The Best High-End Gaming PC Builds:
June 2018 Edition



(Recommended Custom Computer Builds for $800 and $1200 to
Maximize Gaming Performance, Reliability, Lastability & Aesthetics)


Sample June 2018 High-End PCs for Gamers


Last Updated: May 28, 2018

The following are our current top-rated, best high-end gaming PC builds for June 2018 which show examples of how to strategically maximize performance, reliability, cooling, lastability (and aesthetics too) for spending amounts of $800 and $1200 in the current PC hardware market when building a great gaming PC.

Use these high end gaming computer builds exactly as they are as they've been extensively researched to provide the most bang for your buck right now if gaming is your priority, or use these builds as a starting-point for your own more personalized parts-list. Don't forget to always do compatibility checks when mixing and matching components: read the guides across the site for pointers or see our PC building eBook for a step by step guide to designing the best balanced, compatible parts-list for your exact budget.

Keep in mind these high-end PC builds are targeted for gamers wanting flawless 1080p (full HD) performance and/or good performance in higher resolutions such as 1440p (or as a virtual reality PC build). These setups are overkill (especially the $1000 rig and above) if you're simply looking to get into PC gaming and don't have high performance requirements. If you don't need crazy performance and are sticking to 1080p, see our best cheap gaming PC builds instead.

But if do indeed want to build a killer gaming system that will last you a long time, let's get into the first of our best high end gaming PC builds which is a solid example of how to maximize a healthy budget of around $800 to dominate 1080p gaming for a while to come. 


Note: See the Desktop Builds FAQ for what you need to know about peripherals, software, etc for these builds.




Best High-End Gaming PC Build for $800 (June 2018)



Expected Gaming Performance:

1080p (1920 x 1080):

1440p (2560 x 1440):

VR and 4K:

FLAWLESS

GOOD

AVERAGE

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


Best $800 Build for Gaming
Graphics Card EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC 6GB
CPU Intel Core i5-8400 (8th Gen)
Motherboard MSI Z370-A Pro (ATX, DDR4, SLI)
RAM Patriot DDR4 8GB (2x4GB) 2666MHz
Hard Drive WD Blue 1TB (7200 RPM)
Power Supply EVGA B1 500 Watts (80+ Bronze)
Case Corsair Carbide SPEC-02 Mid Tower
TOTAL COST: $804 *

* Total cost is only an estimate at the time of writing as hardware prices fluctuate


Best $800 PC Build: Summary

This is another carefully-considered, well-balanced, excellent bang for your buck custom gaming desktop build that will last you years of playing the latest games real well, and it's going to provide flawless performance for 1080p (full HD) in the majority of modern titles on max settings and will also hold its own in 1440p as well.

However, there's always exceptions to the rule and in the absolute most demanding games of all such as Witcher 3 you won't be getting flawless 60FPS+ at all times on max/ultra settings @ 1080p, but like I said for most games you will as games like Witcher 3 are overly-demanding pieces of work compared to average.

This high end gaming PC build is also upgrade-friendly with plenty of room and expansion options, it has great cooling and airflow, and to top it off it looks seriously awesome when finished with a stylish case boasting a see-through side panel and a nice red and black theme (with red LED built-in case fans). 

Pros

- Amazing 1080p performance in any title

- Decent 1440p performance

- Good for entry-level VR

Cons

- No SSD (feel free to add one)

- CPU not overclockable (only a con for enthusiasts)


Best $800 PC Build: Parts-List Breakdown

First to what matters most to us gamers, the graphics card, and at this moment in time your best bet based on the current market is opting for one of NVidia's GTX 1060 GPUs which come in 3GB and 6GB variants. AMD's 570 and 580 are excellent choices, and the 570 gives NVidia's 1060 a run for its money in terms of bang for buck, however stock and pricing of AMD cards has been real bad recently (worse than NVidia) and so it's tough to find them at a reasonable price if you manage to see them in stock at all.

As for the performance differences between a 1060 3GB and a 1060 6GB model: it isn't huge and so your choice depends mostly on current pricing, but lean to a 6GB variant if you'll be running higher resolutions than the standard 1080p as the extra video memory will come in handy for those added pixels on screen. But either 3GB or 6GB will do just fine for 1080p gaming now and over the next couple of years.

Now to Intel's all-new "Coffee Lake" 8th generation CPU, the i5-8400, which makes its debut in our high-end build lineup this month and slightly edges out our previously recommended Ryzen 5 1600 in terms of pure gaming performance. Note that this is the locked version, meaning it's not meant for overclocking, so if you're an enthusiast and do wish to push your CPU further then make sure to get the unlocked i5-8600K instead (which would fit into this build without having to change anything). 

In fact, if you wish to spend the extra on the 8600K instead of the 8400, go right ahead as you'll get slightly faster base performance without needing overclock, however we've picked the 8400 for this build as overall we believe it's the better value for money and we assume most our readers aren't into overclocking. As for cooling, the 8400's stock CPU cooler is adequate and all you need for most situations. For those getting the 8600K instead, consider getting a decent third-party cooler as the Cooler Master 212 Evo especially if you'll be overclocking.

The MSI Z370-A Pro is a good value 8th gen Intel motherboard that'll serve your new Coffee Lake i5 build well, with all the basic features you need for a typical gaming build and a slick design. 'Nuff said really. Keep in mind, like most motherboards there's no built-in WiFi 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 any hardcore 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 to accommodate a second card.

As for RAM and you have dual-channel Patriot 2666Mhz RAM, which is good speed memory at a decent price, and from a generally reliable RAM brand. As mentioned in our budget PC 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. 

At around this sort of price point you could include an SSD if you wanted to in order to store your OS and most frequently-used programs/games for faster loading (SSDs are noticeable faster than HDDs) and have the HDD for everything else, but I've decided to leave it out for this build to stay as close to the $800 target as possible.

To include an SSD and stay within this price you could swap the 1060 6GB down to the 3GB version, which would free up some cash for a 120GB SSD. Or, just add an SSD to this build as it is now if your $800 budget is flexible. As for the standard hard drive for this build, the 1TB Western Digital Blue stays from previous setups as it's hard to beat in terms of value. 1TB is more than enough for most gamers, unless you know you need more.

To top off the $800 gaming PC build we have the Spec 02 - a stylish, quite feature-rich mid-tower case at a good price that is hugely popular among DIY gamers and for good reason as it fits the bill well for most mainstream-level builds.

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 (that also have cool red LED lighting which is a nice touch). It's also got 2 USB 3.0 front ports, decent cable management features for the price, and plenty of room for upgrades. There's no need getting a full-tower sized case unless you have a good reason to.

That wraps up our suggested best high end gaming computer build for $800 (IMHO). If you need even more grunt for higher resolutions/refresh rates, virtual reality (this build will play VR but not at its max potential) or workstation-specific tasks, or if you're a super picky gamer who wants flawless maxed out 1080p performance in EVERY single game including the most demanding of all (ie Witcher 3) then let's move to the next best high end PC build below for budgets of around $1200 where we start venturing into serious hardcore performance territory.

But yeah, if you're sticking with good-old 1080p with a 60Hz monitor then the majority of gamers would be more than satisfied sticking with the above $800 build and it'll serve you well for roughly 3-4 years minimum or so (random guess based on experience and it'll depend on how picky you are though, ie which exact games/settings/frame-rates keep you happy as well as how gaming demands evolve over coming years).




Best High-End Gaming PC Build for $1200 (June 2018)




Expected Gaming Performance:

1080p (1920 x 1080):

1440p (2560 x 1440):

VR and 4K:

FLAWLESS

GREAT

GOOD

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


Best $1200 Build for Gaming
Graphics Card Zotac 1070 Mini 8GB
CPU Intel Core i5-8400 (8th Gen)
Motherboard MSI Z370-A Pro (ATX, DDR4, SLI)
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB, DDR4, 3000MHz)
Hard Drive WD Blue 1TB (7200 RPM)
SSD Crucial BX300 120GB
Power Supply EVGA 650 GQ 650W (80+ Gold, Semi Modular)
Case NZXT Phantom 410 (ATX, Mid-Tower, White)
TOTAL COST: $1235 *

* Total cost is only an estimate at the time of writing as hardware prices fluctuate


A high-end gaming computer of this caliber is enough to please the majority of gamers out there with the powerful pairing of the epic GTX 1070 graphics card and the latest 8th gen Intel i5, and will have you playing the latest games perfectly in 1080p and very nicely in 1440p throughout 2018 and beyond without any real need to upgrade for a long time. Don't think you ever need to spend any more than this on a custom gaming PC unless you're absolutely sure you need more power such as for maxed-out 1440p, great 4K performance, etc (see our extreme PC builds). Let's talk a bit about the parts included, although the CPU, motherboard and HDD remain the same as they're great choices for this price tier.

The 1070 is an obvious choice with no equal right now in the $500 - $700 price category (previously the $450 - $600 category pre-cryptocurrency :/) in terms of performance for your dollar, and it'll dominate 1080p (full HD) gaming flawlessly as well as provide a smooth 1440p 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. Stepping up to a 1080 or 1080 Ti card instead would be absolutely ideal for 4K or VR, but a 1070 is absolutely no slouch and you won't be missing out on too much and is enough graphics grunt to please a huge amount of gamers out there.

For RAM you can't really go wrong with Corsair , and at this price we've bumped up from the gaming sweet spot of 8GB to the "all-out" amount of 16GB to future-proof this system to maximize gaming and non-gaming performance over the next few years. Although to be completely honest, you could get away with 8GB when you have such a powerful GPU and CPU and not see a flicker of difference when it comes to gaming in almost all situations over the next year or so.

So it comes down to whether or not you'd rather spend the extra amount on 16GB now, which makes sense if you like the idea of fully future-proofing your rig without having to upgrade later, or if you'll be doing memory-intensive tasks like heavy multitasking or high-resolution video editing, or whether you'd rather put the added cost of 16GB towards something else in your rig. 

For this build we've gone for a standard 1TB HDD as well as a good value 120GB SSD from Crucial that's on sale for Black Friday. 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.

When assembling a top-tier, powerful high-end gaming system you really want to get a high-quality power supply, and the 80-Plus Gold EVGA unit included in this setup is definitely that. It's also semi-modular which means less messy cabling and better cable management when it comes time to build, and overall has good efficiency and reliability.

Last but not least we have our choice of enclosure to house the precious insides of your shiny new high-end gaming PC build, which long-time readers will notice has been a mainstay in our recommended builds. We just love it. 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 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). Anyway, that wraps up our current best high end gaming PC builds that'll set you up well for memorable elite-level gaming experiences for years to come. 



NEXT: The Extreme Gaming Computer Builds





Need More Help Choosing the Perfect Parts-List?

For general questions about all our monthly builds, see our Builds FAQ.

For specific 1-on-1 help and/or a critique of your parts-list, see our comprehensive DIY PC Manual as every download comes with 60 days of available email help/advice/support where you can ask us anything.

If you want us to design you a fresh new build from the ground up, carefully-tweaked for your exact needs, you can also have us plan your dream build.

Or, if you just have a quick question (that isn't covered in our FAQ) you can email us here and we'll do our best to help where possible. We also always appreciate any feedback/constructive criticism on the builds to help us continue improving and providing the best example builds for DIY beginners possible. Thanks guys.