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The Best $2,500 Extreme 4K/VR Gaming PC Build – July 2021

By Ari Altman | Published July 5, 2021 | Updated July 5, 2021

Critical Update: if you actually want to start gaming on a new PC any time before Fall 2021, you have two options: go for one of the very few pre-built PCs still on the market, or build up a system using an older video card that you have on hand. That’s because GPUs are being scalped worldwide due to the biggest cryptocurrency mining craze in history. We present both options in this guide. Based on current trends, we believe that GPUs will finally be available again at retail prices in September 2021.

If you’re looking to play all the latest games on a 4K or ultra-wide monitor, you’re going to need extreme processing power. And that’s what the $2,500 Gaming PC Build delivers – every component has been selected with one and only one goal in mind: maximum high-resolution performance for $2,500, with a healthy dose of style thrown in!

For July 2021, the $2,500 Gaming PC Build features the sweetest gaming CPU on the market, AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X, an 8-core, 16-thread CPU that simply rips through game engines, thanks to its cutting-edge Zen 3 architecture and single CPU core-complex (CCX) design. In this build, it’s cooled by a massive Arctic Liquid Freezer II 360mm AIO ARGB cooler. The 5800X is backing up a powerhouse of a GPU, the RTX 3080 10GB from Nvidia, which thunders into the ring with performance that obliterates the last-gen RTX 2080 Ti and resets the standards for the framerates gamers can expect from the latest games! The only trouble is that you haven’t been able to buy once since its September 2020 launch and likely won’t be until Fall 2021, a year after its release, so you can either bide your time using an older GPU that you have on hand, or jump into next-gen gaming today with the pre-built PC we list down below.

If you decide to go the DIY route, you’ll find plenty of other great gear in this build. That includes 32GB of DDR4-3600 RAM, a high-capacity, ultra-fast 2TB PCIe solid-state drive, the H500P Mesh ARGB case from Cooler Master, and a potent 850W Gold-rated power supply. Also note that we highlight our favorite accessories for this build in the optional components section at the end of this guide, including the best high-end peripherals and monitor. If you’re looking for more options, feel free to browse our Monitor Buyer’s GuidePeripherals Buyer’s Guide, and Speaker/Headset Buyer’s Guide for all our favorite picks!

Throughout this guide, we provide direct links to Amazon, Newegg, or B&H in the US, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in other regions, including Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU, with substitutions made where necessary. To help support the continued development of this guide, please use the links we provide if you purchase products we recommend.

The Pre-Built Option

  • INSANE DEAL! Step into serious ultra-high-end gaming while everyone else waits months for components to come back in stock! This awesome pre-built from Skytech is packed with game-crushing gear, including the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core, 16-thread processor and the AMD Radeon RX 6900XT 16GB GPU, which matches the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 12GB in performance but offers a lot more VRAM. Also onboard is a 360mm liquid CPU cooler, 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, a 1TB PCIe-based SSD, and a 750W Gold-rated power supply. The system is wrapped up in the stylish Thermaltake S300 chassis, which really brings this sweet system together!

    The Guru’s Tip

    We're not trying to be dramatic here, but the value on eBay of the CPU and GPU in this system is nearly equal to the entire cost of the PC!

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The DIY Build

  • Based on AMD’s revolutionary Zen 3 architecture, the Ryzen 7 5800X is a truly fantastic processor. It has 8 core and 16 threads all running from a single complex for maximum efficiency, with boost up to 4.7GHz. That means it’s actually the fastest processor available for single-threaded tasks, which many tasks still are.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU does not come with a cooler, and even if it did, you'd still want to awesome upgraded cooler we recommend later in this guide!

  • This feature-packed X570 board gives you everything you need for a PC build at a great price. Dual M.2 PCIe slots for high-speed SSDs (both being Gen 4), ten USB ports, and built-in  802.11ac networking and Bluetooth. It also has the ample power delivery system required to support a high-powered CPU.

    The Guru’s Tip

    The X570 chipset is the most advanced platform available today.

  • CRITICAL UPDATE: The RTX 3080 definitely has the performance you want for this build, it’s just a matter of when you can get one. Due to limited production by Nvidia and tremendous demand from cryptocurrency miners, the 3080 sells for 2-3x its MSRP on eBay.
    The Guru’s Tip

    As an alternative to buying any gaming card, you can simply buy the pre-built PC we listed earlier in this guide.

  • For high-end gaming, we think 32GB of RAM is the perfect amount of RAM for today and years to come… it’s basically future-proof! Plus, this 2x16GB kit not only offers tons of capacity, but also a high speed of 3600MHz, along with seriously-tight timings of 16-18-18.

    The Guru’s Tip

    You can even sync this kit's lighting with the motherboard's RGB software.

  • Harnessing the power of cutting-edge TLC V-NAND, the NVMe protocol, and the PCIe interface, this SSD provides amazing speed, along with an incredible 2TB of capacity! Just note that you’ll need a to install it.
    The Guru’s Tip

    While you can use a PCIe Gen 4 drive in this system, it will pay very few dividends for gaming purposes.

  • Our favorite high-performance gaming case has now been updated to with awesome ARGB lighting, making it better than ever! The H500P Mesh White is the star of high-end cases. It features a tempered glass side panel, dual 200mm front fans behind a big mesh intake, and a 140mm rear fan. It will keep your components nicely chilled thanks to a constant wall of air.
    The Guru’s Tip

    The case's ARGB lighting can easily be sync'd with the 3-pin ARGB header on the motherboard we recommend.

  • Nearly all power supplies from reputable manufacturers are now completely sold out, and most cannot even be backordered. But this unit, a high-end 850W Gold-rated model, can actually be ordered, at least as of our latest update. Watch out for all the cheap knock-off PSUs offering huge wattage numbers at low prices.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This unit will have no trouble dealing with the ultra-high-wattage CPU and GPU in this system, which on their own will draw about 550W at load!

  • To run a high-wattage CPU like the one in this system, you need extreme cooling, and we suggest you go straight for this awesome 360mm liquid cooler, which offers the best performance of any 360mm AIO on the market based on our testing! That comes down to its big 38mm-thick radiator, effective pump, and the best ARGB fans on the market, the Arctic P12 A-RGB models. They provide both great looks and superior performance at low noise levels.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that the extra-thick 38mm radiator on this cooler doesn't fit in most cases, but it does fit in the one recommended for this build. We know because we've tested it!

  • Windows 10 was a big step up from Windows 8.1, and Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every six months. And the USB version installs in under 5 minutes, meaning you can get right into using your system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    If the USB version of W10 is ever sold out, go for the downloadable version, which you can simply load on a USB thumb drive.

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Optional Products

  • For the very fastest gameplay, there’s nothing better than the K60 Low Profile. Thanks to Cherry’s unbeaten low-profile MX Speed switches, you get amazing response and feel, plus low noise.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Once you try a low-profile mechanical keyboard, you won't want to go back!

  • Go for the best mouse in the business, period. Featuring a 20,000dpi sensor, Razer’s awesome HyperSpeed wireless system, and a perfect ergonomic design, this model can’t be beat! And in addition to its 100-hour battery life, it’s also incredibly light, at just 107g!
    The Guru’s Tip

    The included base allows you to easily charge this mouse when not in use.

  • Combining ultra-high-end performance with incredible comfort, this wireless headset from Corsair is the ideal all-day companion for listening to the latest market news. This headset also has an audiophile-grade microphone, perfect for teleconferencing.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We use this headset everyday and love it!

  • Without a doubt, our top pick among monitors to pair with this elite system is the equally-elite ultra-wide model. It offers a huge 34″ 3440×1440 IPS panel, a refresh rate of up to 144Hz, and G-Sync compatibility (via FreeSync) to achieve the smoothest possible gaming experience.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Truth be told, while we know people are interested in "4K Gaming", the 4K monitors available today really aren't that great in terms of tech on board. This ultra-wide is a much better bet!

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Total Cost: $2460

(as of July 5, 2021)
The Pre-Built Option
The DIY Build
Optional Products