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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...||CHECK PRICE|
|iBUYPOWER Gaming PC Computer Desktop Element 9260 (Intel Core i7-9700F 3.0Ghz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX...||CHECK PRICE|
|Skytech Chronos Gaming PC Desktop - AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super 8GB, 16GB DDR4 (2X...||CHECK PRICE|
|Skytech Blaze II Gaming Computer PC Desktop – RYZEN 7 2700 8-core 3.2 GHz, RTX 2060 6G, 500GB SSD,...||CHECK PRICE|
|Skytech Archangel Gaming Computer PC Desktop – RYZEN 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6 GHz, GTX 1660 6G, 500GB...||CHECK PRICE|
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.
This gaming build features a 9th generation Intel i7 9700F CPU. It comes with 8 cores which is more than plenty for playing the latest games and also loading up some processor-intensive software like Adobe Premiere Pro. However, just like the Intel Core i5-9400F, it too lacks hyperthreading meaning the number of threads is also 8.
The i7 9700F is quite fast with a max clock speed of 4.70 GHz.
The iBUYPOWER Element 9260 comes with 16GB in DDR4 RAM which is excellent for gaming at high resolutions. Combine this with the included 240GB SSD and the 1TB HDD and you've got a pretty great gaming/workstation set up.
The graphics card you get with this desktop is the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1660 Ti, which is slightly more powerful than the regular 1660. It's got a slightly higher number of shading units and texture-mapping units meaning that you'll see more details in the graphics and textures will load faster. Still, I’d recommend upgrading to something more powerful if you want to game at high resolutions
Lastly, the included gaming mouse and keyboard were pretty decent in my opinion. The keys had good travel to them plus the RGB lighting was a nice touch. The same goes for the mouse but it might be too simple for some gamers' needs.
The Skytech Chronos features the 2nd Generation AMD Ryzen 7 2700X CPU. It comes with 8 cores, just like the Intel i7 9700F, but has double the number of threads. Hence it's much better at juggling multiple processor-intensive programs at once.
The 2700X has a maximum clock speed of 4.3 GHz but it can easily be overclocked using AMD's Master Utility software. Also, you get the AMD StoreMI technology which combines the speed of your SSD with the hard disk's capacity, making a sort-of virtual hybrid disk that performs better and is easier to manage.
This gaming desktop comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD drive for storage. A lot of gamers, including myself, prefer SSDs to HDDs so this was quite welcome.
The Skytech Chronos comes bundled with an NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super, a powerful gaming VGA. It's got 8GB of V-RAM which means that it'll have no trouble handling large sandbox games while maintaining a high FPS. For instance, I could play Red Dead Redemption 2 at 1080p while having the FPS stay consistently above 100.
In addition, it's got close to double the number of Shading Units as 1660, allowing it to render way more detail in the graphics.
A Cheaper Alternative to the Chronos
Skytech Blaze II is essentially a slightly less powerful version of the Chronos. It features the 8-Core AMD Ryzen 7 2700 CPU which has a max clock speed that's around 0.2 GHz slower than the 2700x. However, that doesn't translate to a huge gap in performance.
Just like with the Chronos, you get 16GB of DDR4 RAM but you only get 500GB SSD for storage. You should consider upgrading the latter if you like having several games installed on your PC at once.
The NVIDIA RTX 2060 is an excellent graphics card. It's got 6GB of V-RAM and its shading unit and texture mapping unit counts are pretty great overall. It should handle games like Fornite and Apex legends with zero issues and also allow you to play more graphics-intensive titles like Sekiro and Red Dead Redemption at 1080p on Medium.
The Skytech Archangel features an AMD Ryzen 5 2600x as its processor. It's slightly less powerful than the 2700x with 6 cores and 12 threads. However, this is still pretty plenty for gaming, especially considering that it's capable of reaching a max clock speed of 4.2 GHz. In addition, you also get access to the Master Utility software for overclocking and StoreMI for improving disk performance.
You get 16GB of DDR4 RAM with this gaming build plus 500GB of SSD for storage. If you're someone who likes to have several games installed at any given time, then I'd recommend doubling that storage.
The included graphics card is again the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1660 with 6GB of V-RAM. Given the relatively low price point, it’s understandable that Skytech bundles this build with a mid-tier graphics card. I'd recommend upgrading to NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2070. It's a more capable graphics card and you'd still be within the $1500 budget.
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.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 3700x|
|Motherboard||MSI B450 Gaming Plus Max|
|RAM||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB|
|Storage||Intel 660p 1TB NVMe SSD|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GeForce RTX 2080|
|PC Case||Cougar MX330|
|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.