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“Let’s just see how far it goes and then we can work off that. I’m happy to be a little bit flexible with my budget.”

*Time progresses*

“Hmmm, that’s quite bad, isn’t it? It’s £100 over.”

You see getting the component parts of a PC is much like making love. Well it’s not, but that was amusing to write. Actually, it’s immensely dull. Excitement overloaded when you start, full of a known ignorance that you gleefully accept. You begin to joyfully click on parts following a guide and what you know best, despite the fact what you know best is running on a few different things you’ve read online with, at most vague, at worst glancing, interest and understanding on what it all actually means. By the time you’ve got a few parts, you’re feeling happy with yourself, having got past the walls set-up to stop you in your relentless progress.

There’s still plenty to go, but it can work. It must. It can fit the budget! Huzzahhh…hhh….ah. That’s not good. I still have X, Y and Z and I’ve only got £150. And X costs over £100 itself. Hmmm, this isn’t at all good! After an hour of looking, we gave up £100 over budget and bored. Yeah, after a processor, graphic card and then possibly a cool case buying things like a power supply and a fan suddenly become mundane. Also, cool cases aren’t actually necessary. How much time are you going to be spending looking at your case when you’re going to be using the damn thing?

*Some more time progresses*

With help from another friend and by scaling back my wants so they’re not actually completely bloody ridiculous, the complete desktop comes £20 (including shipping) under budget. The parts are now sitting in my dining room, awaiting assembly. So while we’re at it, let’s cover a few points.

Myth  – Gaming PCs cost thousands of *currency* to make.

BUSTED! You can create a high-end desktop considerably under a grand, easy. Now, depending on what more you want/need, such as a monitor, sound card, etc. will create variance, but if you are spending over 1K, you’re doing something wrong. That wrong is either buying things you don’t need or you’re buying too high end. Yes, too high end. You don’t need it and it’ll come down in price in months.

Tip – Budget. Stick to it!

It’s easy to see parts and be enticed by their ever present shininess. The fact is, very few PC games actually utilise just-released tech, they’re mostly just there to further improve performance above what is already great. Besides, something better will always come out, so wanting the top thing will always and forever be expensive for you. Set yourself an acceptable target – the people reading this are most likely going to be students, so any savings you do have would probably be prioritised on food, alcohol, more alcohol, boy/girlfriend, some more alcohol and assorted university materials. You can make something fantastic without going overboard.

The biggest problem though is when you go over with one item. When you allot yourself X amount for Y and the price turns out to be X+1 and you let it slide, you set a dangerous precedent where everything else you buy will be n+1. Before you realise it, you have something with a hell of a lot of built up +1s and that’s how you easily go over your budget by £100. Don’t accept it. Stop, look, see where you went wrong. Look at where performance will be hit least with the most savings and start there.  In essence, you wouldn’t spend £100 over your budget on anything else. A PC is no different.

The first part was written during the process. I then left writing this for a couple of months. Because exactly. You can read the second part here!

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