Can You Build A £450 Gaming PC To Match The PS5 & XBOX Series X? Is It A 2020 Console Killer?

The PS5 and Xbox Series X aren’t far off and as is tradition when new […]

The PS5 and Xbox Series X aren’t far off and as is tradition when new consoles launch  there’s a spate of people trying to prove that you can build a gaming PC for less than one of the new consoles that’ll blow the new consoles into the weeds.

And normally you can, even when the PS4 launched it wasn’t that powerful compared to PC Tech available at the time, but this times different, the PS5 and Xbox Series X are seriously impressive pieces of kit, boasting Zen 2 CPU cores, serious GPU power and fast storage solutions.

So we know that you can’t build a PC right now that can match the performance of the PS5 or Xbox Series X for the same price, so no “console killers” at this stage but what we can do is build a PC that provides a next gen ready platform.

And the video above details the PC I built for this project, I’ll run through some more benchmarks later in the video but as a teaser this PC can handle all modern games at decent frame rates and e-sports titles at high frame rates. But importantly it provides us with all the upgrade options needed to keep it relevant as the next generation progresses.

With regards budget, I’ve set this at £450 or put another way the same price as a new PS5. So without further ado, let’s run through the components I used to build this future proof gaming PC.

The Case

For this build I’ve opted for a Deepcool Matrexx 30 case, it’s my first time using one of these cases and I have to admit that I’m quite impressed. It’s not as sturdy or as well ventilated as more expensive cases but I only paid £25 for this case delivered from scan in the UK.

And incredibly, for only £25 this micro ATX case features a full tempered glass side panel, the first one I’ve seen at this price point! This really makes this case look far more expensive than it actually is and it looks great sitting on my desk.

But there’s one big problem with this case.. and that’s the position of the 3.5” drive cage, it only allows fitment of graphics cards up to 250mm in length so we’re going to need to be careful picking a graphics card for this project.

However, it’s worth noting that the drive cage is held in with rivets and it should be possible to drill them out and remove the drive cage.

And even if did decide to remove the drive cage there’s a mount for a 2.5” drive behind the side panel and you could also get an adapter and put a 3.5” drive in the 5.25” drive bay. So provided your motherboards got an M2 slot you could possibly still use at least three drives without needing the drive cage.

Ok, on that note, let’s move onto the motherboard..

The Motherboard

After shopping around I went for an AsRock B450M Pro4, this cost me £65 from Amazon and some of you are probably thinking that I should’ve gone for a cheaper A320 motherboard as these can be picked up for just over £40.

But remember, the objective of this build is to put together a PC that provides the sort of upgrade options we’ll need to compete with the PS5 and Xbox Series X as the next generation progresses and this motherboard is the cheapest one I could find that gives everything we need to do that.

One big feature of the next gen consoles is much faster NVME storage and this motherboard not only a has PCI express Gen 3 x4 slot, but it’s also got an additional M2 Sata slot so we can mount two M2 drives directly on the motherboard itself.

It’s also got other nice features like 4 dimm slots which can be really useful when adding more ram at a later date. It’s got a USB type C port on the back, it supports DDR4 ram right up to 3200mhz and has a good quality 9 phase power design but perhaps most importantly AMD has confirmed that B450 motherboards will support the latest Zen 3 CPU’s when they launch which means this board can run any first, second, third or fourth generation Ryzen CPU’s

So sure, an A320 motherboard would have been cheaper but for the extra £25 we’re getting a lot of extra features plus it’s a nuisance changing motherboards at a later date. I’d rather swap out to a more powerful graphics card at a later date than mess about swapping motherboards.

CPU

Next up lets take a look at the CPU, I’ve budgeted for a Ryzen 2600 CPU, this is a 6 core, 12 thread CPU. However, the eagle eyed among you will have spotted that the chip in this video is actually a Ryzen 1600, that’s because it’s the later Ryzen 1600 AF variant which is essentially the same as a Ryzen 2600, I’ve had this chip a while and you could pick them up new for less than £100 a few months ago.

However, they don’t seem to be available anymore and the 1600 AF variants sell for as much as a 2600 on the used market so to keep things simple I’ve allocated a £107 budget for the 2600 CPU as this is what they cost on CEX.

I also looked at the Ryzen 3300X, it’s a great processor and you can currently buy them new for £120 from places like Amazon. It’s a great gaming processor but we’d be sacrificing two cores and 4 threads and whilst that may not be a big deal at the moment, my suspicion is that these extra cores and threads could prove useful once the next generation of consoles arrive.

Now as always with CEX it’s a bit of a lottery whether you’ll receive the correct heatsink and fan with your CPU, I’ve had CPU’s arrive from CEX in a mint original box complete with original fan, I’ve also had CPU’s arrive without a fan or box and delivered in a jiffy bag!

Worst case scenario, if you don’t receive a heatsink, you can pickup something like a Wraith Spire on eBay for about £10

RAM

Ok so let’s move onto RAM.

This is another area that I debated for some time, as demonstrated by our recent super budget £164 PC build you can still just about get by with 8gb’s of ram but I don’t think that’s going to be the case for long once the new consoles land, the PS5 has 16gb’s of ram and game developers will start using this as a base level when developing their new games.

So for this reason I’ve opted for 16gb of 3200mhz Corsair Vengeance DDR4, and because we’re using a B450 motherboard we can dial in the XMP profile and run this ram at the full 3200mhz.

If you’re on a really tight budget you could order an 8gb kit now and because the motherboard we’re using has 4 dimm slots you can easily add another two sticks at a later date, but if you can afford it, go with the 16gb kit.

Storage

Next.. let’s look at the storage we’re going to be using to get this system up and running.

As mentioned earlier in the above video, fast storage is going to be important longer term, games will most likely be written to take advantage of faster storage.. but at this stage our budget doesn’t stretch to a fast, high capacity NVME drive. Sure, we could use a small capacity NVME drive but I don’t see the point in this, we’re going to need that NVME slot to house games at a later date so ideally when we do populate the faster NVME slot it will be with something like a 1tb or larger drive.

So instead I’ve opted to pickup a 250gb SATA M2 drive to go in the SATA M2 slot on our motherboard, this is fast enough to run Windows 10 and means that we can add an NVME drive at a later date for games storage. The drive I went for is a 250gb Crucial MX500 which cost me £32 from Amazon.

And To supplement our M2 SATA drive and give us more space in the short term for games I’ve also picked up a cheap 500gb 2.5” drive, this mounts neatly behind the metal side panel.

This approach sets us up nicely for when the next generation of consoles arrives, all we need to do is add a decent NVME drive and we’ve got fast storage for new games and can still keep older games on the 2.5” mechanical drive plus when we do add the NVME drive we won’t need to mess about reinstalling the operating system.

Let me know what you think of this approach in the comments below, do you think this approach makes sense or would you have done things differently?

Power Supply

Next up is the power supply.. and to power this PC I’m using the Corsair VS550 power supply that I picked up for my recent £164 budget gaming PC build. This was an absolute bargain, it cost me £32.20 delivered and arrived in almost mint condition and in its original box.

Importantly, this power supply has two 8 pin PCI express power connectors so we can use it to power most modern graphics cards.

If you did want to opt for a new PSU I’d go for something like an EVGA White 600w power supply, you can get these for between £55 and £70 depending on whether you go for a fully wired or modular unit.

And whichever approach you take, both of the PSU’s I’ve mentioned give us plenty of headroom for upgrades to more powerful graphics cards and CPUs at a later date.

Graphics Card

And talking of graphics cards let’s take a look at the graphics card I’ve used to get this system up and running.

I’ve opted for an 8gb RX480 graphics card, it’s a reference model but it’s runs cool and quiet. The advantage of these reference cards is that they can be picked up cheaper than cards with aftermarket cooling solutions, often for less than £100 and in the current graphics card market that’s good value, but the downside of these reference cards is that there’s not much headroom for overclocking.

It’s also worth noting that you can pick up the 4gb variant of this card for about £80 but I’d spend the extra on the 8GB model, new games are likely to need more vram once the next generation consoles arrive.

As a general summary, the RX480 is still a capable card and in my opinion it’s the best card you can pick up for around £100 at the moment, let me know if you can think of any other cards at this price point that I could’ve used instead. I considered an R9 390 but was worried that it would run hot and loud, plus I doubt it would fit in the Deepcool Matrexx case.

Conclusion

Ok, so as you can see from those benchmarks, this £450 build is still a very capable system, it’s not a PS5 console killer but it sets us up nicely for when the next generation of consoles arrive. There’s a lot of unknowns at the moment and even when the PS5 and Xbox Series X arrive there will still be a period during which games are written for both the current gen consoles and the next gen consoles, but it’s after this transitional period that having a highly upgradable system like the one we’ve built for this project starts making a lot of sense.

It’s not the cheapest PC I’ve built but it get’s you onto a modern platform and when you need more GPU power or storage you’ve got a nice easy upgrade path.

Benchmarks

Please watch the video above to see how this system performs.