Bring your sys­tem bang up to date with some choice hard­ware picks


UP­GRAD­ING IS FUN­DA­MEN­TAL to the PC. It’s one of the cor­ner­stones of our plat­form of choice, and it’s why the PC has sur­vived while other sys­tems have failed. It’s also the rea­son why you can fo­cus on the hard­ware that mat­ters the most, and spend your money ap­pro­pri­ately. You can up­grade in stages—if you want to fo­cus on a per­for­mance CPU first, with a mind to up­grad­ing your graphics card or stor­age later, you can. As long as you know what’s hap­pen­ing in the tech world, you’re in good shape.

On that note, we’ve just had an in­cred­i­ble year for pro­ces­sors. AMD has come out swing­ing with its Ryzen line, with in­creased core counts and strong raw per­for­mance. And In­tel has just re­sponded with its eighth­gen­er­a­tion CPU line—we’ve man­aged to squeeze the first chips to ar­rive into our rec­om­men­da­tions, too. Which means we’re now look­ing at two com­pletely new main­stream plat­forms that didn’t ex­ist a year ago. Plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for up­grades, in other words.

Bear in mind that any new piece of gear should have a le­git­i­mate up­grade path as well. Get­ting the best pro­ces­sor for your moth­er­board is fine, but it takes the shine off it a bit if you know there’s a whole new plat­form do­ing the rounds. That’s why our rec­om­men­da­tions all re­late to the lat­est hard­ware lines. This shouldn’t stop you up­grad­ing older hard­ware as far as it can go, though, be­cause that can of­ten be a cost-ef­fec­tive route—es­pe­cially if you’re happy to take the risk of buy­ing used hard­ware (great for older pro­ces­sor deals, and mak­ing the move to SLI).

Over the page, we look at the best hard­ware up­grades you can buy right now, with per­for­mance bench­marks where they mat­ter. We cover all the ma­jor com­po­nents, and high­light things to watch out for when up­grad­ing. It’s a great time to give your ma­chine a new lease of life, as you’re about to find out.

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