You can downgrade all you want, but here’s what I did/do: always accept as many jobs as you can each day, don’t accept jobs that you think will cost too much, decline jobs that want you to upgrade for a certain score, and accept build jobs when you can.
Jobs that cost too much/pay too little: There aren’t many of these, but there are some. The real key is to try to only do jobs that pay $500 or more (unless you’re in the early game) or if it’s just to remove viruses. I impose a few other restrictions in this section as well. Although, if you’ve already made a bunch of money off of someone from a job line, there’s not really a reason for you to decline their next job unless you actually can’t afford it.
Upgrading to a score: You might be early in the game and be wondering, “What the honk is this guy smoking?” Well, some people, later on, want you to upgrade their PC for a certain score with 3DMark. Well, let me tell you, these jobs typically have an average pay rate and require you to run 3DMark at least twice, which is 3 minutes of your oh-so-valuable time. Ultimately it’s just your personal preference if you do these contracts, but I don’t like them. If you choose to take these jobs, there’s an excellent spreadsheet in this guide just for that right here. That’s a very high-quality guide, unlike this one.
Build Jobs: By far the easiest way to make money. Early jobs for this will ask for a barebones PC that costs $500 or less and typically pay $700. There are a few job lines that’ll have you build multiple PCs, and some that request 3DMark scores. I’ll admit, I am completely unable to build the cheapest PC that can hit a benchmark of roughly 10579 on my own, but this guide right here is god-tier and you’ll be able to hit any 3DMark that the game can throw at you.
Saving Money, Avoiding Bugs
If you’ve come this far, I appreciate that you think you can learn something about this game from me, but here’s my attempt to teach.
There are many, many jobs that require a barebones PC for $500 or less. On at least one occasion, however, the game asks you to replace the motherboard from previous barebones build for less than $160, when the motherboard you may have bought for the original barebones PC was $175. There are other times where you have to build a PC based on the requirements for a game, or you’re using the spreadsheet to pick out parts for you. Here are some money-saving tips for these scenarios.
The true barebones PC
- Edit: as of v 0.8.0, Kaby Lake Processors are now compatible with Skylake motherboards, so this whole sub-section is worthless now. But cheaping out on the mobo before the CPU still works, just not for barebones PCs, just bear in mind that AM4 processors are already cheap, and the mobo is already cheap, so don’t take my word too literally.
TL; DR: There are cheaper, better processor/mobo combinations
If you ever accept a building contract, you’ll be tasked with building either a barebones PC, a PC that can hit a benchmark, or a PC that can run a game with either minimum specs, recommended specs, or recommended 4k specs. I’ve already discussed the barebones, but there are some things to consider when building for spec-requirement builds.
For spec-requirement builds, occasionally you can save about two or three money on parts. For example, if you had a job to build a PC that hit the recommended 4k requirements for PUBG, the processor listed is the Intel i7-8700k, which happens to be a Coffee Lake processor that’s $400. Now, if you take a look at the part-ranking app, you’ll notice that this processor is beaten by the AMD Ryzen 7 Eight Core 1700, which costs $300, but that’s not all. The cheapest Coffee Lake motherboard at level 20 is $170, and the cheapest AM4 motherboard is $110. By going with 1700 instead of the i7-8700k, you’d save $160, as well as use less wattage, potentially allowing you to buy a $10-cheaper PSU.
Here’s the routine of PCs in the game, and how to fix them; also, be sure that no other parts are broken before ordering parts for the same day delivery:
- Note: anything below the problematic bulletpoint on this list could also be broken, so check accordingly. Also, before doing anything, if the email says to check for viruses, don’t exhaust this list. There’s at least one situation that has an objective of “Diagnose and fix,” but it’s actually a scan. Also, if the diagnose and fix lights up green, you can stop going down this list, but if you know the motherboard needs replacing, you might as well completely disassemble the PC to make sure that you can order parts only once.
- Clean up the PC with your magic, infinite air in a can if there are any dust and grime
- Plug it in, turn it on
- If it doesn’t turn on, check the PSU, if it isn’t that, it’s the motherboard
- If it does turn on, but the screen is black, it’s the graphics card
- Check to see if the CPU fan is on; if not, that’s broken
- A blue screen indicates a thermal issue or power issue, but power issues typically arouse in 3DMark; with thermal, there’s either no thermal paste, the CPU fan is broken, or both. Before it was patched, you could put on thermal paste before you took off the fan. Case fans don’t seem to ever be broken.
- PC checks for CPU, if broken, displays such
- PC checks for boot device (hard drive)
- PC checks for RAM
- With multiple GPUs, the screen won’t be black if only one is broken. So check them both.
- The diagnose objective will only turn green once the PC is capable of turning on, and the original problem was solved.
After reassembling/fixing the PC, if it’s still “broken,” but can still go through 3DMark, you may as well check for viruses. If it says that it’s missing cables, unplug a few things and plug back in.
There are some instances where it will continue to say pointless stuff, in those situations, after exhausting this list, try picking up the PC, putting it in the PC storage or the hallway, and then put it back on the table.
There’s also a bug with one of the $80 cases, where you can’t put on the side panel. This happens when you remove the drive bay, possibly while it’s open, and then put it back. To fix that bug, pick up the PC and put it back. You may have to put it in the hallway/PC storage.
Here’s some random stuff:
- In the beginning, you can profit off of next day delivery, so don’t hesitate. I have personally never used the 3-5 day delivery. If you know you’ll make a profit with the same day delivery, there’s really no reason not to, as long as you’re ordering for 3 different jobs. I’ll get 3 jobs, start the next day, then order parts in a specific order. I’ll order from either right to left or vice versa, and if I have a benchmark build, I’ll put those in the cart last, so I can build that/those PC(s) first and run 3DMark.
- There are two other high-quality guides I didn’t mention here. There’s one that has part rankings with prices, and another that did experiments with RAM and benchmarks.
- I always keep on hand the cheapest CPU for each socket-type, preferably a used one, so I can put it in one with a broken CPU to see if there are any other status messages, I also keep the cheapest GPU as well. You don’t need thermal paste, nor a fan to turn on a PC with the cheapest CPUs, except for the TR4 CPUs.
- When you’ve been doing a job line, and the person is asking you to blow a bunch of money on something, just do it if you have the money. Money really isn’t that big an issue in the game. You never know what might get thrown at you. I gave big Stu the best possible PC I could build with my level, so he could finish up this game faster.
- You don’t have to scam people to earn money. Just use the money they gave you to replace their stuff. If you think it’s fun scamming NPCs whose only character models are the names in their emails, then go on ahead, but that’s just cheesing.
- SLI is for NVIDIA processors, and Crossfire is for AMD. So when using the spreadsheet, make sure to pick the correct AM4 mobo if it uses dual NVIDIA GPUs, as the cheapest mobo uses Crossfire.
- Just because you have a PSU that outputs the exact wattage required for the CPU and your GPU(s), doesn’t mean that your build will work. I generally allow room for at least 25 extra watts, and the PSUs differ in their ports, meaning that you won’t have enough ports for two GPUs, or you might not have enough SATA ports to have all the storage you want in a personal build.
- Sometimes when you have to upgrade a GPU, the first one directly above it in the part ranking app may have a higher wattage requirement, or it may cost more than you’re being paid. Sometimes, there’s no way to finish the job without being underpaid, but other times, if you just cross-reference the GPUs further above that, you could find one that either costs less or uses less wattage so it doesn’t blue-screen in 3DMark.