I’ve been running up against space limits in my computer. I don’t have enough hard drive space, and I’ve physically maxed out the drive bays and available SATA connections. Any improvement on my current setup means at least a bigger case and a full-ATX motherboard. There are some new technologies like 7nm chipsets or NVMe drives which I could take advantage of. So, I’ve been toying with the idea of building some huge roaring hulk of a computer, something with enough performance to play the next Half-Life game render complex GIS projects.

Unfortunately my bank balance at the moment looks like a bumpy line trending slowly downwards.

bank balance

At least for the next month I can’t spend money on anything which isn’t immediately justifiable or affordable. I’m definitely not going to buy an expensive computer right now. Also, uh, I already bought two laptops last year. 🙄

I planned my first PC build way back in 2012, and I ended up building it in 2013. In the following seven years I built two more computers, both mini-ITX builds, both on a limited budget (aiming for £500 or less). The first of these I ended up giving to my brother, and the second is the one I still use now.


There was a moment in 2018 when the memory in my current PC failed, and that was the point when I started drawing up another parts list, just in case. That list has since gone through a couple of iterations, ending up with my ideal setup below.

Component Model Cost
Processor Ryzen 3700X £274
Motherboard Aorus Elite X570 £185
Memory 16GB DDR4 3200 MHz ~£124
Graphics card Radeon RX5500 XT £209
Storage 480GB SATA SSD £56
  500GB M.2 SSD £100
  2TB HDD £68
Power supply 650 Watts £70
Case Full tower Obsidian 750D £136
CPU cooler Noctua NH-D15 £76

The whole thing works out at £1,289 in total. This is without counting extras like thermal paste, and with the assumption that you’ve already got a keyboard/mouse/monitor/speakers. The fancy Noctua cooler is probably excessive, although the point of this build is not to skimp on components. Also, if you’re going to slap down £250+ on the latest zen processor, it seems a shame to leave it with the stock cooler?

I’ll keep tracking my finances, and once I continue to get a steady income again I should be able to save enough for a high-end computer within about six (seven?) months. Of course this parts list will be out of date by then…