When it comes to PC gaming, most people think it’s an unattainable dream. Some think that building even a budget gaming system will still run $2,000 or more. Well, that’s not true at all. We set out to build a affordable gaming and productivity computer for right around $1,000 and did just that.
Nomad Base Station
Now I know what you’re saying, “I can get an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro for half that cost!” and while true, those are single-use machines. Xbox and PlayStation consoles have always been a lower-cost way to game, but are limited in comparison. If you bought a game for PS3 or Xbox 360, it’s likely that it won’t play on PS4/Xbox One, or newer consoles (although that’s slowly changing).
This is something that has plagued the gaming realm for ages, honestly as long as I can remember. One area that this has no effect, though, is on PCs. When it comes to PCs, you can play just about any game, from any age. It might not play natively, and you might need an emulator, but it’ll play.
With the system we built, you’ll be able to enjoy old and new games alike. We chose the Ryzen 5 1400 CPU and MSI X370 Gaming Plus motherboard as the heart of our system. For the meat, we used 8GB of RAM, a 250GB NVMe SSD, and a GTX 1050 graphics card.
It’s all powered by an EVGA 550W modular power supply, and housed in a NZXT S340 Elite case. We chose the modular power supply because it really helps keep everything clean and neat when managing cables.
The S340 Elite is a great case with plenty of room for cable management, and looks fantastic. I’ve used it in a number of builds, and it’s a joy to use, honestly.
When it comes to productivity, this computer will chew through most anything you can throw at it. The GeekBench multicore score was 11,431, which puts it in the same tier as Intel’s i5 processor lineup.
For GPU performance, the GTX 1050 in here didn’t leave us hanging at all. Playing Rise of the Tomb Raider and GTA: V, we were able to use mostly high settings (with a bit of medium thrown in as needed) to achieve that buttery smooth 60FPS goal.
With all of the parts chosen, you can easily upgrade down the road to achieve ultra graphics, or 1440p to 4K resolutions. This system is fully modular and designed to last you for years to come.
Now, for the price breakdown. The Ryzen 5 1400 runs $150, the MSI X370 Gaming Plus motherboard is $137 (currently on sale for $10 off). Our RAM was $87, the Samsung 960 Evo 250GB SSD will set you back $120, and the GTX 1050 graphics card is $179 at the time of writing this article. The NZXT S340 Elite is $90 and lastly you’ll need Windows 10 for $93.
In the end, we built a fully-fledged gaming computer for around $925, give or take today’s market value. That’s not bad when you consider how you can upgrade down the line, and get both a computer and gaming platform with one fell swoop.
Have you ever built a gaming PC? What was your experience? Let us know down in the comments.