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If you ever plan to build your own PC, Tom's Hardware’s System Builder Marathon is a must-read. Our editorial team builds, tests, and evaluates PC systems at varying costs, using the components that we think maximize value. These components include motherboards, cooling devices, CPU platforms, chipsets, memory, cases, hard drives, networking and graphics cards and power supplies. For each build, we include performance benchmarks that include 3D games, audio and video compression, graphic design, image manipulation, and video editing. Our testing includes each configuration in its stock form and overclocked. Feel free to build along with us or watch patiently from the sidelines, because, remember—each of these systems are given away at the end of the marathon (don’t forget to enter!).

Spotlight

The race tightens as all three builders try to squeeze the ultimate performance out of smaller budgets and the addition of an OS. Can the cheap gamer still game? Will one of the better-equipped systems finally...

Spotlight

Competition tightens (along with pricing) as we respond to frequently-requested budget updates for $500, $1000, and $1500 machines. In response to other requests, we add an operating system to each machine. Can...

Build Your Own on the Community

Build Your Own experts answer your questions

news - AUGUST 26 5

The new powerline adapters are based on HomePlug AV2.

Tutorial - AUGUST 15

Hi everybody! If you're new to the forum, you may have noticed people posting parts lists in a format...

news - JULY 9 0

Make sure you have your say in out latest round of BestConfigs!

reviews - JUNE 25 101

Faced with a more aggressive budget, we're dialing back our mainstream enthusiast PC's hardware, while trying to maintain aggressive performance in games, productivity, and content creation applications. This...

reviews - JUNE 24 78

This quarter's System Builder Marathon kicks off with some new rules inspired by feedback from you, our readers. Can Paul match the potency of last quarter's configuration at a lower price point, or does...

reviews - JUNE 23 34

Learn how to choose the right components for your first build, where to buy them, and the installation basics necessary to build a PC.

reviews - MAY 29 75

We’re revisiting an age-old question with a modern twist: can you build a balanced gaming PC with a sub-$100 CPU and not be limited by graphics performance? When you pick the right parts, a capable machine is...

reviews - MARCH 27 44

This quarter's Marathon included a GeForce GTX 780 Ti-enhanced enthusiast PC, a budget gaming machine at a lower price, and a high-end build altered to reader specifications. What effects will all of those...

reviews - MARCH 26 74

After building two successful gaming-oriented configurations under $1000, rising prices force Paul to switch up the composition of his $750 machine. But can a compromise in processor performance be made up for...

reviews - MARCH 25 43

I wanted to see how a GeForce GTX 780 Ti and Core i7-4770K compare to last quarter's GeForce GTX 770 cards in SLI and Core i5-4670K. In addition, we updated our price/performance evaluation. So, this System...

reviews - MARCH 24 37

I built a sweet system last quarter with Radeon R9 290s. But based on your feedback, the highest-priced build for Q1 2014 integrates several alternative components. Can this new system do more things right than...

news - MARCH 11 4

Bringing line-in and line-out headphone support as well as headset support, on-board stereo microphones, and digital audio S/PDIF functionality to Raspberry Pi for the first time.

reviews - DECEMBER 31 31

This quarter's System Builder Marathon was downright chaotic. We reallocated our budgets to boost gaming performance, and watched as the prices on AMD's highest-end cards shot through the roof. When the dust...

reviews - DECEMBER 30 94

Thomas also suffers the impact of a run on AMD's graphics cards. His performance-oriented build purchased for $2400 now costs $2700 to replicate. Is it worth the extra cash, or are you better off stepping back...

reviews - DECEMBER 27 61

Don gets a slightly expanded budget and the command to target gaming performance. Based on his choices, he's the only one who doesn't get bit in the rear by AMD's pricing issues. Can he use this advantage to...

reviews - DECEMBER 26 59

This quarter, Paul Henningsen asks for (and gets) a higher budget for better gaming performance. What he didn't expect was that AMD's graphics cards would shoot up in price, shattering the upper limit of his...

picture story - DECEMBER 16 65

Valve’s ambitious new Linux-based game console will be available from a number of vendors in a variety of configurations...that is, by next year. Unwilling to wait, we're building our own Steam Machine today,...

news - DECEMBER 13 1

You've got questions, we've got answers, so ask us anything!

reviews - DECEMBER 2 27

Have you ever come up with your own idea for a killer rig? Don't forget to tell us about it on the Tom's Hardware forums. The following ten setups were configured by forum members and chosen as winners in the...

reviews - NOVEMBER 19 39

Lian Li's PC-Q30 is not just a PC case, but an enclosure that serves as a showcase for the living room, including a unique shape and a large front window to show off the technology you cram inside. It’s sure...