Best 'bang for the buck' PC components

Whether you're building a new PC, repairing one, or giving an old system a new lease of life, you want components that offer great performance and value for money.

You've asked for it, so here it is (in a new format). Here is my list of the best "bang for the buck" PC components for May 2015.

Whether you're building a new PC, repairing one that is ailing, or giving an old system a new lease of life, you want components that give you the best bang for the buck. That means going for components that perhaps aren't cutting edge, but do offer great performance and value for money.

These are my choices. Feel free to chime in with your suggestions (and if at all possible, include an average price).

CPU

  • Mainstream: AMD FX-8350 Black Edition 4.0GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ ($170)
  • Value: AMD FX-6300 Vishera 6-Core 3.5GHz (4.1GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ ($99)

Motherboard

One for each of the most popular sockets currently used.

  • Socket AM3+: MSI 970A-G43 AM3+ ($60)
  • Socket LGA 1150: Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H ($90)

RAM

Rather than highlight specific memory modules, I'm just going to point you to two brands, one for performance memory, and another for mainstream use.

  • Performance: G-SKILL
  • Mainstream: Crucial

I've used both of these brands extensively, and had great results overall, and good support when things didn't go so smoothly. Both brands offer high levels of compatibility with motherboards and processors.

Bottom line, don't overspend on RAM unless you want to severely overclock a system, at which point you'll need the extra stability that high-priced RAM offers.

Storage

One regular drive, and one SSD.

  • Hard drive: WD Black WD1003FZEX 1TB ($75)
  • SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 2.5-inch 120GB SATA III ($120)

GPU

There are so many ways to dice this, but I think that for best bang for the buck, I just need to pick one card from each class. Neither of these cards are cutting edge, but both offer excellent performance for the price point.

  • Mainstream: Sapphire DUAL-X 100373-2L Radeon R9 280 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 ($180)
  • Value: XFX Core Edition R7-250A-CLF4 Radeon R7 250 2GB 128-Bit DDR3 ($90)

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