Whether you’re looking to buy a pre-built gaming PC, or you’re willing to build your own computer, $800 can land you a really powerful system. Of course, we recommend that you build your own computer because you’ll get more performance for your budget. And, in this guide, we’ll give you an $800 part list that will allow you to build a really well-rounded and high-performing gaming computer that will max out anything on a 1080P monitor.
If you don’t want to build your own computer, that’s okay, too. We’ve also linked to a similarly-priced system that will offer excellent performance as well. You can check out both options below.
For more affordable gaming PC builds at various price points, check out our Cheap Gaming PC Build guide.
If you’ve read our guide on building a $700 gaming computer, then it might surprise you that this $800 gaming PC build isn’t too much different. For our $800 build, we’ve chosen an Intel Core i5-8500 processor (over the i3-8100 in the $700 PC) and we’ve also added a 240GB SSD to it as well.
You still get an RX 580 8GB graphics card, 15GB of memory, a 550W semi-modular power supply, and a 1TB hard drive. But, the extra CPU cores that the i5-8500 will give you and the addition of the SSD help this build stand out as a more well-rounded version of the $700 build.
It’s going to give you near ideal performance on a budget-friendly 1080P monitor and it will work well on a 1080P 144Hz monitor as well. You can even use this system as a decent 1440P gaming computer as it will be able to handle most games on at least lower-to-medium settings on a 1440P monitor. And, it does meet the requirements for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. So, if you want to give VR-gaming a go, this system will allow you to do so.
Ultimately, for just under $800, this price-to-performance might not be quite as good as some of the less expensive builds we have listed, but the overall system performance it will deliver, along with its ability to run any game you throw at on a 1080P monitor help make it a really solid overall option.
*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 i5-8500|
|GPU||MSI RX 580 8GB|
|RAM||Corsair Vengeance 16GB|
|HDD||Seagate 1 TB|
|CASE||Thermaltake Versa H26|
|PSU||Corsair CX 550M|
|ODD||Install O.S. from USB drive|
Grand Total: $770-$830
*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.
While we try to put the best list of parts together as possible, the reality is that with prices always changing and different people having different needs, there are always other alternatives and different components you can go with. So, in the performance below we’ll highlight some of those different options you have, as well as go over some potential upgrades you might want to make down the road. We’ll also cover what kind of gaming performance you can expect out of this system at various resolutions and across different levels of games.
This $800 gaming PC comes with an RX 580 8GB graphics card, an Intel Core i5-8500, and 16GB of memory, all of which will help it run pretty much any game on a 1080P monitor. In terms of the types of games you can play at different resolutions, the following will give you a good idea of what you can expect out of this system:
- Non-demanding games like Fortnite, Team Fortress 2, League of Legends, should run at ~100+ FPS on ultra settings on a 1080P monitor
- Demanding games like PUBG, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, GTA V, The Witcher 3, etc. should run at ~60+ FPS on max settings on a 1080P monitor
- Non-demanding games (see above for examples) should run at ~60+ FPS on higher settings on a 1440P monitor
- Demanding games (see above for examples) should run at ~30-40FPS on lower-to-medium settings on a 1440P monitor
- This system also meets the requirements for running both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift—so it is VR-ready
These are rough estimates and will vary from game-to-game and scenario-to-scenario. And, while this system can serve as an entry-level 1440P machine, you won’t be able to run a higher-refresh rate 1440P monitor with it.
At the time of writing this post, the system currently comes in pretty close to $750. That’s quite a bit of extra room in the budget. And, of course, you can use that extra $50 to upgrade the case, motherboard, processor, and SSD in this build. But, you could also remove the SSD and with the extra $50 that is already available, you could get really close to fitting a GTX 1070 into this system.
The reason why I didn’t do that is that it would still take this build about ~$40-$50 over the $800 budget. You could technically fit the GTX 1070 in by going with the i3-8100 instead of the i5-8500 and that would be fine. But, in terms of system balance, and assuming that at this price range you’ll probably be sticking to mostly 1080P gaming anyways, it made sense to go with an i5-8500/RX 580 8GB combo instead.
Not to mention, if you do every upgrade to high refresh rate monitor in the future, the RX 580 8GB graphics card will allow you to get a less expensive Freesync monitor, whereas the GTX 1070 will require a more expensive G-Sync monitor.
But, ultimately, you can go either way you feel is best for you.
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 reality is that, if you’re just looking for a computer that can easily max games out on a 1080P monitor, or even play games on a budget 144Hz monitor or a 1440P monitor, then this system will hold up just fine without needing to be upgraded. However, there are always upgrades that can be made. The first upgrade I would make would be to…
- Add a second 8GB stick of Corsair Vengeance LPX memory for 16GB total
That’s probably not the flashiest upgrade in the world, but it will be a fairly affordable addition and it won’t require you to disassemble anything or replace anything.
After that, again, this system is set up well for the foreseeable future as long as you aren’t planning on trying to run a 4K or 1440P 144Hz monitor. If you do end up wanting to transition to gaming on a higher-resolution higher-refresh rate monitor, you’ll need to make the following upgrade:
In this scenario, you may also want to consider upgrading your processor to an Intel Core i7-8700 as well just to keep your system balanced.
If you need a monitor, keyboard, and/or mouse, we’ve provided some potential options that you can pair with this $800 gaming computer:
In my opinion, if you’re looking for a solid all-around gaming computer that can handle anything on a 1080P monitor, run virtual reality headsets, and serve as a nice entry-level 1440P system, this $800 build is an option worth considering. It should hold up just fine for 1080P gaming for at least the next 4-5 years. And, the included SSD and i5-8400 will help this system work pretty well for video editing, graphics design, and content creation.