$5,000 Build

If you're looking for a PC with productivity 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. And when your work is done for the day, it offers plenty of gaming muscle to sneak a whole lot of fun in too.

For March 2018, this build continues to harness the awesome processing power of AMD's Threadripper 1950X 16-core, 32-thread CPU. Do you want to encode, while simultaneously gaming, streaming, and decompressing? No problem! In the graphics department, we go with the best high-end card on the market, the GTX 1080 Ti. While cryptocurrency mining has cleared store shelves of every GPU, the 1080 Ti is finally showing up again. In terms of storage, we go with SSDs exclusively, specifically the ultra-fast Samsung 960 Pro 1TB for OS and app duty, and a 2TB SATA-based SSD for data. In total, that will give you 3GB of really, really fast capacity. And since you're probably serious about productivity if you're considering this system, it comes complete with 64GB of RAM, which will be more than enough for any professional task. Powering the system is the best power supply on the market, Seasonic's flagship 850W Titanium Prime model, and for the case, we go with the stunning Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass case.

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 - March 2018


    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.


    Gigabyte X399 Designare EX

    This X399 board is truly top-of-the-line. In addition to its stellar aesthetics, which includes a unique silver backplate and I/O panel, it includes integrated 802.11ac wireless networking, triple M.2 slots for SATA- or PCIe-based SSDs, and 10 USB ports, including a USB 3.1 Type C connector, and a server-class power design. It also features the excellent Realtek ALC1220 sound codec enhanced with Sound BlasterX 720° software for the best in onboard sound.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You even get the ultimate implementation of Gigabyte's Fusion RGB lighting system on this board!

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB

    Thanks to the latest wave of cryptocurrency mining, every GPU has been emptied from store shelves. Luckily, cards are slowly appearing back in stock, albeit at higher-than-MSRP prices. That's why we keep it simple here and go for a single high-powered GPU: the GTX 1080 Ti. Our focus is on getting a high-quality cooler that will keep this system ultra-quiet.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While we used to recommend SLI in this build, we really think users of Threadripper will be better off spending that money on faster, higher-capacity storage and additional RAM. If you just want to game, you should be going for our $3,500 Ultimate Gaming PC.


    Corsair 4x16GB Vengeance LED DDR4-2666 Red

    If you're serious about professional level productivity work, you want 64GB of RAM on board. And 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 2666MHz frequency provides amazing memory bandwidth.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is now one of the least expensive 64GB kits available, despite the upgraded LED heatsinks. Don't expect the price to stick around for long - RAM prices are increasing at an alarming rate, and Corsair's standard Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 kit costs nearly $100 more, which should give you an indication of where prices are heading!

    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. It's also one of the few remaining drives on the market to use ultra-durable MLC NAND flash. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Most drives today use TLC NAND with much shorter lifespans. Getting MLC NAND is truly the premium option.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX500 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 new MX500 2TB from Crucial, which harnesses the latest 3D TLC NAND to make the most of its SATA interface. It will serve as a great storage drive teamed up with the 960 Pro on OS duty.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you're more concerned about maximizing speed than getting increased capacity, you can just go with a single Samsung 960 Pro 2TB drive for this system.


    Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Anthracite Grey

    This awesome case is the perfect pick for a high-end PC designed to get serious work done. A tempered glass panel is joined by sand-blasted aluminum surfaces to provide a truly unique look. It also has incredible internal capacity, which is what you'll need to get all your high-end gear into your system, including the huge CPU cooler we recommend.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Phanteks now sets the standard for high-end cases, and everyone else is simply playing catch-up!

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic Prime Ultra SSR-850TR

    There's no doubt that an overclocked Threadripper paired with a high-powered video card is going to draw a lot of power - we'd estimate it at around 600W. So we go with the very best 850W unit on the market, Seasonic's flagship Prime Ultra. Seasonic put its decades of PSU leadership to work in creating this model, which will be cooler, quieter, and more reliable than anything else.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Seasonic is so confident in its Prime series that it backs it with a 12-year warranty, the longest in the business!

    CPU Cooler:

    Thermaltake Floe Dual Riing RGB 280

    For a hot-running processor like Threadripper, you need serious liquid cooling. We recommend Thermaltake's new 280mm model, which features a huge radiator and two 140mm Riing RGB fans, which are not only quiet, but look fantastic too.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The Floe 280, 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 version of Windows, which comes on a USB 3.0 flash drive, loads in under five minutes!

Optional Components

    Sound Card (Optional):

    Creative Sound Blaster Zx (Opt.)

    If you'll be doing any audio work, whether it's listening through high-quality headphones or high-wattage speakers, conducting teleconferences, or even recording audio to your PC, this Sound Blaster card has you covered!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We list this as optional, given that the motherboard has built-in audio outputs, although this does add a microphone that the system wouldn't have otherwise.

    The 32-inch Professional 4K Monitor:

    BenQ PD3200U

    Want to pair your productivity rig with a stunning monitor? Look no further than the awesome PD3200U from BenQ, a 32" 4K IPS  monitor that achieves 100% Rec. 709 and sRGB color space!

    The Guru's Tip:

    It doesn't hurt that the PD3200U looks pretty classy, too!