What is the PC Perspective HW Leaderboard?

Updated January 22nd, 2020:

Welcome to the “You shouldn’t buy it!” edition of the Hardware Leaderboard; seriously don’t do it!  If you can even find higher end parts you will often be paying twice the MSRP to pick them up.  It is not a good time to shop but if you have to, here is an incredibly depressing update featuring ancient hardware that shouldn’t be here in place of things you can’t buy for love nor money, or modern parts that cost 50-100% more than they should.

Stay tuned as we update the HWLB, taking occasional crying breaks to mourn better times.

Intel’s i9 10900K has two things going for it, it is the best processor on the market for gaming and it is in stock for only slightly above what it should be, so it makes sense to base this Dream system off of it.  If there were Z590 boards to be had then they would have appeared here, but they ain’t so enjoy the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490.  If you are shopping right now, you should grab the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus as some day you will have PCIe 4.0 support and it is a decent price for what it is.  Memory prices are a wee bit odd, which is why the DDR4-4800 kit from HyperX is 4x8GB.  As for the GPU, well you can pay 170%  of what an RX 6090 XT is worth, or 243% of MSRP for an RTX 3080 … or Just Say No!

The Ryzen 7 5800X is currently available, if you are willing to pay almost $200 more than the MSRP.  The Aorus X570 Elite is thankfully available for a decent price, if you were thinking of stocking up on parts so you are ready when prices become a bit more sane.  We would love to recommend an RTX 3070 or RX 5800 as a GPU, but you can’t have one right now.  Buying a 2070 Super at this price is insane, so do whatever you can to keep that current GPU running and that isn’t the only component with pricing issues.  16GB DDR4 -3600 DIMMs are also priced beyond what they should be, however four 8GB DDR4-3600 DIMMs are not.

ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming offers a perfect compromise between price and features, just like your CPU.  The RTX 2080 is now in stock and occasionally on sale, so it displaces the long lasting GTX 1080.  Corsair’s LPX 32GB 3200MHz sacrifice a bit of speed in favour of size, which should pay off in the long run.   Western Digital’s new 500GB PCIe NVME Black SSD shows up in most of these builds as the price and performance is at the top of it’s class.  As for the soundcard; at this point if you are enough of an audiophile to need one, you already know how much you will need to pay!  Sabrent is offering great deals on their 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD and powering it all is a brilliant PSU from Corsair.

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 remains relatively available and the price hasn’t gone crazy so it is still worth picking up.  Paring it with a B550 motherboard means you now have PCIe 4.0 support, not to mention the extras ASRock included on the B550M PRO4.  This upgrade also means a new SSD, with Sabrent’s 500GB Rocket currently offering the best deal.  If you do need more space, the difference in speed will not be noticeable in many cases so a 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD is a decent choice.   With a new motherboard comes new RAM, and if you don’t want this kit you should check the QVL list to minimize any pain when setting up your system.

I don’t want to talk about the GPU … wait until an RTX 2060/3060 is reasonable.

There is not much point in building a Budget system right now, the price increases have hurt the low end more so than the high end.  With the fact you cannot pick up an APU for anywhere near a reasonable price which means this build requires a GPU.  At the low end, the GPU market is enough to make you cry out in despair.  The ancient GTX 1050 Ti is almost $200 as is the RX 560, which is simply too much to pay for them.  The memory remains unchanged as the deal remains in place and there is one shining light, you can afford a 500GB NVMe SSD.  The Comet Lake processor is relatively recent and a remains as at a decent price, while the ASRock motherboard will give you every feature you will need for a Budget build and even gives you room to add extra features if you like.

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.

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Dream System 2020 $3670.00

This is the Dream System. No compromises, IOO. It will be called Dream System 2021 when it has parts from this year!

Processor — Intel Core i9-10900K$550

Intel Core i9-10900K - 1 Check out our review!

 5.3Ghz, Within $50 of MSRP
 Ryzen is better at some productivity apps

Guess what doesn’t cost $350 more than it should and will give you an extra frame and a half per second when gaming?  Yes, Intel’s top of the line Comet Lake processor is a much better deal than Ryzen right now and while there are programs which Ryzen does better it is just not worth the premium.

Motherboard — ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490$377

ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Z490 - 2

 14+2 Power Stages, DDR4 4800+
 Not Z590

We’ll get you that Z590 right after the RX 5900X or RTX 3090.

In the mean time this board has everything you could possibly want from a previous generation motherboard.  WiFi 6, 5Gbps LAN, three M.2 slots and great power delivery.  It even has two PCIe Gen … well ya.

Video Card — Sapphire Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT$1720

Sapphire Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT - 3 Check out our review!

 technically, it is in stock, it is the fastest at everything but raytracing
 You want HOW MUCH!

Do you love paying 70% above MSRP, with the added thrill of seeing it disappear from your cart right as you are paying for it?  Then grab an RX 6900 XT and see if you can hold onto it long enough to get an order confirmation.

That said, unless you want to trace some rays, the 6900 XT is the pinnacle of GPUs at the moment.  If you do want to see some shiny cyberware then may we not suggest an RTX 3080 for the same price?

Memory — HyperX Predator 16GB 4800MHz (x2)$513

HyperX Predator 16GB 4800MHz (x2) - 4

 At least DDR4-4800 if not higher, decent price
 no RGBs ... which could be another positive point

With the push of a button, your system will be running stably with DDR4-4800MHz RAM with a CL 19 in XMP.  16GB isn’t enough for you, and as 16GB DIMMs are having a pricing crisis similar to the GPU and CPU a pair of 16GB kits is the way to go.

Hard Drive — Sabrent 1TB Rocket 4 Plus$300

Sabrent 1TB Rocket 4 Plus - 5

 pretty much the best PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive in existence
 pity you don't have PCIe 4.0

What’s faster than a Sabrent Rocket?  Well, honestly on a Z490 board it will be the same speed as high end M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe drives.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grab it now so you have it for the day you can push it to PCIe 4.0 speeds, who knows how much it will cost in a few weeks or months?

Sound Card — Turtle Beach Santa Cruz$0

Turtle Beach Santa Cruz - 6

Classic audio is best audio!

Power Supply — EVGA SuperNOVA 1000W G5$210

EVGA SuperNOVA 1000W G5 - 7

 10yr warranty
 no silent mode

With an 80 PLUS Gold rating and 10 year warranty you can expect this PSU to be powering your system for a long time.  The PSU is incredibly efficient and stable, which you need in a system with these powerful components installed.

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High End System $2183.00

High end gaming for around $1500.

Processor — Ryzen 7 5800X$620

Ryzen 7 5800X - 8

 multithreaded goodness, great power to performance
 IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE $450, Good luck mining your money back

This new Matisse Ryzen offers the same core count as some of the original Threadrippers, at a higher frequency and a much lower MRSP.  8 Cores/16 threads are going to give you an impressive amount of performance regardless of the task you throw at it and it isn’t that power hungry to boot!

Motherboard — Gigabyte X570 AORUS Elite$200

Gigabyte X570 AORUS Elite - 9

 solid overall board, all the features you need
 no USB-C

If you’ve ever wondered what Josh and I have in our enclosures then wonder no more.  The X570 Aorus Elite serves us both well, offering the features we want but none of the extras we don’t need.  There is also a WiFi edition which often costs the exact same if you are a fan of latency.  Two M.2, enough PCIe 4.0 lanes to satisfy and a nice design.

Video Card — ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super$1000

ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Super - 10

 none, seriously, do not buy
 this shouldn't even be here

You could save $70 and pick up a 1080 Ti!  Or you know, do something less insane like waiting until a recent GPU arrives in stock for long enough for you to grab it.

Please note, PCPer does not condone moving into your local computer store until they sell you a Navi or Ampere GPU.

Memory — Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3600 16GB (x2)$83

Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3600 16GB (x2) - 11

 On the QVL list, Good sale
 You might not want to fill all 4 slots

32GB DDR4-3600 kit prices are a bit odd right now, but this 16GB kit from Corsair works perfectly with the Aorus Extreme and picking up two of these kits will save you several hundred dollars compared to a pair of 16GB DIMMs.

Hard Drive — Sabrent 1TB Rocket$170

Sabrent 1TB Rocket - 12

 1TB at under 20 cents/gb, PCIe 4.0
 no raccoon

Sabrent’s PCIe 4.0 SSDs are on sale so it is a perfect purchase for your new system.  It is a shining light in a bleak component market. You could opt for the 500GB model to shave off a few dollars if you so desire.

Sound Card — Audigy 2 ZS Gamer$0

Audigy 2 ZS Gamer - 13

Over $200 in free games and one of the best soundcards made!  Audiophiles know what they want, and they know how to get it.

Power Supply — Corsair CX750F RGB$110

Corsair CX750F RGB - 14

 easy to find in the dark, modular
 maybe too much RGB

You want extra RGBs?  What about adding some to your PSU so that when installed at the bottom of your case it will add a funky glow underneath your system?  It isn’t just pretty either, Corsair makes reliable PSUs and as a bonus it is full modular.

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Mid Range System $955.00

You can clearly play from middle.

Processor — AMD Ryzen 5 3600$200

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 - 15

 better deal than the 3600X, bios update kit, remained a reasonable price
 stock comes and goes

The new Ryzen has hit the market even harder than the second generation, offering significant architectural advantages and punching above it’s weight class.  The 65W TDP means that the Wraith Stealth cooler which ships with the CPU is more than enough to run a stock system quietly. You can spend an extra $40 for the unlocked if you have your heart set on it.

Motherboard — ASRock B550M PRO4$105

ASRock B550M PRO4 - 16

 Two PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots, so many USB 3.2 including a Type-C

The B550 chipset gives you all the benefits of AMD’s new processors without costing you hundreds of dollars.  ASRock’s B550M PRO4 takes the prize at the moment because it offers everything that the competition does as well as a third M.2 slot to add WiFi.  ASRock have come a long way over the years but have stuck to their original goal of creating solid products with lots of features at a great price.

Video Card — ASRock Challenger Pro Radeon RX 5600 XT$370

ASRock Challenger Pro Radeon RX 5600 XT - 17

 patience is a virtue

This is a matter of take what you can get. There is little reason to pick up a 5600 XT at these prices but if you have to build a system right this second then this is about the only card you can get short of having something shipped from overseas.

Memory — Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RC DDR4 3600MHz$95

Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RC DDR4 3600MHz - 18

 On the QVL list, DDR4-3600 is Ryzen's favourite
 Thermaltake might not be your go to RAM company, Hynix, not Samsung B-Die

If you are going with a Ryzen processor then DDR4-3600 is your best bet as it offers the best match to the frequency Infinity Fabric runs at.  Thermaltake provided the heatspreaders  and sourced the chips from Hynix.   This specific RA24D408GX2-3600C18A kit appears on ASRock’s QVL list for Matisse so you shouldn’t have any issues.

Hard Drive — Sabrent 500GB Rocket Nvme PCIe 4.0$90

Sabrent 500GB Rocket Nvme PCIe 4.0 - 19

 PCIe 4.0 baby!, Sabrent drives are pretty
 PCIe 4.0 does cost more, Only half a TB

Moving up to a B550 board means support for PCIe 4.0 and so we see Sabrent appear on the HWLB for the mid-range system.  If you need more storage, dropping back to PCIe 3.0 should let you double the capacity without increasing the price.  Keep an eye out for sales as well as you often see drives being sold at a deep discount.

Sound Card — Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX$40

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$55

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.

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Low End System $572.00

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

Processor — Intel Core i3-10100F$120

Intel Core i3-10100F - 22

 available to buy, DDR4-2666 support, 14nm is cool again?
 you are going to need to buy a GPU, limited stock, rocket lake is coming

Intel will be powering the Budget build thanks to the insane pricing of any Ryzen 3 processors actually on the market right now.  Unlike previous builds we cannot base the system on a chip with an iGPU, instead it is the 4 core/eight thread i3-10100F which will offer you a 3.60GHz base clock, boosting up to 4.30GHz.  Overall a decent choice at the price, shortages or no.

Motherboard — ASRock B460M PRO4$93

ASRock B460M PRO4 - 23

 Two M.2 slots + 1 for WiFi, Optane support in case you go crazy, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C
 unlikely to ever support PCIe 4.0

There are inexpensive B460 boards which do not sacrifice the important features to keep the price down somewhat.  This ASRock still supports M.2, has four DIMM slots which can handle up to DDR4-2933, a half dozen SATA ports and even two PCIe 3.0 16x slots which offer full speed.  Realtek’s ALC1200 codec might not be the newest on the market but it will still provide decent sound, same for the Intel NIC.

Video Card — ASUS GTX 1650 OC$195

ASUS GTX 1650 OC - 24 Check out our review!

 Good factory overclock
 A GTX 1650 in 2021?

If you thought trying to source a new GPU is depressing, try looking at the low end.  Many cards that were once around $100 have more than doubled in price, regardless of their age.  Putting a GTX 1650 back on the HWLB is painful but also the only choice to keep the price around $200.  This particular card sports a decent overclock with a Boost Clock of up to 1655 MHz.

Honestly you are better off diving into eBay and hoping for good luck.

Memory — Kingston HyperX FURY DDR4-2666MHz$49

Kingston HyperX FURY DDR4-2666MHz - 25

 price,
 tigher timings do exist if you pay extra,

A pair of 4GB DDR4-2666 with timings of 15-15-17-45 at a decent price. Pick up two if you can afford them, the motherboard supports four DIMMs in dual channel.

Hard Drive — WD Black 500GB NVMe$65

WD Black 500GB NVMe - 26

 great price
 PCIe 3.0 but hey, so is your motherboard and CPU

Al’s review of the new WD Black NVMe SSDs show them to have amazing performance, often beating out Samsung’s offerings.  The one good piece of news on this HWLB update is that everyone can have an NVME drive of a decent size!

Sound Card — Onboard Audio$0

Onboard Audio - 27

 Out of the box available!
 Can be noisy.

With the 7.1 surround Realtek ALC892 audio chipset onboard you don’t need to pick up a sound card, something that helps bring the price of the budget build down. The quality of sound reproduction is perfect for watching movies or listening to music and while it won’t be terribly effective at sound editing, that really is not the purpose of this build.

Power Supply — Corsair CV450$50

Corsair CV450 - 28

 decent warranty
 non-modular

The 80+ Bronze Corsair CV450 picks up the recommendation thanks to it’s 5 year warranty and Corsair’s reputation.  450W will certainly power this system and the 120mm fan won’t add much sound to your PC’s operations.  While it is not modular, it does still sport nice sleeving on the cables to keep things looking nice.