The Best $2500 Extreme 4K/VR Gaming PC Build – February 2023

By Ari Altman | Published January 29, 2023 | Updated January 29, 2023

Phanteks P500A Black

Game to the Extreme!

If you’re looking to play all the latest games on a 4K or ultra-wide monitor, you’re going to need extreme processing power. And that’s what the $2,500 Gaming PC Build delivers – every component has been selected with one and only one goal in mind: maximum high-resolution performance for $2,500, with a healthy dose of style thrown in!

This Month’s Build, Powered by Intel and AMD!

For February 2023, the $2,500 Gaming PC Build starts off with Intel’s amazing Core i7-13700KF, a 16-core, 24-thread hybrid masterpiece, which rips through games faster than any previous Intel or AMD CPU, Zen 4 included! It’s backing up a powerhouse of a GPU, the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT 20GB, which beats every previous-gen GPU, including the vaunted GeForce RTX 3090 Ti!

But this build is about more than just a fancy CPU and GPU. It also includes 32GB of DDR5-6000 RAM (which offers a big boost in performance versus even the best DDR4 kits), a fast 1TB PCIe Gen 4 solid-state drive, the high-airflow G500A mesh case from Phanteks, a huge liquid CPU cooler, and a potent 850W Gold-rated power supply. In other words, it’s great in every way!

Parting Thoughts

We highlight our favorite accessories for this build in the optional components section at the end of this guide, including the best high-end peripherals and monitor. If you’re looking for more options, feel free to browse our Monitor Buyer’s GuidePeripherals Buyer’s Guide, and Speaker/Headset Buyer’s Guide for all our favorite picks!

Throughout this guide, we provide direct links to Amazon or Newegg in the US, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in other regions, including Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU, with substitutions made where necessary. To help support the continued development of this guide, please use the links we provide if you purchase products we recommend.

The Pre-Built Option

  • The Premium Gaming PC

    Skytech Eclipse 13600K/RTX 4080

    $2800
    Skytech is all about delivering incredible power and hand-crafted quality at every pricepoint, and the Eclipse is no different. You get a fantastic gaming chip, the Intel Core i5-13600K, a 14-core, 20-thread beast, along with the ultra-fast Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 16GB video card. Also on this list are 32GB of DDR5 RAM, a 1TB PCIe Gen 4 solid-state drive, a massive 360mm AIO liquid cooler, a 1000W Gold-rated power supply, and Windows 11.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This may be slightly more expensive that the build we spec out below, but it also has a faster GPU, which on its own would represent more than half the budget of our system if bought at retail!

The DIY Build

  • CPU

    Intel Core i7-13700KF

    $399
    With the 13700KF on the market, it’s game over for AMD! The 13700KF blows away Intel’s previous leader, the 12900KS, which was already unbeatable, and in doing so, drives a serious bargain at the extreme high-end of PC gaming performance. Offering up 16 cores, 24 threads, and the pumped-up cache and clockspeed, it’s the chip every serious gamer will want in their system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU doesn't come with a cooler, but the high-powered model we list later in this guide will keep it nicely chilled!

  • Motherboard

    Asus Prime Z790-A WiFi 6E

    $310
    The Asus Prime line is legendary for offering up excellent features and performance for the price, and this Socket 1700 model based on the Z790 chipset is a perfect match for Intel’s latest CPUs. It features a massive 16+1 Phase VRM, four M.2 slots (all being Gen 4 x4), a PCIe Gen 5 video card slot, eight USB ports (two being Type-C), and integrated WiFi 6E. Note that it conforms to the DDR5 RAM standard, providing the ultimate in performance for high-end Intel processors.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We're going with DDR5-based Z790 boards from here on out, as the performance boost is simply too big. There's no reason to invest in DDR4 today for a serious gaming rig.

  • Video Card

    XFX Radeon RX 7900 XT 20GB MERC310

    $881
    AMD broke new ground with its RX 7900 series, and the 7900 XT is a perfect showcase for that. Offering RTX 3090 Ti-stomping performance for far less money, it immediately put every last-gen GPU in its price range out of contention. And with 20GB of VRAM, it’s future-proof too! This awesome model from XFX uses the stylish and effective MERC310 cooler, which is even better than the reference cooler from AMD!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Yes, we know that critics have called the 7900 XT a dud because its MSRP is just $100 under the XTX version. But the market had other things in mind after launch day, and the XTX is now a minimum of $300 more, meaning the XT is by far the best GPU to ever sell for under $1000!

  • Memory

    G.SKILL 2x16GB Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-6000

    $165
    For the ultimate in speed, you must go with DDR5 RAM, but not just any DDR5 RAM, because you need high-frequency DDR5 to blow past DDR4 RAM performance. And that’s what you get with G.Skill’s Trident Z5 kit, running at DDR5-6000 with timings of 36-36-36-96 at 1.35V. This is the real deal when it comes to DDR5 performance!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This RAM is the perfect match for this build's DDR5-based motherboard.

  • Solid-State Drive

    WD_BLACK SN770 1TB NVMe

    $90
    WD knocked it out of the park with its ultra-high-performance, bargain-priced SN770 PCIe Gen 4 drive. Optimized for excellent real-world performance thanks to WD’s years of SSD development, it easily keeps up with much more expensive drives. This 1TB model can provide sequential read speeds of 5150MB/s and write speeds of 4900MB/s.
    The Guru’s Tip

    While a Gen4 drive isn't necessary for gaming, the price-performance of this blazing-fast drive is hard to pass up!

  • Case

    Phanteks Eclipse G500A Digital RGB

    $158
    Phanteks cases are simply exquisite; no other manufacturer can quite match the great blend of quality materials, attention to detail, and high performance, especially for the price. And the G500A may be Phanteks’ crowning achievement: an ultra-high performance ATX case with killer looks! The three 140mm ARGB fans in front look great and provide massive airflow. A few other cool touches on this case include the hinged glass door on the left side and the integrated RGB light pipe on the PSU shroud. No one does it better!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This case's ARGB lighting can be controlled via the motherboard.

  • ARGB Fan

    ARCTIC P14 PWM PST A-RGB

    $22
    Arctic started with its proven P14 design and made it even better with the ARGB version. It adds not only very slick ARGB effects, but also a stabilizer ring at the blade edges, rubber bumpers on the corners, and a 0dB mode, allowing it to spin smoothly down to zero with a low PWM signal. Basically, if you’re looking for the best all-around 140mm ARGB fan on the market, whether for heatsink, radiator, or case fan applications, this is the one!
    The Guru’s Tip

    While it may seem like a small change, adding this case to the back of this build's case will dramatically improve cooling performance!

  • Power Supply

    SilverStone ST85F-GS v2

    $143
    Many power supplies from reputable manufacturers have been completely sold out since early 2020 (yes, that long). But this unit, a high-end 850W Gold-rated model, can actually be ordered, and offers a fully-modular cable design, quiet operation, and an ultra-compact layout that makes it easier to install that older, bulkier models.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This PSU will easily handle the CPU and GPU in this system, which together will draw around 600W at max load.

  • CPU Cooler

    Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 ARGB

    $160
    To run a high-wattage CPU, you need extreme cooling, and we suggest you go straight for this awesome 360mm liquid cooler, which offers the best performance of any 360mm AIO on the market based on our testing! That comes down to its big 38mm-thick radiator, effective pump, and the best ARGB fans on the market, the Arctic P12 A-RGB models. They provide both great looks and superior performance at low noise levels.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This cooler may or may not include the Socket 1700 adapter you'll need to mount it on the Intel CPU we recommend, so get the optional kit below just in case.

  • Adapter

    ARCTIC Intel LGA1700 Upgrade Kit for Liquid Freezer II Series

    $15
    This adapter guarantees compatibility with Intel Socket 1700 CPUs and motherboards.
    The Guru’s Tip

    If your cooler includes a 1700 bracket, you can always return this one - just don't open it until you know you need it.

  • Operating System

    Windows 11 Home USB

    $139
    Windows 11 take everything people loved about Windows 10, and then takes it to 11! It adds significant under-the-hood changes to make it faster and more secure, and of course, the interface is sleek too!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Microsoft took its sweet time launching Win11 at retail after making it available as an update for existing W10 users, but it's finally here and it's what you want on a new system!

Optional Products

  • The 32" 4K 144Hz Gamer's Dream Monitor

    Gigabyte M32U

    $700
    It took seemingly forever for the elusive 32″ 4K 144Hz panels that gamers had dreamed of for years to finally hit the market, and surprisingly Gigabyte was first out of the gate with one widely available at retail. Known for its high-end video cards and motherboards, Gigabyte has quickly made a name for itself in the gaming monitor market, and the M32U simply astounds with its features. Get a load of these specs: a 31.5″ 3840 x 2160 4K IPS panel, 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms (GTG) response time, FreeSync, 10-bit color,  90% DCI-P3  and 123% sRGB color space, and VESA DisplayHDR 400. It even has a built-in KVM switch, allowing you to use it on multiple systems with the push of a button!
    The Guru’s Tip

    There's no better way to show off what your 4K gaming rig than with this awesome, value-packed 4K monitor!

  • The Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

    Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Rapidfire

    $148
    The Corsair K70 set the standard for mechanical gaming keyboards and is still the benchmark by which all others are judged. With its solid aluminum construction and detachable wrist rest, it’s a truly premium option. And for the very fastest gameplay, there’s nothing better than the Rapidfire version, which uses Cherry’s unbeaten MX Speed switches. Their short throw give you amazing response and feel.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Once you try a mechanical board, you'll never go back!

  • The Ultralight Gaming Mouse

    Logitech G Pro X Superlight

    $136
    Logitech has a long history of pioneering the best wireless peripherals, and with the Pro X has taken that to the next level, engineering an ultra-responsive wireless mouse that is somehow just 63 grams, or about half the weight of typical wireless gaming mice. Combined with the 25,600dpi HERO sensor and extra-large PTFE feet, it’s ultra-smooth, and ultra-fast. If you want effortless control, this is the one!
    The Guru’s Tip

    There are plenty of ultralight mice out there, but Logitech's is a great ultralight!

  • The Deluxe PC Headset

    Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Headset

    $174
    Combining ultra-high-end performance with incredible comfort, this wireless headset from Corsair is the ideal all-day companion for listening to the latest market news. This headset also has an audiophile-grade microphone, perfect for teleconferencing. Free free to check out our full review right here!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We use this headset everyday, and it's a solid as the day we took it out of the box!

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