits our needs for this particular 1k rig. For discerning readers, yes it's a Z390 chipset, meaning that it's overclock-able and which begs the question why get an overclocking-friendly board if using a locked CPU like the 9400F or 8400?
It's a good question, and the answer is that getting the cheaper B360 non-overclocking motherboard chipset is a risk for using with a 9th generation 9400F. Why? Because those boards were made for the 8th generation Intel CPUs (ie the 8400 and not the newer 9400F), you'll need to do a BIOS update on the motherboard before it is compatible with new 9th gen CPUs like the 9400F.
Manufacturers might have already done this BIOS update for you if they ship you a new board that's already been updated, but there's no guarantee and there's always a chance you'd get sent an older stock board that hasn't had the update done yet. If you did get a B360 board without the update done then you'd need an older 8th gen CPU on hand to be able to update the board before then installing the 9th gen CPU (which is a pain and most people won't have an old CPU lying around to do this). So, while using a Z390 board is generally a waste of money for a non-overclocking chip like the 9400F, in this case it's not - not only because you're ensuring you get a 9th-gen supported motherboard out of the box, but if you find a great value Z390 board like the ASRock Z390 Pro4 you're not spending much more than you would for a cheap B360 one. Just my thoughts on that.
As for RAM for the $1000 gaming rig, 8GB is still the ideal for a mid/high-end setup around this price, as the money you'd spend on getting 16GB is best served towards your GPU and/or your CPU as that will influence frame-rates way more than jumping to 16GB from 8GB ever will.
Personally I'd only start looking at including 16GB of RAM when you start creeping towards the $1500-ish mark, or if you're building a hybrid gaming/workstation setup (ie for the best video editing PC build).
For our current best gaming PC build under $1000, I've thrown in the same two Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2666MHz sticks from the suggested 800 dollar gaming rig which also fits in well with the rest of this parts-list, aesthetically speaking.
Dual-channel memory - as in getting 2 sticks compared to the single stick - is always the better option compared to just getting the single module, as it'll run a tad faster, but just make sure when doing this you have additional memory modules free on your motherboard if you think you might want to upgrade RAM later on. All of the motherboards recommended for this parts-list have a total of 4 slots (wouldn't sell a board with only 2 RAM slots to my worst enemy), meaning you'll have 2 slots free.
This is good practice when building a PC 'cause even if you don't think you'll ever upgrade the RAM, you never know if you change your mind later as it's a real common upgrade that gives you a nice boost in general system performance (if not gaming as well depending on what you're upgrading from/to, though after 8-16GB you start seeing diminishing returns at least in 2019). If you start out with 8GB RAM, in a couple or few years upgrading to 16GB may become super helpful for your gaming performance as game requirements mature further. Yes, the odd game or two will run faster on 16GB compared to 8GB RAM in this day and age, but that doesn't make 16GB necessary 'cause if you have a strong CPU and GPU you'll achieve your desired 60FPS/144FPS anyway.
Also, 2666Mhz memory speed is all you need and as mentioned in more detail in other builds we've done, for strictly gaming purposes it's not worth shelling out the extra cash for faster RAM as it makes a negligible difference. In other words, there are diminishing returns as a gamer by spending more on faster RAM such as 3000Mhz or 3200Mhz, so I would only suggest getting that sort of RAM if you don't care about being cost-effective (ie for a luxury gaming setup where you don't care about maximum bang for buck) or if you're building a workstation PC and you'll know that your applications would benefit from it. Besides, 2666MHz is the fastest stock speed for DDR4 RAM, and anything higher means you'll have to overclock (in the BIOS), although to be honest this is simple to do.
Not gonna beat around the bush here; the Cooler Master MasterCase H500 is an absolutely amazing case and it's easily one of the very best cases that 100 bucks can buy (which is a good amount to allocate for your case when building a $1000 gaming PC).
Not only does it look stunning (pics don't do it justice) with a universally attractive design and included RGB fans (plus an included fan controller), but it backs up the show with plenty of go and comes with all the features that you'd ever really need as a PC builder - whether you're a first-timer or more of an enthusiast.
Speaking of beginners, if that's you then this case is also easy to use and a joy to work with as a builder. Cable management is a breeze with places to slots and a shield to hide your cables. It's also quite spacious for a Mid Tower, meaning you can fit most configurations that'd you like including large CPU coolers and/or triple fan GPUs should you wish to tweak our recommended $1000 build.
One of the best looking cases out there as of 2019, with construction quality and impressive features to match.
Fan Setup for the Cooler Master MasterCase H500
It comes with two large 200mm RGB fans in the front, which not only look awesome but are of high quality and will effectively cool your rig. You also get a built-in 120mm fan in the back (non RGB). So, do you need more than the 3 stock fans that come with the Cooler Master H500? For this particular parts-list, no you don't, as these three fans are enough, but you can buy and add an extra 200mm fan on top if you want to further cool your rig (ie for overclocking, if adding more components or more powerful components, if you live in a hot climate, etc).
As some menacing dude in a black suit of armor would say; impressive.
Feel free to replace the 120mm included fan in the rear with an RGB one if you want more lighting, as the 2 front RGB fans don't light the inside of the case much, though those front LED fans are bright enough looking from the outside; some cases borderline false-advertise by showing bright LED/RGB fans online whereas in-person they don't look as good, but the Cooler Master H500 is the opposite and actually looks better in person than in photos. They really make the case come alive; I don't own this case myself but I've seen it in action first-hand at a local store.
Cooler Master have smashed it out of the park with this one, and it's genuinely hard to fault this case if you find it for 100 bucks or less. If I had to be picky, I'd say you could use a 20 dollar cheaper chassis that'll match the H500 overall in quality and looks (such as the Phanteks Eclipse P400 which is equally as impressive inside and out IMO).
But for the marginally extra amount, I think the H500 is worth getting over the many slightly more affordable mid tower cases on the market as of 2019, and it's sure to impress the majority of gamers out there with its very slick design and standout RGB fans. See the reviews we've linked down below in the references section if you want to delve deeper into why it's so well received in the DIY gaming community (eg it made the GamerNexus list of top cases of 2018, which is a site we at BGC can safely endorse for its credibility and due diligence of content).
Last but not least, let's cover your trusty PSU for this 1440p gaming PC build. EVGA produce some great value for money yet efficient, high-quality and reliable PSUs these days, and the SuperNova G3 Gold-rated model is one of their better quality units that will reliably, efficiently, and conveniently (it's fully modular) power a powerful gaming system like this for years to come.
550 watts of quality power is also more than enough for the components of the best $1000 gaming PC, with plenty of wiggle room for future upgrades as you can see with the total power draw for these parts listed above in the features cheastsheet being well under par.
Overall, the G3 is a quality PSU for a quality PC. Just remember that everytime a bad, cheap PSU is placed in a $1000+ gaming rig, somewhere in the world an innocent kitten dies. Just 'cause we ain't showing a picture of the PSU here (I'm 245,593 hours into updating this guide and think I've rambling on about component choices for long enough) doesn't mean it's not important, okay. So buy a good one and sleep well at night (and save that furry friend). Phew, that was a doozy of a build breakdown but let's get into the home stretch now with which accessories would go well with a rig of this caliber.
As with all our current recommended custom PC builds, 64 bit Windows 10 is what we recommend for the $1000 custom gaming PC. If you're getting Linux, you probably wouldn't be reading this section 'cause you know what you're doing. You have a few options with buying and installing Windows 10 for a new custom setup:
Option A: Windows 10 Home 64-Bit (Flash Drive Edition)
Option B: Windows 10 Home 64-Bit (DVD Disc Edition) (buy if you're getting an optical drive for your gaming build)
Option C: Buy Windows from Microsoft and download it to an existing computer/laptop, then put it on a flash drive, then use that flash drive when booting up your PC.
Option D: Reuse your copy of Windows if your edition is eligible for this.
As for accessories; we'll add specific recommendations for this particular build soon but for now please see our peripheral buying guides in the main menu up top for our current suggestions.
That wraps our attempt of planning the best gaming PC build under $1000 in April, May or June to maximize all the important things that matter when choosing parts. If you're assembling your first computer see our written PC build walk through for beginners or see our video tutorial recommendations over at our guide to building your first gaming PC.
It doesn't matter which parts are used in the tutorial that you follow, as the general principles and steps to building a custom PC applies to pretty much any build. But some of you may also find it helpful to watch a video on the specific case you're using such as the Cooler Master H500, so have a look around for videos on that if you want further guidance. It's a popular case so there are plenty of vids out there for this one.
Good luck, enjoy, and hope this comprehensive guide has helped. If so, all we ask is to share it with a gaming buddy who might benefit, help some old lady cross the street next time you're out, or subscribe to PewDiePie - or all of the above if you're a true Jedi.
The Cooler Master H500 is a breezy beginner-friendly installation with easy cable management
Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 2060 Twin Fan Review
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Review & Mega Benchmark
ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 Twin Fan Official Specifications
EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 XC ULTRA GAMING 6GB GDDR6 Dual HDB Fans Official Specifications
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 VENTUS 6G OC Official Specifications
Cooler Master MasterCase H500 ATX Mid Tower Official Specifications
Cooler Master H500 Case Review: Strongly Recommended at Its Lower Price
The ULTIMATE $99 High Air Flow Case? Cooler Master H500 Review
One Of The Best PC Cases For $100! Cooler Master H500
Have a question?
Post your question in our new comments section over on the main Gaming PC Builds hub and we'll help you out.
Enjoyed the guide or have feedback?
Let us know in the comments too (or contact us here). Also, if you found this guide real helpful and want to help us spread the word about our in-depth, unbiased, noob-friendly build guides, share it with any gaming buddies you think might also benefit from this. Thanks guys and good luck with your new setup.