PC


I’m Now Part of the PC Master Race

27th August 2021

I mentioned recently that I decided to purchase a PC, but I didn’t go into much detail. But now I’ve had it for over two weeks, I thought I’d share my reasons for purchasing one, what components I went for, and also my experiences with it.

Why Get a PC?

Okay, so as for why I decided to own a PC, after years of only owning Macs. That can be put down a few reasons, each with different levels of importance.

  • Gain access to a wider market of games.
  • Being able to play games, such as World of Warcraft, at their maximum graphics capabilities.
  • Not being tied to Apple’s choices (not that they’re objectively bad) over hardware.
  • To own a computer that I could maintain and upgrade for a long period of time.
  • Because I’m interested in technology, and don’t want to be stuck to a single manufacturer.
  • I’ve always wanted to build my own PC.

So, six reasons. Although I’m sure that they really fall into three main ideas: to play games, to have flexibility and control over my computer, and to fuel my interest in technology.

These ideas have been building up in my head for quite some time now.

And after watching endless amounts of videos reviewing various PC components, seeing how certain builds could be created with different budgets, and exploring the PC ecosystem again, I decided that I was going to build my own computer.

What Type of PC Did I Build?

Just before I share the exact specifications of my new computer, I’ll explain my (self-made) constraints, and also my minimum expectations.

The minimum I was going to accept in a new PC, was that I needed to be able to play World of Warcraft at maximum graphics and at ease, ability to expand memory and storage capacity in the future, and to also have the option to upgrade other components such as the graphics card. I also ideally wanted a USB-C port, since a lot of my devices now use that connector.

I set myself a budget of roughly £1000, since that was my, expectation after researching builds that matched my expectations, and I got searching!

The PC

Here’s exactly what I ended up going with for my PC:

  • Case: NZXT H510 Black/Red Mid Tower (Has USB-C port)
  • Motherboard: MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
  • Memory: 2 x 8GB Corsair DDR4 Vengeance (3200)
  • Storage: 1TB Crucial P5 M.2
  • Graphics: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
  • Network Card: TP-LINK Archer T4E AC1200
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM650x Full Modular

In the end, I stretched to about £1100, but I still think it’s a pretty reasonable price for the components.

And while I won’t get into every reason why I went with each component over another. Especially when I’m fully aware that none of my component choices are the best I could have got, or in some cases the most trendy. But I’ll share a few reasons behind my choices:

  • I went with AMD because I’ve heard better reviews about them, Intel seem to be very slow, and also that’s what I gathered the most information on. (Since most people seem to be switching to AMD)
  • The memory was a tough one, I instinctively wanted 32 GB, but no one was recommending that it was necessary for gaming. So I went with 2 8GB sticks, as my motherboard has 4 slots so I can upgrade if needed in the future.
  • Separate network card because that was cheaper than getting the upgraded motherboard with built-in WiFi.
  • 1TB M.2 drive simply because of the price, £68.99.
  • No RGB lights (except from the one in the motherboard) because it’s not important for a budgeted build.

How It’s Been

In short, the PC is great. It’s met every expectation of mine and more.

While I haven’t had any experience where I’ve wanted to switch my computing away from a Mac or PC for anything except gaming, I definitely believe it was a good choice.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft (at maximum graphics) a lot recently, and I’ve never seen the CPU or GPU struggle at all (They usually sit between 20 and 25% when playing a game). I also tried out Final Fantasy XIV, Minecraft, and a few other games, and they were all brilliant.

Maybe this is expected behaviour for other PC owners, but for the years I’ve owned a Mac, I’ve never experience great game performance. Sure, I’ve been able to play World of Warcraft, but only ever at 50% graphics capability, with the fans going crazy, and not exactly the best fps.

Another odd (again, probably only to me) experience I had is the time it took to install Windows 10. Before putting everything together, I had put a copy of the Windows 10 installation media onto a USB stick. My expectations were that it would be a slow process, probably taking around an hour, especially as I was using an old USB stick, connected to a port on the case instead of directly on the motherboard. It honestly installed in under two minutes. I had no idea that this process had become so fast. Maybe some of this work was actually happening while I was configuring the installation, but it still felt so quick.

Overall, this has been a surprisingly great experience. I still don’t think Windows 10 is the best OS ever, maybe Windows 11 will fix that, but I’m never really in the OS for this to cause me any issues.

I will no doubt upgrade various components down the line, seeing that was one of my ideals for this computer, but I imagine the next upgrades I make will probably be to my peripherals. The mouse I use for my Macs and iPad is an MX Master, and I’ve currently got all three Bluetooth devices used up, so at the moment I’m using an old wired mouse with the PC. And for the keyboard it’s pretty similar, I have a Keychron K2 keyboard which I use with my Mac and iPad, so I had to purchase a relatively cheap keyboard for the PC. I imagine that these, along with possible speaker upgrades will be where I look to upgrade next.

One more thing that I assume will cause some thinking over the next few months is how I balance the use of my various computers. I have a Mac, PC, and iPad, and I use them all. But it will be interesting to see if anything changes.