$3,500 Build

If you're looking for the ultimate gaming PC, then this build's for you. Sure, you could spend more, but in most games, you simply won't see better performance than what this system can provide. It's a showcase of the very best tech available in PC gaming today. There's no skimping here - this system isn't exactly a bargain, but it delivers flat-out extreme performance.

Sometimes, you have to take a long, hard look at market realities and adjust your expectations, and that's what we've done for February 2018. We still carry on with Intel's blazing-fast Core i7-7820X eight-core CPU. Based on the latest Skylake-X archiecture, it runs at a 3.6GHz base clock, and can easily overclock to well over 4GHz (4.5Ghz is not unheard of!). It has plenty of processing power to support any game on the market today (or in the foreseeable future). On the GPU side, cryptocurrency mining has put a strangle-hold on supply, but there's one card left standing: the awesome Titan Xp, available only direct from Nvidia. Because Nvidia can limit who it sells to, these aren't being gobbled up by miners, and in fact are selling at a discount! Complete your system in the awesome H500p case and complete your rig with a 850W power supply, 32GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, a 500GB PCIe-based solid-state drive, plus a 1TB SATA SSD, and you'll be ready to rock!

Note that we recently added an "Optional Components" section of the guide to provide the very best products to round out your system, from optional hard drives and cases, to our favorite peripherals, to the very best monitor you can buy for this system. 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 - February 2018

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-7820X

    The Core i7-7820X, based on Intel's advanced Skylake-X architecture, is the high-end CPU to beat. Combining the per-core efficiency of Intel's mainstream CPUs, but with eight cores on board, it's an amazing value among high-end processors. It comes clocked at 3.6GHz, but can easily overclock past 4.2GHz with the cooler we recommend later in this guide.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The high-end 7820X maintains a significant advantage over Intel's mainstream offerings, even its newest six-core modles, in terms of overall processing power.

    Motherboard:

    Asus ROG Strix X299-E Gaming

    This X299 board from is an awesome high-end pick at a mid-range price. 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 board even has built-in 802.11ac networking!

  • Video Card:

    Nvidia Titan Xp (2017)

    With every mainstream video card sold out due to cryptocurrency mining, there's just one GPU left standing: the unbeatable Titan Xp. With 12GB of VRAM and a massive 3840 CUDA cores, it can easily handle any game on the market, even at extreme resolutions!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Because Nvidia sells these direct, the company can control the availability much better. While every other video card is being sold by scalpers at a 100-200% markup, this card is being discounted by Nvidia!

    Memory:

    Corsair 4x8GB Vengeance RGB DDR4-3200

    For the Ultimate Gaming machine, we go big time, with an ultra-high-end 32GB DDR4-3200 kit. It features four sticks running with CAS 16 timings at 1.35V, which teamed up with this platform's quad-channel operation 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 DDR4-3200 kits! Catch it while you can - all RAM is going up in price on a weekly basis due to chronic chip shortages that will only get worse through the rest of 2018!

    Solid-State Drive:

    Samsung 960 Evo 500GB PCIe NVMe M.2

    The market-leading 960 Evo 500GB is absolutely the only SSD to even consider in its price class. Offering the speed of Samsung's unmatched TLC 3D V-NAND, and harnessing the throughput of the PCIe interface, it's incredibly fast, despite coming in at a very reasonable price.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This drive has been out for well over a year, and the competition still hasn't caught up!

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX500 1TB 2.5"

    For bulk storage, no mechanical drive will do. So we go with the brand-new MX500 1TB SATA-based solid-state drive from Crucial. Offering the absolute best performance and capacity you can get for the money, it's a perfect drive to run in tandem with Samsung's fast PCIe drive listed above.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Crucial has beat Samsung at its own game, finally toppling the Samsung 850 Evo, the  reigning SATA champ.

    Case:

    Cooler Master MasterCase H500P

    This awesome case has everything you want in a "prestige" PC. You get a tempered glass side panel, dual 200mm RGB cooling fans up front along with a 140mm exhaust fan, and space for all your high-end gear!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is a follow-up to Cooler Master's venerable high-airflow (HAF) line.

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic SSR-850PX

    An overclocked Core i7-7820X paired with a Titan Xp will draw about 600W at peak load when fully overclocked. That means an 850W PSU will be more than powerful enough, and we suggest this Platinum-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:

    Corsair Hydro Series H115i Pro

    To get the maximum possible overclock out of the hot-running Core i7-7820X, you want extreme liquid cooling. With dual 140mm magnetic levitation fans, the new H115i Pro from Corsair 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:

    As a rule of thumb, we recommend you spend 1/3 as much on your monitor as you do on your gaming PC. So in this case, that would translate to around $1,150 or so, and the X35 thankfully dips in just below that, as of our most recent update.