In early October we knew the name of the model that would be the most powerful consumer-grade CPU in the market: The Ryzen 9 5950X. This processor outclasses both AMD’s last batch of Zen 2 CPUs, as well as Intel’s flagship Core i9-10900K. Almost a month after the Zen 3 announcement, we now also know what will be the ultimate GPU to pair it with: AMD’s Radeon RX 6900 XT.
The synergy between these two hardware components provides tangible results, as it creates an architecture that paves the way for Smart Access Memory: an expanded data channel that utilizes both CPU and GPU memory, effectively removing the GPU’s inherent memory bottleneck and, in turn, providing an increase in effective framerate performance.
Thus, we can now make full use of single core, and multi-core, CPU performance, together with high-level rendering power, in order to create a build that can work optimally for any workstation environment – while simultaneously being a gaming powerhouse that will be able to process high framerates at high resolutions.
But it is not only the CPU and GPU components that have reached, what seems to be, an upper-threshold-level of performance for the current generation of hardware. The DDR4 memory type has also reached its peak, providing the maximum ability it is capable of; at only a fraction of the cost of its initial prices. As the AM4 chipset also reaches the end of its lifespan, the PCIe 4.0 interface has now been fully utilized, too – mainly by Sabrent and Samsung, though the former has yet to release its Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus SSD model.
The build we present for under $4K is one that includes only flagship-level components, providing the best performance that money can buy. To be a bit more specific, this build will cost $3,986.56.
Note: It must be mentioned that this price includes only the operating system ROM storage unit (1 TB).
The high-end CPU of the Ryzen 5000 Series, the R9 5950X, is built using two maximal Zen 3 CCXs (Core Complexes) with 16 cores, 32 threads, and a 64 MB L3 cache. The processing node is AMD’s TSMC 7 nm FinFET, allowing the Ryzen 9 5950X to operate at speeds between 3.4 GHz and 4.9 GHz (at least). It supports a DDR4 memory type with a system speed of 3,200 MHz, and has a TDP of only 105 Watts. A stock cooler is not provided with the purchase of this CPU, which launched on November the 5th with an MSRP of $799.
AMD’s flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT is built on a similar, TSMC FinFET 7 nm processing node; sporting the Navi 21 XTX variant GPU, which has a 536 mm2 die and 26.8 billion transistors. It has an operating base frequency of 1,429 MHz, a Gaming Clock speed of 2,015 MHz, and a Boost Clock speed of 2,250 MHz.
With 16 GB of GDDR6 VRAM and a 2,000 MHz memory clock capable of 16 GB/s, this Radeon 6000 Series GPU comes with 128 MB of AMD’s Infinity Cache.
In terms of theoretical performance, this GPU can render pixels at a rate of 288 GP/s, making use of 5,120 Stream Processors, 320 TMUs, 128 ROPs, 80 CUs and 80 RT cores.
Finally, the Radeon RX 6900 XT will have a 2.5-slot form factor, a TDP of 300 Watts, and will be launching on December the 8th, 2020, for $999.
The best RAM to be paired with any AMD’s Zen 3 Ryzen CPU must have a speed of 3,200 MHz and CL 14: a speed which has the lowest overall latency of only 8.75 nanoseconds, and one that can be overclocked to extremely high frequencies. This is also the type of RAM that AMD used in their benchmarks for both Zen 3 processors, as well as their RDNA 2 GPUs.
For this reason, we recommend 64 GBs of G.Skill’s TridentZ RAM. This kit has 14-14-14-34 CL timings, 3,200 MHz, aluminum heat spreaders, for efficient heat dissipation, and a ten-layer PCB which ensures better signal stability; an element of utmost importance when it comes to overclocking.
The black, brushed aluminum, exterior also includes RGB lighting on the top of each module; though these will not be of much use for this rig, as the additional RAM cooling component we have added: The Corsair Dominator Platinum, will be placed atop the RAM units.
The aforementioned double-fan RAM cooler provides high airflow, quiet operation, and its own RGB display. Including this RAM cooler means that each and every component of the PC setup will be individually cooled, and therefore we only minimal amounts of airflow from the case to carry out the heated air from within the case.
To power a CPU as powerful as the Zen 3 flagship Ryzen 5950X, we need an equally powerful motherboard, with a strong VRM solution and sufficient cooling that will allow for stable, and consistent, overclocking. Of all X570 flagship motherboards, the MSI Meg X570 Godlike stands out for its insane level of connectivity, while it does not skimp out on the aspects that are needed to effectively run the CPU.
This MSI model comes with an 18-phase VRM (9 of which are true), in a 7+7 and 1+3 layout. It makes use of Infineon TDA21472, 70-amp, power stages and titanium chokes. These MOSFETs are all heatsinked using MSI’s FROZR heatsink design, with a heatpipe connecting the two heatsinks together, in order to better dissipate the heat throughout. A fan is also included on the PCH, with added RGB elements for a bit of extra pizazz. Beneath the PCH are a power and a reset button, for direct access.
Where the Meg X570 Godlike truly shines, however, is its connectivity. It can hold five M.2 form factor SSDs, via the use of its included XPANDER-Z card which can be plugged into one of its four PCIe 4.0 x16 slots. All five M.2 sockets are heatsinked, and the XPANDER-Z also includes a fan, in order to better cool the SSDs, for maximum performance. In terms of RAM, this motherboard can handle 128 GB of DDR4 RAM, with overclocking speeds of up to 4,600 MHz.
Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 is also included, together with Killer xTend Technology, making the motherboard a wireless network extension bridge. Lastly, an OLED screen panel (directly to the right of the RAM units) can be used for debugging, hardware monitoring, or to display custom gif animations.
The MSI Meg X570 Godlike is on sale for $614.24; which is a great price for its features, VRM power, and amazing connectivity.
Related: Best Motherboards for Ryzen 9 5950X
The Ryzen 9 5950X, unlike its previous Ryzen 9 3950X iteration, no longer includes a CPU cooler – though, even if it did, the Wraith Prism would still need to be replaced, as it does not have the cooling performance necessary for the R9 5950X.
Because we will be using a system of RAM fans, we need to chill the CPU via means of a liquid AIO cooler, since an airflow cooler would be too large, and end up getting in the way of the Corsair Dominator Platinum.
Hence, why we have chosen EVGA’s CLC, 360 mm, AIO liquid cooler. This CPU cooler includes a 360 mm radiator, which is itself chilled by three 120 mm, EVGA custom designed, fans, capable of an airflow output of 74.82 CFM. The CLC is equipped with an Asetek Gen5 pump, which has an RGB LED display that illuminates EVGA’s logo. The fans themselves do not have any RGB lighting, but are stylish nonetheless.
But, a liquid AIO cooler is not just about its looks. The EVGA CLC performs on a high level, as proven by benchmarks from Gamer’s Nexus, with excellent thermal performance and incredibly low noise emissions.
The EVGA CLC 360 mm costs only $132.92, including an EVGA backed, 5-year warranty.
Related: Best CPU Coolers for Ryzen 9 5950X
Storage for such a built is, of course, going to be far more than 1 TB, but we are simply stating the best SSD for the operating system. With PCIe 4.0 compatible SSDs now being further optimized by ROM storage manufacturers, we are reaching the full potential of this technology, manifested in Samsung’s 980 Pro.
This new M.2 2280 NVMe 1.3c SSD makes use of Samsung’s own Elpis driver, built on an 8 nm processing node which allows it to run, an impressive, 128 queues simultaneously. The 980 Pro has LPDDR4 DRAM, as well as a 2-bit MLC and TLC non-volatile memory.
Samsung’s 6th generation V-NAND has over 100 cell layers, and, together with its Charge Trap Flash (CTF) technology, it can reach sequential read speeds of 7,000 MB/s, sequential write speed speeds of 5,000 MB/s, and 4K random read and write speeds of 1 million IOPS.
To keep its thermals low, Samsung has created a thermal control algorithm, while also implementing nickel coating on the controller, and a heat spreader label on the chip. With the use of both software and hardware thermal preventative measure, the 980 Pro can avoid any performance fluctuations due to overheating.
The Samsung 980 Pro 1 TB can currently be found for $229.99, including Samsung Magician software.
Because the motherboard we have chosen has an E-ATX form-factor, we are going to need a case that accommodate a beastly component of this size. Hence, the choice of the Fractal Design, full tower, Define 7 XL. Though this case does have a massive amount of internal space, it still manages to maintain a sleek, and lean, exterior with an anodized aluminum finish.
The Define 7 XL can accommodate up to 18 HDDs, and five additional SSDs, by changing its default layout (optimized for custom loops) to an open layout.
The walls of the panels are lined with industrial sound-dampening materials, while the top panel can be switched between this noise cancelling ceiling, to a ventilated, filtered, top panel. Additionally, the Fractal Design Define 7 XL gives you the choice between a tinted tempered glass side panel, or an additional sound-proof side panel.
For this build, we’ve chosen the glass side panel, to show off the minimalistic, yet stylish, design of the interior components. Finally, the top panel I/O interface allows for five USB 3.0 inputs, as well as an additionally USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C slot and standard (mic/speakers) audio jacks.
The Fractal Design Define 7 XL has a price tag of $226 – well worth its price for its quality, connectivity potential, and elegant design.
To power this beast of a PC, we need the best power efficiency money can buy, and that can only be found in 80 PLUS Titanium rated PSUs. This Titanium certification guarantees an efficiency level of up to 94.7%, meaning less energy expenditure, as well as less heat that will be distributed into the case’s hardware components.
The be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 offers this Titanium rating for its 1500 W model, which we recommend for this build. Not only does the 1500 W potential allow for enough leeway to power as many storage units as you desire, but it also allows for an extreme level of overclocking for the Ryzen 5 5950X, the Radeon RX 6900 XT, as well as the G.Skill TridentZ RAM.
To best suit overclocking performance, the Dark Power Pro 12 includes an overclocking key; allowing you to manually switch its default six +12V rails (built for safety) into a single +12V rail that can provide more wattage toward the CPU and GPU.
This power supply is digitally controlled, with a wireless interior and all Japanese 105 degree C capacitors. The Frameless Silent Wing fan design, together with the 6-pole fan motor and hydrodynamic bearings, ensures durability and near-silent operation.
This fully modular PSU is purchasable for $449.99: a more than fair price for its Wattage, efficiency, and overall quality.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 5950X|
|GPU||Radeon RX 6900 XT|
|RAM||G.Skill TridentZ 64 GB + Corsair Dominator Platinum|
|Motherboard||MSI Meg X570 Godlike|
|CPU Cooler||EVGA CLC 360 mm|
|Storage||Samsung 980 Pro 1TB|
|Case||Fractal Design Define 7 XL|
|PSU||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 1500W|