It’s that time of the year again, choose a few components to suit certain builds and compare it against a few retailers, but this time with a bit of a twist. Instead of just gaming, I will throw in a few other categories such as home PC, and HTPC.
A similar format to last year, but instead of running around different retailers, I will stick to just one that has the best equipment on offer for that price.
Each week will focus on a set budget and include one build or laptop which best meets the criteria.
This week will look at some of the lowest budget equipment you can buy; be it pre-built or in components and it will include all peripherals to suit that build. There may be some higher price equipment to make the system feel more user friendly, such as a 1080p monitor instead of a 768p monitor.
My chosen e-tailer will be OverclockersUK (OcUK).
OverclockersUK started out in 1999 as a small company set to change the overclocking world by offering CPUs with a known overclocking performance. As the company gained traction it steadily grew until in 2012 it was bought out by German company Caseking where it has grown further.
General Purpose Home PC
This category will focus on building a general purpose PC which everyone has had experience with. It’s by no means a speed machine, but it lets you complete your homework or check out Facebook.
So that’s actually a pretty decent build considering it includes EVERYTHING to set up and go, okay you need a desk and chair.
It won’t be the fastest and it isn’t the most up to date, but it will have enough space to hold your family photos, complete homework and browse the internet without any issues. A good (and most would consider a must) upgrade would be a solid state drive (SSD) to really perk the system up, but it would push the build over £400 and isn’t strictly required at this stage.
A good side of building this computer compared to spending a little less at high street retailers is the fact you get the full warranty of each component and the components are higher quality.
Ways to save money:
- If you plan on using a different operating system such as Linux, that can save you up to £94.99;
- Most digital media can be found online or used via a USB pen drive, you can remove the optical drive;
- The monitor is a standard 1920x1080p model; this can be swapped out for a lower resolution version to save up to £20.
Shaving off a few simple parts can gain a pretty substantial saving.
Home Theatre PC
This will focus more on building a computer for under your TV. Very likely used to stream content from Netflix of Amazon Video.
You’ll notice a few key components will be the same as they’re good for what they are and can carry out this level of work perfectly.
We’ve removed the monitor because HTPC’s are generally connected to a TV. A wireless keyboard/ mouse combo has been added so you can use it on the other side of the room (up to 10 metres away) and the case should be ideal to fit in most TV stands without much issue.
The price is quite high due to needing more specialist parts, an extra £20 on a wireless keyboard/ mouse for example.
Just like the previous system, money can be saved by removing the operating system and optical drive:
Moving on to gaming, an area which can get quite expensive. Let’s see how cheap we can make this while keeping the cost low. A gaming computer within this price range won’t play GTA V with high settings at 1080p smoothly, but CS:GO or DOTA will play perfectly fine with around 60FPS.
Slightly more expensive than the previous builds, but it does include a better processor for gaming. It is by no means a “beast”, but for the price and what it includes, it is a pretty capable machine.
If you only plan on gaming with Steam games, you can save £95.99 and install Steam OS. However, with that saved money, I would buy better peripherals.
Still not bank breaking and even some change from £400 to get some games in the Steam sales.
There we have it, a range of budget pleasing computers to suit most needs. As I said earlier, don’t expect miracles, manage your expectations. AMD is still king at this price range with the APU range based on the FM2+ socket. If AMD can keep the train running from Ryzen and introduce a FM3/3+ range of APU’s, that would seal the deal for cheap computers for the future.
A recommendation I would make is to add a Solid State Drive (SSD), this can really improve the performance for an extra £50-£70 depending on capacity and model.
I would personally choose the Western Digital Green 120GB model for £52.99.
Wondering why component prices have risen in the last 12 months? Check out my post here.
These computers are nearly as cheap as you can buy brand new, you can save extra money by opting for less memory and a small hard drive, but with Google Chrome needing 3GB just to open and all of our media consumption being digital; larger capacities are better.
Next week, Week 2:
NB: Prices were correct as of 12pm 27/06/2017.
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