Gaming PC build

IaHawk

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My son (11 years old) has asked for a gaming PC for his birthday and we are in the beginning stages of research and planning to build one. YouTube has been great and I’ve had him compile the list of parts he thinks we need and he’s done great with that. What I’ve come to realize is that there are basically 7 main components but 3,000,000 different options.
:banghead:


So, PCF gamers, what would you recommend or must haves to get me started? If I had to pick a budget, I’d say around $500-$600 for the computer itself, I know the peripherals will be another $200 more or so.

Requirements: He’s only interested in Fortnite right now but just want it to be a decent machine that will last a while and has upgrade capacity. Also, and most importantly...it will need to have “cool lights”!
:wow:


Research so far has included :
  • YouTube
  • r/buildapc and r/buildapcsales
  • pcpartpicker.com
Next steps I will spec a machine and post here but figured I’d get your input first.

Thanks in advance for feedback!
 
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tabletalker7

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I wouldn't do it. Not right now. Supply lines are still a hot mess, which means you will overpay for the parts you need. Graphics cards are currently selling for 4 times MSRP because they can't make enough. Getting processors has been hit or miss for months. Now is just not a good time to build.
 

Darson

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I went through this last year with my son - what we learned is that for gaming you get better value for money and spec from a Xbox-X than building an equivalent PC. Actually you can't build an equivalent PC without spending significantly more money.

And I would like to hear from people more knowledgeable than I about upgradeability for PCs. From what I've seen, upgrades are marginal at best and you have to replace everything to get a real boost (e.g. mother board, memory and processor).
 

raynmanas

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how old is your son turning? you can build something to play fortnite for dirt cheap, and worry about a good graphics card when the prices come back to earth.
 

tabletalker7

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And I would like to hear from people more knowledgeable than I about upgradeability for PCs. From what I've seen, upgrades are marginal at best and you have to replace everything to get a real boost (e.g. mother board, memory and processor).
On average I go 2 generations of consoles between complete rebuilds. I built when the PS2 came out. I upgraded the graphics card when the PS3 came out. I built from scratch (motherboard, processor, memory) when the PS4 came out, and now that the PS5 is out all I want to do is update the graphic card.

Also, any real big time console game will also be released on PC, while the PC game indie scene can't be matched by consoles.
 

Irish

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I went through this last year with my son - what we learned is that for gaming you get better value for money and spec from a Xbox-X than building an equivalent PC. Actually you can't build an equivalent PC without spending significantly more money.

I'll let some of our gamer folks confirm but I think ^^^this is the case. The boys & I built a PC just before the holidays, it's a great rig, not super premium but it performs better than their console systems, it ran around $1400 just for the PC.

I'll also echo what @tabletalker7 mentioned, finding parts like the GPU was rough, I got lucky and a fellow PCFer hooked me up.

I used a lot of tips/advice from this thread to help with the build: https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/pc-build-help.61646/
 

Darson

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Incidentally, my son is a huge fortnight player and he prefers playing it on the switch as he likes using the tilt function for aiming.
 

tabletalker7

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One other thing to keep in mind. PC builders built their PC's a decade ago because it was significantly cheaper to build a monster than to just buy one. That is not exactly the case anymore. Nowadays, gamers can go online to hundreds of places and buy a prebuilt computer for a very similar price as us builders can build it. We still build because it is a labor of love, not because it is cost effective.
 

Anthony Martino

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Yes, unfortunately right now prices are through the roof for some components (especially graphics cards) due to high demand and low supply. So you will overpay for that. Fortnite shouldn't be too taxing on his system though, and you can get a lot of computing power for much lower than say the way it was in the 90's (where you had to spend 2-3 grand to get a solid gaming system)

500-600 might be a little light but share with us what you've put together and I'd be happy to take a look at it and let you know if I'd recommend anything differently.
 

raynmanas

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One other thing to keep in mind. PC builders built their PC's a decade ago because it was significantly cheaper to build a monster than to just buy one. That is not exactly the case anymore. Nowadays, gamers can go online to hundreds of places and buy a prebuilt computer for a very similar price as us builders can build it. We still build because it is a labor of love, not because it is cost effective.

but prebuilts generally use inferior components even if they technically have the same specs. if you don't mind putting in the effort, you can always build a superior PC to what you can buy prebuilt at the same price point.
 

IaHawk

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Appreciate all the input so far. I knew prices were high, especially for Graphics cards but his birthday is in July so I have a few months we can wait. I’d rather stick with the PC over console as I think the experience of building one will be great for him and he can use it for school work, coding courses and he also has interest in doing twitch or YouTube videos.

I’ll put something together tonight and post here for feedback.
 

IaHawk

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Went through pcpartpicker last night and I just don’t see even coming close to $600 for this build right now. I think I’ll continue to research and hopefully prices and inventory improve over the next few months.
 

hex

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the issue you will face is buying a low end system to satisfy the games he wants now doesnt work out to your benefit in the long run, I just went through this past holiday season, my daughter wanted a gaming pc to play these specific games and she had a budget of 800, well we passed that and it ballooned to 2500, of course that is my doing. We also ran into parts issues, I ended up just buying a built system with a rtx 3070 and the monitor was another 500 cause whats the point of getting a great card with out a proper gsync monitor. Long story short she is now playing games that demand a lot more than she originally anticipated and glad I spent the money.
 

Colquhoun

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Yeah, that number will be tough to hit for gaming. My son bought a pre-built at BestBuy last year for Fortnite etc. And even on discount it was $1,100.
I do 3D rendering and the computers I need are basically gaming machines. The new 30 series video cards from NVidia are impossible to get but are the best bang for the buck (retail). I need a new machine but need to wait until this backlog of hardware clears up...may be a while.
 

hex

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Yeah, that number will be tough to hit for gaming. My son bought a pre-built at BestBuy last year for Fortnite etc. And even on discount it was $1,100.
I do 3D rendering and the computers I need are basically gaming machines. The new 30 series video cards from NVidia are impossible to get but are the best bang for the buck (retail). I need a new machine but need to wait until this backlog of hardware clears up...may be a while.
Get on the evga list, they will notify you when the card is available also offer an upgrade path. I haven’t been notified but my friend was and got himself a 3070, he is waiting on the 3080 like all of us.
 

Colquhoun

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Get on the evga list, they will notify you when the card is available also offer an upgrade path. I haven’t been notified but my friend was and got himself a 3070, he is waiting on the 3080 like all of us.
Thanks! I’m on the list but only signed up a few weeks ago. I think they’re still filling the November requests :(
 

raynmanas

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Went through pcpartpicker last night and I just don’t see even coming close to $600 for this build right now. I think I’ll continue to research and hopefully prices and inventory improve over the next few months.

Have you considered an AMD processor with built-in graphics, like the Ryzen 5 3400G? It is more than sufficient to run Fortnite (and even some fairly recent AAA games at 1080p), and you can always upgrade to a standalone graphics card at a later date.
 

tabletalker7

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Have you considered an AMD processor with built-in graphics, like the Ryzen 5 3400G? It is more than sufficient to run Fortnite (and even some fairly recent AAA games at 1080p), and you can always upgrade to a standalone graphics card at a later date.
If 1080p is all that is desired, you can still get some older AMD cards for a great price that give you outstanding 1080p performance. Hell I am still using a 8GB RX 480 and getting outstanding 1080p performance.
 

raynmanas

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If 1080p is all that is desired, you can still get some older AMD cards for a great price that give you outstanding 1080p performance. Hell I am still using a 8GB RX 480 and getting outstanding 1080p performance.

yes, a lot of older graphics card would be a good move, there are decent used deals to be had. similar to you, i am rocking a 6+ year old GTX 970 and it can still reasonably handle pretty much anything i throw at it in 1080p. looks like used 970s are going for $100ish on eBay.
 

Anthony Martino

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yes, a lot of older graphics card would be a good move, there are decent used deals to be had. similar to you, i am rocking a 6+ year old GTX 970 and it can still reasonably handle pretty much anything i throw at it in 1080p. looks like used 970s are going for $100ish on eBay.

Shit, I was gaming at 1080p just fine on a 2GB Radeon 7870 back in the day playing Battlefield 3. So yeah, you can definitely make do with some older tech out there in the $100-200 price range for the graphics card, even with inflated prices.
 

Darthhoodie

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@IaHawk Just some random thoughts:

I agree with most here that older tech will be fine for your needs, I have 3 gamming rigs and my oldest was built in 2013/2014. It has a gtx 780ti, i5 4690k overclocked to 4.4 ghz, 8gigs of ddr3 and i just did a test with fortnight and I ave. 62 fps on ultra @ 1080p. So you could consider buying all used parts, or an entire used system. You would be surprised at some of the deep discounts you can get on entire systems as opposed to just parts. I see entire systems between $300-$600 that would fit your needs. The issue is that you are taking a risk with used, so you need to balance that with the cost.

This is gonna sound crazy but the 10th gen i3 for just about $100 is a crazy good cpu for the price. I know what your thinking, i3 is trash for gamming. Yes, I know, the old i3's were trash. I almosted just dismissed the hype about this 10th gen i3 outright but I did some sniffing around and grabbed one on sale for under $100. My buddy wanted to build a work pc on a tight budget, no gamming. When I had it in my possession I was very surprised at how good it was for the price. Its has 4 cores with hyperthreading so 8 threads and turbos up to 4.3 ghz, 6mb L3 cache, onboard video, and it runs on the newer LGA 1200 socket so you could choose to upgrade to a more powerful cpu later. It is basically the same as the older gen i5. Look, its not a powerhouse and I would not recommend this for a hard core gamming system, but for your needs (young child's computer to play fortnight), the price(around $100), and availability it may be a viable option. You could build the system around this cpu for about $500 with some bells and whistles like modular psu, NVMe drive, case with some rgb lighting (you stated your son likes this) and then go to ebay for a used GTX 980 or something like it for maybe $150 bucks or even a lesser but still good gpu for around $100. This keeps you in your budget of $600. My simulator says you should ave. around 69 fps @1080p / Ultra settings on fortnight with this setup.
The big down side as I see it is that you would be on the intel platform and and not the AMD Ryzen platform for which I am a big fan of.

If you were willing to go to say around $700 you could go with a Ryzen 5 3600, this cpu will eat the i3 for lunch. You can build a system around this cpu for around $600 and still have all the goodies I mentioned above. Also, as long as you choose a mobo from the 500 line (B550, A520, ...) you will be able to upgrade to the newest Ryzen 5000 cpu's when and if they ever become available, they are out but never in stock. You would just need to buy a used gpu, same as above. This Ryzen system with a gtx 980 would be a formattable gamming rig for probably $700 to $750. My simulator says you should ave. around 83 fps @1080p / Ultra settings on fortnight with this setup.

If you were into spending $800 or more I would suggest to just wait for the new gen components to become available. A 5000 series Ryzen with a 3000 series GPU would be a crazy good combo if you could get your hands on either right now. The issue here is the cost of the 30xx gpu's even when they become available in numbers. Not sure what the 3060's will cost but the other cards will cost you as much as you are budgeting for the entire build. Also such cards put you in the 2k to 4k gamming arena so you will need a sick monitor as well. Probably need to spend $1500+ to get the full potential out of your components.

Good luck with your decision, would love to see what you come up with. Also, all the pricing I quote in this post is just from me fooling around on newegg for the new stuff and ebay for the used stuff, I am sure you can do better if you actually shopped around.
 

Darthhoodie

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As much as a hate to admit this because I am firmly entrenched as a PC guy, the new xbox has some extremely impressive stats. They are definitely taking a loss on the hardware, you could not build this machine for $500. For the $500 price point the best performance would be from an xbox, if console gamming is your thing.
1612441468120.png


https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2020/03/16/xbox-series-x-tech/
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/consoles/xbox-series-x

The issue is availability, the xbox series x is suffering from the same supply issues as other gamming components so getting one for msrp is difficult at the moment.

The other thing to consider is the true cost of the xbox over time. Assume a 5 year shelf life, you will need to spend an additional $60 per year for xbox live. This means that your $500 xbox is actually an $800 xbox over the 5 years its relevant. Still a good deal considering the level of performance and the hardware involved.
 
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Colquhoun

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As much as a hate to admit this because I am firmly entrenched as a PC guy, the new xbox has some extremely impressive stats. They are definitely taking a loss on the hardware, you could not build this machine for $500. For the $500 price point the best performance would be from an xbox, if console gamming is your thing.
View attachment 628739

https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2020/03/16/xbox-series-x-tech/
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/consoles/xbox-series-x

The issue is availability, the xbox series x is suffering from the same supply issues as other gamming components so getting one for msrp is difficult at the moment.

The other thing to consider is the true cost of the xbox over time. Assume a 5 year shelf life, you will need to spend an additional $60 per year for xbox live. This means that your $500 xbox is actually an $800 xbox over the 5 years its relevant. Still a good deal considering the level of performance and the hardware involved.
The issue with the Xbox is that you’re forced to use the controller (which is just fine for some). If you use a keyboard with the Xbox, you’ll be forced to play fortnite with only players also using that setup (sorry friends!).
Also, there are certain similar games like Valorant that are only available on pc.
 

Darthhoodie

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Ya I agree, I am not a fan of console gamming no matter what hardware is under the hood. I argue with friends about this all the time. Give me a keyboard and a mouse and I'm good. I find console gamming to be sloppy and I don't like the controller. Plus the games I like are usually PC only. Having said that I do have my NES and SAGA hooked up and running in my garage. Been playing earthworm Jim on the saga and Zelda on the NES. The EA Sports NHL 96 is still playable and fun but the older Madden football like 95/96 is unplayable to me. I wish I could find my copy of Nintendo Ice Hockey. I have all the old NES and Super NES games on the switch but its just not the same as blowing the dust out of the bottom of the cartage before you plug it in.
 

IaHawk

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Again, I appreciate all the info guys. Two things I’ve realized is I think what I want to build is going to be closer to 1k with peripherals and I’m going to be patient and wait for prices to come down.

This may be a curveball but what about a laptop? I’m guessing you lose quite a bit of performance for the price. Just a thought though.
 
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