My advice for a basic machine in 2019 would be:
CPU: Intel i5
I would personally look toward the 9600 as a good middle ground. It has plenty of power and will run your games well. It’ll be more than up to the task for things like Europa Universalis etc. But it’s not going to break the bank.
Avoid the more expensive 9600K as the only benefit is that you can then overlock. And I don’t get the impression that this would be something you would want to be messing around with. You could also look for a cheaper model of chip. At the end of the day any modern i5 chip from either the 8 or 9 series would do you fine.
I’d avoid the i3 chips; they lose a lot of performance and I don’t find them good value for money. And likewise steer clear of the i7 as they cost a lot more for gains that you’re not really going to need outside of workstation use.
AMD chips are not very competitive at the moment. They are very good workstation chips, but they are less powerful when running just a few tasks and so make a poor choice for a games machine. They will do the job, but just not as well as a comparable Intel.
Graphics Card: None
The Intel chip comes ready equipped with graphics. It’s not amazing; don’t expect to run the latest cross-platform action games on it. But for basic visuals found in strategy games like Command Ops it is more than adequate. So avoid spending extra on a GPU for now.
If you want to play more graphically intensive games such as Total War you can always add in a card at a later date. It’s a very easy addition to install (pretty much like slotting in a cartridge) so no need to worry about it at this time.
Storage: Samsung Evo 960 SATA SSD
Go with an SSD; the speed of these things makes life so much nicer. Your machine will boot in seconds and your games will load and save in an instant. In 2019 there really is no reason to not have one. You can always add a big disc drive for long-term storage if you want to install a lot of games or keep movies and music locally. But an SSD should be your first port of call.
I think the best value one on the market at the moment is the 256GB Samsung Evo 260. It’s fast and cost effective.
8GB of RAM should be fine for you. 16GB might be a nice way of future proofing but honestly 8GB should be more than enough. Don’t get swayed by RAM speeds. You can pay a lot more for RAM with fast clock speeds but honestly it does virtually nothing to speed up performance and can cause stability issues. Bog standard DDR4 memory is fine. Go for the value version of a decent brand and you’ll have no issues. Kingston is a solid choice to consider.
And that should be all you really need. Obviously your computer will come with a motherboard and power supply but I’m assuming you are going to order rather than build in which case the company will sort that out based on your needs. Try to avoid cheap as chips no-name power supplies as they are notorious for breaking down. But again a basic value version from a good brand should be fine.
• i5 processor from either the 8 or 9 generation of Intel Chips
• No graphics card to start with
• 8GB of DDR4 RAM
• 256GB SSD
That’ll build you a good PC and will not break the bank. Also, PM me and I can send you a Windows Licence if you want. That’ll save you £100 off the build price.