Your Top Picks: Tom's Hardware Forums' Q1 2013 BestConfigs

Presenting The BestConfigs Poll Results

Two weeks ago, we brought you our first System Builder Marathon of 2013. In the Marathon, three of our editors, Thomas Soderstrom, Don Woligroski, and Paul Henningsen, configured a handful of systems at set price points. Remember that's we're giving those boxes away. If you haven't yet entered to win one of them, check out the last piece in the series, System Builder Marathon, Q1 2013: $1,600 Alternative PC

But what about the systems that you'd 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 Home Office PC
  • Intel-Based Home Office PC
  • High-End Workstation
  • Home Theatre PC
  • Home NAS Server
  • Budget AMD-Based Gaming PC
  • Budget Intel-Based Gaming PC
  • LAN Party PC
  • High-End AMD-Based Gaming PC
  • High-End Intel-Based Gaming PC

Each build must include every component needed for a completed box (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. Prices and availability may have changed since these builds were originally configured. Current prices can be found on the BestConfigs shopping pages.

Alright, first let’s take care of business with a couple of low-cost home office PCs, followed by a high-end workstation. Next, kick back in the living room with an HTPC and home NAS. Then it’s game time with AMD- and Intel-based budget and high-end gaming systems, along with a well-equipped mATX rig for the LAN party-goers among us.

  • k1114
    Congrats to everyone!
  • echondo
    That is not a "budget" AMD system...
  • EzioAs
    10451168 said:
    That is not a "budget" AMD system...

    Still within a certain budget. Just not on the lower side for a gaming PC.
  • nevertell
    Why do all the builds use poser ram ?
  • nordlead
    A good thing I don't use these "forum best configs" as guides. It looks like every single one of them was built by a power hungry gamer rather than an economical engineer that builds to meet specific requirements.

    The NAS chosen here has WAY to much space dedicated to the OS drive (driving up costs), and all the benefits of the SSD are lost (you won't be loading new programs off the SSD) except for the low power. But that can be achieved for much less cash with a CF or SD card (or even a USB stick, but I don't care for those since they can easily be unplugged). You also don't need 4GB of RAM in a NAS, nor do you need a fancy case with a window when it will be stuck in a closet. I could shave $150-200 off of that machine no problem and cut the electrical costs, all while serving files via NAS to multiple machines at the same time without missing a beat. Heck, my Atom D525 does all of that at a measly 30W (measured at the wall) along with online backups, and serves web pages at a decent clip for myself and my close friends. Since I'm sure the intent of the 3x 3TB hdds was for RAID 5, you could put that $ towards a 4th and do RAID 10. Or you could put it towards actual backup instead of redundancy.
  • samwelaye
    budget AMD gamer: 1000$. budget intel gamer: 500$. wth is going on here. sure 1000 IS a budget by the definition of it, but this is by no means a "budget" build
  • internetlad
    nevertellWhy do all the builds use poser ram ?
    And what RAM would you suggest, Mr. RAM Expert? What's wrong with brands like Mushkin and G.Skill? They're incredibly popular.

    Honestly, does brand even make a difference in RAM besides warranty? You put it in and it works or it doesn't. As long as you have enough RAM to accomodate what's running, and it doesn't BSOD, I don't really care about the brand.
  • s3anister
    Interesting builds and over all decent. Can't say I agree with the choice of Motherboard and PSU for the High-End Intel build, though. Would have gone with the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH or a similar Asus mobo and a Seasonic PSU myself.
  • g-unit1111
    The name of my AMD Office PC was a quote from Bill Lumbergh from Office Space. "Yeah I'm gonna have to ask you to work on Saturday, Sunday too. We lost a lot of people over the weekend and we need to play sort of catch - up. If you could get here around 9:00, that'd be greaaaaaaaaaaaat."
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    Why would you use the 5800k over the 65w 5700 for a mere office machine? Not to mention the mobo chosen for it has no VRM heatsinks and therefore cannot reliably overclock anyway, making the aftermarket cooler pointless in the first place.