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  • Game Master

Saw this article in The Verge...




NZXT’s new $700 prebuilt gaming PC is an affordable entry-level option
Comes with an i3 and a GTX 1650 - By Nick Statt

"For those interested in dipping their toes into the waters of PC gaming, but aren’t quite ready to take the full plunge, NZXT has a pretty solid offer as part of its new update to its Starter series of prebuilt machines first introduced last year. For $699, you can buy a solidly capable entry-level gaming PC with one of NZXT’s pretty sleek-looking tower cases, in either white or black.

For that money, you’re getting a Intel Core i3 processor and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, which the company says is good enough to get you a stable 60 frames per second at 1080p on most PC games a fresh PC player might want to try, like Fortnite, League of Legends, or Valorant. (As someone who still uses an Intel i5 / GTX 970 combo, I can attest to how far even a half-decade old Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU can still take you.)"


Later in the article, the weak point of the Core i3 is addressed, and the relatively low RAM compared to 16 or 32GB being the standard in gaming systems around the $999 price point, but both are quibbles if you make your own system (Got an extra $400 a year later after buying it?  Go upgrade them yourself.)


I'm curious what builds you all can come up with that you'd consider for an entry level player to get into City of Heroes.

Some ground rules:


1) No laptops.  This is PC Builders, a gaming laptop comes with almost everything it is ever going to have.  What's the fun in that?


2) No pre-built.  Same as the above consideration, except: if it's a pre-made solution under $699, it's no different than price-hunting at Amazon.  This isn't "The Price is Right", the cheapest possible alternative isn't always the winner (and often, a 'gaming system' dramatically lower  than $600 bucks means a lot of compromise to realize that savings).

3) Price cannot exceed $700.  If it does, it's not really a budget-friendly machine anymore.  Try to get the best you can under that price point.

4) The resulting system should be able to multibox City of Heroes well, not just play it.  Ultra Mode isn't able to be 100% realized with all settings at maximum without actually trying the parts yourself, so that's not a goalpost here.  Frame load and performance is the focus: being able to run two sessions at 60fps without needing /maxinactivefps switches or dialing down your Options settings to Minimum or Performance settings is enough.

5) The items must be on the market at the time you made your post.  If something becomes discontinued or out of stock later after you contribute a build, don't worry about it too much.  But builds centered around items not sold in retail anymore on only through refurb or closeout (My secret weapon: a NIB NVidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti!) are less helpful.  Entries should be something a reader could build today.


If you're really passionate about an answer, break one rule if you absolutely must... except #3.  ("I can beat all your answers!  My build has a Core i9-9990XE--" Okay you can stop there.)  This will be an ongoing challenge, and a friendly one.  I'll contribute some build ideas myself.  So fire up Newegg (or your favorite retail website for parts shopping), and see what you can come up with!

Edited by GM Tahquitz

Homecoming: City of Heroes -- Want to play? Start here. - Enjoy helping others? Join us as a GM.


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  • Screws, thermal paste, and other consumables are already included
  • Room temperature is controlled (68F~76F)
  • Monitor(s) are separate from the build
  • Motherboard/RAM/CPU clearances are fine
  • Compatibility has been tested (feel free to tell me something's not actually compatible >.<)
  • Reviews were partially ignored
  • Software not included in builds (OS, etc)

Build Concepts:

  • New, everything must be new for future proofing
  • Intel platform (because I've not research in ages and it's easier for me to understand)
  • Known brands are a must (it's easy to save money and cry later)
  • Assume a gaming focus, but leave enough room for general use
  • Include performance breathing room on core components when under load
  • Dual HDMI displays
  • Stick to the "No less than a Quad Core" personal motto
  • Utilize the new M.2 tech
  • Room to grow
  • Stay under @GM Tahquitz's $700 mark (pre-tax)  😛

General Comments:

Originally, I wanted to start with an i5 for performance, but there was no way I was going to fit one And have a new chipset in this price range. I intentionally kept the price in the lower 30% when looking, but that was skewed by the Known Brand clause. I could have gotten away with 8Gb of RAM, but TBH I think 16Gb is best for a gaming focused device. That and the price difference wasn't worth it. I decided early on to choose a motherboard with the new M.2s I've been reading about and was shocked when that Didn't break the bank on either board or storage. Mind you, IDK what the actual performance of these is, so there may have been a sacrifice, but I doubt it'd be any less than a standard SATA3 SSD. I didn't do any power calculations, so I switched from a 500W to a 750W just in case (GPU says 300+). I wanted to max out the Fan capacity, but I'm minus one with the multi-pack. I wasn't sure if I should have a higher inlet air or exhaust, but figured the extra exhaust was worth it.


Build:  $679.72

Edited by WanderingAries

OG Server: Pinnacle  <||>  Current Primary Server: Torchbearer  ||  Also found on the others if desired  <||> Generally Inactive

Installing CoX:  Windows  ||  MacOS  ||  MacOS for M1  <||>  Migrating Data from an Older Installation

Clubs: Mid's Hero Designer  ||  PC Builders  ||  HC Wiki  ||  Jerk Hackers

Old Forums  <||>  Titan Network  <||>  Heroica! (by @Shenanigunner)


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  • 2 weeks later
  • Game Master

Got some time to sit down and give it a go...


Ryzen 3 3100 - 3.6Ghz (Only Ryzen 3 in stock at the moment on NewEgg) - $114.99
ASUS PRIME B450M-A/CSM AM4 SATA 6GB USB 3.1 mATX Motherboard - $79.99

CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB Dual Channel Kit DDR4 3200 Desktop Memory - $66.99

ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 570 8GB PCI Ex. 3.0 HDCP Graphics Card - $159.99

CORSAIR Carbide 175R RGB Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX Case - Black - $59.99

EVGA 550 B5 Fully Modular PSU 150mm BRONZE 80 Plus Rated, 5 yr warr. - $79.99

Crucial P1 500GB 3D NAND NVMe PCI-E Internal SSD M.2 2280 Module - $59.99

Cooler Master Captive-Block CPU Liquid Cooler, FEP Tubing 120mm Fan - $54.99

Build Total:  $676.92.  Went with AMD over Intel/NVidia, a little bit larger SSD, and a water cooler for the CPU.

@WanderingAries to go a step further and compare the two major points against each other, UserBenchmarks has the Radeon RX 570 (apart from specific manufacturer's card, sticking to the general card family across OEMs) at a slight edge over the 1650.  Whether it's noticeable in COH probably is minute.  The Core-i3 10100 is a touch better than the Ryzen 3 in a couple of areas, but the price difference is a shrug.  ($114 vs. $120... apart from different Mobo selection, not a huge deal.)

Edited by GM Tahquitz

Homecoming: City of Heroes -- Want to play? Start here. - Enjoy helping others? Join us as a GM.


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