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The Best $3,500 Ultimate 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 estimates, we believe that GPUs will finally be available again at retail prices in September 2021.

If you’re looking for the ultimate $3,500 Gaming PC Build, truly the best of the best, then this is the build for you! Sure, you could spend more, but in most games you won’t see better performance than what this PC Build can provide. It’s a showcase of the very best tech available in PC gaming today. And while the $3,500 Gaming PC Build isn’t exactly a bargain, it’s custom-tailored to deliver flat-out extreme gaming performance. We have plenty of other builds optimized for small office, content creation, or home theater use, but for gaming, the $3,500 Gaming PC Build is truly the ultimate build!

For July 2021, the Ultimate $3,500 Gaming PC Build starts with AMD’s awesome Ryzen 7 5800X eight-core, 16-thread CPU, which offers better gaming performance than any other CPU. It will be feeding data to the monstrous Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 24GB, the fastest GPU ever released! Designed to excel at ultra-high resolutions, it has massive processing power and an astounding 24GB of VRAM to keep it running no matter what the latest games throw at it. Of course, the rest of the system is up to the task of keeping this system fed with data, thanks to 32GB of ultra-high-speed DDR4-3600 RAM, along with a blazing-fast 2TB PCIe solid-state drive. Completing the $3,500 Gaming PC Build is the high-performance Cooler Master H500M case, a powerful 360mm liquid cooler, and an awesome 1000W Platinum-rated power supply!

Note that we list a number of “Optional Components” at the end of this guide that highlight the accessories we think best match a system of this caliber, including our favorite keyboard, mouse, and monitor picks. To browse even more options, check out our Monitor Buyer’s Guide, Peripherals Buyer’s Guide and Speaker/ Headset Buyer’s Guide, which provide our picks for the best accessories at every pricepoint.

Throughout this guide, we provide direct links to Amazon, Newegg, or B&H, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in the UK, Canada, and parts of the EU, with automatic substitutions being 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

  • EXTREME DEAL! Your only chance to game on a new PC at this point is to go with a pre-built system. But even most OEM systems are sold out and likely won’t return. Luckily, as of our latest update, this awesome system from Skytech is in stock, and will definitely sell out fast. It’s equipped with the AMD Ryzen 7 5800 X 8-core, 16-thread CPU, a 360mm AIO liquid cooler, and comes packing serious heat with a GeForce RTX 3090 24GB! Also on the build list is an X570 motherboard, 32GB of DDR4-3600 RAM, a 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD, and an 850W Gold-rated PSU!

    The Guru’s Tip

    The 3090 GPU is worth over half the total cost of this system, so yeah, this is a really good deal!

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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 hot-rod CPU does not come with a cooler, and we recommend the perfect liquid cooler to keep it cool 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

    This board even has dual USB 3.0 headers plus a Type-C header, allowing you to use all the front ports on this build's cutting-edge case. It's one of just a handful of motherboards on the market that support this advanced setup.

  • EVGA’s RTX 3090 XC3 Gaming 24GB brings you the extreme performance  you expect from a top-of-stack GPU, along with an excellent cooling solution, all at a reasonable price versus the competition. While some 3090 cards retail for $500 over the 3090 Founders Edition model, the XC3 Gaming is a true ultra-high-end value!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Of course you can't buy this card right now, unless you pay nearly double the MSRP to a scalper, so in the meantime, you'll need to use an older GPU you have on hand.... or buy the pre-built we recommended 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 this system is compatible with PCIe Gen 4 drives, we think you're much better off going with a larger Gen 3 drive, as Gen 4 does little for gaming performance, but more space does a lot... given that many new games can use 200GB of space!

  • This awesome case offers fantastic performance and great gaming style in equal measure. With dual 200mm fans mounted up front, plus a 140mm fan in the rear, it provides a tremendous amount of airflow, while its sweet addressable RGB effects make it really pop. This case includes both glass and mesh front panels, to give you the option to maximize airflow or go for the sleekest look!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that this case has a USB port arrangement that virtually no motherboard supports: 4x USB 3.0 Type-A plus 1x USB 3.2 Type-C, but this build uses just such a motherboard!

  • be quiet! originated the silent PSU, and the Straight Power 11 is a perfect example of the latest innovations the company has to offer. Featuring 1000W of Platinum-rated power, a fully-modular cable design, and a high-end Silent Wings 3 135mm fan with funnel-shaped intake shroud, this is an exceptional choice for a premium PC build!

    The Guru’s Tip

    High-capacity PSUs were sold out worldwide for months due to the cryptocurrency mining craze, but high-quality units like this one are finally reappearing in stock online.

  • 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

    Backorder this if you need to, because it is worth the wait!

  • 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

    As of our latest update, W10 on USB is back in stock, but if it's sold out, go for the downloadable version. You just need an 8GB or larger USB 3.0 drive to install it.

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Optional Products

  • Monitors have come a long, long way in the past year, and what Samsung is offering with its latest Odyssey is simply mind-blowing in terms of specs: a massive 49″ panel with a 240Hz refresh rate, a super-ultra-wide resolution of 5120 x 1440, full G-Sync capability, a massive 1000R curvature, and HDR1000 certification.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Consider that not long ago, the best 4K monitor cost more than this and only measured 27"!

  • Best. Keyboard. Ever. And the only wireless mechanical keyboard with full RGB lighting on the market. This thing is a dream come true, so sleek, so responsive. Honestly, it’s in a class of its own.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This is the keyboard we've used since it was released in late 2019, and we've never even considered using another!

  • 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

    This mouse includes a recharging dock with integrated RGB lighting!

  • 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

    Another feature we really like is the ultra-high quality mic. You'll be heard loud and clear on this headset, as it's a completely different league than any other headset on the market.

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Total Cost: $3449

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