The Best $3500 Ultimate Gaming PC Build – September 2022

By Ari Altman | Published September 25, 2022 | Updated September 25, 2022

CoolerMaster H500PJump Into Ultra-High-End Gaming Today!

If you’re looking for the ultimate $3,500 Gaming PC Build, truly the best of the best, then this is the build for you! Sure, you could spend more, but in most games you won’t see better performance than what this PC Build can provide. It’s a showcase of the very best tech available in PC gaming today. And while the $3,500 Gaming PC Build isn’t exactly a bargain, it’s custom-tailored to deliver flat-out extreme gaming performance!

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

For September 2022, the Ultimate $3,500 Gaming PC Build gets a bunch of big upgrades, thanks to falling prices all around. It starts with Intel’s awe-inspiring Core i9-12900KS 16-core, 24-thread CPU, which can push any game to the limit. It will have a worthy GPU to feed in the form of Nvidia’s shockingly-fast GeForce RTX 3090 Ti 24GB, which has been discounted substantially since the crazy times during the cryptocurrency boom.

Of course, the rest of the system is up to the task of keeping this system fed with data, thanks to 32GB of insanely-fast DDR5-6400 RAM (upgraded from 6000 last month), along with the fastest 2TB PCIe Gen 4 solid-state drive on the market. Completing the $3,500 Gaming PC Build is the high-performance Cooler Master H500P Mesh ARGB chassis, a powerful 360mm liquid cooler, and an awesome 1300W Platinum-rated power supply!

Parting Thoughts

Note that we list a number of “Optional Components” at the end of this guide that highlight 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 accessories at every pricepoint.

Throughout this guide, we provide direct links to Amazon or Newegg, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in the UK, Canada, and parts of the EU, with automatic substitutions being 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 Workstation PC

    Empowered PC Sentinel 12900KF/RTX 3090

    $3100
    This pre-built PC is packed with premium components that will get you gaming at warp speed! These include an Intel Core i9-12900KF 16-core, 24-thread processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 24GB video card, and 64GB of DDR4-3200 RAM. In terms of storage, you’ll get a 1TB NVMe solid-state drive plus a 2TB hard drive for file storage. The system is anchored by an 850W Gold-rated power supply, and is pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home x64.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This system will be nearly as fast as the one we spec below, so there's no shame in picking it up if you'd rather play than build!

The DIY Build

  • CPU

    Intel Core i9-12900KS

    $730
    Intel already claimed the top spot among gaming CPUs with the 12900K, based on the 12th-Gen “Alder Lake” architecture. But that clearly wasn’t good enough, because now it’s gone and outdone itself with the special “KS” model, which increases speed by nearly 10% thanks to a much more advanced boost algorithm. With its 8 multi-threaded performance cores plus 8 efficiency cores, it’s also a beast for content creation or multi-tasking!
    The Guru’s Tip

    This extreme CPU can put out tons of heat, which is why we recommend a massive liquid cooler later in this guide.

  • Motherboard

    MSI MPG Z690 Edge WiFi DDR5

    $280
    MSI’s Z690 Edge features a potent 16-phase VRM with 75A power stages, four M.2 slots (all being Gen 4), a PCIe Gen 5 video card slot, eight USB ports (including a Type-C port), and integrated WiFi 6E plus 2.5Gbs LAN. This version of the Edge uses DDR5 RAM to provide the absolute best performance for the latest Intel CPUs.
    The Guru’s Tip

    MSI has some of the very best boards this generation, with impressive VRMs and RAM overclocking support.

  • Video Card

    MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Ti 24GB Gaming X Trio

    $1130
    Hail to the king! The absolutely mind-blowing RTX 3090 Ti 24GB goes beyond extreme, beating the original 3090 by 10% thanks to an increase in CUDA cores and faster VRAM. And this model from MSI offers the best air cooler available, which is MSI’s specialty!
    The Guru’s Tip

    While Nvidia has announced the RTX 4090 24GB, it will start at $1600 when it hits the market in late-October, putting it well out of range of our recommended budget.

  • Memory

    G.Skill 2x16GB Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-6400 CL32

    $290
    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 TridentZ5 kit running at DDR5-6400 with timings of 32-39-39-102 at 1.40V. This is the real deal when it comes to DDR5 performance!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We've gone with DDR5 RAM and a matching motherboard to ensure that nothing holds back this build's performance!

  • Solid-State Drive

    SK Hynix Platinum P41 2TB

    $260
    While you may not have heard of SK Hynix (SK is for South Korea), it’s a huge player in the memory market, being one of just three fully-integrated manufacturers. And that means it plays in the big leagues, and every so often, simply flattens the competition… all of it! The Platinum P41 is now the fastest consumer M.2 SSD ever released. Powered by amazingly-fast NAND flash, and a proprietary controller that allows it to max out what the PCIe Gen 4 bus can deliver, it’s the one you want!
    The Guru’s Tip

    You don't really need a drive this fast for gaming, but it's always nice to know you have the best!

  • Case

    Cooler Master MasterCase H500P Mesh White ARGB

    $200
    Our favorite high-performance gaming case has now been updated to with awesome ARGB lighting, making it better than ever! The H500P Mesh White is the star of high-end cases. It features a tempered glass side panel, dual 200mm front fans behind a big mesh intake, and a 140mm rear fan. It will keep your components nicely chilled thanks to a constant wall of air.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that this case comes in either grey or white, available from the same product page.

  • Power Supply

    EVGA Supernova 1300 P+

    $170
    EVGA offers a ton of high-end value in its Supernova line, and the 1300 P+ is a perfect example of that. You get a massive 1300W of Platinum-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

    Given the massive firepower of this system, we've given it an equally-massive PSU. The PC will draw about 700W at load, putting it right in this PSU's sweetspot!

  • CPU Cooler

    Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360 ARGB

    $170
    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 360mm model will fit easily in the top of the case we recommend.

  • Adapter

    ARCTIC Intel LGA1700 Upgrade Kit for Liquid Freezer II Series

    $7
    This adapter guarantees compatibility with Intel Socket 1700 CPUs and motherboards.
    The Guru’s Tip

    While the LFII cooler may include this bracket, Arctic cannot guarantee that all boxes at retail currently have them. So we recommend buying it, due to the low cost. Alternatively, you can take a chance, and worst case, ask Arctic to send you one for free (which they will!). You'll just be out a cooler for a few weeks.

  • 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

    This is absolutely the OS you want on your system to take full advantage of the Intel 12th-Gen CPU!

Optional Products

  • The Typist's Gaming Keyboard

    Logitech G915 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Clicky)

    $229
    Best. Keyboard. Ever. And the only wireless mechanical keyboard with full RGB lighting on the market. This thing is a dream come true, so sleek, so responsive. Honestly, it’s in a class of its own.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This is the keyboard we've used since it was released in late 2019, and we've never even considered using another!

  • The Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse

    Logitech G502 Lightspeed Wireless

    $120
    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

    This is the mouse we've used since the day it was launched, and we love it!

  • The Deluxe PC Headset

    Corsair Virtuoso Wireless Headset

    $180
    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

    Another feature we really like is the ultra-high quality mic. You'll be heard loud and clear on this headset, as it's a completely different league than any other headset on the market.

  • 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

    This monitor will allow you to truly take advantage of all the power your new PC can deliver!

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