For those interested in dipping their toes into the waters of PC gaming, but aren’t quite ready to take the full plunge, NZXT has a pretty solid offer as part of its new update to its Starter series of prebuilt machines first introduced last year. For $699, you can buy a solidly capable entry-level gaming PC with one of NZXT’s pretty sleek-looking tower cases, in either white or black.
For that money, you’re getting a Intel Core i3 processor and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, which the company says is good enough to get you a stable 60 frames per second at 1080p on most PC games a fresh PC player might want to try, like Fortnite, League of Legends, or Valorant. (As someone who still uses an Intel i5 / GTX 970 combo, I can attest to how far even a half-decade old Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU can still take you.)
It’s a solid deal for an entry-level gaming PC
There are some drawbacks. The processor, for one, is pretty underpowered, and that could bottleneck your ability to play more intensive games at higher settings. (This isn’t a Microsoft Flight Simulator-ready rig.) The prebuilt also only comes with 8GB of RAM, which is fine for those above-mentioned free-to-play games designed to run on a wide range of machines, but not quite enough to play some newer titles and demanding single-player games without compromises.
But for that price, plus the convenience of having it arrive in the mail prebuilt and ready to go, this is a pretty solid value. I put together an almost identical machine over at PC Part Picker and it came out to about $727, mainly due to having to add additional RAM because it’s more cost effective to buy two sticks of 8GB rather than just a single one, as NZXT’s prebuilt offers. But hey, for a machine you can just plug in and play, that’s not bad at all.
If you do want to upgrade a bit and still want the convenience of a NZXT prebuilt, the company has shifted its standard and pro models of the Starter series to occupy the existing $899 and $999 price points. The cheaper of those two, which now carries the Plus name introduced last year, gets you an Intel i5, a GTX 1660, and twice the memory, while still keeping the 512GB SSD. The pricier one, which now carries a new Starter Pro label, gets you the same Intel CPU, a GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, and a 1TB SSD.
Both of those sound like decent deals, especially if you’re looking for a prebuilt, but it might make more sense at that point to invest in your own custom part list and the know-how it takes to put it together yourself.