$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 June 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, which sits at the very top of Nvidia's GeForce lineup. It shocked enthusiasts by offering the same performance as 2016's Titan X Pascal for $500 less, and now that custom-cooled versions are available, it can pull even further ahead on the price/performance curve. In other news, we're recommending builders go 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 ultra-high-airflow SilverStone PM01 chassis. While we previously recommended the Thermaltake F31 for this build, the PM01 has a better layout for air-cooled systems.

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 - June 2017

  • CPU:

    Intel Core i7-7700K

    Released in January, the Core i7-7700K is the perfect CPU for enthusiasts. 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, which paired with SilverStone's LS02 RGB light strips will really trick out this build!

    The Guru's Tip:

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

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black 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 nearly 30% higher than the GTX 1080, the 1080 Ti simply shattered expectations of the performance that gamers could enjoy at this pricepoint. To learn more, see our full benchmark review! And take note: custom-designed 1080 Ti models like the one we recommend here have finally hit the market, giving you even more performance for the same amount of money as the original Founders Edition!

    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, which offers tight 15-17-17-35 timings and the best customer support in the business.

    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:

    SilverStone Primera PM01

    This case from SilverStone embodies all that is right with ultra-modern case design. Why do we love this case so much? Because it has practically unlimited airflow, courtesy of its fully-meshed front panel, four pre-installed 140mm fans (three with LED lights), and its hidden drive cages. You also get a PSU cover that keeps things nice and neat once your build is complete. Just note that as with many new cases, this one will not fit an optical drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Want to learn how to build up a system in the SilverStone Primera PM01? Check it out in our step-by-step Ultra-High-End Assembly Guide. Note that we used the white version, perfect if you want to class it up a bit.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova G3 750W

    EVGA's awesome Supernova 750 G3 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.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Windows 10 represents a huge leap forward from Windows 8.1, and you will definitely want W10 for gaming. It includes the cutting-edge DX12 low-level API, which provides higher performance and better graphics in PC games.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Windows will install in around 5 minutes thanks to the incredibly-fast USB 3.0 interface!