The Builds

DIY PC Builder's Update, July 16, 2019: If you haven't been up on news in the PC market over the past few weeks, let us give you a brief overview before you jump into buying anything, because a lot has changed recently! The first week of July brought us the biggest product introductions of 2019 so far, and will likely be remembered as one of the most pivotal moments in the PC industry in years. We've updated many of our buyer's guides to incorporate these new products, but not everything that glitters is gold, or worthy of your hard-earned dollar, so let us break it down for you.

Let's start with CPUs. As impressive as AMD's brand new Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs is, they don't change the landscape for most of our readers. At the ultra-high-end, gamers will still want to stick with Intel. While AMD has caught up to Intel in terms of instructions per clock cycle (IPC), which is amazing, Intel still has a 500MHz or so clockspeed advantage. That means for ultra-high-end gaming system, Intel still reigns supreme, but for content creators, the $330 3700X is an amazing choice.

There are just two issues with going with Ryzen 3000 at this point. First is BIOS compatibility - B450 and X470 motherboards currently do NOT support Ryzen 3000 out of the box, despite socket compatibility. And while X570 boards are already available, they cost about 70% more than B450 boards with similar features (minus the PCIe 4.0 slots, of course). So we have to balance the benefits of the 3000 series with the costs of the platform, meaning Ryzen 3000 is not a budget pick. Secondly, Ryzen 2000 series processors have been so heavily discounted that they are almost irresistible. Consider that the Ryzen 7 2700X, an eight-core processor that boosts to 4.3GHz, is now $250, or the same price as the brand-new Ryzen 5 3600X, a six-core processor that boosts to 4.4GHz. Yes, the 3600X also offers about 10-12% greater performance per clock cycle, but for content creators and multi-taskers, two extra cores is almost always superior. Also consider that the Ryzen 5 2600X is down to $160 and you'll see why shopping last year's model makes so much sense, at least in AMD's world (Intel is notorious for NEVER dropping prices on outdated models).

Now, how about those dueling GPU releases from Nvidia and AMD? Exciting news for sure, and great for gamers. Alas, Nvidia was really unprepared for the showdown, announcing but not releasing its products simply to take some steam out of AMD's announcement. That makes the Super linesup a true paper launch. This is particularly true of the RTX 2080 Super, which was pulled entirely from the launch, while the RTX 2070 Super looks like it won't ship until August. As for the $400 RTX 2060 Super, AMD gained the first-mover advantage, especially considering that it was willing to adjust its launch prices immediately in response to Nvidia showing its hand. That means the new $350 AMD Radeon RX 5700 8GB will be replacing the more expensive GTX RTX 2060 6GB in our guides, and will keep the barely-available $400 RTX 2060 8GB Super out of our guides as well. Instead, in the $400 price range, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB gets the nod.

Using the TBG PC Build Buyer's Guides

Whether it's your first, tenth, or hundredth time building a PC, these guides will set you up with the most up-to-date components you can buy. We currently feature two-dozen builds (yes, we mean 24 different systems!). Generally speaking, our build guides fall into five price ranges:

  • The Low-Cost Builds ($500-$750): if this is your first build, or you have modest needs, these systems will be ideal for home office, home theater, or gaming.
  • The Mid-Range Builds ($1,000-$1,250): you want a PC that will be faster and quieter than just about any off-the-shelf system, but you still want it to be easy to build.
  • The High-End Builds ($1,500-$2,000): you're looking for serious gaming chops, or a very powerful office PC.
  • The Ultra-High-End Builds ($2,500-$5,000): you're looking for cutting-edge technology and extreme gaming performance.
  • The Supreme Dream Machine (~$10,000): you have a truly unlimited budget, or you just want to know what you could buy if you did!

To find the right PC for you, feel free to browse all of the options below, or alternatively choose specific criteria from our filter browser below, which will display just the builds that meet your needs. You can then click on the "View Specs" button to see a quick view of prices, parts, and dimensions, or click the "View Guide" button to jump straight to the full Buyer's Guide for that build.

ML06

Note that 11 of our 24 guides are Small Form Factor models, and while they are all listed below, you can learn more about SFF PCs by jumping over to our monthly guide to the Small Form Factor PC Market.

We'd like to express special thanks to SilverStone Technology Co., which helps sponsor the TBG PC Build Buyer's Guides. Founded in 2003, SilverStone has made major contributions to PC case design, small form factor PC development, and power supply innovation!

Happy hunting, and good luck with whichever build you choose!

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