While it is possible to build a competent gaming PC in South Africa for under R20,000, if you want a machine with the latest and best hardware it will cost you well over R200,000, a MyBroadband search for the best prices on top components has revealed.
To put these amounts in perspective, the BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index for April 2021 showed that the average take-home pay in South Africa is currently around R15,083.
A lower-end gaming PC therefore costs around an average person’s monthly take-home salary in South Africa, while our dream rig costs more than the average annual salary.
A bit of dreaming won’t hurt anyone, so we have gone ahead and assembled a gaming machine that commits itself to excess.
The strengthening rand has been some good news for tech prices in South Africa, as local distributors generally import electronics and pay for it in foreign currency, but retailers have warned that the ongoing semiconductor shortage may wipe out any of the gains from a stronger rand and cause prices to increase.
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has warned that it could be months for the current pressure on the supply chain to begin easing, and years until chip manufacturers catch up to the surging demand.
Chip shortage or not, we scoured the web for some of the best performing components and searched for the best deals on each.
This is more of a stealth build and we kept the flash to a minimum, though there are some elements with RGB lighting to provide a bit of colour.
Where parts were sourced from Amazon, prices include shipping, VAT, and import duties.
The total price of the build came to R232,549.
Processor — AMD Ryzen 9 5950X — R16,388 (Amazon)
Intel’s i9-11900K is neck-and-neck with AMD’s top of the line CPU. Which chip comes out on top in any given benchmark depends on the game you are testing.
If value for money was the deciding factor then the i9 would’ve been the best option, but bang for buck isn’t exactly our aim.
We have gone with the 5950X because it has 16 cores compared to Intel’s 8, and the 5950X has full PCIe M.2 Gen4 storage support.
We decided not to go for a R90,000+ Threadripper because even though overkill is underrated, buying a workstation processor for gaming is just unnecessary. Rather take that R75,000 in savings and buy more games.
Motherboard — MSI MEG X570 Godlike — R21,395 (Amazon)
The X570 is the top-of-the-line for AMD gaming motherboards.
It has 4 PCIe lanes and can support 4 memory modules of up to 5GHz, as well as loads of other features.
When money doesn’t matter, this is the AMD board you go for.
Storage — 4 x Sabrent 4TB Rocket 4 Plus NVMe M.2 Gen4 — R49,450 from Amazon
We never said we’d be reasonable.
If the motherboard can take, it’s going in, and Sabrent’s Rocket 4 Plus SSD has 7,100MB/s read and 6,600MB/s write speeds.
Memory — Patriot Viper Steel RGB DDR4 128GB (4 x 32GB) 3600MHz — R12,316 (Amazon)
Patriot manufactures some of the best quality gaming RAM on the market.
They also have international lifetime warranties on all their desktop memory.
GPU — Asus ROG Strix Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 — R61,200 (Amazon)
Yes, it’s available, and yes, it’s expensive. Unnecessarily so, thanks to the massive demand for GPUs by cryptocurrency miners and the ongoing semiconductor shortage.
But it’s the best GPU on the market right now, beating out AMDs Radeon RX 6900 XT in 4K gaming.
Power Supply — Corsair AX1600i 1600W 80 Plus Titanium — R10,699 (Titan-Ice)
1600W may be excessive, but this rig won’t be running short on power anytime soon.
In fact, you could almost run two of the rigs we’re assembling on this much power.
Sadly this power supply didn’t appear to be in stock anywhere except at Amazon, where it’s substantially more expensive than buying locally would be.
Maybe we’ll settle for that 1,200W power supply after all.
Case — Corsair Obsidian Series 1000D ATX Super Tower — R7,999 (Evetech)
A big rig needs a big case, and this is it.
This tempered glass case has 13 fans inputs, of which we’ll be leaving none unoccupied. It also has plenty of input and output options.
Case fans — 13 x Noctua NF-A14 Premium Quiet Fan — R6,718 (Amazon)
Noctua is an established name in the cooling industry.
These fans are made to be silent, reaching a maximum of 24dB at full speed — which is up to 1,700rpm.
We couldn’t leave the case empty, so we’ve opted for 13 of them.
Liquid Cooler — NZXT Kraken Z73 360mm RGB CPU Cooler — R5,215 (Amazon)
No high-end PC build is complete without a liquid cooler, and NZXT makes some of the best.
The Kraken Z73 also has an LED display to monitor temperature.
First monitor — LG 55-inch OLED UHD 120Hz — R21,999 (Incredible Connection)
As far as high-end builds go, a minimum of two monitors is a must.
Yes, the LG 55-inch is technically a television, but it was this or the Alienware 55-inch “monitor”, which is a year older, and just absurdly priced at R71,555 for essentially the same specs.
The point is not to waste money, but to spend it well, albeit generously. And the LG TV is money well-spent, with its 4K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. It also has the added benefit of Nvidia G-Sync.
Second monitor — Asus ROG Swift FHD 360Hz — R19,174 (Amazon)
The Asus ROG Swift is for serious gaming, when you’ve had enough of the pretty visuals of the LG and want to play a competitive session.
The monitor is FHD, but what sets it apart is the 360Hz refresh rate.