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The Tech Report System Guide: March 2017 edition


Now we're building with Ryzen
— 1:52 PM on March 23, 2017

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Welcome to the March 2017 edition of The Tech Report System Guide. Since our last Guide, we've gotten lots and lots to talk about. AMD's Ryzen 7 CPUs have brought competition to the high-end CPU market for the first time in several years, and we're Ryzen to the occasion with plenty of AMD-specific advice. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has redefined single-card graphics performance, and the green team has slashed the price of the GeForce GTX 1080 in response to the new king of the hill. We're here to help builders navigate this newly-reshaped world of PC components.

Aside from those major releases, not much has changed since our last Guide. Prices for high-performance DDR4 memory have risen. On the storage front, the prices for terabyte-class SSDs have fallen while the prices for mainstream-friendly SSDs have remained rather high. The case, power, and cooling sectors of the PC market have all been pretty quiet. If you're ready to build a new system, now is a pretty good time, save for AMD's upcoming Ryzen 5 launch and the looming Radeon RX Vega graphics card—or family of cards. We'll talk about what to expect from those parts at the end of this Guide, but for now, let's get to part-picking.

The Tech Report System Guide is sponsored by Newegg. We'll be using links to the site's product pages throughout this guide. Support our work by purchasing the items we recommend using these links. A big thanks to Newegg for its continued support. In the rare cases that Newegg doesn't stock an item we want to recommend, we'll link to other retailers as needed. Despite its sponsorship, Newegg has no input on the components included in the System Guide. Our picks are entirely our own.

Rules of the road
The System Guide is our list of recommended parts for building a new PC. If you've never built a PC before and want to, that's great. Just be sure to read through our guide to building a PC, or kick back and watch the handy video below, before proceeding.

In the following pages, we'll discuss our picks for the critical components that make up a PC, including processors, motherboards, memory, graphics cards, storage, cases, and power supplies. We've picked parts to fit budgets of all sizes, without compromising on quality or performance. Those picks are divided into three categories: budget, sweet spot, and high-end. We'll also make a note of good choices for those readers who are looking to get in to a VR-ready system.

Our budget picks will get you up and running with solid components that won't break the bank. Stepping up to our sweet spot parts gets you even more bang for your buck. At the high end, we've chosen parts that represent the pinnacle of performance, without falling into the trap of spending money for its own sake.

Each part will have a link to a TR review where possible. We also include a notable needs section for each item with any critical information that you need to know before putting together a parts list. Finally, we've put together some sample builds if you have no idea where to start.

If you like this article, don't miss the rest of our guide series: our how-to-build-a-PC guide, where we walk readers (and viewers) through the PC assembly process; our mobile staff picks, where we highlight our favorite devices for on-the-go computing; and our peripheral guide, where we pick the best monitors, mice, keyboards, and accessories to make your PC experience even better.