$3,500 Build

If you're looking for the ultimate gaming PC, bar none, then this build's for you! Sure, you could spend more, but you simply won't see better performance in any game 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. If you have the budget for it and want to game, this is what you buy!

For November 2018, this system gets a complete rebuild from the ground up. After the release of Intel's most important CPU in years and Nvidia's fastest GPU ever, we thought long and hard about the best way to ensure our readers would get the ultimate gaming experience for their money. We also had to be honest about pricing in an age where launch-date MSRPs are truly a fiction. What we've come up with is the best all-around gaming system you can build. It features the brand-new Intel Core i9-9900K eight-core, 16-thread CPU, launched on October 19th. It simply blows away every previous CPU in terms of gaming capability. It simply has no equal. On graphics duty is Nvidia's brand-new RTX 2080 Ti 11GB GPU, which will unleash a whole new generation of video games utilizing ray tracing effects. And while we previously recommended two slower cards in SLI for this system, waning support for SLI, and increasing GPU costs, have made a single RTX 2080 Ti a much better choice. Also on board is an 850 Platinum-rated power supply, 32GB of ultra-fast DDR4 RAM, and a Samsung 970 Pro 1TB PCIe solid-state drive, the best M.2 drive in the business. Complete your system with the stunning Cooler Master H500M RGB case, add in a 280mm liquid cooler, and you'll be ready to rock!

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. 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 a lot like this one. To see previous Ultimate Gaming PC builds, flip to the $3,500 Archive.

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 - November 2018


    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 of 5GHz. 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:

    Launched on October 19th, this CPU will be hard to find in stock for months, making this build a bit more "forward-looking" than we'd like. We don't expect wide availability until January 2019, but we still believe this CPU is worth waiting for if you're planning a $3,500 build.


    ASUS ROG Z390 Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi)

    This Z390 board is an awesome ultra-high-end pick. You get dual M.2 slots, eight USB ports including USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, the Asus Aura RGB controller, built-in WiFi, the premium ALC1220 audio codec, and most importantly, and absolutely-massive power delivery system.

    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 apply. And even if you do have an updated Z370 board, it's almost sure to have insufficient power delivery for the 9900K processor.,

    Video Card:

    Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB

    After months of hype, the amazing Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti 11GB GB is finally here. It spearheads a whole new line of GPUs that feature ray tracing cores for next-gen lighting effects, distinguishing them from previous GTX products. This particular model offers up a custom triple-fan cooler, which will ensure that it runs cool no matter what you throw at it.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The RTX 2080 Ti will be in short supply for the next few months. You'll likely need to buy directly from Nvidia when it has the Founders Edition in stock, or pay over MSRP from a third-party retailer.


    Corsair 4x8GB Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4-3600

    For the Ultimate Gaming machine, we go big time, with an ultra-high-end 32GB DDR4-3600 kit that provides a combination of capacity and speed that will never bog your Core i9 system down. Just note that this kit will default to DDR4-2133 until the XMP profile is selected in the UEFI.

    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 Pro 1TB 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. Offering performance that tops every other M.2 SSD on the market by a huge margin, the Samsung 970 Pro 1TB is truly in a class of its own. Its dominance is based not just on its advanced firmware and controller, but on the fact that it's the only SSD currently available that still uses ultra-fast MLC 3D V-NAND. Every other drive uses TLC chips.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This M.2 drive will slip right into one of the slots on the motherboard (and you can use either one, as they both support PCIe drives).


    Cooler Master MasterCase H500M

    This awesome new case has everything you want in a "prestige" PC. You get four tempered glass panels, dual 200mm addressable RGB front intake fans plus a 140mm exhaust fan, internal panels to hide all your cables, and space for all your high-end gear!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The RGB fans in this case will link up right to your motherboard's onboard controls, allowing for some awesome synchronized effects.

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic SSR-850PX

    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:

    Seasonic backs this unit up with an exceptional 10-year warranty.

    CPU Cooler:

    Thermaltake Floe Dual Riing RGB 280

    To get the maximum possible overclock out of the hot-running Core i9-9900K, you need extreme liquid cooling (seriously, don't even bother with air cooling this CPU!). With dual 140mm fans and a 280mm radiator, the Floe 280 is more than a match, providing exceptional cooling and ultra-low noise levels. It also offers great customization options thanks to the RGB lighting built into its pump and fans. In our opinion, it's the best 280mm model on the market.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This cooler comes with thermal paste pre-applied, but if you'd like to upgrade it or just want some spare paste on hand, we recommend Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut. To remove pre-existing paste, use a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol.

    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 already unleashing next-gen games with far greater complexity and performance.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is the USB 3.0 version of Windows, which loads in under 5 minutes!

Optional Components

    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 G903 Lightspeed

    If you want the very best gaming mouse available, this is it. Offering responsiveness that matches or beats every wired mouse on the market, this wireless model allows you to game without the tether, which is just so much more better than being tied to your desk!

    The Guru's Tip:

    One of the very cool features of the G703 is Logitech's "PowerPlay," which when combined with its forthcoming wireless charging mat, allows the G903 to be continuously charged while in use, without ever need to plug it in!

    The 35-inch Widescreen Monitor:

    Acer Predator Z35P

    Yes, we know that "4K gaming" is what everyone's talking about, but for a truly exceptional gaming experience, enthusiasts in the know are picking up ultra-wides. Featuring a resolution of 3440 x 1440, this monitor provides an awesomely-wide view on your gaming environment. And the big benefit it offers over every 4K monitor currently on the market is a refresh rate of 120Hz, which translates to far smoother gaming than the 60Hz that 4K monitors are limited to. And with its G-Sync technology, this monitor can actually vary its refresh rate when framerates drop below 100fps to makes sure there's no tearing or lag.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model recently dropped in price by $300, making it an absolute steal!