Today, this one is for the window shoppers and 1%. There might be a handful of builders in the world that genuinely need this level of performance out of a machine, but there’s not a soul who wouldn’t appreciate it.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we must mention the fact that the RTX 3090 can’t yet claim the title of best high-end GPU until the world can get its hands on AMD’s new RDNA 2 cards. Regardless, the RTX 3090, especially our choice today, is guaranteed to sit amongst the top of any and every benchmark you can throw at it. Starting at $1500, the RTX 3090 manages to be even more jaw-dropping than the last generation’s FPS king, the RTX 2080 Ti. However, even with the RX 6000 purportedly achieving boost clock speeds of up to 2.5GHz, those with enough patience or disposable income won’t have many other options for absolutely top-tier performance from their next GPU.
Here at PremiumBuilds, we pride ourselves on maximizing price-to-performance for every curated build we present. However, as evidenced by Jon’s recent RTX 3090 Gaming Build, that doesn’t mean we shy away from systems with a more premium price tag. Further, all of our parts lists are made to be completely modular. So, if you have more or less money to play with, you can pick from some of the alternatives we offer or decide on your own upgrades/downgrades.
Now without further ado, let’s examine one of the most powerful consumer desktop configurations possible (courtesy of this exciting new age in gaming performance)!
Ultimate $5000 Ryzen 9 5950X + RTX 3090 Command Center – The Parts List
One of our centerpieces today is the Ryzen 9 5950X, available starting November 5th of this year. The 5950X is a shoo-in for this generation’s performance champion based on some recently leaked benchmarks and AMD’s internal testing. The generational improvements coming with Zen 3, including a reworked L3 cache to allow each CPU core direct and simultaneous access, should roughly translate to a 20% instructions per clock (IPC) improvement over Zen 2 while maintaining the same 105W TDP (thermal design power)!
Zen 3’s power efficiency and relatively tame thermal performance are a testament to AMD’s engineering, and the genius of the Zen architecture. Opting for a chiplet design, opposed to monolithic CPU dies, developing improvements to Zen, and manufacturing the physical product is easier and faster for AMD and TSMC. This is the biggest reason AMD can deliver on their promises of significant upgrades with each new generation of the Zen architecture.
With sixteen cores, thirty-two threads, 64MB of L3 cache, and default boost clocks of up to 4.9GHz, the 5950X aims for the CPU summit this generation. If Zen 3 has also managed to hide some significant overclocking headroom, where Zen 2, by and large, did not, then AMD is almost guaranteed to take home the trophy for workstation and FPS performance.
Today’s build is brought to you by the colors black and white, and our first component is Noctua’s legendary NH-D15 Chromax.Black dual-tower heat sink.
By no means is the NH-D15 the only option for premium air-cooling performance, but it is still one of the best even after so many years. Noctua sets itself apart by almost always opting for function over form, and immaculate build quality, which is why it came as quite a surprise when they finally yielded to popular demand and created the Chromax variants for their most popular models. For the longest time, Noctua held fast against criticisms of their notorious brown color scheme until finally offering blacked-out versions of heat sinks like the NH-D15, NH-U12s, and NH-L9a. Now, anyone who may have used the “ugly” brown color scheme as an excuse to stay away from Noctua products essentially has no reason to snag one of the best CPU coolers of all time.
Aside from the slick new color treatment, the Chromax NH-D15 brings the same 240mm AIO level cooling performance with six heat pipes, two 140mm fin stacks, and two of their renowned NF-A15 140mm fans. Considering the unchanged 105W with Zen 3 compared to Zen 2, even if Zen 3 ends up capable of serious overclocking, there’s virtually no reason to opt for liquid cooling outside of a completely custom open-loop. Air coolers will forever remain a preferable option for most builders with better noise performance, roughly equivalent cooling performance, and minimal points of failure. If you’re excited about liquid cooling, then by all means, but if all you care about is performance and reliability, there is no better alternative to a premium air cooler.
Today’s motherboard is the embodiment of the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and it keeps with our black and white theme! The MSI MEG X570 Unify returns, as it has been a staple in mid to high-end AMD builds ever since its initial release. The X570 chipset has seen few options as well-rounded and well-designed as the Unify, hence how prolific it’s been as a top-tier pick regardless of who you ask.
The X570 Unify boasts 60A Power Stages, a 15 Phase VRM (12+2+1), support for up to 128GB of DDR4-5000MHz memory, 3x M.2 slots, Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0, Realtek 2.5G LAN + ALC1220 Audio CODEC, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (1 is Type-C) + 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 + 2x USB 2.0 ports, an internal USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C header, 4x SATA III 6Gb/s ports, an integrated I/O shield, rear Clear CMOS + BIOS Flashback buttons, onboard Power and Reset buttons, and a POST code readout, all of which are stylishly blacked out.
If Zen 3 can be overclocked, a stellar pick for Zen 2 will be even better! The X570 Unify already has incredible VRM performance; thus, with virtually no change in TDP for Zen 3, $300 even will ensure you extract as much power from the new 5950X as possible!
AMD’s Zen 2 CPUs performed remarkably well in games, but they were really intended to provide unparalleled productivity performance for consumer desktops. This time around, Zen 3 is coming in guns blazing to not only retain their superior workstation performance but shoot for the top spot in gaming as well. With this in mind, we’ve chosen the G.Skill Ripjaws V 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4-3600 CL16 memory kit to ensure you’ve more than enough memory for gaming and tasks like photo/video editing and rendering.
However, if you’re not interested in anything other than gaming, feel free to pick up the 32GB version (2x16GB) to leave an upgrade path for yourself, still have ample memory for gaming and multi-tasking, and save some money!
Everything keeps getting smaller, and thanks to solid-state drives, all of your data can now fit on something near the size of a pack of stick gum! Enter the $300 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 SSD, our OS drive of choice. M.2 SSDs are some of the fastest storage devices available outside of even pricier PCIe 4.0 options. They eliminate the cable management that comes with 2.5” and 3.5” drives, are incredibly easy to install and replace, and thanks to the X570 Unify, you have the option to expand with up to two more down the road.
Additionally, we’ve selected a 2TB Samsung 860 EVO 2.5” SSD for our bulk drive. Our build today is an exceptional workstation, but AAA games are getting more and more storage-intensive. More assets need to be retrieved and faster than ever before. Meaning, unless we see some incredible breakthroughs in spinning drive technology, and soon, SSDs will quickly become a requirement for your favorite new games to run at peak performance. That’s precisely why the next generation of game consoles have chosen to include SSDs as their default storage devices. Sony and Microsoft have each developed proprietary technologies to facilitate the transfer of textures and assets from high-speed solid-state drives to the GPU. This means that consoles might be the best way to experience certain games until developers finally start to take advantage of technology that’s been available to PC gamers for years.
The EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 24GB FTW3 Gaming; our other centerpiece for today’s build. As with most aspects of enthusiast builds, the RTX 3090 is extravagant, it’s overkill, and it’s supremely expensive.
The base price of an RTX 3090 is $1500, but EVGA offers its signature performance, over-engineering, and design flair to bring the FTW3 up to nearly $1750. With a monster-sized heat sink, triple cooling fans, and stylish RGB shroud, this triple-slot beast will be just as ridiculous as and right at home with the rest of our system.
With boost clocks up to 1740MHz, 24GB of VRAM, and a gargantuan 350W TDP, it’s a good thing EVGA has a rich history of high-performance GPU cooling because this guy will surely need every bit of cooling performance EVGA can muster. Alas, our theme isn’t quite perfect due to the RGB fan shroud, but if you genuinely hate the idea of any lights interrupting the pure black aesthetic we’ve chosen, you can turn them off with EVGA’s LED Sync software as part of their Precision X1 overclocking tool.
It remains to be seen just how competitive the next generation of AMD’s cards is. Still, the performance offered by the RTX 3090 allows for astronomical FPS below 4K resolutions and absolutely remarkable performance at and above it, and with every setting cranked as high as possible.
For the sake of contrast, we’ve chosen an incredible black and white case from Fractal Design, the Meshify S2.
The Meshify S2 is a hybrid of their incredibly popular Meshify C mid-tower and Define S2 full-tower cases. With the Define series’ internal design and the airflow centric features of the Meshify, the Meshify S2 is essentially a stretched out Meshify C with enough room to accommodate the chunky RTX 3090 and NH-D15.
With three excellent 140mm PWM fans included (two front intake, one rear exhaust), you can rest assured that your parts are getting enough airflow without having to spend any extra money. The Meshify S2 also sports a tempered glass side panel to provide an unobstructed view of our blacked-out internals and the signature angular Meshify front panel to keep things looking attractive on the outside.
In the interest of efficiency, and considering those of you prone to never turning off your PCs, we’ve chosen to power our build with an EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 T2 80+ Titanium PSU. While you could get away with an 850W PSU for a machine like this (which should draw around 615W under load), we want to make sure we’re as close to the “sweet spot” for PSU efficiency (50-60%) while retaining as much headroom as possible for overclocking and external device connections.
AMD might have kept their high-end CPUs at a reasonable 105W TDP, but the RTX 3090’s 350W is no joke, and overclockers who win the silicon lottery might be able to squeeze another 100W out of it thanks to EVGA. Finally, knock on wood, should anything go wrong, EVGA has you covered with their tremendous 10-year warranty and customer support.
Before capping off our crazy command center, another quote seems fitting, “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” The RTX 3090 and Ryzen 9 5950X CPU-GPU combo are more than able to demolish plenty of gaming benchmarks at 4K resolutions, but not all of them. Titles with insane graphical fidelity like Jedi: Fallen Order, Red Dead Redemption 2, Flight Simulator 2020, and Horizon: Zero Dawn still cannot break the 100FPS barrier at Ultra 4K settings even with the RTX 3090. So to guarantee 144Hz+ gaming in nearly every game out there, we suggest you pick up a ViewSonic ELITE XG270QG 27” 1440p 1ms 144Hz (165Hz OC) IPS Nano display.
Despite the insane numbers that are possible nowadays, the most popular resolution is still 1080p. 1080p’s continued dominance is due, primarily, to the performance overhead, hence why we’ve chosen a fantastic middle-ground with 1440p. With 1440p, you still get to enjoy more pixels and screen real estate over 1080p, but without hampering yourself in the most GPU intensive games. Because the RTX 3090 is capable of pushing 4K resolutions so hard, 1440p ensures you’ll hit the refresh rate cap of 144Hz/165Hz, and stay there.
A final note, we recommend not using the OC feature to push the refresh rate of the ViewSonic ELITE to 165Hz. Not only is there a point of diminishing returns in perceived smoothness for the majority of gamers between 120-144Hz, but overdrive/overclocking functions for most displays increase the refresh rate at the cost of additional motion blur, visual artifacts, and “ghosting.”
To sum up this generation’s hardware? Just, wow. If this is the sort of machine we can build today, then we cannot wait for whatever tomorrow holds. As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for reading!