What is the PC Perspective HW Leaderboard?
Updated December 14th, 2016:
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.
Pascal based GPUs from NVIDIA rule the roost right now and the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1080 XTREME Gaming Premium Pack offers the best factory overclock going. 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 hearlds the arrival of the EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3.
The new High End system has been updated with Skylake and is ready for VR, as well as high end displays. We recommend investing in the i7-6700K but the i5 is almost as powerful if you are on a budget. The ASUS ASUS Z170-A brings many of the new features you expect to this motherboard while keeping the price well under $200, the 16GB of CORSAIR Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 also keeps with the theme of price conscious performance. New to the system, and to the market, is 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.
Our Mid-Range System moves up to Skylake as the prices are much more reasonable, as well as allowing you to level up to VR. The i5-6500 comes in at a decent price and the Gigabyte H170-Gaming 3 offers you a lot more than you might expect from a motherboard which costs less than $100. 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. Moving to an H170 board means moving to DDR4, though you should notice it does not change the price. Corsair's solid Builder Series 600W PSU is one of the more reliable PSUs at that power level and remains for another month.
AMD's Godavari A10-7860K 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 budgetary sense but if you need the graphics power immediately the new AMD RX 460 is a great choice. AMD has refresehed 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.