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 excessive enough then you'll find it in this build.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-5960X||$1030|
|Motherboard||Asrock X99 WS-E/10G||$650|
|CPU Cooler||EKWB Predator 360||$240|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4-2666||$260|
|Graphics||4x GeForce GTX 980 Ti SLI||$2400|
|Sound||Creative Sound Blaster ZxR||$200|
|Storage SSD||Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB||$350|
|Storage HDD||Western Digital Red 6TB||$250|
|Optical||LG Blu-ray Burner WH16NS40||$50|
|Power||Corsair AX1500i Digital||$410|
|Case||Corsair Obsidian Series 900D||$280|
|Monitor||Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q 32"||$1500|
|Speakers||Bowers & Wilkins' MM-1||$470|
|Keyboard||Das Keyboard 4||$160|
|Mouse||Logitech G502 Proteus Core||$60|
Core System Total
Core System + Monitor and Peripherals
Motherboard, Processor, Cooler, Memory
When it comes to ultimate processing power, 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 as high as 3.5GHz depending on the workload. Backed by a 20MB L3 cache the i7-5960X certainly dwarfs the quad-core Core i7-6700K and its 8MB L2 cache.
There is no shortage of top notch Intel X99 motherboards 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.
What qualifies the X99 WS-E/10G other than the price tag you ask? How about support for 128GB DDR4 memory, seven PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, a dozen SATA 6Gb/s ports and don’t forget the Intel X540 network controller for dual 10G Base-T LAN support.
Arguably the best all-in-one liquid cooler right now is the EKWB Predator 360. Complete with dual 120mm Vadar fans and CoolStream Radiator and Compression fittings the Predator 360 means business.
The GeForce GTX 980 Ti is the obvious choice here as the fastest single-GPU graphics card in the market worth buying given how overpriced the Titan X is. Moreover, extreme builds will feature at least one 4K display, thus begging for at least two 980 Ti cards. But why stop at just two? We have settled on a 4-way 980 Ti SLI setup which will provide plenty of pixel crushing power for 4K gaming.
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. 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 SSD 950 Pro 512GB SSD and a single Western Digital Red 6TB for secondary storage.
Of course we wouldn't hold it against you if a few of those spare PCI Express slots were occupied by a few Intel SSD 750 Series 1.2TB 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 cabling, 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.
Dell recently launched the successor to our usual top choice for a 4K monitor. 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.
It offers connectivity via DisplayPort, Mini DP, HDMI 2.0 (MHL) and four USB 3.0 ports in addition to a 6-in-1 media card reader. One of the expected big fixes in compatibility is that the newer model will be recognised as a single display (SST) as opposed to multi screen (MST) which was a main issue of concern with the older unit.
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. Gamers will want to look for Acer's new Predator X34 monitors, with variants available to support Nvidia's G-Sync or AMD's Freesync technology.
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.