The Luxury System
Every component in the Luxury System guide is thoroughly vetted to ensure you get the most horsepower for your greenback. If a component's premium price can't be justified, it simply doesn't make the cut. In nearly all of our selections, we chose hardware that's either the best available or just a notch below, forcing less of an emphasis on value and more on screaming-edge performance.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-5820K||$375|
|Motherboard||ASRock X99 Extreme4||$170|
|CPU Cooler||Corsair Hydro Series H100i||$120|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB (4x4GB) DDR4-3200||$130|
|Graphics||Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti||$600|
|Sound||Creative Sound Blaster Zx||$100|
|Storage SSD||Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB||$315|
|Storage HDD||Western Digital Black 4TB||$200|
|Optical||LG Blu-ray Burner WH16NS40||$50|
|Power||Silverstone Strider Gold S 850W||$155|
|Case||In Win 805||$200|
|Monitor||Dell U3415W 34"||$840|
|Keyboard||Logitech G502 Proteus Core||$60|
|Mouse||Das Keyboard 4||$160|
Core System Total
Core System + Monitor and Peripherals
Motherboard, Processor, Cooler, Memory
Intel’s Skylake Core i7-6700K is supposed to be $339 and yet finding one at that price is impossible. Newegg and Amazon both list the i7-6700K for $420 and at the time of writing Newegg is completely out of stock and so are most other online retailers.
At that price the i7-6700K makes little sense as the more equipped i7-5820K costs just $375. The Haswell-E processor boats an additional two cores and four threads and is also fully unlocked making the 3.3GHz operating frequency somewhat irrelevant. The i7-5820K also features almost twice as much L3 cache and still supports DDR4 memory.
There are tons of high-end X99 boards available and unless you're hunting for a particular feature, you'll probably be equally satisfied with anything you pick.
With so many great X99 motherboards from the likes of Asus, MSI and Gigabyte it's not easy to pick the right motherboard. For our build we went with the relatively affordable ASRock X99 Extreme4 since we didn’t require anything special when it came to audio as we are using a dedicated sound card and the board offers an Ultra M.2 slot to support our M.2 SSD.
Noctua's NH-D15 heatsink and fan combo is hard to beat and is one of the best if not the best air-cooler money can buy, offering the best combination of cooling capacity, noise levels and platform compatibility. That said at $100 it is well within closed-loop liquid cooling territory and for $100 we much prefer the Corsair Hydro Series H100i, so if you are willing to go the liquid route then we highly recommend this Corsair cooler.
Having 8GB of RAM is the current base for gamers and power users, but if you're building with Haswell-E, you might as well go to town with double that (four 4GB modules -- preferably in a single kit), considering we're talking about a fraction of the total system cost. The G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-3200 is a reasonably affordable kit at $130 and offers 16GB of DDR3-3200 memory.
If you're shopping for a $500+ graphics card, we can only assume you're after one of the fastest cards available. As of writing, that's Nvidia's $1000+ GTX Titan X and we wouldn't fault you for buying one, or three for that matter if you have a particularly high-resolution monitor setup, such as triple 2560x1440 displays (or if you plan to go 4K in the near future).
When dealing with a single 1440p display, the much more affordable GTX 980 Ti has no trouble running modern games at solid frame rates, though neither does the $280 Radeon R9 390 (our Enthusiast's PC pick), even if that includes playing Battlefield 4 at more than 60fps on Ultra, and the Radeon is a much better value than Nvidia's top-tier offerings.
Previously we went with the Asus Xonar Essence STX for our Luxury System though at $190 it's rather expensive. Having been so surprised by the Sound Blaster Z we opted for the Creative Sound Blaster Zx which costs $130. The extra $30 buys you an audio control module with a beamforming microphone built-in. It is 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.
Without question the Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB is the best SSD you can buy right now, especially when you consider the company's reputation for delivering quick and stable drives. Alternatively, if additional flash is a concern, Samsung's 850 Evo 2TB is one of the quickest and most affordable high-end drives around at just $0.35/GB or less courtesy of its TLC NAND storage and SLC/DRAM caches.
This wouldn't be much of a Luxury computer without a Blu-ray burner, and at under $100 the LG drive we've chosen is among the most affordable you'll find.
Silverstone's Strider Gold S 850W PSU ought to supply your dream PC with enough juice. Noteworthy specifications include a 120mm silent 18dBA fan, 70A on a single +12V rail, 80 Plus Gold Certified, and lengthy cables with connectors for 8 SATA drives, four PCIe graphics cards, and 6 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.
In the past we have recommended massive (and user favorite) cases for the luxury build such as the Corsair Obsidian Series 900D or Cooler Master Cosmos II. This time we are going with something a lot smaller and sleeker, the In Win 805. This mid-tower houses this build very well and I recently build almost exactly this system into a red In Win 805 and it looks amazing. The case is also great value at just $200 given it is wrapped in tempered glass.
Among many great monitors available for less than $1000, the one that stood out the most for us is the $840 Dell U3415W, a 34" curved monitor sporting a 3440 x 1440 resolution. It's an elegant, feature packed solution that won't break the bank. However if you are after a gaming monitor, then G-Sync should be part of that equation. The Acer Predator X34 Curved monitor is more expensive but is receiving praises for its panel quality and gamer-friendly features, do note that there are two separate variants that will support either Nvidia's G-Sync or AMD's Freesync technology.
If you prefer to go 4K and go all-in with a top notch display, the new Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q is a 31.5" Ultra HD 3840x2160 monitor with an IPS panel featuring an anti-glare 3H surface. The UP3216Q is an attractive big monitor using relatively thin bezels, can pivot both clockwise and counter-clockwise, and features Dell PremierColor factory color calibration for color-critical work.
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-M50x 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. That said, we think Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable mouse as its one of the best gaming mice we have ever used.
At the TechSpot office we are fans of a number of devices which we end up renewing over and over including the Razer Deathadder, Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 and Das Keyboard. If you're looking for a mechanical keyboard, the Das is far from your only option: Filco, Leopold, Razer, Corsair and SteelSeries offer respected options, while WASD Keyboards provides customizable mechanical packages.