$2,000 Build

Looking to build the best gaming PC around for $2,000? This is it! Quiet, sleek, and most importantly, brutally fast, this build offers the very best balance of CPU power, GPU power, cooling performance, and ease-of-use out of any of the builds we profile. We call it "premium" for a reason! And take note: we aren't skimping on the wheels and chassis just to cram in a "big engine". We're all about long-term thinking here at TBG, and this is a seriously long-term build!

For August 2017, we stick with the Intel Core i7-7700K quad-core processor, which offers the best all-around gaming performance of any CPU ever released. And you'll be driving that CPU to its limits with the all-conquering GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, which sits at the very top of Nvidia's GeForce lineup. It shocked enthusiasts by offering the same performance as 2016's Titan X Pascal for $500 less, and the custom-cooled version that we recommend can pull ahead of even the new 2017 Titan Xp. In other news, we're recommending builders go with a single 1TB M.2-based SSD, which slots right into the motherboard to provide an elegant, ultra-fast storage solution. Rounding out the system is the Noctua NH-U14S, our favorite CPU cooler bar none, along with the ultra-high-airflow SilverStone PM01 chassis, available both in standard trim or with glass and RGB effects, as shown here. 

We update this build every month - to see how this build compares to past months' components and prices, flip to the $2,000 Build Archive page. To see how it compares to other TBG builds, just flip over to the TBG PC Build Comparison Page, where you can sort through all of our current recommended systems, choosing the one with the parts and price you're looking for. And if you need help building your new PC, you'll want to read through our new-for-2017 Guide to Assembling a High-End PC (2017). We've recently enhanced this guide with a number of our top accesory picks for this build, including our very favorite gaming mouse and gaming monitor! But if you want to see all the opotions, also check out our Monitor Buyer's Guide and Peripherals Buyer's Guide!

To get inspiration from other TBG readers, visit The Gallery, which profiles a number of unique PC creations submitted by our readers. If you decide to build this system or one like it, let us know and we'll add a profile page for your PC too! Also, feel free to stop by our Reader Forum to share questions or ideas about this build. 

Because we use real-time pricing engines, you'll always see up-to-date U.S. prices in our guide. We also provide direct links to Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Germany for each product, with regional 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 $2,000 Premium Gaming PC - August 2017

    CPU:

    Intel Core i7-7700K

    Released in January, the Core i7-7700K is the perfect CPU for enthusiasts. It operates at a nominal 4.2GHz with Turboboost to 4.5GHz, features the highly-effective Hyperthreading technology to add four virtual cores, and has excellent overclocking potential (some chips hit 5GHz, including our retail sample!). 

    The Guru's Tip:

    Do take note that this CPU doesn't include a cooler, so make sure to pick up the excellent tower cooler we recommend later in this guide.

    Motherboard:

    MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon

    As the least expensive member of Z270 line of Mystic Light boards, the Gaming Pro Carbon packs in all the latest tech, while coming in at a mid-range price. Of course, you're getting the new Z270 chipset, offering enhanced connectivity and better DDR4 overclocking support. You also get the new high-end ALC1220 audio codec, plenty of USB ports, including USB 3.1 Type-C, and dual M.2 slots, both of which support either SATA- or PCIe-based SSDs. And with Mystic Light, you get MSI's advanced RGB lighting and control package. Pair it with the optional SilverStone LS02 RGB light strips we list later in this guide, and you'll really be able to trick out this build!

    The Guru's Tip:

    You can see this board in action in our High-End PC Assembly Guide (2017)!

    Video Card:

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming OC 11GB

    The GTX 1080 Ti is such a big deal in the gaming world that we recently reworked this build from the ground up to fit it into the budget. Offering speed that's nearly 30% higher than the GTX 1080, the 1080 Ti simply shattered expectations of the performance that gamers could enjoy at this pricepoint. To learn more, see our full benchmark review.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This model recently appeared back in stock after being sold out for over a month thanks to the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining craze. It's the only aftermarket 1080 Ti to match the price of the Nvidia reference card.

    Memory:

    Corsair 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 White

    In our Gamer's Bench article exploring Gaming on DDR4, we found that recent CPUs can benefit from all the memory bandwidth you can throw at them. That's why we're recommending that you go for Corsair's fast 2x8GB DDR4-3000 kit, which offers the best combination of speed and value on the market.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Keep in mind that DDR4 RAM will default to 2133MHz when the system is first booted. You'll need to enter the UEFI to enable the XMP profile, which will set the RAM to its full rated speed.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX300 1TB M.2

    A while back, we switched this build over from a small SSD and large hard drive combo to one large SSD, and now it's time to take the next step: going with an M.2 drive. You simply cannot go wrong with Crucial's MX300 1TB, which offers amazing speed and capacity for the price. And with the M.2 form factor, you get a simple installation that's completely cable-free!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that the motherboard has two M.2 slots, and you can use either one for this drive. To affix the M.2 drive's tiny screw, you'll need a jeweler's-type screwdriver. A standard #2 Philips will not fit.

    Case:

    SilverStone Primera PM01

    This case from SilverStone embodies all that is right with ultra-modern case design. Why do we love this case so much? Because it has practically unlimited airflow, courtesy of its fully-meshed front panel, four pre-installed 140mm fans (three with LED lights), and its hidden drive cages. You also get a PSU cover that keeps things nice and neat once your build is complete. Just note that as with many new cases, this one will not fit an optical drive.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you're looking for a big aesthetic upgrade, go for the PM01-RGB in Matte Black, which we reviewed here. We provide  more details on this optional case later in this guide.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova G3 750W

    EVGA's awesome Supernova 750 G3 packs in all the latest tech, including zero fan operation at loads under ~400W, Gold-rated efficiency, and fully-modular cables. It's backed by EVGA's amazing 10-year warranty, and designed by Superflower, one of the top names in the power supply market.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this build will draw about 400W at load, meaning you'll be right in the sweetspot of this PSU's 90% efficiency curve.

    CPU Cooler:

    Noctua NH-U14S

    The incredible Noctua NH-U14S is among the very finest air coolers ever released, and will actually run far quieter than any liquid cooler on the market. Noctua has been in the game for a long time, and its premium designs command respect - they set the benchmark against which all other air coolers must be judged. To learn more about what makes the NH-U14S so amazing, see our 140mm CPU Cooler shootout review pitting the NH-U14S against a number of serious competitors.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While every cooler comes with thermal paste, it's always nice to know you're getting premium quality, and this cooler comes with a tube of the ultra-premium Noctua NT-H1 thermal paste right in the box.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    Windows 10 represents a huge leap forward from Windows 8.1, and you will definitely want W10 for gaming. It includes the cutting-edge DX12 low-level API, which provides higher performance and better graphics in PC games.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Windows will install in around 5 minutes thanks to the incredibly-fast USB 3.0 interface!

Optional Components

    Case (Optional):

    SilverStone Primera PM01C-RGB Matte Black (Opt.)

    SilverStone takes style to the next level with its upgraded RGB version of the PM01 case. Featuring a tempered glass side panel, built-in RGB lighting, and RGB fan grills, it's truly stunning. And among several color choices, matte black is definitely our favorite. In fact, this is the best-looking case we've ever seen, and we've seen a lot! It also comes with an RGB control box and a PWM fan header, both worth around $20 on their own!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that SilverStone encountered some production problems with the matte black paint used on this case, as its thicker consistency causes the right side panel to stick slightly. Just be aware of that when you first go to remove it during assembly.

    Lighting (Optional):

    SilverStone LS02 RGB LED Light Strips (Opt.)

    To complete your custom look, add in this light strip pack from Silverstone, which includes two 12" magnetic RGB strips with 18 LEDs each. It will allow you to add additional lighting to the front, top, and rear of your case (bottom lighting is already included in all versions of the SilverStone PM01). These strips plug right into the RGB header on the MSI motherboard we recommend, or into the RGB control box on the upgraded PM01-RGB case.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Be very careful when handling these strips - they are flexible, but if bent 90-degrees, the internal power leads will snap, causing you to lose RGB controls.

    Fan (Optional):

    Corsair ML140 Pro (Opt.)

    While the SilverStone PM01 case has class-leading airflow out of the box, to truly maximize its cooling potential, you can add two of these excellent 140mm fans to the roof of the case. Heat will have nowhere to go but out! And take note: the magnetic levitation bearings in these fans make them a far superior choice to any other fan for use in a horizontal orientation, which is how you'll have them set up attached to the top of the case. Most bearings will sound very scratch used in this manner, but not the ML140s!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We've specifically chosen a non-LED fan here, as the case has its own lighting system, but you can choose to order it with red, blue, or white LEDs for a few dollars more.

    The Ultimate Wireless Mouse:

    Logitech G403 Prodigy Wireless Gaming Mouse

    We've tested a lot of mice, and we have one absolute favorite: the G403 Wireless. It's as responsive as any wired mouse, and yet frees you from the constraints of a cable.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Logitech will soon be releasing the G703 with "PowerPlay" technology, which allows it to be charged wirelessly via a powered mouse surface. The setup won't be cheap, but it will be awesome!

    The Ultimate Business Keyboard:

    Corsair Strafe MX Silent

    For a truly premium PC experience, you have to go with a mechanical keyboard. But most such keyboards are quite loud, and will turn a lot of people off, especially when you're not gaming. So for the Premium Gaming PC, we suggest Corsair's Strafe MX Silent, the only gaming keyboard available with Cherry's patented MX Silent keys. Using rubber dampers to control impact noise, this keyboard gives you the weighty feel of true mechanical switches without the racket.

    The Guru's Tip:

    For gamers who aren't concerned about typing noise, the Corsair K70 Lux MX Red is another great option.

    The Gamer's Dream Monitor:

    Acer XB271HU

    This one's easy - if you want the perfect monitor to complement this build, you want the XB271HU from Acer. Offering a big 27" IPS panel with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, this monitor has the colors and the viewing angles that no cheaper TN-based monitor can muster. But more importantly, it's imbued with Nvidia's G-Sync technology, which will help get the very most out of the high framerates that the GTX 1080 Ti video card can deliver. By matching those framerates to the refresh rate (you'll typically be at around 100fps at this resolution), you get ultra-smooth gaming without lag or tearing. It really is a revolution in gaming technology.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Be careful - Acer sells an identical-looking model with a TN panel - it even goes by the same name: the XB271HU. We suggest you avoid it, as it's vastly inferior.