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 for heavy gaming.
Perfection - Multithread optimised.
Excellence - Single thread optimised.
Power Rock - High performance packed in a MicroATX case.
Golden Mean - Balanced build, representing the best price/performance combination currently available. Workstation oriented, with occasional gaming.
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 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.
So... the liquid cooling gains are almost none, unless you are doing a 5GHz+ build on a high-end AIO or custom loop.
On the other hand, I've seen multiple people on this site that are using Noctua, Thermalright, Scythe, Cryorig, Phanteks, be quiet! + added powerful case fans are able to cool Ryzen R5, R7 configs and even Threadrippers locked at 3.9-4.1GHz. All cost $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 + pump + tubes + fittings + GPU block) - $200-$500 + constant refilling and the risc of leaking.
Bronze and Gold 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:
Part Brands Recommendations (Quality + Performance + Price)
Air - Noctua > Thermalright > Scythe > Cryorig > Phanteks > be quiet!
- Tier 1 (CPU 95W OC, 125W+): Noctua NH-D15 > Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT > Scythe FUMA Rev.B > Cryorig R1 Ultimate > Phanteks PH-TC14PE > Cryorig R1 Universal > Noctua NH-D15S > Noctua NH-U14S + an extra NF-A15 HS-PWM fan
- Tier 2 (CPU 65W OC, 95W): Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B > Thermalright Macho Rev.B > Noctua NH-U14S > be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
- Tier 3 (CPU 65W): Cryorig H5 Ultimate > Phanteks PH-TC12DX > Arctic Freezer 33 Plus > Noctua NH-U12S
Liquid - XSPC > Alphacool > EKWB
XSPC RayStorm > Alphacool Ice Bear > EK-MLC Phoenix
AMD - XFX (same as HIS) > MSI > Sapphire
- Tier 1 (Custom OC capable): MSI Lightning > XFX GTR-S > MSI Gaming X+ > Sapphire Nitro+ Limited Edition > XFX GTR > Sapphire Nitro+ Special Edition
- Tier 2 (Custom OC not recommended): XFX GTS > MSI Gaming X
Nvidia - MSI > Galax > Gainward (same as Palit)
- Tier 1 (Custom OC capable): Galax HOF > MSI Lightning > MSI Gaming X+ > Gainward Phoenix GLH > MSI Gaming X > Gainward Phoenix Golden Sample
- Tier 2 (Custom OC not recommended): Galax EX OC > MSI Gaming