$5,000 Build

If you're looking for a PC offering 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 May 2019, this build is better than ever, thanks to some choice upgrades we've been able to make resulting from a massive $200 price cut on RAM over the past month. It all starts with AMD's awesome Threadripper 2950X processor. Using the latest 12nm Zen+ architecture, it can push its 16-cores and 32-threads up to 4.2GHz using the massive 360mm Thermaltake liquid cooler we recommend. Frankly, Intel can't come close to matching the value offered by this CPU for a workstation-class PC. Do you want to encode, while simultaneously gaming, streaming, and decompressing? No problem, Threadripper has you covered! In the graphics department, we go with the best high-end card on the market, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB, featuring all the latest enhancements, including dedicated ray tracing cores and a USB Type-C video output. In terms of storage, we're going with the market-leading Samsung 970 Pro 1TB PCIe-based SSD on OS and swap file duty, paired with an XPG SX8200 1TB PCIe-drive for games, and a 860 Evo 4TB for media storage, which just happens to be the largest SSD on the market. That's all adds up to a whopping 6TB of solid-state storage! And since you're probably serious about productivity if you're considering this system, it comes complete with 64GB of of DDR4-2933 RAM, which will be more than enough for any professional task, and thanks to that aforementioned price drop, is now a ridiculous bargain. Powering the system is the best 1000W Titanium-rated power supply on the market, and for the chassis, we go with the stunning aluminum-clad A500 from Thermaltake, bolstered with upgraded 140mm fans from Noctua.

To see previous versions of the build, flip to the $5,000 Archive, and to check out all our recommended add-ons for this build, scroll down to the end of this guide. 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 - May 2019

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X

    Oh, how times have changed. AMD owns the productivity crown, as its new 2950X simply extends the lead it established with the 1950X in the under-$1,000 category. It offers up to 40% more power than the ten-core Intel Core i9-9820X can muster for $50 less. That's thanks to the 2950X's 16-core, 32-thread design, using a 12nm architecture and running at a minimum of 3.5GHz, with boost to 4.4GHz. 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:

    One of the new features of 2nd-gen Threadripper is Precision Boost Overdrive, which allows it to auto-overclock up to around 4.2GHz on call cores when run with ample cooling, which of course this build provides!

    Motherboard:

    GIGABYTE X399 AORUS Xtreme

    This X399 board is truly top-of-the-line, despite a mainstream price. It features 13 power phases for rock-solid stability, three Ethernet ports, integrated 802.11ac wireless networking, triple M.2 slots PCIe-based SSDs, and 10 USB ports, including a USB 3.1 Type C port.

    The Guru's Tip:

    In addition to its excellent Realtek ALC1220 sound codec, this board features an ESS 9118 Sabre Audio DAC!

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Xtreme 11G

    For this build, there's only one GPU we're interested in: the ultra-extreme RTX 2080 Ti 11GB. It showcases all the best technology Nvidia has to offer, including built-in ray tracing cores for next-gen animation, as well as a USB Type-C video output for high-end monitors. It exceeds the performance of the last-gen 1080 Ti by an impressive 30%!

    The Guru's Tip:

    While we used to recommend dual GPUs in SLI for this build, we really think users of Threadripper will be better-served spending that money on faster, higher-capacity storage and additional RAM, which is what this build features. If you just want to game, you should be going for our $3,500 Ultimate Gaming PC, which will perform slightly better than this system in games.

    Memory:

    Corsair 8x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-2933 for Threadripper

    Holy cow! After an absolutely mind-blowing price drop, this RAM is almost too cheap to believe! You can now take full advantage of Threadripper's quad-channel memory configuration with this 64GB kit running at a blazing-fast 2933MHz, specially designed for the Threadripper platform. Seriously, as recently as mid-2018, this kit was $800!!!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Don't select just any four- or eight-stick RAM kit and expect it to work on Threadripper. You need sticks that are confirmed to work on the platform, and this was designed from the start to run in a full 64GB configuration at full speed on Threadripper.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Samsung 970 Pro 1TB PCIe M.2

    The 970 Pro is the undisputed market leader, and no other M2-based SSD should even be considered for this build's main drive. It far exceeds the speed of any SATA drive due to the use of the next-gen PCIe interface and the NVMe protocol.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The 970 Pro is the last remaining SSD on the market to use ultra-high endurance, ultra-fast MLC NAND flash. 

    Solid-State Drive:

    XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe

    While the 970 Pro above will be ideal for the OS installation and storage of all your critical apps, you'll eventually run out of room even on a 1TB drive, so make the most of your high-end system by installing a second ultra-fast PCIe-based SSD, specifically the SX8200 Pro. It may be half the cost of the 970 Pro, but it offers nearly all the performance!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Adata's XPG division is simply rewriting the rules when it comes to high-end SSD pricing. This drive is by far the fastest drive available for under $200.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Samsung 860 EVO 4TB 2.5"

    Offering the highest capacity of any SSD on the market, the 860 Evo is the perfect bulk storage drive for a an ultra-high-end productivity PC. This of it as big hard drive but with about 10x the performance! With dual PCIe drives on OS, app, and swap file duty, the 860 Evo can be used for the rest of your data files and long-term storage that is anything but "cold". We believe the key to optimizing SSD storage is going with a tiered approach. Rather than spend all your money on one really expensive SSD to use for everything, including files that won't benefit from the speed, we go with a system that combines the best in speed and capacity available on the market today.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While we generally prefer M.2-style SSDs over 2.5" when all things are equal, they are not in this case, because you simply cannot buy an M.2 drive with more than 2TB of capacity. The physical space requirements of 4TB of NAND require the larger 2.5" format.

    Case:

    Thermaltake A500

    This stunning A500 not only offers ultra-premium aesthetics, it also offers fantastic versatility. It features twin hinged tempered glass side panels, sculpted aluminum panels on the front and top, along with bays up to six hard drives, along with a dedicated 2.5" tray. Dual front-mounted 120mm fans push a wall of air through system, working alongside a rear 120mm exhaust fan. But to make it even better, check out the fan upgrade we recommend below!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Learn how to build a system in this case by following our comprehensive high-end PC assembly video series!

    Fan:

    Noctua NF-A14 PWM chromax.black.swap

    We highly recommend you upgrade your system's cooling by swapping out the two 120mm front fans in the A500 case with two of Noctua's amazing 140mm NF-A14 fans! Not only are they quieter due to their superior bearings, but they also produce far more airflow thanks to their larger size.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While you're at it, we suggest you alter the positioning of the fans in the case - from the factory, they are mounted low in the chassis, but these two 140mm fans should be mounted in the upper slots for maximum cooling potential.

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium SSR-1000TR

    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 don't take any chances - head straight for the very best 1000W PSU on the planet, this Titanium-rated Prime Ultra model from Seasonioc. Thanks to its zero-fan mode, it will be silent except when the system is under full load.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This PSU is backed by an industry-leading 12-year warranty.

    CPU Cooler:

    Thermaltake Water 3.0 360 ARGB

    For a hot-running processor like Threadripper, you need serious liquid cooling. We recommend Thermaltake's newest 360mm model, the awesome Water 3.0 ARGB Sync, which features a huge radiator and triple 120mm Riing addressable RGB fans, which are not only quiet, but look fantastic too, especially when sync'd up with the motherboard's ARGB controls.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The Water 360, like all coolers, needs an adapter to work with the Threadripper TR4 socket. Luckily, AMD has included one right in the box with the CPU! The one thing we'd upgrade is the thermal paste - Thermaltake's pre-applied TIM is serviceable, but Noctua's new NT-H2 is far superior, and even includes the cleaning wipes you'll need to remove the existing paste!

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 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 Pro version of W10 adds disk encryption and advanced remote-access functionality.

    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:

    EVGA Nu Audio Card

    There hasn't been much new in the audio market for years, but video card giant EVGA is shaking things up with its appropriately-named "Nu" card, which offers exceptional sound output for audio professionals. Engineered by Audio Note, based in the UK, its DSP has native DSD support up to x256. 384kHz, 32-bit stereo playback, and a 123dB SNR, along with an exceptional headphone amp.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this card requires SATA power to drive it, so you'll need to route a SATA power cable to the main compartment of the case. SATA power is otherwise only used for 2.5" SSDs and hard drives.

    The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Rapidfire Low Profile

    Our favorite keyboard ever, period. That's the new K70 Rapidfire Low Profile. Ultra-fast, utlra-responsive, and ultra-quiet (yes, much quieter than any other mechanical keyboard!).

    The Guru's Tip:

    Read our full review here!

    The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse:

    Logitech G703 Lightspeed

    Featuring the most accurate sensor and the most reliable wireless system on the market, the G703 simply has no equal. No other manufacturer even comes close!

    The Guru's Tip:

    For the ultimate mousing experience, pick up the Logitech PowerPlay Charging Mat, which charges your mouse while you use it, meaning you never, ever have to plug it in!

    The 32-inch Professional 4K Monitor:

    ViewSonic VP3268-4K PRO

    Want to pair your productivity rig with a stunning monitor? Look no further than the awesome VP3268-4K PRO from Viewsonic, a 32" 4K IPS  monitor that achieves 100% Rec. 709 and sRGB color space, whilee also offering HDR10 certification!

    The Guru's Tip:

    It doesn't hurt that the 4K Pro looks pretty classy, too!