gaming pc

Back to School 2019 $1500 Gaming PC Build

Every so often, I like to price together new builds and see what I can get for a certain price point. So here’s a $1500 Gaming PC build for 2019 back to school season.

Back when I worked in the gaming pc industry, the average build based on customer purchase data averaged around the $1500 price point. So, we had always considered that the sweet spot and always had configurations around that price point.

Case – Corsair Carbide Series 200R or 275R
For those of you that know me, I stick with certain brands and it always comes back to quality. For cases, I’m not the flashy crazy LED vegas-style type. The reason being is that those types are usually cheap quality and plasticky.

For my case, I used to choose from Antec but now I like the Corsair brand cases and the one I’ve chosen is the Carbide Series, either the 200R or the 275R case. Both are clean, sturdy and provides good air flow.

Most people tend to overlook the functional aspects of cases and only go for the looks and those that do can suffer heat issues in their system, reducing the overall lifespan of your components.

CPU – Intel Core i5-9600K
I know these days AMD Ryzen is all the rage. But I’m old school and Intel has proven time and time again that they build quality performance processors so I’m sticking with Intel.

Some might ask why an i5 and not an i7. Well, for a $1500 gaming pc build, you need to make difficult choices. You can’t have top of the line in one component and suffer in others. And, the most important component in a gaming pc is the GPU, not the CPU.

GPU – EVGA GeForce RTX 2060
When it comes to NVIDIA GeForce video card brands, EVGA was always at the forefront. They were the premier partners of NVIDIA and provided great quality video cards with good service.

The 20 Series GPUs from NVIDIA are the latest series and even though the RTX 2060 is the lowest end card of the 20 Series, it’s the middle of the road, I guess you can say. NVIDIA does have a 16 Series for lower-end, cheaper, video cards but the RTX 2060 is more than decent and as it’s part of the 20 Series cards, it does include features like Ray Tracing while the 16 Series does not.

Motherboard – ASUS Prime Z390-A
ASUS is another brand I’ve always stuck to before and after working in that industry. I’ve compared many boards from the various brands and ASUS has always been the leader in quality motherboards.

The ASUS Prime series is always my choice. It’s not the top-of-the-line or the lowest. Again, it’s middle of the road in regards to price and features. In my opinion, there’s no need for a high-end motherboard unless you’re doing serious overclocking. Seriously, for a $1500 gaming pc, you’re not doing any overclocking.

Memory – G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2x16GB)
G.SKILL is an underrated brand. They don’t do much marketing and most of their work is direct with Newegg. And because they never did much marketing here in the US, their price vs quality rating is actually very good.

When it comes to memory, 16GB is the absolute minimum. I’ve chosen 32GB because do we want the absolute minimum? No. We need a good balance across all components.

PSU – EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G3
The power supply is the most misunderstood component and it’s one of my pet peeves with people. Never go cheap on the power supply! Too many do and it annoys me because when their system shuts down while gaming or just dies, I really want to tell them, “I told you so!”

I equate the power supply as the literal heart of the gaming pc. If you have a weak heart, do you think you can run a marathon let alone a demanding PC game?

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 recommends a 500W power supply. If you choose a no-brand 500W power supply, you need to realize that it’s not actually 500W that it can deliver. During testing, it may be able to deliver 500W Peak power for a second, but it won’t be able to deliver 500W of consistent power. That’s a big difference.

With branded power supplies, especially with those from EVGA or CORSAIR, you get high-quality power supplies that can supply the rated wattage consistently and not just peak power.

Storage Drives – SAMSUNG 970 EVO M.2 SSD and WD Blue 2TB HDD
If you don’t have an SSD as your main drive, you don’t deserve a gaming pc. There’s no point in selecting performance components and then use an old spinning HDD as your main drive. You’ll just complain as soon as your system boots that the system is slow.

For the main drive, I chose the SAMSUNG 970 EVO M.2 1TB SSD. This is where you’ll install your OS and your games for fast storage speeds.

For the data drive, you can use an HDD and I chose the Western Digital Blue 2TB drive.

CPU Cooler – Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
Don’t forget the CPU cooler! I’ve used CPU fans from Cooler Master for years and as their name suggests, they are the master of cooling. Well, there are a couple of other good brands but I do like Cooler Master the best, especially the Hyper 212 series coolers.

Not sure if you noticed but I didn’t list an optical drive. Do you really need this? Does anybody use it anymore? I still have one in my gaming pc but I haven’t used it in years. Sometimes I’ll open the drive just to make sure it’s not dead. LOL

Components Chart with Pricing

CaseCORSAIR Carbide Series 275R$90
CPUIntel Core i5-9600K$245
GPUEVGA GeForce RTX 2060$400
MotherboardASUS Prime Z390-A$190
MemoryG.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 32GB$140
PSUEVGA SuperNOVA 650 G3$120
HDDWD Blue 2TB$100
CPU FanCooler Master Hyper 212 EVO$40

Note: Pricing obtained from Newegg on Aug 29th, 2019.

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