What is the PC Perspective HW Leaderboard?
Updated December 17th, 2014:
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.
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Haswell-E has finally arrived to power our Dream System with the most powerful silicon on the planet, the i7-5960X. Of course that means the motherboard has to be swapped out which is why the ASUS X99-Deluxe with WiFi, BlueTooth, Thunderbolt, SEx and M.2 connectors as well as much more was chosen as the base of the system. The other big change is DDR-4, with the initial price so high and availability so low it is G.SKILL's 16GB DDR4-2400 which appears on the Leaderboard. Old favourites like the 1TB Samsung 850 Pro are still include, though if you can afford it the the RevoDrive 350 960GB PCIe SSD is faster and you will have the PCIe lanes to support it. While the new GTX 980 is a great card, the amazing price of XFX's Double Dissipation R9 290X means pick up two for roughly the same price of an overclocked GTX 980. The EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 Platinum PSU will ensure all your components are powered reliably.
The alternative Dream System is on hold until another Dual LGA2011 board becomes available.
The new High End system has been updated with Devils Canyon, the faster i7-4790K is paired with the inexpensive MSI Z97-Gaming 7 with an M.2 slot and and impressive array of features. The storage subsystem is upgrade to 3D with the introduction of the 1TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD. The High End system has the same card as the Dream, the XFX DoubleD R9 290X is a great card. 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 $57 off the price.
Our Mid-Range System has moved to Haswell, with the unlocked i5-4690K on Gigabyte's GA-Z97X-UD3H Black Edition which is both versatile and inexpensive. The Tonga based R9 285X is a great card and will let you fully benefit from the new features in the Omega driver and Freesync displays when they hit the market. The Samsung 850 EVO is a great price for a 250GB model. This month your 8GB of DDR3-1600 comes from G.SKILL thanks to both tight timings and a great price. Corsair's solid Builder Series 500W PSU is one of the more reliable PSUs at that power level and remains for another month.
AMD's Kaveri A10-7700K is the a great processor for those on a budget and even if your budget is currently too tight for a discrete GPU you will still be able to game. Skipping the graphics card altogether makes even more sense than with Richland but if you want to try Hybrid Crossfire then you are looking at an R7-240 or R7-250. The new processor supports PCIe 3.0 which makes the Gigabyte GA-F2A88X-D3H a great choice as it offers both a good price and impressive versatility. 4GB of 1866MHz RAM from G.SKILL and a Builder Series PSU on special at $31 after MIR are both great for this system.
Once you have all your components you can always reference Ryan's videos covering the installation of the parts into the case as well as installing your OS and Steam so you can get right to gaming and surfing.