The Builds

DIY PC Builder's Update, September 4, 2019: As always, a new month means lots of new builds, and we've updated nearly all of our 24 DIY PC Buyer's guides for September. But before we get to our guide updates, we have great news: TBG attended PAX West in Seattle on Friday, August 30th, and brought back tons of video coverage from the show floor. We have product profiles and interviews with Asus, Corsair, Cougar, EVGA, Gigabyte, Kingston/HyperX, Logitech, Patriot/Viper, and Audio-Technica. We hope you enjoy seeing the latest gear before it hits retail, as well as getting insider perspectives from the companies that make the gear you love!

All right, back to our regularly scheduled newscast: Based on the research we put into the September updates, we have two main themes to share that anyone building a PC will want to pay close attention to, as follows:

New Product Releases Make These Exciting but Confusing Times!

First up, July 2019 saw the biggest, most important product releases in years, with AMD's latest Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs, its X570 chipset with PCIe 4.0, new PCIe 4.0 SSDs, and of course the dueling GPU releases from AMD and Nvidia in the form of the RX 5700 series and the RTX Super series. Honestly, lots of exciting stuff, and we've done our best to sort through the options to find the best picks for all our guides. It's not as simple as one size fits all!

But the story gets more complicated. Alas, with so much competition comes lots of phantom launches, and we've seen that with many of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, the most popular of which have been out of stock for about a month, and the same is true with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, which is likewise missing in action. That's not surprising, given that it was by far the most compelling release from Nvidia, offering nearly the same performance per dollar as the Radeon RX 5700 XT (which is in good supply). We've updated our guides to account for these market realities. Another thing to consider about AMD's amazing Ryzen 3000 CPUs is that B450 and X470 motherboards currently do NOT support them out of the box, despite socket compatibility. And while X570 boards that support them are available, they cost about 70% more than B450 boards. 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, but it is an awesome pick for mid-range and high-end systems, and it appears in a number of our guides.

Tariffs and Related Price Increases Make These Scary Times!

Here's the deal: every manufacturer of PC cases, coolers, power supplies, and fans is struggling in the US, regardless of whether it's a US or foreign company. Some of our most-recommended brands, including Corsair, Cooler Master, EVGA, Thermaltake, Seasonic, SilverStone, and Scythe, are either pulling products entirely from the US market, or increasing the price by 25-30% to account for current and projected tariffs. Like it or not, this is another market reality, and it's hurting enthusiasts across the board. We are regularly updating our guides as additional budget-oriented PSUs, coolers, and cases disappear from the US market, and where products at the upper-end of the spectrum have increased in price too much, we've substituted in alternatives when possible. But over the long haul, unless the tariff issue is resolved, you can expect to pay approximately 25% more for all components made in China going forward, which is adding about 5-10% to the cost of a complte PC build.

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.

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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