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.
Last Updated: April 2016
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
- 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)
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.
- 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.
- 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
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
DVD – Lite-On 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive
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.