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The 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.

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  • Corsair Dominator Platinum, 128GB

    $1,419.99 MSRP $1,575.99
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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

    $1,399.77 MSRP $1,499.99
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    on Amazon
  • 2TB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD

    $1,149.93 MSRP $1,299.99
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    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
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The best gear money can buy

Editor’s note: This article was most recently updated to add Intel's Core i9 processors and X299 motherboards.

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.)

intel core i9 7900x
Credit: Gordon Mah Ung/IDG
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 10-core Core i9-7900X ($1,000 on Newegg). This monster reigns supreme in single-threaded performance, topping even the quad-core Kaby Lake parts, and since its ten cores outnumber anything else currently available from Intel or AMD, the 7900X’s comes out on top of our multi-core tests, too. Look for it on June 27.

Despite being the first-ever chip deemed worthy of the new “Core i9” moniker, the i9-7900X sticks largely to the example set by its predecessor, the Core i7-6950X—another 10-core chip that cost a whopping $1,700-plus at launch. Chalk that steep price drop up to AMD’s disruptive Ryzen chips, which offer damned good 8-core performance for as little as $330 in the Ryzen 7 1700.

While the Core i9-7900X is no-doubt the best processor ever released, now’s not a great time to buy one. AMD’s rival Threadripper CPUs are ready to launch later this summer, offering many more PCI-E lanes and potentially lower prices. Alternatively, if you care less about value and more about MOAR POWER, the rest of Intel’s Core i9 lineup launches in October with up to 18 cores.

asus prime x299 deluxe
Credit: Asus
Motherboard

With your processor picked out, you know what type of motherboard to buy. Intel’s new Core i9 chips use the X299 chipset and LGA2066 socket, so you’ll need to find a compatible new X299 motherboard. The only one we’ve had any hands-on time with is the Asus Prime X299-Deluxe ($310 on Newegg)—a particularly swanky model that has virtually everything you could ask for, down to cutting-edge 802.11ad Wi-Fi and a tiny OLED “LiveDash” display that can show off vital system information.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg though. Asus alone has revealed seven different Skylake-X boards, and it’s joined by the usual motherboard vendors—Gigabyte, MSI, EVGA, ASRock, et cetera. Catch up on the high-end details for the major versions with PCWorld’s X299 motherboard roundup, but don't expect to snag one soon. Newegg's X299 motherboard listings all say they're shipping on June 26 with prices starting at $260 and most boards going for $300 or more.

corsair 128gb ram
Credit: Gordon Mah Ung
  • Corsair Dominator Platinum, 128GB

    $1,419.99 MSRP $1,575.99
    View
    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 3,200MHz Corsair Dominator Platinum memory ($1,420 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. If you want to pick up a lower-capacity kit, or something from a different vendor, just make sure it’s DDR4 memory, not the older DDR3—X299 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, and customized models like the $730 EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 push the pedal to the metal even more.

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

    $1,399.77 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

    $1,149.93 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 ($1,190 on Amazon) 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.