- Mar 6, 2007
Lets face it, you will have a hard time buying the RTX 3000 series, RX 6800 series and Ryzen 5000 series at this time as they are heavily supply constrained. Be patient, don't reward the scalpers, these components will eventually become in stock at their MSRP again. With that being said here are some builds in case you can buy a GPU at a reasonable price right now.
Builds will be updated in Q1 2021 when mid-range GPUs launch. For now all builds will have CPUs/GPUs at their MSRP as they are still some listings at that price (sold out).
AMD Ryzen 5600X
Intel Core i5 10600K
AMD Ryzen 3600
Intel Core i5 10400F
Ryzen 3600 and Intel Core i5 10400 are both currently good values as they offer great performance at under $200. If you want to move up to top tier performance you'll need to go with an unlocked 10-series Intel CPU (10xxxK) or a Ryzen 5000X CPU. According to Techspot, there is a 1% difference on average between the 10900K and 5900X, with the 5900x being faster making it technically the fastest gaming CPU today, and a 5% difference between 5600X and 5900X at 1080p, which shrinks at higher resolutions. Currently 6 cores and 12 threads is enough for AAA gaming, however that will change some point in the future, how long? No one can say for sure...
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
The latest GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD are impressive. Nvidia has a substantial lead in heavy ray tracing applications but AMD is very competitive when it comes to rasterization performance. Currently, Nvidia leads in the $400 tier with the RTX 3060 Ti which is a fantastic GPU with better than console RT capabilities. At the higher end the RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT offer similar rasterization performance with the 3080 coming ahead at 4K and the 6800 XT ahead at 1080p. But in games with heavy RT effects there is a massive advantage for Nvidia GeForce RTX even before DLSS is enabled. The RTX GPUs have the ability to use DLSS 2.0 in a handful of games which increases performance with graphics that are arguably on par with native rendering. AMD is currently working on a similar feature for their 6000 series GPUs that will become available at a later date. AMD GPUs have the ability to use Smart Access Memory a brand of Resizable BAR which is also available on Intel CPUs under a different name and also coming to Nvidia GPUs at a later date.
Recommended: PCIe 3.0x4 NVMe SSD
The sweet spot is still PCIe 3.0 in terms of price and gaming load time performance. It could be years before we see games taking advantage of PCIe 4.0 speeds.
TechSpot did a nice article where they tested drives in a number of games and found no difference between 3.0 and 4.0 drives at this point.
Graphics cards require more power these days than they used to, make sure you have enough PSU power or you could see system instability.
Good airflow is a concern with some cases make sure you do your research before buying a case to see if it is easy to build in and has the features you want as they can last you through a number of builds.
Xbox Series Controller
PS5 Dual Sense Controller
Xbox Series controller is fantastic on PC if you play console style games. The Dual Sense is also a fantastic game pad and Steam has Dual Sense integration. Xbox Series controller is cheaper but Dual Sense can be worth it especially if more games take advantage of it's capabilities on PC.
Programs for Setup & Overclocking
CPU-Z: Information on your CPU, motherboard and memory
GPU-Z: Information on your GPU and VRAM
MSI Afterburner: overclocking utility for GPUs, works on any modern GPU from any vendor
HWiNFO64: detailed system information
Pricing & Compatibility
PCPartPicker: Good way to see if all your components are compatible and compare prices between components aggregated from various websites.
MOD NOTE by DGrayson - Just another thanks to Leonidas for this awesome thread. But note this is not a "static" thread. As Leonidas indicated there will be announcements soon that can cause us to update and change our recommendations. But my main point is that if anyone wants to contribute please let us know. For example I can see room for more detailed explanations on recommended Monitors, Cases, Motherboards, PSUs etc, even Mouses, Keyboards. The list is endless really. So please reach out if anyone wants to tackle any of this or if you have any other suggestions just let us know!
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