Best $2,000 Custom 4k Gaming PC Build for 2018

Updated on January 8, 2018
Have a budget of around $2,000 for your 4k VR gaming PC? Here are the parts we'd choose for an Intel Coffee Lake or AMD Ryzen rig.
Have a budget of around $2,000 for your 4k VR gaming PC? Here are the parts we'd choose for an Intel Coffee Lake or AMD Ryzen rig.

Looking to go beyond console performance in 2018? We are too. In fact, that's one of the aspects I love about PC gaming. Building a machine that allows me view and play my favorite games with the details and resolution I want to play it at.

For this build, we've got a $2,000 budget. So, I'll take you through the various parts you could choose from and give you some of the pros and cons of each.

i7 8700 Coffee Lake vs AMD Ryzen 7 1700

For processor you have a couple of good options here.The 8th GEN Intel i7-8700 is ideal for those looking to get the most frames out of their PC. However, the Ryzen 7 1700 has 8 cores and 16 threads and is still a really good option for those who use their gaming PC as a photo editing computer.

A third option would be to go for the i7-8700k here. The extra overclocking headroom could net you a few frames. However, you'll need an aftermarket cooling solution. After the additional $50 for the processor and whatever you spend on your cooling solution, you'll have to decide whether or not it's worth it.

4k Performance

While playing games in 4k your PC is less CPU bound. So, you could definitely get away with the R5 1600 or an i5-8400 here if that's your goal. However, you may also want to take the longevity of your gaming PC into account. Will these CPUs hold up as long?

For me personally, I'd rather put that extra money into my processor than anything else.

i7-8700 vs i7-8700k

The 6 core 12 thread i7-8700 is an impressive CPU. With a base frequency and turbo boost of 3.2/4.6GHz vs the 3.6/4.7GHz of the i7-8700k, they are fairly similar. Compared to the previous generation 4 core 8 thread i7-7700 at 3.6/4.2GHz and the i7-7700k 4.2/4.5GHz, the gap has narrowed substantially.

As we mentioned above, expect to pay around $50 more initially for the 8700k along with the price for a dedicated CPU cooler (although you may opt for that with the i7-8700 as well).

Intel BX80684I78700 8th Gen Core i7-8700 Processor
Intel BX80684I78700 8th Gen Core i7-8700 Processor

The i7-8700 is ideal here and gives you the best chance of getting the most frames out of your system. The Ryzen 7 1700 might make more sense to some depending on your situation.

 

The King of Graphics

We recently ran tests of the 1080 and the 1080 Ti. The 1080 Ti is still our recommendation for $2,000 budgets.
We recently ran tests of the 1080 and the 1080 Ti. The 1080 Ti is still our recommendation for $2,000 budgets.

I'm not a huge fan of a dual card configuration because of compatibility and ease-of-use. For that reason, we're going with the king of graphics cards here. That is, the GPU that simply performs the best.

You can get more of my evaluation in my post on the best gaming graphics cards for the money. However, we're not breaking into any new territory here. The 1080Ti is the performer, we're trying to play at 4k, so we're going with it. Below, I'll give you some quick benchmarks so you know what to expect.

GTX 1080 Ti 4k Benchmarks

Game
Average
Min
GTA V
55
39
Metro Last Light
71
53
Ashes of the Singularity
60
40

A Good Motherboard Around $200

Depending on what your needs are here we like the MSI Z370-A Pro on the low-end, Asus ROG Stirix Z370-E on the mid-range, and the Asus Maximus Hero VIII on the high-end.
Depending on what your needs are here we like the MSI Z370-A Pro on the low-end, Asus ROG Stirix Z370-E on the mid-range, and the Asus Maximus Hero VIII on the high-end.

When I'm building a PC this nice, I like to have a lot of options and a pretty good motherboard full of features and ready for overclocking. If you don't plan on overclocking, you could probably save a lot of money here by going with a budget Z370 motherboard like the Asus Z370-A and the i7-8700 or even an inexpensive motherboard like the MSI Z370-A PRO.

For more features or for a good overclock the Z370-E from the Asus ROG Strix series makes a lot of sense. On the high-end I like the Maximus Hero VIII; however, you probably won't get a lot better overclock with the Hero VIII than with a $200 board.

Final Thoughts:

Try and find a rebate if possible. Getting a motherboard on rebate should save you up to 20% of the total cost here that you can put towards other components, a monitor, or peripherals.

CPU Coolers Under or Around $100

The Corsair Hydro series gives you one of the best bangs for your buck for liquid CPU cooling.
The Corsair Hydro series gives you one of the best bangs for your buck for liquid CPU cooling.

If you're looking for a solid quality liquid cooling option, then I'd recommend either the NZXT Kraken or Corsair Hydro series. For our $2,000 PC we're recommending the Hydro Series H100i v2 from Corsair.

If you'd rather not go with a liquid cooling option, then the Noctua 6 will also give you similar performance in an air cooler or if you want to do a slight overclock the inexpensive Hyper 212 EVO is also a good option.

If you don't plan on overclocking at all, use the stock CPU cooler or the 212 Evo here.

A Couple of Good PCCases

For the budget-conscious we like the features and price of the NZXT S340. It's available in 6 different color schemes.
For the budget-conscious we like the features and price of the NZXT S340. It's available in 6 different color schemes.

We're going for a mid-range full tower case here for around $130 to $150. If you're not picky, there are plenty of good cases in the $50 to $100 range that would be good enough.

For Around $100:

The case I'd recommend in that price range would be the Phanteks Enthoo Pro. It's a fantastic value full tower case that comes in at just under $100.

For a mid-tower case, I like the NZXT S340.

For Under $150:

However, I think for most gamers the look and feel of their case, as well as the noise of it, mean a lot. For that reason, we're stepping up and going with the Corsair Obsidian 750D here. It's a massive aluminum brushed and steel case with plenty of cooling options, a design made for airflow, and an extremely large side window to show off all of your hardware.

For Specs, the 750D has 9 expansion slots, full compatibility with Mini, Micro, ATX, E-ATX, and XL-ATX motherboards, 2 x USB 3.0 (front), 2 x USB 2.0 (front), side mounted SSD trays, and full dust filters on all the intakes. Fans that come with the case include 2 140mm front fans and a single 140mm rear fan.

For installation, the 750D makes it a breeze. Tool-less drive bays, as well as a plethora of cable management option, make the installation simple and the build look sleek and clean. Of course is the H100i above isn't enough, there are plenty of custom liquid cooling options you could do with this case.

Both of these cases are easy-to-use, look great, have great airflow, and really give you a lot of flexibility for what you pay for.

Choosing the Right Power Supply

As a power supply I rate in the top tier I highly recommend EVGA's SuperNOVA series. I've been using them for all of my builds lately.

For the money, I feel like it gives you the best value overall. It's gold rated for efficiency and comes with a fantastic ten year warranty from EVGA. Other than just quality, the G2 looks great. The cables are braided and it's fully modular. Modular cables are a must for a beast build like this one.

Power Output

I've gone ahead and calculated the power usage for the builds I've listed below and you could probably get away with a 600 watt power supply here.

However, as you'll probably want to keep it safe for all of your expansion needs, I'd recommend the 650W or 750W version of the SuperNova here. Plan accordingly if you're a heavy power user or want to add an additional graphics card later. For those who need this type of wattage, the EVGA SuperNova G2 goes up to 1600W.

Coffee Lake, Broadwell-e, and Ryzen $2,000 Build Parts List

Part
Intel Coffee Lake
AMD Ryzen Build
CPU
i7-8700(k)
Ryzen 7 1700
Graphics Card
GTX 1080 Ti
GTX 1080 Ti
Case
NZXT S340, Phanteks Enthoo Pro, or Corsair 750D
NZXT S340, Phanteks Enthoo Pro, or Corsair 750D
Ram
2x8GB 3000MHz Corsair LPX
2x8GB 3000MHz Corsair LPX
PSU
EVGA Supernova 650 or 750
EVGA Supernova 650 or 750
SSD
Samsung 960 Evo NVME M.2 SSD
Samsung 960 Evo NVME M.2 SSD
CPU Cooler
Corsair H100i v2
Stock Wraith Cooler
HDD
Seagate Barracuda 3TB HDD
Seagate Barracuda 3TB HDD
Motherboard
Asus Maximus Hero VIII or Z370-E Strix Gaming
MSI X370 PRO Carbon

Which PC would you rather build right now?

See results

$2000 Custom Built PC - Other Parts and Hardware

Blu-Ray: Admittedly, I rarely use a DVD or Blu-Ray drive anymore. So, you'll have to decide whether you need it or not. If you watch movies on your PC, I'd recommend the LG WH16NS40 Drive. It's inexpensive and has good quality.

Hard Drive: We're going with a 3 TB Seagate Barracuda drive. These are fast, have a ton of capacity for the money you spend, and very reliable. You can keep all your long-term storage here and your most important games and OS on the solid state drive.

Ram: I recommend you go with at least 16GB of ram here in order to future-proof your rig. Right now you'd probably be ok with 8GB or even 12GB, but it's easier to go ahead and purchase your kit altogether now than try to upgrade later.

For model, I recommend Corsair's LPX series. You can get the 3000MHz speed ram for just about as cheap as the 2400MHz. So, if you've got a choice, be sure to go with the faster one. A 2x8GB configuration is more than fine for games.

Solid State Drive: I like the Samsung 960 nVME EVO series here for price, speed, and capacity. We're going with a 250GB model so you've got plenty of room for your most important files and programs.

Final Impression

This PC is a beast, but is heavily focused on overclocking and getting the most performance out of your rig. Admittedly it's not for everyone, but if you want something that will slice through games and give you extreme options, then this one is for you.

What would you change if anything? Participate in the active discussion below by letting us know what you'd change with this build.

Questions & Answers

    4k Build Discussion Area

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      • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

        Brandon Hart 

        17 months ago from The Game

        That really depends upon your budget.

      • profile image

        William 

        18 months ago

        which monitor do you recomend with the setup?

      • profile image

        Brendan 

        3 years ago

        Don't just get an SSD because it doesn't have enough storage. If you try to add multiple SSD's u can break your PC. So having an HDD is actually a smart idea!!!

      • profile image

        Cory 

        4 years ago

        This is a joke. for $2,000 and not even recommend an SSD? and the Samsung 840 non-EVO is not great. The EVO version is actually legit. I'd not waste my time on an i7, as all it does is incorporate hyperthreading, which is worthless in gaming, and get an i5-4670k. Get an nVidia 780 TI, as this IS about gaming, and it is the best benchmarked graphics card nVidia offers, even over the Titan (3GB vs 6GB in GDDR5 ram). Also, SLI is a waste of money for having a budget, as SLI reduces the efficiency of the 2nd graphics card. Get the cooler master 212 EVO, some good thermal paste, and any decent 2x4GB dual-channel ram. More than 8GB is not used, and I question the true computer knowledge of someone if they say that 16GB is ever used besides for virtual computing/servers.

        Just saying for $2k, I could get a cheap well-built case, nice air cooling, and a non-hyperthreading CPU to save money - and invest in the GPU and an SSD drive (why would anyone EVER get an HDD when SSDs are 10x the performance...especially for a $2k budget?!?).

      • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

        Brandon Hart 

        4 years ago from The Game

        I agree with you to some degree... but as PC gamers people simply want to push the envelope. Keep in mind that I've had a comment on here saying you shouldn't get an i7 processor at this point - so everyone has a differing opinion.

      • profile image

        ok 

        4 years ago

        Theres no point going with two 770s I have one 780 and can max out pretty much any game at less of a cost, then in say 2 or three years I can just buy another 780 and do the sli then.

      • profile image

        Waste 

        4 years ago

        *For $2000 I can do way better!

        -Don't need an i7 for GAMING.

        -Mushkin Redline 16gb *1866ghz cost for about $15 less but offer better price-performance than those Corsair one.

        -Forget about cheap ass water cooling, no performance difference from the h100i over the noctua nh d14 that can justify the extra $25 cost. Custom loop is the only option if you want the most performance.

        -For those little hardware no need a full tower case. Go with Fractal Design Define r4 or Arc Midi r2(they are made of steel, even the small details like the HDD trays and PCI Slots Cover are no exception - great VALUE for your money). I challenge you to find any other cases in this price tag that can beat these cases in features and build quality . They are always on sale for $60-$90. I have the Arc Midi r2 myself and love it to death.

        -So, you would be able to save at least $150. Use that money to buy a SSD for your OS or a better graphic solution maybe.

      • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

        Brandon Hart 

        4 years ago from The Game

        WoW doesn't need a graphics card this intense... again this is my $2,000 build so it's mainly for graphically intense games; however, if you want to use it for WoW it'll definitely do a good job.

      • profile image

        Greg 

        4 years ago

        I pay world of warcraft a lot im looking to have the best possible computer you would this build be good im not great buying computer stuff sorry -_-

      • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

        Brandon Hart 

        4 years ago from The Game

        If you have a USB headset, then definitely not. Also, the sound card that comes integrated with the motherboard is good enough so you're good there either way. Also, the CPU cooler isn't necessary unless you plan on overclocking. I would, however, still recommend something like the Hyper 212 Evo from Cooler Master just to keep it cool.. not 100% necessary, but still nice. Also if you're not overclocking, then a 650+ PSU is fine for this PC.

      • profile image

        Brandon 

        4 years ago

        I'll just be buying one GTX 770 in my budget, do you think I'll still need the liquid cooling and the 800W power supply? Also, will I need a sound card or anything to separately use a headset with microphone, and left and right speakers?

      • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

        Brandon Hart 

        4 years ago from The Game

        I'd SLI 2 770s or go for the 780 or 690.

      • profile image

        Ryan 

        4 years ago

        Did ever consider the GTX Titan for the GPU?

      • profile image

        Asteria 

        4 years ago

        I've saved up 2.5k to build my first proper gaming desktop. Would you guys suggest using this model or your $1500 version??

        Thanks!

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