For the last 7 years I’ve been a happy owner of an Apple iMac, this has served me well during my 4 years at university as well as everything since then. Considering my career in the world of film production I have pushed the iMac pretty hard over the years and it’s performed admirably given that it was one of the lowest spec’d models.
I recently I was loading up Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, one of the few games you can actually play on a Mac, and was given a warning stating that the my iMac didn’t meet the minimum recommended system requirements. This was actually a little bit of a surprise given that I’d been able to play WoW relatively easily with the iMac, albeit on the very low end of the graphics scale. The warning did however get me thinking about upgrades. I knew that upgrading an iMac beyond adding more RAM, would mean completely stripping the tightly packed machine down to it’s barebones. This is something that felt a little daunting, although perfectly possible as I’m familiar with deconstructing Apple iPhones so, I know just how fiddly it can get. The main thing to upgrade would be the graphics card, the trouble was that I was very limited in choice as in order for the card to be compatible I would need to find one that had been on the original spec sheets from Apple. This meant that any card I found would probably be secondhand and roughly the same age as my iMac. After doing a little research I found that these cards were rather expensive at around £200 and probably wouldn’t be that much of a performance improvement.
Back to the virtual drawing board then.
I then got thinking about starting from scratch with something entirely new. This would mean selling my iMac and using the funds from that to build a PC, as a new or newer iMac would sadly be well out of my price range. My budget therefore was around £400 or ideally less as this was roughly what I could get for my iMac. I first started looking at prebuilt budget gaming PCs and found that in order to have a sensible spec things were generally around £500, a £100 over my budget. I then stumbled across the absolutely fantastic PC Part Picker website which allows you to virtually build a PC from each individual component and it will make sure you can’t pick incompatible parts. They also have an incredible forum full of incredibly helpful and experienced PC builders from around the world. It was through this forum that I was able to put together my chosen build.
Luckily I had a graphics card donated to my build by a good friend from university who had just updated his own PC and therefore had a 2GB GTX 560 Ti that needed a new home. This pretty much made my whole build much more feasable as well as futureproof. With the money saved from not having to buy a graphics card I was able to tweak the PC Part Picker’s Entry Level Gaming Build to come to around £350 by removing the cost of a graphics card as well as a hard drive. I currently have over 7TB of storage that I can repurpose for this new build.
My build list is as follows:
- Processor: Intel Pentium G4560 3.5GHz
- Motherboard: Gigabyte B250M Micro ATX
- RAM: Corsair Vengance LPX 8GB DDR4-2400 (Only 1x8GB which leaves me open to upgrade in the future)
- SSD: SK Hyinx SL308 120GB (Allows me to instal Windows and some games, 120GB kept the price down)
- Storage: 2x 2TB Western Digital Green
- Graphics Card: MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2GB (Thanks again Mitch!)
- Case: CiT F3 Black MATX (Budget case with excellent reviews)
- PSU: Corsair CXM 450W 80+ Semi Modular (You cannot choose anything much cheaper!)
- Extras: TP-Link Wifi Card, Keyboard, Mouse and of course Windows 10 Pro
Thankfully I managed to sell my iMac very quickly and have already received nearly all of the parts in the post. Sadly I can’t really put much of it together yet as the two key pieces; the motherboard and processor, are yet to arrive. Everything else is ready and waiting to be built over the coming weekend once everything has hopefully arrived.
I will be documenting the whole build from start to finish so stay tuned for more posts! I will likely do a quick vlog as part of the next update in order to keep the word count down. Fingers crossed everything turns up and it should all be compatible…