Best Intel 1500 Dollar Gaming PC - 4K & 1440p! (Feb 2019)

Adrian B Updated on Oct 17, 2018

Every time I read this title I feel that it is too good to be true… but I’m wrong, this is totally true and as awesome as it can be. You can get a top-notch quality gaming computer to play all current games at Ultra settings, 4K at 30FPS or 1440p at 144FPS for less than 1500 dollars!

If you don’t get why I’m so impressed about that, try to find a pre-built computer with the same CPU + GPU as the ones you will find in this post and you will see for yourself what I’m talking about.

If you see errors, misleading information, or you just don’t agree with me I would really appreciate your comments so we all can improve this post together. Try to be nice with each other and be collaborative.

The Best Intel $1500 Dollar Budget Gaming Build

As I said in the introduction, this build is specifically designed to play all current and future games at:

  • Ultra quality settings + 4K resolution + 30 to 45 FPS
  • Ultra quality settings + 1440p resolution + stable 144 FPS

It has been carefully designed to get the most out of the GPU while keeping the lowest budget possible. But don’t get me wrong: all the parts used, including motherboard, RAM or power supply, are from the best quality levels you will find in the market.

Lowering the budget is not about selecting the cheapest components you can find around… In my opinion, it’s all about choosing the right parts so the whole system is balanced. And that can never happen if you pair a $600 graphics card with a shitty $20 power supply, for example.

So, in other words, this is the best budget-optimized build based on the GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. It is perfectly balanced to squeeze all the potential of both the CPU and the GPU. With this build, you probably won’t need to think about upgrading it for the next +6 years.

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Build Details

Case: Thermaltake Versa C23 RGB

Thermaltake Versa C23 RGB Tempered Glass

Thermaltake Versa C23 RGB Tempered Glasslaunch

chevron_right7.9 x 20.1 x 20 inches
chevron_right2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, GPU max length 400 mm, CPU fan max height of 155 mm, PSU max length of 220 mm
Market Price: --
Available on:
Amazon USA

Key Facts

Editor's Rating: 4.2/5

  • doneLED Illumination options
  • doneHardware support
  • clearLacks PSU compartment

All The Features You Need

Perfectly designed for gamers, the Versa C23 Tempered Glass RGB Edition ATX case brings brushed aluminum to the front and top panels for streamlined look.

The 4mm thick enlarged tempered glass window offers a full view of the chassis interior which securing to the chassis easily.

It has RGB LEDs surrounding the chassis with beautiful LED accents. It supports 11 illumination modes offering Riing Sync support. To enable this feature, you would need Riing RGB Fans, which are capable of syncing the colors all from a push of a button on the chassis.

As for I/O ports, the top-front panel has two USB 3.0 ports along with two standard USB 2.0 ports and a LED controller.

This case has enough room for any hardware requirements you may have. Supports motherboards up to standard ATX, a CPU cooler with maximum height 155mm, and a dual expansion slot VGA of up to 400mm in length, when not using a case front fan.

Fully Modular

The fully modular drive cages minimize the hassles of installation and removal. Especially, the 3.5” & 2.5” drive bay which allows users to freely interchange the hard-drives to suit their particular needs thanks to its tool-less design. The dual drive bay concept of “2+6” offers a good ratio for accessories and storage devices.

Great Ventilation Options

The Versa C23 offers various mounting points to support any type of cooling you can dream of including DIY/AIO liquid-cooling systems and air-cooling units. Apart from the built-in 120mm rear fan, users are allowed to install up to 240mm DIY liquid cooling radiator or two 120mm fans at the front to optimize system ventilation.

Motherboard: MSI Z370-A Pro

MSI Z370-A Pro

MSI Z370-A Prolaunch

chevron_rightSocket LGA-1151
chevron_rightChipset Intel Z Series
chevron_rightRAM DDR4 4000 (O.C.)
chevron_rightRealtek ALC892
chevron_right1x M.2, 4x USB 3.1, 4x USB 2.0, 6x SATA3, 5x fan headers, water pump support, 2-Way AMD CrossFire
Market Price: $111.20
Available on:
Amazon USA

The MSI Z370-A PRO is a perfect choice if you want an overclockable system (CPU, GPU, RAM), designed to fully utilize the latest Intel Coffee Lake processors, ready to deliver a world-class gaming experience.

It includes several fan headers with full control to allow you to cool your system any way you want.

The core features of this motherboard are:

  • Supports 8th Generation Intel Core, Pentium, and Celeron Processors for Socket LGA 1151
  • Supports DDR4 Memory, up to 4000+(OC) MHz
  • DDR4 Boost: give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • Turbo M.2: NVMe support, up to 32 Gb/s using PCI-Express Gen3 x4
  • X-Boost: A Great tool to boost your USB & Storage performance
  • Military Class 5, Guard-Pro: Latest evolution in high-quality components for best protection and efficiency
  • Click BIOS 5: A super easy to use and friendly BIOS interface

MSI PRO Series motherboards are optimized for cryptocurrency mining like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and more.

These motherboards come with more PCI expansion slots, perfectly placed so you can install multiple graphics cards simultaneously with ease.

Optimized Power Design and special BIOS options ensure a rock solid system for long mining sessions to maximize efficiency and coin generation.

Processor: Intel Core i7-8700K

Intel Core i7-8700K

Intel Core i7-8700Klaunch

chevron_right6 cores (12 threads) at 3.7 GHz
chevron_rightSocket LGA-1151
chevron_rightUHD Graphics 630
chevron_rightCPU Coffee Lake
chevron_right95 W
Market Price: $359.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Key Facts

Editor's Rating: 4.6/5

  • doneBest price/performance ratio
  • doneSingle core & Multi thread performance
  • clearRuns really hot under heavy load
  • clearPower consumption

Outstanding Performance

The i7-8700K is a clear improvement over previous generations, with an impressive single core AND multi-core performance, beating the AMD’s octo-core Ryzen processors.

This beast is just the best CPU you can get to reach the highest gaming standards as well as high-end productivity tasks.

The only disadvantage is that if you are looking for upgrading your current rig, you will need to also upgrade your motherboard since it’s not compatible with the previous generation’s chipsets.

Overclocking Made Easy

Under heavy loads, the i7-8700K gets a little hotter and the power consumption bumps up a little as well, so you should make sure to pair this processor with a good quality CPU fan to let it work at its full potential.

Overclocking the CPU is pretty straightforward and it can reach the 5.1 GHz effortlessly without affecting its lifespan at all.

Graphics Card: Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 Gaming 8GB

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 Gaming 8GBlaunch

chevron_right1721 MHz / 1860 MHz
chevron_right8GB GDDR5X
chevron_right180 W
Market Price: $812.00
Available on:
Amazon USA

Key Facts

Editor's Rating: 4.2/5

  • donePrice/Performance ratio
  • clearClumsy design

With the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 you can run most of today’s modern games at stable 1440p@60FPS and 4k@30FPS with max settings. If you want higher frames per second, you may need to set the Antialiasing settings to the lower levels to enjoy higher FPS ar 4K resolutions.

The temperatures on the Gigabyte’s 1080 are slightly better than in the Founder’s Edition model, as well as the noise levels, which are not an issue at all.

Compared to the previous generation, one single GTX 1080 (180W) would be equivalent to an SLI of two GTX 980 (2x 165W) so, in other words, the GTX 1080 is twice as powerful as the GTX 980 while halving the power consumption.

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB DDR4-3000 CL15

G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB DDR4-3000 CL15

G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB DDR4-3000 CL15launch

chevron_right16GB (2x 8GB)
chevron_right3000 MHz
chevron_rightDDR4, 42mm
chevron_rightXMP Profile (2133MHz, CL 15-15-15 w/o XMP)
Market Price: $110.88
Available on:
Amazon USA

As for the RAM, it is always a good idea to choose modules of the same frequency and, preferably, in groups of two. That is if you want to install 16GB of RAM, instead of buying a single 16GB module, try to find a 2x 8GB pack.

In this case, we have a high-speed twin pack 8GB ram modules, which is the minimum required for game streaming and to handle the most demanding modern games.

In order to exploit the 3000 MHz you will need to use an appropriate motherboard that lets you overclock RAM modules, such as the Intel’s Z370 (Coffee Lake).

Storage Units

SanDisk Ultra II 240GB

SanDisk Ultra II 240GBlaunch

chevron_right100 TB
chevron_right550 MB/s
chevron_right500 MB/s
chevron_right91k IOPS
chevron_right83k IOPS
chevron_right0.075W / 2.7W
Available on:
Amazon USA
Toshiba 3.5 1TB 7200 RPM SATA3

Toshiba 3.5 1TB 7200 RPM SATA3launch

chevron_right148 MB/s
chevron_right32.3 MB/s
chevron_right0.66 MB/s
chevron_right 0.56 MB/s
chevron_right? / 6.4W
Available on:
Amazon USA

Coming in different capacities: 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB, the SanDisk Ultra II is a pretty decent SSD offering remarkable speeds at an unbeatable price.

On paper, the drive gives a solid 550MB/s read speed and 500MB/s write speed. This is quite a big difference if we compare it to a standard HDD that could only deliver about 128MB/s read and write speed.

That’s why I always recommend an SSD as the main storage device to run the operating system. For raw storage (games primarily), you can make use of any standard HDD.

Power Supply: Corsair HX750i

Corsair HX750i

Corsair HX750ilaunch

chevron_right750 W
chevron_rightPSU Cert - Platinum
chevron_right4x 6+2 pin
chevron_rightOCP, OPP, OTP, OVP, SCP, UVP
Market Price: $147.10
Available on:
Amazon USA

Key Facts

Editor's Rating: 4.4/5

  • doneFully modular
  • doneHighest quality standards
  • clearHigh price for a 750W PSU

What can I say about PSU’s? A cheap / bad-quality power supply could put in serious danger the whole system. Believe when I tell you that this part is the most important one if you want to keep your computer alive and working at full potential as long as possible without degrading the CPU and GPU.

The Corsair’s HX series ranges from 750 to 1000 Watts and are fully modular, digital units with an 80 Plus Platinum certification.

With a reasonable power output and outstanding performance, the HX750i appeals to enthusiasts that wish to power typical performance and gaming computers but not triple or quad GPU monsters.

The HX750i is a really quiet power supply, operating without its fan at under 300 Watts workloads, so you won’t notice the PSU’s noise at all, not even when it’s working at full load.

What To Do Next

Now that you have the hardware parts list, the next steps would be figuring out what peripherals do you need (if any) and how to putt all the parts together. Here you have some posts to keep reading on these matters:

How did you find this build? Do you think it can be improved in any way? What would you change? Do you want to go for it but not sure about something?

Comment Below!
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