PC Perspective Hardware LeaderboardSponsored by: Somebody
Updated Oct 10th, 2018:
Yes folks, it has been a long hiatus but it is finally time to update the Hardware Leaderboard again. We are starting to see new products which offer a reason to upgrade, as opposed to small iterative increases that offer only small performance improvements compared to the last generation or two. The PCPer Hardware Leaderboard forum has been active the whole time, with a wide variety of suggestions, so make sure to visit if you are looking for daily updates.
Threadripper 2.0 is the place to be at the moment, though Intel looks to have kicked their HEDT processor development into high gear so this may not last. Now that the X399 chipset has been more thoroughly tested, MSI's MEG Creation has stood a head above the competition, though it does charge you for that quality. We still await the move from paper launch to product availability for the RTX 2080 Ti; if you can find one it will likely be selling for almost twice the MSRP so a highly overclocked Aorus 1080 Ti gets the nod for now. For storage, Western Digital's next generation Black NVMe SSDs give even Optane a challenge in speed. 32GB of DDR-3200 will satisfy even the most memory hungry applications, you can probably even leave a second tab open in Chrome for a while!
Ryzen 2 has arrived and while more of an iterative leap in performance than a huge increase it is enough to challenge Intel's processors on performance and beat them on price. ASUS's ROG Strix X470-F Gaming eliminates some of the limitations of the X370 chipset while remaining very affordable and seeing as how the RTX 2080 still costs a wee bit more than it should a highly overclocked Zotac AMP GTX 1080 powers the High End system for now. G.SKILL might not be your first brand of RAM to grab but the TridentZ RGB Series 16GB DDR4-3200 has been tested and proven compatible with this setup, though there are other choices to consider. Western Digital's new 500GB PCIe NVME Black SSD shows up in most of these builds as the price and performance can't be beat ... unless someone was to review a certain BPX Pro model. As for the soundcard; at this point if you are enough of an audiophile to need one, you already know how much you will need to pay!
AMD's new chips show up in the Mid-Range as well, the Ryzen 5 2600 is an impressive beast as is the overclocked PNY GTX 1060 6GB XLR8. MSI's B450-A PRO offers you connectivity for all the current peripherals on the market and Corsair's Vengeance LPX 8GB DDR4-3200 will provide your Ryzen the bandwidth it desires without driving the price of your build too high.
The Budget Build will be used for more than just light gaming and that makes the four core Ryzen 3 2200G a wise choice for money conscious buyers as you can depend on the eight Vega CU's on the chip and skip the GPU entirely. If you need a discrete GPU immediately, try the RX from Powercolor. As for the motherboard, MSI's B450M PRO-M2 offers great performance out of the box with lots of room to grow. This build can't quite fit an NVMe SSD and remain under $500, unless you decided to choose that over a GPU, or drop the GPU altogether and get a solid workhorse for under $400!
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. For those of you looking at a Vive or Oculus, the systems mostly match those covered in Ryan's VR builds; check out your expected experience in his three guides.
It is possible we will see the 2950X quickly replaced by one of Intel's upcoming X-series CPUs, though $2000 is a bit steep even for a Dream processor; we shall see once they are properly benchmarked. In the meantime, 16 cores running at 4.4GHz and 64 PCIe lanes can't be beat!
The reviews are in and the MSI MEG is about the best X399 board you can get. The exhaustive feature set and performance get it high marks but the incredible stability is what gets it the recommendation. You can find several very good X399 boards for less, but are those the ones you dream of?
If you want to grab the RTX 1080 Ti right this instant, it will run you around $2000, so hold off for now! If you lack patience and access to unlimited funds, how about this heavily overclocked GTX 1080 Ti from Gigabyte. As long as you can provide the power and cooling it desires, you will hit the 1708 MHz OC Boost clock and maintain it for serious gaming performance.
The Ryzen architecture loves high memory frequencies, which this kit from Corsair offers. The default timings are 18-19-19-39, however that is before you start tweaking to get the most out of it. If you are an RGB addict then you can pay a bit more for this kit and light up your life.
The Samsung 970 Pro isn't for sale in any of the usual places, but that is just fine as we have a dark horse to pick as a winner. Al's review of the new WD Black NVMe SSDs show them to have amazing performance and are worthy of a place in our Dream system.
Classic audio is best audio!
Lee recently looked at a smaller brother of this PSU and was quite impressed with the power delivery and overall quality of the build and the sale helps too! With an 80 PLUS Gold rating and 10 year warranty you can expect this PSU to be powering your system for a long time. The slightly shorter length of this series also opens up a bit of space if you are a modder building in one of the more esoteric cases arriving on the market.
You know what is brand new and means you don't have to worry so much about Spectre and Meltdown? The i7-8700k and the Ryzen 7 2700X are very evenly matched in price and performance but those are just two of the reasons why AMD's new chip hit the High End. It is not just the chip, the new Wraith Spire is also improved; don't just take my word for it, ask Ken.
The X470 version of the ASUS ROG Strix offers all you could want for your Ryzen processor, including two PCIe 3.0 4x M.2, two Type-A USB 3.1 Gen2 and a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C ports. For the RGB fan there is ASUS' Aura controller and watercoolers will appreciate the dedicated pump power headers. All that for less than half the cost of the X399 board you need for Threadripper.
ZOTAC's AMP series of GPUs has a long history of impressive overclocks, this 1080 sporting a Boost clock of 1822 MHz which is almost 100MHz higher than the FE and with better cooling to keep you at those frequencies. If you have the money the RTX 2080 is on par with the 1080 Ti, so keep your eyes peeled for deals.
Memory compatiblity at high frequencies is worth paying attention to with a Ryzen build. You can save a lot of time by choosing a compatible kit such as this one from G.SKILL with timings of 16-18-18-38 @ DDR4-3200. Tighter timings or higher frequencies will cost you more money while untested RAM will cost you time.
You know what is faster that a 960 EVO in many cases and right now even costs less? Western Digital's newest NVMe drive comes at a price just over $200 and offers you a long term storage solution which also happens to be one of the best consumer drives Al has tested.
Over $200 in free games and one of the best soundcards made! Audiophiles know what they want, and they know how to get it.
Lee recently looked at a smaller brother of this PSU and was quite impressed with the power delivery and overall quality of the build. With an 80 PLUS Gold rating and 10 year warranty you can expect this PSU to be powering your system for a long time. The slightly shorter length of this series also opens up a bit of space if you are a modder building in one of the more esoteric cases arriving on the market.
The new Ryzen 5 chips are perfect for a mid-range system and replace the original flavours on the HWLB. The Ryzen 5 2600 offers a great value and the extra $20 can be invested in higher clocked DDR4, though the 2600X is available for those who intend on overclocking. In the first case you get the Wraith Stealth, the second comes with the Wraith Spire, saving you the price of a heatsink.
The MSI B450-A PRO gives you room to grow with a pair of PCIe 16x slots as well as four 1x slots. There are both USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Gen 1 ports to ensure you get the most out of your peripherals, along with a variety of video outputs. It is currently on sale which brings the price down, though it will remain a mere $80 when that ends.
This is one you have to keep an eye on as the prices are changing quickly. The Windforce style GTX 1070 from Gigabyte is currently discounted to a price that can just barely be squeezed into the Mid Range system but there is no guarantee that this sale will continue. Speaking of sales, if your desire to upgrade outstrips your bank account, there is a GTX 1060 for $271,
Ryzen loves higher memory frequencies which is why spending a little extra on your RAM is recommended even with prices hitting obnoxious levels. While you can shave some money off by picking up a slower kit, the apparent relationship between Infinity Fabric and DDR frequencies see a higher clocked kit recommended this month.
While this is the previous generation of WD's NVMe SSD, that simply makes it more affordable. NVMe offers transfer rates superiour to SATA and takes up a fraction of the space as well. Samsungs offerings are great but they simply can't match the price per gigabyte of the WD Black.
If for some reason you find you do need a discrete audio solution instead of the onboard Realtek ALC892 7.1, Sound Blaster offers a decent deal. This particular card sports a 600 ohm headphone amp in addition to 5.1 surround speaker support.
The Corsair Builder Series 650W PSU is on special and with its longer cables and 40A on the single 12V rail it will handle either of the suggested GPUs on this build. While it is not modular you have to make some sacrifices and function should always trump form when you are purchasing a PSU.
What is $100 and offers gaming prowess which occasionally rivals a GT 1030? AMD's Ryzen 3 2200G has 8 Vega CUs running at 1.1GHz as well as four CPU cores with a Turbo speed of 3.7GHz. If you can spare another $70 you can increase that to 11CUs and multithreading with a small clock boost, but if not this will do you just fine until you can afford a discrete GPU.
MSI's B450 board will offer support for DDR4-3466+, at least in theory, which gives a wider selection of RAM to choose from. A pair of USB 3.1 and four USB 2.0 give you great flexibility, the M.2 port will let you upgrade to NVMe when you can afford it and the tiny overall size lets you pick any sized case your budget can handle.
If you do want to have a GPU immediately, Ryan's testing shows a RX 550 is a superior match the the 2200G so why not bump it up a notch with a RX 560? If you move quickly, the sale will reduce the price to $95. Otherwise keep saving that money, skip the GPU initially and pick something up during the next new release!
Patriot has a good deal on an 8GB kit of DDR4-2133 and as higher frequencies are crucial to getting the most out of your Raven Ridge processor it is well worth the investment. You can play around with the stock timings of 14-14-14-32 to see if you can improve them.
Flash prices continue to rise, with no end to the current shortage in sight. The Samsung 860 EVO 250GB drive gives you space for Steam after your OS installation, the 500GB drive but it does drive the price of the Budget build north of $500. Alternatively, less than $50 will get you a 1TB HDD and you can save up for an SSD upgrade for now.
With the 7.1 surround Realtek ALC892 audio chipset onboard you don't need to pick up a sound card, something that helps bring the price of the budget build down. The quality of sound reproduction is perfect for watching movies or listening to music and while it won't be terribly effective at sound editing, that really is not the purpose of this build.
With the component list above you should stick to 400W or more, especially if you want some room for upgrades that are not your PSU. Corsair's CX series has been around for some time, the new 2017 model should fit your needs nicely. Currently there is an MIR that drops the price to $20!