Maximum PC|July 2020

When it’s not about gaming, just what can you get on a budget?

AT MAXIMUM PC we do perhaps lean a bit too heavily on the gaming angle. That’s no doubt in part because a large majority of the team here enjoy that pastime, and the industry advances quite aggressively because of it too. So we assume you lovely folks are fond of gaming, but as old pappa Storey used to say, “Never assume anything, else you’re an idiot.” He may have been a bit unorthodox, and lacked a smidge of accuracy with his clichés, but he was also right when he said it.

So this issue we’ve decided to set ourselves a challenge—strip everything down and get back to the basics of what makes a PC a PC. We’re not building a gaming rig, an expensive high-end dream machine, or a workhorse rendering station, but instead a work pc, an everyday PC: A system that performs well, looks good, is affordable, and can handle those daily tasks the majority of us spend most of our time doing.

There’s one caveat: We wanted to do this without compromising on quality or setting ourselves some arbitrary cost number to hit. It’s not about hitting a specific budget—although of course we have to advertise it like that—or hitting x frames in y benchmark. It’s about building a system that’s right to use on a daily basis. And integrated graphics have come such a long way, you could do a bit of casual gaming on the side anyway.

So how did we find it? Well, it’s been quite the ride, and surprising as to what you can get for a fairly minimal outlay. OK, we’re not including peripherals or a monitor here, and this is costed just to the base system itself. But for $535 we nabbed a quad-core, eight-thread processor, 16GB of high-spec DDR4, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, rated for 1800 MB/s sequential read and writes. How did we do it? Well let’s dive in.




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July 2020