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Build a Custom 4k Gaming PC in 2019

I left my finance job 6 years ago to work for my dream boss, myself. I've never looked back. I focus on tech, gaming, and hardware reviews.

Have a budget of around $2,000 for your 4k VR gaming PC? Here are the parts we'd choose for an Intel Coffee Lake or AMD Ryzen rig.

Have a budget of around $2,000 for your 4k VR gaming PC? Here are the parts we'd choose for an Intel Coffee Lake or AMD Ryzen rig.

Are picturesque scenes, detail, and clarity a priority for you in your gaming experience? You've come to the right place. I'm all about pushing the envelope when it comes to my gaming PC.

Yes, a 2560x1440 resolution is a lot easier to run, allows for higher framerates, and still looks great, but it's not 4k. For me, 4k adds a level of detail in AAA titles you can't experience anywhere else. Pushing that boundary is part of the fun of not only being a PC gamer but a hardware enthusiast.

Regardless of what you decide to build, I've put together an Intel and AMD gaming PC at around $2,000 that should help you on your way to finally gaming in 4k.

i7 9700k or AMD's Ryzen 7 2700X (Soon 3700X)

Before I even start, this isn't much of a fair fight right now. The i7-9700k comes in at around $100 more than the Ryzen 7 2700X. Plus, the 3000 series of processors should be released soon. So if you go with AMD, you may want to reach for something like the Ryzen 7 3700X along with a compatible motherboard as it's likely to be a more competitive battle.

The 9th GEN Intel i7-9700k is ideal for those looking to get the most frames out of their PC. However, the Ryzen 7 2700x has 8 cores and 16 threads and is still a really good option for those who use their gaming PC as a photo editing computer.

4k Performance

While you're playing games in 4k your PC is less CPU bound. So, you could definitely get away with the previous generation R5 2600 or an i5-8600 here if 4k is really your goal. However, you may also want to take the longevity of your gaming PC into account. Will these CPUs hold up as long?

For me personally, I'd rather put that extra money into my processor rather than anything else. Plus, generational gaps between CPUs seem pretty substantial between the last couple of generations since the original Ryzen release.

There's a case to be made here that if you can find a cheap 1080Ti you'll not miss much vs a more expensive RTX 2080. Alternatively, you could splurge for the pricey RTX 2080Ti.

There's a case to be made here that if you can find a cheap 1080Ti you'll not miss much vs a more expensive RTX 2080. Alternatively, you could splurge for the pricey RTX 2080Ti.

The King of Graphics

I'm not a huge fan of a dual card configuration because of compatibility and ease-of-use. For that reason, we're going with the king of graphics cards here. That is, the GPU that simply performs the best.

You can get more of my evaluation in my post on the best gaming graphics cards for the money. However, we're not breaking into any new territory here. The 1080Ti or RTX 2080 fit the budget here, the 2080 Ti goes beyond. If you want the best graphics card for playing in 4k it'll be that 2080Ti. However, you'll need to fork over an additional $500.

Overall, be sure to compare price points as they can vary a lot depending on the time you buy. As you'll see with the benchmarks below from Paul's Hardware, the 1080Ti is probably the better buy vs the RTX 2080 in terms of frames and money spent.

RTX 2080 Ti

GameAverageMin

Rise of the Tomb Raider

71.8

39

GTAV

97

69

Battlefield 1 (DX11 HDR OFF Ultra)

101

81

Overwatch

125

108

RTX 2080

GameAverageMinimum

Rise of the Tomb Raider

57.2

37.3

GTAV

75

54

Battlefield 1

76

63

Overwatch

92

79

GTX 1080 Ti

GameAverageMin

Rise of the Tomb Raider

57.5

43.7

GTAV

80

50

Battlefield 1

82

64

Overwatch

111

93

 Getting a motherboard on rebate should save you up to 20% of the total cost here that you can put towards other components, a monitor, or peripherals.

Getting a motherboard on rebate should save you up to 20% of the total cost here that you can put towards other components, a monitor, or peripherals.

A Good Motherboard for Around $200

When I'm building a PC this nice, I like to have a lot of options and a pretty good motherboard full of features and ready for overclocking. If you don't plan on overclocking, you could probably save a lot of money here by going with a budget Z390 motherboard like the MSI Z390-A and not notice much of a difference in terms of performance.

For more features or for a good overclock, the Z390-E Gaming from the Asus ROG Strix series makes a lot of sense. On the high-end I like the Maximus XI HERO; however, you probably won't get a lot better overclock with that than with this $200 board.

Final thoughts: Try and find a rebate if possible. Getting a motherboard on rebate should save you up to 20% of the total cost here that you can put towards other components, a monitor, or peripherals.

The Corsair Hydro series gives you one of the best bangs for your buck for liquid CPU cooling.

The Corsair Hydro series gives you one of the best bangs for your buck for liquid CPU cooling.

CPU Coolers Under or Around $100

If you're looking for a solid quality liquid cooling option, then I'd recommend either the NZXT Kraken or Corsair Hydro series. For our $2,000 PC, we're recommending the Hydro Series H100i v2 from Corsair.

If you'd rather not go with a liquid cooling option, then the Noctua 6 will also give you similar performance in an air cooler, or if you want to do a slight overclock, the inexpensive Hyper 212 EVO is also a good option.

If you don't plan on overclocking at all, use the stock CPU cooler or the 212 Evo here.

There are a lot of good cases out there. For this one, I chose the Fractal Define S gaming case.

There are a lot of good cases out there. For this one, I chose the Fractal Define S gaming case.

A Couple of Good PCCases

We're going for a mid-range full tower case here for around $130 to $150. If you're not picky, there are plenty of good cases in the $50 to $100 range that would be good enough.

For Around $100

The case I'd recommend in that price range would be the Phanteks Enthoo Pro. It's a fantastic value full tower case that comes in at just under $100.

For a mid-tower case, I like the Fractal Design Define S Gaming case.

For Under $150:

However, I think for most gamers the look and feel of their case, as well as the noise of it, mean a lot.

For that reason, we're stepping up and going with the Corsair Obsidian 750D here. It's a massive aluminum brushed and steel case with plenty of cooling options, a design made for airflow, and an extremely large side window to show off all of your hardware.

For Specs, the 750D has 9 expansion slots, full compatibility with Mini, Micro, ATX, E-ATX, and XL-ATX motherboards, 2 x USB 3.0 (front), 2 x USB 2.0 (front), side-mounted SSD trays, and full dust filters on all the intakes. Fans that come with the case include 2 140mm front fans and a single 140mm rear fan.

For installation, the 750D makes it a breeze. Tool-less drive bays, as well as a plethora of cable management options, make the installation simple and the build looks sleek and clean. Of course, is the H100i above isn't enough, there are plenty of custom liquid cooling options you could do with this case.

Both of these cases are easy-to-use, look great, have great airflow, and really give you a lot of flexibility for what you pay for.

As a power supply, I rate in the top tier I highly recommend EVGA's SuperNOVA series. I've been using them for all of my builds lately.

As a power supply, I rate in the top tier I highly recommend EVGA's SuperNOVA series. I've been using them for all of my builds lately.

Choosing the Right Power Supply

As a power supply, I rate in the top tier I highly recommend EVGA's SuperNOVA series. I've been using them for all of my builds lately.

For the money, I feel like it gives you the best value overall. It's gold-rated for efficiency and comes with a fantastic ten-year warranty from EVGA. Other than just quality, the G2 looks great. The cables are braided and it's fully modular. Modular cables are a must for a beast build like this one.

Power Output

I've gone ahead and calculated the power usage for the builds I've listed below and you could probably get away with a 600-watt power supply here.

However, as you'll probably want to keep it safe for all of your expansion needs, I'd recommend the 650W or 750W version of the SuperNova here. Plan accordingly if you're a heavy power user or want to add an additional graphics card later. For those who need this type of wattage, the EVGA SuperNova G2 goes up to 1600W.

Intel and Ryzen $2,000 Build Parts List

PartIntel Coffee LakeAMD Ryzen Build

CPU

i7-9700(k)

Ryzen 7 2700(x)

Graphics Card

RTX 2080

RTX 2080

Case

Fractal Design Define S

Fractal Design Define S

Ram

2x8GB 3000MHz Corsair LPX

2x8GB 3000MHz Corsair LPX

PSU

EVGA Supernova 650 or 750

EVGA Supernova 650 or 750

SSD

Samsung 970 Evo 500GB M.2 SSD

Samsung 970 Evo 500GB M.2 SSD

CPU Cooler

Corsair H100i v2

NZXT Kraken X62 Rev 2

Motherboard

Asus ROG STRIX Z390-E

Asus Prime X470-Pro

$2000 Custom Built PC: Other Parts and Hardware

Blu-Ray

Admittedly, I rarely use a DVD or Blu-Ray drive anymore. So, you'll have to decide whether you need it or not. If you watch movies on your PC, I'd recommend the LG WH16NS40 Drive. It's inexpensive and has good quality.

Hard Drive

We're going with a 3 TB Seagate Barracuda drive. These are fast, have a ton of capacity for the money you spend, and very reliable. You can keep all your long-term storage here and your most important games and OS on the solid-state drive.

Ram

I recommend you go with at least 16GB of ram here in order to future-proof your rig. Right now you'd probably be ok with 8GB or even 12GB, but it's easier to go ahead and purchase your kit altogether now than try to upgrade later.

For the model, I recommend Corsair's LPX series. You can get the 3000MHz speed ram for just about as cheap as the 2400MHz. So, if you've got a choice, be sure to go with the faster one. A 2x8GB configuration is more than fine for games.

For more information, I've spoken in-depth about my favorite memory kits for ryzen here.

Solid State Drive

I like the Samsung 970 M.2 series here for price, speed, and capacity. We're going with a 500GB model so you've got plenty of room for your most important files and programs.

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Final Impression

This PC is a beast but is heavily focused on overclocking and getting the most performance out of your rig. Admittedly it's not for everyone, but if you want something that will slice through games and give you extreme options, then this one is for you.

What would you change if anything? Participate in the active discussion below by letting us know what you'd change with this build.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

4k Build Discussion Area

Brandon Hart (author) from The Game on February 23, 2017:

That really depends upon your budget.

William on February 16, 2017:

which monitor do you recomend with the setup?

Brendan on July 17, 2015:

Don't just get an SSD because it doesn't have enough storage. If you try to add multiple SSD's u can break your PC. So having an HDD is actually a smart idea!!!

Cory on December 13, 2013:

This is a joke. for $2,000 and not even recommend an SSD? and the Samsung 840 non-EVO is not great. The EVO version is actually legit. I'd not waste my time on an i7, as all it does is incorporate hyperthreading, which is worthless in gaming, and get an i5-4670k. Get an nVidia 780 TI, as this IS about gaming, and it is the best benchmarked graphics card nVidia offers, even over the Titan (3GB vs 6GB in GDDR5 ram). Also, SLI is a waste of money for having a budget, as SLI reduces the efficiency of the 2nd graphics card. Get the cooler master 212 EVO, some good thermal paste, and any decent 2x4GB dual-channel ram. More than 8GB is not used, and I question the true computer knowledge of someone if they say that 16GB is ever used besides for virtual computing/servers.

Just saying for $2k, I could get a cheap well-built case, nice air cooling, and a non-hyperthreading CPU to save money - and invest in the GPU and an SSD drive (why would anyone EVER get an HDD when SSDs are 10x the performance...especially for a $2k budget?!?).

Brandon Hart (author) from The Game on November 04, 2013:

I agree with you to some degree... but as PC gamers people simply want to push the envelope. Keep in mind that I've had a comment on here saying you shouldn't get an i7 processor at this point - so everyone has a differing opinion.

ok on November 03, 2013:

Theres no point going with two 770s I have one 780 and can max out pretty much any game at less of a cost, then in say 2 or three years I can just buy another 780 and do the sli then.

Waste on October 30, 2013:

*For $2000 I can do way better!

-Don't need an i7 for GAMING.

-Mushkin Redline 16gb *1866ghz cost for about $15 less but offer better price-performance than those Corsair one.

-Forget about cheap ass water cooling, no performance difference from the h100i over the noctua nh d14 that can justify the extra $25 cost. Custom loop is the only option if you want the most performance.

-For those little hardware no need a full tower case. Go with Fractal Design Define r4 or Arc Midi r2(they are made of steel, even the small details like the HDD trays and PCI Slots Cover are no exception - great VALUE for your money). I challenge you to find any other cases in this price tag that can beat these cases in features and build quality . They are always on sale for $60-$90. I have the Arc Midi r2 myself and love it to death.

-So, you would be able to save at least $150. Use that money to buy a SSD for your OS or a better graphic solution maybe.

Brandon Hart (author) from The Game on October 21, 2013:

WoW doesn't need a graphics card this intense... again this is my $2,000 build so it's mainly for graphically intense games; however, if you want to use it for WoW it'll definitely do a good job.

Greg on October 20, 2013:

I pay world of warcraft a lot im looking to have the best possible computer you would this build be good im not great buying computer stuff sorry -_-

Brandon Hart (author) from The Game on October 18, 2013:

If you have a USB headset, then definitely not. Also, the sound card that comes integrated with the motherboard is good enough so you're good there either way. Also, the CPU cooler isn't necessary unless you plan on overclocking. I would, however, still recommend something like the Hyper 212 Evo from Cooler Master just to keep it cool.. not 100% necessary, but still nice. Also if you're not overclocking, then a 650+ PSU is fine for this PC.

Brandon on October 16, 2013:

I'll just be buying one GTX 770 in my budget, do you think I'll still need the liquid cooling and the 800W power supply? Also, will I need a sound card or anything to separately use a headset with microphone, and left and right speakers?

Brandon Hart (author) from The Game on October 15, 2013:

I'd SLI 2 770s or go for the 780 or 690.

Ryan on October 15, 2013:

Did ever consider the GTX Titan for the GPU?

Asteria on October 15, 2013:

I've saved up 2.5k to build my first proper gaming desktop. Would you guys suggest using this model or your $1500 version??

Thanks!