We’re entering into the mid-high end zone of epic gaming PCs with this build. This is the absolute best 800 dollar gaming PC build you can put together to crush modern games in 2017. You’ll be cranking out the most demanding games on high settings, at 60+ FPS easily. Whether you’re new to PC gaming or someone with years of experience building their own PCs, this build is perfect for you.
With PC gaming receiving a massive fanbase boost over the 5 or 6 years, it’s awesome to see so many people giving the actual PC building process a shot.
To eliminate a lot of the guesswork, testing and endless googling that tends to come along with finding a solid part list to go with, I’ve created this $800 PC build guide. I’ve done all the legwork for you, essentially. 😛 I’ve compiled a full list of the absolute best components you can get in this price range, and listed them below.
One more thing before we move on – if an $800 build doesn’t seem like the right fit for you budget-wise, feel free to check out my $700 rig instead. It’s a bit less powerful, but definitely more budget friendly!
Alright, moving on.
Should You Build a PC Or Buy a Pre Built?
A perfectly valid question. A lot of new PC gamers ask themselves this very question when they first get started. After all, the performance difference between, say, a $700 pre-built and a $700 custom build can’t be that significant… right?
Well…Wrong, unfortunately. The performance difference absolutely is significant, and sometimes to a massive degree. With only a few exceptions, pre built gaming PCs will often charge you upwards of $200 extra (Sometimes way more) when looking at the retail price of the individual parts. I don’t know about you, but a few mere hours of my time is not worth $200+!
Trust me, building a PC is not that difficult, as you’ll see in the guide listed in the drop-down menu below. Pre built gaming PC companies’ main focus is profit, and there’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily… But profit shouldn’t come at the major expense of the end user’s wallet! But budget alone isn’t the only reason you should avoid pre-built gaming PCs like the plague.
The other major consideration is warranties. This ties directly into a given PC being future-proof or not. Okay, so the bottom line here is that pre-built gaming PCs have full system warranties. Know what that means? Upgrading or swapping any parts of the rig results in warranty termination.
That’s right, you can’t even swap out a single stick of RAM without ruining your chance at getting tech support down the line. Brutal! When you build a custom PC yourself, you get per-part warranties, meaning if one part fails on you, you can send it back with no issues. You’re also free to swap parts as you see fit without voiding your warranty.
Seriously, if you can’t upgrade your PC’s video card 2 years from now without destroying your warranty, who’s getting the better end of the deal there? You or the company who built the PC?
That being said, I will list a few optional tools you can consider picking up if you want to make your life a wee bit easier, but I’m not going to recommend any specific products. Chances are, you have this stuff lying around your house – why wait for it to ship to you?
Anyway, the list. Here we go.
- A flashlight (Do I need to explain this one? Probably not.)
- Needlenose pliers (Make it easy to pick up dropped screws – trust me, this is a real pain in the rear to do by hand)
- A screwdriver (For screwing in screws. And stuff.)
- An anti-static wrist band (Prevents excess static from damaging your components – grounding yourself on a piece of metal accomplishes the same thing, though, you just need to do it more frequently if you’re working on carpet)
If you’ve been worried about the difficulty of building a gaming PC up until this point, let me soothe those fears – it ain’t difficult. At all. Building a gaming PC is honestly easier than learning how to use a freakin’ computer – and you’re probably already pretty good at doing that.
It’s as simple as following directions, and those directions do not change that much between builds. You pick a case. You open the case. You put your motherboard in. You put your other boards onto your motherboard. Boom. Done.
Okay, there’s a few more steps than that, but it’s really not much more complex. As the video below suggests, you can have a full build assembled in front of you in under an hour – though it might take you a bit longer if its’ your first time. 🙂
If you’re still struggling to understand the PC building process, don’t beat yourself up. It was difficult as heck for me when it was my first time around, too. Just drop a comment below this article with any questions – I’ll be happy to assist you ASAP. 😀
Best 800 Dollar Gaming PC Build For 2017
My $800 gaming PC build is designed for the purpose of running most modern games at 1440P on medium-high settings, and just about everything on high-ultra at 1080P. Both of these settings aim to achieve 60 FPS easily, as long as the game isn’t horribly optimized (Lookin’ at you, Assassin’s Creed series).
Now, having said that, it’s also important to understand the limitations of this build. You will not be consistently achieving over 60 FPS (If you have, say, a 144Hz monitor) at 1440P, nor will you be able to break into 4K gaming with this rig. But if you’re looking at a mid range build like this, chances are good you already know that.
The feeling you get whilst running the Witcher 3 with hairworks on, on high settings, at 1440P? that’s an awesome feeling – and one you won’t forget for a while.
Okay, enough sappy crap. Let’s keep going.
The Part List
Before I launch into some PC gaming master race rant, I should probably get the actual part list out of the way. In other words, y’know, the reason you came to this article in the first place.
Oh, and one quick note – prices on Amazon are prone to change and fluctuation, so treat the estimated total below as… well, an estimated total. Bit self explanatory, really.
Sorry. I get distracted easily. I’m on track now, though. Here’s the part list:
Corsair Carbide SPEC-02
An upgrade from the SPEC-01, which was already one of my favorite mid tower cases of all time. Cable management, check. Lots of room, check. Great cooling potential, check. Check It Out On Amazon
EVGA 600 BQ
Solid, reliable 600W power supply – what more could you ask for? Check It Out On Amazon
A very high-quality socket LGA 1151 standard ATX motherboard that supports DDR4 RAM. Fantastic price, fantastic quality. Check It Out On Amazon
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 Windforce
We’re movin’ on up from the RX 480, straight to the super-powerful mid-range beast of a video card, the GTX 1060 Windforce – with 6GB VRAM to boot. Check It Out On Amazon
Intel Core i5 7500
Great hyper-threaded GPU with a 3.9GHz clock speed – this puppy will keep our system running fast! Check It Out On Amazon
Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 8GB
This is honestly the best RAM kit you can get in the price range. An 8GB, 2400MHz, DDR4 RAM kit just under $60? Heck yes. Check It Out On Amazon
Western Digital 1TB 7200RPM
Pretty standard stuff here. Western Digital is the most reliable HDD manufacturer I know of, and the price is right. Check It Out On Amazon
SanDisk 120GB SSD
Yup! We finally get to pop an awesome SSD into the build, for once. I highly recommend installing your Operating System onto this cheap drive, and enjoy lightning fast boot times 🙂 Heck, maybe stick a few smaller games on here as well.
The parts listed above are all you need to start kicking butt and taking names in the world of PC gaming – but there are a few extras that will improve your all-around gaming experience, and general computer operations as well.
These are absolutely not essential, but they are those “nice-to-haves” that you should consider grabbing if your budget permits.
Don’t worry about grabbing Windows 10 right out of the starting, gate, by the way. I’ll explain more in the brief description below, and the full “Operating System” section further on down this guide.
Windows 10 64-bit
Windows 10 is definitely the best PC gaming Operating System on the market. Nothing else comes close right now. Windows 7 is also a good pick, but as more and more games come out, it will slowly become obsolete (If it hasn’t already for newer games). It is not essential to spend money on an OS, though – scroll down to read about Ubuntu and Linux. Check The Current Price on Amazon
Although CD/Optical drives are nowhere near as prevalent or important as they were in the past, many people still swear by them. If you’re one of them, this is one of the cheapest (but still reliable) dedicated options out there. Check The Current Price on Amazon
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
Although this build already includes a 120GB SSD, there’s no harm in upgrading if you can afford it. I absolutely love Samsung’s 850 EVO series of SSDs, and I’ve been using the same 500GB version I bought years ago – still works like a charm. However, like the other two things in this section, it definitely isn’t essential. Check The Current Price on Amazon
About Your Operating System
As much as I’d like to leap right into the build breakdown, we have a bit more ground to cover before I can do so. Specifically, we need to cover the one aspect of your computer that actually lets you use it – the Operating System. More to the point, which operating system you should get.
I promise up above that you weren’t forced into getting Windows if your budget didn’t permit it – and I told you the truth. You have two major options: Linux and Windows.
Let’s go over them both in more detail below.
If you truly want to get the best out of your rig, Windows is honestly just going to be the default choice here. It is a bit pricey (Just under $95 currently), but it’s well worth it for how long it will last you, and for the fact that it’s going to be the standard for all new PC games coming out in the near future. Windows 7 – much like XP – will be phased out over time.
With Windows 7, you get 100% guaranteed compatibility with all new and semi-old games ( < 5 years old), a sleek, modern interface as well as access to a lot of other software and programs that you’re probably used to by now (If you’re a Windows guy, that is – but if you’re a Mac guy, you wouldn’t be reading this article to begin with).
That being said, I’m by no means a Windows 10 fanboy. I do think it’s a decent OS, but it isn’t without its problems. I don’t like being forced to enter my information just to use a built-in feature of the OS (Cortana, the virtual assistant), nor do I like how simplified certain interfaces are (Network menu, start menu, etc). But it’s honestly just the best choice out there for PC gaming.
Okay, so Windows 10 is all well and good, but what if you just can’t afford it? Are you totally screwed?
Nope. I said there’d be an alternative, and I didn’t mean piracy. I was referring to Linux, of course!
Linux, as you probably know by now, is a 100% free, open-source operating system. Developers band together to develop “Distributions” (Or “Distros”) of Linux that all look, feel, and function a bit – or a lot – differently than one another.
The most common, windows-like distribution out there is Ubuntu. The interface is immediately familiar for Windows users, and it’s pretty easy to navigate around. However, the downside of Linux is that it can’t run a lot of Windows programs by default. It’s unfortunate, but them’s the breaks.
But you aren’t SOL if you still decide to go with Linux – first of all, more and more games are being developed with Linux compatibility in mind as time goes on (Mostly indie games, but still), and you can use software like Wine to make Windows software (Including games) compatible with Ubuntu! Pretty nice, eh?
However, I just want to reiterate that it’s honestly worth grabbing some form of Windows down the line, if your budget permits.
My $800 gaming PC build is a future-proof, mid-range monster of a PC. It will crush modern games, and games to come, with smooth FPS and high resolutions. The parts are solid, and the improvements over our $700 rig are significant!
But… why did I choose the parts that I did?
Good question! Let me answer that in the form of a detailed, part-by-part breakdown. If you don’t care about the details, feel free to scroll down further to get to the rest of the article – I won’t be offended, I promise. 🙂
One of the very first decisions I make when putting together any build guide is the case I’m going to select. For this build, I obviously chose the Corsair Carbide SPEC-02, which is an upgraded version of the SPEC-01.
The differences are pretty minor, but the SPEC-02 has slightly better cable management, and slightly enhanced looks, for not much more money. Because the cost difference was so minor, I felt it was absolutely worth including here.
It doesn’t stop with the case, though. The motherboard is another super critical part of building a gaming PC, because it’s what houses the rest of your components. That being said, I’m not as zealous about the specific type of motherboard you get as some other people out there.
The truth is, when you’re factoring in things like budget, there’s absolutely no reason to be shelling out hundreds of dollars on a motherboard. If a cheaper motherboard will last just as long, and be open to upgrades in the future, I will never advocate for wasting the rest of your build budget on a higher-end one.
Compatibility is another very critical part of choosing a motherboard. As long as the motherboard is compatible with the rest of our components, I’m happy. Because it ticked off all the boxes for me, I went with the Gigabyte GA B250 HD3.
The next major component I selected was the CPU. The Intel i5 7500 is the same CPU we used in our $700 gaming PC build, and for good reason – it still offers excellent performance without bottlenecking our G PU. It’s also futureproof, as it won’t cause any performance bottlenecks even if we upgrade our GPU to a better model down the line.
Because I trust Intel completely to deliver a quality, reliable product, the only other concern is compatibility – and the i5 7500 is perfectly compatible with the rest of our build.
The video card is the lifeblood of any PC build, no matter what the budget is, or what the purpose of the build is. It renders everything – from the text and images you see on your screen to the intense battles you wage in games like Battlefield or Call of Duty. It renders the rolling meadows, fields and lush forest of the Witcher 3, and so much more.
Yeah, I can be poetic when I want to be.
Anyway, the GPU is important, okay? I went with the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 for this $800 rig because it’s pretty big improvement over the RX 480 Armor, both in terms of raw power, and VRAM (4GB vs 6GB). It’s not bottlenecked by our CPU, it’s powerful, and it’s compatible with the rest of our build. Not much else to say.
Ah, RAM. RAM is what allows you to multitask, and run games for long periods of time (As well as various other programs). The most important considerations when choosing your RAM are things like clock speed, RAM amount (8GB, in this case), and price.
The Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 RAM kit is cheap, fast, and will work very well for this build.
For once, we get to have an SSD in our build! Woohoo! In addition to our standard 1TB Western Digital Blue 7200RPM HDD, our budget also allowed us to grab a SanDisk 120GB SSD, which is perfect for installing a few games, and your Operating System of choice.
Boot times will be extremely fast, as will game loading screens, should you choose to install any onto it. The higher the capacity, the better, but 120GB is perfectly fine to start with. This SSD in particular has a 530MB/s read speed, 400MB/s write speed, and 85000 random read IOPS!
To tie things off, I selected the EVGA 600 BQ as our PSU for this build. I’m not going to waste time going into pointless details here – EVGA is a extremely reliable PSU manufacturer, and 600W is all we needed for this build. That’s about it!
Now that we’re nearing the end of this build guide, let’s quickly cover peripherals. Peripherals are essential parts of any complete PC build, as they’re what allow you to actually interface with your rig. In short, you’ll need a mouse, keyboard, monitor, speakers or headphones and a way to connect to the internet.
The specifics of which peripherals you choose are completely up to you. However, I recommend the ones below to get the most out of your gaming experience – for instance, since this rig is capable of gaming at above 60FPS on a 1080P monitor, I’ve listed a ridiculously good budget 144Hz monitor that will be perfect for gaming at doing just that.
However, again, specifics are entirely up to you. 🙂
The Acer GN246HL is my monitor of choice right now, and it’s the best pick for any mid-range build. It’s reliable, it can reach over 60 FPS, and it’s just a great value all around. Check The Current Price on Amazon
These headphones (Formerly known as the Sentey GS4731) are absolutely phenomenal in every way. The sound quality is great, the cord is a nice, solid mesh, the mic is flexible and works wonderfully, and it’s insanely comfortable. Check The Current Price on Amazon
Cooler Master Devastator II
This is a great mouse/keyboard combo for under $30 – honestly, the peripherals themselves would individually be worth that price alone! They look good, feel good, and function perfectly. Check The Current Price on Amazon
Netgear AC1200 Wi-Fi Adapter
It doesn’t really matter what WiFi adapter you get, and you don’t need one at all if you’re going the hardwired route. However, the AC1200 is the Wi Fi adapter I’ve been using for years, so it’s the one I recommend above all others. Check The Current Price on Amazon
This isn’t essential, but if you want a nice mousepad, the SteelSeries QCK is a great, cheap pick. It’s got a ton of great reviews on Amazon, and it offers fantastic traction – but really, any old mousepad will do for general gaming purposes. Check The Current Price on Amazon
Congratulations are certainly in order if you’ve made it this far, so, yeah… Congratulations!
The process of building a gaming PC is not a complex one, and it can be a heck of a lot of fun. 🙂 As such, I hope this article has served to either entertain or inform you on some level.
As always, if you are confused about any aspect of the PC building process, I’m available nearly 24/7 for any questions, comments or concerns. Just drop a comment below and let me know – or subscribe to my email list and email me directly.
Thanks for reading! See you all later, and happy gaming.
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