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PC Gaming can be quite an expensive hobby, as we all know. However, you don’t need to throw away a couple of thousand bucks to be able to play the latest games. In this blog post, I’m going to reviewing several pre-built gaming PCs that are all cheaper than $1500. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a clear answer to the question: what’s the best gaming PC under $1500.
In addition to this, I also talk about what components to get if you wanted to build a gaming PC yourself for less than $1500.
|CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming PC, Intel Core i5-9400F 2.9GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB, 8GB...
|Acer Predator Orion 3000 PO3-630-UA15 Gaming Desktop | 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11700F 8-Core |...
|Empowered PC Mantis Custom Gaming Desktop (NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 TI, Intel 8 Core i7-10700K, 32GB...
|Thermaltake Glacier 160 Gaming PC (AMD Ryzen 5 3600, GTX 1660 Super, 16GB RGB 3000Mhz DDR4 ToughRAM...
|SkyTech Archangel 3.0 Gaming Computer PC Desktop - Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz, RTX 3060 12GB, 1TB...
The CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme build comes with a 9th generation Intel Core i5-9400F CPU. It comes with 6 cores which means it’s well-suited for processor-intensive tasks like gaming and video editing. However, the lack of hyper-threading means that it can slow down a bit if you try to load up several heavy software at once.
The i5-9400F has a max clock speed of 4.10 GHz which means that you can get some great FPS out of it without even having to overclock.
This pre-built desktop comes with 8GB of DDR4 RAM, which is decent. However, I'd recommend adding in another 8GB RAM module if you want to be able to play the latest Triple-A video games. In terms of storage, you get a 240GB SSD as well as a 1TB HDD. This should be enough for most applications.
The CyberPowerPC Game Xtreme includes a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB which is a fairly great deal, especially considering the price of this machine. It's a decent graphics card and it'll work just fine for games like Fornite and Overwatch. However, if you want to play something more graphics-intensive at medium to high resolutions, I'd recommend upgrading.
Lastly, you get a CyberPowerPC gaming keyboard and mouse. It's got 102 keys, including 8 multimedia ones, and I found it to be quite ergonomic. If you're not picky when it comes to gaming keyboards, then you'd probably be happy sticking with this one.
The mouse isn't a fully-featured gaming mouse with a crazy amount of buttons. However, I really can't complain about the price.
For less than $1500, the Acer Predator Orion 3000 is a beast of a gaming rig. It packs an 11th-generation Intel i7-11700F with eight cores capable of a top clock speed of 4.9GHz, which is quite frankly, insane.
However, the performance doesn’t stop there. If you’re concerned about storage, you get the best balance between speed and capacity with this one. It comes with an NVMe M.2 solid-state drive with a storage capacity of 512GB, which gives you enough space to install several large titles, without compromising on load times. Yet, in the same build, you get a 1TB HDD of the faster 7200RPM speed.
When it comes to RAM, you have 16GB of DDR4 memory. This might not be sufficient for some folks, but the good thing is that you have space to upgrade to a maximum of 64GB, which should do the trick.
Now, for this to be a proper gaming desktop, it needs a graphics card that does it proud. In this case, it is the high-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070. There’s pretty much nothing to hate here, as this card can play essentially every game released on the highest possible settings, and should be able to do so for a few years to come.
The bonuses that you get with this pre-built gaming desktop include an Acer Predator RGB gaming keyboard and mouse, which go quite well with the RGB case and fans.
If you like your gaming computers to look like they were just salvaged from an alien spacecraft, then you’re going to love the CUK Mantis. The front panel is in two pieces, with a brushed aluminum finish and green accents. You get a big window on the side and your case ports on the top.
To talk about what’s inside, the Mantis comes with a hexacore Intel i7-10700K CPU. In case you’re not aware, the perk to the “K” in the name is that it means you can overclock the processor to get even more performance out of it, and that’s for a CPU that can already go as high as 5.1GHz. That’s more than enough for any gaming you want to do.
On the storage side of things, you not only get lightning-quick load times thanks to the 512GB NVMe SSD, but you also get 2TB of mechanical storage. Plus, it is 7200RPM, so the speed is at its best here too. If you like having a lot of games on your PC at once, then this will be music to your ears.
One thing that makes the Mantis stand above its competitors in this price range is the fact that it comes with 32GB of DDR4 RAM, which is double what most others do. If you love to multitask or use your gaming rig for other productivity applications, you’ll have no issues with this much RAM.
On the graphics side of business, you’ll be using an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. This card has 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and there are only a handful of desktop GPUs that will beat this one. Playing titles at QHD settings is essentially guaranteed. You might notice it struggles a bit playing more intensive games at 4K resolution, but it can handle most of them fine.
You get a USB keyboard and mouse with this PC. You’ll probably want to get something more to your tastes, but if you’re not too picky, these will be fine.
If you like a cleaner, less “tech”-looking build, then the Thermaltake Glacier 360 is gorgeous. It’s got an all-white front with a huge side window to show off the beautiful internals. And the internals aren’t just beautiful physically, but in terms of performance too, especially if you’re looking to pay a lot less than the others on the list.
The Glacier is AMD powered, using a Ryzen 5 3600 that has a base clock speed of 3.6GHz. It has the power to boost up to a 4.2GHz clock speed and is also capable of a little bit of overclocking. The GPU is the GTX 1660, which is a very capable card, but it’s not the one for you if you’re looking to max out settings on modern games. It can handle essentially all games at High settings, most at Ultra, but only a few at QHD or 4K resolutions.
There’s only one drive in here and it’s a 500GB SSD, so you get a good amount of storage with top speeds. Most people will want to upgrade though. And, if you’re a fan of RGB in your systems, you’ll find 16GB of DDR4 RGB RAM to add to the aesthetic.
Now, for those who like minimalist designs with a lot of RGB, the answer to your prayers is probably the SkyTech Archangel 3.0. With a flat front panel, a huge side window, and some tasteful RGB accents, there’s a lot to love here. The three fans keeping this monster cool also make it look awesome with their RGB lighting.
Inside this beast is a Ryzen 7 3700X running things. This is a hexacore CPU capable of running up to a 4.4GHz clock speed, and pairing that with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, your computer will run like butter.
When you move to the gaming side of things, you’ll be relying on a 1TB SSD. You’ll get a whole lot of space to install your favorite titles, and load times will be at their very fastest. You won’t need to wait minutes to get to the next level. Your actual gaming will be handled by an RTX 3060 with a whopping 12GB of GDDR6 memory, helping you achieve the best graphical fidelity in most modern games.
This system comes with a gaming mouse and keyboard included as a bonus, which is nice to have if you want to jump straight into your games.
Sure, buying a pre-built gaming PC is more convenient but building your own rig can give you better value for money. If you’re willing to put all the components together yourself, then you can build a more powerful machine for less money.
Here’s what I recommend you use for a build in this budget. I’ve explained below in detail why I chose these pieces of hardware.
|AMD Ryzen 7 3700x
|MSI B450 Gaming Plus Max
|Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB
|Intel 660p 1TB NVMe SSD
|EVGA GeForce RTX 2080
|Power Supply Unit
|Thermaltake SMART 600W
The Ryzen 7 3700x is a powerhouse of a processor. It features 8 cores and 16 threads which means that data-intensive software runs smoother on it and it allows you to multitask heavily.
It comes with AMD's Precision Boost Overdrive which is an AI-backed software for overclocking. What it does is optimize your PC environment to make overclocking effective and safe.
The Ryzen 7 3700x has a boost clock speed of 4.4 GHz which should allow you to play games at well above 60FPS. Plus you can overclock the CPU to get it going even faster.
This processor comes bundled with AMD's Wraith Prism LED cooler which means that you don't have to spend time hunting for one for this build.
For a motherboard to be compatible with the Ryzen 7 3700x, it needs to have either a B450, X470, or 570 chip as well as an AM4 socket.
Compatibility isn’t the only reason for choosing the MSI Gaming Plus Max. As its name suggests, this motherboard is primarily targeted at gamers, having a whole host of gaming-specific features. For example, it comes with a dedicated gaming port to which you can connect peripherals and tweak their settings with the included software. If you connect your gaming mouse to it, for instance, you can use MSI's 'Mouse Master' software to adjust its polling rate, dpi, and other settings.
The MSI B450 Gaming Plus includes an M.2 connector for hooking up an NVMe SSD, a PCIe 3.0 x 16 for mounting a large graphics card, and 4 DIMM modules for a maximum RAM capacity of 64GB.
The Vengeance LPX RAM modules are quite small which means that you don't particularly need an ATX motherboard to hook it up.
It comes with the 'XMP 2.0' software which ensures that read/write speeds are set to the safest maximum. This ensures that the modules don't overheat with prolonged use. They also come with an aluminum heat spreader which dissipates heat quickly, redirecting the heat away from the internal components.
Each Vengeance LPX RAM module contains an 8-layer Printed Circuit Board. As a general rule, the more layers a PCB has, the better quality it is. This is because it leads to better isolation between circuits, resulting in less signal interference during data transfers.
In summary, the Vengeance LPX modules are reliable, high-quality, and fast, making them well-suited for a gaming build.
The Intel 660P is an NVMe SSD which means it reads and writes data faster than regular SSDs. This translates to faster program boot-ups and file transfers. It's a fairly small unit, requiring only a PCIe 3.0 x 4 port to be mounted so it should be compatible with most motherboards that have an M.2 connector.
For this build, I'd recommend getting the 1TB option rather than the 512GB. Modern games take up a lot of disk space and this will allow you to have several installed at once.
The RTX 2080 is a very powerful GPU and quite expensive too. It's going to take up more than half of the build's total budget.
The EVGA RTX 2080 comes with a lot of advanced technology, including ray tracing. Ray tracing is a life-like way of rendering light and shadows in games. It's the same technology that a lot of big-budget TV and Movie productions use for their CGI effects. In addition to this, you also get EVGA's Precision X1 software which makes overclocking easy and fast.
This graphics card comes with 8GB of V-RAM, ticking off the recommended requirements for a lot of modern games. Open-world sandbox games like Red Dead Redemption 2 should render quite fast with this graphics card.
Lastly, the cooling system on this card is nothing short of excellent. It's got a direct contact heat pipe, a heat sink, and a large Hydraulic-Dynamic Bearing fan that's quiet as well as powerful.
The Cougar MX330 has an ATX form factor, which is the largest size that a case can come in. This gives you a ton of flexibility if you want to add more components to your build in the future. At 11.2 pounds, the case is a little bit on the heavy side so keep that in mind when you’re buying.
This case is great for gamers. It's got 7 PCIe expansion slots which means you can fit in the essential components and have room for more. It's able to take in graphics cards that are up to 350mm in length, which means you can easily fit in an RTX 2080.
The case comes with a transparent glass side panel, allowing you easy access to the interior. This also means you can have all your nice, expensive gear on display.
You can fit up to about five fans inside the case but that would go beyond the budget we’ve set. Instead, the AMD Wraith Prism should be sufficient for now, especially considering that there's also ventilation mesh on the front face of the case. This should increase the rate of heat dissipation.
The MX330 has a decent I/O panel as well, featuring four USB ports (two of them are USB 3.0) one Mic jack, and one audio jack.
The reason I chose a 600W power supply unit is because it’s recommended for an RTX 2080.
The Thermaltake Smart 600W is 80% efficient with normal use, which is decent. It comes with a 120mm fan which keeps things consistently cool. This is great for people who like to game for extended periods. Plus the fan is quiet most of the time and I hardly noticed it even when I wasn't wearing headphones.
This PSU comes with a few built-in protection features like Over Power Protection (OPP) and Short Circuit Protection (SCP). This way, the internal components of the PSU will be protected in the case of a surge or shortage.
I’d go with the Skytech Chronos as my pick, seeing as it’s the most powerful build on this list. It’s got an excellent CPU, the right amount of RAM and storage, as well as a really powerful graphics card. Essentially, you could just dive right into playing games without having to do any sort of upgrade.
If you’re under a slightly tighter budget at the moment, then I’d recommend the Skytech Blaze II. Its only shortcoming is that it’s got half the amount of storage as the Chronos. But this shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t plan on keeping many games installed on your PC at the same time.