The Builds

DIY PC Builder's Update, April 5, 2021

Welcome to TBG's DIY PC Build Guides! This is where you'll find all the best PC builds on the 'net, from ultra-compact home office PCs to massive gaming towers. In total, we offer 24 distinct DIY PC Build guides, updated with the latest and greatest components. And while we know our readers stumble upon a lot of other sites during their research, what we do is completely different: we professionally curate every build based on relationships we have with dozens of manufacturers and our constant testing of the latest products. That means our PC Builds are the most up-to-date builds you'll find anywhere, and actually perform the best, too.

With those pleasantries out of the way, let's get into some hard truths: now is a very tough time to be building a gaming PC, and things are only going to get tougher. First came a bunch of promising GPU releases from Nvidia in September and October 2020 that suffered from massive production shortages. Then came AMD's long-awaited Zen 3 CPU launch, combined with its breathtaking Radeon RX 6000 series GPU launch, both of which were near vaporware status. To top it all off, 2020 ended with a renewed cryptocurrency craze that has quickly become a catastrophe in 2021, wiping the retail market clean of any and all remaining video cards. Are we done yet? Nope... we're also seeing dramatic hikes in RAM pricing due to supply shortages and natural disasters. What all this means is that you can't build a gaming PC today, regardless of your budget, unless you're willing to wait for GPUs to restock. And that won't happen until Summer 2021, and by that we mean most likely July or August.

But there's a silver lining here, and it comes in two forms:

  • Intel launched its new Rocket Lake CPUs in March, and while the top-end Core i9 was a big failure, the Core i5 and Core i7 models are very good, especially the Core i5s, which wipe out any remaining price/performance advantage AMD could have clung to. And the most important aspect of these CPUs is their built-in Intel graphics, which is priceless these days, given that you may have to wait to pick up a discrete video card.
  • OEM manufacturers have a few remaining GPUs at their disposal, so at least for now, you can get a pre-built gaming PC with a great GPU today, but don't take that for granted! Our hourly market tracking has shown that OEMs are having a very hard time keeping these in stock, with most selling out on a daily basis. And unfortunately, prices are most definitely rising, with a hike of around 15% evident in the month of March 2021 alone.

Our guides therefore offer two different approaches: for small office and mainstream content creation systems, there's actually never been a better time to be building your own PC. For gaming PCs, we've identified a number of great pre-built PCs that you should definitely consider in lieu of building your own PC.

The SFF Builds

Note that many of the PC builds we profile 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're spending all of our editorial and review time over at YouTube, which is where we've rolled out overview videos for many of our builds. You can post any question in our latest channel trailer here and we'll answer it! And don't forget to subscribe while you're there to make sure you don't miss out! Moving forward, only our very popular build guides will continue to get the "written" treatment, and if you appreciate the work we do on these, don't forget to use our Amazon and Newegg links to support continued publication of these guides.

Using the TBG PC Build Guides

Whether it's your first, tenth, or hundredth time building a PC, these guides will set you up with the best components you can buy. 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 Build Guide for that build. Happy hunting, and good luck with whichever build you choose!

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


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