case

If you're looking for the ultimate gaming PC, then this is the build for you! Sure, you could spend more, but in most games you 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. 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.

For December 2019, this build features the Intel Core i9-9900K, an absolute monster of a processor, which offers eight cores, 16 threads, and a Turbo speed of 5GHz. The 9900K is backing up Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB, and we recommend a massively-overclocked liquid-cooled model. But this system isn't just ultimate when it comes to the CPU and GPU, it's got the best of everything. Also ensuring a smooth gaming experience is 32GB of ultra-high-speed DDR4-3600 RAM, along with an incredibly fast, high-capacity 2TB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive. Complete your system with the gorgeous Thermaltake View 71 ARGB case, add in a powerful 360mm SilverStone liquid cooler, power it up with an 1000W Platinum-rated power supply, and you'll be ready to rock!

If you decide to build this PC, feel free to check out our step-by-step High-End PC Assembly Videos, which will walk you through the process of building a system just like this one. And to see previous Ultimate Gaming PC builds, flip to the $3,500 Archive. Note that we list a number of "Optional Components" at the end of this guide that highlight 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.

Throughout this guide, we provide direct links to Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Germany for each product, making regional substitutions when necessary. Our US links also auto-route for our readers in Spain, Italy, and France. 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 - December 2019

  • CPU:

    Intel Core i9 9900K

    You want the best? Then this is the CPU for you. The Core i9-9900K takes a proven architecture and makes the most of it thanks to a massive 8 cores and 16 threads, along with a Turbo boost speed of 5GHz. In fact, it will easily overclock to 5.0GHz on all cores using the robust motherboard and impressive cooler we recommend in this guide.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU is sold out at Amazon, so we're linking to B&H Photo Video, where you also get a free copy of Red Dead Redemption 2!

  • Motherboard:

    Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra

    This Z390 board is an awesome ultra-high-end pick. You get triple M.2 slots, ten USB ports including USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, the Fusion RGB controller, built-in WiFi, the premium ALC1220 audio codec, and most importantly, an absolutely-massive 12-phase power delivery system, which is critical for overclocking the power-hungry 9900K CPU.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You can control the ARGB lighting on the SilverStone cooler, Thermaltake case, and Corsair RAM we recommend using this motherboard Windows software (RGB Fusion), providing a nicely-synchronized light show.

  • Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XC Hybrid

    For the ultimate gaming experience, there's only one GPU to consider: the RTX 2080 Ti, and for the very best performance, you need a liquid-cooled model, namely the FTW3 Hybrid. This 2080 Ti will run at under 60C all day long, allowing for much higher boost levels than any other model. As with every other 2080 Ti, it has Nvidia's Ray Tracing and DLSS tech on board, along with 11GB of VRAM, so it's as future-proof as they come, easily powering any game today at 4K/max!

    The Guru's Tip:

    You'll want to mount this card's radiator in the case's rear fan slot, removing the pre-installed exhaust fan.

  • 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 a combination of capacity and speed that will never bog your Core i9 system down.You can even sync it with the motherboard's RGB software.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Be careful: Corsair is selling an "alternate" version of this kit with ultra-weak timings, and still calls it "DDR4-3600" RAM despite it clearly being a rebranded DDR4-3200 kit. Don't buy it!

  • Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB

    Thanks to a massive SSD price war over the past few months, we've been able to fit a truly awesome storage solution into this build, the mighty SX8200 Pro 2TB. Offering both incredible capacity and amazing performance, it simply has no equal anywhere near its price.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This drive uses TLC NAND and the PCIe interface, like all high-end drives.

  • Case:

    Thermaltake View 71 ARGB

    This awesome case offers tremendous performance and great gaming style in equal measure. With dual 140mm fans mounted up front, plus another one in the rear, it provides a tremendous amount of airflow, while its sweet addressable RGB effects can be sync'd up with all your other gear. It doesn't hurt that it has four tempered glass panels to show off all your gear!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is an update to the original View 71, which had proprietary RGB effects. The lighting on this model is far superior, and can be controlled via the motherboard.

  • Power Supply:

    Corsair HX1000 80+ Platinum

    An overclocked Core i9-9900K paired with an overclocked RTX 2080 Ti will draw in excess of 600W at peak load. That means you need more than quantity, you want quality too. We recommend this awesome Platinum-rated 1000W unit, which offers exceptional efficiency and low noise levels in addition to its extreme capacity.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Honest truth here: 1000W is more than enough for this build, but it would not be sufficient for running two GPUs in SLI. If you want the option to do that down the line, we recommend investing in the 1200W version of this PSU.

  • CPU Cooler:

    Thermaltake Water 3.0 360 ARGB

    To get the maximum possible overclock out of the hot-running Core i9-9900K, you need extreme liquid cooling (seriously, don't even bother air cooling this CPU!). With triple 120mm fans and a 360mm radiator, this model is more than a match, providing exceptional cooling and ultra-low noise levels. It also has some of the best lighting effects of any cooler on the market, thanks to its addressable RGB that can be sync'd with the motherboard!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This cooler comes with thermal paste, but if you'd like to maximize the cooler's performance, we recommend you upgrade to Noctua NT-H2, which even includes alcohol cleaning wipes to safely remove pre-existing paste.

  • Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Windows 10 is the best operating system ever, and it gets better all the time, thanks to the major feature updates that Microsoft provides every spring and fall.

    The Guru's Tip:

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

Optional Components

  • The Ultimate Business Keyboard:

    Logitech G915 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Clicky)

    Best. Keyboard. Ever. And the only wireless mechanical keyboard with full RGB lighting on the market. This thing is a dream come true, so sleek, so responsive. Honestly, it's in a class of its own.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Learn more about this awesome keyboard in our full hands-on review!

  • The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse:

    Logitech G502 Lightspeed

    If you want the very best gaming mouse available, this is it - the brand-new G502 Lightspeed. Offering responsiveness that beats every wired mouse on the market, this wireless model allows you to game without the tether, which makes it infinitely better! Learn more in our full hands-on review!

    The Guru's Tip:

    One of the very cool features of the G502 is Logitech's "PowerPlay," which when combined with the wireless charging mat, allows the mouse to be continuously charged while in use, without ever need to plug it in!

  • The High-End Wireless Headset:

    Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless Gaming Headset

    For immersive audio without the cables, go with the awesome new Virtuoso from Corsair. Featuring virtual 7.1, it gets you into your game while looking and feeling great. It's a serious audiophile-level product, developed for gamers.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Another benefit of this headset is the pro-level mic you get with it. This is no "gamer" microphone!

  • The Ultimate FreeSync Gaming Monitor:

    Samsung CRG9 49" 5120 x 1440

    The CRG9 is the best gaming monitor on the market under $2,000. Yes, we know that "4K gaming" is what everyone's talking about, but for a truly exceptional gaming experience, go super-ultra-wide! Sporting a resolution of 5120 x 1440 (or dual QHD), it's like having two massive monitors right next to each other. And it earns HDR1000 certification thanks to a peak brightness rating of 1, 000 nits, allowing for true high Dynamic Range output. Best of all, its boasts a 120Hz refresh rate and FreeSync2 technology, meaning you get an exceptionally smooth gaming experience. Up until recently, Nvidia owners couldn't take advantage of FreeSync, but compatibility was finally added to GeForce drivers, allowing owners of the best video cards to use the best monitors without the Nvidia G-Sync tax!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this monitor is so popular that it often sells out, so grab it if you can!