Best Under $1,000 Gaming and Editing PC Build 2018

Updated on January 3, 2018
For our $1,000 build, we've allocated $400 or 40% of the overall budget to our graphics card.
For our $1,000 build, we've allocated $400 or 40% of the overall budget to our graphics card.

AMD or Intel in 2018?

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Looking for a good gaming PC to play today's latest titles? Here's a $1,000 budget computer that will allow you to play AAA games in both 1080p and 1440p. Better yet, it doubles as a solid editing rig.

That might not have been something I'd have said last year. Simply put, recent releases have greatly improved our ability to produce a solid all around gaming machine at a reasonable budget.

This is especially true now that we've had a look at Ryzen. Increased competition means good things for the PC parts industry. Vega should help as well.

In the past, I've discussed the advantages of having a good gaming monitor, mechanical keyboard, and mouse to use for your favorite games. Today I'll go over what I think is the best value hardware in 2018 and how to shop for the computer that works best with the games you play.

Top Custom Gaming PC Build for a $1,000 Budget 2018

Our $1,000 build puts an emphasis on efficiency, price, quality, and most importantly performance.

A six core i5 CPU like the new Coffee Lake i5-8400 is all you'll need when it comes to a CPU and performance for gaming and editing. You could certainly go up to an i7 for another $100, but it won't substantially increase your in-game FPS.
A six core i5 CPU like the new Coffee Lake i5-8400 is all you'll need when it comes to a CPU and performance for gaming and editing. You could certainly go up to an i7 for another $100, but it won't substantially increase your in-game FPS.

Gaming Processors Around $200

In my opinion, there are only a couple of processors that really give you a good value here. In 2018, you should be taking a look at the Skylake i5-7600k and the Intel 8th Gen Coffee Lake i5-8400. Coffee Lake is Intel's most recent generation of processor and is the right choice if prices are similar.

What about AMD?

AMd's Ryzen 5 offers you 6 cores and 12 threads for the same price point that the i5-7600k gives you 4 cores and 4 threads. IPC will still be higher on the Intel processor and should give you a few more frames for most games, but there is a case to be made for those of you who do editing or a lot of multitasking.

Games that take advantage of a lot of cores now and in the future may even play better with the Ryzen 5. Ultimately, you'll have to decide what you think is most important.

So, ultimately go with whichever one you'd prefer. If you go with the Kaby Lake, you'll likely go over the $1,000 budget by around $50. Using a previous generation Skylake processor, on the other hand, should allow you to maintain it or even go below it.

A Good CPU Cooler Under $50

In the under $50 space, there's one CPU cooler that for me really sticks out above the rest. The Hyper 212 Evo from Cooler Master is usually available for around $30 and is one of the better options below $75. At that price range, I'd recommend you look at other coolers including the Noctua 6 for air cooling, or NZXT Kraken or Corsair Hydro series for water cooling.

$400 Budget Gaming Graphics Card - What to Choose?

For this build, we're going with the Asus Strix GTX 1070. It's a fantastic performer that's regularly on rebate for under $400.
For this build, we're going with the Asus Strix GTX 1070. It's a fantastic performer that's regularly on rebate for under $400.

If you were building this today and had to have it right now, I'd tell you to go with the NVIDIA GTX 1070. The improvements in performance that you'll get from this Pascal-based GPU will be more than worth the wait. There may be additional AMD options that come forward in the future at a similar price point, but for now, this is your best option.

For Those Wanting a Dual Card Configuration

While I would have recommended a dual GPU combination in the past, I probably won't here until we get a cheaper Pascal-based graphics card. You simply won't be able to beat the performance. If you need more performance than the 1070, consider the 1080 or upcoming GTX 1080 Ti.

The EVGA SuperNova is in my tier 1 list for power supplies. At this price point, it's a steal.
The EVGA SuperNova is in my tier 1 list for power supplies. At this price point, it's a steal.

A Good Power Supply Under $75

I've always been a fan of spending a little bit more on your power supply. By spending more I don't mean you go with more capacity but rather better quality. For this build, I'm recommending a power supply I put on my tier 1 list in the EVGA SuperNova NEX. The 650W version can be as cheap as $70 if you find it on rebate. This build uses just under 481W at full load so that should be more than adequate.

Future Power Usage:

If you're wanting to go with a Dual GPU configuration in the future, it might be advisable to go with the 750W version as it's not that much more.

How Much Power Do You Really Need?

This build shouldn't draw more than 356W from the wall. So, if you'd prefer to go with the 550W SuperNova version and can find it cheaper, it's certainly an option.

A Good Gaming Case for Around $50

Since we're looking for max FPS with this build I didn't want to recommend a computer case that was going to take anything away from more crucial components. That being said if you go with the Corsair Carbide 200R, NZXT Source 210, Cooler Master Elite 430, Rosewill Challenger, or Haf 912, then you still get a great gaming case for under $50.

Another Good Gaming Case Option:

I currently use the Fractal Design R5 in my personal build. If you're willing to stretch around $50 it gives you a few more up-to-date features and has a great new look.

Corsair CC-9011023-WWCORSAIR CARBIDE 200R Compact ATX Case
Corsair CC-9011023-WWCORSAIR CARBIDE 200R Compact ATX Case

This case is on sale this month and if you're into something that isn't too flashy, then you get a really solid case for the money with features you find in cases twice the price.

 
We're going with the MSI PC Mate for our Z270 system. It has decent quality, good features, and should give you a decent overclock. If you go with an AM4 system, you might want to go with a less expensive B350 option rather than X370.
We're going with the MSI PC Mate for our Z270 system. It has decent quality, good features, and should give you a decent overclock. If you go with an AM4 system, you might want to go with a less expensive B350 option rather than X370.

Coffee Lake Z370 and AMD AM4 Motherboards from $100 to $130

If you go with a Coffee Lake processor, you'll need a compatible motherboard. The Z370 chipset is the newest option on the market and is the only options that has compatibility right now.

Right now I like Asus' Z370-p series as a budget option for around $130. It's inexpensive and has the features that most builders in this price range are looking for.

AMD Ryzen builders will want an AMD AM4 X370 or B350 motherboard in a similar price range. B350 probably makes more sense for those of you not planning to use a dual GPU setup.

These boards are decent for overclocking and won't cost you a fortune. The ASRock Pro line and Gigabyte UD3 lineup are also very reasonable options with plenty of features for most.

Other Hardware and Parts

Ram and CAS Latency

I think there's a misconception when it comes to ram and CAS Latency. While CAS is certainly something to consider for editing, lower CAS latency won't really help you when it comes to better in-game performance.

Buy RAM that's affordable, reliable, and does a good job. I recommend something like G. Skill's Ripjaw series or Kingston's Hyper-X gaming ram which not only looks good but fits most budgets.

How much ram do you really need?

For this build, I'm recommending a total of 8GB of ram in order to afford the higher end graphics card and processor listed above. This is easy to upgrade down the road if you feel like it's insufficient.

For this build, you can choose any number of DDR4 kits. Higher speed is preferable and especially so if you go with a Ryzen CPU. For that reason, I'm recommending 8GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz memory. Yes, there are cheaper options. However, I think this will be a good way to go for most.

Storage Solution - SSD and HDD

Today, I can't imagine building a PC without a solid state drive. We're going with an inexpensive 240GB option in the Kingston SSDNOW that should be more than capable of handling your OS and favorite programs.

In addition, we're going with a fast hard drive in the Western Digital Caviar Blue that's 7200RPM with a 1TB capacity. An additional TB can be found in the Hitachi Deskstar series for around $20 more.

While your hard drive is certainly important for functionality it's not that important in terms of in-game performance. Try to find a 7200RPM hard drive that fits within your budget and has the amount of capacity you need. For DVD drives, I generally try to find one that's around $20 as I tend to use it only on occasion.

Finding the Right Graphics Card for Your Needs

In order to reach a higher frame rate in graphically intense games, you'll need to get a good graphics card. Understanding at each price point what the best option is for the game you play is essential. For example, graphics card recommendations for BF4 could vary substantially from what I'd recommend on another graphically intense game.

Also, while you can gain a significant performance boost by going with a SLI or Crossfire configuration, there can be stability advantages to simply going with single card. In other words, if you're willing to work with your graphics card in terms of cooling and stability to get it where you want, then a dual setup could be the way to go; however, if you don't want to mess with it, then you can still get great performance, at this price point, out of a single GPU.

Is Overclocking Worth It Here?

In our $750 build, it wasn't really worth it to upgrade to all the components we needed to do a substantial amount of overclocking. Upgrading components was a bigger priority at that budget.

For a budget of $1,000, you can really start thinking about getting the most out of the components you purchase. For this build, I'll be including a CPU cooler and an unlocked processor. That being said, the argument could still be made that putting that money towards your GPU, more hard drive space, or even a better case might be a better solution.

Intel and AMD $1,000 Gaming PC Build - Final Thoughts and Summary

Part
$1,000 Intel Build
$1,000 AMD Build
CPU
i5-8400
Ryzen 5 1600
GPU
GTX 1070
GTX 1070
Motherboard
Asus Prime Z370-P
Gigabyte B350 Gaming 3
Power Supply
EVGA SuperNova G2 550W
EVGA SuperNova G2 550W
Memory
2x4GB Kit Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4
2x4GB Kit Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4
Case
Corsair Carbide 200R
Corsair Carbide 200R
CPU Cooler
Cooler Master Hype 212 Evo
Cooler Master Hype 212 Evo
Storage
128GB A-Data SSD and 1 x Hitachi Deskstar 2TB
128GB A-Data SSD and 1 x Hitachi Deskstar 2TB

It's amazing how far we've come in a couple of years. The Skylake i5 solution along with GTX 1070 graphics card from NVIDIA should provide you high frame rates for 1080p or even 1440p performance. It should last you for many years to come.

That being said, the Intel and AMD debate is definitely on for 2017. Early reports show that AMD Vega and Ryzen options will be very competitive. Let me know in the poll above whether you'd prefer an Intel or AMD-based build for future posts. Also, feel free to ask me any question you may have about this build in the comment area below.

Questions & Answers

  • How much more would it cost me to upgrade my PC to 16 gigs?

    If we're assuming 8GB of DDR4 memory, the amount would be $80 to $100.

  • What kind of power supply should I use for this PC build?

    It depends on your total budget, but assuming that it's around $1,000 and you live in the US, I'd go for something like the EVGA SuperNova series.

  • Will this PC be able to stream games?

    Yes. Of course, there are a lot of variables here as well.

What's the Best Under $1,000 Build You Can Come Up With?

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    • profile image

      pabble 

      3 months ago

      No offense but your 1000$ "budget build" is more likely around 1400-1500 price range. I don t even know where you get those prices from. Gtx 1070 itself is so expensive that you could make separete build out of it with it s cost.

    • profile image

      Colby Kozaric 

      5 months ago

      Instead of using the case for this build, can i use a Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-04 Tempered Glass Case Black Red?

      Just to give it a better look?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      7 months ago from The Game

      It is if you can get a GPU at MSRP. Try NVIDIA's website and join the wait list there or ride out the cryptocurrency storm that's making all of these GPUs overpriced.

    • profile image

      Jorge 

      7 months ago

      I want to build my first pc with i5 8400 gtx 1070 and 4×2 8gb ram is that possible under 1000 € ?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      7 months ago from The Game

      Right now the GPU market is unstable. I'd go ahead and build the system I recommended above and wait until you can get a decent price on a GPU.

    • profile image

      Oscar Collier 

      7 months ago

      Hey, I am building a $1000 computer. I would like to make a 1440p gaming system. Could you help me build a system that will last a while with at least a TB storage and 16 gb of ram as well as a monitor (All together can go a bit over). Any builds you can think of that can achieve that?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      7 months ago from The Game

      I suggest the NVIDIA website - there they sell GPUs for MSRP but are first come first serve.

    • profile image

      Leon 

      8 months ago

      This is over $1000

    • profile image

      GG To All Gamers 

      8 months ago

      A~ 1070 is now retailed at around 1k usd, to all gamers your hope of vr and 4k is all lost, you welcome (all graphics about 1050 has increased price by at least 200 usd)

    • profile image

      Tom Hewetson 

      8 months ago

      What would the FPS be on Fortnite Battle Royale with the Intel build and is 8 GB RAM enough for the most demanding Games like Battlefield 1 and The Witcher 3 and PUBG.

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      8 months ago from The Game

      What's your budget?

    • profile image

      Green 

      8 months ago

      Ok so I'm new to pc and building pc but my uncle has before I was wondering what monitor should I use with this build

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      9 months ago from The Game

      It'll run three monitors... however, depending on the game it may or may not be as smooth. I've run three monitors on much worse tbh :)

    • profile image

      Romeo 

      9 months ago

      Hi! you think i can run a triple monitor setup with any of this 2 builds?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      9 months ago from The Game

      Yes although you'll want to get a Z270 mobo instead.

    • profile image

      Jesse 

      9 months ago

      instead of the i5-8400 can I use the i5-7600k

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      9 months ago from The Game

      The chart is the most correct. I update this article regularly but when I changed it the last time I probably forgot that location. Thanks for the heads up.

    • profile image

      Buck russell 

      9 months ago

      The storage in the article and the storage on the chart seem different. 240 gb compared to 128 GB. I've been following this build exactly since all the parts have great reviews but what storage do I need to optimize my unit? Thank for all the help.

      Buck

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      9 months ago from The Game

      These orders usually include prices from all online retailers. So, you might have to search around a bit.

    • profile image

      Skythz 

      9 months ago

      Missing links to all of the products, after researching a bit myself the price was $1300, am I doing something wrong? (I use the intel build)

    • profile image

      Dankan 

      10 months ago

      is 1070 good enough compared to 1080?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      2 years ago from The Game

      Solid state drives are cheap enough now that I wouldn't recommend a hybrid option.

    • profile image

      Preston 

      2 years ago

      Instead of having a SSD and a Hard Drive would a hybrid work?

    • profile image

      YoBro 

      4 years ago

      Can I upgrade the PSU to somewhat as 650W? What would you recommend? (Im no good with computers)

    • profile image

      Mitchell 

      4 years ago

      Also, Is a card reader needed? thanks!

    • profile image

      Mitchell 

      4 years ago

      Is there any additional parts needed for this build? Excuse my ignorance, i have never built a gaming pc before. Also, how does this thing handle larger, open world games at max settings?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      4 years ago from The Game

      Yeah, and it's always hard to say. It'd be nice to get exact benchmarks for each brand and type of card, but we rarely get to see that.

    • profile image

      Tyler 

      4 years ago

      Hey, I bought everything and even got the storm enforce but I also got the super clocked edition of the graphics card, I assume that it's just like a faster edition or something and it's pretty much the same build, what I'm trying to ask is will the super clocked edition work with the build? Please respond

    • profile image

      Travis 

      4 years ago

      Hey, I had someone inform me that the cpu selected might bottleneck with the selected graphics card. Did you find this to be the case?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      4 years ago from The Game

      Yes, it is. The 600 watts should be plenty.

    • profile image

      Doctor Proctor 

      4 years ago

      Is this build compatible with a Sapphire r9 290 graphics card?

    • profile image

      Parker 

      4 years ago

      Is there a need for a SSD? What kind of performance upgrade would we see with one?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      4 years ago from The Game

      Honestly it's something that you need to pick up and do. If possible, you'll want to grab someone who has done it before, but once you get into it you'll be surprised how easy it is.

    • profile image

      Parker 

      4 years ago

      Any advice on assembly?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      4 years ago from The Game

      Yes, that's a great case. It's the one I'm using on my main rig. Even does a good job with my CPU cooler.

    • profile image

      Max 

      4 years ago

      Just making sure, are all these parts comparable and do they all fit into the storm enforcer?

    • profile image

      Jon 

      4 years ago

      How long would you predict before this rig isn't able to play any new graphics intensive games at maxed out ultra settings? ie. the hardware required to run these new games on maxed out ultra exceeds the maximum performance of this setup?

    • profile image

      Someone 

      4 years ago

      Can you tell what the Fps in bf4 is?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      4 years ago from The Game

      Yes they work together. FPS should be around 91 on ultra BF3.

    • profile image

      Joe 

      4 years ago

      Do these parts actually work together? Can someone tell me the FPS on BF3

    • profile image

      Gabriel 

      4 years ago

      Hey, great build :)

    working

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