This year has been a productive year for me in terms of PC building. I’ve gotten back into it with a fury and I’m realizing it’s easier than from when I first started years ago and now it’s more fun than ever. Aside from that, I’ve also been able to teach more people how to build, what to look for in terms of budgeting, compatibility and all things encompassing building a new PC. It’s a good time to build and own a PC. Sorry Appleheads.

More often than ever, I get emails or DMs from people wanting to build a PC for the first time but not knowing where to start or even if they should start. I tell them right away, It’s a great time to build a PC for a number of reasons. It’s easier than ever, components are more interchangeable, a lot of options for customization and right now, parts are kind of at their most affordable.

Let’s start with affordability because this will either begin your project or end it before it starts. When you’re building a PC you have to know right away or least have some idea of what it is you want to do or expect to do and you begin to tailor your budget around that. Whenever I advise someone I always start by CPU. The CPU is EVERYTHING. It’s the brain and it determines how well you’ll be able to do what you want to do on your new PC. So picking the right one is important. The problem? CPU’s can be expensive and Intel has made sure of that. Intel has had a vice grip on the desktop CPU market and chances are if you have a pre-built PC or know anyone who has built a PC they probably have an Intel CPU in their rig. Well, over the past 2 years AMD has made real strides in making sure that Intel can no longer control the desktop CPU market and give us “updated” chipsets that crank out similar performance that is minimally better than the last chipset and then charge us a fortune for it. AMD brought Ryzen to the game and while in some aspects they haven’t totally bested Intel, they have been so much better than Intel in every other way, cost especially.

I won’t get into the super nerdy technical elements of why AMD right now is winning and the best option if you’re building a new desktop PC. That’s just boring. So no benchmarks, testing or anything like that here. This article is based on my experience in building Ryzen PC’s within the past year and how it’s been so much more cost effective while not missing out on any performance.

AMD Ryzen 2200 G build with Asus TUF Gaming B450 motherboard

For most people they just want to get online, check their emails, shop and maybe use MS Office and this doesn’t require a huge budget. You can build something like this for about $400 maybe even less if you don’t care too much about looks i.e case, custom cables, RGB, etc. Even with those things added you can still build a solid machine for very little that will last you a couple years before you need to upgrade. The Ryzen 2200g I found was the perfect CPU for most tasks. Not only does it come built with a Radeon APU right into the CPU so it’s great for mild gaming and you’ll get it with a heatsink and fan and you’ll spend about $85 for that CPU. The Ryzen 1200 is cheaper but you’ll have to buy a heatsink and the 3200g is about $10 more but not totally necessary. The 2200g is the perfect balance.

The last PC I built I used the 2200g with a B450 motherboard that I paid $80, a 120GB NVMe that cost $30, An Antec case I paid $45 for, $50 430W Thermaltake power supply, $40 for 8GB of RAM. That build came up to just under $400. In my clients’ build, I gave the client my old GTX 1050ti because they’re friends of mine so excluding that you’ve got a fast and reliable PC on a budget. If you must game and must have a GPU, you can shop right now and find an inexpensive GPU that will cost you less than $100 or maybe a little more depending on what you intend to play. AMD’s lower tier CPU’s are chipsets that I will recommend to anyone right now building a PC. They are perfect for any build on a small budget.

WHY AMD AGAIN?

My decision to write this is not about taking a shit on Intel. It’s actually quite the opposite. This article is about me telling Intel to “Cut the shit” y’all are too rich bruh and it’s showing in what they’re putting out or as I see it, not putting out. AMD has a singular focus right now and it seems that focus is being more consumer friendly by putting out solid performing CPU’s for the desktop that people can afford and get great performance from. Yes, Intel has inexpensive CPU’s but you won’t get the same performance from them that you would from these new Ryzen CPU’s. To be completely honest I’m a late adopter to the Ryzen platform but it wasn’t until I started building again that I realized how many better options I had for the money with AMD. AMD is really making some fantastic CPU’s and giving gamers and professionals more reason to go with their platform than Intel.

For example, at the high end the Ryzen 9 3950X retails between $750 – $800. Seems expensive right? When you compare it to Intel’s competitive counterpart the i9 10980xe you’re talking about a CPU that will probably retail at close to $1000. The performance between the two chipsets isn’t widely different between them BUT there’s a big difference between $800 and $1000. That’s potentially another component or two for your build that you’re sacrificing just to have Intel’s CPU in your rig. It’s not worth it to me. If it is to you, great. As it stands right now, and I say this at the risk of sounding like a sponsored ad but AMD is the way to go for PC building. They even stepped up their laptop game with new CPU’s that perform just as good as their desktop counterparts while making any one their laptops you buy cheaper too. Not too long ago, you probably wouldn’t buy a laptop with an AMD CPU. How times have changed and that’s a credit to AMD and the work they put in. The best part of it? Competition. It benefits us because now Intel will have to match AMD in price to performance in order to not get drowned out completely. That means better CPU’s and pricing in the future. This is good time for PC’s and we have AMD to thank for it.

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Mike Bitter is a born gadget head and true lover of technology. It all started with computer classes at age 10 and his first PC the Tandy 1000. From then on he found his love and he became a gamer and a PC builder and has not stopped since. He specializes in hardware, troubleshooting and custom PC building. He’s known as the “fixer” amongst his friends whenever there is a problem with a PC or a Mac. He’s also fully immersed in all things that pertain to the world of computers and gaming. He's an 80's baby and he grew up watching technology evolve from the NES to PS4 and from the Commodore 64 to the iMac. He has a unique and minimalist perspective on technology and is here to help the average person to understand technology today.