New to PC building? This guide shows you how to put together compatible PC parts lists.
At its most basic level, this means deciding between AMD and Intel sockets. While there is no “best” platform, you can definitely use the criteria below to figure out which one is best for you.
Most people want a platform that offers at least the opportunity to upgrade. Now that Ryzen has launched, both AMD and Intel are offering modern technology with legitimate upgrade opportunities. It’s important to note that upgrading isn’t just a matter of CPU compatibility; if you’re new to PC gaming or running a system that’s 3-5 years old, upgrading also means investing in a new memory standard, DDR4. Once purchased, that memory should be useful for the next 8-10 years in any system you own.
The next set of factors to think about is how you plan to use your PC. Since you’re here reading this article we’ll assume gaming is a given. But what else? Do you create or edit video or audio files? Do CAD or engineering work? Are you interested in being the next legendary game dev? Do you want to run virtual machines, maybe several at a time? If these tasks apply to you, you’ll want to consider that before buying. More threads equal better productivity.
Now, let’s talk about how your budget figures in the build equation. Basically, the less money you have to spend, the more you must compromise on intended use capabilities, maybe sacrificing some gaming or productivity chops, extra flair like RGB, etc. Also the less money you have, the more you should focus on creating a good basic system.