Best 800 Dollar Gaming PC: Insane Performance in 2020

written by jordyn hamilton Jordyn Hamilton

*TOC

$800 is actually one of the best PC build budgets you can give yourself this year.

Coming short of $900 can bring forth a bit of trouble in fitting a modest GPU and SSD at the same time, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered as always.

In this guide, we’re going to cover the best $800 gaming PC in 2020 - you’ll be able to crush 1080p and even 1440p with this build, so sit down and strap in.

Let’s get started:

Prebuilt Choice

The $800 price point is somewhat of a mixed bag when it comes to the odd landscape that is Amazon’s ‘Desktop Computer’ category.

So we scoured the bargain bin through the trash and the rubble to get you the best prebuilt your money can buy.

Pros
  • Great CPU
  • Fast RAM
  • SSD
  • Windows 10 Installed
  • Comes with mouse & keyboard
  • Great GPU
Cons
  • Small SSD
CPU
R5 3600
Clock
3.6GHz
RAM
8GB DDR4
SSD
240GB
OS
Windows 10
WiFi
802.11AC

At $799.99USD, the N27W offers you almost similar performance to that of our build-guide picks below for a similar cost.

The only fields that this desktop lags behind in are the graphics and the memory, which may be a mightier blow than you’d expect.

Including a 1TB 7200RPM mechanical hard drive and a 240GB SSD, this desktop still holds its own in the storage category.

Unlike many prebuilt systems, it includes no preinstalled ‘bloatware’.

Though, with just 8GB of DDR4-2666 RAM instead of our 16GB DDR4-3000 RAM, you’ll be getting a little slower out-of-the-box performance (without overclocking) while also sacrificing 8 whole gigs.

In the graphics department, the N27W puts a good foot forward, but not its best. Sporting just a GTX 1660, as opposed to our chosen GTX 1660 Ti, you’ll be losing out on about 20% of performance in games.

For its many blunders, though, the N27W includes a pre-installed full copy of Windows 10 Home, an internal Wi-Fi adapter, RGB lighting, a beautiful tempered glass side panel, a mouse, a keyboard, 1-year warranty, and free lifetime tech support. Absolutely outstanding!

Best $800 Gaming PC Build (Custom Parts)

Component Name Features Image
CPU Intel Core i5-9600KF
  • 6 cores
  • Overclocking
  • 3.7GHz
best cpu for $800 gaming pc
Cooler ARCTIC Freezer Xtreme Rev.2
  • 1500RPM
  • 131mm
  • 24.4dB
cpu cooler for $800 gaming pc
MOBO MSI Z390-A PRO
  • 4 RAM slots
  • Overclock Support
  • DDR4-4400
$800 gaming pc custom build motherboard
RAM Patriot Viper 4 Blackout
  • 2x8GB
  • DDR4-3000MHz
  • Overclockable
ram for custom $800 gaming pc
HDD Seagate Barracuda HDD
  • 2TB
  • 7200RPM
  • 256MB Cache
800 dollar gaming pc hard drive
SSD Kingston A400
  • 120GB
  • SSD
  • SATA III
800 dollar gaming pc ssd
GPU Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660Ti OC
  • 1500MHz Core
  • 12000MHz Mem
  • 6GB VRAM
$800 gaming pc graphics card
PSU Rosewill 500W Power Supply
  • Efficient
  • Warranty
  • Cheap
Rosewill 500w
CASE Cougar MX330
  • Sturdy
  • Window
  • Front USB 3
case
Order This Build on Amazon

$800 Gaming PC Build Overview Video

Pros
  • Lots of physical cores
  • Overclock support
  • Budget friendly
  • Great overclocking
Cons
  • No integrated graphics
Clock
3.7GHz
Boost
4.6GHz
Cores
6
TDP
95W
Type
Coffee Lake
Cooler
No

Now that AMD’s been flipping Intel the bird in the budget market for quite a bit, it seems Intel’s finally decided it’s time to show ‘em who’s boss.

Not only does it offer that amazing baseline performance, but you know what that ‘K’ designation means:

Overclocking, baby!

Paired alongside a Z390 motherboard, you can expect to hit upwards of 5GHz with the right cooler, and boy did we try to get you one.

One thing you should note with the 9th Gen Intel CPUs if you’re coming back from a long break is that the chips designated with the ‘F’ in the name do not have integrated graphics.

So don’t go into it without a dedicated GPU expecting something to happen, of course.

cpu cooler

We haven’t really included CPU coolers all that much in a lot of our builds since nowadays included stock coolers have been holding their own against their aftermarket counterparts.

However, since the overclockable Intel processors do not include coolers at all we’ve gotta find something, and something good. Hence, the Arctic Freezer Xtreme.

The Arctic Freezer Xtreme Rev.2 is one of the cheapest 120mm CPU coolers you can find on Amazon, 120mm being the size of the fan.

Even with this low price, it delivers outstanding performance with its 1500RPM maximum speed output.

Don’t take that speed as a warning for high sound, though, even with that speed the Freezer only hits around 24dB (decibels).

With a huge heatsink and double-sided heat pipes number 8 total, the cooler does take up quite a bit of space but we assure you that with our case choice it’ll be no issue.

And with the PWM fan, your motherboard can fine-tune your fan speed to fit the temperature of your CPU, it’s honestly pretty amazing.

There are a couple of cheaper options for 120mm coolers, though with maybe a little bit less cooling capacity, but if you really wanna save that dough the Arctic Freezer 33 eSports in either Yellow or Green variants are around $30USD.

Pros
  • Great overclocking
  • Easy to work with
  • Awesome BIOS
  • Great overclocking
Cons
  • None
Form
ATX
Chipset
Z390
Slots
4
SATA
6
M.2
2
Overclock
Yes

Z390 is all the rage with the new 9th Gen Intel chips flooding the market, and now’s the time to make your move.

Pairing this puppy with our chosen i5-9600KF will give you an amazing head start for gaming especially, and with this board, you’ll be able to push it towards 5GHz or even further as we mentioned before.

Sticking to that theme of overclocking (since that’s what the Z390-A PRO is all about), Intel has recently released a new overclocking utility to compete against AMD’s Ryzen Master.

Intel’s new “one-click” Intel Performance Maximizer utility allows you to overclock your processor from Windows and it handles all the numbers itself, subverting the need to enter the BIOS.

Though don’t go thinking you can get a cheaper board and use the performance maximizer, ‘cause it still requires an overclock-capable board. Oh well.

If you’re a little scared that you may damage your CPU or something like that, Intel offers a $20 warranty upgrade that covers damage caused by overclocking with their tool.

Pros
  • 16GB
  • Fast 3000Mhz
  • Cheap
Cons
  • None, we're just picking awesome parts
Amount
16GB
Modules
2x8GB
Speed
3000MHz
Type
DDR4
CAS
16
Voltage
1.35V

Once again, overclocking may be your breakthrough, but unfortunately, there’s no automatic overclocking utility for RAM.

For a guide to overclocking system memory click here.

Even without overclocking, the base clock of 3000MHz makes sure you won’t lag behind anywhere, be it Chrome, Firefox, Brave, or god forbid, Edge.

And at 16GB total memory, trust me, you won’t run out (unless you really need 100 tabs and 12 games open at the same time — in that case, you’ve got 2 extra memory slots on the motherboard for upgrades!)

Pros
  • Crazy fast boot speeds
  • Maps load quickly
  • No moving parts
Cons
  • Only 120GB of storage
  • More expensive than a mechanical drive
Type
SSD
Capacity
480GB
Price/GB
$0.11
Size
2.5"
Interface
SATA
NVME
No

Our solid state drive solution for this build is the Kingston A400 120GB SATA SSD.

This thing is blazing fast, which is why we highly recommend it as your Windows boot drive.

With your OS and drivers installed on your SSD, your PC is going to be fast and responsive, especially when booting.

However, although an SSD will help you load your games faster, it won’t actually improve your FPS. If you want to learn more about SSDs’ impact on gaming performance, check out [this](here guide we wrote.

Pros
  • 2TB Storage
  • 256MB Cache
Cons
  • Games load more slowly on this drive
Type
SSD
Capacity
480GB
Price/GB
$0.11
Size
2.5"
Interface
SATA
NVME
No

This hard drive has TONS of storage space and a large cache, so it makes for a great mass storage drive.

You can install all of your games, applications, files, and more on this drive without having to worry much about space.

We recommend (as long as you can afford it, of course) upgrading the SSD to a 240GB model or more if you want to install your games on an SSD as well.

Pros
  • 6GB VRAM
  • GDDR6 Memory
  • Fast clock speed
  • Handles 1080p with ease
Cons
  • Price (1/3 budget)
Core
1500MHz
Boost
1860MHz
Length
280mm
Fans
2
Memory
6GB
Ports
4

Graphics might be the single most important part of a gaming PC, which is why we made sure to knock this one out of the park.

We managed to include one of the best mid to high range GPUs on the market.

Everyone give a warm welcome to the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC from Gigabyte.

Paired with the i5-9600KF, expect the most out of your combo with amazing in-game performance at 1080p and 14440p resolutions, even with the graphics cranked up.

Especially after overclocking, this GPU seriously kicks butt.

Pros
  • 80+ Bronze Certified
  • Good bang for your buck
  • Semi-modular
  • Cheap
Cons
  • Not the most efficient PSU on the market
Wattage
500
Rating
Bronze
Modular
Semi
Color
Black
SATA
5
Noise
Quiet

Next, we have the power supply. Though often overlooked, this guy is pretty important.

Choose a PSU that’s not powerful enough, and you could fry the PSU or worse, the entire PC.

Conversely, if your PSU is too powerful, you’ll waste a ton of money.

Not to mention you have to worry about noise, cable management, and whether or not it’s compatible.

Fear not, for once again we’ve done the heavy lifting for you – you’re welcome.

The Rosewill 500W is a pretty standard power supply, but it has a few key features that make it stand out for its price.

It’s Semi-modular, so you’re getting a good mix of affordability and practicality. It’s also 80+ Bronze Certified, which means this PSU is power efficient.

The Rosewill 500W is also pretty quiet, and compatible with the build components.

Pros
  • Great design
  • Great airflow
  • Easy cable management
  • Spacious interior
Cons
  • Acrylic side panel window
Type
ATX
Airflow
Great
Design
Great
Window
Yes
Spacious
Great
Noise
Quiet

Fitting a full ATX board was the first criterion, and the MX330 met that requirement.

What the MX330 offers at this price, though, is the power supply shroud and that’s really wonderful, keeping your PSU and hard drives out of the view from the rest of your lovely components.

The one downfall of this case is the acrylic side panel which can be a huge turn-off for a lot of gamers.

Honestly, it really isn’t that bad — a friend of mine even sourced a random tempered glass side panel off of eBay that happened to fit!

This cool case even has 4 front USB ports (2 2.0 and 2 3.0) and a 5.25” drive bay if that suits your fancy.

Performance Benchmarks

Here we’ve got the performance benchmarks so you can see (just about) what you’re buying and make a decision based upon your needs.

Gaming Benchmark

$800 gaming pc build gaming benchmark

As you can see in the graph, while the two sides do trade blows fairly well and frequently, Intel does come out on top for some of the bigger titles.

This test does not take into account overclocking, but based on the performance numbers for the CPU overclocks (below) the differences should stay pretty consistent.

CPU Speed Benchmark

Starting out with the base clocked performance, it’s just about what we expect in a normal Intel vs AMD matchup; Intel in the lead with single-core, AMD with multi-core.

$800 gaming pc build cpu base speed benchmark

This is a consistent trend across all price points when comparing the similarities, so get used to it.

Now, the results of the overclocking may change your mind a bit if you were thinking about going AMD.

$800 gaming pc build cpu overclocked speed benchmark

While AMD technically offers more cores (albeit virtual cores) with their hyperthreading, the raw performance of Intel’s baseline cores just about beats it while overclocked.

This could mean an even better boost for gaming performance.

Read/Write Hard Drive Benchmark

The regular read/write speeds of HDDs are no surprise since they generally perform similarly across the board, but we thought we’d give you a little comparison between our selected drive and the most popular offering from Western Digital.

To say the least, it looks like we’re holding our own:

hard drive benchmarks

Moving on to the 4K read/write speeds, if you look closely (we apologize for the weirdness of the graphs) you can see why the WD drive is so popular due to its superior 4K read/write speeds.

4k read and write speed benchmark

Alas, the HDDs still stand no chance against the might of Solid State storage.

Another oddity appears in the 4K read/write of the SATA SSD as opposed to the M.2 contender, maybe that’s why the A400 is so popular these days.

Extra Stuff

After you build your gaming PC, you’re going to need some extra stuff too before you’re ready to game.

Peripherals

Most gamers opt to buy a good gaming monitor, a gaming keyboard/mouse, a gaming headset, and even a microphone.

We know you’re on a budget, so we made a list of our top peripheral picks in each category.

Here are our recommended peripherals for this build:

Windows 10

If you’ve never built your own personal computer before, you may be a little baffled at the whole Windows 10 installation and activation process.

We happen to have a full setup and installation guide that you can check out by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

The cost might also be a bit of an issue. Maybe you’re looking at Windows 10 keys from Microsoft or Amazon; you’ll regularly see them for $100+.

Crazy, right?

In reality, you can just go onto eBay and purchase an OEM key for around $5 from 1 of hundreds of sellers and even get instant delivery.

Internet Connection

For the best speed and lowest latency internet connection, you’ll want to stick with ethernet if you can, and most motherboards nowadays are fitted with a minimum of a Gigabit Ethernet port.

However, for those of you that really need the wireless connection, you can opt for an internal Wi-Fi adapter like the TP-Link Archer R4E, or a USB adapter like this Inamax USB Wi-Fi adapter.

Other Budgets

$800 is a good baseline for an entry level gaming PC, but we’ve got build guides for a bunch of other budgets as well.