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This NZXT PC with no graphics card signals a new stage in the chip shortage

NZXT Foundation without a graphics card
(Image credit: NZXT)

NZXT has a bold new strategy for selling prebuilt gaming PCs: Skip the graphics card altogether. What may initially sound like a worthless PC is actually a decent idea. The $800 "Foundation" PC from NZXT includes some decent components, including a 500GB NVMe SSD, 16GB of RAM, and a 650W bronze power supply. The part that makes this thing work is an AMD Ryzen 5 5600G CPU—or APU, technically, because this processor includes graphics processing on board to run games without the need for a dedicated graphics card.

According to NZXT, the Foundation PC can run popular lightweight games quite well. At medium settings and 1080p, it should deliver about 180 fps in League of Legends and about 70 fps in Fortnite. Depending on the games you play, AMD's APU may be powerful enough to hold you over until you can find a nice card like an RTX 3080 in stock.

You can almost always build your own PC cheaper than you can buy one, of course, but this lets you avoid all the complexities of building except for slotting in a GPU somewhere down the line when the chip shortage has let up enough for graphics cards to stay in stock for more than 13 seconds. 

The Foundation PC could also make sense if your current PC's CPU and motherboard are showing their age but you upgraded your graphics card not too long ago. If you have a nice card like an RTX 2070, for example, you may not want a whole new prebuilt PC just to upgrade that i7-4690K that isn't really cutting it in games anymore. Just about all the prebuilt gaming PCs I've seen out there include a graphics card, but maybe you already have something better than the GTX 1660 Super that would come with a budget PC in the NZXT Foundation's price range.

I'd still steer you towards building your own computer if you're going the upgrade path, especially since you can probably save some money grabbing parts on sale during Black Friday PC deals week.

Seeing more choice start to pop up in prebuilt PCs is at least a minor perk of the graphics card shortage. It seems unlikely NZXT will be the only prebuilt company to offer systems like these. Even if prebuilts are the best way to get graphics cards right now without dealing with scalpers, PC companies likely have some inventory they can't move while GPU supplies are so constrained. Selling systems without dedicated graphics cards could help with that, and give a few folks a way to get an entry level PC at an affordable price.

I also got a good chuckle out of the name Foundation PC implying that this NZXT system is, like, most of a PC. It'll definitely hold things up, even if it isn't made of concrete. 

Wes Fenlon

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games. When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old RPG or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).