$5,000 Build

If you're looking for a PC with performance that goes beyond extreme, then this is the build for you. With a budget of $5,000, you can max out just about everything, without venturing too far into the land of diminishing returns. This isn't just a great gaming system, it's also a top-of-the-line productivity machine.

For October 2017, this build continues to harness the awesome processing power of AMD's Threadripper 1950X 16-core, 32-thread CPU. Have some encoding to do, while simultaneously gaming, streaming, and decompressing? No problem! Paired with the new AMD X399 chipset, by far the most advanced in the world, you'll get an amazing 64 PCIe lanes, triple M.2 slots, USB 3.1 Type-C compatibility, and of course support for a brand-new socket, AMD's TR4. While Intel has announced CPUs coming later in October that can match the 1950X, they'll cost a minimum of 70% more, which we consider a no-go for anyone spending their own money on a system! On graphics duty is a pair of custom-cooled GTX 1080 Ti cards in SLI, which provide killer 4K gaming performance, as we found in our hands-on benchmarks! In terms of storage, we go with SSDs exclusively, recommending the Samsung 960 Pro 1TB for OS and app duty, as it's the fastest PCIe-based SSD on the market. For data, we suggest the new SanDisk Ultra 3D 2TB, which offers the best price/performance ratio of any SATA drive on the market. In total, that will give you 3GB of really, really fast capacity. Powering the system is a massive 1200W Platinum-rated PSU, which is the minimum we suggest to comfortably power this rig, and to hold all your gear, we recommend the stunning Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass case, which simply has no peers in terms of either aesthetics or functionality.

Feel free to stop by our Reader Forum to share ideas about this build. And 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 similar to this one. To see previous versions of the build, flip to the $5,000 Archive. If you want to see how this build compares to all our other builds, check out the TBG PC Build Comparison Page

By the way, if you're looking for a new 144Hz or 4K monitor to go along with your PC, check out our Monitor Buyer's Guide, and if you need some new gaming gear, see our Peripherals Buyer's Guide and Speaker/Headset Buyer's Guide for all the latest and greatest gaming accessories. 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 $5,000 Ultra-Extreme Gaming / Productivity PC - October 2017

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X

    Oh, how times have changed. With the release of Threadripper, AMD's 1950X now owns the $1,000 pricepoint, offering up to 40% more power than the ten-core Intel Core i9-7900X can muster at the same price. That's thanks to the 1950X's 16-core, 32-thread design. It's the ultimate content creation CPU for people actually spending their own money, with amazing performance in 3D modeling, video encoding, encryption, and decompression.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This chip even supports ECC memory, making it the obvious choice for mission-critical applications.

    Motherboard:

    MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC

    This X399 board from MSI combines stunning looks, all-out performance, and amazing features. This includes integrated 802.11ac wireless networking, triple M.2 slots for SATA- or PCIe-based SSDs, rear-mounted reset and CMOS clear buttons, and twelve USB ports, including a USB 3.1 Type C connector. You also get the Mystic Light LED lighting system for integrating compatible components with the motherboard's control suite.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This board even includes a new high-bandwidth SLI bridge, so you don't need to buy an aftermarket model to get the most out of your dual-GPU SLI setup! Note that MSI sets it up so you use the first and third full-length slots for video cards, giving them plenty of room to breathe.

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2

    The 1080 Ti brings new meaning to the word fast, and will remain the top dog until Nvidia sees fit to release its Volta GPUs into the gaming market, which will likely be in mid-2018.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Our tests on Nvidia's Pascal-based cards, including the GTX 1080 Ti, have shown that they are incredibly sensitive to temperature, far more than any previous generation of cards.

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2

    Two 1080 Ti cards in SLI is what will help you achieve gaming nirvana!

    The Guru's Tip:

    To set up SLI, we recommend you install one card first, run through your whole OS and driver installation. Then, once everything is set, shut your system down and install the second card, along with the power cables that come with the power supply and the high-bandwidth SLI bridge that comes with the motherboard, and restart your system. Nvidia's drivers will do the rest!

    Memory:

    Corsair 4x8GB Vengeance RGB DDR4-3200

    With this kit's four sticks, you'll get quad-channel bandwidth, one of the X399 platform's big advantages over lower-tier dual-channel motherboards, which coupled with the 3200MHz frequency provides amazing memory bandwidth. And remember, you'll still have four slots remaining in case you want to upgrade to 64GB down the line!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this kit will default to DDR4-2133 until the XMP profile is selected in the UEFI.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Samsung 960 Pro 1TB PCIe NVMe

    The 960 Pro is the fastest consumer SSD on the market, bar none. It far exceeds the speed of any SATA drive due to the use of the next-gen PCIe interface and the NVMe protocol. And it's also much faster than the original 950 Pro 512GB, while offering twice the capacity.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is the fastest SSD we'll see until a brand-new version of the PCIe interface arrives (scheduled for 2019, by the way!).

    Solid-State Drive:

    SanDisk Ultra 3D 2TB

    We believe anyone building an ultra-high-end PC today should skip mechanical drives entirely. They're a relic of the 1990s. So for bulk storage, we go with the brand-new SanDisk Ultra 3D 2TB. It's among the fastest 2TB drives on the market, and will make for a great storage drive teamed up with the 960 Pro on OS duty.

    The Guru's Tip:

    SanDisk, which was purchased by Western Digital several years ago, is one of the premier manufacturers of NAND memory, and this drive uses the company's cutting-edge 64-layer BiCS 3D NAND TLC memory.

    Case:

    Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Black Tempered Glass

    This awesome case has everything you want in a "prestige" PC. You get tempered glass, four 140mm cooling fans, and LED lighting. It also has incredible internal capacity, which is what you'll need to get all your high-end gear into your system! While the previous version of this guide recommended a smaller case, with the dual liquid coolers this system runs, you'll want the extra space.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Everything about this case is premium, right down to the brushed aluminum body panels!

    Power Supply:

    Corsair HX1200 Platinum

    There's no doubt that an overclocked Threadripper paired with two high-powered video cards in SLI is going to draw a lot of power - we'd estimate it at around 900W. So rather than cut it close, we go big, opting for a massive 1200W Platinum-rated unit from Corsair. With this fully-modular PSU, you get fanless operation under almost all loads, along with mind-blowing 92% efficiency at 50% load. Plus, this unit is backed by a 10-year warranty and excellent support.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Cryptocurrency mining put a ton of pressure on high-end PSU availability, but luckily, after a brief disappearance, this great PSU is now in great supply.

    CPU Cooler:

    Corsair Hydro H115i Liquid Cooler

    For a hot-running processor like Threadripper, you need serious liquid cooling. We recommend Corsair's 280mm model, which features two 140mm fans, designed to provide extreme static pressure at low noise levels. It's basically unbeatable at its price.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The H115i, like all coolers, needs an adapter to work with the new Threadripper TR4 socket. Luckily, AMD has included one right in the box with the CPU!

    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 has unleashed a whole new generation of next-gen games that won't work on earlier operating systems.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This USB version of Windows install in under 5 minutes... seriously!

Optional Components

    Optical Drive:

    LG 14x Blu-Ray Burner

    While you don't need an optical drive to load your OS, apps, or games anymore, if you're doing serious productivity work, you might want to burn a few discs once in a while.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that Windows 10 does not have built-in ability to display commercial DVDs or Blu-Ray discs. For that you'll need Cyberlink PowerDVD 16 Ultra.