The Best $2,500 Extreme 4K/VR Gaming PC Build – September 2021

By Ari Altman | Published September 1, 2021 | Updated September 1, 2021

CRITICAL UPDATE:

Due to the ongoing cryptocurrency mining craze, it’s currently impossible to buy video cards at retail prices. Therefore, you have two options if you want to game now. Either buy a pre-built gaming PC or build up a new PC using a GPU selling for over the retail price. We present both options in this guide. Based on current market conditions, we do not believe this generation of GPUs will ever return to MSRP, so lower prices will have to wait until late 2022 when the next generation arrives!

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 AMD!

For September 2021, the $2,500 Gaming PC Build features the sweetest gaming CPU on the market, AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X, an 8-core, 16-thread CPU that simply rips through game engines, thanks to its cutting-edge Zen 3 architecture and the liquid cooler we recommend. The 5800X is backing up a powerhouse of a GPU, which thankfully you can finally buy: the AMD Radeon RX 6800 16GB. It matches the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8GB, while packing in 8GB more VRAM for better future-proofing. And did we mention you can actually buy it?!?

But this build is about more than just a fancy CPU and GPU. It also includes 16GB of DDR4-3600 RAM (perfect for the AMD Zen 3 platform), a fast 1TB PCIe solid-state drive, the sweet P500A Digital RGB case from Phanteks, and a potent 750W Gold-rated power supply.

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, Newegg, or B&H 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 Ultra-High-End Gaming PC

    ABS Gladiator 10900K/RTX 3080 @Newegg

    $2500

    INSANE DEAL! GeForce GPUs may be non-existent at retail, but that doesn’t mean you can’t score a high-end RTX 3080 at a great price in an OEM system! This pre-built model from Newegg’s ABS division features a liquid-cooled Intel Core i9-10900K 10-core, 20-thread CPU, a GeForce RTX 3080 10GB GPU, 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, and a 1TB Intel NVMe solid-state drive. The system’s running off an 850W Gold-rated EVGA power supply and a Gigabyte Z590 motherboard, proving that the quality runs deep!

    The Guru’s Tip

    While AMD Zen 3 CPUs get all the attention, the 10900K in this system is an absolute beast, and still tops most gaming benchmark charts!

The DIY Build

  • CPU

    AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

    $394
    Based on AMD’s revolutionary Zen 3 architecture, the Ryzen 7 5800X is a truly fantastic processor. It has 8 core and 16 threads all running from a single complex for maximum efficiency, with boost up to 4.7GHz. That means it’s actually the fastest processor available for single-threaded tasks, which many tasks still are.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU does not come with a cooler, so make sure to pick up the cooler we recommend later in this guide!

  • Motherboard

    MSI B550 Gaming Edge WiFi

    $190
    This feature-packed board gives you everything you need for a PC build at a great price. Dual M.2 PCIe slots for high-speed SSDs (the top slot being Gen 4), six USB ports (including a Type-C port), and built-in WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5. It also has the ample power delivery system required to support any Zen 3 processor.
    The Guru’s Tip

    The B550 chipset gives you a whole lot of next-gen features at a great price!

  • Video Card

    PowerColor Radeon RX 6800 16GB Red Dragon

    $1170

    It’s time to get gaming again! This Radeon RX 6800 16GB has impressive gaming power, matching the RTX 3070 Ti, while actually being in stock and ready to game today! Sure, the price is above the original MSRP, but it’s pretty clear at this point that prices have been reset permanently, so rather than wait for a price drop that will never come, grab a great GPU today and get into your games!

    The Guru’s Tip

    It's amazing to think that after waiting all year, you can finally build your own gaming PC. Woo-hoo!

  • Memory

    Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix RGB DDR4-3600 Black

    $110
    This awesome 16GB kit will provide more than enough capacity for any game today and for years to come, and thanks to its mind-blowing DDR4-3600 speed and 16-18-18 timings, it will keep your fast CPU fed with data. Plus it offers sweet RGB effects!
    The Guru’s Tip

    You can sync this kit's lighting with the motherboard's RGB software.

  • Solid-State Drive

    Samsung 980 1TB

    $130

    There’s lots of competition in the SSD market, but SSD pioneer Samsung has put all the other mid-priced offerings to shame with its 980 1TB. It uses the speedy PCIe 3.0 interface and Samsung’s superior TLC NAND to vastly outperform every other PCIe 3.0 drive! To achieve performance any faster, you’d have to spend at least 50% more!

    The Guru’s Tip

    While you can use a PCIe Gen 4 drive in this system, it will pay very few dividends for gaming purposes.

  • Case

    Phanteks Eclipse P500A Digital RGB

    $150

    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 P500A may be Phanteks’ crowning achievement: an ultra-high performance ATX case with killer looks! A few of the very 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 fans can be sync'd with the 3-pin ARGB header on the motherboard we recommend. You'll also have full access to the case's front Type-C port thanks to the motherboard's Type-C header.

  • Power Supply

    SilverStone ST75F-GS-V3 Gold

    $101
    Offering up 750W of power and top-notch build quality, this PSU is a great value among high-end models. Thanks to its fully-modular cables and compact design, it’s very easy to install, allowing you to minimize cable clutter by leaving out cables you don’t need for this build. The best part: thanks to its Gold-rated efficiency, the power supply will operate in virtual silence!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This PSU won't even come close to its limits with this build, which will top out at around 500W fully loaded!

  • CPU Cooler

    SilverStone PF240-ARGB

    $85
    To keep a powerful CPU build cool, this 240mm liquid cooler will fit the bill. It provides exceptional performance for the price, great compatibility with most systems, and sweet looks!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This will fit easily in the top of the case we recommend for this build and will provide a great ARGB light show!

  • Operating System

    Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive

    $130
    Windows 10 was a big step up from Windows 8.1, and Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every six months. And the USB version installs in under 5 minutes, meaning you can get right into using your system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    If the USB version of W10 is ever sold out, go for the downloadable version, which you can simply load on a USB thumb drive.

Optional Products

  • The Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

    Corsair K60 RGB Pro Low Profile

    $90
    For the very fastest gameplay, there’s nothing better than the K60 Low Profile. Thanks to Cherry’s unbeaten low-profile MX Speed switches, you get amazing response and feel, plus low noise.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Once you try a low-profile mechanical keyboard, you won't want to go back!

  • The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse

    Logitech G502 Lightspeed Wireless

    $124

    Logitech designed the G502 Lightspeed Wireless to be the ultimate technological tour de force in the gaming mouse industry. Featuring a mesmerizing 25K Hero sensor, tunable weights, RGB lighting, and the best wireless connectivity, it is impossible to beat. And you can even upgrade it to ultra-elite status with the optional PowerPlay charging mat, which allows you to use it forever without stopping to charge thanks to the exclusive wireless charging capability!

    The Guru’s Tip

    We've been using this mouse since the day it launched and we absolutely love it!

  • The Deluxe PC Headset

    Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Headset

    $160
    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.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We use this headset everyday and love it!

  • The 34-inch Gaming Monitor

    MSI Optix MPG341CQR @Newegg

    $674
    Without a doubt, our top pick among monitors to pair with this elite system is the equally-elite ultra-wide model. It offers a huge 34″ 3440×1440 IPS panel, a refresh rate of up to 144Hz, and G-Sync compatibility (via FreeSync) to achieve the smoothest possible gaming experience.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Truth be told, while we know people are interested in "4K Gaming", the 4K monitors available today really aren't that great in terms of tech on board. This ultra-wide is a much better bet!

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