If you want the best gaming computer to play all your favorite games at Ultra settings + 1080p + 60 FPS under $800 you can’t even think about buying a pre-built computer.

You MUST find the best components that fit the budget and build the PC yourself. And this applies to any budget build!

Building your own custom desktop computer can be overwhelming but don’t fear. Here you will find all the resources you will ever need to build an awesome 800 dollar gaming PC.

Best $800 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? What To Choose?

Up until recently, choosing between the two giants to get the core parts of a gaming pc (CPU + Motherboard) was a no-brainer: Intel had better prices and better performance.

But then, at the beginning of 2017, AMD released the Ryzen processors family and they changed the game radically.

That’s a really good thing. Intel was getting too comfortable in his dominant position and we know what happens in this kind of situations: Intal has been a little lazy and less aggressive in their technical achievements causing some sort of stagnated growth.

I’ve decided to create two separate builds for each Budget Build, so you have more options to choose from based on your personal preferences

Now, the market has revitalized, AMD is pushing hard and Intel is trying to take back his omnipotent position.

So, where are we now? We have plenty to choose from, really good options to build awesome gaming computers with either AMD or Intel CPUs, that’s why I’ve decided to create two separate builds for each Budget Build, one for each CPU brand, so you can compare them and chose the one you feel more in love with.

Intel i5 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.

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 $800 build, we are mainly concerned about the i3-8350K and the Ryzen 5 1500x. I’ve added the other two processors to the tables to show you a more global image of the different CPU families.

Ryzen 5 VS Coffee Lake i5 - Technical Specifications
Ryzen 5 1500XIntel Core i3-8350KRyzen 5 1600Intel Core i5-8400
Cores4466
Threads84126
OverclockableYesYesYesNo
Base Clock3.5 GHz4.0 GHz3.2 GHz2.8 GHz
Boost Clock3.7 GHzN/A3.6 GHz4.0 GHz
Total Cache16 MB8 MB16 MB9 MB
TDP65 W91 W65 W65 W
Price$160$165$180$180

And last but not least… prices are very similar, although it’s easy to find the Ryzen models cheaper than 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

  • Ryzen 5 doubles up the number of threads of the Coffee Lake CPUs
  • All ryzen models can be easily overclocked
  • Boost frequencies and higher L3 cache
  • In the long term, games will make use of the extra 4 threads (future proofing)

Intel Pros

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

Gaming Benchmarks

We’ve seen that the Ryzen 5 CPUs offer more bang for the buck than Coffee Lake’s i5. 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 the following settings:

  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
  • RAM: 16 GB 3600 MHz DDR4
  • Graphics quality: 1080p, Ultra
Ryzen 3 VS Coffe Lake i3 - Games Benchmark (Avg. FPS)  
Ryzen 3 2200GIntel Core i3-8100Ryzen 3 2400GIntel Core i3 8350K
Battlefield 1104121107148
GTA V50595269
Assassins Creed Origins43464852
The Witcher 373878891
Watch Dogs 246545554
Ryzen-5-VS-Coffee-Lake-Games-Benchmark

 

As you can see in the image (blue and orange bars) the difference is really small: in some games the i3 8350K performs better, in other games the 1500X does.

 

But the thing here is that Ryzen is a little bit cheaper and offers a more rounded experience, it’s a better future-proof investment and it performs at least as good as its Intel direct rival.

My Recommendation

With all the previous data in mind, you should now have a clear idea of what type of build you want.

It’s pretty clear to me that the wise decision would be to go for the Ryzen build, but the difference is really small and if you have a personal preference for Intel products, then it’s completely fine to go that way.


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Adrian Benavides

I've been always an avid gamer with limited resources. This led me to learn how to build the best gaming computers within tight budgets. Now, I want to share the knowledge I've acquired over the years with the world!

38 thoughts on “Best 800 Dollar Gaming PC – ULTRA 1080p, 60FPS! (June 2018)

  1. I have a question about the case fans of this build. I have actually already assembled this build + the recommended hard drive and everything seems to be working. However, case fans don’t work. They came connected together into some kind of connector which as I understand is supposed to be connected to power supply and its other end to the motherboard. When I do that, the computer doesn’t start. When I connect a fan directly to the motherboard, it works. But there is only one system fan slot and there are two case fans. Not sure what to do now.

    1. As far as I know, the Gigabyte GA-B250M-DS3H has only one fan slot. If you wanted to connect additional fans, you could do it by connecting them straight to the PSU.

      As for the case fans connector, I’m not completely sure about what kind it is. In order to help you further I’ll need some pictures.

      In any case, try first to connect the fans’ connectors to the PSU or one fan to the PSU and the other to the MOBO and if it doesn’t work just tell me and we will figure it out 🙂

      1. Thanks for the reply. I basically connected the case fans to the power supply directly and it worked. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment @TC_Orygun:disqus!
      There is always a “better” build, so don’ worry about having the latest and better build because that’s an infinite loop of anxiety and wasted money… also known as PC Master Race

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDMsGl_XxTk

      Regarding your current build, a GTX 970 is somewhere between the GTX 1060 3GB and the GTX 1060 6GB, which is good enough for gaming at 1080p.

      You could take the $600 build of this site as a reference and update your build accordingly, whenever you find it appropriate.

      But for now, I would personally go for the RAM upgrade, in which case, as you said, you should get a 2x 8GB pack (DDR3 or DDR4, depending on your motherboard, check that out first).

      And then, you can just wait to see when your computer starts struggling to run current games at 1080p before considering upgrading the CPU/GPU/Motherboard.

      Hope it helps, regards!

      1. Hello,
        I built the $400 PC you suggested using all of the parts you suggested (I did upgrade to Ballistix 8GB Dual Channel RAM) and it works fine. My question is can you please tell me which settings you suggest to run games? Thanks for your help!

          1. Thanks for the quick response. I’m sorry that I wasn’t more clear in my question. I actually meant settings in the BIOS (MSI BD250M Pro VD + Pentium G4560 CPU). I’m not sure if the build as is will just run most games from 2016 and before at a high level without me tweaking anything. I’m new to this, this was my first build 😀

          2. No problem! As this is a basic gaming computer (non overclockable components) you don’t have to worry about any BIOS configuration.

            And congratulations for your first build! I hope this website helped you in the process.

            If you have any other question, I’m here to help 🙂

          3. Hi, just wanted to update you on my build. I went with the i5-7500 and the MSI Mortar B250 board paired with the EVGA 1060 6gb SC. For the power supply a friend gave me a new EVGA 430w. Have not received the motherboard or CPU yet but from what you said it’s a great combo for my gpu. Thanks again for all the help and information.

  2. Quick question for you. You have the hyper T4 in the list but don’t go into detail about why. I’m wondering if it is worth the $25 and if it comes with everything needed to install on a 7th gen CPU and motherboard?

    1. You are totally right about that @disqus_6yngUyJ6f1:disqus, I will add the CPU fan details in the next month builds updates.

      Regarding your question, there are people that don’t even consider upgrading the stock CPU fan if not using an overclockable or i7 CPU.

      This build comes with a GTX 1060 6GB that, when pushed to its limits, will also make the CPU to work really hard. The $25 CPU fan will avoid your CPU reaching too high temperatures and will extend its lifetime as well.

      So yes, I really think it’s worth the $25 investment.

      Thanks for your feedback!

      1. Ok cool! I will probably pick one up then. I got my CPU and Motherboard in today so i am really happy with my build! The hyper T4 is what you recommend then i take it?

        1. The Hyper T4 is more than enough to cover your CPU’s cooling needs. You can always go for something fancier, but you won’t find anyting below 35 – 40 dollar.

          My #2 recommendation (the one I use with i7’s) is the Hyper D92. But as I said, the Hpyer T4 is enough for your build.

          Regards!

          1. Quick question. So I got the Hyper T4 and I want to make sure I’m applying the right amount of thermal paste. I’m using about a pea size dot in the middle. Is there a better way then eye balling it?

          2. Hey thank you for the help:) I got it all installed and ran prime95 for over a hour with highest temp being 61c so I’m happy:)

          3. Awesome!!! I’m glad you finally did it 🙂 How did you find the overall experience of building the computer? Tricky, difficult? Easy perhaps, thanks to this awesome blog? haha

            Just trying to figure out where can I improve the blog

          4. Honestly the building its self was easy. The downloading the drivers was easy. I had to reinstall my OS due to not knowing about UEFI but after that everything else was smooth.

            Well besides the Hyper T4 installation lol. It seems it does not sit perfectly which makes sense since it is meant for a ton of other cpus. But it works and keeps my temps down without issue. I reseated it and applied a different thermal paste since my friend gave me Arctic Silver and i heard if some seeps over it can cause a short.

            So i removed it and cleaned it. Then reapplied with some Paste a shop sold. Ran prime95 for 15mins and now highest temp i saw is 72c lol. So i am thinking it is crap thermal paste. I am getting some MX-4 in today from amazon so i may apply that and see if it helps. Not that my temps are bad but if it can be cooler why not.

            Sorry im rambling, but if i had any suggestion it would be to include how to install these aftermarket coolers you include and recommend what you think would be the best Thermal paste to put on your expensive cpu:)

          5. Thank you so much for taking your time writing this! I will definitely add a section to explain how to further improve the build (replacing the thermal paste, or improving the case airflow and other tips).

            Regarding your problem, the maximum temperature that the i5-7500 can handle is 100 ºC. It is recommended though to keep the computer under 80 ºC.

            Other things you can try other than replacing the thermal paste: adding 1 or 2 case fans, make sure the air exits are not blocked. The case should have enough room to breathe appropriately.

          6. Ok awesome thank you. Ya i am using the Corsair Air 240 case with 2 intake fans and 1 top exhaust. I decided to just use the stock fan as the hyper T4 didnt fit and i had to put it in a bigger case i didnt like and i love my 240:)

          7. Oh man!! You should have told me you had an ITX case and I would have recommended you a different CPU fan.

            Honestly, I didn’t even think about that possibility.

            In case you didn’t know it, there are CPU fans specially designed for ITX cases, with a horizontal fan. This one for example:

            https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103177

            If you don’t like this kind of CPU fans, you can also go for a liquid cooling solution (corsair hydro series, for instance)

    1. This will vastly depend on the quality you want to record your videos.

      The combination used in this build (GTX 1060 6GB and i5-7500) is more than enough for recording at 1080p 60FPS. The same applies for making videos

    1. Nope, I don’t include disc readers in the builds main parts. It is rarely used these days, so it’s pretty much a personal decision rather than a must-have piece of hardware.

      Keep in mind that there are both external (usb) and internal (sata) disc readers.

    1. They both perform pretty much the same. In the following video they are tested in 6 games and the results couldn’t be more balanced: +2 Ryzen, +2 Intel, 2 tie

  3. Have you looked at the new coffee lake yet? Curious how they will fit in. I see the I3-8100 has 4 cores 16 threads and is listed at around 130$ If you can find it.

    1. Yeah I know, coffee lake are kicking some asses… the problem is that motherboards are crazy expensive ( > $120).

      We will have to wait until Q1 2018 for the H370, H310 and B360 chipsets to be released.

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