$3,500 Build

If you're looking for the ultimate gaming PC, bar none, then this build's for you! Sure, you could spend more, but you simply won't see better performance in any game than what this system can provide. It's a showcase of the very best tech available in PC gaming today. And while this system isn't exactly a bargain, it's custom-tailored to deliver flat-out extreme gaming performance. We have plenty of other builds that optimize for size, productivity, or home theater use, but for gaming, this is absolutely the best PC we profile. If you have the budget for it and want to game, this is what you buy!

For June 2018, we continue to recommend the Intel Core i7-8700K, which offers 6 cores and 12 threads of computing power, plus amazing overclocking headroom (5GHz is a definite possiblity using the liquid cooler we recommend!). It's simply the best gaming CPU ever released. For punching out the frames, there's simply no faster setup than dual GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB video cards in SLI. They'll wipe the floor with a Nvidia's $3,000 Titan V, at less than 2/3 the price! Complete your system with a 1000W Gold-rated power supply, 32GB of DDR4-3466 RAM, a 1TB solid-state drive, and Thermaltake's awesome View 71 RGB case and matching RGB liquid cooler, and you'll be ready to rock!

Note that we list a number of "Optional Components" at the end of this guide that highlights the accessories we think best match a system of this caliber, including our favorite keyboard, mouse, and monitor picks. To browse even more options, check out our Monitor Buyer's Guide, Peripherals Buyer's Guide and Speaker/Headset Buyer's Guide, which provide our picks for the best accesories at every pricepoint. For extra help, follow our step-by-step Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC, which will walk you through the process of building a system a lot like this one. To see previous Ultimate Gaming PC builds, flip to the $3,500 Archive.

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

The $3,500 Ultimate Gaming PC - June 2018

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-8700K

    The Core i7-8700K, based on Intel's advanced Coffee Lake architecture, is simply the best gaming CPU ever released. Nothing else can touch it. This six-core, 12-thread processor comes clocked at 3.7GHz, but can easily overclock past 4.8GHz with the cooler we recommend later in this guide.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While Intel offers CPUs with more cores than the 8700K, none of them can beat the 8700K in gaming, period.

    Motherboard:

    Asus ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming

    This Z370 board from Aus is an awesome high-end pick at a mid-range price. You get dual M.2 slots, six USB ports including USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, the Asus Aura RGB controller, and the premium ALC1220 audio codec.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This board even has built-in 802.11ac networking!

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition

    Finally, after many months of zero availability due to cryptocurrency mining, the GTX 1080 Ti is returning to the market. But if you see this card in stock, don't hesitate to pull the trigger - it's still available in limited quantities. This particular model offers up an amazing cooler and a big overclock!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Running two GTX 1080 Ti cards in SLI will absolutely crush any single card on the market, including the $3,000 Titan V!!!

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition

    For extreme performance, there's nothing better than teaming up two GeForce cards in SLI!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We recommend you build up your system with just one card installed, and once you have all the drivers updated, shut the system down and install the second card. Don't forget the SLI bridge (included with the motherboard) or the power supply cable for the second card!

    Memory:

    Corsair 4x8GB Vengeance RGB DDR4-3466

    For the Ultimate Gaming machine, we go big time, with an ultra-high-end 32GB DDR4-3466 kit. It features four sticks running with CAS 16 timings at 1.35V, which translates to absolutely mind-blowing bandwidth. Just note that this kit will default to DDR4-2133 until the XMP profile is selected in the UEFI.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This kit offers RGB lighting and an ultra-high-speed rating at a price that's lower than most standard DDR4 kits! You can even sync it with the Asus motherboard's user-friendly Aura lighting software.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX500 1TB M.2

    Offering better performance at a lower pricepoint than any other 1TB drive, the MX500 has reset the bar. There's simply no other 1TB SATA drive to consider.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This M.2 drive will slip right into one of the slots on the motherboard (specifically, you'll need to use the lower slot, as the upper slot is only for PCIe drives).

    Case:

    Thermaltake View 71 RGB

    This awesome case has everything you want in a "prestige" PC. You get four tempered glass panels, triple 140mm RGB cooling fans, and space for all your high-end gear!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This case is simply stunning - we think it's the best-looking case on the market today!

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic Focus Plus Gold SSR-1000FX

    An overclocked Core i7-8700K paired with a couple of GTX 1080 Ti cards will draw about 700W at peak load when fully overclocked. That means a 1000W PSU will be more than powerful enough, and we suggest this Gold-rated fully-modular unit, which offers exceptional efficiency and low noise levels in addition to its extreme capacity.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Seasonic backs this unit up with an exceptional 10-year warranty.

    CPU Cooler:

    Thermaltake WATER 3.0 Riing RGB 240

    To get the maximum possible overclock out of the hot-running Core i7-8700K, you want extreme liquid cooling. With dual 120mm fans and a 240mm radiator, the Water 3.0 is more than a match, providing exceptional cooling and ultra-low noise levels. It also offers great customization options thanks to its included RGB lighting.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This cooler comes with thermal paste pre-applied, but if you'd like to upgrade it or just want some spare paste on hand, we recommend Noctua NT-H1. To remove pre-existing paste, use a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Windows 10 has so many improvements versus both Windows 7 and Windows 8 that it alone will make your system feel more up-to-date. We particularly like the return of the Start Menu, the broader settings options, and the fact that it packs in DX12, which is already unleashing next-gen games with far greater complexity and performance.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is the USB 3.0 version of Windows, which loads in under 5 minutes!

Optional Components

    The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire Keyboard

    For the very fastest gameplay, the K70 RGB Rapidfire has no equal. Harnessing Cherry's unique MX Speed switches with an ultra-short 1.2mm throw, you can't possibly miss a keystroke with the board.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The only drawback to the responsiveness of the K70 Rapidfire is that you may need to retrain yourself to type a bit to avoid double-typing letters.

    The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse:

    Logitech G703 Lightspeed

    If you want the very best gaming mouse available, this is it. Offering responsiveness that matches or beats every wired mouse on the market, this wireless model allows you to game without the tether, which is just so much more better than being tied to your desk!

    The Guru's Tip:

    One of the very cool features of the G703 is Logitech's "PowerPlay," which when combined with its forthcoming wireless charging mat, allows the G703 to be continuously charged while in use, without ever need to plug it in!

    The 35-inch Widescreen Monitor:

    Acer Predator Z35P

    Yes, we know that "4K gaming" is what everyone's talking about, but for a truly exceptional gaming experience, enthusiasts in the know are picking up ultra-wides. Featuring a resolution of 3440 x 1440, this monitor provides an awesomely-wide view on your gaming environment. And the big benefit it offers over every 4K monitor currently on the market is a refresh rate of 120Hz, which translates to far smoother gaming than the 60Hz that 4K monitors are limited to. And with its G-Sync technology, this monitor can actually vary its refresh rate when framerates drop below 100fps to makes sure there's no tearing or lag.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model recently dropped in price by $300, making it an absolute steal!