Update

The 15 highest-performing PC components you can buy today

Looking to build the ultimate PC? If price is no object, this is the hardware you want.

SLIDEFEATURED PRODUCTS
  • Intel Core i7-6950X Processor Extreme Edition

    MSRP $1,743.00
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    on Amazon
  • ASUS LGA2011-v3 5-Way Optimization SafeSlot X99 ATX...

    $364.79 MSRP $419.00
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    on Amazon
  • Corsair Dominator Platinum Series 128 (8x16GB) DDR4 3000MHz...

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    on Amazon
  • Acer Predator XB271HK bmiprz 27-inch IPS UHD (3840 x 2160)...

    $879.99 MSRP $899.99
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    on Amazon
  • Samsung 850 EVO 2.5-Inch SATA III SSD, 4TB

    $1,488.00 MSRP $1,499.99
    View
    on Amazon
  • 2TB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD

    $1,191.38 MSRP $1,299.99
    View
    on Amazon
  • Corsair AXi Series, AX1500i, 1500 Watt (1500W), Fully...

    $394.99 MSRP $449.99
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    on Amazon
  • Corsair Gaming K95 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard,...

    MSRP $189.99
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    on Amazon
maingear closeup 1
The best gear money can buy

One of the PC’s greatest strengths is its extreme flexibility. There’s a vast selection of hardware out there, of all different shapes and sizes and makes and models—so much so that even if your budget’s not a concern, buyer’s paralysis very well could be.

Fear not, fellow enthusiast. We’ve got your back. These are the 15 highest-performing PC components you can buy today. We’ve even done the homework to ensure they all work fine together if you’re looking to really splurge. (If, on the other hand, your means are a bit more modest, be sure to check out our guide to 10 killer PC upgrades that are shockingly cheap.)

Editor’s note: This article was most recently updated to add Nvidia’s Titan Xp graphics card, and mention of AMD's 16-core Threadripper CPUs.

intel core i7 6950x
Credit: Gordon Mah Ung
  • Intel Core i7-6950X Processor Extreme Edition

    MSRP $1,743.00
    View
    on Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor

    $459.99 MSRP $499.00
    View
    on Amazon
Processor

The heart of a PC is its processor. And when it comes to consumer PCs—business and data-center rigs are a whole ‘nother beast—there’s never been a CPU as potent as Intel’s beastly Core i7-6950X ($1,628 on Amazon), the first 10-core enthusiast processor. (That uniqueness won't last long, however, as AMD's 16-core Ryzen Threadripper CPUs will debut at Computex 2017.)

The flagship Broadwell-E CPU is an utter monster. The chip’s 3.5GHz maximum clock speed may not be as fast as Skylake’s premier models, but those 10 cores also support Hyper-Threading, giving you 20 usable threads for extreme tasks that chew through multiple processes. Those cores are bolstered by intriguing new features for enthusiasts like Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 and per-clock overclocking. The Core i7-6950X is easily Intel’s most powerful consumer chip ever, by a long shot—and it’s priced like it.

If you don’t need quite that much performance or the abundant PCIe lanes in Intel’s Extreme Edition platform, AMD’s 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 7 1800X ($500 on Amazon) goes toe-to-toe with Intel’s 8-core chips in productivity tasks for a fraction of the price. This potent processor is easily the most competitive AMD CPU in a decade. Alternatively, if maximum gaming performance is your singular focus, the higher clock speeds of Intel’s quad-core, 8-thread Core i7-7700K ($330 on Amazon) make it the reigning champion for play over work.

asus x99 deluxe ii
  • ASUS LGA2011-v3 5-Way Optimization SafeSlot X99 ATX...

    $364.79 MSRP $419.00
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    on Amazon
  • MSI X99A GODlike Gaming motherboard

    $492.78 MSRP $535.99
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    on Amazon
Motherboard

With your processor picked out, you know what type of motherboard to buy. The Broadwell-E chips use the X99 chipset and LGA2011 socket, and when it comes to that combo, the Asus X99 Deluxe-II ($395 on Amazon) is the cream of the crop—though you once again pay for its potency.

The X99 Deluxe-II comes loaded with virtually every feature you could ask for: exotic U.2 and M.2 storage slots, USB 3.1 Type-C connectors, eight memory slots for overclocked quad-channel DDR4 3333MHz memory, reinforced PCIe slots capable of handling the biggest and baddest graphics cards, a custom-designed socket with extra pins for enhanced overclocking—deep breath—and much, much more.

The original, largely similar Asus X99 Deluxe powers our dedicated graphics card testing system and we adore it. Many enthusiasts also sing the praises of MSI’s X99A GODlike Gaming motherboard ($520 on Amazon). Competitive X99 motherboards like the MSI X99 SLI Plus ($230 on Newegg) can definitely be found for less (though you may need to update the BIOS to support Broadwell-E), but this roundup’s all about highlighting the very best.

corsair 128gb ram
Credit: Gordon Mah Ung
  • Corsair Dominator Platinum Series 128 (8x16GB) DDR4...

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    on Amazon
  • Corsair Dominator Platinum Series 64GB DDR4 DRAM...

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    on Amazon
Memory

Intel’s X99 platform broke down the 64GB limit for RAM. So why not bask in the face-melting glory by snapping up an extremely future-proof 128GB kit of Corsair Dominator Platinum memory ($1,250 on Amazon) and create some of the most epic RAM disks the world has ever seen?

Granted, that price could be a drawback, as could the fact that there are very few legitimate reasons to load up your PC with that much RAM. Heck, it’s such a rarely used piece of kit that it takes Amazon one to two months to ship it out.

The more realistic (but still damned gratuitous) 64GB Corsair Dominator Platinum kit ($470 on Amazon) ships ASAP and is probably a better buy for even a price-is-no-object PC. That said, 64GB still stretches the boundaries of what’s needed today. If you want to pick up a lower-capacity kit, just make sure it’s DDR4 memory, not the older DDR3—X99 motherboards are cutting-edge, remember.

nvidia geforce titan xp
Credit: Nvidia
Graphics

The obvious choice here isn’t actually the “Price is no object” pick in our graphics cards buying guide. If you demand the pinnacle of PC gaming performance no matter the cost, you’ll want to pick up Nvidia’s Titan Xp ($1,200 on Nvidia’s website). This second revision of the “Pascal” GPU generation’s Titan uses Nvidia’s full-blown GP102 graphics processor to power the most graphically demanding games of today without breaking a sweat, even at 4K resolution.

But realistically, most gamers should pick up the still-ridonkulously powerful GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ($700 on Amazon). It’s 25 to 35 percent faster than the vaunted GTX 1080 and immediately rendered the older $1,200 Titan X obsolete. Nvidia’s sure putting its best foot forward ahead of AMD’s looming Radeon Vega launch. (Get this: AMD’s aging Radeon Fury X flagship is roughly half as fast as the GTX 1080 Ti.)

The GTX 1080 Ti is the first semi-affordable consumer card capable of hitting 60 fps regularly at 4K resolution with all the bells and whistles cranked to Ultra in many games. It’s also potent enough to deliver a no-compromises gameplay experience at very high frame-rates at 1440p resolution—especially when paired with a G-Sync monitor. The Titan Xp is a wee bit faster for $500 more.

asus rog swift monitor
  • Acer Predator XB271HK bmiprz 27-inch IPS UHD (3840 x...

    $879.99 MSRP $899.99
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    on Amazon
  • ASUS ROG SWIFT PG348Q 34" Curved 3440x1440 100Hz IPS...

    $1,199.90 MSRP $1,299.00
    View
    on Amazon
Monitor

Segue! If you’re going to drop big bucks on a take-no-prisoners graphics card, you’re going to want a high-end display to go with it. We don’t officially review monitors, so these picks are a mix of personal experience, user reviews, spec sheet parsing, and guidance from the display geeks at MonitorNerds.com.

Monitors come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. We prefer the wide viewing angles and bright colors of IPS displays to the very slightly faster response times of TN panels, so that’s what all these recommendations consist of.

First, a trio of Nvidia G-Sync monitors, which smooth out stuttering and eliminate tearing during gameplay. For ultra-high resolutions, the Acer Predator XB271HK bmiprz ($890 on Amazon) tops out at 60Hz, as going beyond that refresh rate is pointless at 4K with today’s technology. If you prefer your action faster—and more encompassing—the 3440x1440 resolution Asus ROG SWIFT PG348Q ($1,183 on Amazon) mixes an ultra-wide display with 100Hz frame rates. If pure speed is more your fancy, you’ll need to drop the overall resolution to snag a 144Hz monitor like the 27-inch, 2560x1440 Acer XB270HU bprz ($750 on Amazon).

Gaming not your thing? Professional photo-editing displays with true 10-bit color and 99-plus percent Adobe RGB accuracy can get really pricey. The 4K display the experts at 144HzMonitors.com recommends, the NEC PA322UHD, costs a staggering $2,500 at Amazon.

10tb seagate barracuda pro
Credit: Gordon Mah Ung
  • Samsung 850 EVO 2.5-Inch SATA III SSD, 4TB

    $1,488.00 MSRP $1,499.99
    View
    on Amazon
  • Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB

    PCWorld Rating
    $399.99 MSRP $508.99
    View
    on Amazon
Storage

Storage likewise comes in a variety of options. PCWorld hardware guru Gordon Mah Ung recommended these shining stars.

If you’re looking for sheer volume, a pair of recent releases have you more than covered. The 4TB Samsung 850 EVO ($1,458 on Amazon) and 10TB Seagate BarraCuda Pro ($428 on Amazon) are the largest ever consumer solid-state and traditional hard drives, respectively. Samsung’s SSD is obviously faster, but it costs much, much more, and the BarraCuda Pro’s 7,200rpm platters deliver surprisingly great access speeds for a mechanical hard drive.

960 pro 2
Credit: Samsung
  • 2TB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD

    $1,191.38 MSRP $1,299.99
    View
    on Amazon
Faster storage

But forget capacity. What if pure speed is your primary goal? In exchange for some space, you can bask in the blistering transfer rates of an M.2 PCI-e NVMe SSD (whew, those acronyms). The trade-off is worthwhile: The 2TB Samsung 960 Pro ($1,400 onAmazon) is easily one of the fastest drives ever created, hitting read speeds far over 2Gbps. That’s nuts. Make this your boot drive and never worry about lag again. 

corsair ax1500i
  • Corsair AXi Series, AX1500i, 1500 Watt (1500W), Fully...

    $394.99 MSRP $449.99
    View
    on Amazon
Power supply

With the marvelous power efficiency of modern Intel processors and Nvidia graphics cards, most single-GPU systems probably don’t need more than a 600-watt power supply. But this list is all about the best of the best—and investing in a beefier power supply is a good idea if you want to use multiple graphics cards or ensure room for expansion in the future.

The Corsair AX1500i ($396 on Amazon) is essentially a power supply paragon. This fully modular PSU is rated for 80 Plus Titanium efficiency and tremendous load regulation across all rails thanks to a cutting-edge digital control system. Tom’s Hardware and Jonny Guru both give the supply flawless ratings, and we use (and love) its similarly potent sibling, the Corsair AX1200i ($301 on Amazon), in PCWorld’s own dedicated graphics card test system.

logitech g502
Credit: Hayden Dingman
  • Corsair Gaming K95 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard,...

    MSRP $189.99
    View
    on Amazon
  • H Tower

    $2,400.00 MSRP $2,400.00
    View
    on Newegg
The rest

Beyond the hardware already discussed, we start to fall into the subjective range. Buying a keyboard, mouse, headset, or case relies heavily on personal preference. But let’s take a stab at some picks, eh?

Mechanical keyboards are objectively superior to all other forms, and the Corsair K95 RGB ($180 on Amazon) is one of the best around, with RGB backlighting, aircraft-grade aluminum construction, Cherry MX switches, and the ability to program a macro on any key. “The best” keyboard is a hotly contested subject among enthusiasts, but that’s a damned fine one that earned an Editors’ Choice nod at PCMag. I use (and love) its more affordable Corsair K70 sibling ($118 on Amazon) myself.

Our resident mouse expert adores his Logitech G502 Proteus Core ($75 on Amazon), but again, mouse preference is highly subjective. We’ve rounded up the best gaming mice if you want to explore your options.

And cases? Now you’re really getting into an area of personal choice. But if price is no object and you want to astound your friends and family, the massive In Win H tower ($2,400 on Newegg) mechanically opens up to reveal its interior, like a mixture between a Transformer and opening flower petals. It’s awe-inspiring the first time you see one in action. The price tag may give you chest pains, but hey, you didn’t read this article to find the best price-to-performance options out there.

If you’re looking for something more understated but still top-of-the-line, consider the Corsair Obsidian 900D ($342 on Newegg). This is essentially a more spacious version of the Obsidian 750D ($150 on Amazon) used for PCWorld’s own GPU testing system, and won HardOCP’s coveted Gold Award for being “the rare case that can actually be everything to everyone.