Gaming PC Build Under $800

 

 

Introduction

We’ve put together a fantastic gaming system for just $800. We’ve carefully chosen parts that will get you the best performance in this price range without sacrificing quality! We always recommend parts that not only provide you with optimal performance but also outstanding reliability. Remember, it’s not worth saving $5 on a part if it dies every 6 months!

In this article we’ll provide you with the parts list that will construct a formidable gaming PC which has been optimized for the $800 price range.

We’ll also touch on optional extras and give a run-down on the upgradability of the recommended hardware, so you’re all set for now as well as the future.
If you’re interested in this gaming build, be sure to read our commentary on the individual parts below and why we think each of these is a good fit in this build.

 

Parts List

Last Updated: April 2016

 

Component
Description
Price
Graphics Card
EVGA-GTX-970-SSC-ACX20
EVGA GTX 970 Super Clocked ACX 2.0+
CPU
71cTXW4g6KL._SL1280_
Intel Core i5-6500
Memory
41U7Fm0SRQL
Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB
Motherboard
71bVkwbsoIL._SL1000_
Gigabyte GA-H110M-A
Storage
81tgnneyZ6L._SL1500_
250GB Samsung 850 Evo SSD
Case
 
NZXT Guardian 921
Power Supply
EVGA Bronze 600W
EVGA Bronze 600W

 

Part Details

 

Graphics Card

Alright, first up we have the core of this gaming build, the graphics card. We’ve decided to try to squeeze the best performing card we could in this price range. That’s why we’ve chosen the EVGA GTX 970 SSC ACX 2.0+ for our $800 build. This card comes with EVGA’s custom ACX 2.0+ cooling system which runs cooler, quieter and lasts longer that the factory cooler. It’s the SSC, Super Superclocked (great name right?) version which means EVGA have overclocked the core speeds for you. Lastly, it also has a physical dual bios switch, which allows you to switch between the dbi and SSC bios.

 Click to view on Amazon
Being part of Nvidia’s 900 generation means it can take advantage of some excellent features including:
  • Microsoft DirectX 12, NVidia MFAA, Nvidia Adaptive V-Sync
  • 1190MHz Core (Boost Clock:1342MHz)
  • 4096MB GDDR5 7010MHz Memory
  • Ports: Dual-link DVI-I x 1, Display Port x 3, HDMI x 1

 

CPU

For this build, we’ve chosen the Intel i5-6500. This is a quad core CPU based on the latest Skylake architecture with a base speed of 3.2GHz and an Intel Turbo Boost speed of 3.6Ghz. The higher clock speed and 4 cores means this CPU is more than capable of serving the requests of modern games. These i5 processors are widely used by system builders for their performance and value for money.

  • Quad Core with a good clock speed of 3.20GHz (3.60GHz boost).
  • Excellent performance.
  • Widely proven and trusted.

 

Memory

The motherboard we’ve gone with in this build only supports DDR4 RAM, so we’ve gone with the Corsair Vengence 1x8GB stick. The benefit of DDR4 is that you’ll get similar performance to DDR3 RAM but with a slightly lower power consumption, which also means less heat inside your case. DDR4 also offers a higher clock speed for a comparatively lower price.

  • CAS latency of 14 (CL14)
  • 2400MHz (but the motherboard will clock it down to 2133Hz)
  • 8GB single stick

While the latency and speed of memory is not particularly important in a gaming build, it’s still nice to have some quality RAM installed. Installing a single 8GB stick instead of two 4GB sticks means you have room to install more memory later if you ever find you need it.

Motherboard

Again, this Motherboard is another one of our popular choices. The Gigabyte GA-H110M-A board is reliable, has a solid feature set and is excellent value.

This motherboard provides the basic connectivity you’ll need to support all of your components in this build and also has a super easy to use UEFI BIOS. In fact, it has two which means you have a backup BIOS if anything goes wrong with the first.

 

  • LGA1151 socket
  • Form factor: Micro ATX (22.6cm x 17.4cm)
  • Chipset: Intel H110 Express
  • Slots: 1x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slot, 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Slots
  • SATA: 4x SATA3 6Gb/s Ports
  • Memory Support: 2 x DDR4 DIMM; MAX 32GB; Support for DDR4 2133 MHz memory modules
  • Onboard graphics: 1 x HDMI port
  • Onboard Gigabit network LAN module: Realtek GbE LAN (10/100/1000 Mbit)

 

Hard Drive

One of our common themes here at PC Build Advisor is to not skimp on quality. That’s why we believe it’s a great feat to be able to squeeze in a Samsung 850 Evo SSD into the build! These SSDs are among the best you can buy and while you may be able to pick up other brands cheaper, these Samsung SSDs have proven themselves in the field. Not only are they reliable, they’re also insanely quick.

  • Up to 540 MB/s read speed, 520 MB/s write speed!
  • 5 year warranty.

 

Now, in order to get the most performance possible out of this build, while keeping the costs down, we’ve decided to not include a regular old SATA hard drive. That means you’ll only have the super fast 250GB SSD. If you do need to store a lot of files and find your require more disk space, you can simply connect a USB hard drive or install a SATA hard drive at a later date.

 

Case

We’ve selected the NZXT Guardian 921. This is a beast of a case. It provides the room you need for all your components, offers great cooling capability and has many tool-less features.

  • Bottom Mounted PSU for the most effective ventilation.
  • Wire Management Support – 20mm space to run cables easily.
  • Aluminum textured look
  • Up to seven 120mm fans, or five 120mm and two 140mm.
  • Fits large graphics cards, up to 330mm

If you want to customize the appearance of your case, head over to our post on case lighting for some ideas.

Power supply

Finally, the power supply. You need a strong, stable and reliable power source for all of this gear. We’ve chosen the EVGA Bronze  600W power supply for the job.  This unit provides plenty of power for your system with enough capacity to support future additions and other extras. It also comes in at a very good price for this type of unit.

  • Single 12v+ rail – this offers the most compatibility & reliability for powering demanding components.
  • 80+ Bronze certification – 80+ certification insures a quality and efficient power delivery meaning more power, less heat!
  • 3 year warranty

 

 

View all parts pricing on Amazon »

 

 

 

Optional Extras

In our budget builds we typically don’t include optical drives – e.g. DVD / BluRay drives. These days, many people install their operating system (usually Windows) via a USB drive and games via digital download (e.g. Steam). We have a guide up in our blog here showing how. If you’d rather use an optical drive or just find them handy to have we’ve included an option below which will suit most builds.

Blu-Ray – LG Electronics 14x Internal BDXL Blu-Ray Burner

LG WH14NS40

DVD – Lite-On 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive

Lite-On IHAS124-14

Case Fans – Cooler Master SickleFlow 120

Add some extra airflow to your case, especially if you live in a hot area. These Cooler Master fans are a good balance between airflow, noise and price. They also come in a choice of several colors so try to match any other lighting you may want to add to your case.

Cooler Master SickleFlow 120

4 Comments

  1. Solid build right here. My only suggestion would be to get a bigger case if possible – it’s always better to have “too much” space in case you decide to add something or upgrade something down the road. I made the mistake in the past of getting a case that could only hold what I was putting in it when I was building it, and later on I tried to add some more fans for some more cooling and found that they didn’t fit! I should mention that the case was designed to have the fans I was trying to add, but the size of my other components (namely the beastly graphics card) prevented me from being able to add them.

    It was on that day that I learned you shouldn’t skimp on the case size!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Yep, I think a lot of us have been there. I especially remember the days when graphics cards started to become monsters that barely fit inside most cases. Luckily most case manufactures plan for this now.

      NZXT make excellent, well thought out cases which make great use out of a small size.

      The Source 210 in this build can hold an ATX motherboard, fit 6 or 7 fans and fit graphics cards as long as 330mm! The larger graphics cards will block the use of some hard drive bays but since there’s 8 hard drive bays it’s rarely a problem.

      I encourage everyone to explore the various cases available to add a personal touch to their build. As you mentioned however, it’s important to ensure there’s enough room for all of your components and upgrades.

      Great site by the way 🙂

  2. could you get away with a 500W PSU for this build? i checked out the GTX 970 page and it says Recommended PSU: 500W or greater power supply, and my budget is pretty tight so looking to save some $ wherever I can… thanks

    • Hi csg,

      Yeah, you can get away with a 500w PSU if you must but just make sure it’s a good quality power supply and has two 6 pin connectors for the graphics card. The brand / model of the GTX970 can also play a role as some of the heavily overclocked cards recommend 550w PSUs so be sure to double check the specifications of the exact card you plan to buy.

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