PC Hardware Buyer's Guide Q2 2017
We told you it was back! Okay, so we missed our quarterly schedule target, but to be fair when we came to write it at the beginning of March, we knew that AMD's Ryzen chips were finally about to launch, so we waited for the dust to settle on those before re-evaluating things. Since our last guide and before Ryzen
, we also saw the launch of Intel's Z270 chipsets and accompanying seventh generation Core processors (Kaby Lake)
. Things have been much quieter on the GPU front - still no Vega, sadly - although the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti
and AMD RX 500 series
have made their debuts as well.
All four systems have seen some hardware changes, and we listened to your feedback regarding the prices of the less expensive systems and attempted to keep these as low as possible, although RAM and storage prices have shot up a bit since December last year, which has made this rather challenging. As ever, please feel free to voice your feedback loudly and constructively in the comments section.
How the PC Hardware Buyer's Guide Works
We've specced up four full systems targeting users with different needs and budgets. For each one, we list the components, the rough/average price you should expect to pay for them individually (you may be able to find components for less by shopping around), and an overall total price indicating the budget for that particular PC. Prices, of course, are subject to fluctuations (especially at the moment for anyone in the UK), so we don't keep the guides updated with live pricing information. However, the overall budgets are far enough apart that you'll be able to gauge the most suitable system for you.
A run-down of the systems is as follows:
- Affordable All-Rounder – A very budget-conscious system that'll still be responsive, powerful enough for everyday tasks, and have plenty of 1080p gaming potential as well as a solid upgrade path.
- Enthusiast Gamer – A system designed to offer excellent bang for buck, not just right now but for a good few years to come. This will be a suitable PC for heavy multi-taskers and gamers looking to game comfortably at 1080p or even 1440p with maximum or close to maximum settings. It'll also be capable of powering virtual reality headsets.
- Premium Player – A system for those who want the latest and greatest kit to deliver a premium 4K or VR gaming experience. It's less budget-conscious than the rest, but we're not looking to waste money on unnecessary extravagance.
- Pocket Rocket – Who needs a massive tower PC these days anyway? Here's a system for small form factor fans out there featuring mini-ITX hardware that delivers epic performance in a tiny footprint.
As ever, it's important to note that the Buyer's Guide isn't something designed to be taken as gospel. We try to keep it using as many products as possible that we've reviewed or at least been hands-on with, but sometimes we stick to educated guesses – the golden rule is we'd never recommend anything we wouldn't be happy buying ourselves, though. We always make clear the reasoning behind our choices, and rest assured that our reasoning is based on years of experience with all manner of brands and components. Also, it's not only designed for those looking to build entire systems; even if you just want to upgrade your system in one or two key areas, there's plenty of information to help you pick the best choice, including possible alternative selections if you have slightly different needs or budget limitations.