Ars Technica System Guide, “GPUs Are Affordable Again” Edition

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Aurich Lawson

It’s been quite a while since we’ve put together a desktop PC build guide, partly because trying to navigate your way through bots and scalpers to pay double the price of Graphics card detail was a miserable experience that we wouldn’t want to inflict on anyone.

But even though 2022 has done most things After expensive, PC builders got lucky. CPUs and motherboards are in stock and easy to buy, DDR4 memory is actually cheap, and you can head online to Amazon, Best Buy, or Newegg and find virtual shelves full of GPUs at prices that, although still somewhat swollen, would have looked miraculous six months ago.

Overall PC demand is expected to drop a little in the coming months, but if you’ve been patiently waiting to build your first desktop PC or replace an existing one, now’s probably the best time to build a PC since mid-2020. .

To help anyone looking for advice on building systems, we’ve put together four sample builds aimed at giving you the best performance for your money. These won’t be flashy high-end rigs, and you should treat them as starting points. As we tell you why we chose the components we chose, you can decide for yourself if you need to make any changes based on your needs. We can do separate guides focused on tiny versions of mini ITX and high-end PCs later.

A note on component selection

Part of the fun of building a PC is making it look the way you want it to. We’ve selected cases that will physically fit the motherboards and other parts we recommend, which we believe will suit the style of each system perfectly. But there are many cases, and our picks won’t be the only options available.

The same goes for power supplies. We primarily recommend EVGA models with an 80 Plus Gold or better efficiency certification, as we’ve had good experiences with them in our builds and those we’ve gathered for friends or acquaintances. But if you know enough to have a favorite brand, go with what works for you. The same goes for RAM – we’ll recommend specific capacities and speeds and use brands that have worked well for us in the past, but that doesn’t mean they’re better than the many other RAM kits with equivalent specifications.

Finally, we will not include the cost of a Windows license in our cost estimates. You can pay many different prices for Windows: $139 for an official retail license from Microsoft, $120 for an “OEM” license for system builders, or between $15 and $40 for a product key from gray market product key resale sites. If you have a product key for Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7, you can also install and activate Windows 11 without paying anything extra, because Microsoft never banned this option after the free upgrade period. Windows 10. We’ll leave that decision to you.

We also haven’t priced most peripherals, like webcams, monitors, keyboards, or mice, because we assume most people will reuse what they already have or purchase those components separately.


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