We are in May already and its time for the next Desktop Best Buy Guide a lot of people have to work from home, and children are off for the whole year that we have to homeschooling, tax returns are helping and the stimulus and unemployment are helping us through the COVID-19 pandemic. Intel and AMD have both released new processors that are affordable and energy efficient and perform. As in the previous desktop best buy guide I will only recommend high quality brands and parts that I will personally will use. We will have 3 categories. Mainstream game system $800, budget system $400, for office and internet, and HTPC $500 that you can use on your TV to record and watch streaming content like Netflix.
Mainstream Game System
As prices are going up , and the availability of some components are getting scarce I was still able to get a good system together for around $800, the prices that I will list are the prices at the moment I wrote this guide. So please be aware that prices do change.
This Processor is the same as in our previous BBG, this processor performs much better than the Intel Core i5-9400F and nonetheless the Intel lacks hyper threading, this is the best processor for gaming, and the best bang for the buck for under $200 this is a true treat.
The reason for this choice is that the features and quality of MSI always have been solid, it offers tons of great features. Including the flashing capability with a USB stick with a CPU. In case the CPU you buy at the same time is not supported by this board yet. This motherboard also supports USB 3.2 gen 2, gold plated audio jacks and much more. Its a great board. It comes with 4 USB 3.2 ports and 6 USB 2.0 ports.
For this guide I chose for the Radeon RX 5600 XT with 6GB GDDR6 because the RTX2060 of NVidia is slower and more expensive. All of the driver problems of this card has been solved for while making this card a great value. It’s not a 4K card but it will do Full HD games without a hassle.
This Focus G case has a sophisticated look and comes with 2 silent 120mm fans with white LED’s preinstalled. This case has a capability to hold 6 fans for high airflow. It also supports high profile CPU coolers. Also good to know that it also supports long graphic cards up to 380mm without compromising hard drive space.
This memory will work great with XMP enabled on the motherboard and processor ,which gives you the full benefit of the speed of this memory. I chose for 16GB instead of 8GB because the price of memory is cheap nowadays.
Desktop Best Buy Guide
Corsair is a reputable brand, this semi-modular 80 plus power supply is plenty for what we are building and on top of that very affordable and the modular wires helps us prevent case clutter.
I chose Samsung for a variety of reasons, great customer support and warranty, the quality of the SSD, and ofcourse the unbeatable performance. This SSD drive has a capacity of 500 gigabytes for the price under $100, this is simply a great deal. With this type of SSD we are not limited to the SATA bus anymore, so we can enjoy the full speed of the SSD drive.
The Total price of the Game System is $852.34.
This system will last you for a good bit. The only issue I had was finding a power supply, which seems sold out everywhere or very expensive, almost like the toilet paper during this Coronavirus period.
Budget System (For Office/Browsing)
We chose for the Asrock DeskMini A300 for a number of reasons, it looks good, and has expand ability and comes with a motherboard. This barebone also comes with a WiFi kit.
Here are the following specifications:
- AMD AM4 Socket CPU
– Raven Ridge, Bristol Ridge, Up to 65W
– Support MAX Height ? 46mm CPU Cooler
- High-Speed DDR4 Memory
– DDR4-2933MHz (Ryzen)
– DDR4-2400MHz (A-series)
- Dual Ultra M.2 (NVMe)
– M2_1 M.2 (2280) – PCIe Gen3 x4
– M2_2 M.2 (2280) – PCIe Gen3 x2/x4
- 2x 2.5″ SATA 6Gbps Hard Drive
- Support RAID 0/1 Function
- HDMI, DisplayPort & D-Sub
- AMD Fluid Motion Technology
- M.2 Wi-Fi Module
- USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
This dual core 4 Threads CPU is good enough to type a letter, browse the websites, and play simple online games. It does its job at 3.5 GHz, there is also a Vega 3 graphic chip builtin, this CPU only uses 35Watt which makes it easy to cool so less noise and power consumption.
Crucial 8GB CT8G4SFS8266 from $33.99
We don’t need a whole bunch of memory and we are not going to overclock so we keep it at a simple and reliable memory module that is affordable.
I chose for a M.2, the reason for this is that I want to get the best out of the system, and the port is there so why not use it. We can always use the SATA port for a hard-drive if we ever plan to put one in. I didn’t choose for the Samsung for 2 reasons the price and we don’t need that performance, we just want something reliable. I didn’t want to go full cheapo, because too much hunts you back in the future, for this reason I chose for a reputable brand.
Total price of this system is now $354.97, The barebone price went up from $150, but all in all still a good deal, for basic computing this will absolutely do.
Home Theater PC
Some of the highlights of this home theater PC case:
￭ Supports up to four 80mm fans
￭ Drive cages with multi-purpose mounts eliminate need for adapters
￭ Easy to install and cable route
￭ Supports standard PS2(ATX) power supplies
￭ Supports low profile expansion cards
￭ Includes two USB 3.0 ports
The reason for this processor it is fast enough to play 4K smoothly, and doesn’t get hot so no need for big fans so it will be quiet in the living room and on top of that it goes for around $60.
This motherboard offers all the features we need including M.2 SATA & PCIe with the quality we expect from ASUS for an affordable price.
We only add one memory module of 8GB because we won’t be using it for games, you can always add another 8GB if you need to.
Power Supply Unit
This power supply offers 500W with the 80 Plus Bronze efficiency, this might be overkill for this system, but power supplies are hard to come by right now.
I like to have my operating system on a SSD for fast loading of programs and caching of often used loaded files. And a separate HDD for storage of photos, videos, and other long term personal files.
I chose the WD Blue drive because they are reliable and long lasting. We chose for the 4TB storage this will give you 140 hours of Full HD recording.
The total price of the home theater PC is as of writing $348.90, this system will play and record 4K and all the multimedia files you want to play on this system.