Best $2500 Extreme gaming pc build

Important Update: Due to all high-end video cards being sold out for months at retail, we recommend that most gamers purchase the pre-built PC we list in this guide, rather than wait on GPUs to restock.

If you're looking to play all the latest games on a 4K or ultra-wide monitor, you're going to need extreme processing power. And that's what the $2,500 Gaming PC Build delivers - every component has been selected with one and only one goal in mind: maximum high-resolution performance for $2,500, with a healthy dose of style thrown in!

For January 2021, the $2,500 Gaming PC Build continues to feature the Core i9-10850K, a 10-core, 20-thread beast from Intel that simply cannot be beaten in gaming. In this build, it's cooled by a massive 360mm liquid cooler. The 10850K is backing up a true behemoth of a GPU, the new RTX 3080 10GB from Nvidia, which thunders into the ring with performance that obliterates the old RTX 2080 Ti for around half the price! The only trouble is that you haven't been able to buy once since its September launch and likely won't be available in quantity until March 2021, so you can either bide your time using integrated graphics, or jump into next-gen gaming today with the pre-built PC we list down below.

If you decide to go the DIY route, you'll find plenty of other great gear in this build. That includes 32GB of DDR4-3600 RAM, a high-capacity, ultra-fast 2TB PCIe solid-state drive, the H500P Mesh ARGB case from Cooler Master, and a potent 850W Gold-rated power supply. As always, to see our previous part picks and prices, just flip to the $2,500 Gaming PC Build Archive. Also note that we highlight our favorite accessories for this build in the optional components section at the end of this guide, including the best high-end peripherals and monitor. If you're looking for more options, feel free to browse our Monitor Buyer's GuidePeripherals Buyer's Guide, and Speaker/Headset Buyer's Guide for all our favorite picks!

Throughout this guide, we provide direct links to Amazon or Newegg in US, plus Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Germany for readers in other regions, with 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 $2,500 Extreme 4K Gaming PC Build - January 2021

The Pre-Built Option

  • The Extreme RGB Gaming PC:

    ABS Gladiator 10850K/RTX 3080 RGB Gaming PC @Newegg

    HOT DEAL! Given Nvidia's soft launch of its RTX 3000 series, the only way to get one is in a pre-built system, and ABS, the PC division of Newegg, has the system for you! Check out these specs: a liquid-cooled Intel Core i9-10850K 10-core, 20-thread CPU, an Asus Z490-E Gaming motherboard, an Asus GeForce RTX 3080 10GB GPU (which you most definitely can't buy at retail!), 32GB of DDR4-3200 RGB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an 850W Gold-rated power supply, all built up in Corsair's stunning Obsidian 500D case!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Your chances of actually scoring a 3000 series GPU at retail are precisely zero at this point, so picking up this pre-built is the only way to experience next-gen gaming performance today, but even it will be sold out for good soon, as the latest cryptocurrency craze is going to eliminate GPU supply for months to come.

The Build-Your-Own Option

  • CPU:

    Intel Core i9-10850K @Newegg

    Intel takes back the performance/dollar crown at the high-end with its Core i9-10850K. This is a ten-core, 20-thread CPU with an all-core boost speed of 5.2GHz out of the box! It was released as a psuedo-replacement for the more expensive 10900K, which it turns out was boosted a bit too high by Intel, leading to constant throttling. The 10850K is actually faster, despite a lower boost speed!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Remember, you need a new Z490 motherboard for this CPU - it will not even fit in older motherboards!

  • Motherboard:

    Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Ultra

    This feature-packed Z490 board gives you everything you need for an ultra-high-end PC build at a great price. 12-phase power, triple M.2 PCIe slots for high-speed SSDs, ten USB ports (including Type-C), 2.5G LAN, and built-in 802.11ax (WiFi 6) networking plus Bluetooth.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Intel's new socket 1200, featured on this motherboard, is required to use 10th-Gen CPUs!  

  • Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GT 1030 (Temporary Card)

    CRITICAL UPDATE: Nvidia has launched the greatest GPUs of all time with its new RTX 3000 series, which blows away all previous video cards, including the once mighty RTX 2080 Ti. The RTX 3080, which is half the price, offers 30% higher performance, which is a simply unprecedented generational leap. The only problem: you won't be able to find these on store shelves for months. Truthfully, the only way to get one without sitting at your computer literally 24 hours a day trying to find in-stock units is to pick up an older EVGA GeForce card like the one listed here, and then immediately register it for Step-Up to an RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra. That way you can set up your new system while everyone else panics, and EVGA will let you know when you can trade it in for the 3080. Another option you have is to use the built-in video on the Intel CPU until high-end GPUs are available for purchase again, or better yet, just buy the pre-built PC we listed at the beginning of this guide and start gaming on a 3080 today!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We've factored the full $810 price of the 3080 FTW3 Ultra into the $2,500 budget for this system, but your initial total purchase will be less due to the lower cost of the interim GeForce card. The Step Up program is available in the US, Canada, and Europe.

  • Memory:

    G.Skill 2x16GB TridentZ RGB DDR4-3600 16-19-19 @Newegg

    This awesome 32GB kit will provide more than enough capacity for any game today and for years to come, and thanks to its mind-blowing DDR4-3600 speed and 16-19-19 timings, it will keep your fast CPU fed with data.

    The Guru's Tip:

    3600MHz is absolutely the sweetspot today when it comes to performance per dollar in high-end RAM, at least when it has the right timings, which this one does! Learn more in our recent DDR4-3600 shootout!

  • Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB @Newegg

    Harnessing the power of cutting-edge TLC V-NAND, the NVMe protocol, and the PCIe interface, this SSD provides amazing speed, along with an incredible 2TB of capacity!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Thanks to this drive's sleek M.2 format, it requires no cables at all! Just note that you'll need a jeweler's-type screwdriver to install it.

  • Case:

    Cooler Master MasterCase H500P Mesh White ARGB @Newegg

    Our favorite high-performance gaming case has now been updated to with awesome ARGB lighting, making it better than ever! The H500P Mesh White is the star of high-end cases. It features a tempered glass side panel, dual 200mm front fans behind a big mesh intake, and a 140mm rear fan. It will keep your components nicely chilled thanks to a constant wall of air.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The case's ARGB lighting can easily be sync'd with the 3-pin ARGB header on the motherboard we recommend.

  • Power Supply:

    Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 850W 80+ Gold @Newegg

    Nearly all power supplies from reputable manufacturers are now completely sold out, and most cannot even be backordered. But this unit, a high-end 850W Gold-rated model, can actually be ordered, at least as of our latest update. Watch out for all the cheap knock-off PSUs offering huge wattage numbers at low prices.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This unit will have no trouble dealing with the ultra-high-wattage CPU and GPU in this system, which on their own will draw about 550W at load!

  • CPU Cooler:

    SilverStone PF360-ARGB @Newegg

    To run a high-wattage CPU like the one in this system, you need extreme cooling, and we suggest you go straight for this awesome 360mm liquid cooler, which offers plenty of cooling performance, low noise levels, and sweet ARGB lighting.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This cooler's lighting and fans are controlled by the motherboard, which has plenty of headers to hook all the necessary cables up.

  • Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 on USB @Newegg

    Windows 10 includes the cutting-edge DX12 low-level API, which provides higher performance and better graphics in all of the latest PC games!

    The Guru's Tip:

    As of our latest update, Windows 10 on USB is in stock, but if it's ever sold out, go for the downloadable version, which you can simply load on a USB 3.1 thumb drive.

Optional Components

  • The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Rapidfire Low Profile @Newegg

    For the very fastest gameplay, there's nothing better than the K70 Rapidfire Low Profile. Thanks to Cherry's unbeaten low-profile MX Speed switches, you get amazing response and feel, plus low noise.

    The Guru's Tip:

    See our review right here!

  • The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse:

    Razer Basilisk Ultimate HyperSpeed Wireless

    Go for the best mouse in the business, period. Featuring a 20,000dpi sensor, Razer's awesome new HyperSpeed wireless system, and a perfect ergonomic design, this model can't be beat! And in addition to its 100-hour battery life, it includes a handy charging dock.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This mouse is also incredibly light, at just 107g!

  • The Ultimate 34-inch Widescreen Monitor:

    MSI Optix MPG341CQR

    Without a doubt, our top pick among monitors to pair with this elite system is the equally-elite ultra-wide model. It offers a huge 34" 3440x1440 IPS panel, a refresh rate of up to 144Hz, and G-Sync compatibility (via FreeSync) to achieve the smoothest possible gaming experience.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Truth be told, while we know people are interested in "4K Gaming", the 4K monitors available today really aren't that great in terms of tech on board. This ultra-wide is a much better bet!

  • The High-End Wireless Headset:

    Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless Gaming Headset

    Want an awesome gaming headset to complete your system? Then go for Corsair's Virtuoso, which features amazing sound quality, unmatched build quality, superb comfort, and the best microphone in the business, bar none.

    The Guru's Tip:

    See our full review right here!