We love it when new manufacturers start to make a breakthrough in the world of PC building, especially the time before the manufacurer realises their own quality and hike the prices up. You can get some pretty decent items these days, and not break the bank. Which is what a manufacturer called Abkoncore has done.
We’ve already seen a case of theirs, the Helios 300 Sync, and they’ve reached out again to show off their new mid-sized tower case, the H600X. They’ve also given us a chance to use their fully-modular Tenergy power supply coming in at 700 watt rated at 80 Plus Bronze. And finally, we’ve got their Cool Storm T606B Hurricane Dual processor cooler.
So for this video, we wanted to incorporate the Abkoncore lineup into a new PC build, and we’ve been pretty concious of budget and usability at the time of writing, as we all know that the COVID-19 virus is at large, and people are being a lot more careful with the money they’re spending at the moment, so everything that’s going into this new PC build, should suit budget builders down to a tee, and also be suitable for a bit of gaming too.
So, the products we went with today are of course the Abkoncore items we’ve jut mentioned, as well as a Asus Prime Z370-A II motherboard motherboard which will support 8th Generation Intel Core Processors, of which we’ve chosen a i7-8700 clocked at 3.2GHz with a turbo boost speed of 4.2GHz. It’s got six cores and 12 threads and is suitable towards high end gaming. Please note as well, that we picked this processor up on eBay for £206, which is why it didn’t come with its original box. If you’re after one brand new, then a quick Google Shopping search threw back results for around £327.
The motherboard does also supports overclocking, though in this case, we did choose a locked processor, mainly for the decent price, but if you do go for a K SKU version, then overclocking is available. There are also four DIMM slots, of which we used two, but there’s room to upgrade in the future if need be. We’ve gone with a 16GB Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RGB 16GB 3600MHz memory kit, again, mainly for the price to performance, and being honest here – because it looks so pretty and its compatilble with so many RGB systems, including Asus Aura, which is good for us as our motherboard is an Asus product and sports some nice RGB down the side. Note, you do need to install an app for the motherboard, as well as Thermaltake’s software for the RAM sticks.
And to make sure a few games ping along nicely, it is topped off with a Gigabyte 1070 G1 Gaming which is integrated with 8GB GDDR5 256bit memory, and again, customisable RGB colour schemes on its WINDFORCE 3X cooler. We paid £185 for the card second hand on eBay, but if you’re against that, they can still be found for around £300 on Amazon right now with a quick search.
For storage, we’ve gone with a single 1TB of NVME M.2 drive, though the motherboard can support up to three M.2 drives if you need to upgrade in the future. There’s also a host of SATA inputs too if you’re wanting to go the more traditional external HDD or SSD route later down the line.
This is at best a middle of the road system, making it something the majority of gamers could end up with
As all gamers know, you could spend thousands on an absolutely killer system. But in truth, not everyone has the bank balance for huge powerful rigs, and sometimes, overkill can be pointless if you want something to enter the PC gaming world – and this PC we’ve put together is the sort of thing you can actually buy without damaging your overdraft. To let you know, we’ve spent a total of £896 on this machine. Of course, PC part prices can fluxuate so regularly, so take this as a guide price, rather than something we can 100% set in stone. Also be aware, that most of these items, except the parts that Abkoncore supplied, were purchased second hand through eBay, so we made a little bit of a saving there too.
And of course, once we finish building we’ll be running the PC through a few benchmarks, to really test the performance of our build we’ve put together, to give you an indication of what to expect from a sub-£900 PC build. So without further a due, let’s crack on with getting this PC put together.
Now it’s all together, just what can you get for just a smidge under £900 these days. The answer is something that is perfectly ok for pretty much any kind of 1080p gaming that you would want to do.
We took a look at a batch of games that all had built-in benchmarks, to keep things fairer, to see what sort of frames-per-second they all achieved at 1080p, and using their own High Preset settings. And, spoiler alert, nothing we tried was disappointing.
Heaven at Medium settings – because it kept defaulting back to medium for some reason – and at 1080p with 2x Anti-Aliasing, as well as some extra graphical settings turned on like ambient occlusion, volumetric shadows and refraction switched on had an average FPS of 197.5 and a score of 4976. The minimum rate touched 36.8 momentarily but the maximum launched to 361.5.
Prime95, with an outside temp of 12C on the PC under a desk in a warm room, started at 30C and peaked at 73C after a 10 minute run with the standard default mixed test. PCMark 10 returned an overall score of 6639. In 3DMark, we were recommended to run the Time Spy benchmark and we were left with a score of 6301.
One interesting point was Grand Theft Auto V set itself at an Ultra graphics preset, but to keep our testing fair, we backed that down to the High preset to make comparisons with the other games we tested. It produced a huge range of FPS with Pass One coming in dead on 60FPS, but Pass Five went up to 169 frames-per-second which was amazing.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is known to be pretty demanding, and even with a beasty gaming computer, running this game at full capacity can have issues. Nonetheless we decided to try running Red Dead Redemption 2 on our new build, and were happy with the results we got. We first ran a benchmark using the settings the game chose for us as default which included a 1080p resolution, the quality preset level as balanced and the advanced settings turned off, and we got an average frames-per-second of 64 when benchmarked. The game was totally playable. So we pushed it some more. Our second benchmark had the same resolution and same quality preset level but this time we turned all the settings to high, and turned on the advanced graphics settings using the Vulcan API and got an average frames-per-second of 35. Again, it’s playable, but for such a drastic drop in frames, I don’t think you’d notice a huge difference between the two different graphics settings if you’re sprinting around St. Denis or in the middle of a gunfight.
Forza Horizon 4 on launch stuck us at an Ultra preset at a 1080p resolution, so I left it at that, just to see if it could handle a decent framrate on this build. Looking at GPU rendering scores, it achieved 88 frames-per-second, but the CPU Simulation scored a whopping 245 and the CPU Render score came in at 163 FPS.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider, my favourite in the new line-up of Tomb Raider games so far surprisingly had an average of 77FPS, which I thought was pretty respectible seeing as there was so much hype surrounding it when it first launched due to its detailed nature. It still looked excellent, and detail, especially in the second half of the game when you reach Paititi. And moving on to Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which again can get very detailed sometimes, especially when you’re in the cities came in at 102 average FPS on the benchmark.
And finally for this batch, I thought I’d include my Dad’s favourite game Far Cry: New Dawn, which he would call “a magnificent title”, knocked out 103 frames-per-second. Sure it’s not the most demanding game in the world, but it’s certainly considered a modern day title.
What was especially nice was the fact that we had the chance to run some virtual reality games like Serious Sam: The Third Encounter, Half Life: Alyx and Boneworks on a Valve Index and all managed to become as immersive as you like and quite surprisingly, ran super smooth. The 1070 we were using stated on the box that it’s capable of VR, but like with anything PC related, you can’t always trust what is stated, and I was under the assumption that VR needed a proper beefy graphics card to hold up. Oh how I was wrong.
A stuttering screen and games affected by low FPS on modern hardware these days is a rare thing and usually reveals that something else running in the background is playing havoc with your games, or there is something else going on with your PC that causes some kind of bottlenecking of your hardware. You can build cheaper gaming PCs of course, like we’ve seen from fellow YouTubers who build some really crazy priced systems, but as we have said before, you pretty much get what you pay for in this industry.
It’s fair to say that you should just splash out on the important things like the CPU, graphics card and at least 16GB of decent RAM, and you’ll be away, managing decent frame rates on modern games at a decent resolution. With our build in particular, it would have been nice to go for a top spec GTX 1080TI or maybe venture into the RTX series with a 2070 Super, but unfortunately our budget didn’t stretch that far, and to be quite honest with you, I’m okay with that. I was still able to manage modern titles at respectible frame rates and resolutions. 1440p would’ve be nice, but it’s not essential to get you in the fray. And if you’re a competitive player, or wanting to get into that type of gaming, chances are you’re not playing games with graphics turned up to the max anyway.
Another area to consider is your motherboard. You don’t always need the latest motherboard, or top-spec, as you tend to find with the higher priced motherboards that there are a myriad of settings to dig in to, but if you’re wanting to begin to overclock your sytsem, you will need a compatible board and also, a compatible processor. But, as we have demonstrated here, you don’t need it. We have a locked CPU, and okay our board is ready for overclocking, but the price was decent at the time of purchase, which is why we snapped it up.
So what do you think of our sub-£900 build? Is it someting you could see yourself putting together? Or if you know your hardware, what would you have gone for instead to get the most bang for your buck? Let us know in the comments below.