Whereas consoles provide an easy, more affordable plug-and-play solution for those purely interested in gaming, a PC brings with it a wealth of new gaming possibilities.
This includes a greater variety of custom mods and add-ons to choose from, and more personalisation with regards to software and hardware.
You are typically also able to shop from a wide range digital and physical stores to find discounts on games.
On top of this, PC games are generally also cheaper than their PlayStation or Xbox counterparts.
However, when it comes to the hardware needed to run a proper gaming PC setup, South Africans tend to get the shorter end of the stick.
One clear example of this is the high mark-ups on the RTX 30 Series graphics cards available in South Africa.
While Nvidia’s recently launched RTX 3060 retails for only $329 (R5,088) in the US, the cheapest RTX 3060 card we were able to find was available from Wootware at R10,499, equivalent to around $680.
PC gaming is therefore a rather expensive hobby, and often viewed to be only an option for more affluent players.
However, those with enough patience to start small, save, and expand their machine’s capabilities, can still get away with a moderately capable desktop for less than the R12,000 price of a next-generation console in South Africa.
We decided to see what type of entry-level gaming desktop we could assemble in South Africa for around R10,000.
For our first configuration, we used only new components which were available from well-known South African retailers, including Takealot, Loot, and Evetech.
To give ourselves a fair chance of hitting that figure, we did not include the prices of a monitor, peripherals, or a Windows 10 installation.
Arguably the most important piece of hardware will be the graphics card or GPU, as this will be the main driving force behind visual performance.
However, it is essential that you don’t underestimate the value of a good CPU, which will, in basic terms, run the brain of your game.
Choosing an excessively powerful version of either while opting for a low performer on the other end will result in “bottlenecking”, with one simply being unable to keep pace with the other.
We were able to combine a 4-core AMD CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and an Nvidia graphics card with 4GB GDDR6 video memory for a balanced build.
While it won’t crush frame rates, it should be able to maintain between 40-60fps in recent AAA titles when playing at low to medium settings.
The table below shows the components of our brand new entry-level gaming PC build, which came in at R10,075 in total.
|Case||Antec NX110 Mid Tower Gaming Case||R649|
|Motherboard||MSI X470 Gaming Plus MAX ATX Ryzen||R4,999|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 3 3200G|
|RAM||Klevv 16GB 2,666MHz DDR4|
|GPU||Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OC Edition 4GB||R3,409|
|Storage||Hikvision E100 256GB SATA SSD||R549|
|Power supply||Raidmax XT-Series 400W Non-modular PSU||R469|
Solid second-hand option
Another possibility to look into is to buy your entire setup or at least parts thereof second-hand.
While you won’t get the added peace of mind afforded by warranties, choosing the right sellers can save you thousands on your purchase.
This way, you may end up building a significantly more powerful machine at a fraction of the cost than when all parts are brand new.
One of the most popular online spots which help facilitate the buying, selling, and trading of PC parts is the Carbonite forum.
Using only parts available from here, we came up with a much more powerful machine.
It would sport an AMD Ryzen 5 3500X, which is around 19% faster than the Ryzen 3 3200G, according to UserBenchmark tests.
This is paired with a GTX 1070, which is also 111% faster than the GTX 1050 Ti in our new build.
We were also able to get significantly more storage out of the deal, with a combo of 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD capacity.
This setup should be able to run most current AAA titles at a stable 60fps at medium to high settings, while less demanding games may even hit 100fps.
The table below shows the collection of components we could put together from Carbonite sellers at exactly R10,000.
|Case||Cooler Master HAF 922||R400|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte B450 Aorus Elite V2||R1,500|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 3500X||R2,900|
|RAM||Klevv 16GB 2,666MHz DDR4||R600|
|GPU||MSI GamingX GeForce GTX 1070 8GB||R3,500|
|Storage||256GB WD 2.5-inch SSD + 1TB WD 3.5-inch HDD||R800|
|Power supply||Corsair VS450||R300|