Almost every day, someone in my circle of friends asks me what you have to spend on a current gaming PC. The answer is always the same: computing power and memory are affordable, but there are no affordable graphics cards. Since some don’t want to wait, I recently tested what can be achieved in combination with an extremely inexpensive graphics card today. But what happens if you shift the balance between the price of the system and the price of the graphics card more in favor of the graphics card?
This experiment is based on a request from a friend who urgently needed a new PC. Mainly for office applications, surfing the web, watching videos, and all at the same time if possible. The other requirements were also manageable: Many USB ports, as quiet as possible and should not be overloaded and overheat when 3 tabs are open in the browser and a word processing program should be started at the same time. The budget was about 500€ and it would have been fantastic to be able to play Diablo 2 Resurrected with the PC maybe in the foreseeable future. Since the last “minimum” graphics cards in the form of the RX550 and GTX 1650 are around 250 and 300€ respectively, and the Ryzen 5600G APU, which might have been just enough with a few sacrifices, would also have cost 280€, we agreed not to use the budget to the fullest and simply upgrade a graphics card after the mining madness.
Selection of components
After putting together a few systems, it was clear that the Intel Core i5 10400 with integrated graphics chip would offer the best value. A dedicated graphics card would have been necessary for a similarly fast Ryzen 5 in gaming scenarios, and the graphics performance of the Ryzen APUs hadn’t really been convincing either, especially not at the called price. Then rather build a solid system with decent components, which can be expanded at any time with a potent graphics card!
With the introduction of the B560 boards, RAM overclocking was also released for the non-K CPUs and with a bit of fixed ram, the small i5 10400 should deliver a very decent performance in games, which is exactly why this combination was finally chosen. By the way, at the time of purchase, the 11400 was about 50€ over the 10400, a premium that certainly wouldn’t have been worth it. Specifically, the Gigabyte Aorus B560M Elite was chosen because it has solid connectivity and apparently pretty solid heatsinks in the lower price range.
Speaking of heat sinks. Of course, the measly Intel whisk should not be used. Instead, the significantly more efficient and quieter BeQuiet! Pure Rock 2 ordered, which makes a very good impression from the processing and around 30 € still in the framework for a budget build.
The choice of memory was somewhat lacking in experience with Intel systems. Since the i5 10400 officially only supports DDR4-2667, I thought 3200MHz with halfway decent timings (CL16) was a good choice and the price-performance ratio seems to be right. Specifically, it was the G.Skill RipJaws V 3200 CL16 kit.
The SSD was selected according to a very simple principle: sort the price in ascending order and put the cheapest one with the desired capacity into the shopping cart. Since the Kingston SA2000 could also show predominantly positive evaluations, it is only supposed to hold the operating system and the most important data is exemplary backed up on external data carriers, no value was placed on particularly high throughput etc. here.
Also with the power supply unit was not long considered. The requirements were: cable management, efficiency at least 80+ Gold and a power of 500-600 watts. I have been using Seasonic for years because they offer good quality and unbelievable service, but at the time of purchase the BeQuit! Pure Power 11 significantly cheaper because of a promotion.
A Raijintek Arcadia 2 was still available and more than adequate in size for this system. For some quiet airflow, 2 more BeQuiet! Pure Wings screwed in and ready was the bower.
Now all that was missing for this article was a graphics card. With a little searching and bargaining, you can grab an RTX 2060 Super for around 400€ on the second-hand market every now and then. Although you could buy a similarly fast GTX 1080 for about 50€ less, it is on average about 2 years older and without RTX and DLSS support it has by far not such a promising future as the more modern Touring card. The selected model, the KFA2 RTX 2060 Super EX 1-Click OC is not a stranger and has appeared here in the editorial office several times.
Overall, the system is as follows: