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Your Top Picks: Tom's Hardware Forums' Q4 2013 BestConfigs

Presenting The BestConfigs Poll Results

Every quarter, three of our editors (Paul Henningssen, Thomas Soderstrom, and Don Woligroski) build systems at certain price points in our System Builder Marathon. But what about the systems you configure?

Enter BestConfigs.

Over the past several years, we’ve periodically asked the community of readers on Tom's Hardware's forums to submit their own favorite builds for various intended usages. The ten current BestConfigs are:

  • AMD-Based Office PC @ $500
  • Intel-Based Office PC @ $500
  • Home Theatre PC @ $700
  • NAS PC @ $1000
  • Budget AMD-Based Gaming PC @ $1000
  • Budget Intel-Based Gaming PC @ $1000
  • Micro ATX Gaming PC @ $1200
  • High-End AMD-Based Gaming PC @ $2000
  • High-End Intel-Based Gaming PC @ $2000
  • High-End Workstation @ $4000

Each build must include every component needed for a complete system (processor, motherboard, memory, storage, power supply, and enclosure). Optional components like coolers, discrete graphics, SSDs, and optical drives are also included in a number of setups, though peripherals like monitors, keyboards, and mice are not.

Builds are submitted for consideration by our forum members. The community then votes on their favorites and narrows the field to configurations showcased here. From start to finish, these setups are the product of our readers, and we’re happy to shine a spotlight on your favorite picks.

Note that prices and availability may have changed since these builds were originally configured. Current prices can be found on the BestConfigs shopping pages.

With that out of the way, let’s check out this quarter’s winners. First we’ll take care of business with a couple of low-cost office PCs. Then we’ll kick back in the living room with an HTPC and NAS-oriented PC. Then it’s time to game with a duo of budget-minded gaming builds, a well-equipped mATX rig, and a pair of high-end gaming PCs. Topping it all off is the most exorbitant build of all, a professional workstation with a price ceiling of four grand!

  • Dark Lord of Tech
    That's a nice budget build.
    Reply
  • antemon
    now I'll admit that I'm no expert, since I'm not in any way shape or form, but wtf?

    The office PC has a better GPU than the HTPC? Flashy case for office use. I get that the CX430 is used here since it's a solid PSU, but branded memory?

    1000USD for 'budget' gaming builds? you should at least aim to be a little closer to console prices since we're talking about budget gaming
    Reply
  • Hutchinman
    The total for the budget based AMD gaming system is wrong. There is no way in hell Amazon is selling the MSI Twin Frozr 7950 for $105.

    Your system mistakenly links the Amazon page for the MSI AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB. Fix your system Tom's.
    Reply
  • budget creep strikes again.

    Is it still a budget PC if it can max out every game you own at 1080p? if it costs a lot of money (relative to the gaming market) and places well in the top 10% of peers?
    Reply
  • lancelot123
    What in the hell happened to the prices for the Intel Office PC? Says it was originally built for $500, but now it is saying $714. That is a HUGE difference. Not even sure what would be discounted, especially by that amount, unless the CPU was free.
    Reply
  • Drejeck
    Office PC like that impacts a lot on power consumption, assumed your office goes a lot away from just excel, java-browser administration tools, powerpoint and the likes. That AMD office build is more like a budget multimedia machine with gaming purpose. The HTPC obviously suffer from the case price and thus goes with a lower performance videocard.
    All builds underestimated SSDs and had just an HDD.
    Ok, I get this. There are a lot of hardware prejudices.
    DVD burners in 2013? From what country are you? I spent 4000 euros on my PC and the Asus BD usb3 I got came 6 months later...
    Reply
  • Sangeet Khatri
    In the Bugdet AMD Based Gaming PC. I would have the || Asrock Extreme 3 board + Corsair 300R + 128GB SSD with a 3GB 7970 || from my build as compared to the || Asrock Pro 3 + Rosewill Case + No SSD with 770 2GB ||

    Also most games now are starting to push more than 2GB VRAM. Hence this is where the extra 1GB RAM of the 7970 would be much more useful.

    Just an opinion..
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    MixroATX gaming section:
    40% people chose "AMD" Radeons build... wich happens to use.... an INTEL! :D.

    Toms is starting to be my favorite humor page.
    Reply
  • bemused_fred
    12078455 said:
    The total for the budget based AMD gaming system is wrong. There is no way in hell Amazon is selling the MSI Twin Frozr 7950 for $105.

    Your system mistakenly links the Amazon page for the MSI AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB. Fix your system Tom's.

    Ha ha! Now's my chance!

    12079601 said:
    Also most games now are starting to push more than 2GB VRAM. Hence this is where the extra 1GB RAM of the 7970 would be much more useful.


    2GB seemed to be fine for 2550x1600 in the gtx 770 review.

    'Grats on your entries, BTW!
    Reply
  • Yuka
    An office PC would rather have a discrete Video card than an SSD or some HDDs in RAID 0 or 1? For real?

    Other than that, pretty standard choices, which makes them good choices, I guess.

    Cheers!
    Reply