The Future of Game Graphics
Looking forward with updated SDKs.
World of Speed Preview
MMO Racing attempts to gain a foothold.
NVidia's Titan Z
A new nVidia card is outfitted with 5700+ cores.
RAM Channeling Benchmark
Dual-Channel vs. Single-Channel experiment.

It's been a while since we've done a true Cheap Bastard's gaming PC build -- our last one was our $506 Titanfall gaming computer back in February. This time we've done it a bit differently than before. My goal here is to build an entry-level gaming rig at the lowest price possible while offering plenty of room for upgrades. This build would be great for the gamer who plays games that do not require a great deal from the GPU. I included an FM2+ motherboard because it provides all the newer features missing from the dying AM3+ platform, like PCIe 3.0, an onboard USB 3.0 header, and a newer Bolton chipset that makes it a more viable option than an older AM3+ motherboard.

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In this $475 ultra-budget, cheap gaming PC build, we'll make component selections for building your own computer for lightweight gaming; a how-to video guide is included below, as is a list of upgrade options for those with a bit more cash to spend. If you've got some more money, we'd suggest checking out the $740 EverQuest PC (Intel) we posted recently.

So let's get to the build.

In late 2013, AMD came out with their new GPU series that included the R9 290 and R9 290X, both of which ran quite loudly and at 95C. This has led to a plethora of custom coolers for these two cards being released by third-party vendors. One of the most unexpected being VisionTek’s CryoVenom, a liquid-cooled 290 for $600.

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WildStar has been on our radar since PAX East 2013 partially because of its Warplots PVP combat and player housing. Carbine Studios has already implemented the core functionalities and most of the rich customization for their large-scale battle mode in the game’s beta. That said, series newcomers may want a comprehensive understanding of this expansive and explosive gameplay mode before joining their first War Party. I went to a Warplots demo at last week’s PAX East for a debriefing with Carbine’s PVP Lead Designer, Jen Gordy.

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Despite all of our gaming coverage emerging from PAX East, we still made the rounds with our regularly-visited hardware manufacturers. Rosewill was among them, as always.

At CES 2014, I explained in a few camera discussions that mini-ITX cases were going to become a major trend for the year; the advent of Steam OS and Valve's impending Steam boxes only emboldens the expansion of home theater PCs (HTPCs), of which mini-ITX enclosures are a major component choice to consider. Cases are normally pretty low on the list of prioritized components, but when you're building small, there are suddenly a lot of concerns: Clearance for VGAs and coolers, CPU coolers, drives, and thermal challenges are all factors worthy of attention.

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Rosewill had their Legacy line-up at CES, but most of the cases there were primarily uninteresting to our gaming-focused staff. PAX East brought the unveil of the Legacy W1, a mini-ITX case that floats toward a middle-size and makes room for larger components. Here's my video walkthrough:

We've been covering the Orcs Must Die! series since its inception -- actually, it was one of our very first camera interviews ever -- and have followed it through the second iteration. The first OMD shipped as a single-player, traps-oriented game that encouraged Rube Goldberg-lite combos to pulverize orcs. The idea centered on tower defense mechanics (prevent the bad guys from getting to the end) mixed with on-the-ground action-RPG mechanics. The second game -- cleverly named "Orcs Must Die! 2" -- introduced co-operative play between two players. It was a much-needed refresh that we largely enjoyed within our team.

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I suppose I'll take the opportunity to mention that OMD! is made by Robot Entertainment, a studio that's largely formed of refugees from Microsoft's now-dissolved Ensemble Studios - the makers of Age of Empires and other RTS games.

The newest game was unveiled at PAX East 2014 this weekend and brings F2P 5v5 combat to the series. In playing Unchained on-site, the game felt like one part MOBA, one part action-RPG, and many parts Orcs Must Die! (that is to say: blood, giblets, and gratuitous amounts of cartoon death). Let's do the interview thing before we jump to further details:

Double Fine’s a perfect fit for the PAX shows because it strongly, actively supports its IPs in the community. This PAX was no different. Double Fine showcased a couple of new titles -- the upcoming Hack n’ Slash and the recently-launched Broken Age -- as well as the second title under its Double Fine Presents publishing moniker, Last Life. Gamers Nexus was on the scene to preview each of these.

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