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The Extreme Machine
The Extreme Machine isn't governed by a budget as we simply pick the best hardware and disregard the associated price premium. If it's 'extreme' enough then you'll find it in this build.
|Asrock Fatal1ty X99 Professional
|Intel Core i7-5960X
|Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX Extreme
|Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR4-2666
|GeForce GTX Titan X 2-way SLI
|Creative Sound Blaster ZxR
|Samsung SM951 NVMe 512GB
|Western Digital Red 6TB
|LG Blu-ray Burner WH16NS40
|Corsair AX1500i Digital
|Corsair Obsidian Series 900D
|Dell UltraSharp UP3214Q 32" or Dell UltraSharp U3415W
|Logitech G910 Orion Spark Mechanical
|Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable
Core System Total
Core System + Monitor and Peripherals
Motherboard, Processor, Cooler, Memory
When it comes to ultimate desktop processor, nothing comes close to the Core i7-5960X. Based on the Haswell-E architecture this 8-core/16-thread CPU operates at a base clock of 3GHz and can be boosted to as high as 3.5GHz depending on the workload. Backed by a 20MB L3 cache the i7-5960X certainly dwarfs the quad-core Core i7-4790K and its 8MB L2 cache.
There is no shortage of extreme Intel X99 motherboards on the market and just about every board maker has at least one. The most expensive X99 board that we know of is the Asrock X99 WS-E/10G – we have it on-hand and love it. The Asus Rampage V Extreme is another great X99 motherboard that costs north of $500.
While you can go all out on an X99 motherboard that features 10GbE networking or more SATA 6Gb/s ports than most full size towers can handle we have decided against doing so. The extreme X99 motherboards are purpose built to deliver certain features. Therefore we went with an all-rounder, the Asrock Fatal1ty X99 Professional.
Having recently used the Micro-ATX version in our ridiculously powerful mATX build it seemed fitting to come back to the full-size version. For a little over $310 users get dual Gigabit LAN, ten SATA 6Gb/s ports, two full length M.2 slots, almost a dozen USB 3.0 ports, Purity Sound, 4-way multi-GPU support and much more.
Arguably the best quality all-in-one liquid cooler right now is the Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX Extreme and at $120 it's not outrageously expensive either. Complete with dual SP120L PWM fans and Corsair's built-in Link for monitoring/control the H100i GTX means business.
Being that the LGA2011-3 is a quad-channel memory platform it is rare to find users plucking away with less than 16GB of RAM. That being said we went with a 32GB kit from Crucial using their Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 memory.
The GeForce GTX Titan X is the obvious choice for an extreme system given it's the fastest single-GPU graphics card right now. Moreover, builds like this will tend to feature at least one 4K display, thus begging for at least two Titan X cards. We've settled on a 2-way Titan X SLI setup but there is nothing stopping those that can afford it from splurging on another two Titans.
When it comes to high-end discrete sound cards there are two giants: the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR and the Asus Essence STX II. Honestly we could go either way here as both are exceptional products. That said there is a bit more gear included in the Sound Blaster ZxR package and while budget is irrelevant here we should point out that Creative's solution is around $50 cheaper.
It wouldn't be hard to burn up a few thousand dollars on storage and while we would like to include a few Intel server grade PCIe SSDs we should remain somewhat realistic. Therefore we have settled for the Samsung SM951 NVMe 512GB SSD and a single Western Digital Red 6TB for secondary storage.
Of course we wouldn't hold it against you if both the Fatal1ty X99 Professional's M.2 slots were occupied by SM951 SSDs. Likewise, there is plenty of room for 3.5" drives in our case of choice so there is no real need to stop at just one 6TB drive.
Corsair's AX1500i 1500w digital ATX power supply delivers enough juice to kick start a small planet. Noteworthy specifications include a 140mm silent Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan, 125A on a single +12V rail, 80 Plus Titanium Certified, C-Link Digital support, fanless mode, 20 SATA connectors, 10 PCIe connectors and a whopping 7-year warranty!
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 luxury builds go big or go home we say which is why we went for the Corsair Obsidian Series 900D. This jumbo-sized chassis is well worth the asking price for hardcore system builders.
Other worthwhile aggressive or unique looking chassis include the Cooler Master Cosmos II or Lian Li D8000 (full HPTX double tower). Meanwhile, if money is no object, the Thermaltake Level 10 remains among the most unique (and expensive) PC cases available.
Obviously we have to go 4K when choosing the monitor and even though you'll have to live on the edge of compatibility, currently our top choice is Dell's UltraSharp UP3214Q 32". As the name suggests the UP3214Q is a 32" Ultra HD 3840x2160 monitor with an IPS panel featuring an anti-glare 3H surface. Using DisplayPort 1.2, it supports a refresh rate of 60Hz while offering an 8ms (gray to gray) response time.
A good, more affordable alternative would be the Asus PQ321Q, while on the other end of the spectrum, the newer NEC MultiSync PA322UHD is more expensive and generally receives higher marks for the very demanding user.
If 4K is not your thing, the Dell U3415W is a 34" curved monitor sporting a 3440 x 1440 resolution and selling for less than $1,000.
There aren't as many 5.1 computer speaker systems as there used to be. We were big fans of Logitech's Z-5500 but it has been phased out by the company's new Z906, which appears to be nearly as popular, though audiophiles may be more interested in refined 2-speaker systems like Bowers & Wilkins' MM-1 or Audioengine's 5+ speakers.
Meanwhile, headsets don't get much better than Audio Technica's ATH-M50 unless you're going to spend hundreds or thousands more. Frankly, if you require better audio quality than the ATH-M50s 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. That said, we think Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable mouse as its one of the best gaming mice we have ever used.
As for the keyboard the Logitech G910 Orion Spark seems like the perfect fit. The G910 is Logitech's most prestige gaming keyboard and it makes use of their new Romer-G mechanical switches which have been designed from the ground up to be faster and more durable than the Cherry MX switches.
The G910 Orion Spark is certainly a premium keyboard but we suggest you check it out in as much detail as possible before buying as it has a custom key cap design that you are likely to either love or hate.