It’s that time yet again, friends. In this episode of the Full Nerd, Gordon Mah Ung, Brad Chacos, Alaina Yee, Adam Patrick Murray, and you—the live Full Nerd audience—engage in fierce debate (and occasional unabashed swooning) to crown the best PC hardware of 2019.
The rules: Everybody brings a favorite pick or two for each category. Then the group argues until we reach an agreement on the best product. If we can’t determine a winner via majority vote, we ask the live viewing audience to help break the tie. It’s a ton of fun. PCIe 4.0 SSDs got robbed, a surprising entry won Best Accessory to the chagrin of a lot of live viewers, and AMD almost—almost—pulled off an impressive hat trick. Brad also wore a very festive shirt for the occasion.
You can witness it all in the video embedded above. You can also watch The Full Nerd episode 118 on YouTube (subscribe to the channel while you’re there!) or listen to it on Soundcloud if you prefer the audio alone.
If you don’t have time to watch us debate for two full hours, here’s the list of our champions. But the best part of this episode is all the arguing and cajoling, so tune into the full thing if you can! You can also hit those links for each winner to see deeper coverage impressions. Finally, note that this is the Full Nerd gang’s favorite hardware—not the entire PCWorld staff’s.
- Best CPU of 2019: AMD Ryzen 3950X. Every contender came from AMD.
- Best GPU of 2019: AMD Radeon 5700 series. AMD’s next-gen “Navi” GPU architecture managed to outshine Nvidia’s Super-fied RTX revamps.
- Best storage of 2019: Affordable SSDs, represented by the SK Hynix Gold S31 usurping the Samsung EVO series’ years-long reign as the best SSD for most people. This wound up being the most hotly debated category, with Brad and Gordon pulling hard for the arrival of bleeding-edge PCIe 4.0 storage. The live audience served as the tiebreaker.
- Best case of 2019: iBuyPower Snowblind Element, a case whose glass side panel doubles as a working LCD panel. Watch Alaina tear it down, then watch her and Adam build a killer PC with Snowblind.
- Best accessory of 2019: The Epic Games Store. The controversial new platform helped make PC gaming better for everybody in 2019.
- Best gaming laptop of 2019: Alienware Area 51m with a socketed desktop CPU and replaceable graphics.
- Best ultra-thin laptop of 2019: HP Spectre x360 13t, a fully loaded thin-and-light that makes virtually no sacrifices to achieve its spectacular form.
- Best content creation laptop of 2019: Acer ConceptD 7, the laptop Adam loves for video editing. It’s part of the Nvidia Studio initiative launched this year, pairing fierce hardware with dedicated drivers for content creators.
- Best innovation of 2019: Sapphire’s Trixx Boost feature for Radeon 5000-series graphics cards like the nearly flawless Nitro+ Radeon RX 5700 XT. Trixx Boost marries slight resolution downscaling and Radeon Image Sharpening for massive performance gains with next-to-no hit in visual quality. More like this, please!
- Worst trend of 2019: Tariffs making computer hardware more expensive in the U.S. Cases and power supplies have been hit the hardest.
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Have a PC- or gaming-related question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to answer it in the next episode. You can also join the PC-related discussions and ask us questions on The Full Nerd’s Discord server. Finally, be sure to follow PCWorld on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch to watch future episodes live and pick our brains in real time!