PC Perspective Hardware LeaderboardSponsored by: Somebody
Updated Mar 11th, 2019:
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.
Intel seems to have overcome their supply challenges for the nonce, which means the i9-9900K gets to sit at the top of the Hardware Leaderboard. Along with the new chip comes MSI's GODLIKE Z390 board which has everything up to and including a sink! The RTX 2080 Ti is now readily available for more or less the price it should be selling at, so it now appears on the Leaderboard; though if you are nervous you can always opt for a pair of 1080 Ti's. 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. The RTX 2080 is now in stock and occaisonally on sale, so it displaces the long lasting GTX 1080. 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 and you can go trace some rays with a fancy new RTX 2060. Gigabyte's B450M DS3 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, ASUS is a Prime choice and while this build can't quite fit an NVMe SSD into the Budget, that doesn't mean you can't have an M.2 SSD!
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.
With the New Year it seems we have a new supply of Intel's flagship Core i9-9900K, which finally bumps Threadripper out of the Dream system. What it lacks in PCIe lanes and cores it makes up for in performance, both single and multithreaded as we showed in our review.
With WiFi, dual wired NICs and audio codecs, four PCIe 3.0 16x slots, a half dozen USB 3.1 ports covering Gen. 1 and 2 as well as support for DDR4-4600 is the MEG Z390 GODLIKE overkill? Of course it is, but this is the Dream system so you have to dream big. You can get the ACE for less than half the price instead, if you aren't feeling like a God.
At $1400 the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming is a wee bit overpriced, which is hard to avoid right now. There are cards for ~$100 less but they don't sport a 1755 MHz Boost Clock and cooling to keep the card at those frequencies. Mind you, if you can find something that does and is in stock at a lower price ... grab it!
Shopping for higher frequency DDR4 is extremely frustrating, in that the price and availability changes the second you turn your back for a moment. Currently this HyperX kit offers a decent deal for those who don't have to have a lightshow. If you want that you will need to pay a bit more.
You have a lot of choices for high end storage, with another coming at the end of the month. While the 970 Pro and Evo might offer a tiny bit more performance in certain situations the price difference makes it hard to recommend. The new WD BLACK SN750 1TB NVMe drive on the other hand offers the read speeds you want at a great price.
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.
Picking up a discounted 1080 Ti will net you roughly the same performance as this RTX 2080 but as Battlefield V has shown there is some advantage to paying extra for an RTX series card. Gigabyte's overclocked model, with the WINDFORCE 3X cooler will help you maintain that 1830 MHz Boost clock!
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 in at at great price, with the future looking bright as the 970 EVO Plus will be arriving at the end of the month which will offer some serious competition.
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.
Supporting up to four DIMMs of DDR4-3200, sporting an M.2 port and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports you have a lot of room for growth on this mATX board. It has a pair of PCIe slots, HDMI and DVI-D and a Realtek ALC887 codec to ensure you will enjoy this board, even with such a low price.
The RTX 2060 breaks from NVIDIA's conventional naming scheme, offering more than you would expect from a *60 series card. This specific card from MSI has a boost clock of 1755 MHz, slightly higher than stock and 2X Windforce cooling to help you push even further. Anthem or Battlefield V for free with it doesn't hurt either.
16GB of DDR4-3200MHz with latencies of 16-18-18-36 for a reasonable price is nice to see. RGBs are optional on this kit if you prefer the basic black look.
You get a new WD NVMe SSD and you get an new WD NVMe SSD ... everyone gets one! At least until the new Samsung Plus hits the market in February and we will see who offers the best deal.
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 less than $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.
ASUS's mATX B450 won't set you back much money to pick up and offers you a lot of room to grow with three PCIe slots squeezed in as well as an M.2 port for a storage upgrade. The output options on the back give a lot of flexibility when it comes to outputs, in case you are plugging into an older display or TV.
f 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? Otherwise keep saving that money, skip the GPU initially and pick something up during the next new release!
A pair of 4GB DDR4-2133 with timings of 15-15-15-35 fits your budget without compromising performance.
Who says you can't have an M.2 SSD in a budget build? Samsung certainly didn't, though you do have to choose the SATA version to keep the price so low.
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!