Do you have a wad of leftover Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket? In the midst of the Omnicrom variant of Covid-19, I am going to take a look at the price and availability of building a PC as we head into the New Year.
I mention Covid not just because I am a huge Grinch that hates all things Christmas, but because it has actually majorly affected the availability of electronic components; including PC parts. The other day a mate of mine asked if I had any recommendations for parts and I realised that as I haven’t looked at PC parts for the better part of a year, therefore I sort of had no idea what to recommend to him.
It was then that I decided to throw this article together to help out anyone looking to build a PC on a budget in 2022. I should point out that I love a bargain and I will be doing my best to dig out the best prices at the time of writing this article.
That said, if you are reading through these lists six months down the line, I cannot guarantee that the prices will still be accurate. That said, I will likely still stand by the quality of the parts in the following lists six months down the line, so shop around. You might see a GPU matching one that I list below at a better price and if you do, please leave a link to the product down in the comments section below.
Another quick disclaimer is with regards to budget. Obviously, everyone’s budget is different. I am going to compile 2 lists; one with a budget of £500 and one with a budget of £1000.
If your budget is over £1000, then this isn’t the list for you I’m afraid. I spent around £1000 – £1500 on a build in summer of 2020, which still holds up today. However, (just in case you hadn’t noticed,) the market has changed a great deal since then. And if your budget is under £500, as much as I hate to say it, with the way things are right now with prices for PC parts, you may be better off going down the pre-built road.
Lastly, (I promise that we will get to the actual parts lists soon,) I would encourage everyone reading this to remember; the point is not to own the most up-to-date parts. Even if you do fork out a small fortune to buy the most up-to-date CPU, GPU and motherboard, it will only be considered, ‘brand new,’ for a very short period of time before a new part is dropped and your rig is rendered obsolete.
The point of this list and the point of PC building in general should be to build something that you can have fun with and hopefully, something that you like looking at. Don’t build your rig for anyone but yourself, after all it is your hard-earned cash that is being poured into this thing.
Ryzen 3 3100 – £129.99
The heart of any build is the CPU. I have decided to go the AMD route instead of Intel for this build, just because I have more experience building with AMD. The Ryzen 3 3100 isn’t going to blow any minds.
That said, a four core CPU that is capable of scoring 2,315 points in Cinebench R20 and 4,910 points in GeekBench 5 and is only 61.3C at its hottest is nothing to be sniffed at. Especially for under £150.
This CPU also comes with a Wraith Stealth CPU Cooler in the box. While this is by no means the greatest cooler on the market, it will do the job and will also help to keep your total budget down.
Now we get to the issue of compatibility. Your motherboard has to not only be compatible with your CPU, but also leave your other options open when it comes to selecting a GPU and your other parts.
MSI have gained somewhat of a negative reputation as of late given some of their questionable business practices. However, I have been running an MSI motherboard in my rig for the past 2 years and have never ran into any major problems with the brand.
The board linked above is compatible with the Ryzen 3 3100 CPU and it opens up plenty of GPU options. Also, a motherboard that carries 4 RAM slots and a total of 6 PCIe slots for 60 quid is a steal. The board also features plenty of fan headers and even includes a couple of RGB headers too.
As is the case with the other parts in this list, the GeForce GT 1030 is not going to blow anyone’s socks off. That said, it is worth a look for those looking to game on a budget. This things will run most modern games on low settings. It may mean cranking your settings down to 1080 or 720p, but for just over 100 quid, this is a decent budget CPU.
2 x Crucial RAM CT4G4DFS8266 4GB DDR4 – £26
8GB of RAM should be plenty to get you started on this budget rig. These sticks aren’t fancy, but they will do the job and leave your future expansion options open.
Even in a budget build, having your OS on an SSD is essential in 2022. You can grab this or a similar SSD for under 30 quid and live in peace knowing that your machine won’t take an age to boot up.
Though, you will still need somewhere to store your meatier files, which is where a HDD comes in handy. 1TB should be plenty to get you going in terms of game downloads and other file storage.
Sadly, building a PC for under 500 quid often means seeing some ketchup and mustard coloured power cables. If you can see past that though, this PSU should do the job. With that said, a PSU is never really something that you should cheap out on if you can help it.
This is because if your PSU was to go, it could short the rest of your components and take the rest of your PC with it. There is also the obvious issue of safety when it comes to hot electrical components. In other words, if you decided to go for this budget build, the PSU is one of the first things that I would be looking to upgrade.
Now you need somewhere to put all of your parts and assemble them. This case comes with 4 fans included, which along with the mesh front panel, should be plenty to keep all of your valuable components nice and cool.
As the budget motherboard we used in this build doesn’t come with on-board WiFi, we have to pick up a WiFi card to allow us to get online unless you plan on using an ethernet cable.
Total spent – £442.40
This leaves you with £57.60 left over from your £500 budget, which you could use to put towards a monitor, buy some LED strips for inside your case or pick up this RGB mechanical keyboard and mouse from Amazon for £40.
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 – £191
Although this price is higher than what I paid for the same chip two years ago, getting a Ryzen 5 3600 chip for under 200 quid in 2022 is decent. This CPU will offer you much more breathing room than the one listed in the previous build. You may not be able to play every game on max settings, but you will be able to comfortably enjoy 1080p gaming with no noticeable frame-rate drops.
Since we have a bit more cash to play with here, we can look at motherboards with built in WiFi. This MSI board comes with onboard WiFi along with 4 RAM slots and 3 PCIe slots. It also carries the standard AM4 socket, meaning that it is compatible with the CPU that we chose.
MSI GeForce RTX 2070 ARMOR 8G – £277.16
Decent graphics cards are like gold dust currently due to the competent shortage as a result of the pandemic. Hence why I included two similar GPU’s above, as by the time you click those links, the chances are at least one of them will be out of stock.
If you can get your hands on one of the above cards though, getting an RTX 2070 card for under £300 is a steal, especially at the moment. Either of these cards should have little issue running modern games smoothly.
CORSAIR VENGEANCE RGB PRO 16GB – £68.90
Why go with RGB RAM? The better question is why not?
The CPU we are running on this build works best when paired with decent RAM. 16GB of Corsair Vengeance should be plenty for you to run multiple programs at the same time. The option is also there to expand with another couple of sticks in the future given the 4 RAM slots on the board.
M.2 drives are phenomenal. Not only are they lightning fast, but they are also much easier to install than both HDD’s and SSD’s. Another beauty of this thing is that 1TB should be plenty of room to store both your OS and your files. And if you do run out of space, you can always add an SSD down the road.
Corsair CX750F RGB Black 80 PLUS – £59.99
A fully-modular will make your life easier when dealing with cable management, as you only have to plug in the required cables, rather than have a tangled mess hanging from the rear of your PSU. Also, the black sleeves that cover the cables also look a damn sight better than the ketchup and mustard mess in cheaper PSU’s.
LANCOOL II MESH PERFORMANCE – £76.99
I have the non-mesh version of the Lian Li Lancool 2 case and my temps are super low. The mesh variant will allow for even cooler temps. This case is also a dream to build in, with plenty of room and clever panels that can be used to hide messy cables. The tempered glass on both sides also provides a classy finish that won’t break the bank.
Cooler Master MasterAir MA620P – £45.43
As we have some extra cash to spend here, we can afford to ditch the stock CPU cooler that comes with the Ryzen 5 3600 and look at custom air coolers. I have included two options; one more focused on performance and one for aesthetics. Both should provide adequate cooling for your system.
Total spent – £835.29
This leaves you with £164.71 left over from your £1000 budget. Whilst that may not be enough to upgrade to this lovely RTX 3060Ti GPU, it is enough to bag this 144hz AOC monitor, or purchase a couple more sticks of RAM.
Failing that, you could move the two Lian Li stock 120mm fans to the top of your case to function as a top exhaust, pick up these three 140mm Phantex LED fans and replace the front panel fans with them to give your rig even more visual appeal.
Whatever it is that you end up deciding on, just remember to have fun with it. I hope that someone out there found this product list helpful and if you have any other suggestions for parts to include in either build let us know below.
On behalf of BGCP, I would like to wish all readers of our site a very Happy New Year and wish all of you the very best for 2022.
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