Best PC Builds

Introduction

The Best PC Builds. Our title is practically self-explanatory. Unlike the System Builder Marathon, these configurations are not chosen by Tom's Hardware's editors. They are submitted and selected by our forum members based on defined pricing tiers. Every so often, we ask the community for its help picking parts based on performance and features for the price. Feel free to quibble in the comments, as always, and submit your own ideas next time around. Seriously. Someone needs to take down SR-71 Blackbird's setups, which owned three of our subcategories!

The Tom's Hardware editors and forum team believe this is a great place to come together and showcase the fusion of content and community. For nearly two decades (2016 marks our 20th anniversary) Tom's Hardware has brought you the news and reviews of the latest in PC hardware, but also the famous Tom's Hardware forum, now more than 2 million members strong, a remarkable milestone we recently surpassed.

The forum attracts technology enthusiasts of all stripes and levels, connected by their interest in discussing computer hardware and helping solve technical challenges. Many are ultimately seeking help in building a PC, and they receive that help not only through our editorial content but thanks to the dedicated moderators and forum members who put countless hours into assisting others. Because of their expertise and the constant requests for help with PC builds, our members have developed a talent for finding the best prices and putting together the best system builds.

The following selections showcase all of that. We received numerous submissions and enjoyed examining all of your PC builds, but we could ultimately only select one system per price range — thanks to the readers and forum members who participated!

MORE: How To Build A PC
MORE: Systems in the Forums

Best PC Builds

MORE: Best Cases
MORE: Best Cooling

MORE: Best CPUs

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: Best Memory

MORE: Best Motherboards

MORE: Best Power Supplies
MORE: Best SSDs

Best $500 PC Build


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Best $750 PC Build


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Best $1000 PC Build


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Best $1250 PC Build


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Best $1500 PC Build


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Best $1750 PC Build


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Best $2000 PC Build


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Best $600 Steam Machine Build


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21 comments
    Your comment
  • abryant
  • WildCard999
    Congratz to the winners, all solid builds!

    I was especially impressed with the dual computer build by LogainOfHades, nice job!
  • Lutfij
    I personally think LogainOfHaides's build was spectacular ;) Not many people you see consolidate two builds, in a family that use the same space for their day to day tasks, on one case. Most people think to go for a (basement)server rack and then have long wires running along the crib.

    Regardless, thank you to the community for voting for my build in the $1,500 category. I'm very humbled! I also want to congratulate Barty, Techy, Arthur and Logain for winning their respective categories. Ofc, the votes from the community and our reader base had a hand in that ;)

    + We need more of this competition.
  • WildCard999
    291971 said:
    + We need more of this competition.


    Agreed, maybe like best ITX/MATX/ATX/EATX within a certain budget.
  • mlee 2500
    Nice work by Barty1884....under $500 for a new machine that can handle 99% of what most non-gamers use a PC for.

    Using a 3GB GTX 1060 instead of the 1050 would have pushed the cost up another $70, but given it more mainstream gaming capabilities. I've used it to play Total War games at 2K with decent results.
  • mlee 2500
    Yeah, that Phantek's case design blew my mind.
  • TechyInAZ
    I have to agree aswell, Logain's build is AMAZING!
  • Corporate_goon
    I found your SSD choices a bit baffling - given the amount SSDs have dropped recently, I'd assume every PC above the $1000 mark would have a 1TB drive - with a gaming PC, you want your games loading off the SSD, and it only takes a couple of games the size of Witcher III, GTA V, or Monster Hunter: World to fill up a 500GB drive.
  • logainofhades
    Somehow, the 1tb 660p, that the system originally had for games storage, on the mini-itx side, was accidentally removed.
  • vrekman64
    pardon me but, why pair a 2700x with a ASRock B450M PRO4 While a 2600 with Asus Prime X470-Pro?
    shouldn't be the other way around? thanks
  • mlee 2500
    134970 said:
    I found your SSD choices a bit baffling - given the amount SSDs have dropped recently, I'd assume every PC above the $1000 mark would have a 1TB drive - with a gaming PC, you want your games loading off the SSD, and it only takes a couple of games the size of Witcher III, GTA V, or Monster Hunter: World to fill up a 500GB drive.


    You're absolutely right. I thought I was future proofing myself by dedicating a 1TB EVO 960 M.2 as a STEAM-only drive on my new build, but really 500GB is the minimum you want these days, and that's assuming it's not also being used for OS or anything else. And I say that as someone who usually only has a dozen or so games installed at any given time.

    Nothing dampens your enthusiasm and slows your New Game Roll like having to figure out what previous games to delete first.
  • Krazie_Ivan
    1791309 said:
    134970 said:
    I found your SSD choices a bit baffling - given the amount SSDs have dropped recently, I'd assume every PC above the $1000 mark would have a 1TB drive - with a gaming PC, you want your games loading off the SSD, and it only takes a couple of games the size of Witcher III, GTA V, or Monster Hunter: World to fill up a 500GB drive.
    You're absolutely right. I thought I was future proofing myself by dedicating a 1TB EVO 960 M.2 as a STEAM-only drive on my new build, but really 500GB is the minimum you want these days, and that's assuming it's not also being used for OS or anything else. And I say that as someone who usually only has a dozen or so games installed at any given time. Nothing dampens your enthusiasm and slows your New Game Roll like having to figure out what previous games to delete first.


    AMD's StoreMI; loading times of an SSD, w/o consuming all your storage. each build i did with an AMD cpu had this tech in-mind. made sure to use M.2 (if i could afford it) to further the effect. SSDs are much cheaper lately, fo sho - but still not as cheap as the combo (& every penny mattered).

    but my builds didn't win anything here, so take advice from me with a grain -lol
  • Krazie_Ivan
    1951562 said:
    pardon me but, why pair a 2700x with a ASRock B450M PRO4 While a 2600 with Asus Prime X470-Pro? shouldn't be the other way around? thanks


    i can't speak for the winners, can only say why i'd personally do it... i'd normally prefer to let auto-boost do it's thing with an "X" chip, which will be the same on either mobo. but if i'm building with a non-X cpu, then i'm manually OC'g & want the added VRM stability. course, pricing constraints in the competition rarely let me do what i prefer.
  • Krazie_Ivan
    really enjoyed this! thx Tom's, & everyone who entered/read-along/voted!

    i found it odd that the "Mainstream Gaming" system wasn't full of i5 entries/votes, and the "Content Creation & Gaming" winner wasn't a threaded workload monster with massive SSDs. when i saw the $5k dual build, i knew it was over for the rest of us, lol (GJ mate).

    (@moderator - shouldn't $500 segment read "Console Killer"? "We are looking for the best performing gaming PC under $500")
  • robin2rl
    Wouldn't look here for build advice. This page isn't updated frequently enough, prices are way off compared to online, and recommendations are more expensive than pre-builds even.
  • Krazie_Ivan
    588528 said:
    Wouldn't look here for build advice. This page isn't updated frequently enough, prices are way off compared to online, and recommendations are more expensive than pre-builds even.


    i can agree with points made on updates to this site's suggestions, & price fluctuation is hourly on components (so differing models with same specs will change the advice) ...but a custom-built PC costs more than pre-builts due to the quality of components.

    mainstream OEM systems tend to be a hot tin box filled with the absolute lowest tier junk that actively prevent upgrades so you'll buy another whole PC instead. even many of the the boutique pre-builts (which are normally more expensive for the same hardware) tend to cut corners that i wouldn't, or be configured in ways that diminish value.

    people don't build their own unless they are really into the idea, so those who could care less are not the reader a contest like this will attract anyway.
  • andy2112
    Careful: The link for the case on the $2000 gaming that's supposed to be the Cooler Master Silencio 652S goes to the 352 which is for a mini-ATX (and won't hold the ASROCK H370 ATX board...)
    Also shows the price for the 352: the 652S on Amazon from a 3rd party seller (NewEgg doesn't even have it) is about double the price too.
    Might want to change to a more available ATX case while you're at it.
  • jelle.sebrechts
    help me whats the best to buy for making music because i had apple but want to change to .........
  • feelinfroggy777
    MERGED QUESTION
    Question from alinelopesfuruya : "Building a new dream pc"

    2879509 said:
    So hey guys! I’m building a dream pc and I’m new on this... you know the best configuration for a 2080ti and i9 9900k? I'll actually buy in the middle of the year but I need to know what I need to buy to raise money haha It’s a dream pc so you can give me answers with “high” price or low whatever xD


    If you are not gonna build till the middle of the year then wait. A lot can happen in 6 months in the tech industry. Rumors suggest that AMD's 7nm Ryzen CPUs are going to be impressive.
  • abcfeltsstanaway
    What ASRock Fatal1ty motherboard is it the Z170 gaming k6
  • shrapnel_indie
    Kudos to the winners...

    The competition was tough and close. Unfortunately, I got a distinct feeling with the voting, hopefully completely incorrect. I think... one way to alleviate such a feeling, and it's possible others may have felt it too... is this:

    1) Submit the builds blind to the competition. This will keep who's build is what quiet. This will also keep someone from just taking a build and changing a couple of things and submitting it as theirs. (Admittedly, this last one can be a problem too if john doe and Mr Smith come up with the same name and/or build on their own. Both would need to be informed so either one or both can change it.)

    2) When it comes to open voting, only disclose the name of the build and the build itself, not the builders. If anyone feels that a vote is based on popularity of the builder, this will be squashed in this manner, and still let the chosen and vetted builds be reviewed.

    Just something to ponder. I really do like the competition and would like to see it more often.