The Luxury System
The Luxury System is a screaming-edge machine with no hard price cap. Every component is thoughtfully scrutinized, offering the most horsepower for your greenback. If a component's premium price isn't justified, it won't make the cut.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8700K||$360|
|Motherboard||Asus ROG Maximus X Hero||$270|
|CPU Cooler||Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 240||$89|
|Memory||G.Skill Flare X 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200||$190|
|Graphics||Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1||$550|
|Sound||Creative Sound Blaster Z PCIe||$93|
|Storage SSD||Samsung SSD 960 Evo 1TB||$445|
|Storage HDD||WD Blue 4TB||$110|
|Power||Seasonic G-750 SSR-750RM 750W||$90|
|Case||be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900||$230|
Core System Total
Motherboard, Processor, Cooler, Memory
Intel's new mainstream flagship Core i7 processor is a beast. For gamers seeking the ultimate solution there is simply nothing better than the Core i7-8700K. Out of the box performance is incredible, overclocking is even more incredible with proper aftermarket cooling, and power consumption is impressive for a CPU running at over 4 GHz by default.
Compared to the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 lineup, the i7-8700K doesn't offer exceptional value, but you do get what you pay for -- as in, a justifiable boost in performance to pay a little extra and this is the Luxury system so definitely the 8700K is the way to go.
In picking a motherboard without a strict budget ($200 and up), we found plenty of great options, but to narrow things down we'd tell you to check out the Asus ROG Maximus X Hero, Asrock Z370 Taichi and Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7.
To ensure maximum performance we have gone with G.Skill’s Flare X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 memory.
If you're shopping for a $500+ graphics card, you're after one of the fastest cards available. The GeForce GTX 1080 is the obvious choice, delivering 60% more performance than its predecessor, while consuming the same amount of power. It's also 22% faster than the previous king of the hill, the (Maxwell) Titan X.
The GTX 1080 is one of the few single GPU solutions capable to tackling 4K gaming, it won't have any issues running modern games at solid frame rates, though neither will the $400 GTX 1070 (our Enthusiast's PC pick), even if that includes playing the latest triple-A titles at more than 60fps on Ultra.
Having been so surprised by the Sound Blaster Z PCIe we've picked the Creative Sound Blaster Zx ($120) which for a little extra dough adds an audio control module with a beam-forming microphone built-in. It's a nifty little feature but if you don't require the control module then you might as well just buy the standard Sound Blaster Z for $40 less.
The M.2 SSD landscape has not moved past Samsung's SSD 960 series which remain the gold standard in high-performance SSDs, especially when you consider the company's reputation for delivering quick and stable drives.
While the SSD 960 Pro delivers the best M.2 NVMe performance we've seen to date, the Evo line offers better value for most consumers. The 500GB Evo is a really good value at $250 or $0.50/gigabyte. For those seeking a larger drive, the 1TB version comes in at $480, 20% cheaper than the 1TB 960 Pro.
Seasonic’s G-750 ought to supply your dream PC with enough juice. Noteworthy specifications include a 120mm fluid dynamic bearing fan, 62A on a single +12V rail, 80 Plus Gold Certified, and lengthy cables with connectors for 10 SATA drives, six PCIe graphics cards, and four peripheral devices. What's more, the unit features a modular cable design, so you'll be able to keep your system free of unnecessary clutter.
When it comes to picking a case with a breathtaking number of features, customization options, and storage setups, as well as loads of internal space and gorgeous looks, we still feel that the be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 sits at the top of the pile. Now that it's available for around the $230 mark, it’s a case that you can show off with pride without breaking the bank.
While high-end cases represent a pinnacle for PC builders, not everyone is willing or able to pay over $200 for their hardware's housing. If you fall into this category, then take a look at the Pantheks Enthoo Luxe, which offers premium features and build quality for $150. The Enthoo Luxe offers incredible value for price, excellent construction, supports massive range of water and air cooling configurations, comes with reservoir mounting bracket and pump bracket.
If you want to go all-in with 4K and a top notch display, the Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q is a 31.5" Ultra HD 3840x2160 monitor with an IPS panel featuring an anti-glare 3H surface. The UP3216Q offers gorgeous visuals and color accuracy. And while the 60Hz refresh rate, lack of syncing technology, and 6ms response time mean it’s not the greatest gaming monitor available, titles will still look gorgeous on this screen - provided you've got the right hardware to drive all those pixels.
If gaming is your primary concern, the Asus PG279Q is an amazing monitor that hits the sweet spot: 27-inch, 1440p G-Sync with a high refresh rate. Or if you want to play games in 4K, the 32-inch Acer Predator XB321HK is as good as it currently gets for a pretty $1,400. This 4K IPS screen with G-Sync and a 4ms response is as good as it sounds, and yes, your GTX 1080 should be plenty fast for it.
For pure desktop work, the $680 Dell U3415W is a great solution with a 34" curved display sporting a 3440 x 1440 resolution. It's an elegant, feature packed solution that won't break the bank.
Meanwhile, headphones at a reasonable price don't get much better than the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 unless you're going to spend hundreds or thousands more. Frankly, if you require better audio quality than these can provide, you probably already know what you're looking for.
Mouse & Keyboard
Between the number of possible keyboard and mouse combinations in the high-end price range, and the various uses you could be making of this system it's virtually impossible to recommend a single component. We still swear by the Das Keyboard if you want a professional-looking peripheral with mechanical switches. Either the Das 4 or Prime 13 with brown switches are really good choices for most. On the mouse front, we think Logitech's G502 Proteus Core is one of the best gaming mice we've ever used and is only topped (maybe) by the Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum that manages to do so wirelessly.
Our favorite overall mouse remains the Razer Deathadder Elite which is honestly great for $60.
At the TechSpot office we are fans of a number of devices which we end up renewing over and over including the aforementioned Razer Deathadder, Logitech G series mice, MS Natural 4000 and Das Keyboard. Note that if you're looking for a mechanical keyboard, Das is far from your only option: Filco, Razer, Corsair, SteelSeries and others offer respected options. The Code Keyboard is probably the Das' closest competitor. While the best gaming keyboard around might be Corsair's Gaming K95.