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.)
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.