The Best $2,000 High-End Content Creation PC Build – January 2022
Calling all Serious Content Creators!
If you’re looking to put together the ultimate video editing PC at a mainstream price, this is the guide for you! Rather than try to tweak gaming-focused builds to make them a better match for heavy Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and similar application use, just build one that’s designed for content creation from the start! Sure, you could game on this system, but the components have been chosen specifically to maximize application performance and minimize noise, which is what we think professional video editors will value the most.
This Month’s Build, Featuring Intel and Nvidia!
For January 2022, you won’t find a better Content Creation PC for $2,000 than the one we’ve spec’d in this guide. Headlining this build is the awesome Intel Core i7-12700K CPU, a 12-core, 20-thread powerhouse that leaves AMD in the dust. Based on the incredible Alder Lake architecture, it’s massively fast in both single-threaded and multi-threaded applications. In fact, it’s often faster than AMD’s 16-core CPU, while coming in at a much lower price!
Backing up the CPU is a whopping 64GB of high-speed DDR4-3600 RAM. In terms of storage, we go with an ultra-fast 2TB PCIe 4.0 7000MB/s solid-state drive, offering extraordinary I/O throughput. In the graphics department, this system uses an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB card with HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort outputs capable of full 4K/60Hz resolution. As with all GPUs, it’s selling for above its MSRP, but at least it can actually be ordered most of the time!
To put the finishing touches on this build, we suggest you equip this build with a Gold-rated fully-modular power supply, install it in the quiet, professionally-styled SilverStone Seta A1 case, and cool it with an ultra-premium Noctua NH-D15S tower cooler. This will give you a silent-running, workstation-class system. Learn more about many of these components and post your questions in our YouTube overview of an earlier version of this build.
If you’re looking to complete your system, you’ll find our recommendations on the perfect peripherals for a content creation PC later on this page. We use Amazon and Newegg affiliate links for our readers in the US, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for our readers in the UK, Canada, and parts of the EU, with regional substitutions made automatically based on availability. To support this site, please use these links if you purchase any of the products we list.
Intel Core i7-12700K$390
Intel reclaims the gaming lead with its 12th-Gen “Alder Lake” CPUs, and the 12700K is the CPU to get for extreme performance without going overboard on cost. It handily beats the Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 9 5900X, and is nearly as fast as Intel’s top-end 12900K!The Guru’s Tip
This CPU offers the absolute best value in an ultra-high-end processor, and will in fact be faster than AMD's best in most applications, including Photoshop and Premiere. Plus with the built-in graphics, you can get by without a video card for a while if you'd prefer to wait out the current high GPU prices.
MSI PRO Z690-A WiFi DDR4$232
MSI as usual packs tons of value into its “A” series motherboard, and this Socket 1700 model is a perfect match for Intel’s latest CPUs. It features four M.2 slots (three being Gen 4), a PCIe Gen 5 video card slot, eight USB ports (including a Type-C port), and integrated WiFi 6. Note that it conforms to the DDR4 RAM standard, allowing the use of less expensive memory while maintaining similar performance versus DDR5 RAM.The Guru’s Tip
Those four M.2 slots are a huge benefit to space-constrained content creators... they'll offer plenty of opportunity for upgrades without scrapping your main drive!
Video Card –
Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB$325
This powerful and efficient GPU offers 4GB of fast GDDR6 VRAM and an efficient cooler to keep noise and temps down, making it perfect regardless of how much you push it!The Guru’s Tip
It goes without saying that this is one of the very few GPUs you'll find at retail at any price. If you'd like to wait it out (which may take many months, if not a full year!), you can use the built-in video on the Intel CPU.
Patriot 2x32GB Viper Steel DDR4-3600$240
This ultra-dense Viper Steel kit from Patriot allows you to truly max out your RAM capacity. It offers dual sticks of 32GB, run at a fast 3600MHz with impressive 18-20-20 timings for excellent all-around performance on any platform!The Guru’s Tip
We've made sure to select a motherboard that supports the DDR4 standard, rather than the newer DDR5 standard, which offers far less performance per dollar.
Solid-State Drive –
WD_Black SN850 2TB NVMe$271
The fastest M.2 drive on the planet…. many drives compete for that title, but the mighty SN850 is right at the top. Powered by amazingly-fast NAND flash, and maxing out the PCIe Gen 4 bus, it’s the one you want!The Guru’s Tip
The insane speeds of this drive will be put to good use in a serious content creation machine. If you'd like to split out your OS and swap drive for even better throughput, just pick up two 1TB drives - the price will be about the same.
SilverStone Seta A1 Silver$135The Seta A1 from SilverStone is a true watershed product in the case market. Designed around maximizing airflow while providing a professional exterior, the Seta A1 does something no other case can do: give you maximum performance, ultra-quiet operation, and a stylish aluminum front panel all in one package. The key to the A1’s excellent performance are the dual 200mm fans hidden behind that front panel, which spin at a maximum of just 800RPM, meaning they’re far quieter than typical 120mm fans, while producing tremendous airflow.
This case was originally designed as a gaming case, but its professional looks and ultra-quiet operation make it perfect for a content creation PC.
Power Supply –
EVGA Supernova 650 G6$75
EVGA offers a ton of value in its Supernova line, and the 650 G6 is no exception. You get 650W of Gold-rated power, fully-modular cables, and a zero RPM mode under low loads for silence and increased lifespan. Even when the fan is spinning, it’s quiet thanks to its fluid dynamic bearings. The best part: an incredible 10-year warranty and EVGA’s unbeatable customer support.The Guru’s Tip
This PSU will operate right in its efficiency sweetspot when used with this system.
CPU Cooler –
Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black$100
For quiet and cool performance, there’s no better CPU cooler than the NH-D15S. It’s easy to install, comes with the best instructions and accessory package in the business, and runs in virtual silence. And the “chromax.black” version offers an updated all-black look.The Guru’s Tip
Importantly, this cooler includes the required Intel Socket 1700 mounting bracket in the box, guaranteeing you can get up and running on day one!
Operating System –
Windows 10 Home USB @Newegg$140Windows 10 is the most popular operating system in the world, and Microsoft continues to support users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every year. Note that you can alternatively purchase the downloadable version. All you need on hand to use it is a USB drive with 8GB+ of capacity.
Windows 11 has been released, but not to retail. The only way to get it is to install Win10 first, and then update manually. We recommend that users do so right after the OS installation, before loading apps. That way you can do a fresh install of Win 11 and move forward from there, and for use with Intel's Alder Lake CPUs, you definitely want Win 11 on your system!
Sound Card –
Creative Sound Blaster AE-7$202 The Guru’s Tip
While Creative Sound Blaster cards of years past have gotten a bad reputation for driver support, this model, released in 2019, is totally up-to-date and designed specifically for the latest Windows software.
Logitech G815 Mechanical Keyboard (Linear)$150 The Guru’s Tip
Logitech really leapfrogged the competition when it released this keyboard, and no one is close to catching up!
The Deluxe Wireless Mouse –
Logitech MX Master 3$100 The Guru’s Tip
Perhaps the coolest feature of this mouse from a content creator's perspective is the Flow cross-computer control, which allows you to work seamlessly on three computers without the need for a KVM switch.
The Deluxe PC Headset –
Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Headset$180 The Guru’s Tip
We've used this as our daily driver since it was released, and we have no intention of ever giving it up!
The 32-inch Professional 4K Monitor –
LG 32UN650-W$469 The Guru’s Tip
We figure that any serious content creator is going to want a true 4K monitor rather than a standard or ultra-wide 1440p monitor.
Total Cost: $1970
- CPU – Intel Core i7-12700K ($390)
- Motherboard – MSI PRO Z690-A WiFi DDR4 ($232)
- Video Card – Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB ($325)
- Memory – Patriot 2x32GB Viper Steel DDR4-3600 ($240)
- Solid-State Drive – WD_Black SN850 2TB NVMe ($271)
- Case – SilverStone Seta A1 Silver ($135)
- Power Supply – EVGA Supernova 650 G6 ($75)
- CPU Cooler – Noctua NH-D15S chromax.black ($100)
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home USB @Newegg ($140)