Best PC components of 2023: our top picks for upgrading your rig

From monster CPUs to tiny chassis, here's what's hot in 2023.

Montage of Core i7-14700K, GeForce RTX 4070 Ti, Fractal Terra and DeepCool LT720WH.

2023 is fast coming to a close, so what a great time to recap. Nvidia fleshed out the impressive GeForce RTX 40 Series lineup with more affordable models, AMD hit back with mainstream Radeon RX 7000 Series GPUs of its own. On the CPU front, Ryzen and Core have been invigorated by new launches offering a little more in every area.

We’ve enjoyed putting the latest and greatest hardware to the test and trust our expert analysis has kept you entertained. There’s plenty more in store for 2024, but for now, let’s rewind and discuss some of the finest products from this year.

The Club386 team has picked out its favourite components in multiple categories, and of course, any selections are products we’ve taken the time to personally benchmark and evaluate. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Best CPU

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 7980X CPU set against a blurred background.

Winner: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 7980X
Runner-up: Intel Core i7-14700K

A leftfield choice for the first entry. AMD jumps back into the true high-end territory with the barnstorming Ryzen Threadripper 7980X juggernaut of a CPU.

Building on the latest Zen 4 architecture and housing 64 cores and 128 threads, high-frequency throughput moves the performance needle so far to the right that it’s hard to see. Oftentimes, multi-core performance is over three times as fast as best-in-class consumer chips such as the Core i9-14900K or Ryzen 9 7950X. It’s not too bad at gaming, either, so if you have the cash and will, next-gen performance is staring you in the face.

An honourable mention has to go to the Intel Core i7-14700K. The latest 14th Gen Core desktop series doesn’t bring that much new to the table, to be fair, but this particular model adds four E-cores over the well-regarded Core i7-13700K from the last generation. Enough, we say, for it to be a standout performer for any good build next year.


Core i7-14700K

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Best Graphics Card

Sapphire Radeon RX 7800 XT Nitro+ shown on a motherboard.

Winner: Sapphire Radeon RX 7800 XT Nitro+ Gaming OC
Runner-up: MSI GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Suprim X

2023 hasn’t delivered many GPUs that make the heart flutter. Sapphire, however, gets almost everything right with the Radeon RX 7800 XT Nitro+ Gaming OC card. Looking splendid when the lights dim, this is a QHD powerhouse that doesn’t break the bank. Built like the proverbial tank, gaming doesn’t get much better than this for around £500, so if you have an ageing Radeon or GeForce that’s begging for an upgrade, keep your eyes peeled.

Luxury is not a word that usually applies in the consumer GPU world, but MSI gets pretty darn close with the RTX 4070 Ti Suprim X. A beautiful card from every angle, it now benefits from the latest DLSS 3.5 baked into its DNA. Sure, it’s expensive at close to £900, yet it ought to provide you with years of near-silent performance with console-surpassing image quality.

radeon rx 7800 xt Nitro+

GeForce RTX 4070 Ti

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Best Motherboard

Gigabyte Z790 Pro X RGB's looks great on the I/O shroud.

Winner: Gigabyte Z790 Aorus Pro X
Runner-up: ASRock B650E Taichi Lite

This year, the motherboard world is characterised by small improvements. Intel’s encouraged partners to release revised Z790 boards for 14th Gen Core processors, and Gigabyte’s done a great style job on the Aorus Pro X. Heck, even the RGB lighting on the I/O shroud can be set to Club386 colours! It’s not just lighting, though. Primed for white builds, the PCB looks great, cooling is fantastic, and WiFi 7 is armed and ready. The board makes for a great companion to the aforementioned Core i7-14700K.

On the AMD front, the ASRock B650E Taichi Lite certainly deserves a mention. Superb power delivery, PCIe 5.0 for graphics and M.2, and rock-solid performance combine to question why you need to spend more for spectacular performance.

z790 aorus pro x

B650E TaichI LITE

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Best Storage

Crucial T700 on top of other drives

Winner: Crucial T700 2TB PCIe 5.0
Runner-up: QNAP TVS-h874 8-bay SMB

No other component engenders a feeling of buttery-smooth performance as a quality solid-state drive (SSD). But there are SSDs and there are SSDs. Breaking the speed barrier with consummate ease, Crucial’s super-fast T700 SSD sets new records. Benchmark-leading performance arrives in a handsome-looking drive that means all business. If you’ve recently bought a range-topping chip from either Intel or AMD and are planning on a fantastic build, do yourself a favour and put this monster on your shortlist.

Storage takes many forms, of course. The QNAP TVS-h874 8-bay SMB NAS offers Intel Core brains, dual 2.5GbE, PCIe Gen 4 expandability, and enough horsepower for it to be a formidable turnkey NAS intended to tackle everything from virtual machines to high-resolution video editing. It ain’t cheap, but quality never is.

t700 2tb


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Best Memory

Kingston Fury White DDR5-6400

Winner: Kingston Fury Renegade White DDR5-6400
Runner-up: G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB DDR5-6800

It’s all about DDR5 these days as Intel and AMD’s mainstream platforms fully transition over to the nascent technology. Economies of scale and uptake are such that it’s no longer significantly more expensive than DDR4.

As with most technology, opting for bleeding-edge hardware is hugely expensive and offers little extra performance. Kingston understands this balance acutely. The ice-white Fury Renegade DDR5-6400 memory does everything you’d want… at a great price. It even overclocks to DDR5-6800 speeds whilst maintaining tight latencies.

If you want that speed from the get-go, it’s hard to ignore the lovely-looking G.Skill Trident Z5 RGB memory for that extra layer of visual pizazz. It overclocks like a champ, too, as DDR5-7400 is well within reach. Echoing the review sentiments, those in need of fast DDR5 memory need look no further.

Fury renegade white

Trident Z5 RGB DDR5

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Best Chassis

be quiet! Silent Base 800 FX

Winner: be quiet! Shadow Base 800 FX
Runner-up: Fractal Design Terra

There are many things to consider when deciding upon a chassis. If you’re a fan of cavernous cases that give even the most premium hardware ample room to breathe, the be quiet! Shadow Base 800 FX is for you. Dual 420mm rad support? Check. Four excellent fans included? Check. RGB hub? Check. It’s also hard to do a white case properly as the colour exposes paintwork limitations. be quiet!, however, does a great job here, and the Shadow Base 800 FX lives up to its billing as a refined, high-airflow monster that barely makes a peep.

At the other end of the scale, small can be both useful and beautiful. Fractal exhibits deft styling and beautiful build quality with the Terra. Miniscule compared to a traditional tower, Terra sits handsomely within arm’s reach and highlights Fractal’s continuing innovation across the entire chassis spectrum.

Shadow base 800 fx


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Best Cooling

Winner: DeepCool LT720 WH AIO
Runner-up: Enermax Liqmaxflo

All-in-one (AIO) coolers are the way to go in the face of spiralling wattage requirements demanded by the latest slew of consumer CPUs. Most manufacturers are capable of turning out impressive designs that perform within a degree or two of each other. We feel the deciding factor rests of aesthetics and value. Hitting both of these straps with aplomb is the DeepCool LT720 WH. The great retro design – just look at the lovely patterns on the head – and ease of installation are positive aspects that are hard to ignore.

If it’s all-out performance you’re after, the Enermax Liqmaxflo 360mm is hard to beat. Offering a thicker radiator than most, it’s able to keep a 253W Core i9-13900K chugging along at just 80°C. No air cooler comes anywhere near that. The high-quality ARGB fans and comprehensive bundle further sweeten the appeal. A safe choice if you don’t need a price-inflating OLED display.

lt720 WH


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Best PSU

be quiet !Dark Power 13 1,000W

Winner: be quiet! Dark Power 13 1,000W
Runner-up: Enermax Revolution D.F.X 1,200W

be quiet! is a past master in producing high-quality PSUs. The latest Dark Power 13 is a testament to the fact. PCIe 5.0 connectivity is the clear draw for this cutting-edge supply, but the supporting cast is just as good. Our review highlights superb electrical performance, great acoustics, and bulletproof build. Having 80 Plus Titanium levels of efficiency help with keeping bills in check, too. More often than not, you get what you pay for. In this instance, that’s a brilliant supply capable of powering the most power-hungry builds.

A shout out to the Enermax Revolution D.F.X. Tasteful side-mounted RGB lighting and dual PCIe 5.0 power connectors are ensconced in a design that’s only 140mm deep. There’s also a semi-passive mode for ultra-quiet computing when running everyday tasks. Nevertheless, when you want power, it’s there, and there’s enough under the hood to power a fully-loaded Ryzen Threadripper 7980X system.

Dark Power 13 1,000W

revolution d.f.x. 1,200w

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Best Monitor

Philips 5K2K Ultrawide Business Monitor

Winner: Philips 40B1U6903CH 5K2K Thunderbolt
Runner-up: MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED
Value choice: iiyama GCB3480WQSU

Though not strictly a PC component, no build is complete without a quality display. We’d go as far as to say that monitor tech has evolved to such an extent that a modern build should be spec’d around an enjoyable panel.

Turning enjoyability up to 10 is the Philips 40B1U6903CH 5K2K Thunderbolt monitor. We could chuck a whole host of superlatives the monitor’s way. Suffice to say, if you sit in front of a screen many hours and day and need genuine real estate to get your work done, the Philips is a perfect example of a transformative PC upgrade. Features like Thunderbolt 4, integrated webcam, and built-in KVM add icing to a productivity powerhouse cake.

Running a close second and also recipient of the coveted Club386 Editor’s Choice award, the MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED is a fine example of the technology done right. The curved ultrawide also excels in contrast, uniformity, and has a robust feature set. You can purchase 3440×1440 175Hz monitors for significantly less money, but rest assured, they won’t look as good as this.

Both monitors naturally attract high prices, yet if a mainstream model is what you’re after, then the iiyama GCB3480WQSU is definitely worth an honourable mention. £380 gets you a 3440×1440 ultrawide that’s great for gaming and spreadsheets. Can’t argue with that.

40B1U6903CH 5K2K


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