$3,500 Build

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... other than our $10,000 Supreme Dream Machine, but that's really in another league all together!

For July 2019, this continues to feature Intel's Core i9-9900K, an absolute monster of a processor, offering eight cores, 16 threads, and a Turbo speed of 5GHz. It's backing up Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB, and thanks to plummeting prices and increased availability, we're now able to recommend a massively-overclocked liquid-cooled model. Also on board to ensure a smooth gaming experience is 32GB of DDR4-3200 RAM in a 2x16GB configuration, leaving room for that tempting upgrade to 64GB! In terms of storage, this build sports a massive 2TB PCIe-based solid-state drive, the Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2TB. Complete your system with the stunning aluminum- and glass-clad Phanteks Evolv X case, add in a powerful 360mm Thermaltake liquid cooler, power it up with a 1200W Platinum-rated power supply, and you'll be ready to rock! Want even more power? Then add an optional second RTX 2080 Ti to run in SLI and get the absolute maximum framerates possible from a gaming PC today.

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 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.

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 - July 2019

The Pre-Built Option

    The Ultimate Gaming PC:

    CORSAIR ONE i160 Compact Gaming PC

    As much as we love building our own PCs, sometimes a pre-built system comes along that simply blows us away. Right now, that system is the One i160 from Corsair. It offers up a Core i9-9900K CPU and RTX 2080 Ti GPU, along with a 480GB solid-state drive, a 2TB hard drive, and 32GB of DDR4-2666 RAM. But that's not all! Corsair somehow found a way to fit dual liquid coolers into this tiny 12-liter system, ensuring that its fire-breathing CPU and GPU run cool and quiet.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Just to put the dimensions of the ONE into perspective, it's less than 1/5 the size of the DIY system we profile below. Tempting, isn't it?!?

The Build-Your-Own Option

    CPU:

    Intel Core i9-9900K

    You want the best? Then this is the CPU you've been waiting for. Built on the same architecture as the previous-gen Core i7-8700K, the Core i9-9900K take it up a couple notches with a massive 8 cores and 16 threads, along with a top Turbo boost speed on two cores of 5GHz. In fact, it will easily overclock to 5GHz on all cores using the robust motherboard and massive cooler we recommend in this guide.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This CPU has been selling out on a regular basis, and when it's out of stock for more than a few days at Amazon, we will switch our product links to B&H Photo Video.

    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 cannot use Z370 boards with the Core i9-9900K unless they have a BIOS update... which you need an older processor to install. And even if you do have an updated Z370 board, it's almost sure to have insufficient power delivery for the 9900K.

    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 want the ultimate liquid-cooled model, the FTW3 Ultra. This liquid-cooled 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, moving the pre-installed exhaust fan to the front of the case, which has an extra fan mount.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x16GB Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4-3200

    MEGA PRICE DROP! For the Ultimate Gaming machine, we go big time, with an ultra-high-end 32GB DDR4-3200 kit that provides a combination of capacity and speed that will never bog your Core i9 system down. And with this 2x16GB kit, you'll still have two slots available to upgrade to 64GB down the line!

    The Guru's Tip:

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

    Solid-State Drive:

    Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2TB PCIe M.2

    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 Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2TB. Offering both the highest capacity and highest speeds you'll find in any M.2 drive, it simply has no equal.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The 970 Evo Plus features 96-layer TLC V-NAND to attain its mesmerizing speeds.

    Case:

    Phanteks Enthoo Evolv X Grey

    This awesome new case has everything you want in a "prestige" PC. You get dual tempered glass side panels mounted on slick hinges, brushed aluminum panels everywhere else, triple 140mm fans for cooling, and space for all your high-end gear!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model also includes digital (addressable) RGB lighting that can be sync'd with the motherboard, just like all the other RGB products we list in this guide!

    Power Supply:

    Corsair HX1200 Platinum

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

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model has enough spare wattage to power up two RTX 2080 Ti GPUs, which is why we list a second card as an optional upgrade later in this guide!

    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 pre-applied, 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

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XC

    Want the fastest gaming machine on the planet? Then add a second RTX 2080 Ti to run dual GPUs in SLI! We recommend going for the air-cooled version of the EVGA model listed earlier, as it runs at the same clock speeds, and the second liquid cooler wouldn't fit in this system, nor is it necessary, as the lower card always runs much, much cooler than the upper card in SLI.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that you must also buy the EVGA 3-Slot NV-Link Bridge to run SLI - it is not included with the motherboard or video cards.

    The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Rapidfire Low Profile

    For the very fastest gameplay, the latest K70 RGB Rapidfire has no equal. Harnessing Cherry's brand-new low-profile MX Speed switches with an ultra-short 1mm throw, you can't possibly miss a keystroke with the board. And unlike every other mechanical keyboard on the market, this one is nearly silent!

    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 Ultimate Gaming Monitor:

    Samsung CRG9 49" 5120 x 1440

    Yes, we know that "4K gaming" is what everyone's talking about, but for a truly exceptional gaming experience, go ultra-wides! And there's simply no better monitor on the market than Samsung's amazing new CRG9, featuring a monstrous resolution of 5120 x 1440 (that's two 1440p monitors side-by-side!), along with a 120Hz refresh rate, FreeSync 2 technology, and HDR1000 certification. This is the real deal, folks.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Thanks to Nvidia's long-awaited adoption of FreeSync, this monitor can easily be used with GeForce G-Sync-compatible video cards!