Is this a better time to buy or build a new PC than it was earlier this year, when we saw component shortages and skyrocketing prices? Let's take a look at how the market has changed in the past few months...

Intel's 11th-gen Core CPUs were largely a disappointment in the high end, but the new B560 chipset has kept Intel competitive in the mainstream segment with high-speed memory support at affordable prices, as long as you get the right motherboard and remember to disable any power limits.

AMD's Ryzen 3000-series CPUs now sell above their MSRPs, but the company's faster (and more expensive) Ryzen 5000-series CPUs have settled down in pricing, selling at their respective list prices or below them, making them the obvious choice for building an AMD-based system. After years of healthy CPU competition, the market is full of great options for PC owners that haven’t upgraded in several years.

On the other hand, new graphics cards are still selling at about twice their MSRPs, and buying from eBay merely saves you ~15% compared to buying them new. As we have shown, if you want a high-end GPU you should probably buy a pre-built PC. If you mostly play eSports titles, you may want to take a look at AMD's new Ryzen 5 5600G, which offers decent processing power and an integrated graphics unit much stronger than those found in Intel's desktop CPUs.

Since the beginning of the year, the cheapest components in many categories have been either out of stock or overpriced to the point of irrelevance, but not all is lost. Pricing for all but the cheapest SSDs is still reasonable, and if you still use a spinning disk for anything except long-term storage of large files, then you should definitely take advantage of that. Most notably, memory prices are still about half of what they were a few years ago.

What’s also important to remember is that if you are building it yourself, you don’t have to buy a whole PC at once. If your SSD, case, monitor or PSU still works, then you can keep it. If you still want a new graphics card, now is a great time to sell your old one ‒ possibly for as much as you bought it for!

If you already have a decent GPU, or if you do any kind of work on your PC and are willing to pay more than the bare minimum, then you can still get great value for your money with a new PC. In this PC Buying Guide update we have included four recommended component lists, meant for different budgets and purposes:

The Remote-Office Box $500

• Good performance • Fast for everyday computing • Gaming with add-on GPU

The Value Gaming Rig $900 + $230 GPU*

• Excellent performance • Great multitasking • Perfect for gaming

The High-End Gaming Machine $1500 + $700 GPU*

• High-end performance • Heavy multitasking • Hardcore gaming

The Extreme Workstation $4100 + $700 GPU*

• Workstation-like performance • Extreme multitasking • Hardcore gaming

Our recommendations were influenced by availability and pricing at the time of writing. If a component from the list that you were considering is unavailable or significantly more expensive while you are reading this guide, fear not. We included an explanation for every one of our choices, so that you can make alternative and informed purchases.

The Remote-Office Box

• Good performance • Fast for everyday computing • Gaming with add-on GPU

If you haven't been following the PC market in recent years, you may be shocked by what you are able to get for about $500. This system is good for web browsing with tens of open tabs, and even 1080p live streaming. Add in a graphics card, and this will become a capable gaming machine.

Component Product   Price
Processor Intel Core i5-10400   $165
Motherboard MSI B560M Pro-VDH Wi-Fi   $130
Memory 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2666+ CL16   $65
Storage Crucial MX500 500GB   $58
Graphics Integrated   $0
PSU EVGA 550 B5   $45
Case Fractal Design Focus G Mini   $53
  Monitor, Keyboard & Mouse (see notes)    
 
Core System Total
$516

With 6 cores and 12 threads, Intel’s Core i5-10400 is the best-value CPU you can buy right now. The i3-10100 is usually available for less, but giving up a third of the processing power to save $40 would be simply wrong. With a 65W TDP, the i5 should be kept cool by the stock cooler in a properly ventilated case.

B560 motherboards are widely available, with support for high-speed RAM, USB 3.1 (or "3.2 Gen 2") and PCIe 4.0 (with 11th-gen CPUs). When relying on the CPU's integrated graphics, it may also be important for the motherboard to have both DisplayPort and HDMI ports for monitor compatibility.

Our recommended motherboard for most people in this price range is MSI's B560 Pro-VDH Wi-Fi, with decent thermal performance, four memory slots, two M.2 slots for storage and USB 3.1. If you don't need DisplayPort or the B560 chipset, the last-generation B460M Pro-VDH WiFi is one of the cheapest modern Intel motherboards that are still pretty well-equipped at $109.

If you don't need a Wi-Fi adapter, the $110 Asrock B460M Steel Legend is one of the cheapest modern motherboards with DisplayPort, RGB lighting and USB-C. The B560M version is sometimes available for about $15 more, but doesn't have USB-C.

A dual-channel kit of 16GB of memory is the minimum we'd recommend today. If you choose a B460 motherboard, it will only support RAM speeds up to 2666 MHz with the current CPU, but a CAS latency of CL16 is respectable even at that speed. Many such kits are available for about $65, so you can just pick the one you like the best.

With its on-board DRAM, the Crucial MX500 provides great responsiveness regardless of how much of its space is used. The 500GB version is also capable of respectably handling heavy consumer tasks, such as copying hundreds of GBs from your previous SSD, with write speeds never dropping below 400MB/s. If your budget isn't too stiff, you may want to go with the 1TB version, which is an even better value at $100.

For the price, the EVGA 550 B5 can’t be beaten, with its ratings of 550W and 80 Plus Bronze efficiency, 5-year warranty, and fully modular design that not only lets you disconnect the cables you don't need, but also remove the PSU for cleaning without disconnecting anything else. The company's 500 BQ is $5 less, but only offers a 500W rating, 3 years of warranty and a semi-modular design.

For our choice of an mATX motherboard, we can go with an equally compact mATX case, and so we did as an ATX case would look empty without a graphics card. Fractal Design's Focus G Mini combines old and new, with two external 5.25" bays and top 240mm radiator support. If you don't need those things, the Cooler Master Q300L is a good alternative with two USB 3.0 connectors and magnetic dust filters. If you do want to install a graphics card, you may prefer the full-sized Focus G for a similar price.

Monitor, Keyboard & Mouse

If you are considering this system, then we're assuming that you’d prefer work comfort over gaming performance. For a monitor to go with this system, we chose the Dell S2421HS (IPS, FreeSync, full sRGB coverage). More options for different budgets can be found in our best monitors feature.

Logitech's highly ergonomic MK570 is our recommended keyboard and mouse combo at this price point. For more options, see our lists of best keyboards and mice.

The Value Gaming Rig

• Excellent performance • Great multitasking • Perfect for gaming

This PC is meant for those who want to get the best experience for their money in the latest games. If you've recently upgraded the graphics card in your old computer, now is a great time to buy the rest of this system.

Component Product   Price
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 5600X   $273
CPU Cooler Be Quiet! Pure Rock 2 Black   $45
Motherboard MSI B550 Tomahawk   $155
Memory 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3600 CL18   $130
Storage Western Digital Black SN750   $120
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super   $230 (MSRP)
PSU EVGA Supernova GA 650   $75
Case Corsair 4000D Airflow   $95
  Monitor, Keyboard & Mouse (see notes)    
 
Core System Total
$1,123

When running the latest games with high settings, you'd need a very expensive graphics card to show performance differences between modern 6-core CPUs. Compared to Intel's Core i5-10400, AMD's Ryzen 5 5600X brings much better application performance, PCIe 4.0 support, and a much better upgrade path to stronger 5000-series Ryzen CPUs.

If you don't have or want to buy a graphics card yet, then you should go with the $260 Ryzen 5 5600G, which performs close to the last-gen Ryzen 7 3700X with a dedicated card and has an integrated GPU that's good to play eSports titles, or modern games with low settings. The 5600G's main drawback is the lack of PCIe 4.0 support.

The 5600X ships with the mediocre Wraith Stealth cooler, which you should probably replace with something better. The Ryzen 5000 series is power-efficient, and doesn’t need the heaviest and most expensive coolers on the market. We chose the Pure Rock 2 Black from Be Quiet! for its combination of looks, compact size, acoustic efficiency and price. If you like the Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Duo or the Scythe Mugen 5 Rev. B more, go for it.

The market is full of proven motherboards for Ryzen processors, but MSI's B550 Tomahawk seems to offer the best balance between thermal performance and price. Asrock's B550 Extreme4 and Asus' ROG Strix B550-F Gaming are excellent, but cost more.

With the current memory prices, we see no reason to get less than 32GB. All modern CPUs work great with RAM speeds up to 3600MHz, and with a CL18 latency such modules are also affordable. Many kits of 2 x 16GB cost about $130 these days. If you see a good 4 x 8GB kit for a similar price, go for it.

When compared against competitors’ current prices, we think Western Digital's PCIe 3.0 Black SN750 offers the best balance of speed and price for a 1TB SSD. If you go with the Ryzen 5 5600G, you won't see the benefits of a faster PCIe 4.0 drive anyway.

At its MSRP, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Super would be the cheapest GPU we'd recommend for a new PC with 6GB of GDDR6 memory. In our research we found no such graphics card available for a decent price, thus we recommend that you hold on buying one. When prices go back to normal, just make sure that you get a dual-fan card. You'll save very little going with a single-fan design, and that single fan will need to spin much faster to keep the GPU cool, especially if you overclock it.

If you don't want to wait, AMD's Radeon RX 6600 XT is currently available for about $600, just like the 1660 Super. Assuming your CPU and motherboard support PCIe 4.0, it will consistently outperform the 1660 Super by a large margin.

EVGA's SuperNova 650 GA provides 650W at 80 Plus Gold-level efficiency, a 10-year warranty and a fully modular design for a great price.

Our case of choice for this build is the Corsair 400D Airflow, and the main reason for that is in its name. If you want a case with external 5.25" drive bays and more internal drive bays, check out our best old-school cases guide. Anyway, our general best cases guide includes more great options for under $100.

Monitor, Keyboard & Mouse

The GTX 1660 Super is capable of 1440p gaming at 60fps with high settings, or at 144fps with lower settings or in less-demanding games. Viewsonic’s VX2758-2KP-MHD will let you do all of that on a 27” IPS display for a fair price. Clearly, there are dozens of good monitor options you can choose from and that's why we have entire guides dedicated to monitor shopping and gaming monitors especifically.

The Logitech G502 Hero is a safe bet for a mouse, and so is Corsair's K55 RGB Pro for a keyboard. If you prefer mechanical keys and a compact size over a numpad and a detachable wrist rest, you can go with Redragon's K552 RGB Kumara. Once again, our best gaming monitors, mice and keyboards guides include more options for more specific needs and budgets.

The High-End Gaming Machine

• High-end performance • Heavy multitasking • Hardcore gaming

This build is for those of you who care less about performance per dollar, and more about performance, period. With the latest high-end GPUs, gaming at resolutions higher than 1440p is a sensible option, but if you want to get one of those GPUs any time soon, you should probably buy a pre-built PC. At the time of writing, for less than $2,600, you can get a version of HP's Omen 30L that comes with an RTX 3080 and will perform similarly to the one below in most tasks and games.

On the other hand, if you already have a decent graphics card and are willing to wait with buying a new one in favor of better choices among the other parts, this is the build for you.

Component Product   Price
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 5800X   $394
CPU Cooler Be Quiet! Pure Rock 2 Black   $45
Motherboard Asrock X570 Taichi   $300
Memory 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3600 CL16   $180
Storage Samsung 980 Pro 2TB   $342
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080   $700 (MSRP)
PSU NZXT C850   $130
Case Cooler Master MasterCase H500   $130
  Monitor, Keyboard & Mouse (see notes)    
 
Core System Total
$2,221

With 8 cores on a single die, the Zen 3-based Ryzen 5800X is one of the best gaming CPUs, especially for the price. It's also efficient enough to be kept cool by the same Pure Rock 2 Black from the previous build. If you want to get into gameplay live streaming in the future, you'll be able to upgrade to the 5950X, which is basically two 5800Xs with a shared cache.

For the current system, a high-quality B550 motherboard would be enough, but if you want more than one SSD to be able to enjoy PCIe 4.0 speeds in the future, you'll need the X570 chipset. For the price, Asrock's Taichi seems to be the most sensible choice, but if you must have a top-quality gaming board, you can spend a bit more for Gigabyte’s Aorus Master or Asus’ ROG Crosshair VIII Hero.

As we have shown, four memory sticks are likely to be faster than two even on a dual-channel system. G.Skill's Ripjaws V 4x8GB kit also offers a latency of CL16, which is great for its 3600MHz speed, especially considering the price. Several other options are available for slightly more.

Samsung's 980 Pro is one of the best consumer SSDs around. We could write a whole article about whether it's better than the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus or Western Digital's SN850, but it was slightly more affordable at the time of writing, and that's enough excuse to give it the plug.

At its MSRP, the GeForce RTX 3080 would be the best high-end GPU you could buy without feeling that you were completely ripped off, largely due to DLSS support and superior ray-tracing performance over Radeon cards. Since no model of it is available for anything near the MSRP, we again recommend that you wait, or settle for a Radeon RX 6600 XT for now.

You'll need a lot of power to support one of the best graphics cards. NZXT's C850 offers everything that the previous build's 650 GA does, plus 200W. Corsair's RM850x is just as good for $10 more. MSI's MPG A850GF is supposedly as good for $109, but hasn't been on the market for as long as the others.

With two front 200mm fans, Cooler Master's Mastercase H500 will make sure that the system remains cool. Again, our best cases and best old-school cases guides includes more good options.

Monitor, Keyboard & Mouse

The best 4K proper gaming monitor on the market right now, and the only 4K gaming display of its size we currently recommend, is the LG 27GN950. If you'd rather play on a TV, check out LG's C1 48" OLED.

If you prefer a different shape or resolution, we have a dedicated article revisiting the different top choices including Samsung's Odyssey G7 32" Curved, or for a more value-oriented choice, the Gigabyte G34WQC Ultrawide Curved. With a 34" 3440x1440p VA panel, it offers a very immersive experience and great contrast.

If you want to feel like you have a better mouse than the average person's, Logitech's wireless G604 Lightspeed is the one for you. Similarly, Corsair's K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical keyboard comes with an aluminum body and premium switches. Our best mice and keyboard guides include more options.

The Extreme Workstation

• Workstation-like performance • Extreme multitasking • Hardcore gaming

This machine is great for any workload you can think about, from 4K video rendering to any kind of 3D modeling. It can also play games as well as the best gaming PCs if you equip it with a fast GPU. It's not cheap, but for what it can do, it's a really good value.

Component Product   Price
Processor AMD Threadripper 3970X   $2,000
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3   $90
Motherboard Gigabyte Aorus Master   $500
Memory 64GB (4 x 16GB) DDR4-3600 CL16   $390
Storage 2 x Samsung 980 Pro 2TB   $684
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080   $700 (MSRP)
PSU Be Quiet! Straight Power 11 1200W   $250
Case Thermaltake Core V71   $197
  Monitor, Keyboard & Mouse (see notes)    
 
Core System Total
$4,811

AMD's 32-core Threadripper 3970X costs about the same per core as the 64-core 3990X, but is still better value as it can run its fewer cores at higher clock speeds. If you need even more power in the future, you may be able to upgrade to a 5000-series Threadripper.

Contrary to popular belief, water cooling isn't necessary or even always better for the most powerful CPUs. A system that doesn't move around a lot will be safer with the best TR4 air cooler, and that is Noctua's NH-U14S TR4-SP3. Other coolers with TR4 in their names such as Be Quiet!'s Dark Rock Pro TR4 will work fine, too.

Chances are, you won't find a truly bad TRX40 motherboard. We chose Gigabyte's Aorus Master, but Asrock's TRX40 Taichi is just as good for a bit more money. With quad-channel support, a 4-stick RAM kit is a must-have. G.Skill's TridentZ RGB 4 x 16GB has the same speed and latency as the kit we chose for the best gaming system, but double the capacity.

A 2TB Samsung 980 Pro should be sufficient for regular work unless you have very specific storage demands. For peace of mind's sake and because this is not a budget-constrained build, we include a second SSD for backup. An archive of all your work will probably be safer on external drives or on a NAS.

Choosing the best graphics card for this system greatly depends on the programs you'll be working with. We recommend that you search the web for relevant benchmarks before making your choice. In rare cases (Siemens NX is a prime example), professional Quadro and Radeon Pro graphics cards may justify their price with certain ease. As a default, we'll keep the same recommendation from our previous build: wait for the GeForce RTX 3080 if you can, or get the Radeon RX 6600 XT if you don't want to wait.

The more power that flows through a PSU, the more efficient it needs to be to avoid overheating. The Straight Power 11 from Be Quiet! offers 1200W at 80 Plus Platinum-level efficiency. It only has a 5-year warranty, but it also seems to have the best online user reviews for a PSU in its price range. If you want something even more premium, Seasonic's Prime 1300 comes with a 12-year warranty.

For a case, we chose Thermaltake's Core V71 Tempered Glass Edition for its value, airflow and versatility, including its two 5.25" external drive bays. As always, our best cases and best old-school cases guides include more options – just make sure the case is big enough to fit your motherboard of choice.

Monitor, Keyboard & Mouse

Some of the most comfortable and accurate mice and keyboards we use include the Logitech MX Master 3 and Das Keyboard 4Q.

Choosing a monitor may be more complex. As with storage, you may have special needs and requirements for work. If you want to view your 3D models in great detail and comfort, Dell's Ultrasharp U3219Q is a great choice with its 4K IPS panel.

If you edit 4K movies, though, the higher-end Ultrasharp UP3221Q uses Mini-LED for greatly improved contrast and qualifies for HDR 1000. It also has a true 10-bit panel, and can display colors that very few monitors can. It may cost almost as much as the computer, but will give you far more than a computer that's twice as expensive.