$5,000 Build

If you're looking for a PC with 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 December 2017, this build continues to harness the awesome processing power of AMD's Threadripper 1950X 16-core, 32-thread CPU. Have some encoding to do, while simultaneously gaming, streaming, and decompressing? No problem! But the truth is that if your primary purpose is gaming, there are better options than Threadripper, so we've cut back on the video subsystem by dropping from two GTX 1080 Ti cards to one, while upping everything else. That means SSDs exclusively, including the ultra-fast Samsung 960 Pro 1TB for OS and app duty, and a 2TB SATA-based SSD for data. In total, that will give you 3GB of really, really fast capacity. And since you're probably serious about productivity if you're considering this system, it comes complete with 64GB of 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 model. And for the case, we go with the stunning Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass case, which simply has no peers in terms of either aesthetics or functionality.

Feel free to stop by our Reader Forum to share ideas about this build. And for extra help, follow our step-by-step Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC, which will walk you through the process of building a system similar to this one. To see previous versions of the build, flip to the $5,000 Archive. If you want to see how this build compares to all our other builds, check out the TBG PC Build Comparison Page

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 - December 2017

    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:

    MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC

    This X399 board from offers all the best features at an ultra-competitive price. This includes integrated 802.11ac wireless networking, triple M.2 slots for SATA- or PCIe-based SSDs, and an incredible 12 USB ports, including a USB 3.1 Type C connector.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You even get MSI's Mystic Light RGB lighting system on this board!

    Video Card:

    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid 11GB

    The 1080 Ti brings new meaning to the word fast, and will remain the top dog until Nvidia sees fit to release its Volta GPUs into the gaming market, which will likely be in mid-2018. This particular model has the best cooler available on any 1080 Ti card, offering stellar cooling and ultra-silent operation.

    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, check out our $3,500 Ultimate Gaming PC Buyer's Guide.

    Memory:

    Corsair 4x16GB Vengeance LED DDR4-2666 Red

    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, despite the upgraded LED heatsinks. Don't expect the price to stick around for long - RAM prices are increasing at an alarming rate, and Corsair's standard Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 kit costs nearly $100 more, which should give you an indication of where prices are heading!

    Solid-State Drive:

    Samsung 960 Pro 1TB PCIe NVMe

    The 960 Pro is the fastest consumer SSD on the market, bar none. 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. Most drives today use TLC NAND with much shorter lifespans.

    The Guru's Tip:

    No drive will top this model until a brand-new version of the PCIe interface arrives (scheduled for 2019, by the way!).

    Solid-State Drive:

    SanDisk Ultra 3D 2TB

    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 new Ultra 3D 2TB from SanDisk. It will make for a great storage drive teamed up with the 960 Pro on OS duty.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you're more concerned about maximizing speed than getting increased capacity, you can just go with a single Samsung 960 Pro 2TB drive for this system. It will cost about as much as a 960 Pro 1TB and an Ultra 3D 2TB combined, but it has no match in terms of speed and capacity in a single large drive.

    Case:

    Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Anthracite Grey

    This awesome case has everything you want in a "prestige" PC. You get tempered glass, four 140mm cooling fans, and LED lighting. It also has incredible internal capacity, which is what you'll need to get all your high-end gear into your system! It also has plenty of room in it for the huge CPU cooler we recommend.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Everything about this case is premium, right down to the brushed aluminum body panels!

    Power Supply:

    Seasonic Prime SSR-1000TD 1000W Titanium

    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 750W. So rather than cut it close, we go for the best, literally. Seasonic's flagship Prime 1000W Titanium isn't just Seasonic's best PSU, it's the best PSU available from anyone, anywhere. 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 Triple Riing RGB 360

    For a hot-running processor like Threadripper, you need serious liquid cooling. We recommend Thermaltake's amazing new Floe 360mm model, which features a huge radiator and three 120mm "Riing" fans, which are ultra-quiet, and of course feature Thermaltake's patented RGB lighting system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The Floe 360, 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!

    Optical Drive:

    LG 14x Blu-Ray Burner

    While you don't need an optical drive to load your OS, apps, or games anymore, if you're doing serious productivity work, you'll probably want to burn a few discs once in a while.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that Windows 10 does not have built-in ability to display commercial DVDs or Blu-Ray discs. For that you'll need Cyberlink PowerDVD 17 Ultra.

    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 USB version of Windows install in under 5 minutes... seriously!

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 inputting digital sound 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.