Best Gaming PC Under $1000 - ULTRA 1080p, 60FPS! (Oct 2018)

Adrian B Updated on Oct 06, 2018

If you want the best gaming computer under 1000 dollars you can’t buy a pre-built computer. You MUST find the best components that fit this budget and build the PC yourself.

The question is… Ryzen or Intel?

Best $1000 Gaming PC Builds

I put the builds here so you can easily navigate to them in case you already know what you want.

For those whose aren’t 100% sure about what to choose between Intel and AMD, keep reading!

Intel Or AMD? Coffee Lake VS Ryzen 5

In order to get a real perspective of what each CPU can do, I’ve prepared a couple of tables with some critical information of both processors families.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600

AMD Ryzen 5 2600launch

chevron_right6 cores (12 threads) at 3.4 GHz
chevron_rightSocket AM4
chevron_rightCPU Ryzen 2
chevron_right65 W
Market Price: $149.99
Intel Core i3-8350K

Intel Core i3-8350Klaunch

chevron_right4 cores (4 threads) at 4 GHz
chevron_rightSocket LGA-1151
chevron_rightUHD Graphics 630
chevron_rightCPU Coffee Lake
chevron_right91 W
Market Price: $169.00

Technical Specifications

So, we will start taking a look at the basics: the technical specs. What differences can you see at first glance?

Note: for the $1000 build, we are mainly concerned about the i3-8350K and the Ryzen 5 2600. I’ve added the other two processors to the tables to show you a more global image of the different CPU families.

Ryzen+ 5/7 VS Coffe Lake i3/i5 - Technical Specifications
Ryzen 5 2600
Ryzen 7 2700
Base Frequency
3.4 GHz
3.2 GHz
4.0 GHz
4.0 GHz
Turbo Boost
3.9 GHz
4.1 GHz
L3 Cache
16 MB
8 MB
9 MB
DRAM Support
95 W
65 W
91 W
95 W
Price (RRP)

Before you ask, I know there is a price difference of around $30 between the i3 and the 2600. But we really don’t have any other option until AMD release the remaining Ryzen+ models (Ryzen 5 2500X, Ryzen 3 2300X y Ryzen 3 2100).

So, for now, the Ryzen build will be a little bit more expensive than the Intel’s.

Due to the higher number of threads, Ryzen CPUs are especially recommended for multi-core applications, such as video editing, deep learning, graphic design, … but will it be also better for gaming?

Ryzen Pros

  • The Ryzen 5 2600 CPU has 2 extra cores + 8 extra threads!!! (Question is how important this really is for gaming PCs)
  • Although both the Ryzen 2600 and the i3-8350K can be overclocked, you can do that on Ryzen CPUs with any motherboard. You need a Z370 mobo, which are really expensive, to overclock Intel processors
  • Boost frequencies and higher cache. The i3 doesn’t have boost clock.
  • In the long term, games will make use of the extra cores/threads (future proofing)

Intel Pros

  • The performance per core is higher
  • Best performance in older games and most of newer games

Gaming Benchmarks

We’ve seen that the main difference between the two processors is that the Ryzen 5 2600 offers more cores and threads than the Coffe Lake i3-8350K.

But we still have one question to answer: how do they perform on some of the most popular games?

Here you will find some game benchmarks tested with 16GB DDR4 memory and a GTX 1060 6GB graphics card with quality settings set at Ultra.

Ryzen+ 5 VS Coffe Lake - Games Benchmark (Avg. FPS)
Ryzen 5 2600
Intel Core i3 8350K
Battlefield 1
Star Wars Battlefront 2
Forza Motorsport 7
Ghost Recon Wildlands
Ryzen+ 5 VS Coffe Lake - Games Benchmark (Avg. FPS)


As we could expect from the higher performance per core of the Coffee Lake, this CPU performs slightly better than the 2600 in most of the games. Exceptionally better in some cases, I would say (Forza or COD).

In general, it seems there is an average FPS difference between 2-15 FPS which is not big deal if you consider the other use cases where the Ryzen outperforms the i3-8350K.

My Recommendation

If you read the comparisons I made for lower budgets, especially in the $600 and $800 budgets, you can see that the Ryzen advantage vanishes as the budget increases and the final decision is harder to take.

With $1000 you can build a PC with the latest Intel processors, the Coffee Lake generation, and given it has fewer cores/threads, it’s still the most powerful option for gamers.

But, what do you value the most: performance or scalability? In my case, I will always prefer future proofing my rig for the coming years so I can still use the computer for other purposes other than gaming without needed to upgrade any component.

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