What is the PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard?

Updated 10/24/22

The Dream System will set you back over $4000 but it is a beast.  You get the two fastest enthusiast components, Intel’s Core i9-13900K and NVIDIA’s RTX 4090, in this case provided by Zotac.  In case you need some extra space for texture packs, grab a 2TB Sabrent 4 Plus which might not be the best at any one test but is the best overall.  DDR5 is a bit of a challenge right now, not many recall needing to differentiate between single and dual sided DIMMs, let alone one DIMM per channel.  If you are looking to exceed DDR5-4800 you need to keep that in mind, as well as looking for the tightest timings possible.  It is also of utmost importance not to skimp on a PSU, a 450W+ GPU and a CPU that can hit 253W need sold power delivery to function well.

The High end of the Hardware Leaderboard continues to creep up in price as the Ryzen 5000 series is powerful but the price is a little painful.  Add to that an X670 board and DDR5 and it is only the return to sanity on GPU prices that saves it.  The MSI PRO X670-P WiFi offers a lot but the only DDR4-4000 kit on the QVL list to provide you that 1:1 ratio are actually rated at DDR5-4800.  That just means you need to try to tighten up those timings!  The Sabrent drive remains for now, as we wait for PCIe 5.0 drives to appear or for a better PCIe 4.0 drive.  The overclocked RTX 3080 is a decent deal, though keep in mind that the arrival of the RTX 4080 is so close you might just want to hold off for now.

Move over AMD, Intel’s Alder Lake is the new Mid Range king!  You can’t quite fit a DDR5 board and memory into a $1000 budget but the performance is generally better and if you do happen to upgrade you won’t necessarily need a new CPU.  The GIGABYTE B660M DS3H has a great power design, USB 3.2 Type-C and 2.5GbE networking, which makes up for the DDR4, not that a DDR4-4000 CL 16 kit is anything to sneer at!  Sabrent is having a deal on their 1TB Rocket Q4 PCIe 4.0 drive which you should grab while you can!  As well we see an improvement to the GPU with a nice deal on a factory overclocked RTX 3060.  You can skip the soundcard, but make sure you grab that PSU.

The Budget System is a bit over the $500 target, unless you skip the GPU and this is likely to remain the case as everything is a bit more expensive than when the Leaderboard was incepted.  Intel’s offerings are a little more expensive at the moment, so it is back to AMD with the Ryzen 5 5600G and a MSI X570-A PRO motherboard.  With the pricing of the new B660 motherboards and DDR5 it makes sense to grab an affordable high end board from the previous generation.  The Corsair DDR4-3600 may not be flashy but it is the preferred frequency and appears on the QVL list for the motherboard.  Western Digital’s Black series remains one of the best deals on SSDs, with the new SN770 replacing the previous generation.   The GPU has taken quite a jump from the GTX 1650 thanks to a great deal on the ZOTAC GTX 1660 Super 6GB.  If you can grab it at the price it is worth it, otherwise take a peek at what you can find for around $200.

Once you have all your components you can always reference Ryan’s videos covering the installation of the parts into the case as well as installing your OS and Steam so you can get right to gaming and surfing.  For those of you looking at a Vive or Oculus, the systems mostly match those covered in Ryan’s VR builds; check out your expected experience in his three guides.

Hardware Leaderboard - 29

Dream System 2022 $4554.00

This is the Dream System. No compromises, IOO.

Processor — Intel Core i9-13900K$740

Intel Core i9-13900K - 1 Check out our review!

 moar power, best HEDT going right now
 and the MSRP is a joke ... again, moar power

Sigh, that $740 price tag is apparently 18% lower than what Amazon actually would like to charge you.  The i9-13900K contains eight performance cores, and 16 efficiency cores for a total of 32 threads.  The testing from all sites show it surpasses AMD’s current offerings and so should be the choice of gamers for whom price is no barrier.

Motherboard — MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi$350

MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi - 2

 2 PCIe 5.0 slots, 5 M.2 ports, 2.5Gbp LAN
 no 10Gbp ?

This board has just about everything a young system could want. More PCIe 5.0 and M.2 than you will know what to do with, Bluetooth 5.2, 2.5Gbps wired and Intel WIFI 6E wireless to connect. Unlike many an AMD board, the USB 3.2 Gen 2 10Gbps and 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps will both work wonderfully for even more peripherals to add in.

Video Card — ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 4090 AMP Extreme AIRO$2520

ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 4090 AMP Extreme AIRO - 3

 best of the best, ray trace @ 4K
 that price though

The RTX 4090 is available, if you are willing to pay a stiff premium over the already astronomical MSRP.  Then again you are getting a card like unto no other.  It has been a long while since we have seen performance jump of this magnitude in a single generation but NVIDIA pulled it off.  If you want proper 4K gaming with no compromise then this Zotac sports the best factory OC available at the moment.

Memory — G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-6400 32GB$250

G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-6400 32GB - 4

 CL32-39-39-102
 price, should be compatible, but not on the list

There is no reason to think these won’t work as long as you only put in one per channel but they don’t specifically show on the QVL.  There are a few ADATA DDR5-6666 which do but they aren’t for sale, as well as some Teamgroup T-Force DDR5-6400 if you want to play it safe.  Just make sure to watch those timings!

Hard Drive — Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB$300

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB - 5

 PCIe 4.0 at it's best
 Still not 10 cents per gig

Sabrent have really made a name for themselves in the NVMe market, often offering performance on par or better than other more established names.  This drive is no different, rated for up to 7000 MB/s read and 5300 MB/s write.   They are also able to run with just the included heatspreader, or with one from your motherboard attached to it.

Sound Card — Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus$140

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus - 6

 Dolby Digital and DTS, 32-bit/384 kHz
 Do you need one?

Do you crave 32-bit/384 kHz playback with a 122 dB DNR from a SABRE32 ultra-class PCI-e DAC?  Perhaps a discrete headphone amp that utilizes bi-amplification technology to power each earcup individually would turn your head?  Then grab a discrete sound card to satiate your desires.

Power Supply — FSP Hydro PTM Pro 1200W 80 Plus Platinum$254

FSP Hydro PTM Pro 1200W 80 Plus Platinum - 7

 comes with a 16-pin PCIe 5.0 compatible cable
 It is a bit bigger than you might expect

If you intend to run an i9-12900K and an RTX 3090 Ti you are going to need some serious power.  This PSU has plenty of that, and impressive efficiency as well.  In addition to a 10 year warranty to reassure you, this also ships with a PCIe power adapter for that beast of a GPU and it’s unique power requirements.

Hardware Leaderboard - 30

High End System $2119.00

High end gaming for around $2000.

Processor — AMD Ryzen 7 7700X$400

AMD Ryzen 7 7700X - 8

 brand new, top of the line
 that's a big price jump

This is a bit of a price jump, especially when you start looking at the motherboard and memory.  However you have to pay for hot new hardware and we need to pick something that will be a noticeable jump from the Mid Range.  This build is likely to change as soon as a Raptor sees it and tosses it in the Lake.

Motherboard — MSI PRO X670-P WiFi$290

MSI PRO X670-P WiFi - 9

 this new generation is feature rich
 but bloody expensive

It’ll cost you, but two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, one 3.2 Gen 2×2, 2.5 GbE LAN, DDR5 and four M.2 ports of which one is PCIe 5.0 isn’t going to come cheap.  One thing that will be interesting to find out is how well the AMD Wi-Fi 6E implementation is.  You might as well skip the sound card since this board ships with the Realtek ALC4080 Codec, 7.1 sound up to 32-Bit/384 kHz.

Video Card — MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 LHR 12GB$857

MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 LHR 12GB - 10

 Torx Fan 4, Boost Clock 1815 MHz
 still more than it should be

There are two versions of this card, the less expensive uses Torx 3 cooling and tops out at 1740 MHz, but it will save you around $70 if that works for you.  RTX 3080’s are getting closer to MSRP but they still cost you … and that RTX 4080 (the real one) is just around the corner if you can just be patient.

Memory — Crucial RAM 32GB DDR5-4800MHz CL40$156

Crucial RAM 32GB DDR5-4800MHz CL40 - 11

 QVL, 1:1 ratio, run it at DDR5-4000
 CL40, too many RGBs?

A new generation of Ryzen means a new generation of memory. With the new 2GHz fabric clock there is a new sweet spot for your memory. If you want a 1:1 ratio then you need to run at DDR5-4000 and it is wise to ensure you are running compatible memory. According to MSI these are the DIMMs to go with, as long as you run them at DDR5-4000, which means you can spend some time tightening those timings to get the most out of the kit.

Hard Drive — Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 1TB$150

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 1TB - 12

 PCIe 4.0 at it's best
 Still not 10 cents per gig

Sabrent have really made a name for themselves in the NVMe market, often offering performance on par or better than other more established names.  This drive is no different, rated for up to 7000 MB/s read and 5300 MB/s write.   They are also able to run with just the included heatspreader, or with one from your motherboard attached to it.

Sound Card — Creative Sound Blaster Z SE$100

Creative Sound Blaster Z SE - 13

 Discrete 5.1 and Virtual 7.1, DAC and Headphones Amp
 is it that much better than your onbard?

116 dB SNR at a bit rate of up to 24-bit / 192 kHz, gold plated connectors.  Sound Blaster Command CrystalVoice technology that helps remove echoes and ambient noises.  Bells!  Whistles!

Power Supply — EVGA Supernova 850 P6$166

EVGA Supernova 850 P6 - 14

 Ars tested their Ryzen 7700X with it, 140mm long
 pcie-5 psu are rare and expensive

The new Ryzen 5000 series are power hungry, but not quite as hungry as we feared.  It would be best to get a proper PCIe 5.0 compliant PSU but for now they are both hard to find and painful to pay for.  Ars Technica used this PSU for their testing, so you should be good to go with EVGA.

Hardware Leaderboard - 31

Mid Range System $940.00

You can clearly play from middle … though $1000 is the ‘new’ mid-range.

Processor — Intel Core i5-12400$194

Intel Core i5-12400 - 15

 great price to performance, newest generation
 Sorry no DDR5 for you yet, no overclocking

This is a tough choice between the 5600X and the i5-12400, coming down to the theoretical support for newer technology from Intel.  The trouble is the price of the motherboard and DDR5 to truly get the most out of your Alder Lake CPU.  Even with DDR4 Intel’s offering often outpaces AMDs at this core count.

Motherboard — GIGABYTE B660M DS3H$110

GIGABYTE B660M DS3H - 16

 feature filled for the price
 no DDR5 at this price

If you can’t have DDR5 there are plenty of other features to enjoy. 2.5GbE LAN and USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C ports are certainly a good start.  The power design Gigabyte chose is very solid and so you should see reliable performance.  You won’t be overclocking this build; drop down a generation or two if you want a Core i5 K processor on the mid range system.

Video Card — ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC$341

ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC - 17

 12GB RAM, decent OC
 almost but not quite MSRP

It’s hard to beat the deal on this particular RTX 3060, with a Boost clock of 1807 MHz and 12GB of RAM that will outperform the RX 6600 XT.  DisplayPort 1.4a and HDMI 2.1 are great to have now, which you will have once you pick up this card.  The IceStorm 2.0 cooling is a nice touch too!

Memory — Patriot Viper Steel 16GB DDR4-4000MHz CL 16$105

Patriot Viper Steel 16GB DDR4-4000MHz CL 16 - 18

 CL 16, 4000MHz
 merely 16GB

So here’s a choice.  Do you limit yourself to 16GB of DDR4-4000 or do you think you need 32GB?  This will depend on your habits, but for most 16GB is not going to limit them.  If you think you are one that would need the extra space, for an extra $25 the G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 32GB DDR4-3600 CL16-19-19-39 kit is the way to go!

Hard Drive — SABRENT 1TB Rocket Q4$90

SABRENT 1TB Rocket Q4 - 19

 PCIe 4.0 at it's best
 the deal won't last forever

This is a great deal on a fast Sabrent PCIe 4.0 drive with 1TB of capacity.  If the deal ends, take a peek at the original SABRENT 1TB Rocket or the Crucial P3 Plus if you need to shave a few dollars off.

Sound Card — Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX$44

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX - 20

 audiophiles
 superfluous

If for some reason you find you do need a discrete audio solution instead of the onboard Realtek ALC892 7.1, Sound Blaster offers a decent deal. This particular card sports a 600 ohm headphone amp in addition to 5.1 surround speaker support.

Power Supply — Cooler Master MWE 550W$56

Cooler Master MWE 550W - 21

 5 year warranty, flat cables, Single +12V Rail
 non-modular

If you are looking for a mix of quality and value then this Cooler Master power supply is something you should grab.  There’s not much else to say other than it will provide your system with reliable power and not create much noise while doing so.

Hardware Leaderboard - 32

Low End System $634.00

Plenty of fun still to be had on the low side.

Processor — AMD Ryzen 5 5600G$130

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G - 22

 Great deal ... for now, Free cooler
 The GPU leaves you wanting

The price on the Intel Core i5-12400 has jumped significantly while the price on the Ryzen 5 5600G has dropped to the level of the i3-12100.  This gives you a built in 7 core built in GPU which will suffice for basic usage, but it will need some help for gaming.  It also ships with the impressive AMD Wraith Stealth cooler.

Motherboard — MSI X570-A PRO$150

MSI X570-A PRO - 23

 It's an X570, PCIe 4.0
 it's so last gen

Hey look, it’s a high end motherboard on the Budget build!  The problem is that while the B650 boards have become available, they are twice the price of this X570.  It makes sense to skip paying the premium price for now, as DDR5 is still a bit steep for the Budget build.

Video Card — ZOTAC GTX 1660 Super 6GB$200

ZOTAC GTX 1660 Super 6GB - 24

 great performance for the price
 the sale won't last forever

The price on this GTX 1660 Super is roughly $30 more than a GTX 1650 but offers far more performance.  If you can possibly manage to afford the extra money it is more that worth it while this sale continues, otherwise look for a good price on a GTX 1650.

Memory — Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4-3600$54

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4-3600 - 25

 on the list
 CL18

This 2x8GB kit shows up on the compatibility chart for the MSI X570-A PRO.  Nothing fancy but it should boot at the full speed with no headaches.

Hard Drive — WD BLACK 500GB SN770$50

WD BLACK 500GB SN770 - 26

 Up to 4,000 MB/s, PCIe 4.0
 not the fastest, only 500GB

The new generation of WD Black is available for the same price as the previous, so once again they get the slot on the Budget build

Sound Card — Onboard Audio$0

Onboard Audio - 27

 Out of the box available!
 Can be noisy.

7.1 surround brought to you by Realtec, dunno which one but it is HD.

Power Supply — EVGA 500 W3, 80+$50

EVGA 500 W3, 80+ - 28

 500W on a budget, 3 year warranty
 non-modular

There is a great sale on this 500W EVGA PSU right now.  It does provides a bit more power than you technically need, but as they tend to live long lives that extra juice may come in handy after an upgrade.