One of the appeals of PC gaming is building your rig to the specs you need. Last year, while I didn’t choose my components, I built a machine using NZXT’s streaming PC package, which comes with all the parts you need and a how-to guide for guide you through the steps. The build took us about three hours, with only a few hiccups along the way.
If you don’t want to spend time building and would rather have someone else assemble it, there are plenty of pre-built PC options on the market. One of the newer companies to explore this space is Build Redux, a sister company to longtime PC maker Digital Storm.
When you go to the Build Redux website, you see the option to build your PC, but not in the way you expect. You choose your top three games from a predefined list of fifteen titles. Options include plenty of reflex-based shooters like Call of Duty Warzone, Overwatch, and Apex Legends. When you click on a game, a frame rate appears on the box artwork. Clicking on Apex Legends reveals 70fps playback for the “good” Build Redux PC model. The “best” model increased the framerate to 110 and the “best” to 145.
The price difference at this point is good at $1,415, better at $1,879, and better at $2,259. After selecting the option you wish to explore, a screen displays all the components of your tower. In my “best” option I see I’m getting an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB graphics card. It’s a nice card, but I could upgrade it to something better like the 3090 Ti 24GB, but that would increase my cost by $888. You can change most of the options, from memory and cooler to storage and power.
After my build is complete, I see a build fee of $99. Additionally, I learn that all machines come with a two-year parts and labor warranty to replace or repair any defective hardware, as long as it has not been physically damaged.
Build Redux sent me a “better” default model for review. The cardboard shipping container is substantial, consisting of thick padding for the formidable one-and-a-half-foot tall tower. At the top of the box is a long black container that reads “Welcome to PC Gaming”. Inside I first see a quick start guide that only includes a handful of steps, like removing the padding inside the tower, making sure the cables look good and learn where to plug in peripherals.
After only a minute or two, I start the machine on a symphony of colors. Rainbow hues spin and spin brilliantly from three circular LED lights on the face of the machine. Turning the device slightly to my right, a glow emanates from another light behind a glass panel, giving me a good view of the material on display. It’s a beautiful sight, and I can freely change the colors I see and their intensity using a little remote in the box.
A few seconds later, I see the desktop of the machine, and a few moments later, I download Steam, followed by several games I want to use to check out the hardware’s capabilities. The only sound I hear at this point is my keyboard clicking; the machine is quiet during basic web browsing and app interactions. Build Redux offers an out-of-the-box pug-and-play experience that’s just as easy to set up as a console.
Here are the specifications of the review units:
CPU: Intel Core i7 – 12700K – 12 cores
GPUs: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founder’s Edition
Memory: Patriot Viper Elite II 16GB 3200mhz BULK (Kit 32BG 2x16GB)
SSD: Kingston NV1 NVMe M.2
Cooling: Cooler Master CN REDUX 240mm
Motherboard : ASUS Prime Z690-P WIFI D4
Power supply : HighPower HP1-H 850W Gold Fully Modular
Case: Redux TD500
When asked what people can expect from specific hardware, a Build Redux rep tells me that my setup is a bit old and has now been slightly updated with different technology, but assures me that it’s in the same ballpark as what people can get today. The company does not display the brands of each component, as they often change depending on the offer. This last point is a bit of a concern, because the consumer needs to know what’s inside. There is a bit of blind faith, but Build Redux ensures compatibility.
The first game I’m testing is Elden Ring, as I recently saw it roar on another high-end machine with settings maxed out. The RTX 3080 handles it with ease, delivering a silky smooth frame rate at 2560×1440 resolution and all settings at the highest levels. The only change is a slight increase in fan noise. The fan is quiet but noticeable under my desk, a few feet away from me. I also checked out Stray with an uncapped framerate, and it looks fantastic.
I then spend time with some of the most graphically demanding titles of this generation. Cyberpunk 2077 ran without a hitch with the ultra-ray tracing setting, with all other fields set to the highest levels. Horizon Zero Dawn also looked amazing with maxed settings. This machine has the power to bring out the best in the current generation of games and should be quite upgradable for the next few years of new releases.
The top-of-the-line model is a bit pricey but offers performance and exterior good looks. It looks like a machine someone would custom build and should be ideal for streaming purposes, given its customizable lighting. Build Redux’s best foot forward impresses and is a great starter unit for people getting into PC gaming that roars with power at a reasonable price.