Building your own PC is one of the most satisfying things you can do if you’re a technology enthusiast. Not only can you save a huge amount of money, but you can also get features and capabilities that big-box manufacturers simply do not offer. The market for desktop PCs is tiny compared to the demand for laptops, but the DIY scene is still thriving with major retailers in big Indian cities and plenty of online stores that will deliver your choice of components to all corners of India. Sometimes, choosing parts can be daunting, with lots of brands and not much to differentiate products – a lot of your choices will also come down to personal preferences and styles.
When it comes to CPUs, things are fairly straightforward with only two companies, Intel and AMD, to factor in. For the most part, choosing a CPU for the mainstream gaming desktop PC is pretty easy and you should just go for the best option you can afford. However, when calculating costs, you need to consider your CPU and motherboard together, since higher-cost motherboards can outweigh the savings of lower-cost CPUs (and vice versa). Some CPUs, especially high-end ones, don’t come with cooling fans so you might need to account for that cost in your budget as well.
We recommend Intel Core i3-9100F
With the Core i3-9100F, you get four modern cores without HyperThreading, running at base and boost speeds of 3.6GHz and 4.2GHz. This choice also lacks integrated graphics, which means an added expense for a graphics card when considering your overall budget. Even so, the value is unbeatable. Gamers on a very tight budget could choose this CPU in order to free up money for a better GPU.
We recommend: Intel Core i5-9400F
We’re sneaking the Core i5-9600K in even though it’s Rs. 100 over our self-imposed budget right now, because that price is within the margin of fluctuation you’ll see in shops. This model has six cores without HyperThreading, running at a base speed of 3.7GHz with a boost speed of 4.6GHz.
Thankfully, the integrated GPU has not been axed. Intel’s price inflation problem is largely over now, but strangely the Core i5-9400F is either unavailable or actually costs more in some shops we’ve seen, so supply issues seem to be ongoing for now.
If you don’t want to overclock (or spend on a motherboard that will support it), keep an eye out for a good price on the Core i5-9400F.