Best 4k Gaming PC Build Guide (2020 Ultimate Review)

Just a couple of years ago 4k gaming was a pipe dream.  Articles from 2016 noted that dual GPU PCs were “mandatory” for 4k gaming, today that couldn’t be further from the truth.

While gaming at 4k certainly doesn’t make sense for everyone, it definitely should be something you consider when getting a gaming PC.

Pros of 4k Gaming:Cons of 4k Gaming:

Comparison Chart of the Best 4k Gaming PC Build Guide

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Rosewill Prism S500 Gaming Case

  • 4 pre-installed RGB dual ring fans
  • Fitted with bottom intake fans
  • Tempered glass mounting points
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AMD Ryzen 7 3700x

  • 4.4GHz max boost
  • 36MB game cache
  • AMD Wraith Prism cooler
View Latest Price
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ZOTAC Gaming Geforce RTX 2070 Super

  • IceStorm 2.0 cooling system
  • Compatible with 4K resolution
  • 1770MHz boost clock
View Latest Price
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Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB

  • Crafted for high performance overclocking
  • Low profile heat SP reader design
  • Well designed and high performance
View Latest Price
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MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge

  • Can use 2nd/3rd gen AMD Ryzen
  • Radeon Bega graphics
  • FROZR Heatsink w/ Patented fan design
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Seagate FireCuda 2TB SSHD

  • Hybrid hard drive for enhanced speeds
  • Low power consumption
  • 5 year warranty
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Corsair – RMx (2019) 750W

  • 140mm rifle nearing fan
  • Industrial grade capacitors
  • Rapid wake up times
View Latest Price
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iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC Computer Desktop

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 video card
  • Tempered glass RGB case
  • Intel Z270 Express chipset
View Latest Price

Why Game In 4k?

Before we even start discussing our 4k builds there’s a question we have to answer. Why even game in 4k? Here are a few reasons why I feel like 4k is the best way to go!

4k Gaming Offers 4X The Detail!

When it comes to PC gaming typically the higher resolution the better.  

With a better monitor, the game world comes alive, the text is sharper than before, and movies pop.  Typically, people game at a resolution of 1920×1080 or 1080p, but now that PC hardware is more powerful and accessible, the trend is starting to shift to higher resolutions.

The easiest way to understand the huge difference this jump in resolution can make is to compare a 4k and 1080p display.  One 4k display has as many pixels as four different 1080p displays combined. This means details become incredibly sharp. If you have a 27in 1080p monitor you have to sit 42 inches away for individual pixels to become invisible, a 4k monitor of the same size cuts that distance in half.

More Accessible Than Ever Before!

Gaming at 3840×2160 or 4k is now possible even on a budget.

Unfortunately, the 4x increase in detail comes at a cost. The more pixels there are to control the more powerful the PC needs to be. Gaming machines at nearly any budget can handle 1080p just fine, but imagine playing four copies of a 1080p game at the same time on the same hardware, this is what gaming at 4k is like.

Thankfully, technological advancements have more than made up for this and a system powerful enough to handle itself at 4k can be had to start at even $1500!

I’ll provide a couple of different parts recommendations at four different price points as well as examine the options for prebuilt PCs in those ranges. As always I definitely recommend going with a custom-built system if you want to know more about why I recommend this you can check out my article on the topic here.

Overview: The Pros and Cons of 4K

The Best Detail
Removes the need for anti-aliasing
Increases Immersion
Great for other media consumption
Great for professional work (depending on the monitor)
Cost (both system and monitor)
4x more difficult to run than 1080p

The Best 4k Gaming PC Builds Overview

Before we get into the builds below I wanted to provide a brief overview of everything.

There are four 4k gaming PC builds and four 4k pre-built gaming PCs below. The budget ranges from $1500 all the way to $3500. All of these PC’s are capable of running 4k but don’t expect the $1500 4k PC to be able to compete with the $2500 PC build.

If you’re looking for my personal recommendation I’d say look at getting the 4k gaming PC that’s $2,000. That’s really going to offer the most value, and should last you for years before needing to be upgraded.

If you’re looking for a PC that’s cheaper than anything we have on this list, then check out our master post featuring PC’s that are between $600 and $1200 by clicking the image below. However, don’t expect to run 4K effectively with those PCs.

Outside of that if you have any questions about these 4k builds or pre-built 4k PCs, please feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll answer it as soon as we can!

Looking To Get A Gaming PC Cheaper Than $1500? Check Out The Post Below!

$1500 Budget 4K Gaming PC Build – The Underdog

When most people think about gaming in 4k they think that they’ll need to be willing to shell out $2000 or more to even have something capable of running the latest games in 4k.

Well with the underdog build you won’t have that issue. The underdog is a 4k gaming PC that will crush most games. Below are some of the 4k frames per seconds you can expect to get at ultra settings with this build in current triple-A titles.

If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit settings wise I’ve no doubt that this system can achieve a constant 60FPS+ in 4k in every current triple-A title out there.

The Underdog: 4k Gaming PC Build Outline

It is extremely difficult to find a prebuilt system as powerful as our custom-built recommendations, but for just over $1500 you can still find a good 4k prebuilt system.  

Any PC can output to 4k, but without the right hardware, games will run at “unplayable” (sub 30fps) framerates or at abysmal quality settings.  The best prebuilt in this range includes an Nvidia RTX 2070 which is about 10% worse than the 2070 Super. 

This system from iBUYPOWER is just under $1500 and packs the newest generation i9 as well as the aforementioned RTX 2070.  The peak frame rates are in the mid to low 50s and so the averages are well below that. You can certainly use this system to the game at 4k but given the compromised experience I’d recommend looking at building the $1500 gaming PC build above.

$2000 Great 4k Gaming PC Build – The Beast

A few years ago if you wanted to have a competent 4k build I’d say you’d at least need to shell out $3000, but as PC gaming technology progresses I’d say the right price for a very competent 4k gaming PC build is $2000!

With $2000 you’re able to get a powerful GPU, and CPU which is going to have the biggest influence on your 4k performance. You can expect to play most games at 60 frames per second or more which is the golden grail with 4k gaming. Below’s the FPS you can expect to get with most recent Triple-A games at 4k.

The Beast: $2000 4k Gaming PC Build Outline

PRODUCTDETAILS
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FSP CMT510 ATX Mid Tower PC RGB Case

  • x3 semi-clear tempered glass panels
  • x7 PCI-E expansion slots
  • Up to 400mm graphics card supported
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Intel i7 9700K

  • 12MB memory cache
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Intel Optane Memory compatible
View Latest Price
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The Hyper 212 Evo

  • 82.9 CFM air flow
  • Enhanced surface to surface heat transfer
  • Reduced noise levels
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EVGA Geforce RTX 2080 TI Black Edition

  • 1545 MHz boost clock
  • Dual HDB fans
  • Ability to overclock like a champ
View Latest Price
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G.Skill RipJaws V 32GB’s of RAM

  • DDR4 memory upgrade
  • Dual channel 32GB memory kit
  • Up to 3200MHz speeds
View Latest Price
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Seagate Firecuda 2TB SSHD

  • Hybrid hard drive for enhanced speeds
  • Low power consumption
  • 5 year warranty
View Latest Price
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MSI Z390-A PRO

  • Dual channel memory supported
  • Compatible with multiple Intel processors
  • Supports Windows 10 64-bit
View Latest Price
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Corsair RMx 750 Watts Modular 80+ Gold PSU

  • 140mm rifle nearing fan
  • Industrial grade capacitors
  • Rapid wake up times
View Latest Price
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CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Supreme Liquid Cool Gaming PC

  • Intel Z390 Chipset
  • Tempered glass side panel
  • 7 color backlighting
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Once you get to the $2000 range, buying a PC starts to make more sense.  While it is still a worse value than building your own, the contest is much closer.  This system from CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Supreme comes in at just under $2000 and has very similar specs to our custom build at this price.  It features the same CPU, just with a water cooler (the one advantage here), an RTX 2080 Super as opposed to the 2080Ti, half the RAM supplied from an unnamed brand, and a higher capacity power supply but also from an unnamed brand. 

Benchmarks show that the 2080 Ti is about 23% more powerful across the board. 

This will translate to somewhat worse performance in-game, but gaming at 4k is still a perfectly doable task for the RTX 2080.  If you plan on overclocking, you may even get more power out of the CPU if you take full advantage of the liquid cooling.  

Corsair Hydro H100i PRO

Overall, the best-prebuilt system in this price range still offers worse value than a custom-built, but not so much less that I cannot recommend it.  If you’ve read our guide on building vs buying a PC and decided that building isn’t for you, this system is a great way to start gaming at 4k.

$2500 Best 4k Gaming PC Build – Phoenix Rising

With $2500 you’re really building a gaming PC that only the most elite of gamers ever get the experience of owning. You’re getting a PC that will last you for years without ever needing to be updated.

If you’re looking for something that’s going to dominate almost any game in 4k then this is it. Below are the FPS numbers you should expect from different games with this build.

The Phoenix Rising: $2500 4k Gaming PC Build Outline

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Extra Mile Gaming Computer C-380

  • Triple sided tempered glass panels
  • x5 dual ring RGB LED fans
  • Well ventilated case
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Intel i9-9900K

  • Compatible with Intel 300 series chipsets
  • Supports Intel Optane memory
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
View Latest Price
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Corsair Hydro H100i PRO

  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • 75CFM air flow
  • x2 1200 ML series magnetic levitation fans
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Asus RTX 2080 TI Overclocked Edition

  • Aura sync software for optimized game setup
  • Crafted with high grade durable materials
  • Tweak II GPU
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G.Skill RipJaws V 32GB’s of RAM

  • DDR4 memory upgrade
  • Dual channel 32GB memory kit
  • Up to 3200MHz speeds
View Latest Price
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Asus ROG Strix Z390

  • Streamlined installation with premounted I/O shield
  • Fitted with FanXpert cooling system
  • Built-in 8/9th gen Intel core processors
View Latest Price
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Seagate Firecuda 2TB SSHD

  • Hybrid hard drive for enhanced speeds
  • Low power consumption
  • 5 year warranty
View Latest Price
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Corsair RMx 750W Modular PSU

  • 140mm rifle nearing fan
  • Industrial grade capacitors
  • Rapid wake up times
View Latest Price
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Skytech [RTX 2080 Ti Version] Omega Gaming Computer Desktop PC Intel i7 9700K 3.6 GHz

  • Improved wi-fi range and speed
  • Ready for VR & 4K
  • x4 120mm High static pressure LED fan
View Latest Price

The situation for pre-built systems at $2500 is much the same as at $2000.  Overall the system offers slightly worse value across the board but is a reasonable competitor.  At $2500 Skytech offers a system much the same as their previous one I look at, but with a better CPU and more robust water cooling solution.

Given that the GPU is still an RTX 2080 TI I’ll refer you to my comparison above for more details and focus on the CPU.

The CPU you’re getting the i7-9700k which is the biggest difference between this build and as you can see from the image below you can see that the difference is very insignificant in terms of gaming. When it comes to building a workstation the i9-9900k starts to shine a lot more. 

For my money, I would absolutely pick our $2500 build, but if you’re willing to pay a premium to have someone build your gaming PC then Skytech currently has the best $2500 pre-built PC on the market, and gaming performance is very close to our $2500 build.

Best $3500+ 4k Gaming PC Build – DEUS EX MACHINA

I’ve named this 4k build Deus Ex Machina which means God in the machine because this PC is probably powerful enough to power an AI system that could take over the world.

Seriously though this PC is absolute overkill and will easily put you at the top 1% of all gaming PC builds. Unless you’re an extreme PC gamer or are just rich I wouldn’t recommend getting this build as there are some diminishing returns compared to the $2000 or $2500 build.

However, if you want the best of the best, then Deus Ex Machina is the build to get!

DEUS EX MACHINA: $3500+ 4k Gaming PC Build Outline

PRODUCTDETAILS
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NZXT H510 Elite

  • Fitted with NZXT Cam
  • Dual tempered glass panels
  • x2 HUE RGB lighting panels
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Intel i9-9900K

  • Compatible with Intel 300 series chipsets
  • Supports Intel Optane memory
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
View Latest Price
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Corsair H100i RGB PLATINUM AIO Liquid CPU Cooler

  • x2 120mm ML Pro magnetic levitation fans
  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • 75 CFM air flow
View Latest Price
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NVIDIA Titan RTX Graphics Card

  • NVIDIA CUDA cores
  • Up to 672 GB/s bandwith
  • 1770MHz boost clock
View Latest Price
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Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB

  • Capable of high qulaity overclocking
  • Low profile design heat spreader
  • 1.2 volt SPD voltage
View Latest Price
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Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard

  • Streamlined installation with premounted I/O shield
  • Fitted with FanXpert cooling system
  • Built-in 8/9th gen Intel core processors
View Latest Price
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Seagate Firecuda Gaming 2TB SSHD

  • Hybrid hard drive for enhanced speeds
  • Low power consumption
  • 5 year limited warranty
View Latest Price
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Corsair RMx 750W Modular Gold PSU

  • Industrial grade capacitors
  • Fully modular cables
  • Low noise operation
View Latest Price
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CORSAIR ONE i160 Compact Gaming PC

  • Able to support multiple (3) 4K displays
  • Assisted convection liquid cooling system
  • Intel core i9 9900K 8-core processor
View Latest Price

I think that it’s interesting that at the highest end price ranges pre-built systems start to make more sense.  In this case, our custom system will absolutely have better performance but like I discussed when looking at the RTX Titan, performance gains at the top end see diminishing returns.  

That’s why if I had $3500+ to spend on a Gaming PC I’d seriously consider the Corsair One.  This prebuilt features identical specs to our own systems with the exception of the cooling solutions, GPU, and storage capacity. 

To start, the Corsair features liquid cooling on both the CPU and GPU, this means that the system will run very quietly even when under intense loads.  It also means that should you want to overclock the CPU, GPU, or even both simultaneously, there should be plenty of cooling to do so. The storage is somewhat of a moot point but nevertheless is nice to have. 

The One features a 1tb SSD paired with a 2tb traditional drive. The final difference is the GPU. Like I mentioned earlier the RTX 2080Ti and RTX Titan are not very far apart when it comes to performance and massively more expensive Titan is almost always a worse value.

Finally, with the Corsair, you’re also getting an extremely unique design that has been engineered to work and perform at best in class levels for the computer’s size.  All of the custom builds in this guide at standard ATX tower size. The Corsair One is in a mini ITX form-factor and is not significantly bigger than home gaming consoles.  For some people, this can be a huge draw especially if you’d prefer to have a sleek custom-designed computer on your desk rather than a comparatively massive tower.

Don’t Buy A 4k Gaming PC Without A 4k Monitor: Best 4k Monitors Currently On The Market!

PRODUCTDETAILS
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LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4k Monitor

  • 4K UHD IPS monitor
  • Capable of screen split 2.0
  • 10-bit color depth
View Latest Price
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Asus VP28UQG 28-Inch 4k Monitor

  • Adaptive sync/AMD free sync
  • 5-way OSD joystick
  • Blue light control system
View Latest Price
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BenQ EL2870U 28 inch HDR 4K Gaming Monitor

  • Improved brightness and contrast
  • Eye protection system
  • Hi-Res 4K monitor
View Latest Price
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Acer Predator XB271HK 27-Inch 4k Monitor

  • Reduced flickering occurences
  • 4ms response time
  • 27" UHD widescreen display
View Latest Price
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Windows 10 Home 32/64 bit English International

  • Easy to use flash drive
  • Works with non-english keyboard
  • 32 to 64-bit installation
View Latest Price

The most important part of gaming in 4k is having a 4k monitor to game on. Without the right display, building a 4k ready system is pointless.

4k monitors vary wildly in price and performance.  I’ve gathered a couple of different options at different price points to fit any budget.

Option 1: LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4k Monitor

This is the best entry-level 4k monitor I can find.  It has a good amount of features, probably most importantly AMD Freesync.  This technology pairs with your graphics card to creature variable refresh rates and increase performance while reducing artifacts like screen tearing (more here).  Reviews for this offering from LG are also overwhelmingly positive, so it should last for a long time.  The other interesting thing to note is the size.  At only 27in this monitor is a slightly smaller than most other 4k panels.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however as it means increased pixel density for an even sharper image from closer viewing distances.

Option 2: Asus VP28UQG 28-Inch 4k Monitor

This offering from ASUS is very similar to the slightly less expensive LG option I just looked at.  It has freesync, good color accuracy, an acceptable refresh rate, and decent reviews.  The big difference is the size.  Many people (myself included) prefer slightly larger monitors, the difference between a 27in and 28in display is somewhat surprising, making this a good option for a larger monitor at a low price.

Asus VP28UQG 28-Inch 4k Monitor

Option 3: BenQ EL2870U 28-Inch 4k Monitor

I currently use an older 4k monitor from BenQ and it has worked incredibly well for me.  Not only does this monitor have the advantage of great reviews, but it’s also the first “gaming” specific monitor I’m recommending.  Monitor brands love to put “gaming” in front of anything and everything so it’s important to understand the difference between standard offerings and “gaming” offerings.  

In this case, the monitor has the same resolution, still has freesync, and has a standard size and port selection.  The difference is in the picture quality and response time. Whenever you move your mouse it takes a fraction of a second for the monitor to register and then display that movement.  Most monitors take between 4-8 milliseconds to respond. This is incredibly fast and won’t be noticed by most people. The BenQ sacrifices some picture quality (contrast, colors, and viewing angle) to get that response time down to 1 millisecond.  In fast-twitch games, these few milliseconds can be far more important than marginally better contrast or colors.

I would recommend this monitor if you plan to mostly use your PC for gaming and not other media consumption.

Option 4: Acer Predator XB271HK 27-Inch 4k Monitor

This offering from Acer is an excellent high-end option.  It has a better refresh rate than the LG and also has Nvidia’s G-sync technology, which is the competitor to freesync.  It also seems to have a more robust and adjustable stand than the LG model, but if you’re looking for a slightly newer and higher-end display this is a great choice.  It also features a better display than the BenQ while maintaining the “gaming” performance tweaks.

The Best Operating System For Gaming

The one downside to building your own PC is then needing to figure out an operating system.  As far as we’re concerned, Windows 10 is the best overall system.

If you buy a windows 10 key new, you’re looking at around $120.

Tomshardware wrote an article about the different ways to get a Windows 10 license – if you’re a student, you should be able to pick one up for cheap.

Best Operating System For Gaming (Source

Getting Windows 10 is well worth it because almost every application is developed for windows, and this is especially true for games. 

If you’re into coding and are familiar with Linux based operating systems, valve (the company behind Steam) has been starting to develop software which will make Windows compatible games run on Linux. 

If this is your area of expertise we say go for it! (but we still recommend getting a windows license anyways).

Connecting To The Internet: Ethernet or WiFi?

So far, this guide assumes that you’ll be using an ethernet cable to connect your desktop to the internet.  This is not the only solution, however. You can also purchase a relatively inexpensive wifi adapter which oftentimes will use USB or a PCI slot.  You can see our article about USB WiFi adapters for gaming. Overall my personal recommendation would be to use ethernet. A wired connection tends to be more stable and often times is faster than a connection via wifi.

If you’re getting the $2500 or $3500 build then your motherboard comes with built-in WiFi so you’ll be good with the internet. I would still recommend getting an ethernet cable and connecting directly to the router for a stronger connection though.

Below are my recommended ethernet and WiFi adapters.

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Mediabridge Ethernet Cable (50 Feet)

  • 24AWG Stranded conductors
  • Includes adjustable, reusable Velcro straps
  • Supports both Cat6 and Cat5e
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USB WiFi Adapter for PC

  • 2 pc. long range 5dBi antennas
  • Easy to connect to any computer
  • Simple hot spot setup
View Latest Price
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Logitech – G502 Hero

  • Fitted with a HERO 16K sensor
  • Multiple customizable buttons (11)
  • LIGHTSYNC technolgy built in
View Latest Price
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Razer Ornata Chroma Gaming Keyboard

  • 16.8 million colored individual backlit keys
  • Programmable macro keys
  • Magnetic wrist rest
View Latest Price
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SteelSeries Arctis 5 Gaming Headset

  • Arctis speaker drivers built-in
  • Inline USB ChatMix
  • Padded ear cushions
View Latest Price

Recommended Ethernet: Mediabridge 50 Feet Ethernet Cable

This is one of my favorite gaming mice.  So, the fact that is only around $55 is a complete steal.  I’ve had the previous generation G502 for nearly five years now and see no reason to upgrade.  

The materials have barely aged, the buttons feel as crisp as the day I bought the mouse, and the braided cord has almost no visible wear.  Logitech also makes a more expensive wireless version, but unless wires really bother you the standard G502 is absolutely the way to go.

Recommended Keyboard: Razer Ornata Chroma Gaming Keyboard

If you’re looking for an incredibly sturdy keyboard with full RGB backlighting then I’d recommend the Razer Ornata Chroma.

When you’re gaming the one thing you want is to feel every key when you press it. This allows you to better map every action that you take.

The Chroma’s also not very loud which has always been a big pet peeve of mine when it comes to a lot of these responsive keyboards.

Razer promises that the Ornata Chroma is good for up to 80 million clicks which should last even the most die-hard gamer a few years.

Recommended Headphones: SteelSeries Arctis 5

One of the other things that can greatly improve PC gaming is a good headset and a good microphone.  This more premium headset from SteelSeries has excellent reviews and a decent price considering the features it offers.  This way you don’t need to buy a separate microphone for use in-game or with programs like discord.

Concluding Thoughts: What’s the best value?

Wow! Congratulations on making it to the end of this article.

Hopefully, this post has something in it that can help you build the 4k gaming PC of your dreams.

If you’re like most people you care about value. If that’s you then I’d recommend getting The Beast which is the $2000 gaming PC build.

It offers the most bang for your buck as you’re getting the RTX 2080 TI and Intel 9700k which are a powerful combo and can handle almost any game in 4k.

If you’re on a tight budget, but still want something capable of 4k gaming, then The Underdog is a great build for that. We also have other PC builds as well that are much cheaper, but don’t expect to game at 4k with them.

Phoenix Rising, and Deus Ex Machina both offer cutting edge 4k gaming. If money really isn’t any concern then you can consider one of these, but they definitely aren’t the best value gaming PCs.

One important thing to keep in mind is that on top of component costs you’ll also need to get an operating system as well as a 4k monitor (arguably the most important part of 4k gaming).

So these costs really do start to add up, and even if you opt for the $1500 build or $2000 build you’ll most likely need to add at least an additional $500 on top of that to get all of your gaming accessories.

With that being said, you’ve now come to the end of this journey!