4K Gaming PC - May 2017
4K monitors are getting cheaper and cheaper, while their sharpness can't be matched by normal displays. Graphics cards have to render four times as many pixels to drive a 4K display compared to a 'normal' Full HD panel, while the game textures are only getting more detailed. In short: you need real horse power to game in 4K.
A fast processor and especially a graphics card is a must. However, the rest of the configuration needs to be balanced as well. Since many gamers prefer to overclock their PC to improve performance, it is important to choose a motherboard that is suitable for this.
Having the right accessories is equally important. The goal of our 4K Gaming PC is to be able to run virtually all new PC titles on the highest settings. That means high graphics quality settings, a good frame rate, and surround sound. And let’s not forget a good gaming mouse and a decent keyboard with features to enhance your PC gaming experience. Besides that, a nice gaming monitor will also help bring your gaming experience to the next level.
A dedicated 4K gaming PC is pretty expensive, but we try to make sure that our recommended system isn't over-the-top. Do you want to spend less? Check out our Budget 4K Gaming PC advice.
Please note: the PC Buyer’s Guide is compiled based on independent component tests performed by Hardware.Info. If no new, superior products are released that should replace one or more of the components, then the component(s) will remain the same as the previous month.
If you want to know more about how we compile our PC Buying guides, have a look at this article.
A fast processor is a must to game in 4K. We proved that the theoretical advantage of having more PCI-Express lanes on the LGA2011 platform, isn't anywhere near noticeable when using two high-end graphics cards. That's why we choose the Core i7 7700K, Intels fastest processor for socket 1151.
For the time being, Intel still offers the best performance in games - and that's the main use case for this system. Due to the unlocked multiplier, you can easily overclock your CPU. Unfortunately, many games still don't scale to more than four cores, so in the foreseeable future, fast cores remain more important than the amount of cores.
With 16 Gigs of RAM, your system will be future-proof and suitable for gaming related activities such as capturing gameplay, streaming and running a (light) game server. This kit from Corsair has an attractive price, and the high clock speed can sometimes be beneficial in games. Be sure to check out our price comparison engine, because as long as a memory kit is from a known brand, you can't go wrong with it.
The Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH Edition follows a known recipe: take the voluminous heatsink of the Mugen 5, put a whisper quiet fan on both sides, and you have a winner. Only some Noctua's cool a bit better, but you'll certainly pay a premium for them.
Both fans have a maximum rotation speed of just 800 rpm, but together they offer enough cooling capacity to keep the chosen CPU cool.
Unfortunately, ASUS didn't launch a successor for its ROG Maximus Ranger VIII, a really complete mainboard for its price in the previous generation. Although not being part of the Republic of Gamers series, the ASUS Prime Z270-A is the closest to the pure definition of our Excellent Choice Award: an excellent choice.
ASUS excels in the upper middle segment when it comes to the quality of the audio implementation and provides support for DTS Connect, which enables you to connect a surround speakerset through the optical output. We were also impressed by the extensive fan control options.
Furthermore, the Prime Z270-A checks all the boxes you want: SLI support, two M.2 slots for fast SSDs, USB 3.1 ports and a high-quality network controller from Intel. Moreover, the extensive VRMs will have no problem with the chosen processor, even with a hefty overclock.
Carefree gaming on Ultra HD resolution is only possible with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. This card is based on the very expensive Titan X and is almost as fast, but at least somewhat less expensive. The number of games that will require some settings to be adjusted will be kept to a minimum with the GTX 1080 Ti.
The differences are small, but Gigabyte offers one of the most interesting GTX 1080 Ti's. The test results are excellent and thanks to the clever tuning of the fan profile, it's also very quiet under gaming loads. With four years of warranty (which requires registration), the manufacturer also sets an example for the market.
Nowadays, the most high-end SSDs use a PCI-Express interface, but such super speedy storage isn't necessary for a Game PC, even if you game in high resolutions.
We choose 'just' a Crucial MX300, which offers a nice balance between performance and price. With half a terabyte of storage, almost everyone will have enough space for his game collection. Nowadays, you don't have to keep all your games locally stored, thanks to cloud services like Steam and Origin.
If you want a lot of storage for a friendly price, the Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB is a good choice, as our big comparison test showed us. Although all your games will probably fit on the SSD, you can store all your game captures, back-ups of your save games and other data on this hard disk.
If you rather have a Western Digital drive, the WD Desk Blue 4 TB is a good, but somewhat more expensive alternative.
Optical drive -
We can finally say you probably don't need an optical drive anymore. All games are available through online platforms like Steam and Origin. However, if you still want a DVD drive in your PC, you could take a look at the LG GH24NSD1.
A card reader is also a viable option. Not only cameras use memory cards, but also many smartphones are upgradeable with microSD. We recently tested a number of cardreaders, of which the Kingston FCR-HS4 turned out to be the fastest, while not even being expensive. It's an external model, but we think that's nothing more than handy.
We were very excited about the Phanteks Enthoo Pro in our review. The case offers features which we usually only see in enclosures that cost way more, while the build quality and finish are simply excellent. Due to its good cooling, the fan noise became a bit high on full speed, but that's easy to fix by setting up some fan profiles. Phanteks managed to dethrone the CM 690 and all its successores: if you are a gamer, the Enthoo Pro is the case you want to have.
By the way, a version without a side window also exists. If you prefer a silent pc most of all, you should take a look at the Fractal Design Define R5.
The RMx series from Corsair are an excellent choice and they were tested very well, with a good efficiency, an unprecedented low ripple, almost no noise and a long warranty period of seven years. You have to search very deeply to even spot a con.
We choose the RM550x, which can deliver enough power for the chosen configuration. Though, if you want to add a second card in SLI, you'll need four PEG connectors. For example the RM650x offers that.
The Corsair K95 Platinum is a worthy flagship for the popular mechanical keyboard series from the US-based brand. The construction quality is excellent and with a luxurious wrist support, dedicated macro and media keys, Cherry switches with RGB lighting and USB pass-through, little remains to be desired. Gamers will appreciate the fast MX Speed switches. In our review, we called the K95 Platinum 'the best keyboard available'.
The Logitech G403 Prodigy has a sleek and simple design, but uses the same top quality sensor as models that are much more expensive, like the G502 and G900. Its excellent performance on all kinds of mousepad surfaces makes it the ideal mouse for gamers. It doesn't offer many extra buttons - if you want those features, you'll have to opt for another model.
Not only should you get a quality mouse for a gaming PC, but the mousepad matters as well. Everyone has different preferences in material choice, so you should really try a few pads both in a store. The SteelSeries QcK is one of the candidates for your shortlist and a really popular store.
4K gaming doesn't have to be extremely expensive. This G-Master Gold Phoenix - a marketing name for the Iiyama GB2888UHSU-B1 monitor - offers all the display outputs you could need, with DisplayPort as well as HDMI 2.0. If you want, you can easily mount the display to a desk or wall mount thanks to its Vesa lay-out. The TN panel may not be the best for work where color accuracy is really important, but as a gamer you'll be happy with the quick response times it offers.
If you want to do more with your system than gaming, photo and video editing by example, the investment in a display with an IPS panel may be worth the extra money. The LG 27UD68P-B surprised us with its good viewing angles and its color deviations are so small, that the human eye won't notice them. However, the response times are a bit higher than with the Iiyama monitor, and the price is a bit higher too.
G-Sync is very expensive in this segment, but the Iiyama as well as the LG both support Freesync. For the time being, we have to conclude that AMD (sadly) offers no real competition for the chosen Nvidia card.
If you can't blast your speakers during late-night gaming sessions, a good headset should be part of your setup. For the gamer with a bigger budget, the Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum is the best choice. The earcups of this wireless headset contain a replaceable battery, the USB-receiver and a retractable microphone. On the outside, you'll find a few programmable buttons. Thanks to the Dolby support in the Logitech Gaming software, it's possible to simulate 7.1 surround sound.
Wanna spend less on a headset? The Kingston HyperX Cloud makes that possible. If you are looking for an excellent PC speakerset instead, the Edifier S760D is a very solid choice in our opinion.
|Processors||Intel Core i7 7700K Boxed||$334.99|
|Memory modules||Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 16GB DDR4-3000 CL15 kit||$147.99|
|CPU coolers||Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH Edition||–|
|Motherboards||ASUS Prime Z270-A||$149.99|
|Graphics cards||Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Aorus Xtreme Edition 11GB||$757.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX300 525GB||$159.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB||$119.99|
|Cases||Phanteks Enthoo Pro Window||$89.99|
|Power supplies||Corsair RM550x||–|
|Keyboards||Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Cherry MX Speed (US)||$199.99|
|Mice||Logitech G403 Prodigy Corded||–|
|Mouse pads||SteelSeries QcK||$10.92|
|Monitors||Iiyama G-Master Gold Phoenix GB2888UHSU-B1||–|
|Headsets||Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||$1,971.84|