Budget All-round PC - September 2017
The all-round PC is a PC with comprehensive features for around £650 - £750 that can do a little bit of everything. It should have enough speed and capacity to meet your needs for some time. Currently it can run all applications, and you're able to upgrade it with small future investments when you need more power or storage capacity.
Surfing, gaming, business applications, photo and video editing should all be possible on the all-round PC without giving you the feeling that it's lacking in performance.
This means a fast processor and graphics card with an excellent price/ performance ratio, in combination with more than enough memory and storage space. Let's not forget a good computer case and a power supply that will remain energy efficient and silent enough for some years to come. Since the monitor, mouse and keyboard will be used daily you should definitely not skimp on these peripherals.
It's essential that an all-round PC is balanced. It's less important that you picked the fastest components than that they work well together and are on the same level of performance. If you have bigger budget, than you could have a look at our All-round Deluxe PC as well.
Please note: the PC Buyer’s Guide is compiled based on independent component tests performed by Hardware.Info. If no new, superior products are
released that should replace one or more of the components, then the component(s) will remain the same as the previous month.
If you want to know more about how we compile our PC Buying guides, have a look at this article.
AMD has just launched a new generation of APUs, but those chips use old and slow processing cores. Meanwhile, the integrated graphics are still a few times slower than the dedicated graphics card we use for this system. This makes us stay with Intel for now.
Intel started supporting HyperThreading with its Kaby Lake Pentium models, which make this friendly priced Pentium G4560 comparable with a Skylake Core i3. Software will recognize it as a quad-core, so games that don't want to start on a dual-core won't be a problem. If you can't buy one due to the stock issues, you could grab a Pentium G4600 or G4620 instead.
Overclocking isn't an option with the CPU's locked multiplier, and Intels boxed cooler isn't noisy, so we would say an alternative cooler isn't needed. If you still want a quieter system, you can always invest in an affordable, decent after market model like the Gelid Tranquillo Rev.4.
You're good with 8 GB memory for the overseeable future. Crucial sells this RAM module with a clock frequency of 2400 MHz for a nice price. If you ever need more RAM, you can easily add a stick to your system.
MSI delivers affordable and very power efficient motherboards in its Pro series for quite some time now. The B250M Pro-VD is remarkably complete. For storage, you can use six SATA600 ports as well as an M.2 slot, and this board also offers six USB 3.0 ports. Four of them are available through the back panel. Display connections are limited to VGA and DVI, but since we'll be using a discrete graphics card, that doesn't matter.
A true All-round PC can be used for gaming, too. The Nvidia 1050 series is very suitable for this system. With the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti in the MSI Gaming X version we chose, you'll be able to play almost every game without breaking the bank. The card is very silent, too. In a Full HD resolution, using high settings is possible in most games, but sometimes you'll need to set some sliders to medium.
With an SSD, the boot times of your pc will be shorter and all software will run faster. You'll also get a noticeable improvement in its 'responsiveness'.
The prices of SSDs have been rising for some time, but Crucial still offers its MX300 for a relatively nice price. It performs well and the three years of warranty are quite nice, too.
The price of this Toshiba 2TB harddisk is a little more friendly than those of Seagate's and WD's alternatives. Our test results were good: the E300 is fast, silent and pretty energy efficient. It's a nice choice for data storage.
Optical drive -
We don't recommend an optical drive anymore, but we tested a lot of DVD burners and memory card readers in the past months. So if you wanna buy one of those devices, we have a list of best choices:
Internal DVD burner: LG GH24NSD1
External DVD burner: LG GP70NS50
Card reader: Kingston FCR-HS4
With the N200, Cooler Master delivers a compact Micro-ATX chassis with an attractive price. In the review, we were especially satisfied by the good cooling performance and the, for its price, extensive feature set: one USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 connectors at the front panel.
Be quiet's System Power 8 400W is a fine PSU, efficient and with low noise production. Nonetheless it is affordable and thus recipient of a Great Value award. Thanks to the PEG connector, you'll be able to use a mid-range discrete graphics card.
From our test of desktop sets, we learned that there is quite a bit of variety in quality in the currently sold models, even with similarly priced competitors.
However, Microsoft's Wireless Desktop 2000 is affordable as well as solidly built, with a decent keyboard and mouse. Both connect wirelesly and respond fast to commands. A nice extra is the encryption for the wireless connection, a comforting thought these days.
Unless you're a gamer or frequently watch movies on your PC, you're better off with a 2.1 (stereo + sub) set than a 5.1 speaker set. The Creative Inspire T3250W also comes with a built-in Bluetooth receiver. That can be practical for streaming music from your phone or tablet. It's reasonably priced, and in our test, we were positive about the balance between the lows and highs. The most important downside is the lower maximum volume.
It's quite impressive how much monitor BenQ manages to deliver for the small price of this display. The GW2470H has a fine AMVA panel, which provides excellent contrast and good color reproduction. It lacks luxury features like Freesync and height adjustability, but that's not what you buy this monitor for.
If you want a smaller display, the 21.5" BenQ GL2250HM is an even cheaper option.
|Processors||Intel Pentium G4560 Boxed||£49.99|
|CPU coolers||Intel Boxed Cooler||–|
|Memory modules||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 8GB DDR4-2400 CL16||£80.17|
|Motherboards||MSI B250M Pro-VD||£57.83|
|Graphics cards||MSI GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X 4GB||£199.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX300 275GB||£83.38|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Toshiba E300 2TB||£60.45|
|Cases||Cooler Master N200||–|
|Power supplies||Be quiet! System Power 8 400W||£39.99|
|Keyboards||Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000||–|
|PC speaker sets||Creative T3250W||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||£676.67|