Best Gaming Desktop Under 500 – I read your review of the specs of PC gaming where you recommended the HP Omen 880-100na, and wondered if you still felt it was checking all the boxes for my gaming child? Sylvia Is the best gaming PC that I can buy for around £ 500? Jean
I will eventually get a game console for my children, but I must admit that I am a little confused whether I should get a PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One, Xbox One S or Xbox One X? My children especially want to play new games, and watch TV shows through streaming. Do you have a suggestion? Patrick
Best Gaming Desktop Under 500
Only three months since I answered the question I read Sylvia – What is the best PC game at a price of under £ 1,000? – but some readers are looking for cheaper options ahead of Christmas.
To answer the simplest question first, yes, I will still use the HP Omen 880-100na with the current price of £ 899, although I will also add £ 49 for pickup and return services for three years. This is the cheapest model that HP sells and bargains compared to 880-148na at a price of £ 1,300.
The HP Omen 880-100na has solid specifications: Intel 6 core Core i5-8400 with 8GB of memory, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, 128GB SSD, and 1TB hard drive. To save money, you have to reduce one or more specifications, which means the performance will be hit.
To get a price below £ 500, you might have to go down to the Core i3-8100 processor, lower the graphics card version, and release the SSD. Only, do not reduce the memory to 4GB.
One compromise is not yet available to date: AMD Ryzen “Raven Ridge” processor which includes Radeon Vega graphics. This allows AMD to claim that you don’t need a separate graphics card. With the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 card that sells for around £ 200, it makes a significant difference to the price of a limited-budget gaming PC.
This does not mean that the Ryzen / Vega chip will perform as well as GeForce 1060. This means you will be able to play decent games on a budget while you save for a good graphics card, if you need it. That’s a great thing about desktop PCs: You can add more memory, bigger drives and faster graphics cards for years after you buy it.
Options generally come to Ryzen 3 2200G with Vega 8 graphics or Ryzen 5 2400G which are more expensive with Vega 11 graphics. Although both are quad-core processors, Ryzen 5 supports twice as many threads, so it must have better performance. However, side-by-side comparisons on YouTube show there is no big difference, and for budget PC games, the 2200G Ryzen 3 looks worth money that is second to none.
The opportunity to sell cheap Ryzen / Vega game PCs is immediately obvious to small UK PC manufacturers, and there may be dozens of models available. UK suppliers include Chillblast, Cyberpower, Falcon, Fierce, Gladiator, Mesh, Novatech, Overclockers, PC Specialists, Punch, Scanning Technology, Stormforce, Utopia, and Zoostorm. I haven’t checked all of their websites, but I hope most of them offer at least some models. The problem is that I have no way of knowing which is the best, or even if there is the best.
All of these companies install the same type of PC from the same section, and they often make it to order, so you can vary the specifications to your liking. It took a long time to examine all the options and compare the possibility of build on the Partpicker PC, which real PC gamers will do. The best motherboards are really more expensive.
One thing that must be considered is not all basic prices including the operating system. “Compatible with Windows 10” might mean that it’s not provided. I consider them unable to get the same volume discounts as Lenovo, Dell and HP, which sell tens of millions of PCs every year.
Chillblast Fusion Imp will do its work for £ 499.99. It has a 2200G Ryzen 3 with 8GB of memory and a 1TB Seagate FireCuda – a type of hybrid hard drive that includes a small SSD.
The Fierce PC version, Ironwing Savage, has the same specifications for £ 439.95, so you can add a 240GB SSD for £ 29.95, making the final price of £ 469.90. (Remember to make the SSD drive boot.)
The alternative to Scan – by Royal Appointment – includes a 240GB SSD for £ 499.98, and comes in a wiser case.
You must be able to buy the same type of PC from a well-known retailer, and I assume more will be available in the future. The current example is the Onyx Ryzen 3 2200G Stormforce, which costs £ 469.99 in Argos. It has 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive, but there is no SSD.
Argos also has the same engine as the Ryzen 5 2400G for £ 519.99.
The ebuyer.com web-based retailer has several offers. The Paladin Gaming Cyberpower has the usual Ryzen 3 specification for £ 399.99 and there is a Ryzen 5 version for £ 449.98. He also has a Ryzen 3 PC Specialist based on Vanquish Lazeron with a 2TB hard drive for £ 449.99. None of these three have an SSD, but you can add one and still under the budget.
Remember that I haven’t seen or tested one of these machines. Your final purchase decision must be based on your own research.
The list of console games is fortunately short, and the final choice doesn’t really matter, unless your children need certain games or want to play with friends online. While some games can be played online on various console brands, many can’t, so it’s often best to match the brands used by your children’s friends.
For most of this century, this was a two-horse race between Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation, apart from some strange entries from Nintendo including the recent Switch, which proved popular.
If money isn’t a problem, the best hardware is the Xbox One X (£ 449.99), followed by the cheaper PS4 Pro (£ 349), but you need a 4K TV to get the best of both. For most buyers, the best purchases are the Xbox One S (£ 249.99) and the PS4 Slim (£ 259). The four have 8GB of memory and a special AMD 8-core processor, although the graphics and storage are somewhat different. They can all run applications for streaming, including BBC iPlayer, something the Nintendo Switch can’t.
These are recommended prices but there are many inexpensive bundles with various games.
One thing that divides the two ranges is access to exclusive games. Xbox offers long-running franchises such as Halo, Gears of War and Forza Motorsport, plus this year’s Sea of Thieves. PlayStation has God of War, Gran Turismo, The Last Guardian, Street Fighter 5 and classics, Spider-Man this year. You can say that Sony has crawled it exclusively because this year Microsoft bought seven other game studios.
One difference is that “exclusive” Xbox often appears on PCs too. This means (a) you have to buy an Xbox because you can play several of the same games on your PC, or (b) you have to buy a PlayStation because it has games that you cannot play on a PC.
If the main criterion is that your children “want to play new games”, that leads to PS4. The volume is almost the same but the PlayStation exclusive swings all other things together.
However, remember that we are approaching the end of the current console cycle and we can expect the Xbox Two and PS5 – or whatever they are called – by 2020. My guess is that both will be AMD based and compatible with the game at the moment, but at this time , used consoles may be the most cost-effective option.
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