Best gaming PC builds 2018

Want to build the best gaming PC on the planet? We’ve picked the best components to build three different tiers of PC perfection.

We’ve carefully selected all the parts to help you build either the all-round best gaming PC, a wallet-busting high-budget rig, or a serious budget gaming box. Whether it’s an AMD or Nvidia graphics card, an Intel Core or AMD Ryzen CPU, or a motherboard from Gigabyte, Asus, ASRock, or MSI we’ll find the best prices for the best parts to build the best gaming PC for you.

Part of the beauty of putting together your own gaming rig is that you can choose each of the individual components yourself, whether that’s based on pricing or manufacturer preference. That’s because building the best gaming PC is a very personal thing. Some people might not raise a sculpted eyebrow at spending four grand on a gaming PC, while most of us would struggle to scrape together $600 for a prospective build.

But all are welcome in the world of PC gaming, and there are brilliant gaming rigs you can create no matter whether you’re an oligarch or ruthlessly raiding every piggy bank you’ve ever owned to afford a new machine.

Unfortunately, building a gaming PC on a budget is tougher than ever right now. Don’t be disheartened, however. While graphics card prices are high, you can still find good deals for all the required components you want if you are prepared to devote some time to snooping around stores and being smart with your shopping.

We’ve split our builds up into three tiers, to give you an idea of what’s possible, and we’ve also added our pick of the best monitors and peripherals around right now.

Best gaming PC

Product $ £
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 2600 $170 £160
CPU cooler included with CPU
Motherboard Gigabyte AB350 Gaming $85 £70
Memory 8GB ADATA XPG (2x 4GB) $90 £95
Storage – SSD 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD $94 £84
Storage – HDD 1TB Seagate Barracuda $44 £36
Graphics card AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB $275 £249
PSU 550W EVGA 550 B3 $64 £70
Chassis Corsair Carbide 100R $50 £45
OS Windows 10 Home 64bit $27 £20
$899 £829

 

CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Cores: 6 | Threads: 12
Price: $170 | £160
The six-core 2nd Gen Ryzen is a great-value chip, able to deliver impressive gaming chops and serious computational power too.

Motherboard – Gigabyte AB350 Gaming
Chipset: B350 | Socket: AM4
Price: $85 | £70
Gigabyte’s powerful B350 board is one of our favourite AM4 motherboards, and not just because of its low price.

Memory – 8GB ADATA XPG DDR4
Kit: 2 | Speed: 2,400MHz
Price: $90 | £95
AMD’s Ryzen loves speedy memory, and for the money the ADATA kit delivers a high frequency and a dual-channel setup.

SSD – 250GB Samsung 850 EVO
Socket: SATA | Memory: MLC
Price: $94 | £85
Sure, the 850 EVO is getting on a bit now, but given the limitations of the SATA interface they’re still mighty quick SSDs.

HDD – 1TB Seagate Barracuda
Socket: SATA | RPM: 7,200
Price: $44 | £36
That 250GB SSD is going to necessitate some game library management, so you’ll want a little extra data storage too.

Graphics card – AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB
GPU: Polaris XT | Cores: 2,304
Price: $275 | £249
This is where the bulk of your budget is going to be spent, because this is the component which will net you the most gaming grunt. And AMD’s RX 580 is a decent price once more.

Power supply – EVGA 550 B3
Capacity: 550W | Modular: Yes
Price: $64 | £70
This 550W PSU is reliable, relatively efficient, and won’t break the bank. It’s also fully modular for easy building.

Chassis – Corsair Carbide 100R
Window: Yes | Support: ATX
Price: $50 | £45
Corsair make some gorgeous PC cases, but they also make very affordable ones too. This is a simple, no frills chassis, but no less solid for it.

OS – Windows 10 Home 64
Price: $27 | £20
Unless you want to sacrifice half your Steam library to the vagaries of Linux support, you’re going to need an OS. You can purchase license keys very cheaply, however.

Total: $899 | £829

 

Best high-end gaming PC

Product $ £
CPU AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X $750 £638
CPU cooler Enermax LIQTECH TR4 $130 £130
Motherboard Asus STRIX X399-E Gaming $338 £340
Memory 32GB G.Skill Trident Z (4x 8GB) $426 £390
Storage – SSD 1TB Samsung 970 Pro $496 £422
Storage – SSD 1TB Samsung 850 EVO $273 £250
Graphics card Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti $720 £757
PSU 1KW EVGA SuperNOVA T2 $314 £359
Chassis Corsair Graphite 780T $164 £177
OS Windows 10 Home 64bit $27 £20
$3,638 £3,483

 

CPU – AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X
Cores: 16 | Threads: 32
Price $750 | £638
If you’re going big with your gaming rig, and are looking for some computational power for your other hobbies, it’s got to be Threadripper.

CPU cooler – Enermax LIQTECH TR4
Size: 240mm | Fans: 2x
Price: $130 | £130
Enermax have redesigned the cooler block for this Threadripper-specific model to ensure 100% coverage for the enormous AMD CPU.

Motherboard – Asus STRIX X399-E Gaming
Chipset: X399 | Socket: TR4
Price: $338 | £340
Of course you could spend almost the cost of your CPU again on the top-end ROG X399 board, but the STRIX version has almost all the capabilities without breaking the bank.

Memory – 32GB G.Skill Trident Z
Kit: 4x 8GB | Speed: 3,200MHz
Price: $426 | £390
You absolutely have to have decent memory to fill out your Threadripper rig or you’ll miss out on the performance of AMD’s high-end CPU proposition.

SSD – 1TB Samsung 970 Pro
Socket: M.2 | Memory: MLC
Price: $496 | £422
The Samsung 960 Pro is a stunning NVMe drive which packs performance, capacity, and reliability, into a tiny form factor.

SSD – 1TB Samsung 860 EVO
Socket: SATA | Memory: MLC
Price: $273 | £250
Samsung’s older SATA tech is still a great option for some capacious data storage with a little more nip than a creaky ol’ spinning platter hard drive.

Graphics card – Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti
GPU – GP102 | Cores: 3,584
Price: $720 | £757
If you push the price up by another $3,000 then you could always by a Titan V, but if you’re not doing a lot of AI work then the mighty GTX 1080 Ti is all the GPU you need right now.

Power supply – EVGA SuperNOVA P2
Capacity: 1KW | Modular: Yes
Price: $314 | £359
A 1KW PSU is probably still overkill for this setup, but this over-specced unit gives you a lot of headroom and a slight boost to efficiency too.

Chassis – Corsair Graphite 780T
Window: Yes | Support: ATX
Price: $164 | £177
The old 780T is years old now, but still one of the most beautiful, large-scale, PC chassis around. And in white it has that Portal sentry turret aesthetic too.

OS – Windows 10 Home 64
Price: $27 | £20
Unless you want to sacrifice half your Steam library to the vagaries of Linux support, you’re going to need an OS. You can purchase license keys very cheaply, however.

Total: $3,638 | £3,483

 

Best budget gaming PC

Product $ £
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 2400G $156 £135
CPU cooler included with CPU
Motherboard ASRock AB350M $84 $44
Memory 8GB $95 £85
Storage – SSD
Storage – HDD 1TB Seagate Barracuda $44 £36
PSU 450W EVGA 450 BT $43 £38
Chassis Corsair Carbide 100R $50 £45
OS Windows 10 Home 64bit $27 £20
$499 £403
Optional
Graphics card Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti $170 £155
$669 £558

 

CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
Cores: 4 | Threads: 8
Price: $156 | £135
The Raven Ridge 2400G APU is a seriously impressive piece of engineering, which has delivered Vega graphics power into a CPU which also has four cores and eight threads of processing power in it.

Motherboard – ASRock AB350M
Chipset: B350 | Socket: AM4
Price: $84 | £44
The smaller-scale ASRock B350 board is great-value option, and with that diminutive size you’re only really sacrificing the needless potential for multi-GPU support.

Memory – 8GB HyperX Fury
Kit: 2x 4GB | Speed: 2,133MHz
Price: $95 | £85
It’s still important to bag a memory setup with a pair of sticks to take advantage of the dual-channel AM4 board. Too many budget builds go for a single RAM module.

HDD – 1TB Seagate Barracuda
Socket: SATA | RPM: 7,200
Price: $44 | £36
At this level it’s tough to finance the installation of an SSD with enough space to act as a boot drive and have enough space for games, so a HDD is a necessary evil to start with.

Power supply – EVGA 450 BT
Capacity: 450W | Modular: No
Price: $43 | £38
This 450W PSU gives you room to grow in terms of both CPU and GPU, but you’re necessarily sacrificing the modular design to hit this lower pricepoint.

Chassis – Corsair Carbide 100R
Windowed: Yes | Support: ATX
Price: $50 | £45
Corsair make some gorgeous PC cases, but they also make very affordable ones too. This is a simple, no frills chassis, but no less solid for it.

OS – Windows 10 Home 64
Price: $27 | £20
Unless you want to sacrifice half your Steam library to the vagaries of Linux support, you’re going to need an OS. You can purchase license keys very cheaply, however.

Total: $499 | £403

Optional extra…

 

Graphics card – Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti
GPU: GP107 | Cores: 768
Price: $170 | £155
With the 2400G APU you don’t need a graphics card, as it will net you good 1080p gaming performance on its own. But adding a little budget discrete GPU action can make a big difference.

Best of the rest - HyperX Cloud Alpha headset

And the rest…

So those are our picks for the best components to fill out your PC, but then you need to decide whether you’re going to need to make a change to the rest of your gaming gear too. If you want to change monitor, or your choice of peripherals, these are what we’d have sitting on our desktops.

Monitor – Asus ROG Swift PG279Q
Size: 27-inch | Res: 1440p
Price: $688 | £686
This Asus screen is packing in the best gaming panel I’ve ever seen, and it’s calibrated beautifully out-of-the-box too. It might be expensive, but you pay for the best.

Monitor – LG 27UD68P
Size: 27-inch | Res: 4K
Price: $407 | £400
This LG IPS is one of the best-value 4K screens around and offers a quality panel where the competition might use a TN design.

Monitor – BenQ GW2270H
Size: 21.5-inch | Res: 1080p
Price: $89 | £89
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent monitor for your rig. The VA panel in this bargain BenQ is a great option at this price.

Keyboard – Corsair K70
Type: Mech switch
Price: $120 | £100
Corsair’s brilliant K70 design is still my absolute favourite gaming keyboard of all time. There are lots of different options of K70, but the basic design has yet to be bettered.

Mouse – Logitech G900
Sensor: Optical
Price: $106 | £108
The Chaos Spectrum is a stupid name for an outstanding mouse. The battery life is stunning and the wireless connection practically lag-free. The wireless charging of the G903 is great too, but an expensive upgrade.

Headset – HyperX Cloud Alpha
Freq. range: 13Hz – 27kHz
Price: $100 | £95
Kingston have improved upon the brilliant original Cloud design in almost every way, and have still retained the relatively reasonable price tag too. Quite simply the best overall gaming headset there is.