The Best $3000 Corsair RGB Gaming PC Build – January 2022

By Ari Altman | Published January 4, 2022 | Updated January 4, 2022

Game Hard and Look Good Doing It!

If you want a $3,000 Gaming PC Build that’s a true showcase, not just another black box, then this is the one for you! In addition to the best gaming components available, it sports the latest in addressable RGB lighting and case design! We didn’t just add “RGB” to the name of this build without making sure it delivered on the looks front. The case fans, cooler, RAM, and motherboard can all be color-coordinated to make your build more than just blingy… it will be a work of art!

This Month’s Build, Featuring Intel and AMD!

For January 2022, the $3,000 Gaming PC Build features Intel’s game-stomping Core i5-12600K 10-core, 16-thread CPU, cooled by a massive 360mm liquid cooler, and mounted on an Asus Z690 motherboard. For the GPU, you can finally jump into serious gaming today with the ultra-fast Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB video card. This combo will have you maxing out all your games!

To showcase this system, we go with Corsair’s iCUE 5000X RGB, which stands out like no other chassis on the market. For storage, we go with a 1TB PCIe-based solid-state drive along with 32GB of Corsair DDR4-3600 Vengeance RGB RAM. Finally, keeping this system powered up is an awesome Corsair RM850X Gold-rated power supply. Feel free to post your build questions in our YouTube review of the 5000X case.

Parting Thoughts

If you’re looking for new accessories to add to your $3,000 Gaming PC build, check out our Monitor Buyer’s Guide, our Peripherals Buyer’s Guide and our Speaker/Headset Buyer’s Guide for all the latest and greatest accessories, although we list our top recommendations for the $3,000 Gaming PC Build later in this guide.

Throughout this guide, we provide direct links to Amazon or Newegg, and the Amazon links will auto-convert for our readers in the UK, Canada, and parts of the EU, with regional substitutions made automatically when 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

    MSI Aegis RS 11700K/RTX 3080 Ti @Newegg


    HOT DEAL! The RTX 3080 Ti has been unavailable at retail since it was launched in May, but luckily, MSI makes its own video cards, so of course it has some to spare! This system features an unlocked, liquid-cooled Intel Core i7-11700K 8-core, 16-thread processor, that aforementioned MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 12GB video card, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB solid-state drive and a 2TB hard drive. In other words, it’s locked, loaded, and ready to rock the latest games!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This system is just as fast as the DIY PC we spec out below, thanks to the RTX 3080 Ti GPU that sells for 3/4 the price of the whole PC!

The DIY Build

  • CPU

    Intel Core i5-12600KF


    The 12th-Gen “Alder Lake” CPUs are Intel’s most impressive release in a decade, and the Core i5-12600KF offers the best value of the bunch. Packing in a total of 10 cores (6 performance and 4 efficiency), plus an additional 6 threads, it can easily beat anything AMD has in games, and has productivity power on par with the best previous-gen 8 cores. Note that this “KF” version does not have onboard graphics, but is otherwise identical to the 12600K.

    The Guru’s Tip

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

  • Motherboard

    ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-Plus WiFi D4


    Asus as usual packs tons of performance into its “Plus” series motherboard, and this Socket 1700 model is a perfect match for Intel’s latest CPUs. It features robust 14+2-phase power stages, four PCIe Gen 4 M.2 slots, 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

    Most importantly for this build, this board has the best ARGB controller and software in the industry, and it's fully compatible with Corsair gear too!

  • Video Card

    PowerColor Radeon RX 6900 XT Red Devil


    Step into gaming today with a video card that puts Nvidia non-existent GPUs to shame, the RX 6900 XT Red Devil from PowerColor. This card can take on any game and put up amazing framerates! Plus, the custom triple-slot, triple-fan cooler looks great and works even better! Sure, the price is above the original MSRP, but everything’s been reset by the cryptocurrency mining craze, and this is a card that makes an RTX 3090 tremble!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Grab this while you can, because it will definitely sell out!

  • Memory

    Corsair 4x8GB Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4-3600 C16

    We go big with 32GB, which will be more than enough for any usage scenario imaginable. And at 3600MHz with 16-19-19-39 timings, this kit provides incredible speed in addition to its capacity. Of course, it also looks the part, with the best looking RGB lighting on the market! Plus, with all four slots filled, you’ll really get a light show!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We have specifically selected an Intel-based motherboard that supports DDR4 memory, as newer DDR5 offers far less performance per dollar.

  • Solid-State Drive

    XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe

    Harnessing the power of cutting-edge TLC V-NAND, the NVMe protocol, and the PCIe interface, this SSD is by far the fastest drive at its pricepoint. It can hit sequential speeds of up to 3500MB/s! Note that you’ll need a jeweler’s-type screwdriver to affix it.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Sure, you could spend more on a PCIe Gen 4 drive, but for gaming, it won't improve your system's performance.

  • Case

    Corsair iCUE 5000X RGB

    There’s simply no better case to use as a high-performance RGB showcase than the glass-covered 5000X from Corsair. It has four glass panels (front, top, and two sides), and includes three SP Elite RGB fans and a Node Core RGB controller pre-installed. Load it up with the additional gear we recommend in this guide and you will have an amazing performer and a system with looks that can’t be touched!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Corsair's iCUE software, which is what this case is named for, allows extensive control over RGB gear, including Corsair coolers, fans, RAM and peripherals, and even Asus motherboards like the one we recommend! Speaking of that board, we made sure to spec one with a Type-C header, so you can use this case's top-mounted USB Type-C port. Details matter, and we've got you covered!

  • Fan

    Corsair iCUE SP120 RGB Elite

    This fan will connect right up with the controllers built into the case, allowing it to sync both for RPM and lighting control with the stock fans.
    The Guru’s Tip

    In this build, you'll be mounting this fan in the rear of the chassis, where it will complement the three SP Elite front fans and the fans on the Corsair 360mm CPU cooler.

  • Power Supply

    Corsair RM850x


    Corsair is legendary in the PSU market, being among the first to develop truly-premium offerings. This 850W Gold-rated unit power supply has more than enough power to support any combo of CPU and GPU. And the modular cables will keep the build neat while the zero fan mode keeps it quiet at idle!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This model is fully-compatible with the slick individually-sleeved cables listed in our optional products section below, which will give your system a truly custom look!

  • CPU Cooler

    MSI MAG Core Liquid 360R V2


    To run a high-wattage CPU, you need extreme cooling, and we suggest you go straight for this awesome 360mm liquid cooler, which offers great performance and eye-catching looks, thanks to the ARGB lighting on its fans and pump.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that this kit includes a socket 1700 bracket.

  • Operating System

    Windows 10 Home USB @Newegg

    Windows 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.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Windows 11 has been released, but it's not available at retail. The way to get it is to buy Win10 and then apply the Win11 update to the system. We recommend doing so right from the start, prior to loading other apps, and making it a clean install of Win11. You definitely want Win11 when running an Intel 12th-Gen processor.

Optional Products

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