The Builds

DIY PC Builder's Update, May 3, 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.

Now on to the latest updates! First off, no, things have not gotten better in the GPU market, where it's still impossible to buy video cards at retail, and on eBay they go for 2-3x their MSRP. We strongly discourage people from paying those prices, but that doesn't mean you can get started on your next PC building project! While GPUs won't arrive back at retail until at least Summer 2021, there's a lot of great gear you can get now, and frankly, some of it you should get now to avoid coming price hikes.

Here are TBG's four tips for PC builders this month:

  • 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. In almost every situation except specialty content creation machines, we recommend Intel over AMD without hesitation.
  • RAM prices are going up, and SSD prices are likely to follow, so picking up these components now is a great idea.
  • Freight and manufacturing costs are going up, and in the US, tariffs exemptions have expired, so prices are going up on a lot of other components, including cases and power supplies.  
  • OEM manufacturers continue to gain access to a select number of GPUs, 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... we've seen stock dwindling and prices rising even on these machines.

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 thanks to Intel's newest CPUs. 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, or if you're committed to building, you can get started with everything but the GPU.

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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