Pre-built PCs have always been the hassle-free alternative for gamers who want to start playing their favorite game as soon as possible. Nothing beats the joy and sense of accomplishment of building your own PC, however, and it costs relatively less than a commercially available one.
Unless you secured yourself an impassable value deal, you can always build yourself a better PC in terms of performance for the price you’d pay for a pre-built PC. While triple-A games will continue to push the limits of high-end PCs that come at a premium price, you’ll hardly need one for a smooth gaming experience for games like League of Legends, VALORANT, CS:GO, Dota 2, or Fortnite. These crowd-favorite popular titles feature accessible system requirements, and it’s one of the main reasons how they got so popular around the world.
A PC you can build with a total budget of $800 will be more than enough to let you experience a 144+ frames-per-second (FPS) experience while gaming on 1080p. Achieving these high frames will also allow you to take full advantage of a high refresh rate monitor, a necessity for competitive gamers.
The following builds were put together to ensure a butter-smooth gaming experience in most competitive titles, but they should also be able to hold their own in recent triple-A titles. Cranking up your settings to above-Ultra values will surely give them a hard time, but expecting close to 60 frames when you lower your settings shouldn’t be an unlikely scenario.
Here’re the best gaming PC builds you can put together today for less than $800.
Build #1 – The first step on the ladder
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3100 3.6 GHz Quad-Core
- Motherboard: ASUS PRIME A320M Micro ATX AM4
- Memory (RAM): Team T-FORCE Vulcan Z 16GB (2×8 GB) DDR-3200 CL 16
- Storage: TeamGROUP MS30 512 GB M.2-2280 SSD
- Video card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER 4 GB WINDFORCE OC
- Case: Montech X1 ATX Mid Tower
- Power supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Certified ATX
You may not have noticed before, but most professional players set their graphics settings to the lowest available values to get the best possible gaming performance at all times. This decreases the number of eye candy-like graphical features, making it easy to spot enemies from a distance. Considering you won’t need the most cutting edge hardware to have a smooth gaming experience at the lowest settings, this “first step on the ladder” build should be more than enough to show off your talents in any game you like.
Featuring an AMD Ryzen 3 3100, a quad-core processor that has a base clock speed of 3.6 GHz, this build focuses on gaming without any distractions. The CPU can clock up to 3.9 GHz under heavy load, but we recommend doing some research if you’re looking to experiment with overclocking. Make sure to follow guides that feature this very CPU and stick to the tested values by the community.
We paired this price/performance monster of a CPU with a GTX 1650 SUPER that comes with a 4GB of virtual RAM. While this GPU is currently powerful enough for any MOBA games that are out there, you’ll need to do some serious settings adjustment in resource-heavy battle royale titles. Call of Duty: Warzone could be one of the only examples that gave this build a hard time, but if you stick to the basics and lower your settings to a point where your game still looks good without all the clutter, then you should be more than fine.
Most battle royale titles still look simple enough in terms of graphics, but it’s actually the player count that makes them so resource-hungry. Rendering over 50 players with countless buildings are the real factors that increase their system requirements.
Montech X1 ATX Mid Tower case is spacey enough to house this build and leaves a little room for improvement in terms of case fans. The 500W power supply is more than enough to get this rig going, but it isn’t really a futureproof choice if you’re looking to upgrade some of the pieces over time. We recommend going for at least a 650W power supply if that’s your plan and have the budget to do so.
The storage part is where the budget builds get tricky. It doesn’t really affect the performance at all, but an SSD is always a must if you’d like fast loading times. We’ve included a TeamGROUP MS30 512GB SSD in this build, but if you have any storage solutions you can use from your previous builds, we advise using the storage budget to fund a better CPU or a GPU. This little push in terms of performance can be the single difference-maker when it comes to futureproofing your build, and there is no better feeling than featuring one of your old companions in your new rig.
Build #2 – Now we’re talking
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8 GHz Six-Core
- Motherboard: MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX ATX AM4
- Memory (RAM): Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16
- Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1 TB 3.5″ 7200RPM HDD
- Storage 2: Inland Professional 240GB SSD
- Video card: ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER 6 GB DUAL EVO OC
- Case: Thermaltake View 71 TG Snow ATX Full Tower
- Power supply: Corsair RM Series, RM650, 80+ Gold Certified
Sometimes the bare minimum might not be enough. After all, no one likes to win a race by a nose difference. Being able to comfortably run any game without straining your PC can also allow you to stream your journey to the top.
This “now we’re talking” build packs an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor that has a base clock speed of 3.8 GHz. This powerhouse of a chip can dial its cores up to 4.4 GHz when under heavy load, making it an excellent choice for multitasking while gaming.
ASUS GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER graphics card and 16GB of RAM accompanies the processor. The GTX 1660 SUPER features 6GB virtual ram and a core clock speed of 1400 MHz. This GPU is more than capable of delivering a 144+ FPS gaming experience in almost all the popular competitive titles.
Considering this machine is powerful enough to handle triple-A games on medium settings, we figured it could need some extra storage since most tend to take over 50GBs in space. A 240GB SSD is still present so you can install your OS on it and carry on your most played games to make sure they load quickly, the 1TB HDD will always be on your side to keep games like CoD titles at an arm’s reach.
Going with a full-tower case on this build allows a better airflow throughout the system, and you can also add some extra cooling case fans if your budget allows you to do so. Investing in a liquid cooling system is a valuable option if you’re looking to save some bucks from bringing in your own storage or any other piece.
The 650W power supply is there to support any additions you may make over the years since going with the bare minimum would give you no room to expand. A full-tower case always features enough space for upgrades, and most power supplies are built to last. Skimming on a decent power supply is an option, but if you use it in a feature build in five-to-six years, it’ll basically pay for itself.
While both these rigs are powerful enough to assure enjoyable gaming sessions, you can take them up a notch by trying to fit in the surviving bits of your last PC. Do you have a CPU that’s still powerful enough to be relevant? Use it in your new rig and use the budget to upgrade your graphics card.
If you don’t have a gaming-grade peripheral setup in place consisting of a keyboard, mouse, mouse pad, and a monitor, the extra budget you’ll have from recycling your old pieces should help you form a great line of supporting cast. Spending all of your budget on your PC is fine, of course, but you’ll need the best peripherals to transition your lightning-fast reflexes into the game of your choice.