Need the best gaming PC for your budget in 2018? This guide gives you five of the best gaming computer builds and pre-built gaming PC options at a variety of price points.
Last Updated: July 9th – Check Update History »
With modern PC games advancing at such a rapid rate, there is no surprise that there are multiple games on the market that most standard cookie-cutter computers can barely handle. And, as PC gamers we like to have and experience the best… We like to play our games on the highest settings possible, with the highest framerate possible.
Fortunately, in this day and age, even a budget gaming PC will allow you to play most games on higher settings on a 1080p monitor. (Although, in this guide, we’ll be talking about high-end gaming computers, rather than budget-friendly systems.)
This is especially true when you take it upon yourself to build your own custom gaming desktop, which will ultimately save you a ton of money on the markup prices that you would’ve paid for a pre-built computer (like an Alienware or Cyber Power PC system) or a high-end gaming laptop.
The good news is that building a computer is a very doable thing for just about anyone. Seriously… if you can operate a screwdriver and read, then I’m pretty confident that you can build your own PC.
In this guide, we’ve given you part lists for the most powerful gaming PC builds at five different price ranges. We’ve also linked to similarly-priced pre-built gaming computers as well so that if you don’t want to build your own desktop, you can go the pre-built route as well.
For those of you who just want to get right into building your system, I’ve put together five different pre-made part lists ($1,000, $1,250, $1,500, $1,750, & $2,000) so that you can bypass the component selection process and get right into playing on your new high-end, self-built gaming PC for 2018.
These part lists are updated with the top components at the best prices on a regular basis. So, if you’re looking at these builds you can bet they’ll give you maximum performance for the budget you’ve set.
*These components are updated about once per week. If the lists contain components that are out-of-stock or if the price is higher than listed, either search for similar replacement components, or use the comment form below to ask for advice on alternative options.
So you’ve decided to go all out… You’re not spending a dime under $2,000 on computer parts for your new ridiculously awesome computer build. Alright… that’s cool…
I guess some people just have to have the best!
Fortunately, for $2,000 you can really max out your build. You can run a high-end video card. You can utilize a processor with six or more cores and threads (which will really help you with stuff like video rendering and image editing.) And, you can leave yourself with a ton of options for upgrading in the future.
This is a high-end 4K gaming computer that can easily handle virtual reality games with the Oculus Rift headset and can serve as a powerful workstation as well. Also, if you’re going to drop this much on a PC, be sure to pair it with some high-end peripherals as well, like a solid computer gaming chair, and a nice-sounding PC gaming headset.
Through some serious research, I believe these parts will treat you well at $2,000:
For $1,750 the sky is the limit in terms of performance. Seriously, with a GTX 1080 Ti this build is ready to push games at 4K resolution…
$1,750 will also give you plenty of other options as well.
For instance, if you’re planning on doing some system tuning, this kind of budget will allow you to hit some decent overclocks. And, it’s definitely Oculus Rift and VR ready.
You will also get an SSD and 16GB of RAM. While 16GB of memory won’t be used in most games, more newer games are starting to utilize over 8GB of RAM and so the extra memory will ensure that you have enough to meet their demands.
This build comes with the following components:
For $1,500 you’re getting a very similar build to our $1,250 build. The only difference? You get a better GPU!
While the GTX 1080 won’t give you any significant added benefit if you’re playing games on a 1920×1080 monitor, if you want to play games at higher resolutions like 2K or 4K, then the extra GPU-power will help give you better FPS at those resolutions.
Ultimately, this build is capable of maxing out anything on a 2560×1440 monitor, handling pretty much anything on a 4K monitor, and will allow you to play VR games with the Oculus Rift.
The following is a list of components that will help you build the best computer for gaming under $1,500:
With a budget of $1,250 or more, you can expect to get a truly awesome custom gaming desktop.
At this price range, you will be able to put together a machine that will be able to play games on even the best 1440P 144Hz monitors. It will also serve as a 4K gaming PC as well.
However, playing on the highest settings is just one of the many benefits you will receive when you drop $1,250 on parts for a custom gaming computer.
You can also expect your computer to stay relevant for a long time and you can be sure that you have high-quality components all throughout your build. That means along with a great processor and excellent video card, you will also get a high-end motherboard and a well-built power supply.
And, this system easily meets the Oculus Rift requirements so it is definitely VR-gaming ready.
The build listed below is based on my extensive research. I have spent many hours evaluating parts and looking at prices and have come up with these parts for a $1,250 desktop gaming computer:
For $1,000 you can expect to put together a system that can max out any game on 2560×1440 resolution and is ready for VR gaming and the Oculus Rift headset. And, you can even expect a $1,000 gaming PC to handle 4K gaming just fine.
The $1,000 mark is the sweet spot for building your own computer, as $1,000 in components is enough to provide optimal in-game performance while still maintaining a reasonable budget.
The following are the parts I currently recommend for building the best gaming PC under $1,000:
Need help with your partlist? Leave your questions below!