The Builds

DIY PC Builder's Update, March 1, 2019: As we head into Spring, there's lot of good news to report for PC builders. First off, the SSD market is as competitive as we've ever seen it, with new product releases and price drops coming nearly every week. While all 24 of our guides have featured SSDs for months, for the first time, a majority of our builds now use next-gen PCIe drives. That's simply amazing, and not something we would have predicted a year ago. We're also seeing continual price drops on memory, and while RAM isn't quite at its historical low price, it will be there soon. Also benefitting PC builders is the fact that Nvidia heard your cries loud and clear, and over the past few months launched the RTX 2060 and then the GTX 1660 Ti at prices that seriously moved the ball forward in terms of performance per dollar (which the higher-end RTX GPUs unfortunately did not). That means gamers looking to build great mid-range PCs are now guaranteed a better gaming experience than ever before!

Now for the bad news: we continue to see shortages of many of Intel's most popular CPUs, starting with mobile chips (which our Intel NUC build features), going all the way up to the high-end Core i7-9700K and Core i9-9900K processors. The Pentium processors have already been all but discontinued. Eventually, something has to give, and we think it's going to be AMD's Zen 2 launch that finally breaks Intel's back. At this point, 11 of our 24 builds already feature Ryzen processors, and when Zen 2 arrives this summer, we expect that AMD will return to owning over 50% of the processor market, as it did back in the early 2000s, when Intel was stuck on, wait for it... single-core CPUs! Until then, however, Intel still has the best high-end chips, but because Amazon can go weeks at a time with zero stock, we often recommend B&H Photo Video in our guides, a retailer that also gets high marks from consumers.

In other news, we recently published a 5-year retrospective on the DIY PC industry. Anyone interested in learning more about how PCs have changed since 2014 would do well to check it out!

How to Use 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 10 of our 24 guides are Small Form Factor models, and while they are all listed below, you can learn more about Small Form Factor market 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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