$5,000 Build

If you're looking for a PC offering productivity performance that goes beyond extreme, then this is the build for you. With a budget of $5,000, you can max out just about everything, without venturing too far into the land of diminishing returns. And when your work is done for the day, it offers plenty of gaming muscle to sneak a whole lot of fun in too.

For June 2018, this build is better than ever, thanks to a massive storage upgrade courtesy of Samsung's latest SSDs. Specifically, we're going with dual PCIe drives, the 970 Pro 1TB on OS, app, and swap-file duty, and the 970 Evo 2TB on data duty. In terms of processing, this PC harnesses the awesome power of AMD's Threadripper 1950X 16-core, 32-thread CPU. Do you want to encode, while simultaneously gaming, streaming, and decompressing? No problem! In the graphics department, we go with the best high-end card on the market, the GTX 1080 Ti. While cryptocurrency mining cleared store shelves of every GPU earlier this year, the 1080 Ti is back in stock again, and is the perfect choice for this system, as it will accelerate all your content creation apps and blaze through games. And since you're probably serious about productivity if you're considering this system, it comes complete with 64GB of of DDR4-2666 RAM, which will be more than enough for any professional task. Powering the system is the best power supply on the market, Seasonic's flagship 1000W Titanium Prime Ultra model, and for the case, we go with the elegant Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass case.

To see previous versions of the build, flip to the $5,000 Archive. By the way, if you're looking for a new 144Hz or 4K monitor to go along with your PC, check out our Monitor Buyer's Guide, and if you need some new gaming gear, see our Peripherals Buyer's Guide and Speaker/Headset Buyer's Guide for all the latest and greatest gaming accessories. Because we use real-time pricing engines, you'll always see up-to-date U.S. prices in our guides. We also provide direct links to Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Germany for each product, making regional substitutions when necessary. To help support the continued development of this guide, please use the links we provide if you purchase products we recommend.

The $5,000 Ultra-Extreme Gaming / Productivity PC - June 2018

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X

    Oh, how times have changed. With the release of Threadripper, AMD's 1950X now owns the $1,000 pricepoint, offering up to 40% more power than the ten-core Intel Core i9-7900X can muster at the same price. That's thanks to the 1950X's 16-core, 32-thread design. It's the ultimate content creation CPU for people actually spending their own money, with amazing performance in 3D modeling, video encoding, encryption, and decompression.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This chip even supports ECC memory, making it the obvious choice for mission-critical applications.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte X399 Designare EX

    This X399 board is truly top-of-the-line. In addition to its stellar aesthetics, which includes a unique silver backplate and I/O panel, it includes integrated 802.11ac wireless networking, triple M.2 slots for SATA- or PCIe-based SSDs, and 10 USB ports, including a USB 3.1 Type C connector, and a server-class power design. It also features the excellent Realtek ALC1220 sound codec enhanced with Sound BlasterX 720° software for the best in onboard sound.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You even get the ultimate implementation of Gigabyte's Fusion RGB lighting system on this board!

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FTW3

    Now that the latest cryptocurrency mining craze is dead, video cards are returning to store shelves. For this build, there's only one GPU we're interested in: the high-powered GTX 1080 Ti. And among many models, our focus is on a card that uses a high-quality triple-fan cooler that will keep this system ultra-quiet. This card also happens to sync with our recommended motherboard, allowing you to control all RGB effects via the motherboard's software.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While we used to recommend SLI in this build, we really think users of Threadripper will be better off spending that money on faster, higher-capacity storage and additional RAM. If you just want to game, you should be going for our $3,500 Ultimate Gaming PC.

    Memory:

    Corsair 4x16GB Vengeance RGB DDR4-2666

    If you're serious about professional level productivity work, you want 64GB of RAM on board. And with this kit's four sticks, you'll get quad-channel bandwidth, one of the X399 platform's big advantages over lower-tier dual-channel motherboards, which coupled with the 2666MHz frequency provides amazing memory bandwidth.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is now one of the least expensive 64GB kits available thanks to a recent massive price drop. That's despite the upgraded RGB heatsinks it uses, the lighting of which can even be controlled directly by the motherboard.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Samsung 970 Pro 1TB PCIe M.2

    The brand-new 970 Pro is now the undisputed market leader, and no other PCIe-based SSD should even be considered for this build. It far exceeds the speed of any SATA drive due to the use of the next-gen PCIe interface and the NVMe protocol. It's also one of the few remaining drives on the market to use ultra-durable MLC NAND flash. 

    The Guru's Tip:

    This drive is both faster and much cheaper than the outgoing 960 Pro!

    Solid-State Drive:

    Samsung 970 Evo PCIe 2TB M.2

    We believe anyone building an ultra-high-end PC today should skip mechanical drives entirely. They're a relic of the 1990s. So for bulk storage, we go with the brand-new 970 Evo 2TB from Samsung, which is now the fastest, highest-capacity PCIe-based drive on the market. It's nearly as fast as the 970 Pro, in fact.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Last gen, Samsung offered a 2TB Pro drive and a 1TB Evo drive, but it's flipped which drive gets the bigger capacity with the new generation of drives. Our hunch is that the 960 Pro 2TB just didn't sell very well, as it was priced at an extraordinary $1250, or nearly as much as the 970 Pro 1TB and 970 Evo 2TB combined. Clearly, the new combo is a better deal!

    Case:

    Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Anthracite Grey

    This awesome case is the perfect pick for a high-end PC designed to get serious work done. A tempered glass panel is joined by elegant, conservative styling for the perfect ultra-high-end professional PC. It also has incredible internal capacity, which is what you'll need to get all your high-end gear into your system, including the huge CPU cooler we recommend.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Phanteks has set the standard for the quality and style that enthusiasts can expect from a high-end case.

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium SSR-1000TR

    There's no doubt that an overclocked Threadripper paired with a high-powered video card is going to draw a lot of power - we'd estimate it at around 600W. So we go with the very best 1000W unit on the market, Seasonic's flagship Prime Ultra. Seasonic put its decades of PSU leadership to work in creating this model, which will be cooler, quieter, and more reliable than anything else.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Seasonic is so confident in its Prime series that it backs it with a 12-year warranty, the longest in the business!

    CPU Cooler:

    Thermaltake Floe Dual Riing RGB 280

    For a hot-running processor like Threadripper, you need serious liquid cooling. We recommend Thermaltake's new 280mm model, which features a huge radiator and two 140mm Riing RGB fans, which are not only quiet, but look fantastic too.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The Floe 280, like all coolers, needs an adapter to work with the new Threadripper TR4 socket. Luckily, AMD has included one right in the box with the CPU!

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Flash Drive

    Windows 10 has so many improvements versus both Windows 7 and Windows 8 that it alone will make your system feel more up-to-date. We particularly like the return of the Start Menu, the broader settings options, and the fact that it packs in DX12, which is has unleashed a whole new generation of next-gen games that won't work on earlier operating systems.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This version of Windows, which comes on a USB 3.0 flash drive, loads in under five minutes!

Optional Components

    Sound Card (Optional):

    Creative Sound Blaster Zx (Opt.)

    If you'll be doing any audio work, whether it's listening through high-quality headphones or high-wattage speakers, conducting teleconferences, or even recording audio to your PC, this Sound Blaster card has you covered!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We list this as optional, given that the motherboard has built-in audio outputs, although this does add a microphone that the system wouldn't have otherwise.

    The 32-inch Professional 4K Monitor:

    BenQ PD3200U

    Want to pair your productivity rig with a stunning monitor? Look no further than the awesome PD3200U from BenQ, a 32" 4K IPS  monitor that achieves 100% Rec. 709 and sRGB color space!

    The Guru's Tip:

    It doesn't hurt that the PD3200U looks pretty classy, too!