Saan Aabot Ang Php20,000 Mo? – A Secondhand PC Build Guide

This build guide was inspired by the fact that we needed a new PC in our HQ (we we’re always on our laptops). But, as we all know, a new PC isn’t cheap and we only had a budget of PhP20,000 to work with. And so we started our quest to build a PC that can handle some video editing, light gaming, and hopefully, streaming within the mentioned budget.

Should be easy since we do put out these build guides from time to time, eh? But, alas, the fickle nature of finance and hardware prices are a reality that all of us builders have to deal with. There is a solution, though. And it came in the form of the secondhand market.

Getting secondhand parts is a great way to maximize our budget so we could build the ideal, but not entirely too en grande, PC that we can use for our activities at the Bistek.Ph HQ.

You can view that thought process in the video above. This accompanying article is here to further explain or clarify some of the choices we’ve made.

The CPU: Intel Core i3-7100

Going Coffeelake or even Ryzen will definitely eat into our budget, as we also have to put into consideration the cost of the the motherboard that will support the CPU we choose. We figured that the most cost-efficient way is to go Kabylake (7th Gen). It’s “new enough” to give us decent performance, and old enough to be quite cheap.

We initially thought that the Pentium G4560 would be a perfect candidate. Why not? 3.5 Ghz for PhP2,500 is a good deal. However, as we trawled through the usual online marketplaces, it was very rare to find anyone selling this not as part of a bundle. And those very few selling it alone would price it to up to PhP4,000, which is already the cost of a 6th- or 7th-gen Core i3. So we went ahead and gone up that pricepoint instead and opted to get a Core i3-7100. It has a higher clockspeed of 3.9 Ghz and has AVX2 support, which will be very useful since we will do a lot of video encoding on this machine. And since we we’re able to get it for PhP3,700, it was definitely a no-brainer.

One regret that we have in choosing this was that, after we’ve decided to go Kabylake and bought the CPU and the appropriate motherboard, a listing for a Core i3-8100 came up for only PhP 3,500. Getting that Coffeelake procie at that price would have enabled us to go with 8th-gen under a PhP20,000 budget. But it wasn’t meant to be.

The Motherboard: MSI B150M Bazooka Plus

Since we are going 7th Gen, we had the choice to go with a pure 7th-gen motherboard like a 200 series chipset or go for a cheaper “transition” chipset like the 100 series. The B150, which natively supported 6th-gen but could handle 7th-gen with a BIOS update was the most cost efficient choice. We were able to find someone letting go of an MSI B150M Bazooka Plus for only PhP2,000. Even more fortunate is that its BIOS has actually been updated to accommodate 7th-gen, so we don’t have to worry about it. The Bazooka series is a very sturdy and feature-packed mobo-line. Yes, the B150 board is not the best, but it’s all we need. We’re not really looking to overclock. Oh, and it has m.2 SATA support and USB type-C.

Though we did encounter one problem with the board that we got. It was cheaper than the usual secondhand price of PhP 3,000, but it apparently had some problems that were also unknown to the seller (or so they claimed). Three of the four RAM slots were defective. And because we got it from a secondhand source there was no warranty. We could’ve asked for our money back, but by the time we were able to test the board, it was already past the unwritten/unspoken one-week personal warranty rule of secondhand purchases. We just had to live with the fact that our RAM will forever be in the third slot–unmoved and undisturbed.

RAM: Geil SuperLuce 8GB DDR4 2133MHz

The Core i3-7100 can only support 2133 and 2400Mhz DDR4 RAM, so we don’t need to bother looking at the more expensive high-frequency ones. The Geil Superluce 8GB stick was the cheapest 2133 MHz DDR4 RAM we could find that at least had a heat-spreader. We got it for PhP2,000. It also has a white LED light, which coincidentally matches the LED light on the motherboard. It doesn’t really affect performance but… ooooh… light.

The seller said that this was part of a Dual-Channel set, but the other stick was broken to they opted to just dispose of the other. It does perfectly match our board because of that fact that our board is also broken and we won’t be using Dual Channel anytime soon… or forever.

GPU: Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

Now that GPU prices are becoming more stable, the 1050 Ti’s secondhand pricing is at the perfect spot for those looking for real bang-for-buck performance. Even though this card is one-and-a-half generation behind from NVidia’s current RTX line, those CUDA cores do stand the test of time. 60FPS gaming at 1080p for PhP5,000? Yes, please. We we’re also lucky that the unit we got was pretty much brand new and covered by a one year warranty.

The recent releases of the RTX 2060, GTX 1660 Ti, and GTX 1660 have only contributed to the popularity of this card due to price drops in both the brand new and secondhand market. It’s still a great choice for gamers who want to get performance at an affordable price.

OS Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB m.2 SSD

In our previous guides, we’ve always mentioned that an SSD’s amazing read-speed contribute more to “quality of life” rather than actual gaming performance. Yes, an SSD will reduce load times, but it won’t bump up your FPS counter. However, since we are maximizing our budget and we’d like Windows to load faster, we bit the bullet and included this in our build. Being able to include an SSD with our limited budget only highlights how much value we can get from the secondhand market.

We found a Samsung 850 EVO 250GB listed at PhP 2,500. The seller recently upgraded to an EVO 860 500GB and was just looking to get rid of this one. Samsung SSDs have always been priced at a premium because they do offer exceptional durability that other brands only wish to match. Snagging that edge for almost half the price from a gives a lot of value.

Data Storage: Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD

There are many 3.5″ HDDs scattered allover the secondhand marketplace, but it’s still pretty rare to find good priced 1TB units. We lucked out on this one being sold for PhP1,100. One-terabyte drives in a 3.5-inch formfactor still sell for around PhP1,800. Also, a 3.5-inch is the better option for a desktop because it revs at 7200rpm, unlike the 2.5-inch ones that max out at 5400rpm.

PSU: Corsair VS450 80Plus White

One of the most dangerous things to do is cheap out on a PSU, so we didn’t bother looking for a secondhand one. But we are still trying to go below PhP20,000, so we opted to buy the one we’ve previously recommended in one of our build guides.

A 450-watt PSU is enough because we only have a GTX 1050 Ti (it doesn’t even require a 6-pin power connector). The cheapest one with an 80Plus certification is the VS450 at PhP1,960.

Indeed there are many PSUs available for cheaper in the secondhand market. But we can’t be too sure with quality as we can’t really know what stresses the PSU has been through. Better to get brand new so that it at least will have a warranty in case it breaks down. People who work on PCs know that a PSU failure can be a very expensive incident. A PSU is also one of the last things you will replace when you upgrade, so you may as well get a fresh one.

Chassis: Bitfenix Neos (Non-Window) White

We also decided to go brand new with the chassis as well. One reason it that there are very few good chassis options available in the secondhand market. Most of them will either be lacking screws, panels, and fans, or will be structurally compromised. Most of the secondhand cases also rarely have USB 3.0 front I/O.

Our first choice was the Tecware Nexus M, a case that we’ve always recommended in our other guides. But we couldn’t find any white ones because they were out of stock (white matches the HQ’s aesthetics). We, instead, opted for the Bitfenix Neos, simply because it was in the color that we wanted, and it was darn cheap at PhP 925. Unlike the Nexus M, though, the Neos only came with one 120mm rear fan. Not nearly enough to give us good airflow.

We, of course, had two spare 120mm fans lying around. We didn’t buy them but, for the purpose of pricing this build properly, we priced each fan at PhP100 (PhP200 total).

At PhP1125 for all the chassis needs, it still ended up cheaper than a brand new Nexus M. Still, we could have preferred the Nexus M as we still had room in the budget.

Grand Total and Conclusion

If we ended up getting the Nexus M instead of the Neos, as planned, we would have spent PhP19,860. But because we had to go with the Neos, we spent a total of PhP19,385 on this build. We could spend the remaining Php615 on a cheap USB Wi-Fi receiver to give make the system Wi-Fi enabled.

However, please remember that your experience in building a secondhand system may be different from ours. Firstly, we consciously did not go for bundles because we wanted hunting down each component to be part of the challenge. That said, getting a bundle is definitely one of the best ways to get good deals, especially on CPU+MoBo combos.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that you will end up going over budget simply because of what’s available (or unavailable) on the market at the time of your build. Again, we refer back to the PhP 3,500 i3-8100. If we we’re fortunate enough to have purchased that as our base CPU, our build would’ve been completely different.

We also didn’t include expenses for transportation and food whenever we went to meet-ups. The furthest we had to travel was to Gilmore, Quezon City to get the brand new parts; meet-ups were mostly close to home or work.

All-in-all to be able to pull-off a good secondhand build, you will need to put a lot more effort. Whatever money you save will be replaced by effort in research. There’s also the extra need to be more careful with your purchase.

And as a last tip: Test immediately. We’re still salty over that MoBo.

20K Secondhand PC –  Total: Php 19,385

 

Have you tried building a secondhand PC under PhP20,000? Please let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear your stories, whether good or bad, in buying secondhand PC parts.

RoninVampire

Not quite a sire-less creature of the night. Not quite a miserable pile of secrets. Carpe Noctem.

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