Photon 2.0 $500 Gaming PC Build – October 2016
– Hey guys, this is Austin. Today I’m here with the Photon 2.0. For $500, this should be a pretty solid computer, but first we have to put it together. So $500 is an interesting sweet spot. You’re getting a system that’s going to be a lot more powerful than one of the ultra budget rigs, while still not being that much more expensive than something like a console. For the case, we have the Thermaltake Versa H15. I actually really like this chassis. Not only is it going to be fairly affordable, which is definitely appreciated on a build like this, but you’re really not losing a lot. We have USB 3, we have a full 120mm fan around back. Now, importantly, especially if this is your first computer build, there’s plenty of room inside, so it should be fairly easy to work on. Cable management might not be quite so clean, we’ll see in a few minutes, but this should be a great chassis to start with. Powering the Photon is this 500 watt EVGA power supply. This is actually a little bit overkill for what need right now, however, with that 500 watts of capacity, that means that you have a little bit of extra capacity if you wanna do some upgrades, which is always nice, and it’s still an 80 Plus certified supply, which means that, not only is it efficient, but also should be fairly well quality-ized.
For the motherboard, we have a Gigabyte H110M-A. Now this is a fairly basic motherboard, to be fair, however, the most important thing is, is that you have a lot of future expandability options. While you can rock this guy for now, which makes the Photon a great system for today, however this will support a Core i5, a Core i7, we can bump up the memory. There’s a lot that we can do, but this is a great starting point. Powering the system is an Intel Core i3-6100. I’m actually a pretty big fan of Core i3s for gaming builds, especially on the budget side, while you can go AMD, I like the i3 for the expandability options. Here we have gigahertz of raw, dual-core, Hyperthreaded fury. Honestly, this is actually fine for pretty much any game out there. With that Hyperthreading, it allows it to act like a quad-core processor, so most any game should run fine on the Core i3, and we’re getting it at like a hundred bucks, so it’s hard to complain.
For memory, we have eight gigabytes of Crucial Ballistix Sport RAM. Now, I like this for a couple reasons. First of all, eight gigs of DDR4 clocked at 2400 megahertz is totally fine for anything we wanna do today, and, amazingly enough, it’s also ready for upgrades. Because this is a single DIMM, that means that we have a full extra slot here if you want to ever upgrade. For example, if you wanna bump this up to 16 gigabytes, it’s super easy. Powering everything is the new EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. Now this thing is no joke, and especially when you consider that this is a $500 gaming computer build, we’re spending most of our budget on the card, however, that’s a good thing.
Graphics cards are easily one of the most important parts of a gaming computer. This is the three gigabyte version of the card, however, it’s still going to be powerful enough to handle, literally, any game out there. Around back you have up to five display outs, so if you wanna go multi-monitor crazy, you can, though you might not wanna game on five monitors at once. It also shares a lot of DNA with its bigger brothers, the 1070, and the 1080. All in all, a great card for the build.
Rounding things out, we have a one terabyte Western Digital Blue hard drive. Now I’ve used these in a ton of gaming PC builds in the past. They’re rock solid reliable. While they might not be the fastest things in the world, if you don’t wanna go full SSD, and this is gonna be a lot cheaper than that, this is gonna be completely fine. However, as always, I feel like I’ve said this a million times with this build, it’s very simple to use an SSD on top of this to get not only the capacity, but also the speed.
However, for now, we’re just rocking the Blue. Alright, so the Photon is done, however, now comes the fun part. How does it actually perform? Get into a game like GTA V, and you’ll see we’re easily capable of running on very high settings at 1080p with a solid 60 FPS. This is a great example of getting getting better than console graphics, and a rock solid frame rate. Moving on to a title which has been a staple of my testing for a while, we have Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
Here again, we’re easily able to play on ultra settings at 1080p, at well over 60 frames. This is a title you can probably bump up to 1440p and still be fine. Getting into a DirectX 12 game, we have Ashes of the Singularity. This is a much more demanding title that especially taxes the CPU, but even here we’re able to play on extreme settings at 1080p with around 38 FPS. As always, all the links you guys need to build this will be in the description, as well as a full tutorial on how to put together a gaming computer. You also may wanna stay tuned to the channel, there may, or may not, be a giveaway going on pretty soon. Catch you guys in the next one..