Fastest Desktop PC

Category: Hardware

I'm ready for a new desktop computer, and I need something fast. What's the fastest desktop PC on the market, and how much will it cost?

Which Desktop PC is Fastest?

If you're looking for the fastest desktop PC money can buy, bring a lot of money. The highest-performing desktop computers go for $2,000 to $5,000 - or more, if you can. Typically, it's hard-core gamers who are looking for the fastest desktop computer, and these systems are built for their needs. But there's much more to high-performance home computers than just gaming.

The fastest desktop CPU right now is the Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition. Clocking in at 3.33 Ghz, this multicore CPU starts at around $1,000 with up to six 64-bit cores for ultimate multitasking. One core can handle all your gaming action. A second core can be downloading files from the Internet. A third can be playing a DVD on the HD screen in the living room, while the fourth is piping audio to the kids' bedroom. All without any slow-down in any activity. That should bring some peace to the family computing experience!

Other uses for super-fast multi-core processors include video editing, rendering of 3D graphics, and serious number crunching applications.
Fastest Desktop PC

The Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition comes with 256 KB of L2 cache and 8 MB of L3 cache. Intel SmartCache technology allocates L2 cache to the cores that need it most, resulting in greatly reduced latency (lag time) for frequently used data stored in L2 cache. An integrated DDR3 memory controller enables three channels of DDR3 1066 Mhz RAM, yielding 25.6 GHz/second memory bandwidth.

Of course you'll need a motherboard that can keep up with your $1,000 CPU. High-performance motherboards like the ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard cost around $300 but come with the latest bells and whistles. The SATA interface will transfer data to and from hard drives at 6 Gbits/second, while USB 3.0 can hit 3.2 Gbits/second.

The fastest desktop PC systems take advantage of the Intel i7's horsepower with monstrous hard drives of a Terabyte (1,000 Gigabytes) or more; Gigabit Ethernet ports; multiple high-performance video processors; and every imaginable amenity. And all of these speed demons require extra heavy duty cooling systems, usually liquid-based. They are also power hungry, consuming up to 850 watts. But when you want the fastest horse on the track, who cares what its hay costs?

Buying a Fast PC

If you're not interested in building your own, here are a few examples of the fastest desktop PCs on the market today. Keep in mind these are actual desktop systems you can buy, not hobbyist projects. If you do a bit of searching, you may find CPUs running at 8+ GHz. But you have to cool them to -300 degrees with liquid nitrogen, or they'll burst into flames. So let's focus on the practical...

The Origin PC Genesis system gave CNET reviewers "the fastest gaming performance we've seen," which one would certainly expect from a system starting at $4,998. Origin PC s a new custom-build gaming system house founded by veterans of Alienware. Virtually any option is available via the company's Web-based build-your-own system or a phone call to customer service.

The Maingear F131 system costs about half of an Origin Genesis but also delivers one of the fastest desktop computer experiences available. It's more oriented towards productivity applications but also plays games extremely well. It's based on last-generation Intel i7 technology, but its CPU is overclocked to a blistering 4.2 GHz. Unlike the game-oriented Genesis, the F131 includes several USB 3.0 ports.

You can also configure your own fast desktop system online, at the websites of popular vendors such as Dell, Gateway or HP. Start with the high-end 64-bit systems they offer, then upgrade with an Intel Core i7 Extreme processor, as much RAM as you can afford, and a fast SATA hard drive.

Do you have a super-fast desktop PC? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Fastest Desktop PC"

Posted by:

24 Jan 2011

Hi Bob. This is a great article except I'm NOT rich. What would you recommend for @ $1000-$1200. My monitor and keyboard are new, so it's just a CPU I want. With at least 1G RAM or 2. Thanks for the great things you post here!

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'd recommend you go to the Dell, Gateway or HP website and select/configure a system with an i5 or i7 processor. One example is the Dell XPS 8300 ($1049), with 64-bit Core i7 processor (3.4 GHz), 8GB RAM, and 1TB SATA drive.

Posted by:

26 Jan 2011

Posted by:

26 Jan 2011

Doc, I would look at the new Intel Sandy Bridge CPU's that just came out. They are very high on the CPU chart and at only about $225-$330 for top-of-the-line speed burners!!! With Sandy Bridge, there is a new Graphics scheme that unless you're a gamer should replace the need for a separate graphics card, a money saver. I'll put a quote about the 2 types below. Here are some links I collected. Also if I was buying a Dell, I would get a Vostro business computer. I've heard these are better made and Dell started out as a Business supplier so they won't cut corners on that. Here's some links I collected.

1) Newegg info and video -

2) The Tech Report -

3) Tom's H -

4) Anandtech -

5)PC Pro

6) Bittech

7) More reviews

**GRAPHICS NOTE! from Anandtech

The new Intel HD Graphics 2000 is roughly the same performance level as the highest clock speed HD Graphics offered with earlier Clarkdale CPU.

Intel HD Graphics 3000 is a huge step forward. At 71.5 fps it’s 70% faster than Clarkdale’s integrated graphics, and fast enough that you can actually crank up some quality settings if you’d like. The higher end HD Graphics 3000 is also 26% faster than a Radeon HD 5450.

What Sandy Bridge integrated graphics can’t touch however is the Radeon HD 5570. At 112.5 fps, the 5570’s compute power gives it a 57% advantage over Intel’s HD Graphics 3000.

Posted by:

26 Jan 2011

Forgot to post this, Passmark CPU chart showing the latest performance and prices. The hottest new Sandy Bridges are very close to the top of all CPU's in performance with a much better price. The 2600K gives you the 3000 Graphics, 2500K - 2000 Graphics.

Posted by:

Ed Stewart
26 Jan 2011

I solved the fast desktop, I built a quad core Phomen amd processor with 8 gig of ram and a nVidia 1 gig vido card, no windows for me, I use the 64 bit version of Ubuntu Linux 10.10. It flies with 8 programs running on twin monitors way faster and also more secure than Win 7.

Posted by:

26 Jan 2011

I haven't found one mentioning of AMD here. I find that AMD is very trustworthy, but many say that they are not as fast as Intel.

Posted by:

26 Jan 2011

yielding 25.6 GHz/second memory bandwidth.

What does GHz/second mean?

Posted by:

26 Jan 2011

25.6 GHz/second memory bandwidth.
25.6 Gb/second memory bandwidth.

Posted by:

26 Jan 2011

Don't ever count out the AMD processor for either top of the line, or better yet, a great value system. Intel may have the fastest, but you will pay top dollar for ANY of their processors.
Saving money with an AMD processor will let you splurge more for the video card(s). That video card is what much of what you see on your screen does. Max out the memory, install a blu-ray writer, go with liquid cooling and let 'er rip.

As a plus, you can add a Linux operating system and you will be much faster than any Windows based rig.

Posted by:

28 Jan 2011

All the discussion is about how fast the CPU is or how big the hard drive is. To make a PC perform significantly better hard drive performance needs to be improved as well as the contention on the hard drive(s). Why? The CPU runs at nanosecond speeds, the hard drive runs at significantly slower millisecond speeds.

Hints: (1) In Internet options set the temporary file folder to a low value like 25-50Mb, then set the days to keep history to 0 or 1. (2) Every week run disk cleanup, then run disk defragmenter, both come with Windows. (3) Install 4Gb of memory to reduce page file access, about $80. (4). Install 4 physical hard drives and split the data: Windows OS, Programs, Data, Page File.

Use high performance hard drives such as Fujitsu Ultra320 15k rpm, latency about 5ms. Or medium performance drives such as Seagate SATA300 drives with "32mb of cache", latency about 11ms. Buy new drives with a manufacturers warranty, usually 3-5 years. In either case keep all the active files in the lower 10-20% of the drive.

Run Windows XP Professional x64 edition. Good luck.

Posted by:

11 Mar 2011

What about budget systems Bob?

Posted by:

07 May 2011

I'm looking for a fast computer for video editing. Presently I have a HP Q9300 64bit with 8GB Ram. I use Sony Vegas 9 for video editing but will install Vegas 10 on the new system. I render about 750 to 1000GB of video yearly. I would like some type of system with removable hard drives. Possible a solid state drive for the programs, hard drive 2 for data, and hard drive 3 for rendered videos.
Thank you for your help.

Posted by:

20 Dec 2011

There seems to be no mention of the AMD FX Bulldozer 8150 "Zambezi" processors, which run @3.6GHz, 4.2GHz with Turbo, and have 8 cores (Octacore). But really, the most powerful processor from AMD are those 12 core Opterons....
I suppose if you're obsessed about power, you'd get a server from ZaReason, which can cost as much as $13000. You don't get much.... Just 128 GB of RAM, and not 12 or 24 or even 36 cores, BUT 48 FREAKIN' CORES!!!!!
That's power for you. Alternatively, you could check out the FASTRA 2. With 7 graphics cards. Yes, 7.
They all run Linux of course (Ubuntu and Scientific respectively).

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