$2,000 Build

Looking to build the best gaming PC around for $2,000? This is it! Quiet, sleek, and most importantly, brutally fast, this build offers the very best balance of CPU power, GPU power, cooling performance, and ease-of-use out of any of the builds we profile. We call it "premium" for a reason! And take note: we aren't skimping on the wheels and chassis just to cram in a "big engine". We're all about long-term thinking here at TBG, and this is a seriously long-term build!

For April 2017, we stick with the Intel Core i7-7700K quad-core processor, released in January, which offers the best all-around gaming performance of any CPU ever released! And you'll be driving that CPU to its limits now that we're able to spec this system with the all-conquering GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, the fastest GPU on the planet. Nvidia shocked enthusiasts by releasing the 1080 Ti at $500 less than the Titan X Pascal, despite even better performance. That, in a word, is awesome! In other news, we're now going with a single 1TB M.2-based SSD, which slots right into the motherboard to provide an elegant, ultra-fast storage solution. Rounding out the system is the Noctua NH-U14S, our favorite CPU cooler bar none, along with the new Thermaltake Suppressor F31 Tempered Glass Edition, which offers quiet operation and of course a solid glass panel to really showcase  your build.

We update this build every month - to see how this build compares to past months' components and prices, flip to the $2,000 Build Archive page. To see how it compares to other TBG builds, just flip over to the TBG PC Build Comparison Page, where you can sort through all of our current recommended systems, choosing the one with the parts and price you're looking for. And if you need help building your new PC, you'll want to read through our new-for-2017 Guide to Assembling a High-End PC (2017). By the way, if you're looking for a complete PC setup, also check out our Monitor Buyer's Guide and Peripherals Buyer's Guide for all the best add-ons!

To get inspiration from other TBG readers, visit The Gallery, which profiles a number of unique PC creations submitted by our readers. If you decide to build this system or one like it, let us know and we'll add a profile page for your PC too! Also, feel free to stop by our Reader Forum to share questions or ideas about this build. 

Because we use real-time pricing engines, you'll always see up-to-date U.S. prices in our guide. We also provide direct links to Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Germany for each product, with regional substitutions made where necessary. To help support the continued development of this guide, please use the links we provide if you purchase products we recommend.

The $2,000 Premium Gaming PC - April 2017

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-7700K

    Released in January, the Core i7-7700K is the chip every enthusiast will want. It operates at a nominal 4.2GHz with Turboboost to 4.5GHz, features the highly-effective Hyperthreading technology to add four virtual cores, and has excellent overclocking potential (some chips hit 5GHz, including our retail sample!). 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Do take note that this CPU doesn't include a cooler, but with the cooler we recommend later in this guide, you won't have to worry in the least about overheating. 

  • Motherboard:

    MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon

    As the least expensive member of Z270 line of Mystic Light boards, the Gaming Pro Carbon packs in all the latest tech, while coming in at a mid-range price. Of course, you're getting the new Z270 chipset, offering enhanced connectivity and better DDR4 overclocking support. You also get the new high-end ALC1220 audio codec, plenty of USB ports, including USB 3.1 Type-C, and dual M.2 slots, both of which support either SATA- or PCIe-based SSDs. And with Mystic Light, you get MSI's advanced RGB lighting and control package - in fact the Gaming Pro Carbon has the very best implementation of any MSI board, with infinite color control!

    The Guru's Tip:

    You can see this board in action in our recent High-End PC Assembly Guide (2017)!

    Video Card:

    GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Founders Edition

    The GTX 1080 Ti is such a big deal in the gaming world that we've decided to rework this build from the ground up to fit it into the budget. Offering speed that's at least 30% higher than the GTX 1080, the 1080 Ti simply shattered expectations of the performance that gamers could enjoy at this pricepoint. Just note that since its release on March 10th, it's been almost impossible to find in stock, so we change our product links on a daily basis to give you the best possible chance to grab one!

    The Guru's Tip:

    One of the many great features of the GeForce lineup is Nvidia's G-Sync technology, which matches frame output to monitor refresh rate for ultra-smooth gaming. See our Monitor Buyer's Guide for suggestions on the best G-Sync monitors on the market.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 Black

    In our Gamer's Bench article exploring Gaming on DDR4, we found that recent CPUs can benefit from all the memory bandwidth you can throw at them. That's why we're recommending that you go for nothing less than Corsair's ultra-fast 2x8GB DDR4-3000 kit. Note that while we previously recommended DDR4-3200, this 3000MHz kit offers tighter timings, and therefore provides the same performance at a significantly lower price (3200MHz kits have skyrocketed in price recently).

    The Guru's Tip:

    Keep in mind that DDR4 RAM will default to 2133MHz when the system is first booted - enter the UEFI to enable the XMP profile, which will push the RAM speed to its rated speed.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX300 1TB M.2

    A while back, we switched this build over from a small SSD and large hard drive combo to one large SSD, and now it's time to take the next step: going with an M.2 drive. You simply cannot go wrong with Crucial's MX300 1TB, which offers amazing speed and capacity for the price. And with the M.2 form factor, you get a simple installation that's completely cable-free!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that the motherboard has two M.2 slots, and you can use either one for this drive. To affix the M.2 drive's tiny screw, you'll need a jeweler's-type screwdriver. A standard #2 Philips will not fit.

    Case:

    Thermaltake Suppressor F31 Tempered Glass Edition

    Thermaltake has been around a long time, and it knows how to make an exceptional chassis. The new F31 Tempered Glass Edition builds on the success of the original F31, but adds a lot more style. You still get premium build quality and noise-dampening materials, but this edition offers a beautiful 4mm glass side panel, along with a rear-mounted 140mm "Riing" blue LED fan, which features a patented circular lighting effect. To keep air moving through the case, you also get a 140mm fan up front.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This case has hidden drive bays behind the motherboard panel, which means you can actually remove the modular 3-drive bay in the main compartment for better airflow.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova G2 850W

    EVGA's awesome Supernova 850 G2 packs in all the latest tech, including zero fan operation at loads under ~400W, Gold-rated efficiency, and fully-modular cables. It's backed by EVGA's amazing 10-year warranty, and designed by Superflower, one of the top names in the power supply market.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this build will draw about 400W at load, meaning you'll be right in the sweetspot of this PSU's 90% efficiency curve.

    CPU Cooler:

    Noctua NH-U14S

    The incredible Noctua NH-U14S is among the very finest air coolers ever released, and will actually run far quieter than any liquid cooler on the market. Noctua has been in the game for a long time, and its premium designs command respect - they set the benchmark against which all other air coolers must be judged. To learn more about what makes the NH-U14S so amazing, see our 140mm CPU Cooler shootout review pitting the NH-U14S against a number of serious competitors.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While every cooler comes with thermal paste, it's always nice to know you're getting premium quality, and this cooler comes with a tube of the ultra-premium Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste right in the box.

    Optical Drive:

    LG 24x DVD Burner GH24NSC0B

    It's cheap, it's easy to use, and it makes the OS installation easy. Enough said!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Interestingly, both Sony and Samsung have stopped manufacturing DVD burners, leaving LG as the last remaining major optical drive manufacturer.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10

    With Windows 10, Microsoft delivered a follow-up to the immensely-popular Windows 7 that enthusiasts can get behind. It features a fully-functional Start Menu along with numerous other usability and performance enhancements, making Windows 10 a big step up from Windows 8.1.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We know some people are still buying Windows 7, but from our point of view, that's a mistake. Windows 10 is a better, safer, and more powerful OS.