2024 Australian PC Awards winners: the best of the best in PC

Australian PC Awards 2024
(Image credit: Future)

The time has come for the big reveal – as today we’re announcing the 2024 winners across all categories of the Australian PC Awards!

After exhaustive testing, comparisons, benchmarking and taking into account value, innovation, quality and features, we have our winners. Everything important that goes inside a PC, connects to a PC, or is important to the PC has been rated by the team of experts at TechRadar, PC Gamer APC and PC PowerPlay. 

If you’re looking for an upgrade – this is the list you want. And if you’re planning a complete new rig, well you can’t go wrong with choosing the gear here. Maybe you already run something we’ve awarded, in which case you are 100% entitled to feel chuffed about your wise purchase.

The team here extends a big congratulations to all the winners, highly recommended and finalists. If it’s on a list here, it’s good gear!

Words by Ben Mansill, Joel Burgess and Chris Szewczyk.

APCA 2024 sponsors final

(Image credit: Future)

What are the Australian PC Awards?

Our awards cover all the main categories that affect the PC, as well as our special awards:

Excellence Award: Presented to the person, product or technology that advanced the PC more than any other in 2023.

Gold Award: For the best overall company operating in the PC space for 2023. This list includes every one of the finalists across all the other categories – and has been carefully considered by our expert panel of judges.

And of course there must be balance with all things, which leads us to this year’s Epic Fail Award. May the most dismal failure win!

Australian PC Awards Winners 2024

APCA 2024 MOBO

(Image credit: Future)

In the absence of a major new platform or socket release, 2023 was a relatively quiet year for new motherboard releases. But that doesn't mean there weren't any new models.

The highlight of 2023 was the release of a wave of refreshed Z790 motherboards. They accompanied Intel's 14th Generation CPU range and they introduced a few new, and welcome features. They'll end up being the best and last LGA 1700 motherboards to be released before Intel switches to the LGA 1851 socket in late 2023 or early 2024.

The headline new feature was the introduction of support for Wi-Fi 7, the next generation networking standard. Of course, they have out of the box support for 14th Generation processors, along with generally beefed up power delivery systems, improved USB capabilities and support for much faster DDR5 memory. Some Z790 refresh boards even unofficially support DDR5-8000 and higher.

Things were relatively quiet on the AMD front, with the entry level A620 chipset being the only new chipset to be released, and it was a quiet launch at that. A620 motherboards are best paired with AMD's 65W-class processors and entry level builds. Most of the B650 and X670 motherboards on the market during 2023 were released in 2022. Not that they're 'old'.  A good AM5 motherboard will remain relevant for years to come.

Best Motherboard Maker

Asrock

Asrock
Asrock doesn't promote itself to the extent Gigabyte, MSI and particularly Asus do, but saving millions of dollars on marketing means it can offer high quality and feature rich motherboards at more affordable prices. What's not to like about that? 

All Finalists

Best Value Motherboard

MSI MAG B760M Mortar Max WiFi

MSI MAG B760M Mortar Max WiFi
A classy all round and feature rich motherboard that makes some more expensive boards look overpriced. Alongside its lovely looks and strong VRM, it's one of very few motherboards that can overclock locked 12th Gen processors. 

• Read the full PC Gamer review

Highly Commended

All Finalists

Best Premium Motherboard

Asrock Z790 Taichi Lite

Asrock Z790 Taichi Lite

A bold release from Asrock that drops the premium aesthetic of the regular Z790 Taichi while retaining all of its features, saving a lot of money in the process. Hopefully it won't be the last motherboard to adopt such an approach.

Read the full Tom's Hardware review

Highly Commended

All Finalists

APCA 2024 Graphics cards

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After a tumultuous period during the pandemic and the sudden collapse of demand from miners, the graphics card market is still somewhat struggling for a return to normalcy. Prices remain elevated and it doesn’t help that there's a new and extremely lucrative drag on optimal supply. Of course, we’re talking about AI.

High end cards remain overpriced. Just a few years back, spending $1,000 would have gotten you a flagship card, but now that kind of money will only get you an upper mid-range card. With console supply stabilising in 2023, it's understandably tough for PC gamers to justify spending the really big bucks on high end cards, especially given ongoing cost of living pressures.

Things aren’t that rosier at the more affordable end of the market. Capable options like the RTX 4060 and RX 7600 are essentially entry level GPUs at mid-range prices. Sure, you have good technologies such as DLSS 3, FSR3 and frame generation, but native performance still matters, and spending $500 to $600 on a graphics card from Nvidia or AMD should deliver a little bit more both in terms of base specifications and performance.

Of course, we can't forget Intel either. Though they got off to a rocky start, Intel's Arc cards have come a long way and are definitely worth considering at the budget end of the market after many welcome driver updates.

Best Graphics Card Maker

MSI

MSI
Once again, MSI's graphics cards impress with an excellent balance of performance, efficient cooling at low noise levels and aesthetics. And they're very competitive at all price points.

Highly Commended

All Finalists

Best Value Graphics Card

MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus Black 2X

MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus Black 2X
In a tough year for budget gaming, MSI's RTX 4060 Ventus is an affordable option that offers decent performance for the money, especially when Nvidia;s DLSS 3 and Frame Generation technologies are factored in.

Read the full PC Gamer Review here

Highly Commended

All Finalists

Best Premium Graphics Card

Gigabyte RTX 4070 Ti Gaming OC
Best Premium Graph...

Gigabyte RTX 4070 Ti Gaming OC

Gigabyte's RTX 4070 Ti Gaming takes out the top gong thanks to its combination high performance, excellent efficiency and value for money. If spending the really big bucks turns you off. Look right here.

Read the full PC Gamer review

Highly Commended

All Finalists

APCA 2024 CPU

(Image credit: Future)

2023 saw the release of some excellent processors, all the way from the budget end of the market to the high end. 

The year started with the launch of Intel's 65W 13th Generation CPUs. There were some gems among them including the excellent Core i5 13400, which remains one of our favourite budget CPUs, but the real star of the show ended up being AMD's value champ, the Ryzen 5 7500F.

AMD's gaming prowess was again on show, with Zen 4 models equipped with stacked cache providing excellent gaming performance and power efficiency. In fact, the gaming performance of the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is so good, it can match and beat anything Intel has to offer.

Never write off Intel though. Later in the year we saw the launch of the 14th Generation K-series CPUs. Though in most cases they are essentially overclocked 13th Generation chips, they remain competitive options, even if they're power hungry and run hot when presented with heavy loads.

At the prosumer and enterprise end of the market, AMD continues to excel, presenting Intel with very tough competition that it cannot yet match. The battle resumes in 2024.

Best Value CPU

AMD Ryzen 5 7500F

AMD Ryzen 5 7500F

AMD's entry level Zen 4 CPU punches well above its weight, offering class leading performance and power efficiency at a price that makes it very hard to justify spending more on a six-core CPU.

Highly Commended

All Finalists

Best Mid-range CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D

If you're a gamer first and foremost, this is the chip to buy. Games tend to thrive thanks to its voluminous cache, while its low power consumption embarrasses its competitors.

• Read the full Tom's Hardware review

Highly Commended

All Finalists

Best Premium CPU

Intel Core i9-14900K

Intel Core i9-14900K

The 14900K wins by virtue of its excellent all round performance, even if it is a variant of 12th and 13th Gen models. Whether it's productivity, creativity, or gaming, the i9 14900K is competitive, as long as you keep it cool.

• Read the full Tom's Hardware review

Highly Commended

All Finalists

APCA storage

(Image credit: Future)

2023 saw the proliferation of PCI Express 5.0 SSDs. The latest and greatest drives are capable of well over 10GB/s of blazing speed, though they do get a bit hot and require some extravagant cooling to run at their full speeds – an ongoing problem that has yet to be addressed.

With USB Type-C connectivity becoming all but ubiquitous, it's become easier than ever to transfer files between your PC, phone or tablet. Manufacturers took the opportunity to expand their portfolios of USB-C storage products.

And if there's one thing we can say with 100% certainty, it's that the humble mechanical hard drive isn't going away any time soon. As long as the amount of data we generate continues to grow, so will the need for large capacity hard drives to hold it all.

Best Internal Storage Maker

Crucial

Crucial

The ever reliable Crucial offers a full range of storage options, from budget to high end. It led the way for first generation PCIe 5.0 drives and its products are very price competitive in a crowded market.

Highly Commended

All Finalists

Best External Storage Maker

Samsung

Samsung

SSDs are the future of portable storage and Samsung continues to excel with high performing, reliable and price competitive options including the T9-series portable SSDs.

Highly Commended

All Finalists

APCA 2024 systems

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2023 was a massive year for laptop screens and processors, adding major benefits to appearance and performance across the board. Apple ditched the MacBook Pro 13-inch for the first time in a decade and released a new MacBook Air 15, we got a novel 18-inch gaming laptop category that really pushed the envelope of desktop replacement devices, and OLED came to budget-conscious laptops that cost as little as $1K. 

We also experienced multiple releases of Apple silicon (M2 Ultra, M3 range), 12th and 13th Gen Intel CPUs, the first Intel ARC laptop GPUs, Nvidia’s 40 series graphics cards and AMD’s Ryzen 7000 and Radeon 6000 series processors all thrown into a season of diverse and advanced laptop launches. 

The first foldable laptops emerged from Asus, HP and Lenovo, with some promising attributes offered by the new format, but probably not enough to see the category make a mainstream comeback just yet. The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 is still the most versatile and useful 2-in-1 for creatives that need a stylus in our opinion.  

20 hour battery life spans on Apple’s MacBook Pro and Air range are still probably the biggest standout feature of laptops in 2023, but both AMD and Intel have worked hard to reclaim performance leads from Apple processors in the laptop segment (even if they need more power to do so). Higher resolution, brighter and more colour accurate screens became standard on pro laptops across the board and GPU performance continued to be heavily influenced by the amount of cooling infrastructure included by laptop vendors. 

Best Value Laptop or 2-in-1

Acer Swift Go 14

Acer Swift Go 14

The latest AMD Ryzen or Intel Core processors, a high resolution OLED screen and enough memory and storage to last years; everything you could want and costs as little as $997 on sale.  

Highly Commended

All Finalists

Best Premium Laptop or 2-in-1

Apple MacBook Pro (M3)

Apple MacBook Pro (M3)
Apple’s M3 processors offer up to 20% performance improvements and the MacBook Pro range is still the only creative Ultrabook that you’d really consider using on battery power alone, making it the 2023 benchmark again. 

Highly Commended

All Finalists

Best Gaming Laptop

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17

Outstanding components, a 17.6-inch 240Hz QHD panel and the power to push games well over 100fps make the Strix Scar an excellent gaming laptop, but it’s also the best value high-end gaming rig of 2023. 


Highly Commended

All Finalists

Best Desktop PC Maker

Apple

Apple
We saw many beautifully built, balanced and engineered PCs over the course of 2023, but none came close to the level of craftsmanship, innovation and jaw-dropping quality that Apple