$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 August 2018, we now recommend the limited-edition Intel Core i7-8086K, which offers 6 cores and 12 threads of computing power, plus amazing overclocking headroom (5GHz is an absolute guarantee with the liquid cooler we recommend!). It's simply the best gaming CPU ever released. For punching out the frames, you'll be all set with dual GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB video cards in SLI. They'll wipe the floor with Nvidia's $3,000 Titan V, at less than half the price! Also on board is a 1000W Gold-rated power supply, 32GB of DDR4-3600 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive. Complete your system with Thermaltake's awesome View 71 RGB case and 280mm liquid cooler, both featuring sweet 140mm RGB fans, 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 - August 2018

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-8086K

    The Core i7-8086K, the fastest chip ever released using Intel's advanced Coffee Lake architecture, is simply the best gaming CPU on the market. Nothing else can touch it. This six-core, 12-thread processor comes clocked at 4GHz, but can easily overclock past 5GHz with the cooler we recommend later in this guide.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU was released to mark the 40th anniversary of the 8086 processor.

    Motherboard:

    ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero (Wi-Fi AC)

    This Z370 board from Asus is an awesome ultra-high-end pick. You get dual M.2 slots, eight 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 model even has built-in 802.11ac networking.

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2

    After months of being overpriced due to cryptocurrency mining, the awesome GTX 1080 Ti has plummeted in price, making it an exceptional deal, so we're going for two of them with this build! This particular model offers up a custom cooler that's just two slots wide, which is a big benefit when running dual cards.

    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 SC2

    For extreme performance, there's nothing better than teaming up two GeForce cards in SLI! Take note that we are specifically recommending dual-slot cards here, rather than the more common triple-slot cards, which really won't run well in SLI due to lack of airflow to the top card, and also block access to all expansion slots.

    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 Pro DDR4-3600

    For the Ultimate Gaming machine, we go big time, with an ultra-high-end 32GB DDR4-3600 kit that provides 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:

    Samsung 970 Evo PCIe 1TB M.2

    Thanks to a massive SSD price war over the past few months, we've been able to fit a truly cutting-edge storage solution into this build. Offering simply exceptional performance, the 970 Evo is the benchmark by which all other drives will now be judged. There's simply no other 1TB PCIe drive to consider for anywhere near this price!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This M.2 drive will slip right into one of the slots on the motherboard (and you can use either one, as they both support 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 i7-8086K 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 Floe Dual Riing RGB 280

    To get the maximum possible overclock out of the hot-running Core i7-8086K, you want extreme liquid cooling. With dual 140mm fans and a 280mm radiator, the Floe 280 is more than a match, providing exceptional cooling and ultra-low noise levels. It also offers great customization options thanks to the RGB lighting built into its pump and fans. In our opinion, it's the best 280mm model on the market.

    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 Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut. 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 Mk.2

    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 G903 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 G903 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!