Glory of the Absolute - Insane build for professionals and gaming enthusiasts.
Maximilian - The best build with the current technology. 'Best' meaning a combination between the following components:
Quality + Features + Performance + Price
Lord of the Wind - Overclocking build, all air-cooled.
Perfection - Great performance.
Excellence - Great value.
Power Rock - High performance packed in a MicroATX case.
Golden Mean - Balanced build, representing the best price/performance combination currently available.
Standard Gaming - All the essentials that normal gamers need.
Stock video cards component analysis and build quality comparison:
All Glory To Air Cooling
I used to be a huge fan of CLCs (non-refillable), but they are only good for the first year. The liquid is constantly evaporating and since they are not refillable - you just have to throw them out. They are made from a copper plate and aluminum radiator which are in contact via the liquid, and that leads to galvanic corrosion, so even if the liquid lasts 2 years, the performance will still drop significantly.
The AIOs (refillable) like XSPC RayStorm, Alphacool Ice Bear and EK-MLC Phoenix are made entirely from copper and brass, and last until the pump breaks down (around 50 000 hours), but they cost $150-$300+. The chance of them leaking is always present, even with the expensive AIOs and custom loops.
Another issue with liquid cooling is the liquid remains hot long after you have returned the PC from gaming or rendering to standard load. It takes a lot of time to cool it down, because water and other liquid cooling mixtures are actually storing the heat. On the other hand - air cooling uses copper heatpipes with small liquid vapor chambers and aluminum fins, and since it's almost entirely metal based - it cools down almost immediately after dropping the computing load.
So... the liquid cooling gains are almost none, unless you are doing a 5GHz+ build on a high-end AIO or custom loop.
I've seen multiple people on this site that are using Thermalright, Noctua, Cryorig, Scythe, Phanteks, be quiet! + powerful case fans are able to cool Ryzen R5, R7 configs and even Threadrippers locked at 3.9-4.1GHz. Air coolers costing $45-$90.
All air cooled, all overclocked, all 50-70°C at max load at around 25°C ambient.
Complete air cooling setup (CPU cooler + case fans) - $100-$200 with almost zero maintenance.
Complete liquid cooling setup (CPU block + radiators + fans + pump + tubes + fittings + GPU block) - $300-$800 + constant refilling and the risc of leaking.
Gold and Bronze PSUs have somewhat worse performance than Platinum and Titanium (voltage regulation, ripple suppression, power outage shutdown time, heat durability, component quality). If you plan to overclock and/or use your build for heavy workstation loads and gaming - you will need some power headroom. Bear also in mind, that PSU components age over time and lose effectiveness. So to get the optimal PSU wattage - multiply the minimum recommended wattage shown in your PCPP part list with these ratios:
Example - PCPP shows you need 500W. This means an optimal PSU rating of:
Keep in mind that it's always good to have a little extra wattage, should you decide to upgrade in the future or add more components.
Simple Overclocking Instructions
Always undervolt as much as possible and don't push the CPU clock beyond 125% (25% over its stock speed).
If you really want maximum overclock - get a higher binned model, e.g. R7 2700X instead of R7 2700, and research the forums for the maximum recommended frequency and voltage.
Part Brand Recommendations (Quality + Performance + Price)
Air - Thermalright > Noctua > Cryorig > Scythe > Phanteks > be quiet! > Arctic
- Tier 1 (CPU 95W OC Max, 180W+): Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT > Cryorig R1 Ultimate > Noctua NH-D15 > Thermalright Silver Arrow TR4 > Phanteks PH-TC14PE > Scythe Fuma Rev.B > Noctua NH-D15S > Noctua NH-U14S + a second NF-A15 HS-PWM fan > Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 > Noctua NH-U14S
- Tier 2 (CPU 65W OC Max, 95W OC): Thermalright Macho Rev.B > Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B + a BioniX F120 PWM fan > Noctua NH-C14S (bottom fan, blowing upwards) > Gelid Phantom Black > be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 > be quiet! Dark Rock TF > Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B > Thermalright Macho Direct
- Tier 3 (CPU 65W OC): Thermalright Macho 120 Rev.A + a BioniX F120 PWM fan > Cryorig H5 Ultimate > Arctic Freezer 33 eSports Edition > Thermalright Macho 120 Rev.A > Arctic Freezer 33 eSports One > Phanteks PH-TC12DX > Noctua NH-U12S > Cooler Master Hyper 212X
Liquid - XSPC > Alphacool > EKWB
XSPC RayStorm > Alphacool Ice Bear > EK-MLC Phoenix
- Thermalright TFX > Thermalright TF8 > Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme > Phanteks PH-NDC > Arctic MX4 > Noctua NT-H1
AMD Threadripper uses a nickel-plated copper heatspreader, like all other AMD CPUs, so it is completely SAFE to use liquid metal with it.
- Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut > Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra
AMD - Sapphire > XFX (same as HIS) > Asus > MSI > ASRock > PowerColor > Gigabyte
- Tier 1 (Custom OC capable): XFX GTR-S Black > MSI Gaming X+ > Sapphire Nitro+ Limited > XFX GTR Black > Sapphire Nitro+ Special > XFX GTR XXX > Sapphire Nitro+ > Asus ROG Strix OC Gaming
- Tier 2 (Custom OC NOT recommended): XFX GTS Black > XFX GTS XXX > MSI Gaming X > MSI Armor OC > PowerColor Red Devil GS > ASRock Phantom Gaming X OC > Asus ROG Strix Gaming > Gigabyte Aorus Xtreme > Gigabyte Aorus > Sapphire Pulse > XFX RS > Asus Dual OC > Asus Dual > MSI Gaming > MSI Armor
- Tier 3 (Bad VRMs and quality): all other Gigabytes > all other PowerColors
Nvidia - Gainward (same as Palit) > EVGA > MSI > Galax > Gigabyte > Zotac > Asus > Inno3D > PNY
- Tier 1 (Custom OC capable): Galax HOF > EVGA Kingpin > MSI Lightning > Gainward Phantom GLH > EVGA FTW Ultra > Gainward Phantom GS > Gainward Phoenix GS > Gigabyte Aorus Xtreme > MSI Gaming Z > Zotac AMP Extreme > Asus ROG Strix OC Gaming
- Tier 2 (Custom OC NOT recommended): MSI Gaming X > Galax EXOC > MSI Duke OC > Gigabyte Aorus > Zotac AMP > MSI Armor OC > EVGA FTW > EVGA XC Ultra > Gainward Phoenix > Galax EX > Asus ROG Strix Gaming > EVGA XC > MSI Gaming > MSI Armor
- Tier 3 (Bad VRMs and quality): all other Gigabytes > all other Zotacs > all other Asuses > Inno3D > PNY