Ahhhh… here we are again; it’s the yuletide season. You have probably already received your fat 13th month paycheck or still do not know what to do with it. Aside from sensibly investing your money or putting it in your bank savings, you might have been saving up for that badly needed home computer (for work, of course!).
Maybe you don’t want to spend too much, but you can still spend on something sensible that still has oomph! for that nightly round of DotA 2 or League of Legends. Don’t fret; we’ve got your back. Our budget once again will be Php30,000.
So, what changed in 2017? AMD IS BACK, BABY! Back in February 2017, AMD (Advanced Micro Devices or that other processor developer aside from Intel) released AMD Ryzen, a processor that disrupted the market so bad that once infallible Intel actually panicked! To make the Ryzen story short, AMD is once again providing us with tons of performance and with better value. Oh, how long I’ve waited for this day!
The heart of this build will be the AMD Ryzen 1200 3.1Ghz, an overclockable true-quad core processor for only Php5,600! You will need to spend almost twice as much to have something comparable from Intel, I’m looking at the dual core Intel i3-7350K for Php9,000!
MSI, one of my favorite motherboard brands, churned out another board of excellent value. The MSI B350M PRO-VDH is a great choice since it has the doodads of more expensive motherboards from a generation ago, like the M.2 slot for storage devices faster than an SSD, 4 RAM slots, and a reinforced PCIE slot if you ever bought a huge and heavy video card.
The most important aspect of this board, though, is that chunk of metal that will keep the 4+2 phase VRM cool if you also chose to get the more powerful Ryzen 1600/1600X/1700/1700X/1800X. The Asrock B350M Pro 4 is a viable option; the MSI B350M PRO-VDH is just easier to find. If both are unavailable, just get any B350 board with a VRM heatsink and generally avoid those that don’t have it.
Top tip: The AMD AM4 X370 and B350 will allow you to overclock the Ryzen processors; the A320 won’t. We don’t want that, even if it’s cheaper.
Even for Windows 10, 4GB of system RAM (Random Access Memory) is okay; but ideally, it should be 8GB or above. The ADATA 4GB DDR4 2400 should be a safe choice. Some of my favorite RAM brands are GSkill, Corsair, and Kingston if you want something fancier. If your budget is tight, though, get a 4GB for now and just get another stick of the exact same model in the future, especially since RAM prices in 2017 are insanely high.
Our storage is still the 1 terabyte Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EZEX 7200 RPM. It offers more value per peso compared to the faster SSD or solid state drives. However, even if mechanical hard disk drives are slower than SSDs, what you get is up to 4x the capacity of a decent SSD at half the price.
A solid PSU is always a must! Having one will not only ensure clean electricity tunning through your system, but will also protect your investment if there are sudden fluctuations with electricity. The Corsair VS450 is a strong candidate and my number 1 choice for budget builds. Not only is that efficient; it can also supply juice to high-powered mid-ranged video cards! I do hope that you invest in a much better power supply unit if you are going for a high-powered video card.
The Tecware F3 is one of the crowd favorites out there. Since it has all the space you need inside, it can have up to five auxiliary fans that ensure good airflow inside your computer case, while still being budget-friendly. Those cheap cases with free power supply units and some pre-built systems tend to get as hot as an oven.
The BenQ GW2270 is still my monitor of choice. People who know me from the local PC forum site will know why I love this monitor. It has a VA (Vertical Alignment) panel, which is a happy medium between the rich colors of an IPS (In-Plane Switching) panels found on most high monitors.
It also has some of the speed of TN (Twisted Nematic) panels. Since the monitor is something you will look at 99% of the time, why not choose something that is nice to look at and can be used for a long time? By the way, the BenQ GW2270H is the version with an HDMI at a couple of hundred pesos more.
As of writing, AMD (The Red Team) has no real answer to Nvidia’s (The Green Team) budget cards since their prices bloated due to the cryptocurrency mining craze in the past year. The Nvidia 2GB GT1030 is a great choice for casual gamers for that round or two of DotA2 or League of Legends. Want something with a bit more punch for AAA games? The Nvidia 4GB GTX 1050Ti is the card of choice that will not break the bank.
What do we have now? (as time of writing)
- Processor: Amd Ryzen 3 1200 4 Core 3.1 – 3.4 Ghz – Php5,600
- Motherboard: MSI B350M PRO-VDH – Php4,550 (Or the Asrock AB350M Pro 4 – PHP 4,700.00)
- Memory: ADATA 4GB 2400Mhz single stick – Php2,150
- Hard Disk Drive: 1 terabyte Western Digital Caviar Blue – Php2,300
- Video Card: Asus GT 1030 2GB – Php3,800 (or Palit GTX 1050 Ti StormX 4GB – Php7,250)
- Power Supply Unit: Corsair VS450 450 watts – Php1,750
- Case: Tecware F3 micro ATX case – Php1,540
- Monitor: 21.5″ BenQ GW2270 fullHD monitor – Php5,150
TOTAL DAMAGE: Php26,840 and is below our Php30,000.00 budget! If you opted for the GTX 1050ti card, though, be ready to shell out Php30,290 (which is still not bad at all).
Armed with this knowledge, where can you source these parts? Gilmore Avenue is a great place to start but CAVAET EMPTOR: prices and parts tend to change from seller to seller. Personally, I visit Dynaquest Makati for my parts since it is closer to my place. Plus, I can avoid the unnecessary traffic and travel time to Quezon City. Thank you, Dynaquestpc, for letting me play with your stuff whenever I’m there!