aka The Octa-Ling
PC gaming is one of those things that you can buy into cheap, but don’t really reap the benefits of fully until you step up your rig. $800 strikes the “sweet spot” between price and performance, coming in well above a console killer in performance, while still being sub-$1000.
Our Requirements For The $800 Gaming PC
So, what exactly should be looked for in a build around $800? The goal here is give a full PC gaming experience with room to spare, all while keeping the budget fairly low.
Top Notch Performance. This machine must perform well above current consoles, even on the level of the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio. It must have support for 4K and VR, and be able to run modern games at high settings with a stellar frame rate.
Lookin’ Sharp. While the performance has to be there, the looks have to be there as well. For 800 dollars, it’s not enough to just perform great. A solid case that allows all the pretty internals to be shown off is essential for an $800 PC build.
Upgradability. While $800 will last a long time with the right components, this machine is still under the threshold of “future proof”. While systems will always need to be upgraded, this system has been set up to allow small upgrades to be thrown in at anytime. The 7th Kaby Lake processor, single stick of memory, and more are organized to make sure this system can continue to perform as well as the day it was build for years to come.
IMPORTANT: Because of the GPU shortage, building your computer is costly and hard (Read more about the GPU shortage news here). If you have a cheaper budget, you can go around the problem and get a Prebuilt Gaming PC instead.
Components of The Octa-Ling Update:
Crucial Ballistix Elite 8GB DDR4-2666 RAM
Crucial’s 8GB DDR4-2666 RAM kit will offer you all the speed and capacity you need for gaming and multitasking alike.
ADATA SU800 128 GB SSD
ADATA’s super-fast 128 GB SSD is a great option for starter storage, especially for your OS.
ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Turbo Edition
The GeForce GTX 1060 6GB version has significantly better performance than the 3GB version, and will offer great gaming and VR performance.
Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-ALPHA
A sleek red-and-black case from Corsair with excellent airflow and build quality.
Corsair TXM 550W 80+ Gold-Certified PSU
A solid Gold-certified power supply that serves as a solid beating heart for this build.
Estimated $811.55 at Amazon
(Price are accurate as of March 27, 2018)
Onto everything that’s going to be stuffed inside to make this beast of a system.
Crucial’s Ballistix line of RAM bumps up the speed and adds a stylish, black heatsink. While you don’t need more than 8GB of RAM for gaming and multitasking, the faster RAM speed offered by this kit may get you some slight performance increases in certain applications.
ASUS makes some pretty great GPUs, and comes with a factory overclock that will allow you to enjoy your GPU at its fullest. The 1060 6GB will offer all the power you need for 4K and VR gaming, though you won’t be able to max out titles at 4K with this GPU. That’s more 1080-territory.
Corsair has a great reputation in the PC gaming community for their excellent customer service and PC hardware manufacturing, so one of their higher-end cases was an obvious choice for this build. The SPEC-ALPHA offers a sleek red-and-black aesthetic, supplemented with some RED LED intake fans and a case window. Thanks to its spacious innards, this case will also be more than enough to hold large graphics cards and coolers.
The most important part of buying a PSU is to buy a high-quality PSU from a reliable manufacturer, like Corsair or EVGA. Buying a cheap power supply from a cheap no-name brand might provide power to your build, but it’s also exponentially more likely to literally explode and set your house on fire. For that reason, we recommend never skimping out on a PSU- instead, go with something that’s solid- like the TXM 550W!
The TXM 550W itself will provide all the power you need for this build, as well as an excellent 80+ Gold Certification and a Semi-Modular form factor for easy building.
While this machine is very solid for the price this is plenty that can be changed to make it better from the get-go or in the future.
Note: Of course, these upgrades will increase the price.
Thermal throttling does exist and it will certainly impact gaming performance. While the margin may only be a few frames, a dedicated CPU cooler will bring overall better performance and bring down the noise that is there with the stock cooler.
Certainly not essential considering the i5 7400 does feature a stock cooler, but it will push the system a little further.
This part will bring a lot of performance boost to the system and isn’t much more than the i5 7400 included in the build. The processor is fast out of the box and is unlocked so it can be manually overclocked. With more games like GTA V being more reliant on CPU usage for performance, this could bring a lot of performance increase well into the future.
Do note that the MOBO would also need to be upgraded to something on the Z270 platform to use this processor, so this upgrade could be pretty costly.
Of the upgrades, this is probably the most important. You’ll want a lot more room in your PC for the games you’ll be playing, and this 2TB HDD should offer all of the capacity for that that you’ll need.
OS Options and Recommended Peripherals
Most peripherals should be taken care of, especially if you’re dropping $800 on a PC. Still, we wanted to give a few recommendations to accompany this system.
For a gaming PC, the only real option for an operating system is Windows. While there has been some significant strides in recent years for Linux and Mac support for games, the options are nowhere near what is offered on Windows.
Previous licenses for Windows can be transferred to new machines, but you may need actually get ahold of Microsoft to complete the transfer process.
However, if you are still need to obtain a copy of Windows 10, you can do so from places like Newegg or directly from Microsoft. If you don’t have moral issues with gray market products, you can always check out Kinguin.
Mouse and Keyboard
Your mouse and keyboard are vital aspects of your gaming setup. These are the tools you will go into battle with, and you haven’t already got some, we have some suggestions for you.
For Starters: ($15)
For $15, the Logitech MK120 set is solid for the price. Yes it is a membrane keyboard, and yes the mouse feels like a feather in weight, but it works, and that’s what matters for this price.
With that being said, this set will hold up for quite a while. While it’s plastic and not suited for gaming, the kit still bears the Logitech logo, and that’s a good thing.
For Advanced Users: (~$150)
For a little bit more on the mouse end, it’s hard to go wrong with the Logitech G400S. This mouse is a total tank. I’ve taken mine all around the U.S. and it still works just as good as the day I bought it.
The 4000 DPI sensor allows on the fly adjustment ranging from 400-4000 DPI which is a huge plus.
Once again, at the $800 point, most people have some kind of flat panel monitor that they could use. With that being said, the addition of the GTX 1070 opens up the possibility of 4K gaming, meaning you’ll need a monitor of producing those resolutions.
Most 4K monitors are outrageously expensive, easily going past the price of the entire build. While not perfect, the Monoprice 4K 60Hz panel comes highly recommended at only $320. This 28-inch monitor will allow that buildful UHD resolution to come through and features a pretty decent 5ms response time.
On the more expensive end, options like the Asus X34 and HP Omen X35 are amazing displays. It’s always nice to dream.
Having every component you need is a start. To actually build everything and piece them together is where the fun is at. Make sure you are doing it right by reading our guides below before you build your very first computer.
This specifically addresses problems that newbies have to give you a heads up and to keep you from doing the same mistakes they did.
Find a Quiet Spot
I cannot stress this point enough. Every time I go to a do a build, I always need to find a secluded space where no one will bother me for multiple hours. It’s stressful enough building a computer and having someone breathing down your neck doesn’t help.
You’re going to want to find a spot that is quiet to keep distraction minimals. Make sure you’re building a solid, non-conductive surface (so no carpet) and have everything you need at your disposal like screwdrivers, manuals, etc.
PC builds can last quite a few hours, especially if it’s your first time, so make sure you have a block of time sectioned out to work on your build and cut out all other distractions.
Buy Some Zip Ties
Another very important and often overlooked aspect of build - zip ties. These little things are essential when building a PC. It may seem like it’s not a big deal, but the moment you start trying to run your SATA cables over your 24-pin ATX power cable, you’ll realize why they’re so essential.
Most pieces of hardware will come with some extra goodies, and many times those goodies are branded cable ties of some sort. However, it would be wise to pick up a pack of zip ties for yourself on Amazon.
If you are unsure what build you should get, then follow our how to build a PC guide. Here, we have steps such as what do you want to do with your PC, as well as deciding on your budget, and manually ordering the right components.
That is everything to build the best $800 gaming PC! This machine comes out to be a powerhouse, being able to handle the most demanding games with ease and push most games into 4K. Even upgraded consoles like the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio won’t be able to hold a candle to this build in terms of resolution, framerate, or graphical fidelity.
The system is easily set up to allow for plenty of upgrade options as well. Whether you want to drop in a second stick of memory, or upgrade the card (which you won’t have to do for awhile), this build, housed inside of the BitFenix Nova, makes upgrades a breeze.