What is the PC Perspective HW Leaderboard?
Updated August 2nd, 2017:
Along with the PCPer HWLB itself, 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.
Skylake-X is currently the most powerful architecture to base your system on and the Core i9-7900X is the top model currently selling. Once AMD's new chips arrive this may change but for now Intel holds the top of the hill. Along with the new chip comes an X299 board, specifically Gigabyte's X299 AORUS Gaming 9. The platform is very new so keep an eye out for BIOS updates to ameliorate any issues you may experience. Gigabyte also provides the GPU as the Gigabyte AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition offers the highest frequencies out of the box. The motherboard sports three M.2 portrs, so populate one with the Samsung 960 Pro, if 512GB is not enough for you then take a peek at the 1TB and 2TB models. You could also experiment with Intel's new Optane memory if you desire. The EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3 and G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4-3200MHz 32GB kit have both undergone unfortunate price increases but remain solid choices for the Dream System.
AMD takes over the High End system with its new Ryzen 7 1700 processor, an impressive value for your money which should serve you well in the coming years. That means we need a new motherboard and MSI's 370X SLI Plus is up to the job with a nice variety of features and support for high speed DDR4. The RAM comes from Corsair, the Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4-3200MHz kit will ensure your Ryzen is operating at full speed. Populate your M.2 slot with the Samsung 860 EVO, 500GB of PCIe NVME goodness to load anything your heart desires in seconds flat. Thanks to a certain phase people are going through GPU prices have spiked, Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming is currently one of the better deals available. A discreet soundcard is a personal choice but if you are so inclined the ASUS Xonar DSX 7.1 can be purchased, otherwise knock $50 off the price.
AMD has come out swinging strongly in the Mid-Range System class with the new 6 core Ryzen 5 1600 which should get better with age as more programs move to multithreaded focus. Along with Ryzen comes an AM4 motherboard from MSI which performs great and will have a nice look to it in a case with a panel. With GPU prices continuing to climb, the most acceptable card available for this price range would be Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 G1 Gaming, hopefully the situation will improve soon. The 500GB Samsung 850 EVO is a great price and should hold at least some of your game library. Ryzen loves fast memory, so while it does drive up the cost, spending a bit more to install DDR4-3200 is highly recommended. Corsair's solid Builder Series 600W PSU is one of the more reliable PSUs at that power level and remains for another month.
The Budget Build will be used for more than just light gaming and that makes the four core Ryzen 3 1300X a wise choice for money. Along with the Ryzen CPU comes an A320 motherboard from ASUS which includes almost any feature you might want apart from multi-GPU support. For our RAM recommendation we suggest a higher frequency will serve you better than a larger pool of RAM. The ASUS Prime claims compatibility with over 350 different types of RAM so it should manage to run Patriot's Viper 4 8GB DDR4-3400 with little trouble. The lower end GPUs seem to be less effected by the coining craze so an RX 580 4GB card is still affordable. Low cost SSDs do not translate into poor performance as you will have no problems with the Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD, if 250GB is too small you can still pick up a 1TB drive but you will enjoy the SSD far more.
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.