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TechSpot PC Buying Guide: Holidays 2015 Update

By Julio Franco · 51 replies
Nov 30, 2015
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  1. TechSpot's PC Buying Guide offers an in-depth list of today's best desktop PC hardware, spanning five different budgets. Starting at ~$500 for a well-balanced machine capable of medium workloads, up to $3,000+ for the Luxury build, which includes the best PC hardware recommendations when budget is not a big concern.

    This time around we're also throwing in a fifth build, the Extreme System, which disregards price-to-performance value altogether and simply includes the biggest and baddest hardware available, period.

    • Decent performance • Good for everyday computing • Gaming with add-on GPU
    • Good performance • Fast for everyday computing • Casual gaming
    • Excellent performance • Great Multitasker • Perfect for gaming
    • High-end performance • Heavy multitasking • High-quality gaming
    • Workstation-like performance • Extreme multitasking • Extreme gaming
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2016
    misor likes this.
  2. vergilangleos

    vergilangleos TS Rookie

    An entry level gaming PC with SSD??
  3. Coodu

    Coodu TS Booster Posts: 173

    Thanks so much for updating this guys, was just thinking this morning it seemed a bit outdated. Might be time for some upgrades!
    Steve likes this.
  4. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,358   +1,518

    Every PC should have an SSD.

    You are most welcome :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2015
    Julio Franco likes this.
  5. Luay

    Luay TS Enthusiast Posts: 70   +7

    These Z170 K series CPU prices are ripping side holes in a lot of butts. At least the i5 is $50 higher compared to the i7, which is $100.

    i5 6500 for $205 & i3 6100 for $130 aren't outrageous but need to go down more. Forget the other i5s and i3s. They make no sense.

    Intel owns the market for the next 10~12 months, assuming then there will be adequate competition. Until then the only solution is using what you already have or start applying lube.
  6. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 445   +137

    Samsung 850 Evo

    Why is that present on three low budget systems? Samsung's previous TLC attempt was total fiasco (840 and 840 Evo) and 850 Evo also uses TLC.

    You are going to answer that 850 Evo uses different technology and blah blah. Still, there are many SSD models with proven MLC technology out there so why go with TLC anyway? Also 840 case showed that Samsung's warranty is nonexistent.
  7. flacoman3

    flacoman3 TS Rookie

    The luxury system should be on a 980ti... whoever made this list pretended the card doesn't exist, within 5% of a titan's performance at ~$400 less.
  8. NightAntilli

    NightAntilli TS Addict Posts: 138   +104

    No Titan is worth it, other than for bragging rights of spending a lot of money on them. You're better off with Fury X in crossfire than Titans in SLI.
  9. UltraModernGuy

    UltraModernGuy TS Member Posts: 25   +16

    Always confused why these dream gaming builds never have a gaming monitor. Until they have a 27" 4k 144hz, I would take 1440p 144hz any day of the week.
  10. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,358   +1,518

    We reported on the 840 incidents, however I have owned three 840 Evos since their release to power my HTPCs and I didn’t even notice the ‘fiasco’. The issue is apparently fixed now as well.

    Moreover the 850 Evo series is without question the best value SSD series on the market. I have been running the 1TB models since they came out and performance is still strong and reliability is amazing. In total I have owned six Crucial MX200 drives and thus far two of them have failed.

    The 980 Ti was overlooked as the extreme build is typically for the most extreme hardware. However you have made me realize that we could have gone with three 980 Ti's and saved money, so I threw four of them in for good measure ;)

    No you are much better off with GTX 980 Ti’s in SLI overclocked for 20% more performance.

    There is no system here that is capable of 144fps in the latest AAA titles at the native resolution without lowering quality settings which would defeat the purpose.

    Take the Luxury System, there is no way the GTX 980 Ti is capable of anything like 100+ frames at 3440x1440 in the latest games. A second GPU would be required and even then you would fall well short in most new AAA titles.
  11. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,420   +809

    Thanks everyone for the valuable feedback, it's hard to cover every angle on every system, but we try hard to make sense what we would buy ourselves given the budgets and parameters.

    @UltraModernGuy actually in the Enthusiast, Luxury and Extreme builds we have included a gaming monitor recommendation. Those are not our main picks, we chose strong overall monitors that are really good for the money, and in the case of the Extreme build, the consensus best monitor you can have period.

    Based on your feedback I've also made a clarification that the Acer Predator that we are recommending comes in separate variants that support either G-Sync or Freesync.
    misor and Steve like this.
  12. flacoman3

    flacoman3 TS Rookie

    Awesome! I can't wait to build my "luxury"-esque build this week!
    Steve likes this.
  13. DKRON

    DKRON TS Guru Posts: 568   +25

    Steve likes this.
  14. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,358   +1,518

  15. DKRON

    DKRON TS Guru Posts: 568   +25

    Surely you could just nudge the money people to build this for testing purposes, gotta make sure you know how this system could run, could beat the crap out of any maximum pc computer :p
    Steve likes this.
  16. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,358   +1,518

    I like where your head is at ;)
    DKRON likes this.
  17. DKRON

    DKRON TS Guru Posts: 568   +25

    Your welcome :p
  18. Luay

    Luay TS Enthusiast Posts: 70   +7

    I think the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo needs to be retired as the budget cooler choice. Try the Cryorig H7 instead. Better performance, looks and acoustics for the same price.

    Keyboards, Cherry made an effort for gamers with the MX 6.0. At least deserves a nod.

    Headsets, you guys wrote a terrific article comparing the Astro A50 to the Steelseries H, and I added my two cents with the Sennheiser 363. You also wrote an article about Logitech and their new ambitious headset, the G933. Here you recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Why is that?
  19. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 445   +137

    It's impossible to fix because TLC is reason for problems. Also for many users, fix just don't work. Probably TLC is too bad and cannot be fixed. Basically new firmware just writes TLC more often and drive lifespan is shorter.

    Funny, exactly same was said about 840 and 840 Evo, like that:

    TLC drives should be at least 20 cheaper than MLC drives to be worth considering. 850 Evo is too expensive. Again I say exactly same words I said with 840 and 840 Evo: With so many drives with tested MLC technology on market, I see no reason to take risk with TLC drives.

    This cycle goes on and on. If 850 Evo really is crap, then Samsung just puts out 860 Evo and again it's best value on market. If 860 Evo is crap, Samsung puts out 870 Evo and ... So, why take risks with data? I have put about 10 Crucial SSD's on my or my friends computers, so far every one is working. Bad luck perhaps.
  20. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,358   +1,518

    I am really not sure how else I can put it. I own three 840 Evo drives (two of them I paid for) and they have been in use every day since they came out. My HTPC’s are very snappy and still work very well, I have no complaints regarding the SSDs. For me they have proven to be cheap, more than fast enough and most importantly reliable.

    As I said I have a few MX200 drives and already a 1TB and 250GB model have been bricked so I am not that impressed with the reliability.

    Again I am finding great performance and flawless reliability with the 850 Evo drives so far and use a 2TB model in my open personal rig.
  21. HardReset

    HardReset TS Maniac Posts: 445   +137

    Every Samsung 840 Evo drives have bad problems with TLC that either causes read speed slow down of faster wear out. 840 Evo was not very cheap drive altough TLC should be cheaper than MLC to manufacture. Worse technology for higher price make no sense for me.

    Whatever way you put it, TLC has no match for MLC. Every manufacturer has defect parts and two drives are not much.

    I have found flawless reliability with MLC SSD's. Again, what makes that TLC better than MLC? If TLC was much cheaper, there would be some point. If not, then I go for MLC. What another review say is exactly my point:


    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
  22. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,358   +1,518

    I wouldn't given the reliability issues that I mentioned in my previous two posts. I am not going to recommend readers use a product I have had trouble with over one I haven't.
  23. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,173   +3,263

    I'd recommend either one. Why bicker between two of the top picks. There are several others much more worthy of disapproval.
    Steve likes this.
  24. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,420   +809

    The Audio-Technicas are a top choice among the best overall headphones in the market, the ones you mention that we reviewed are wireless gaming headsets, so not exactly the same.
    Steve likes this.
  25. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,315   +537

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