4K Gaming PC - March 2018
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.
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.
For the time being, Intel still offers the best performance in games - of course, that's the main use case for this system. The Core i7 8700K doesn't only offer excellent gaming performance with its six physical cores and support for HyperThreading, but also performs great in other tasks, like video rendering. Furthermore, you can overclock it thanks to its unlocked multiplier.
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.
Although you can also buy very good air coolers, they can't keep up with the cooling performance and aesthetic enjoyment from a high-end water cooler. 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.
We need a motherboard with the Intel Z370 chipset for our Coffee Lake processor. Gigabyte's first version of its Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming was a disappointment, but it more than makes up for that with the new 2.0 version. Thanks to this board being brand new on the market, the latest developments have been included, which are still missing on many Z370 boards from the first batch.
It goes without saying that the basics are OK: a strong power circuit, Intel-based ethernet, excellent quality audio and fast USB 3.1. In addition, you have two rgb headers at your disposal for both regular and addressable rgb and an M.2 cooler is included, too.
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 MSI offers one of the most interesting GTX 1080 Ti's with its Gaming X Trio. The test results are excellent and its Tri Frozr cooler performs really well, so you can enjoy your high-end gaming rig without being disturbed.
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.
However, it's surely a trend that games are increasing in volume. For a high-end game PC, a terabyte of SSD storage makes sense, especially now Crucial is making it available for a relatively competitive price. The MX500 is fast but nevertheless affordable and comes with a five-year warranty.
If you want a lot of storage for a friendly price, the WD Blue 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.
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.
The NZXT H700i doesn't only cool well, but you'll also know at first glance that you're dealing with a high-end system thanks to its looks. The construction quality of the case is very high, and NZXT has paid a lot of attention to the lay-out and cable management. In addition, you'll also get two addressable RGB LED strips, so you can decide for yourself in which colour you want to light up your PC.
We don't need many words to describe the performance of the Seasonic Focus Plus Gold: it's excellent. The voltage stability, efficiency, ripple and noise production are all very good. The ripple of the Focus Plus Gold is just a tad higher when compared to the Corsair RMx, but the difference is really small. However, Seasonics offering is considerably cheaper.
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'.
In our opinion, the Logitech G903 is the best wireless gaming mouse your money can buy. It almost looks like a one-to-one copy of the previous G900, which we already liked very much, but the G903 adds support for Powerplay. If you are willing to spend $100 on the matching mouse pad, you will never need a cable again. But even if you just charge the mouse with a traditional cable, it's a pleasure to game with.
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, but we liked the Razer Goliathus a lot in our recent round-up test. The expensive Logitech mousepad that can charge the mouse wirelessly was already mentioned above, but for the time being we think it is too expensive to recommend.
The AOC Agon AG271UG breaks the bank, but if you want to have the ultimate 4K game screen... The AOC combines an IPS panel with support for Nvidia G-Sync, resulting in an unsurpassed game experience. Now, we just need to wait for the availability of 4K monitors with a 144Hz refresh rate.
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 8700K Boxed||$367.99|
|Memory modules||Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 16GB DDR4-3000 CL15 kit||$174.99|
|CPU coolers||NZXT Kraken X62||$159.99|
|Motherboards||Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming 2.0||–|
|Graphics cards||MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio||–|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX500 1TB||$199.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Western Digital Blue 4TB||$105.99|
|Cases||NZXT H700i Black||$199.99|
|Power supplies||Seasonic Focus Plus Gold 650W||$89.99|
|Keyboards||Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Cherry MX Speed (US)||$199.99|
|Mice||Logitech G903 Lightspeed||–|
|Mouse pads||Razer Goliathus Control Fissure Edition Medium||–|
|Monitors||AOC Agon AG271UG||–|
|Headsets||Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||$1,498.92|