Would you like to max out games on a 1080P monitor with no problems? Do you want a gaming PC that will give you the room to upgrade to a higher-end system that can handle higher-resolution gaming in the future? Do you want to get into virtual-reality gaming? Well, for just $700 you can build the perfect mid-range gaming computer that will have no trouble playing games on a 1080P monitor, will meet the minimum requirements of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and that will give you the ability to easily upgrade to a system down the road that will be able to handle 1440P or 4K gaming.
In this guide, we’re going to give you a list of components that you can use to build a $700 gaming computer that can accomplish everything listed above. (We’ve also linked to a similarly priced pre-built desktop as well if you aren’t up for building a computer.)
For more affordable gaming PC builds at various price points, check out our Budget Gaming PC Build guide.
In reality, this $700 build is very similar to our $600 system. The only difference between the two builds is that this $700 build comes with an SSD and 16GB of memory.
The SSD will help this build feel much faster overall and will significantly cut down on boot times. And, the 16GB of memory will be beneficial for future-proofing and will help gamers who do video editing and/or content creation as well.
Ultimately, this is a more well-rounded system than our $600 build, but the two will perform fairly similarly.
With that being said, here is a look at the list of parts you’ll need in order to build a $700 gaming computer that will deliver your excellent performance at 1080P resolution.
*NOTE: If you’re not up for building your own computer, click the “Shop Pre-Builts” button to see a similarly priced pre-built gaming computer.
|CPU||Intel Core i3-8100|
|GPU||MSI RX 580 8GB|
|RAM||Corsair Vengeance 16GB|
|HDD||Seagate 1 TB|
|CASE||Thermaltake Versa H15|
|PSU||Corsair CX 550M|
|ODD||Install O.S. from USB drive|
Grand Total: $670-$730
*Component prices fluctuate daily. Click here for current pricing.
**Price includes the components that make up the tower only. Windows 10 is included in the list, but will cost extra—and you will definitely need an operating system one way or another.
The list above is our choice for the best gaming PC builder under $700. However, there are different routes you can go with this build. And, in fact, at the time of writing this guide, the list of parts in this build actually come in quite a bit lower than $700. So, there is flexibility in what you can do with this build and how you can maximize your budget. We’ll discuss all of the other options you have for this build below, as well as what kind of performance you can expect, how to avoid the high cost of buying Windows, and what upgrade paths this system will offer you.
With an RX 580 8GB graphics card and an Intel Core i3-8100, this system will deliver optimal performance in most games on a 1080P monitor:
- For less-demanding games like Fortnite, Team Fortress 2, League of Legends, expect ~100+ frames per second on max settings on a 1080P monitor
- For more demanding games like PUBG, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, GTA V, The Witcher 3, etc. expect ~60+ FPS on max settings on a 1080P monitor
Unless you have a 4K monitor or a 1440P 144Hz monitor, you won’t have to worry about a having a low framerate with this build.
If you prefer AMD CPUs over Intel CPUs, you can definitely go that route with this build. We felt that, for the price, this build offered the best value. However, that doesn’t mean that it is the absolute best part list for every individual with a $700 budget.
There are many reasons why you might want to consider an AMD CPU over the i3-8100 that we have chosen for this build.
But, for our processor choice, the Intel Core i3-8100 offers more single-core performance than the Ryzen alternatives at higher prices. And, since most games utilize single core performance more than they utilize processors that have more than four cores, at ~$120, the i3-8100 is a phenomenal option for budget-friendly gaming-only systems.
Of course, Ryzen’s more cores and threads don’t make them bad for gaming. And, in the grand scheme of things, the real-world in-game difference between a system with an Intel Core i3-8100 in it and a system with a Ryzen 5 processor in it will really be decided by what graphics card the two systems have. So, for us, the overall performance and incredibly low price of the i3-8100 pushed us to give it the nod over more expensive Ryzen 5 CPUs.
However, if you will be using your computer for more applications outside of gaming—and more specifically, applications that utilize more cores/threads (like video editing, graphics design, etc.)—then going with a Ryzen 5 CPU would definitely make sense over the i3-8100.
At the time of writing this guide, this build actually comes in at a price that is closer to ~$650, than it does to $700. So, you can either keep that extra money, or you can upgrade other components in this build.
Ultimately, though, prices do often fluctuate on any given day and so it is very possible that when you go to read this guide that the total price is actually closer to $700.
We leave the price of Windows 10 out of our builds because there are different ways to get an operating system for less than the $100 that Windows 10 costs. Not all of these methods are ideal, but we figured we’d let you decide which operating system and/or method for getting a copy of Windows is the best option for you. Here are three alternatives to paying ~$100 for a copy of Windows 10:
First, you could install a free Linux-based operating system. You won’t be able to play certain games that aren’t compatible with Linux, but you will save $100.
Second, you could buy a Windows 10 key from a third party marketplace for ~$30. I’ve had good success purchasing Windows keys from Kinguin.net in the past, but there is definitely some risk involved in purchasing a Windows license from a third party source, as it is not technically a method of purchasing Windows that is approved by Microsoft.
Finally, you could just install Windows 10 for free and not activate it. In my opinion, this is probably the best route to go if you’re working with a tight budget. The $100 that Windows 10 costs could be the difference between running your games at max settings and running them at medium-or-lower settings. Essentially, though, Microsoft allows anyone to install Windows onto their computer without forcing them to activate it. And, for the most part, you can still use Windows normally even when it’s not activated. The only thing you will lose out on is some customization options like setting a custom background for your desktop and you also won’t be able to access Microsoft for support (although this isn’t that big of a deal—I’ve used Windows-based systems for nearly 20 years and I’ve never once called Microsoft to ask them for help with Windows). But, I think in order to save $100, that is not a bad trade-off cost. And, at the very least, you could run the non-activated version of Windows for the time being until you can afford to purchase an activation key for it.
The cool thing about this $700 gaming computer build is that, if your main goal is to play games on higher settings on a budget 1080P monitor, you won’t need to upgrade its core components (CPU and GPU) for a long time.
So, in my opinion, your best upgrade path for a system like this would be the following:
- Add a 256GB+ SSD as your boot drive (and to store your most-used games and applications on)
- Add a second 8GB stick of Corsair Vengeance LPX memory for 16GB total
In terms of system performance, those two upgrades are incredibly easy and cost-efficient. Again, this system likely won’t need a processor or graphics card upgrade for a few years if your main objective is 1080P gaming.
If your objective changes and you either A) want to have the opportunity to play games on a higher resolution gaming monitor, and/or B) want to start using your computer for more heavily-threaded applications, then the following upgrades would make sense as well:
- Upgrade your Intel Core i3-8100 to an Intel Core i7-8700
- Upgrade your RX 580 8GB to a next-gen GPU (GTX 1170/1180 should be released in the near future)
Note, though, that you may need a PSU upgrade if you want to bump up to an 1170/1180. A GTX 1170 will probably work fine on the Corsair CX550 that comes with this build, but you might be cutting it close with an 1180.
If you’re building a new system and you need a new monitor, keyboard, and/or mouse to go with it, in this section we’ve provided a few quick picks for you that are cost-effective and will pair well with our $700 PC build:
See more affordable 144Hz gaming monitor options by following the link.
If you’re a budget-oriented gamer that is in the market for a new gaming computer that can max out any game on a 1080P monitor, as well as run an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset, then this $700 gaming PC build is exactly what you need. It’s fairly inexpensive and it will easily handle modern games on higher settings. And, it meets the minimum requirements for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.