In our series of build guides for 2021, as we approach the $1500 budget we would like our PCs to be able to do even the most demanding of rendering/editing/gaming tasks, all in parallel!
This is where the great Ryzen 7 3700X CPU comes into play. Its a direct upgrade from the best value new CPU on the market right now, the R5 3600 (as featured in our $1000 gaming PC build). Featuring 8 cores and 16 threads and an unlocked multiplier that goes up to 4.4 GHz or higher (on manual OC), the 3700X has certainly all the resources it needs for more than just a gaming/work PC.
In this build we have curated for 2021, the CPU has been paired with the Nvidia RTX 2080 Super, which came to take the spot of the RTX 2080, for the same price. It is the best graphics card that we can afford to put in a $1500 list without skimping on any of the other components. This build will run any 1080p, 1440p game on Ultra settings and very high frame rates. 4K and smooth VR is also an option, this card being able to deliver above 60 fps with High/Ultra settings in current games.
You will get this list if you want to future proof your purchase and get hardware that can drive even the smoothest experiences on big monitors. It’s basically a gaming beast that is no slouch in extreme workstation tasks and very close to the best gaming performance you can get for any kind of money.
Mixing and matching GPU brands is never an issue as long as you watch reputed reviews on their thermals, build quality and performance; for example, there’s no issue if you get a Nvidia RTX 2080 Super from a different brand other than the one we featured. The MSI RTX 2080 Super in the list below is of high quality and you can be sure of its reliability even during the most intensive gaming or rendering sessions; it also looks quite nice in our opinion and will match with many build color schemes! Having so many brands out there that use the same chips coming from AMD and Nvidia to make their own cards means that we as consumers will always get cutting edge technology at competitive prices. Get your components based on availability and pricing but keep the component models close to this list if you don’t feel like going exotic!
Best Gaming PC Build under $1500 – The Parts List
Perfect for stellar 1440p 144hz gaming and excellent workstation performance (entry-level 4K)
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 3700X||$325|
|Motherboard||ASRock X570 Pro4||$130|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16 GB (2x8 GB) DDR4-3200||$65|
|Storage||Intel 660p 1TB NVMe SSD||$98|
|Video Card||MSI RTX 2080 Super Ventus OC||$720|
|PC Case||Fractal Design Meshify C||$90|
|Power Supply||Corsair RMx 650 W 80+ Gold||$95|
For our $1500 budget we can spec the CPU higher (compared to our $1000 build) and get the insane 8 core 16 thread Ryzen 7 3700X which frankly is the only CPU you’ll need for many years to come.
Featuring great single core performance thanks to the best IPC (Instructions Per Clock) on the market and high boost clocks (4.4GHz), the 3700X will deal with anything from gaming to editing, streaming, rendering and heavy compute workloads; its a workhorse that is also an incredible deal for the $320 you can find it at.
With only 5% gaming performance deficit, the 30% cheaper than a Intel Core i9-9900K CPU is great for this price range build because it enabled us to get a powerful GPU and not go over the budget.
The big bulk of the budget will be invested in an high-end/enthusiast GPU, the RTX 2080 Super which can drive incredible framerates on 1440p high refresh rate monitors and do 4K with ease.
There are many great AIB versions of the 2080 Super to choose from but we chose the MSI Ventus OC for its slick design, decent thermal performance and great price point. AMD doesn’t have a competitor for the RTX 2080 Super at this level of performance so this is the only option you have for this gaming oriented but very workstation potent build.
The ASRock X570 Pro4 brings all the great features of AMD’s new X570 chipset such as extensive I/O and PCI 4.0 technologies without breaking the bank, being one of the cheapest X570 motherboards out there. This capable budget X570 motherboard comes compatible out of the box with any current Ryzen Zen 2 CPU and is also backwards compatible. VRMs are decent enough for pushing the CPU clock multiplier above spec for this $1500 build.
For our recommended $1500 gaming PC build, fast RAM is a must because large performance gains may be extracted when tweaking memory. Quality RAM allows you to mess with its voltage in order to allow higher clocks and/or lower CL latency. Tweaking RAM is a lengthy process of trial and error but you can minimize the stress by getting a tool such as TPU’s Memory Tweaker.
CPUs from both Ryzen and Intel series products work much better on fast RAM since it improves access times and overall responsiveness of your system. You’ll get better average FPS and much better 1% and 0.1% minimum FPS – meaning that your gaming session will be smooth with no stutters; 16GB is a minimum at this price point and if you’ll wait for good offers you may be able to find a 32GB Dual Channel kit that will future proof your components even more!
If you’re planning on doing video editing with this $1500 build, 32GB becomes mandatory because 16GB gets eaten up pretty fast by renders and previews. Getting dual channel memory for your builds (two identical RAM modules) is always a wise option!
We chose the Intel 660p 1Tb NVMe SSD for a big capacity and very fast storage drive for a decent price. The alternative in this class is Samsung’s 970 EVO but for its double price, that SSD doesn’t present the value of this one. If the best sustained storage performance is the most important for you, consider getting the Samsung 970 EVO but to be honest the 660p’s $100 price point is hard to beat.
For the $1500 price point, we can afford a creme-de-la-creme ATX case that features one of the best air flow solutions on the market – thanks to its cleverly placed vents and mesh front side. The Fractal Design Meshify C will tidily fit even the largest components and easily deal with high-end cooling solutions like water cooling & large radiators. You will not be disappointed with this case.
As featured in our $1000 gaming PC build, the Corsair RMx PSU still remains the recommendation at the $1500 price range. Why? It’s a trusty (good for multiple builds in time), A tier power supply with Gold certification, high current output, full modularity and has excellent cables.
Its always important to pay attention to the PSU in your builds because they are responsible for the constant running of your other components; bad PSUs may even fry the other parts so make sure you watch reviews if you plan on going for something else! We can also recommend a great Index list of quality PSUs that you can find here on the LTT forum.