What is the PC Perspective HW Leaderboard?
Updated April 21st, 2013:
Along with the PCPer HWLB its self, you can also head to the PCPer Hardware Leaderboard forum! This forum is where you can discuss my selections and offer your own suggestions. It is also the place for you to talk about the new system build you are working on even if it's NOT based on anything here. So far for 2013 there are only a few small tweaks as some components are out of stock on NewEgg but despair not, some of the new hardware we caught a peek at during CES will soon become available.
Our Dream System still features Intel's current ultimate CPU, the Socket 2011 i7-3960X as it is much more of an enthusiast platform than the current Ivy Bridge offerings. You need an X79 motherboard to base your Extreme system off of and the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) is a great choice. This also means you can have 16GB of quad-channel DDR3-2133 from G.SKILL, since higher clock speeds than that tend not to be a good return on your investment. For storage we go to the new OCZ Vector 256 GB drive for the best available storage on the planet and also add EVGA's GTX 690 to provide the best single card performance to match your PC Dreams. The Corsair AX1200i PSU with LINK technology and a 7 year warranty provides enough power to keep it all running smoothly.
The alternative Dream System is on hold until another Dual LGA2011 board becomes available.
All new this month is Sandy Bridge, thanks to the EVGA Classified SR-X LGA2011 motherboard which allows a pair of the new Xeon E5s to power this Quad Channel monster. Dual GTX 690s running at 16x speeds will ensure a smooth NVIDIA Surround experience and the 480GB Samsung 830 SSD will drop your load times to almost nothing. The $6200 price of admittance is pretty steep though.
The new High End system takes advantage of one of the newest benefits of the Ivy Bridge motherboards, Thunderbolt. The i7 3770k is now housed in MSI's Z77A-GD80 motherboard which is not only a powerful motherboard it will allow you to experiment with Thunderbolt. The storage subsystem is also updated with the new OCZ Vector 256GB SSD to bring up the overall response of the system. Graphics are still handled by NVIDIA's GTX 670, this time by Galaxy's overclocked GC model. At this point a discreet soundcard is a personal choice but if you are so inclined the ASUS Xonar DSX 7.1 can be purchased, otherwise knock $60 off the price.
Our Mid-Range System now features the unlocked Ivy Bridge Core i5 i5-3570K and moves to a Z77 based board, the MSI Z77A-GD55 with a pair of 16x PCIe 3.0 slots. For graphics a custom cooled and factory overclocked HD7870 from Sapphire is recommended unless you are planning to add a second GPU in the future in which case there is a GTX660 from Galaxy on sale. The price on the Samsung 840 120GB SSD is too good to be ignored and it will take advantage of SATA 6Gbps bandwidth. Corsair's solid Builder Series 500W PSU is still on at a great price.
AMD returns to the Budget Build, though not as triumphantly as hoped. Your processing power will remain equivalent to theCore i3 2105 but the onboard GPU can deftly handle games the Intel processor can't even run. That is the real reason that the Budget Build sees the A10 5800K arrive; if you need to trim the price you can skip the graphics card altogether. The new processor needs an A85 based motherboard to go with it and the MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 offers both a good price and impressive versatility. A small drop in the price of the Corsair Vengeance kit and Builder Series PSU are welcome, to offset the $80 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda drive. This month we've trimmed down the amount of video memory in exchange for the improved performance of the Sapphire HD77770 GHz Edition.