Gaming veterans are all aware of how crucial it is to have exceptionally performing PC Hardware that works all its magic under the hood, so it’s only reasonable to be on the lookout for opportunities in the market to upgrade and enhance your PC. But despite being so small, there is a huge amount of room for error, and landing on the wrong option can, unfortunately, cost you a lot down the line.
Luckily this year didn’t disappoint with its PC hardware. We will have separate lists for Best CPU and Best GPU since this year has been booming for new hardware launches. In terms of components like motherboards, coolers, SSDs and more, there was one particularly coveted piece of hardware that caught our eye and claimed the overall Best PC hardware of 2023.
Here are CGMagazine’s nominees for Best PC Hardware 2023:
NZXT N7 Z690 Motherboard
Writer: Brendan Frye
The N7 Z690 also features three M.2 slots, with the top slot offering a heatsink, something that was lacking in previous boards from NZXT. This is a great addition, especially for people running the latest PCIe 4.0 SSDs for the speed and temperatures they can get up to. While testing, I never saw any of the M.2 SSDs we used for our test bench rise above 45 °C, with it sitting at a comfortable 30 °C for most of our benchmarks and tests, well within reasonable levels.
Even with small gripes, the N7 Z690 motherboard from NZXT is a top-of-the-line option for anyone wanting a high-end board that looks great and has plenty of features. As always, NZXT has gone for a premium look with this board, and they definitely hit the mark. There are plenty of options for I/O, storage, and expansion slots, so you really can’t go wrong.
Featuring most of the latest features the Z690 chipset allows, the N7 Z690 is a fantastic option for enthusiast builders looking for a stylish DDR4 board for their new Intel 12th or 13th Gen Build.
MSI MPG A850GF 850W Power Supply
Writer: Brendan Frye
At first glance, the MPG A850GF 850W looks simple, but well-built. Boasting an 80 Plus Gold standard performance rating, and module design, it looks very in-line with many of the PC components MSI sells. The simple black metal body with white and gold lettering gives it a sleek and simple presence in a gaming PC case. And the large fan provides ample cooling for this PSU, even under heavy load. The body feels very well constructed, meaning this is a PSU that should stand up to some use without showing major signs of wear, something I can’t say for all modern PSUs on the market.
The MPG A850GF feels like a great PSU offering from MSI. They have taken what PC builders and gamers demand in a PSU and delivered it where it counts. With clean, well-built construction, and internals that can power the latest and greatest, this is a great 850 watt offering that feels worthy of your next gaming PC. At an MSRP of $139.99, you can’t go wrong with the MPG A850GF 850W, a PSU that can bring your next PC to life in style.
With solid construction and great internal components and performance, the MSI MPG A850GF 850W is a great power supply enthusiast PC builds that demand only the best.
WD_Black SN770 1 TB SSD
Writer: Zubi Khan
the WD_Black SN770 is a DRAM-less M.2 drive and an affordable middle-ground solution that doesn’t compromise performance. Due to its DRAM-less nature, which bottleneck speeds slightly, coupled with the rated speed of 5150 MB/s, I wouldn’t recommend the WD_Black SN770 for PlayStation 5 owners. Instead, the SN770 is a better fit for those looking for blazing-fast performance and storage when it comes to their library of existing PC games, making the SN770 a hard-to-beat piece of kit.
The Evil Within 2 loaded at an impressive 6 seconds from the moment the player hits new game and after the initial cutscene that transitions into gameplay proper. Like The Witcher 3 prior, both Hotshot Racing and The Evil Within 2 seemed to load around the same time, regardless of the game mode toggle.
The WD_Black SN770 is an excellent value that future-proofs any PCIe 4 compatible rig and will deliver fantastic load speeds as we wait for Directstorage adoption.
Writer: Brendan Frye
If you have used an ASUS motherboard in the past five years, you should feel right at home with the BIOS for the ROG Strix B550i. Everything is well laid out, and it allows for plenty of customization and tweaking should you want to dive deep. For the average PC builder, the interface is painless and should be enough to get you up and running in no time.
ASUS has delivered in the areas enthusiast gamers care about, offering up a board that has amazing audio, great layout and support for some of the best chips on the market. While you may want to invest in an AIO cooler if you want to push a PC built with the B550i, the overall performance felt amazing considering the size. If you are looking to make a new Mini ITX AMD Ryzen based PC, look no further than the ROG Strix B550i.
Delivering performance and style in a small form factor, the ASUS ROG Strix B550i is the AMD Ryzen Mini ITX builder’s dream come true.
WINNER: Best PC Hardware of 2023 Z690 AORUS Elite AX (Intel) Gaming Motherboard
Writer: Clement Goh
Durability is a strong selling point for the Z690 AORUS Elite AX. It packs a sturdy gunmetal cover for its I/O, Wi-Fi and M.2 pieces. Users can expect a peace of mind under rough-and-tough builds. Setting up the Z690 AORUS Elite AX gaming motherboard comes easy with distinguishable screws and larger holes to make standoffs erm—stand out. The built-in I/O shield saves time for builders looking for a quick 12th Gen upgrade. But it’s an even bigger payoff for gamers who want a motherboard to keep up with different cases (save for this reviewer).
The Z690 AORUS Elite AX gaming motherboard can plug-and-play with cores like my 12th Gen i5 12600K. It’s a no-frills setup that comes easy for users skipping the BIOS updates. The on-board menu system also comes easy to find with F12. Users can appreciate an Easy Mode which lays out essential info. Fan speed, CPU clocks, voltage, fan status and even boot drives are shown without any clicks required. Its Advanced mode also reflects the options that don’t hide behind sub menus. Its tweaker adds the satisfaction of changing CPU clocks and asking questions later.
The Z690 AORUS Elite AX gaming motherboard is overstuffed with features to keep up with gamers who want to expand their setups, while pairing well with Intel’s 12th Gen CPUs for efficient overclocking.