Best Gaming PC Build under $1500

A $1,500 budget is enough to get you a very powerful gaming machine aimed at high quality 1440p gaming or no compromises high refresh rate 1080p gaming. A powerful graphics card combined with an 8 core CPU and plenty of memory. Large SSD and powerful PSU. All that housed inside a top of the line case.

We have two systems here, one based on the Ryzen 3700X and another powered by the Core i7 9700K. The first one is a godsend for gamers who also use their PC for demanding productivity tasks. The second is a gaming PC that cannot compete with the Ryzen machine in productivity performance. Check out what we’ve built with $1,500. We’re starting with the Ryzen machine.

Parts for the AMD Gaming PC Build

The 3700X build features the more affordable CPU of the pair. This left us with more money that we invested in a better case, the Meshify C from Fractal Design. We also used faster memory since Ryzen CPUs can gain a few percent more performance with 3600MHz memory over 3200MHz if they both have the same latencies. Finally, we picked two mid-range X570 boards that have excellent VRMs and enough features for most users. If you don’t need three M.2 slots, three-way SLI or something similar, you’ll be fine with either board.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

Ryzen 7 3700X
Base Frequency3.6 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency4.4 GHz

The Ryzen 7 3700X is a marvelous processor for productivity tasks but it’s also great for high-end gaming. Its 8-core/16-threads design packs tons of power for any kind of work you might throw at it. In games, the CPU is more or less at the Ryzen 5 3600 level. That’s to say excellent gaming performance with superb .1 results but with max framerate never being able to reach results of the Core i7 9700K and Core i9 9900K.

While the 3700X isn’t on the 9700K level right now, we believe it will age more gracefully than Intel’s high-end gaming CPU. Once the next-gen consoles arrive, with their Zen-based 8-core/16-threads CPUs, and once developers start optimizing their titles for high core/high thread CPUs the 3700X will probably reach and pass the 9700K. Productivity performance, on the other hand, isn’t even a competition. This is where the 3700X beats the 9700K by a wide, wide margin.

The upgrade path is another area where the 3700X is the clear winner. If you get the 9700K you can upgrade to the 9900K, get 8 more threads, and that’s pretty much it. If you have the AMD CPU you can get a substantial upgrade with the 3950X, moving to 16-core/32-threads CPU, twice the amount you get with the 3700X. And let’s not forget that X570 boards are compatible with Ryzen 4000 CPUs. Wait for another generation and then upgrade to a 16-core beast with improved IPC and gaming performance.

Motherboard: ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus WiFi / Gigabyte X570 AORUS Elite WiFi

ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus WiFI
ChipsetAMD X570
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 8 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportAMD Crossfire
Expansion Slots2 × PCIe x16, 2 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports1 × PS/2
1 × DisplayPort, 1 × HDMI
4 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports
3 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports (1 × Type C, 2 × Type A)
1 × LAN (RJ45) port
1 × Optical S/PDIF out
5 × Audio jacks

No matter which board out of these two you get you won’t make a mistake. Both boards are among the best mid-range X570 choices around, with the MSI X570 Tomahawk being right alongside these two. If only X570 Tomahawk were available right now, that would be great. With the MSI model out of the picture we have the ASUS TUF Gaming X570 and Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite.

TUF Gaming supports 4400MHz DDR4 memory while the Aorus Elite supports up to 4000MHz DDR4 memory. Both boards feature two M.2 slots with 8 SATA III ports on the ASUS and 6 SATA III connectors on the Gigabyte model. Both boards feature gigabit LAN and two PCIe 4.0 x16 slots. Both boards have an excellent audio section with 7.1 channel support. It’s important to note that there are 4 fan headers on the ASUS board and 2 headers on the Gigabyte model.

You can find WiFi and Bluetooth modules on both models. No need to chip in extra later on for a PCIe WiFi card. The most important thing is that both boards come with VRM sections taken from high-end models allowing you to upgrade to the Ryzen 9 3900X or 3950X without issues. You’ll also be able to get any Ryzen 4000 CPU making the Ryzen build better long-term investment.

Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite Wifi
ChipsetAMD X570
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 2 × SATAIII
Multi GPU SupportAMD Crossfire
Expansion Slots2 × PCIe x16, 2 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports2 × SMA antenna connectors
1 × HDMI
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
4 × USB 3.2 Gen 1
4 × USB 2.0/1.1
1 × LAN
1 × Optical S/PDIF Out
5 × Audio jacks

Memory: G.Skill Trident Z Neo 16GB RGB DDR4 3600MHz

G.Skill Trident Z Neo 16GB RGB DDR4 3600MHz
Capacity16GB (2 × 8GB)
Frequency3600 MHz
Voltage1.35 V
FormatNON-ECC Unbuffered DIMM

This is the highest DDR4 frequency you should use with 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs. You can always overclock the Infinity Fabric and get better results, but those gains are about 2 percent and aren’t worth the hassle.

The Trident Z Neo is a slick-looking memory with RGB support. It features excellent latencies for its working frequency and is a perfect companion to the Ryzen 3700X.

Case: Fractal Design Meshify C

Fractal Design Meshify C
Case TypeMid-Tower
Dimensions (L×W×H)413 × 217 × 453 mm
Drive Bays2 × 3.5/2.5”
3 × 2.5”
Expansion Slots7
GPU Clearance315 mm
Total Fan Mounts7 (4 × 120/140 mm, 3 × 120 mm)
Front I/O Ports2 × USB 3.0, Audio In & Out

Design notwithstanding, the Meshify C is the best mid-range mid-tower case on the market. It has excellent airflow, top-notch design, lots of space for installing components, and superb cable management. It comes with two 120mm fans preinstalled and dust filters on all sides.

It can support up to seven case fans or 3 AIO radiators (240/280/360mm on the front, 240mm on the top, 120mm on the rear). It also has enough space for five 2.5” drives or three 2.5” and two 3.5” storage devices. If superb airflow isn’t your thing you can get a silent PC case.

Parts for the Intel Gaming PC Build

Now, let’s look at components for our $1,500 gaming build based on the Intel Core i7 9700K. The graphics card, storage, PSU, and the fan are the same as in the 3700X-based build. But since the 9700K is noticeably more expensive we had to pick different memory and case. And of course, we picked a different motherboard.

CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K

Core i7-9700K
Base Frequency3.6 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency4.9 GHz

The Core i7 9700K is the penultimate processor for gaming. In gaming benchmarks, this CPU is trading blows with the 9900K with Ryzen CPUs well behind the Intel duo. At the moment, the 9700K is the better choice for users who want an exclusively gaming PC. And this CPU will stay competitive for at least a couple of years. Just remember, if you’re using your PC for more than gaming, watching movies, and browsing the web, get the 3700X. As for the cooler, we picked the Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B.

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 AORUS PRO WiFi

Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi
ChipsetIntel Z390
Memory4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB
Storage2 × M.2, 6 × SATA
Multi GPU SupportNvdia SLI, AMD CrossFireX
Expansion Slots3 × PCIe x16, 3 × PCIe x1
Back Panel Ports2 × Antenna connectors
1 × HDMI
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
2 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
3 × USB 3.1 Gen 1
4 × USB 2.0/1.1
1 × LAN
1 × optical S/PDIF Out
5 × audio jacks

The Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Pro WiFi is a mid-range Z390 board that comes with plenty of features and excellent VRM. It’s one of the best boards for the Core i7 9700K. You can overclock the 9700K without issues and if you find a killer deal in the future, you will be able to run the 9900K on this board.

The board comes with support for up to 128GB DDR4 4266MHz memory, two M.2 slots, and 6 SATA III connectors. You also get two PCIe x16 slots and three PCIe x1 slots. There’s also Gigabit LAN by Intel as well as WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0 modules.

This board looks great and comes with a pretty solid audio section powered by the Realtek ALC1220-VB codec. It sells at a competitive price point and will be more than enough for most users, even if you’re into overclocking.

Memory: Patriot Viper 4 Blackout 16GB DDR4 3200MHz

Patriot Viper Blackout DDR4 16GB 3200MHz
Capacity16GB (2 × 8GB)
Frequency3200 MHz
Voltage.35 V
FormatNON-ECC Unbuffered DIMM

An affordable but quality 16GB DDR4 memory kit for cozy gaming. This Patriot Viper 4 Blackout kit runs at 3200MHz, which is more than enough for Intel CPUs. It doesn’t have any fancy RGB effects. If you want something like that and don’t want to go over your budget, get the RX 5700 XT and use the surplus cash to get that fancy RGB-powered memory.

Case: NZXT H510

Motherboard Form FactorATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Dimensions210 × 435 × 428 mm
Drive Bays2 × 3.5”
2 × 2.5”
1 × 3.5”/2.5”
GPU Clearance381 mm (325mm with front AIO radiator)
Max number of Fans and Radiators2 × 120/140mm front or 2 × 120/140mm radiator or 1 × 280mm radiator;
1 × 120mm rear or 1 × 120mm radiator;
1 × 120mm top
Front I/O Ports1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 1
1 × HD Audio

The case for the 9700K build is on the cheaper side since we don’t have as much money in our budget for the case. You can get the Meshify C if you pick the RX 5700 XT. But if you go with the RTX 2070 Super then NZXT H510 it is.

The H510 is a quality case with excellent airflow and signature NZXT design. There’s enough room for four case fans with two (one 120mm on the back and one 120mm on the topside) shipping with the case. The case also supports two 140mm or one 280mm AIO radiator on the front side and one 120mm radiator on the rear.

There’s room for two 2.5” and two 3.5” storage devices with one drive bay being able to host both 2.5” and 3.5” devices. Overall, this is an excellent case for the money and while it isn’t on the expensive side it’s great housing for any build.

To summarize, the 9700K version of this build is an excellent gaming rig with lots of power. It will stay competitive for years and should run next-gen titles without issues. But the 3700X is much better at productivity tasks, it sells for less, and is a better long-term investment thanks to its 8core/16 threads design.

Parts for Both Builds

Graphics Card: MSI RTX 2070 Super Ventus GP OC / Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 5700 XT

MSI RTX 2070 Super Ventus GP OC
Memory8 GB GDDR6
Base Clock1605 MHz
Boost Clock1785 MHz
Outputs3× DisplayPort

As in our $1,000 gaming PC build, we offer both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards. The final choice should be up to you but we’ll explain why either choice can be the right one. Let’s start with the RTX 2070 Super.

The RTX 2070 Super is a perfect card for 1440p resolution. You can expect 60 frames per second with ultra details turned on in virtually every game on the market. The card can also be used for high refresh rate 1440p gaming if you’re ready to play without every single eye candy effect turned on. And then you also have ray tracing and DLSS.

RTX can make selected titles prettier and more detailed by sacrificing performance, and you should expect more and more games utilizing ray tracing in the future. After all, both next-gen consoles support it. DLSS is more interesting at the moment. DLSS is so good right now that it’s the perfect way to increase performance without sacrificing image quality. The only downside is the fact that not a lot of games are using it. The MSI’s version of the RTX 2070 Super comes with two fans and works excellent. On top of that, it sells (at the moment) at a very competitive price.

The AMD RX 5700 XT, on the other hand, offers about 90 percent of the RTX 2070 Super performance for almost 25 percent lower price. The savings can be huge but the card comes without ray tracing nor DLSS. Further, driver issues plagued the RX 5700 XT  and while AMD fixed most of the issues the risk is still there.

But if you want to have a great 1440p performance and aren’t interested in ray tracing, this card is an excellent choice. The Sapphire Pulse version of the RX 5700 XT is one of the best models on the marketv that sells for an extremely competitive price.

Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 5700 XT
Memory8 GB GDDR6
Base Clock1670 MHz
Boost Clock1925 MHz
Outputs3× DisplayPort

Storage: WD Blue 1TB SSD

Capacity1 TB
Form Factor2.5″
Sequential Read up to560 MB/s
Sequential Write up to530 MB/s

This 1TB SSD should be enough for your storage needs for some time. It has excellent performance and sells at a competitive price point. If you’ve decided to go with the RX 5700 XT instead of the RTX 2070 Super you’ll have enough money left in your budget to get the 2TB version of this SSD, even if you pick the 9700K over the 3700X.

PSU: Corsair RM650 650W

CORSAIR RM650 650W 80 Plus Gold Certified
Power650 W
Form FactorATX
Efficiency80 Plus Gold

The Corsair RM650 is a quality power supply that has more than enough power to run this system. And it also has enough power to run almost any CPU and GPU combo in the future, once you decide to upgrade your rig. Since PSU prices and availability on Amazon are in constant turmoil there’s a good chance you won’t find this power supply at the same price we did. Chances are you won’t find it at all. If that happens, just follow these rules we’ve shared in our $500, $750, and $1,000 gaming PC builds:

Don’t cheap out on PSU. Getting a cheap power supply can fry your system or damage your components. It’s better to save more money and get a decent PSU than to get a no-name brand or a PSU without the 80Plus certification.

80Plus Bronze is the minimum you should go for. 80Plus Gold and Silver PSUs are a bit better but 80Plus Bronze is just fine for virtually any gaming rig. Also, don’t go with suspicious brands you’ve never heard about, especially if they have low user rating.

Finally, 550 watts should be a minimum for a gaming rig but for a build like this one we wouldn’t go below 600 watts. That way you won’t have to get a new PSU in case you upgrade to a new CPU and/or graphics card.

Fan: Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B (Optional for AMD Build)

Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B
Dimensions130 × 154.5 × 110 mm
Number of Fans1 + 1 optional
Advertised Acoustical Noise4 ~ 24,9 dB(A)
Max Fan Speed1200 RPM

Bear in mind that if you opted for the RTX 2070 Super graphics card getting an aftermarket fan will get you over the $1,500 budget. First of all, the included Wraith Prism air cooler is enough for 3900X let alone the 3700X. But if you want quiet operation and better thermals sure, gen an aftermarket fan.

The Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B is one of the best air coolers for Ryzen CPUs. It sells at a very attractive price and its performance is superb as are the noise levels. The best of all you can install a second fan if you want for even better thermals.

This cooler is also a great and inexpensive choice for the Core i7-9700K build. This cooler isn’t among the best coolers for the 9700K when it comes to performance but it’s almost as good as the Noctua NH-D15 while costing half as much. You can OC the 9700K with this cooler without issues.

This $1,500 gaming PC build has it all for a comfortable 1440p gaming experience. Its CPU can handle games but is even better at productivity tasks. It’s paired with 16GB of super-fast memory allowing it to reach its full potential. The two GPU choices have enough horsepower to run any current-gen title with max details at 1440p and 60 frames per second (aside from RDR2). The build has an excellent upgrade path thanks to the X570 chipset that supports future Ryzen CPUs. Finally, the PSU is powerful enough to handle any CPU and GPU combo in the future.

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Goran Damnjanovic
Goran Damnjanovic
Goran is Levvvel's senior hardware writer. He studied psychology but found that video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. Over the years he's developed expertise in everything gaming tech related.
Goran Damnjanovic
Goran Damnjanovic
Goran is Levvvel's senior hardware writer. He studied psychology but found that video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. Over the years he's developed expertise in everything gaming tech related.

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