Christmas special: Ultimate PC - December 2017
The Ultimate PC is a PC Advice from the past, but we still get regularly requests to publish an ultimate system. Just like past year, we gathered the most ultimate components for this Christmas special.
With an unlimited budget, the fantasy of one will stop far earlier than that of another, so there are many different options. This is the Ultimate PC that the editors of Hardware.Info would like the most to find under the Christmas tree.
The only thing we allow ourselves to stop by is that the component choices must remain sensible - we don't spend thousands of euros extra for a few percent performance gain or build a RAID setup of dozens of SSDs, but otherwise we take the term 'sensible' quite broad.
Last year we spent almost as much money on the processor, but you get almost twice as much cores this year! After a year full of launches in the processor market, Intel still delivers the fastest processor, but without the necessary competition the Core i9 7980XE would undoubtedly not have existed.
With 18 cores, a maximum turbo speed of 4.4 GHz and 44 PCIe lanes, the Core i9 7980XE is a true beast. By the way: the 16-core 7960X is a bit faster in games because of its higher base clock, but we can't imagine that you'll let this processor run without an overclock.
Only the best components are good enough for the Ultimate PC. That's why we chose the NZXT Kraken X62: it's one of the best ready-to-use water coolers you can buy right now, as a successor to the equally popular X61. The new variant is equipped with RGB lighting and, like the previous edition, can be controlled via NZXT's own CAM software.
The chosen processor has a quad-channel DDR4 memory controller, which means that we have to fill at least four slots for the best performance. We use a kit from G.Skill's high-end Trident Z RGB series for this. This set combines a very high clock speed with tight timings - its high price doesn't keep us from selecting it for this rig.
The ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme lives up to its name as a top model ROG motherboard. All the features you can wish for are there - even those that allow you to discuss the usefulness - as well as all connections and overclocking possibilities. And all implementations, whether you're talking audio, network or USB 3.1, are top-notch. One of the unique features is addressable RGB, which enables you to individually control each LED in a LED strip.
The fastest video card in the world is the Nvidia Titan V, but it's astronomically expensive and not yet available. A SLI configuration of two GTX 1080 Ti's is a logical alternative. With the Gaming X, MSI already had one of the most attractive GeForce GTX 1080 Ti's and with the Gaming X Trio, MSI surpassed themselves. The extra fan makes the card run just a little cooler while producing the same amount of noise.
Unfortunately, SLI doesn't work equally well in all the new games, but often just one GTX 1080 Ti is enough to get 60 fps on ultra settings. If SLI does work well, you'll have the ultimate gaming experience without having to lower even one setting.
Samsung delivers the fastest SSD to date with its 960 Pro. It's topping all of the graphs and thanks to the two terabytes of storage, you'll be able to run your OS and all other software from the fastest storage medium in this PC.
Data storage on mechanical harddisks? Please go back to 2016 ;-). The Crucial MX300 offers a really low price per GB, which makes us fully switch to fast SSD storage for the Ultimate PC. That has more advantages than just speed - SSDs consume less power, typically die less quickly and don't produce any noise.
If you don't have enough with of six terabytes of storage in total, you could grab a few big hard drives - but a NAS might be a better option in this case.
Cooler Masters Cosmos series has been known for quite some time and even became a bit boring to us at some point. With the Cosmos C700P, the manufacturer is back. You have to like its distinctive design - we think the refreshed design in combination with the RGB LED strips and curved shrouds is quite successful.
As far as we are concerned, however, the main advantages of the C700P are the excellent construction quality, the extensive installation space and the high degree of flexibility offered by the chassis. Water cooling enthusiasts won't complain either, with three positions available for radiators up to 420 mm.
Processors and graphics cards have become faster this year, but generally not much more energy efficient. With this 1000W power supply from Seasonic, all components are supplied with stable power even when overclocked. We already were very satisfied with the performance of the Prime Titanium series, but the Ultra version is equipped with improved cables and comes with a PSU tester.
By the way, power supplies are traditionally a product group where many brands participate in the top. Among others Corsair, Be quiet! and EVGA also have excellent power supplies in this segment, but ultimately we have to choose one power supply for this advice.
We would say this year's ultimate monitor is the Acer Predator Z35P. The 21:9 aspect ratio and high resolution are ideal for productivity, while the curved VA panel used provides excellent color reproduction and deep contrast. The refresh rate of 120 Hz is still unique at this resolution - and Acer even combines that with Nvidia G-Sync. The Acer Predator Z35P is one of the most desirable gaming displays of the moment and thus the choice for the Ultimate PC of 2017.
Teufel currently supplies the ultimate speaker set for the PC gamer. The Concept E-450 features five high-quality satellites for spatial sound and an impressive subwoofer that produces deep bass tones. Not only the sound is excellent, but you also get a wireless remote control and the option to easily stream music through Bluetooth.
With its K95 Platinum, Corsair brought an impressive top model to the already successful K-series. The construction quality is absolutely excellent and with a luxurious wristrest, dedicated macro- and media keys, Cherry switches with RGB lighting and USB passsthrough there is little to be desired. As far as we are concerned, the K95 Platinum is the best keyboard currently available on the Dutch market.
The ultimate gaming mouse is without a doubt the Logitech G903 Lightspeed. This mouse seems to be an exact copy of the G900, the first wireless gaming mouse we really liked. A unique addition, however, is that the accompanying mouse pad on-the-fly charges your mouse and you never have to plug in a cable to charge it again. The mouse isn't cheap by itself, and the mouse pad you need costs more than 120 euros, but you won't find a mouse any more ultimate than this one.
|Processors||Intel Core i9 7980XE Boxed||$1,974.99|
|CPU coolers||NZXT Kraken X62 AM4||$147.49|
|Memory modules||G.Skill Trident Z RGB 64GB DDR4-4000 CL18 octo kit||–|
|Motherboards||ASUS RoG Rampage VI Extreme||$649.99|
|Graphics cards||2x MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio||–|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Samsung 960 Pro 2TB||$1,267.45|
|Hard disks/SSDs||2x Crucial MX300 2TB||$1,099.98|
|Cases||Cooler Master Cosmos C700P Black||$290.99|
|Power supplies||Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium 1000W||–|
|Monitors||Acer Predator Z35P||–|
|PC speaker sets||Teufel Concept E-450||–|
|Keyboards||Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Cherry MX Speed (US)||$199.99|
|Mice||Logitech G903 Lightspeed||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||$5,630.88|