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The Tech Report System Guide: May 2017 edition


Ryzen 5 takes the stage
— 3:31 PM on May 9, 2017

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Welcome to the May 2017 edition of The Tech Report System Guide. There are changes afoot in the mid-range PC market, and good ones, at that. AMD's Ryzen 5 processors have broken Intel's long-running lock on midrange CPUs. These four- and six-core chips are solid all-round performers. They all offer SMT support, a bonus that Intel usually reserves for its Core i7 offerings, and they all have unlocked multipliers for easy overclocking, too.

As we pointed out in our last guide, Ryzen 7 CPUs are basically telling Intel's Broadwell-E chips that they really need a price cut. Since good things come in threes, AMD has updated its lineup of graphics cards with its Radeon RX 580, RX 570, and RX 550 offerings. Change in the PC hardware landscape is constant, and we're here to help ease builders through the process.

The rest of the PC hardware market has remained mostly the same, though. RAM and SSD prices continue their upward trajectory. Speedy memory kits with guaranteed Ryzen compatibility are still mostly MIA. The case and cooling market has been rather quiet, save for the ever-increasing number of cases with fancy RGB LED lighting onboard. Now that Ryzen 5 CPUs and the Radeon RX 500 series cards are out, the world is waiting with bated breath for the approaching release of the high-end Radeon RX Vega. Stay tuned, as we'll discuss each of these items in detail.

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.

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.