If you need a machine to get you up and going with your creativity whether it be photography or videography, maybe even a smidgen of gaming on the side. Well look no further, I have you covered.
Just to let you know this post/video has not been sponsored all components were bought with my own money.
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The reason for this build is, my son. He has a big Christmas wish. Yes a Desktop PC! No not a laptop. However we have a budget of under 400 euros or dollars – how you like. This guide I’ve put together here should help you choose the right components at the right price.
Additionally he wants some bling thrown in. What kind of bling, you may ask?
Well its pretty much the norm for a twelve year these days. We are talking about, LED RGB lighting and a glass side door case. This will be a talk order! Of course in your build you don’t need to include these options and don’t be put off. We cover the essentials such as the mainboard, power supply, ram speed, CPU and Graphic card options.
I decided to approach this task with the idea that he could upgrade in the future. Upgrades might include a better graphics card and even a new motherboard. This approach gives plenty of opportunity for gaming or video editing etc..
Who really knows where a young mind might go.
The budget PC is about building something that may not be super quiet or super powerful. Otherwise it would be impossible to keep things under 400.
When starting out in your journey to build your PC. First set your budget down with a shopping list. Shown here is such a list, Sum the total costs. I’ve managed 390. This is our guide to keep the cost locked in. To hit the target overall spend.
What is super important here, is to keep in mind an upgrade path for the future while not been too spartan for the present. Otherwise the build doesn’t really make sense. The machine should be nice to look at and snappy enough to use for every day tasks. That’s baseline.
|8Gb Ram RGB||35,-|
Both Intel and AMD budget mainboards are about the same price. Don’t buy the absolute cheapest. Also choose a board that can use a future CPU. However in our case we need to save some costs to keep under 400 euros/dollar. Extra features such as WIFI/Bluetooth/PCIe 4.0/dual graphics cards and M2 SSD storage are not an option at this price point. This is a getting started board. One point I need to mention is to ensure you can overclock your RAM which I’ll talk about later. If you need M2 SSD storage spend a little extra on the mainboard.
Amazon Link : ASRock A320M-DVS R4.0
ASRock A320M-DVS R4.0
Costs approx: 45,-
A power supply needs to be beefy so can be used in an upgrade, inexpensive and have power efficiency rating to keep in our budget. This is the criteria for the power supply. With this in mind I reckon over 500 Watts should would be enough. Don’t go under 30 euros/dollars to save a few bucks.
Amazon Link : Argus APS-620W
Costs approx: 35,-
When choosing a case, it’s really a personal decision. Remember you’ll probably see this case on your table or floor each day. What I’m saying here is spend more money if this is important to you.
The case I’ve selected for my son is from the German firm Inter Tech – The C303 Mirror. It has tempered glass on the side and the front. Perfect for showing off any RGB lights and the technical guts, the machine might have.
Again this is such a personal preference. But the C-303 gives a good bang for your buck!
Amazon Link : Inter-Tech C-303 Mirror / Inter-Tech C-701 Panorama
Inter-Tech C-303 Mirror
Costs approx: 35,-
Well the story has changed! The shipment of parts finally arrived the C303 case was delay for quite sometime. What arrived was the Inter-Tech C-701 Panorama case without extra cost. Well all I say is my son will be even more pleased!
Inter-Tech C-701 Panorama case
Costs approx: 70,-
Choosing a graphic card or GPU is crucial for video editing and photo edit. Also for decent gaming. The choices are between AMD and Nvidia. Both have excellent cards. However to really save here, on this build I went searching for a second-hand Nvidia card to keep my budget in check. Remember the goal is to hit for around 80 quid The card I sourced locally was the GTX 970 with 4Gb of video ram
Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB
Costs approx: 80,-
GTX 1050Ti if you wish to buy a new GPU card.
But do some comparisons using the online tool – UserBenchmark – https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-970-vs-Nvidia-GTX-1050-Ti/2577vs3649
The best bang for your buck is definitely team red – AMD. Especially for performance for the same money you would buy an Intel from team blue. You’ll get more cores and better overclocking options too. My original plan was to use a AMD 3300G chip which has an integrated VEGA graphics. However they are near impossible to source at the moment. So I went down the route of a CPU and dedicated GPU. Hence the second-hand Nvidia graphic card.
So I had to go over budget from 125 euros to 150 euros. Placing our budget over 25 euros. Nonetheless I got a great deal of 2600. I definitely do recommended looking around for the last generation AMD chips when you are building on a budget. You can save quite a bit and the performance is just a couple of percent lower.
Because we using a A320 mainboard coupled with this processor which has a TDP 65W this is perfect for this board. You won’t lose performance in comparison to a more expensive mainboard like X570. That been said a more expensive board would allow more power delivery for a 12 or 16 core CPU. Along with more PCIe slots. But again our mission is a budget machine which performs and it sure does, with this A320 chipset.
If you want to use 3600 or 3600X that’s no problem just update the BIOS first. The little A320 board will handle it.
Amazon Link : AMD Processor RYZEN5 2600X
AMD Processor RYZEN5 2600X
Costs approx: 150,-
Another benefit with AMD Processor is the included fan which in fact is quite good. You’d only need to replace it, if you were intending to over clock the CPU. Which the A320 chipset doesn’t really do.
I’ve little confession to tell here, I replaced the box fan with another AMD box fan, so Jake, my son has some more RGB bling. You can pick up the AMD Wraith Prism LED RGB cooler quite cheaply on a second hand website for about 15 euros. If you need some RGB funk in your life, actually Prism cooler looks sharp though!
I would recommend getting Memory DIMMs which you can overclock a little bit. Especially with the AMD processor. This is really a good thing to take adventure! AMD CPUs prefer faster RAM. So for a fistful of dollars more you get a nice performance tweak. The memory modules that I choose can run at 3200Mhz. Ensure that your mainboard can support faster memory.
The mainboard has just two DIMM slots. I would go with a single module of RAM here. The single channel mode performance is insignificantly lower than double channel configuration. When you can afford it, drop in another 8Gb module at a later date.
My son wished for some RGB bling. Of course if isn’t your thing just go without.I sneaked in an extra DIMM for him bringing the spec to 16Gb!
Amazon Link : DDR4 3200Mhz 8Gb
ADATA XPG Spectrix D50 RGB DIMM
Costs approx: 35,-
I forgot WiFi!
I completely forgot one important thing – WiFi What was I thinking ?#!
If I had chosen a mainboard with on board WiFi this would affectively double the price to around 80,- bucks. However a simple WiFi card costs anything between 7 – 15 euros. If you need Bluetooth too you can always buy a dongle for a few dollar more.
(Ok, that’s two spaghetti westerns I’ve mention so far in this post!)
Let’s Build …
Let’s build this baby! Part 2 …
Resources : Video about using 3600 AMD on an A320 chipset board.