/>
X

Build the ultimate $20,000 PC

Yes, you read that right. $20,000. This is the 'far more money than sense' PC. A PC that will confer on you the ultimate in bragging rights while simultaneously putting a huge dent in your bank balance. Yes, it's crazy. Yes, it's stupid, but it's only money, right?

|
adrian-kingsley-hughes.jpg
|
Topic: Hardware
CPU
1 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

CPU

Starting out with the processor, I've gone for the king of silicon -- the Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E, an 8-Core, 3.0GHz LGA 2011-v3 140W part that is currently the best available.

It features 20MB of L3 cache and 8 x 256KB of L2 cache. It's built using 22-nanometer technology and comes with a three-year warranty. There's also tons of overhead for overclocking, if that's your thing. You should be able to get this part up to 4.6GHz with ease (as long as you have the right cooling).

Bear in mind that for $1,000 you don't get a cooler so you need to add that to the list and budget for it.

Price: $1,050

Motherboard
2 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Motherboard

We're spending top dollar on a processor so it makes sense to spend good money on a motherboard to back that up. This time around I've gone for the MSI Gaming X99A GODlike Gaming motherboard.

Not only does this support the processor -- as well as allowing for overclocking if that's your thing -- but it also gives me bags of SATA and USB 3.1 ports, and a pretty decent sound output system.

The board also supports quad-GPU Nvidia 4-Way SLI and AMD 4-way/quad-GPU CrossFireX technology, allowing for plenty of graphics firepower.

Price: $650

Graphic cards
3 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Graphic cards

Since the motherboard supports a lot of graphics power, and the budget is pretty much unlimited, I've gone for four - yes, FOUR! - EVGA GeForce GTX TITAN Z graphics cards.

These are factory overclocked (called "Superclocked"), feature 12GB of 7-Gbps GDDR5 RAM, and are bristling with connectors.

You might expect these cards -- especially with a bunch of them -- to be noisy, but in fact they are virtually whisper-quiet.

Price: 4 x $1,550 = $6,100

RAM
4 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

RAM

The motherboard supports up to 128GB, so let's push the boat out and max out this puppy!

I'm going for two lots of 16GB (eight in total) Corsair Dominator Platinum 288-Pin DDR4. These are equipped with the aluminum heat-spreader for superior cooling efficiency and have been compatibility tested with X99 motherboards. It's solid, stable RAM that you can overclock to your heart's content.

Price: $1,280

Storage
5 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Storage

With a high-end build there's only one way to go -- the SSD way. And it's a good idea to fit at least two SSDs to spread the load.

I've gone for four 2TB Samsung 850 Pro Series 2.5-inch SATA III drives featuring 3D Vertical NAND. The motherboard can support a lot more drives, but even I think four is enough!

You don't think so? OK, we've still got a spare PCI-E slot on the motherboard, so why not throw in an OCZ Z-Drive 4500? This is only $5,800 for a 1.6TB version, but you do get read speeds up to 2,900 MB/s.

Price: 4 x $990 + $5,800 = $9,760

PSU
6 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

PSU

All this hardware is going to need a serious amount of power, and the PSU had better be stable, because with all that load, any inconsistencies are going to translate into instabilities, which means trouble for the PC.

Here is the largest PSU I've ever featured - the EVGA 220-T2-1600-X1 80 PLUS Titanium 1600 W.

This PSU is fully-modular which keeps your cabling under control, 80 PLUS Titanium certified for efficiency and is quad-GPU ready, supporting both Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFireX technologies, so it's perfect for this build.

It also features a custom-designed fan that's extra large, with a diameter of 140mm for low noise even at full load, and a 0 RPM setting for when no cooling is needed.

Price: $420

Cooler
7 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Cooler

That processor needs a cooler, and rather than rely on air-cooling I've chosen a Corsair Hydro Series H110i GTX, an all-in-one liquid cooler featuring two 140mm radiator with integral fan.

I like this cooler because it is a sealed unit, which reduces the chance of leaks and means less mucking about with liquids around a PC.

Price: $120

Optical Drive
8 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Optical Drive

You need an optical drive, and why not splash out for the LG Black 16x Super MultiBlue, a drive that supports reading and writing to CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

All things considered, it's the cheapest part of this PC!

Price: $99

Case
9 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Case

Finally, we've come to the case. I'm always hesitant in choosing a case because it's a personal thing and tastes vary. Whatever you go for, make sure that you choose one that's capable of holding an Extended ATX (or E-ATX) motherboard and has enough space for all your goodies.

I've chosen the Zalman GS1200. This has everything you need, from quiet fans, to dust filters and tool-free drive bays. There's even a bay on the top that acts as a hard drive docking station.

Price: $500

Related Galleries

DJI Mavic 3 in flight
Superb aerial camera platform

Related Galleries

DJI Mavic 3 in flight

Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station
Satechi Dock5

Related Galleries

Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station

Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adaptor
Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adaptor

Related Galleries

Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adaptor

DJI Mavic 3: Unboxing and first look
DJI Mavic 3 with controller

Related Galleries

DJI Mavic 3: Unboxing and first look

Yubikey Security Key C NFC
Security Key C NFC

Related Galleries

Yubikey Security Key C NFC

First look: 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro
It's here!

Related Galleries

First look: 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro

Apple Watch Series 7: Unboxing and first impressions
Hello QWERTY keyboard

Related Galleries

Apple Watch Series 7: Unboxing and first impressions