$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.

We've unleashed a huge mid-month update to our August 2017 guide, as the release of AMD's Threadripper line of CPUs just made Intel's offerings obsolete for extreme productivity. We go straight to the top, choosing the Ryzen 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. To keep this setup cool, you'll need a serious liquid cooler, and we recommend a potent 280mm solution in this guide. On graphics duty is a pair of custom-cooled GTX 1080 Ti cards in SLI, one using liquid cooling and the other custom air. They'll provide killer 4K gaming performance, as we found in our recent 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 well-priced Crucial MX300 2TB. 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 - August 2017

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X

    Oh, how times have changed. With the release of Threadripper, AMD now owns the high-end desktop space, and will likely own the $1,000 pricepoint where we find the 1950X until Intel comes to its senses on pricing. With up to 40% more power than the ten-core Intel Core i9-7900X, this 16-core, 32-thread processor is something to get excited about. It's the ultimate content creation CPU, with the ability to tackle 3D modeling, video encoding, encryption, and decompression with far great performance than what Intel can muster.

    The Guru's Tip:

    To get your hands on this CPU, you'll absolutely have to backorder it. Demand is going to very high, and supply very low.

    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 Hybrid 11GB

    The 1080 Ti brings new meaning to the word fast, and the long-awaited Hybrid from EVGA is the best 1080 Ti on the market. Its custom-designed liquid cooler will keep the 1080 Ti GPU below 60C and at maximum boost all day long. In SLI, the top card gets much hotter than the bottom card, meaning liquid cooling really makes a difference for the card in the first slot.

    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! We go for an air-cooled GPU for the second card, as it really isn't under the same thermal pressure as the top-mounted card. Furthermore, fitting two liquid-cooled GPUs in this system along with a liquid-cooled CPU would be difficult due to all the radiator space it would require. Of course, this SC2 card is clocked identically to the Hybrid SC2 card, so they are a matched pair in everything other than cooler design.

    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 LPX DDR4-3200 White

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

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this SSD was announced in October 2016, and after an initial delay, finally started shipping in December 2016. That being said, it's still in limited supply due to a worldwide NAND chip shortage.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX300 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 Crucial MX300 2TB. It's among the fastest 2TB SATA 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:

    Crucial has the best track record in the business when it comes to SSD reliability.

    Case:

    Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Anthracite Grey

    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 HX1200i 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!

    Optical Drive:

    LG 14x Blu-Ray Burner

    While you don't need an optical drive to load your OS 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.

    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!