How to Build a Kick-Ass Gaming PC for Less Than $1,000


 How to Build a Kick-Ass Gaming PC for Less Than $1,000

Editors' Note: A version of this story originally appeared in the ad-free, curated edition of PC Magazine, available on iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms. Subscribe now!

Want to build a gaming PC that's both a performance monster and a showpiece? It takes equal parts strategy and money. We can't help you with the bucks, alas. But we've mapped out and built enough PCs to know where to save and where to splurge. You can count on lots of bang for buck these days in two key areas—mainstream video cards, and gratuitous RGB bling—and we aim to max those out for the money.

Executive Editor John Burek and I build a lot of PCs together. For this project, we settled on a simple goal: putting together an uber-attractive gaming rig with a $1,000 price cap for reliable gaming at 1080p or 1440p. (The overall pricing is fluid; allow us a little wiggle room for sales, rebates, and ever-changing parts costs.) We settled on one of today's strongest possible component loadouts at about a grand, for a PC that combines plenty of gaming grunt and practically out-of-control RGB lighting—with a couple of inexpensive extras that will really take it over the top.

Want to cook it up yourself? Here's the recipe. And if you keep reading beyond the parts breakdown, you'll see John and I in a long-form video, in which we build this PC from parts in a knock-down, drag-out build session. Join us.

Picking the Parts
Computer Parts



Unless you have spare parts at your disposal, you need to consider seven core components when putting together a build: a case, a motherboard, a power supply, a CPU, a graphics card (or two), some­­ RAM, and storage. And you'll see almost infinite options out there for each of these. Factor in cost, function, personal manufacturer preferences, and aesthetics, and you have a lot of decisions to make! Given our $1,000 cap, we had to decide which of these were the most important to the concept of an HD gaming machine, and which we could live with compromising on.

It should also be noted that since we planned to film and photograph the process of building this system, we opted for some parts that are a bit flashier and more RGB-laden than strictly necessary. Below is a rundown of the components, including our thought process on why we went with them over other options. I won't go through all the possible alternatives, because there are an endless number, but this should lend some insight into our decision making. (Note: Prices are based on their cost at the start of September 2018.)

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