Best Value PC Upgrades 2016
Whatever your budget, building a bespoke, custom PC (and more importantly…keeping it refreshed on a regular basis) can be a prohibitively expensive hobby, especially for beginners.
With prices in general on the rise recently (insert your own rant regarding Brexit here), what options are available to upgrade your rig…whilst still maximising value for money? Let’s find out!
Boost boot times with a Solid State Drive (SSD)
Whatever the level of specification of your machine, if you are still reliant upon spinning mechanical disks for your boot drive, you are missing out massively on the sheer speed increase that is delivered by installing an SSD over an HDD.
SSD’s come in a wide variety of sizes & speeds, and a roundup of the best on offer can be found here Best SSD’s Under £100 in 2016. Even if you cannot afford to move all of your data onto SSD drives, investing in a 120GB SSD will at least allow you to load your operating system onto it, and still leave room for a few of your favourite games, documents & images to be available in the blink of an eye.
For sheer value for money, the Toshiba A100 120GB variant can be had for less than £40 on Amazon right now. Is it the best SSD available? No! Will it destroy the performance of your existing mechanical HDD, and make you wonder why you waited this long to upgrade??? Hell yes!
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2gHSZWa
Invest in Full HD 1080p
Next up, a pretty obvious one…but one that will make any computer experience more enjoyable…a 1080p monitor!
If you are making do with an old screen (or even using a smaller sized TV), it has never been more affordable to get a decent monitor for a relatively small outlay. The web is awash of 144hz refresh rates and 4k resolution, but for the vast majority of people, 1080p at 60 frames per second is perfectly adequate.
Therefore, if you don’t have a 1080p monitor, do your eyes a favour and invest in one! The old adage of buy the best that you can afford rings true here, but for little more than £80, you can enjoy 22 inches of screen real estate, with DVI input, from a well-respected brand such as AOC.
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2gyXD89
Don’t Scrimp on Your Case
When building a PC on a budget, a bargain basement case can be very appealing…after all, it’s only a plastic box that holds all your components, right???
Wrong! Not only is it THE most dominating aspect of your build, but choosing the wrong case can cause you a multitude of woes. Poor build quality, using sub-standard materials will give a system that contains even the most expensive parts list, a cheap tacky feel. Fitting future upgrades can be a pain if it doesn’t offer a certain amount of flexibility, and a clean & tidy build with nice cable management will most likely be out of reach.
That’s not to say that you have to spend hundreds of pounds, however. The Phanteks P400 is a great case and can be had for less than £60 at OcUK HERE, whilst the same stockist will gladly sell you the awesome NZXT S340 for just £66.95.
Light Up Your Life
Ok, bear with me here…so this isn’t strictly an upgrade to your actual PC per se, but it will make an impact to your overall setup.
RGB LED lighting kits aren’t new, but the prices are currently rock bottom. I have personally had a number of different kits in my hands, and to be perfectly honest, for the most part, all are of the exact same build quality & design…no doubt mass produced in the same factories.
For a little over £10 on Amazon, you can expect to receive a kit consisting of a power supply, infrared remote & receiver, and around 5 metres of leds. My advice would be to go for the 5050 variant of LED’s, and unless you really need them to be waterproof, opt for the non-waterproof ones. The only difference between the 2 is that the waterproof ones have a clear silicone domed beading covering the leds. If you wish to re-link a previously cut length of lights in the future, scraping off that waterproof covering can be a real pain!
One of these extremely cheap kits will give even the most modest setup, the Pro Gamer treatment!
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2g0cxAV
And last, but by no means least…
…your Power Supply Unit! It’s the heartbeat of your pride & joy, and to be honest, if you go cheap in this key department, you will at some point regret it!
Forgo extra wattage you don’t need, in exchange for an 80 plus bronze rating as an absolute minimum. At the time of writing, the EVGA 600B is less than £55 at Amazon.
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2giWjDs
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and whatever your level of experience in custom PC building, you will no doubt have your own ideas on what qualifies as good value or not. Hopefully if nothing else, the above has given you some food for thought.
Please feel free to drop your own suggestions for this list down in the comments section below.