PC gaming is superior to console gaming in countless ways, but with one big disadvantage. This one disadvantage being, of course, price. AMD and NVidia both just released their new graphics card lines, so the prices of the older, but still powerful, parts have dropped. Due to this, I was able to create a very powerful budget machine, coming in at under $550! This machine will still be able to play all of the newest games at max or near-max settings, such as Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, Crysis 2, and more.
The system is based on AMD parts because they provide the best performance for the price, and I’ve never had the driver issues that everybody claims are AMD’s biggest problem.
Processor: $109.99 AMD FX-4100
The FX-4100 is AMD’s best Quad-Core processor. I chose a quad-core processor because most games only support 4 cores, and a 3.8 ghz quad core will easily be enough to compliment most graphics cards in gaming. The FX processors are notable for their fantastic overclocking and good use of power, and this is no exception.
Graphics Card: $159.99 (After $10 MIR) Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB
This graphics card is one of the best for budget gaming. It’s truly not a “budget” card. The 6800′s are AMD’s “gaming” series, the 6900s being the “enthusaist” series. The 6870 is the best of the 6800 series, meaning it’s the best card for a reasonable price that there is. It is competetive in power with the 6950, which is $50 more, and beats out the 560, which is usually around $70 more. For the price, this card is fantastic, and is a key part to the build. If you find it isn’t enough power for you, you can always get a 2nd card, as the 6870 performs really well in Crossfire.
Motherboard: $114.99 ASUS M5A88-V AM3+
This motherboard is fairly average, although supporting onboard graphics and some overclocking. One notable thing this board is lacking is dual-graphics support, which is where the step-up board comes into play.
Motherboard Step Up: $149.99 ASUS M5A99X EVO AM3+
This board is similar to the one before, but offers much better overclocking, better bios, auto-tuning for power saving and overclocking, and quad-gpu support (Although it only has slots for dual, you would need dual-gpu cards to do more). This board is a fantastic step up, is much more upgradable, and well worth the $35 difference.
Power Supply: $49.99 (After $30 MIR and promo code EMCNGHG79) OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W Modular
This powersupply is one of the most reliable that OCZ makes. 700W is easily enough to power the machine, even if you decide to get a 2nd AMD Radeon HD 6870. “Modular” means you can only use the cables you need, making cable management even easier
Recommended Case: $39.99 (After promo code EMCNGHG82 and $10 MIR) Antec Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
Any mid or full tower case will do, this is just a recommendation.
Antec is primarily a power supply manufacturer, but this case is fantastic for the price. It will easily hold and cool all the components in this build, including dual graphics cards.
Recommended RAM: $37.99 G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)
Why recommended? You can usually find ram cheap, there is always some form of sale going on that would price nicer ram at around this area. Read the reviews on Newegg, and look for PC3 12800 or 10600, and speeds of 1333 or 1600.
G-Skill ram has powered most of my machines for a long while. They tend to have the best performance/price ratios, and 8 gigs is the perfect amount of ram for this machine.
Recommended Hard Drive: $74.99 (Refurbished) Western Digital Caviar Blue 7200rpm 500gb HDD
In a gaming machine, the hard drive is important for little other then loading times. If you wanted more space, I’d go with either 2 of these drives in RAID, or bigger drives. If you wanted faster boot and load times, go with an SSD.
This specific drive is very good for the price. Western Digital is commonly considered the pinacle of hard drive manufacturing, and makes great products that last. The chances of this drive failing are slim, since both Newegg and WD put their refurbs through crazy tests before selling them.
Disc Drive: $19.99 ASUS DVD Burner
Disc drives aren’t really important for much other then installing the operating system, so many people go without nowadays, and install off of a usb drive, borrow a disc drive, or any of many other options.
Asus is a great manufacturer of all parts, their disc drives being no exception. Honestly, most disc drives are equal, and they’re mostly priced at $19.99. If you find a better price for a DVD drive, and it has decent reviews, jump on it.
(not including shipping)
That’s really, really good for a build of this power.
I’d recommend going through Newegg for most of your purchases. They have the best shipping times I’ve seen from any parts retailer online, and these prices will be hard to find anywhere else.