Best Gaming Computer Build Under $2000 2015
A Custom Computer Build with a Budget of $2000
A good gaming PC is almost never one that you can purchase online. The best idea is to research computer hardware, order it, and do it yourself. The problem is that all of this takes time.
To help you save time I've put together what I believe is the best gaming computer build in the under $2000 price range. This is the third in a series of posts I've written on the subject, so if $2,000 is a little bit out of your price range, then be sure to see my other posts below.
$2000 Gaming Build - Where to Put Your Money
Your cash is hard-earned and you certainly don't want to waste it, so, where should you put your money to get the best overall bang for your buck? The truth is, it depends. Hardcore performance enthusiasts would tell you that you should spend as little as you can on your basic components in order to spend more on your other, more performance-sensitive, computer hardware. While this may be true for them, and even some of you reading this, there is a certain level of practicality that most builders want in their computer beyond simply performance. Luckily, with a budget of $2,000 you'll be able to purchase just about everything you could want in a gaming PC and still have plenty of room for extras.
Where to put your money:
Before we get in to discussing hardware, this is my basic layout for this gaming build and most that I do over $1,000.
Graphics Card: 15-25%
Hard Drive: Up to $150 (7.5%)
Ram: Up to $100 (5.0%)
Blu-Ray Drive: Up to $75 (3.75%)
Case: Up to $150 (7.5%)
PSU: Up to $100 or (5%)
Solid State Drive (Optional): Up to $300 (5-15%)
You may have noticed that these numbers don't add up to 100%. That's because as we review each piece of hardware I'll give you choices in each price range. This should enable you to build a computer significantly above $2,000 or significantly below or, if you stick with my middle of the road picks, right around $2,000.
Best CPU / Processors Under $500
If you just want the basic processor that you need in order to run today's games on the highest settings, then an i5 Haswell or Ivy Bridge is the processor you should go with. Benchmark tests show that its in-game performance is just as good as other processors many times its price.
That being said depending on your overall budget you might be able to find a processor that performs nearly as well in the FX 8350 on sale this year. During December we saw prices dip to well under $150.
On the higher side, consider the i7-4790k which is the Haswell refresh version of the i7.
Best Gaming Graphics Cards Under $600 2015
In order to play today's newest games at the highest possible settings it requires a beast of a video card. You can have the greatest gaming machine in the world, but if you take out its video card, it simply won't perform.
With graphics cards I'm all about getting the best bang for your buck, but as GPU go up in price, you get diminishing returns. That being said at this price range you're choice is between really good and better. I like the GTX 970 in the $400 range in the 980 in the under $600 range.
Best Gaming Motherboards $200-400
Assuming you'll be using an Intel Haswell processor at this price range you'll need an 1150 motherboard. Power users should highly consider the Asus Maximus VII Hero which gives you just about all the overclocking features you need for half the price we saw on older enthusiast boards.
For pure features I like a board like the Asus Z97-A.
Best Gaming Ram Under or Around $100
Assuming you're at this price range because of high computing requirements, you'll most likely want to grab 16GB of ram. Right now the Corsair Vengeance Ram is the most affordable; however the G. Skill Ripjaws series would be my preference assuming they are the same price.
Best Gaming HDD / Hard Drive
A super fast hard drive isn't that crucial for gaming, but it certainly helps in load times with not only I/O heavy gaming, but everything else you do on your PC. I recommend that you get a 7200rpm HDD with as much cache as possible and that most importantly you purchase your HDD from a reputable brand. I've worked in hardware long enough to have had a bad experience with just about every hard drive manufacturer out there; however, I've had the least trouble with Western Digital, Seagate, and Hitachi.
Fastest Hard Drives for Gaming
Available in sizes from 500GB - 2TB
Best Gaming SSD Solid State Drive 2014
In this price range there are many reasons why you might want a solid state drive. Some of you may want your entire computer's information to be on your solid state drive while others may simply want their OS and most important programs. Another option for those of you on a budget is to use Intel's Smart Response Technology which allows you to take sacrifice up to a 64GB SSD in order to add caching to your system in order to give you SSD-like performance to your entire hard drive.
In general I look for a SATA III SSD from a reputable brand that will give me the most space and highest read times for the money. While write times are somewhat important, unless you transfer a lot of data, I'd pay much more attention to the Sustained Sequential Read specifications. I've listed a few of my favorites below.
Best Gaming Blu-Ray Drive for Under $100
Today's games are all available for digital download so a blu-ray drive is not completely necessary. That being said if you like to watch movies on your computer or prefer installing a hard copy version of your software, then a blu-ray drive nice to have. For the money, I've listed the best blu-ray drive on the market for 2015 below.
Latest Blu-Ray Drives and Readers
Best PSU / Power Supply for Gaming Computers
Getting enough power to all of your expensive components is crucial, but many builders purchase power supplies with twice as much power as they actually need. There are PSU calculators around the net that can help you to see just how much power that you need. I recommend you take a look at Thermaltake's PSU calculator as well as NewEgg's which is not quite as exhaustive.
In choosing a PSU you want to get one that is 80 PLUS certified and ideally modular, if cable management is important to you. Another important thing is to find one that has a rebate as you can save as much as 35-50% of the overall price.
Right now I like EVGA's Supernova series which is a high tier power supply in terms of quality that often falls well below other manufacturer prices.
Top Rated Gaming PSU
Best Gaming Desktop Towers / Cases
I don't have a lot of advice with your gaming case; however, I would recommend that you get one that is easy-to-use. The Cooler Master HAF series is probably the easiest I've ever used. Other things to think about are whether you want USB 3.0 in the front I/O and whether you want a mid or full-sized desktop tower. If you frequently travel to LAN parties, then I highly recommend you go with a mid-tower or other lightweight case.
Aluminum Vs. Steel
Many people claim that aluminum keeps their case cooler. While it may feel cooler to the touch the inside temperature of your case is the same. Aluminum is desirable in that it is lightweight, but it's not as durable as steel so you'll have to decide what's most important to you.
For 2015 I like Corsair's Carbide series. Whether you're going full or mid-sized tower it's one of the better values overall in terms of flexibility and cooling options.
More PC Builds from this Author
- Best Under $500 Gaming Computer Build 2014
Looking for a good $500 Gaming PC? Why not build your own computer? Here's a look at the parts we'd recommend for a custom $500 Gaming PC.
- A Good $1800 PC Build for 1440p Gaming 2014
The next wave of gamers are looking to push the boundaries of PC builds beyond 1080p to 1440p capability. Here's a look at an optimized $1800 gaming desktop for higher resolutions.
- Build a League of Legends or Minecraft Computer for Under $300 2014
A computer build at $300 that does a good job of playing games like Minecraft or League of Legends in 1080p. This is a discussion of it's parts and the reasoning behind them.
- Best Under $400 to $500 Custom Gaming Computer Build 2014
Continuing on in my 2o14 series here are two good gaming computer builds in the under 400 to 500 dollar category. Parts are compatible and an explanation is given for each.
- Building a Home Theater ITX Gaming PC 2014
A good HTPC build takes planning and preparation. Here's one home theater build in the $700 range that does everything from play Blu-Rays to playing today's most graphically intense games.