The time of crappy budget computers is over. How to pick the best bang for the buck components? You'll soon know.
Let's start with the heart. I chose the AMD Athlon X4 860K*, a quad-core from AMD, because of the price. It has decent performance while keeping the price low. Only thing that sucks is the integrated cooler which can get really loud while heavy usage, so you probably want to get a better one very soon.
Up- and Downgrades:
Obviously, a better CPU makes your computer faster, so if you have a bigger budget, you can invest a little bit more. If you have a smaller budget, I'd recommend saving a little bit longer, because below this pricetag you pretty much only get something bad.
I've went with the AMD RX 470* from PowerColor (RedDragon model) for this. It's bigger brother, the RX 480*, you might know as the 1080p king. As for the RX 470, the performance is also pretty good. Also (in silent mode) the fans don't spin while normal operation and also stay really quiet under load.
Up- and Downgrades:
If you want to spend a little bit more, I'd recommend either to take a RX 480* from AMD or a GTX 1060* from Nvidia. For a bit less, you could also take a RX 460* or a GTX 1050 Ti*, but I'd go for the GTX 1050 Ti, because of the better graphics. But if you choose one of these, make sure you don't get a 2GB model.
For memory, just go to your store of choice and get the cheapest one with the capacity and type you need. Don't worry too much about clock speeds and things like that. Just get the correct DIMM and DDR type and you're good to go. A solid choice are often Kingston's Value and Crucial's RAM. I went with eight gigs of Kingston Value RAM. One thing you may pay attention to is how many RAM slots your motherboard has. If it has only two, then better only get one memory stick, so you can upgrade later on.
Up- and Downgrades:
I really would not downgrade below 8GB of RAM. If there's no other way, then okay, but you probably want to upgrade it in the future. Upgrading to 16GB is fine if you play games or do stuff that can use this capacity, but everything above 16GB is probably overkill and only for specific usecases like video editing.
I took the very cheap 420 watt power supply from LC Power for 20€, but while it does it's job pretty good (also very silent), it was a total mess to install. The wires were so short that I was not able to plug the CPU power cable in without having crappy cable management. In my case, it wasn't a that huge problem, as I'm using a Mini-ITX case, where everything is very tight together anyway. So do a better job and get a proper PSU.
While motherboards don't affect functionality and speed of your computer (at least mostly), they affect features. So grab a motherboard with all the ports you need. Pay attention to get the correct socket and size for your case. I chose the Biostar Hi-Fi A70U3P*, as it was the cheapest one I've found that has everything I need.
This was something really difficult. I really wasn't sure if I should go with a better GPU but a HDD or a slightly slower GPU but a SSD. The general question is: do you want a better gaming experience or a snappier everyday computer? I went with the second option and opted for a Crucial MX300 525GB* SSD, and it was totally worth it. Windows 7 boots up just as fast as it's newer brothers, programs opens as you click on them and copying and unzipping files is blazingly fast.
Up- and downgrades:
If you are a gamer, then you probably want to spend more on the GPU. You can get a 1TB HDD* for about 45€, which is a very low price compared to an SSD. If you need more storage, you could get a bigger SSD, or also opt for a hard drive as a second storage device.
This sounds very easy, but it actually is pretty tough. There are some things to consider, like ports and size. I wanted a very small case, that isn't too noticeable. So I chose a case from a German manufacturer called the Jonsbo C3* which sadly is only available in Amazon Germany. It is made only out of aluminium and has microphone, headphones and two USB 3.0 ports on the front.
There are tons of tutorials out there on how to build your computer, so I'm not going to write you a step-by-step article. If you don't want to assemble your computer on your own, there are many shops that can do it for you.
If you build your computer in a mini ITX case just like I did, you should know that it is very tight and cable management can be very frustrating. But if you assembled it, you're very happy with your small but powerful computer.
When you install Windows, you better want to do it via USB, even if you have an optical drive. It is so much faster, it took only 10 minutes for me. But don't use USB 3.0, because apparently the Windows Installer does not support this... Weird.
All I can say is that the performance is pretty decent. I was able to play Minecraft on 60FPS - just kidding. Overwatch runs pretty smooth on high settings and 1080p. Emulation gaming with Dolphin for Wii is also solid. I also tried editing 1080p-footage with Premiere which was no problem at all, as well as doing Photoshop work.
As a conclusion, I'm very happy with the result. The only upgrade I'm going to make is a new cooler, because the stock AMD ones suck so bad.
I hope I could help you with choosing your parts for your new epic computer rig. If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section.
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