What is the PC Perspective HW Leaderboard?
Updated April 11th, 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.
Please welcome the VGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition to the leaderboard, hands down the fastest card on the market and surprisingly not the most expensive. The Core i7-6950X is not going anywhere soon, there is simply nothing out there to match performance, barring the Xeon chip mentioned below. The ASUS X99-Deluxe II is the updated version of the long standing X99 board on the Leaderboard, with WiFi, BlueTooth, Thunderbolt, SEx ports and M.2 connectors and much more it is still a worth motherboard. DDR4's pricing continues to fall and G.SKILL's 32GB DDR4-3000 kit is a great price currently. The Samsung 950 Pro will be leaving us next month as both the 960EVO and 960 PRO will be arriving on the market. The significantly better pricing and lack of any drawbacks heralds the arrival of the EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3.
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. To ensure decent 4K gaming and VR performance is within your reach, pick up EVGA's GTX 1070 SC GAMING ACX 3.0 Black Edition. 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 stronly in the Mid-Range System class with the new 8 core Ryzen 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. Prices on RX 480's have come down to the MSRP and of the ones available the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ combines price and performance perfectly for a Mid-range gaming system. 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.
Keep your eyes out for a Ryzen update as we work on wrapping up some testing and get a fwe motherboards reviewed so we give you a proper recommendation, but in the mean time AMD's Godavari A10-7860K is the a great processor for those on a budget. Skipping the graphics card altogether makes budgetary sense but if you need the graphics power immediately AMD's RX 460 is a great choice. AMD has refreshed the aging A88 chipset to allow AMD users to take advantage of the new USB 3.1 as well as other features, the Gigabyte GA-F2A88X-D3HP now comes recommended for full sized builds. 4GB of 1866MHz RAM from Kingston and a Corsair Builder Series PSU at $40 are both great for this system. Low cost SSDs do not translate into poor performance as you will have no problems with the Samsung 750 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.