$650 Guild Wars 2 Budget Gaming PC Build - June, 2012

Written by  Tuesday, 26 June 2012 12:50
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In another thematic PC build, this Guild Wars 2 budget gaming rig will get you playing the upcoming MMORPG for around $600. The system we've pieced together below won't have any trouble playing the vast majority of modern games on high graphics settings (including the likes of Skyrim, StarCraft 2, and even Battlefield 3 - which should run on medium/high quite admirably). Guild Wars 2 falls within that realm and, equally so, should run on respectably high settings with the below configuration.

gw2-pc

The goal here is to create an affordable gaming computer DIY build list with the ability to run Guild Wars 2 smoothly, aiming for the below $700 mark. We hit that cleanly, figuring out a list for a nice $650 gaming build -- not bad at all, considering the power it packs. Before defining the parts within the build, let's throw up the minimum requirements to alleviate any fears (the official recommended requirements have not yet been released - but with a 6870 and strong CPU, there's nothing to fear).

If you're looking for a gaming PC for around $500 to play Guild Wars 2, take a look at our previous setup.

 

Guild Wars 2 Minimum System Requirements

Operating System: Windows XP SP 2 or newer.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.0GHz; Core i3; AMD Athlon 64 X2 or better.

Memory: 2GB of RAM.

GPU: nVidia GeForce 7800, ATi X1800, Intel HD 3000 or better; required 256MB of video RAM and shader model 3.0 or newer.

Storage: 25GB of available space.

Note the inclusion of Intel's HD-series 3000 -- owners of a 3rd Gen Intel CPU ("Ivy Bridge") that are HD 4000-enabled (view which Ivy Bridge CPUs utilize the HD 4000 IGP in this IB comparison) will be pleased to know that they can play GW2 without a dedicated GPU.

ArenaNet has always - similar to Blizzard - aimed for mass accessibility, opting for more potential players over the absolute-best graphics.

Here's the build list:

Budget Parts List Name Price Rebates/etc. Total
Video Card XFX Double D 6870 $190 -$20, Fre Shipping $170
CPU AMD FX-4100 3.6GHz (COMBO 1) $110 -$10, Free Shipping $100
Memory Corsair Vengeance 8GB RAM $55 Free Shipping $55
Motherboard ASUS M5A99X (COMBO 1) $125 -$20, Free Shipping $105
Power Supply Corsair 650W PSU $90 -$30, Free Shipping $60
Hard Drive Seagate 500GB Drive $65 Free Shipping $65
Optical Drive Samsung Optical Drive $15 Free Shipping $15
Case Zalman Z11 Plus $90 -$10 $80
Total $740 -$90 $650

 

Optional Add-ons (pick and choose as budget allows)

Add-on Parts List Name Price Rebates/etc. Combined Total
Operating System
Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium $100 Free Shipping $658

Video Card:

As video-graphics giant nVidia continues to release its entire GTX 6-series Kepler line of GPUs, AMD's launches from earlier in the year have had a noticeable (albeit small) price impact on their already-strong 68xx-series GPUs. XFX is now offering their 6870 for a respectable $140 after MIR ($170 before), which ships with 1GB of memory on a 256-bit memory interface (read more about what GPU specs mean in this post). With a price that's almost more reasonable than even AMD's 6850, there's no reason not to go with this card (unless you have more money, in which case, consider our below recommendation); the video card uses a synchronous twin-fan design that helps dissipate heat from its subterranean (so-to-speak) heatsink, is equipped with plenty of video memory for gaming, and has a large enough pipeline and fast enough clock speeds for most games we can throw at it.

Have $100 more? Consider looking into the Radeon HD 6950 instead. Its improvement spike ranges in the realm of 13%-19%, depending on the game (with some outliers in each direction).

CPU:

Opting to go with another true "Scorpius" Platform build (Bulldozer + AMD GPU) for its cost efficiency, AMD's FX-4100 Zambezi core 3.6GHz CPU makes an excellent choice for the price limitations we've set for ourselves. Stepping up to a more powerful Intel core isn't necessary for purposes of playing Guild Wars 2 (or games like it), and with the relative strength-per-dollar that is attained from utilizing a Bulldozer core -- as with all of AMD's products, they opt for affordability and practicality -- we'll sail smoothly through Guild Wars 2 upon launch.

Intel has better offerings for raw power on the whole, but until the price ventures into $700 territory, sticking with AMD just makes sense.

This quad-core CPU will handle games without much of a tick, especially considering many games still only heavily utilize the first two cores (and inefficiently use subsequent cores, if present).

Memory:

With Scorpius builds, we like to try to aim for a true "full red" load-out, making for the best synergy between component coloring; of course, red doesn't make anything faster (oh, how we wish it were that easy - case modding would be reduced to dunking it in a vat of red paint), but it does look fantastic and defines the build's personality. PC gaming is all about style, and with the wide array of options for great RAM out there (which Kingston rightfully calls "a commodity"), there are numerous combinations for unique build styles.

There's more to RAM than exterior design, though. Corsair's Vengeance Series remains one of the most cost effective contenders in its class, offering, in this case, 8GB of PC3-12800 (DDR3 1600MHz) memory for an accessible $55 (which includes a free USB cable, oooh, aaah). Granted, the difference between a 1333MHz and 1600MHz pair of RAM sticks will be almost entirely unnoticeable to gamers, the fact is that the industry is trending toward high-performance memory, and to buy 1333MHz RAM would cost almost the same as the speedier 1600MHz version.

Motherboard:

We combo'd ASUS' M5A99X Evo motherboard with the FX-4100 CPU for best pricing practices, giving a solid $10 discount for the pairing.

The M5A99X Evo ATX motherboard is mounted with a pair of PCI-e 2.0 x16 slots (capable of running in dual x8/x8 mode), 6xSATA III (6Gb/s) ports, 4xMemory slots for expansion room, native support of 1866MHz and 1600MHz memory, and as is the new standard, UEFI-enabled BIOS. This motherboard is CrossFireX-ready, in the event more GPUs sounds appealing (but please ask us below if you're unsure of the power requirements for such an expansion).

Power Supply:

Opting for as many instant-promo codes as we could find, Corsair's 650W Enthusiast Series PSU comes down to an awesome $60 after rebates and instant discounts, which is incredibly well-priced for its quality.

650W is more than enough to power a system of this caliber (and a little more, truly), and as our PSU Dictionary points out, targeting 60% or 80% load will often result in peak operating efficiency for the power supply, making for the most power output with the least loss.

Hard Drive:

They're still coming down in price. The hard drive supply has stabilized, but certain retailers (*ahem,* Newegg) are still priced at the flood levels. NCIX, however, is currently selling this 500GB 7200RPM standard Seagate drive for $65, which is hard to beat right now. Use the code "63468-1048" at checkout to receive this price.

Optical Drive:

Well, as optical drives grasp for their last years of life, we're still forced to include them for the occasionally usage of CDs or non-USB OS installations. Here are the specs on this one:

22X DVD Burner 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 24X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM

Case:

Aaand here's the resolution of the theme. Our red/black theme -- with the only exception being the motherboard (priced and spec'd so well that we couldn't not use it) -- is all tied together with Zalman's Z11 Plus enclosure. There are both red and blue versions of this case (the only difference being LEDs), so feel free to switch over to the blue side if it's preferential to your Guild Wars 2 playstyle. After our 'How to Pick A Case' guide, this one just seemed to fit; it ships with 3x120mm fans (each equipped with a red LED) and 2x80mm side fans. The side fans will be a bit noisier than larger fans, as we've explained in the past, but unless any level of noise is unacceptable, the payout is well worth it. It's the chiseled design that really makes it what it is.

Want something more discrete? Try this Antec 300 on for size (just consider adding an additional fan).

Have any questions about this build or custom builds? Post below for quick comments or in our forums for more in-depth commentary and custom build support. We're here to help, so ask away!

Once you have the system all built-up and finalized, check out our guide to benchmarking your PC like a pro - give it a serious burn-in test and start playing!

-Steve Burke.

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:46

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