Best PC Builds for Gaming 2024: From $500 Budgets to $4,000+

PC Builds
(Image credit: Future)

If you want a computer that meets your exact needs and budget, you need to put it together yourself. When you build a gaming PC, you get total control of the parts, choosing the exact make and model of motherboard, a case with the look you like and even the layout of RGB (or non-RGB fans). You could save time by purchasing one of the best pre-built gaming PCs, but you'll give up control and spend more.

By constructing your own PC from components, you will likely save hundreds of dollars over the cost of buying a prebuilt system. For example, right now, getting a desktop with specs similar to those in our best $1,000 PC build will cost you $1,439 or more at Best Buy.

To help you assemble the best PC build for gaming or productivity that you can get, we've created recommended parts lists for every budget: from a super-cheap sub-$500 system to an affordable sub-$1,000 build to a $4,000+ dream machine for those with deep pockets.  

Picking and Pricing the Best PC Builds

Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Note that our best PC build recommendations are based on our component expertise, market research and testing we've done of the key components in each build, namely the CPU, GPU and SSD. However, because we are trying to hit price points and frequently changing these lists (as prices change), we have not tested all of the parts in each build together and some of the less performance-centric parts such as the case, motherboard and PSU may be ones that we have not reviewed.

We are also going to recommend GPUs rather than specific makes and models of graphics cards. For example, we'd recommend an RTX 4070 Ti and link to a list of available cards rather than, for example, the Zotac RTX 4070 Ti. Given frequent price and stock changes in the space, you should get whichever third or first-party card is available with the GPU you want for the best price at the time you read this.

Also note that we don't include the cost of an operating system, because you can get Windows for Free or Cheap. Nor do we include the price of peripherals such as the best gaming monitors, best gaming keyboards or best gaming mouse. And if you've never made a computer before, see our article on how to build a PC

Best $500 PC Build for Gaming

Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L

(Image credit: Newegg)
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Component TypeModelPrice (at Pub Time in USD)
CPUIntel Core i3-14100F$119
MotherboardASRock B760M-HDV$89
GPUIntel Arc A380$109
RAMSilicon Power Value Gaming DDR4 RAM 16GB (8GBx2) 3200MHz$33
StorageCrucial P3 Plus (1TB)$73
CaseCooler Master MasterBox Q300L $39
PSUThermaltake Smart Series 500W$39
CoolerN/A, comes with CPURow 7 - Cell 2
TotalRow 8 - Cell 1 $501

For around $500, you can build a PC that has a discrete graphics card. You won't get the fastest GPU around, but you will be able to play games at 1080p with modest settings. That's a big improvement over relying on integrated graphics.

For the graphics card in this system, we're going with Intel's Arc A380. We didn't love the card at launch, but it's readily available at Newegg and has been for a long time. Besides that, it's faster than AMD's competing RX 6400, comes with more VRAM, and most importantly it has full video encoding/decoding acceleration — including AV1 support for the future. 

The card averaged 54.7 fps in our benchmarks at 1080p medium, though updated drivers may have improved things another 5–10 percent. If you want something a little faster and can expand your budget by just a few dollars, your best bet is this RX 6500 XT card, which goes for around $139 and can take you up to 65.8 fps in 1080p medium.

For our CPU, we're going with Intel's Core i3-14100F which is just over $100 but delivers plenty of pep for the price. This CPU has four cores, all of them performance cores, and a solid boost clock of 4.7 GHz. It comes with a cooler in the box so there's no need for a third-party one. We found that the 13100F was about on par with AMD's Ryzen 5 5600, which costs about $30 more.

To work with our 14100F, we need an Intel 700 series motherboard and the best price we've seen on one is $89 for the ASRock B760M-HDV. The microATX board uses DDR4 RAM (cheaper than DDR5) and provides support for M.2 PCIe 3.0 or 4.0 SSDs. 

Our SSD is the Crucial P3 Plus, a very affordable PCIe 4.0 SSD that is rated for 5,000 MBps sequential reads and 3,600 MBps sequential writes. When we tested the 2TB capacity of the P3 Plus, we noted its good value but middling performance. That's because, like many budget drives, it uses QLC NAND and has no DRAM cache. If you can stretch your budget a few dollars more, grab the Crucial P5 Plus, which has DRAM cache and TLC NAND.

We got 16GB of DDR4 PC-3200 RAM in a 2 x 8GB configuration. The Silicon Power Value RAM we chose isn't the flashiest, but it's inexpensive and from a reputable brand. Whatever you do, don't build or buy a gaming PC with less than 16GB of RAM.

Our case is the Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L. Available in black or white, the chassis has solid build quality for the price, including built-in dust filters, support for up to a 240mm AIO cooler on the top, and plenty of mesh to allow airflow in. It even has a modular I/O panel you can place in six different locations. One small trade-off is that its clear side panel is acrylic rather than tempered glass.

While there are cheaper power supplies, we don't like to compromise on this important component, and have opted for the Thermaltake Toughpower GX2 600W. It's an 80 Plus Gold certified PSU, from a reputable brand. You could save perhaps $10 buy picking up a Bronze PSU instead, but then you'll just be paying more in the long run, and the power supply has to run your whole PC — cutting corners is not recommended!

Best $800 PC Build for Gaming

DeepCool MATREXX 40 3FS

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Component TypeModelPrice (at Pub Time in USD)
CPUIntel Core i5-14400F$209
MotherboardASRock B760M-HDV$89
GPUNvidia RTX 4060$299
RAMTeamGroup T-Force Zeus DDR4 32GB (2x16GB)$56
StorageSilicon Power UD90 (1TB)$78
CaseDeepCool Matrexx 40 3FS$37
PSUThermaltake Smart 700W$54
CoolerN/A, comes with CPURow 7 - Cell 2
Total:Row 8 - Cell 1 $822

If you can stretch your budget up from $500 to $800, you can enter a whole new world of gaming performance and productivity that will be good enough for some serious 1080p gaming (without ray tracing). Here we're stepping up from a Core i3 to the Core i5-14400F, which has 6 performance cores, 4 efficiency cores and 16 total threads, along with a boost clock of 4.7 GHz. 

We haven't tested the 14400F yet, but it's the drop-in successor to the Core i5-13400F, using the same Raptor Lake architecture but with slightly faster clocks. The Core i5-13400 (13400F but with integrated graphics) provided 152 fps on our 1080p test suite, so the 14400F should provided similar to slightly better performance. Like the 13400, the 14400F also comes with a capable cooler in the box so you don't need to buy one separately. 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

To go with this Intel processor, we're using an ASRock B760M-HDV motherboard because it supports 14th Gen CPUs without a BIOS update. It's a DDR4 board so we can save money by using DDR4 memory. It also features two M.2 slots for SSDs, with one of them supporting PCIe 4.0 drives.

Our graphics card at this price point is the Nvidia RTX 4060, which comes in just under $300. The 4060 has strong performance at 1080p, ultra settings, having averaged 84.9 fps on our suite of tests. It ranks just above the RTX 2080 and below the Raden RX 6700 on our GPU benchmarks hierarchy.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The card can also do some ray tracing as it averaged 41.7 fps on 1080p ultra with ray tracing enabled. Forget about playing in 2K with ray tracing as that only gave us 25.8 fps. 

For our storage, we're going with the 1TB Silicon Power UD90. This budget-oriented PCIe 4.0 SSD can't beat the top-of-the-line drives like the Samsung 990 Pro or WD Black SN850X, but it has really strong performance for the money, promising sequential reads and writes of 4,800 and 4,200 MBps.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We're going with 32GB of TeamGroup T-Force Zeus DDR4 RAM and we're stepping up to a 700W version of the Thermaltake Smart  power supply so we can support our higher wattage CPU and GPU.

Our case is the DeepCool Matrexx 40 3FS. This microATX chassis has a sleek design with an attractive front grill and three RGB case fans in the box. It has a tempered glass side panel, along with dual USB type-A ports on the front to make it easy to plug in USB flash drives.

Best $1,000 PC Build for Gaming

Phanteks XT Pro Ultra

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Component TypeModelPrice (at Pub Time in USD)
CPUIntel Core i5-14400F$209
MotherboardASRock B760M-HDV$89
GPURTX 4060 Ti$374
RAMCrucial RAM 32GB Kit (2x16GB) DDR4 3200$67
StorageWD Black SN770$139
CasePhanteks XT Pro Ultra$69
PSUCorsair CX750M$89
CoolerN/A, comes with CPURow 7 - Cell 2
Total:Row 8 - Cell 1 $1,036

If you can stretch your budget up to around $1,000, you can build a PC with the ability to play games really well at 1080p and competently at 1440p. The best GPU option in this price range right now is the Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti, which goes for as little as $369. While the Radeon RX 6750 XT, which has 12GB of VRAM to the 4060 Ti's 8GB, is in the same price range, Nvidia's GPU is much better for ray tracing.

In our 8-game rasterization test suite at 1080p ultra settings, the RTX 4060 Ti offered an impressive frame rate of 101.7 fps while delivering a still-strong 75.5 fps at 1440p with ultra settings. At this price point, don't expect to do much ray tracing, however. The card managed a very-playable 52.8 fps at 1080p and a usable 33.5 fps at 1440p. 

Our recommended CPU for this build is the same Core i5-14400F that we are using on the $800 and $1,500 builds. Why spend hundreds more on a faster CPU when we want to put the money into a better GPU at these price points? Similarly, we're sticking with the ASRock B760M-HDV motherboard we used on the cheaper build. 

We're sticking with 32GB of DDR4-PC3200 RAM here. There's no real need to go faster or increase the capacity at this price point. Using DDR4 saves us money over DDR5.

For storage, we're stepping up to a faster, higher-capacity SSD: the 2TB version of WD Black SN770. This drive is close to the vaunted Samsung 980 Pro on our tests, but not nearly as costly. The PCIe 4.0 drive also boasts sequential reads and writes of up to 5,150 MBps and 4,850 MBps respectively. 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We're going with the Phanteks XT Pro Ultra as our case and what a great value it is. For less than $80 (much less if it's on sale), you get a well-built case with four D-RGB fans and room for up to a 360mm AIO cooler on the top. It also supports back panel motherboards should you get one in the future. If you want to save $20, you can get the Phanteks XT Pro (non-Ultra) which is the same case, but comes with just one, non-RGB fan for the back.

Finally, we've stepped up to a 750-watt power supply and we're going with Corsair CX750M, which is 80+ Bronze certified and semi-modular. You can get a modular PSU or one that's 80+ Gold certified for a bit more, but that's money you don't need to spend at this price point.

Best $1,500 PC Build for Gaming

Lian Li Lancool 216

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Component TypeModelPrice (at Pub Time in USD)
CPUIntel Core i5-14600KF$279
MotherboardGigabyte Z790 UD AX$219
GPUNvidia RTX 4070$549
RAMCrucial Pro RAM 32GB (2x16GB) DDR5 $97
StorageWD Black SN850X (2TB)$156
CaseLian Li Lancool 216RX$99
PSUCorsair CX750M$89
CoolerID-Cooling FrostFlow 280mm$59
Total:Row 8 - Cell 1 $1,547

As we step up to a build that should be brilliant at 1080p gaming, really strong for 1440p gaming and capable of running ray tracing games well, we're looking at around a $1,500 budget, depending on the current prices on graphics cards. We recommend going with an RTX 4070 at this price point.

At press time, RTX 4070 cards selling for as little as $24.  In our GPU benchmarks hierarchy, the 4070 beats the RTX 3080 (10GB) and comes in just a step behind the 3080 (12GB) at non-ray tracing 1080p gaming.   On our suite of 8 games, at 1080p ultra settings, the 4070 managed 123.6 fps. At 1440p resolution, it offered a smooth 98.6 fps and, even at 4K, it provided a very-playable 67.2 fps. 

With ray tracing enabled, the RTX 4070 delivers 69.4 fps at 1080 ultra and a playable 45.2 fps at 1440p. In some titles, the numbers are much higher. For example, in Spider-Man: Miles Morales at 1440p, the card returned an average frame rate of 69 fps. 

RTX 4070 Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ray Tracing results

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We're also upgrading the CPU to Intel's Core i5-14600KF, an overclockable processor that has 6 performance cores, 8 efficiency cores, 20 threads and a boost clock of 5.3 GHz. That's before you attempt to overclock it.  

We're going with the Gigabyte Z790 UD AX motherboard, which allows overclocking with a 16+1+1 hybrid phases digital power design. It also comes with three M.2 PCIe slots, built-in Wi-Fi 6E and 2.5 Gbe Ethernet. 

Though Intel 13th Gen CPUs can use DDR4 or DDR5 RAM, this motherboard utilizes DDR5 RAM. So we're going with an affordable 32GB kit from Crucial with a top speed of 5600 MT/s. 

We're going with one of the best PCIe 4.0 SSDs you can buy, WD's Black SN850X at 2TB. In our tests, it was neck and neck with the other top drives, including the SK hynix Platinum P41 and the Samsung 990 Pro.


(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Our case for this build is the $99Lian Li Lancool 216. When we reviewed the Lancool 216, we praised its included dual RGB 160mm front and single 140mm exhaust fans, excellent cable management and attractive looks. There's also plenty of room for a top-mounted radiator that's up to 360mm. 

Our power supply is a 750-watt Corsair CX750M. This 80 Plus Gold certified PSU packs enough power to support our GPU with plenty of juice to spare. However, it's not fully modular, with some of the wires being built-in.

Best $2000 PC Build for Gaming

Hyte Y40

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Component TypeModelPrice (at Pub Time in USD)
CPUAMD Ryzen 7 7800X3d$389
MotherboardGigabyte B650M Aorus Elite AX$189
GPUNvidia RTX 4070 Ti Super$799
RAMG.Skill Trident Z5 RGB Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR5 6000$117
StorageWD Black SN850X (2TB)$156
CaseHyte Y40$129
PSUCorsair RM750e$99
CoolerIceberg Thermal IceFLOE Oasis 360mm$89
Total:Row 8 - Cell 1 $1,967

At a current price of $1,970, our high-end gaming PC build should provide enough performance to play games at 1440p ultra settings with strong frame rates, and 4K ultra with playable frame rates. The system gets its GPU muscle from an Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti Super which is currently available for $799. The card is backed by AMD's Ryzen 7 7800X3D, which is the best CPU for gaming if you're able to pay its $439 asking price.

In our tests, the RTX 4070 Ti Super delivered a really-smooth 102.9 fps on our test suite of games at 2K settings without ray tracing. It even managed to hit 73.7 fps at 2K with ray tracing enabled. 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D offers a superior experience thanks to its 104MB of 3D cache, along with its 8 cores, 16 threads and 5-GHz boost clock. Yes, AMD makes the Ryzen 9 7950X3D which is even faster overall, but it costs a lot more money and either ties or comes in behind the 7800X3D on many gaming tests.

On our suite of Windows 11 tests, running at 1080p with an RTX 4090 card, the 7800X3D averaged 224 fps, putting it slightly ahead of the Ryzen 9 7950X3D (222 fps) and way ahead of Intel's top-ranked Core i9-13900K (200 fps).

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

To cool the CPU, we're using an Iceberg Thermal IceFLOE Oasis 360. When we tested the IceFLOE, we were impressed with its low noise output and fantastic cooling output that allowed it to disperse up to 237 watts of heat. It has attractive RGB and you get all of that for a measly $89.

Our motherboard is Gigabyte B650M Aorus Elite AX which is one of the more affordable AM5 motherboards  you can buy but it still packs in Wi-Fi 6E radio. AMD Zen 7000 chips require DDR5 RAM so we're going with 32GB of G.Skill Trident Z5. The Trident Z5 kit tops our list of best RAM, thanks to its tight-timings, fast performance and overclocking potential. In our tests, the Z5 also had the lowest memory latency of its competitors.

Memory Latency

(Image credit: Future)

For the SSD, we're sticking with the WD Black SN850X at 2TB. You really can't do much better without spending a lot more money on a PCIe 5 drive or a 4TB capacity.

Our case is Hyte Y40, which is a great showcase for our components. It has beautiful wraparound glass that extends from the front to the left side. The case is available in three colors but we really like it in red. 

To power all these high-end components, we're using a Corsair RM750e PSU which is 80+ Gold certified and fully modular. 

Best $4000+ PC Build for Gaming

Fractal Design North XL

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Component TypeModelPrice (at Pub Time in USD)
CPUAMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D$621
MotherboardAsus ROG Strix X670E-E$443
GPUNvidia RTX 4090$1,943
RAMG.Skill Trident Z5 RGB DDR5 (2 x 16GB) DDR5 6400, 2 kits$224
StorageSamsung 990 Pro (4TB)$319
CaseFractal Design North XL$499
PSUCorsair RM1000e$179
CoolerCooler Master MasterLiquid PL360 FLUX$159
Total:Row 8 - Cell 1 $4,387

For our super-high-end build, we've got a system that's capable of playing high-end games in 4K at ultra settings and delivering smooth ray tracing. This is made possible thanks to the Nvidia RTX 4090 card, which is by far the fastest card on the market — and also the most expensive, by an equally large margin.

This is our dream machine build, so price is a lesser consideration on parts like the 4090, but the good news is prices are starting to come down. Not long ago, 4090 cards cost over $2,000, even though the Founder's Edition RTX 4090 card carries a $1,599 MSRP. Right now, there's a Gigabyte card for $1689.

On our tests, the RTX 4090 averaged 112 fps playing a suite of games at 4K. That's a huge improvement over the next-best card, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX, which only hit 90 fps. In ray tracing, the gap widens a lot more, with the 4090 averaging 58 fps, the 4080 sits at 41 fps, and the fastest card from AMD, the 7900 XTX, gets just 30 fps.

RTX 4090 Performance

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Our CPU is AMD's Ryzen 9 7950X3D, which offers faster gaming than any Intel CPU on the market, including the Core i9-14900K. It has a whopping 140MB of cache, thanks to AMDs innovative 3D V-Cache and it boasts 16 full-power cores and 32 threads, which is more regular cores than the 13900K's set of 8 (to go with 16 E-Cores). 

On our tests, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D beat Intel's flagship, the 14900K by a full 21 fps on our 1440p suite of gaming tests. The cheaper, Ryzen 7 7800X3D is also really good at gaming, but does have as many cores for productivity.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We're using an Asus ROG Strix X670E-E motherboard, which comes with built-in Wi-Fi 6E, four M.2  slots for storage and 18+2 power stages. To cool the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, we're using a 360mm Lian-Li Galahad II Trinity 360mm AIO. When we reviewed the Galahad II, we found that it had the absolute best performance of any all-in-one cooler we've ever tested.

Because we're fattening our budget for this build, we're going with some speedy DRAM in the form of G.Skill's Trident Z5 RGB DDR5 , which operates at up to 6,400 MHz. In our review of the G.Skill Trident Z5, we lauded the kit's strong performance and excellent overclockability. In our table, we are linking to a 32GB kit (2 x 16GB DIMMs as that is the highest capacity it is sold in. However, we recommend buying two of these kits so you can have 64GB of RAM.

We're going with a 4TB Samsung 990 Pro, which has plenty of capacity and is the fastest PCIe 4.0 drive you can buy. Sure, we can go up to a PCIe 5.0 drive but we don't see enough performance gains to justify one, even in this high end build right now.

Samsung 990 Pro 4TB Benchmarks

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We decided to go with a case that has a unique, premium look in the Fractal Design North XL. With its wood paneled front, this chassis looks more like a mid-century modern piece of furniture than a gaming PC, which is a nice subtle touch. However, it also has a tempered glass side panel which you can use to show off all of your RGB components (or you can buy it with a solid panel and no window). It also has fantastic thermal performance and plenty of room for more drives and fans. The XL model can accommodate up to an E-ATX motherboard, giving you plenty of room for future upgrades.

With these high-end components, we don't want to skimp on the power supply, and having something that's fit for a future graphics card upgrade makes sense. We're going with a full 1000-watts of power and the Corsair HX1000. This power supply is 80+ Platinum certified and fully modular.

Finding Discounts on the Best PC Components

To find savings on components of all types, check out our lists of the best PC hardware deals, along with the latest Newegg promo codes, Corsair coupon codes and Best Buy promo codes.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.
  • tb75252
    Would it be possible to see the detailed BOMs for every build?
  • mdd1963
    At even the lowest budget end, I'd never recommend the 9100F, as a 4c/4t CPUs frame rates often struggle for maintaining minimum FPS..; the R3/3300X is a $120 budget beast, with it's 4c/8t CPU often nearly matching the R5-3600 in many games...
  • kep55
    Where were the builds for productivity? I only saw gaming builds.
  • vinaysb14
    The z490-Pro has this in the specifications - Supports 1R 2133/2666/2933 MHz - And you seem to be recommending a 3200 Mhz DDR4?
  • danlw
    Wow, the $500 and $2000 PCs don't even need a power supply! Are those both using Intel's new Zero Point Energy chipset, the ZPE000?
  • aberchonbie
    vinaysb14 said:
    The z490-Pro has this in the specifications - Supports 1R 2133/2666/2933 MHz - And you seem to be recommending a 3200 Mhz DDR4?

    Those are "officially" supported speeds. They're basically guaranteed speeds the motherboard will run, but you can easily run higher speed RAM (especially on Intel-based platforms) with overclocking profiles that are embedded within RAM kits you buy (aka XMP profiles).
  • murpes
    This is a horrible article. Every build inconsistently lists components, sometimes giving specifics, sometimes being general, and other times skipping over components altogether. The $1500 build says "We’ve stuck with the same RAM ... from our $1000 build" yet the $1,000 build doesn't list any RAM. A 500 GB SSD drive is listed as 1 TB.
  • JfromNucleon
    kep55 said:
    Where were the builds for productivity? I only saw gaming builds.
    Exactly, that's probably the only reason I'm probably gonna build a pc in the coming year........... probably
  • svliegen
    Tom's Hardware seems to be focusing more and more on gaming. That is bad. There is a myriad of gaming oriented websites already. I'm a business user, focused on productivity. I couldn't care less about gaming.
  • jbo5112
    What's the point of suggestions with imaginary GPU prices that don't exist? None of the builds even meet their price points anymore (if they ever did), even with their fictitiously low GPU prices. The only exception is the $500 machine. It at least fits with its fictional pricing.

    Came for the productivity builds. Stayed for the disaster show.

    P.S. Why does the article say it's from "2 days ago", with comments from 5 months ago?