After our interview with Dave Georgeson of the EverQuest franchise (including Landmark) and follow-up on the beta's availability, we've started the process of playing Landmark for content purposes.

The first bit of related content, as is usually the case for us, is a mid-range gaming PC build that's spec'd for EverQuest Next: Landmark at near-max (high) settings. You could certainly build a cheaper AMD system (keep eyes open for that), but this one will get you running EQNL at high (or thereabouts) settings and still provide room for high graphics output with more demanding titles. If you're interested in Titanfall, you'll be happy to hear that this machine will also easily run Titanfall on max settings, as we benchmarked over here.

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This budget gaming PC isn't meant to be overclocked. The parts were selected specifically to reduce initial cost and get users playing games quickly with minimal tweaking; if you're more enthusiastic in your hardware endeavors and would like overclocking as an option, check out our overclocking primer and other PC builds. Jumping to the DIY PC parts list after EverQuest Next: Landmark's system requirements!

 

Published in Gaming Upgrade Kit

Although I've yet to pen my thoughts on Titanfall as a game (still debating whether it seems mechanically-sound or not), there's no doubt that it's going to be a big title across all platforms, regardless of the buggy PC beta. We previously benchmarked Titanfall on numerous video cards using the PC beta -- prior to any official driver support or game patches were announced -- and saw that AMD's generations-old Trinity performed surprisingly acceptably. Given that Trinity is a couple generations aged and there aren't any official drivers or optimization patches, this is good news for APU owners.

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It's even better news for budget system builders.

This budget Titanfall gaming PC will get you playing the game on medium settings (you might be able to push medium/high hybrid) for around $500. By using an APU, we bypass the need for a discrete GPU and can get you up-and-running for cheaper; our $797 mid-range Titanfall PC build guide is another option, for those with a bit more money.

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Our Titanfall coverage included a benchmark of the game's PC performance across multiple hardware configurations, and after this preliminary performance analysis, we can now safely start making build recommendations. Keep in mind that our benchmark was initially run on the beta version of Titanfall, so it is highly likely that AMD and nVidia driver updates will significantly improve performance; further PC optimization by Respawn will also do wonders, given the hauntingly-familiar, broken state of the game right now.

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Regardless, the benchmark gives us an excellent idea as to the bottom line of Titanfall's performance spectrum, since things will only improve from here.

This $797 budget gaming PC for Titanfall ensures the best performance-to-budget ratio, focusing heavily on delivering maxed-out (high) settings at 1080p with a steady framerate. If you haven't built a gaming PC before (or if you need a refresher), our full "How to Build a Gaming Computer" guide can be found here. We've also embedded the video guide below.

Published in Gaming Upgrade Kit

With the new year, it's time for a new low-budget gaming PC build. With our coverage of CES 2014 in the books, it's time to reflect on what we discovered there and move on to provide you with the best builds available for your budget.

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This sub-$500 Cheap Bastard's gaming PC build attempts to demonstrate how little you have to spend to get a quality gaming PC -- now featuring a Kaveri APU. My initial purpose was to do a Steam Machine-style build, but seeing how the new SteamOS is still in beta, and the Steam Controller is not readily available, I decided to temporarily cut those two pieces. This is a great starter build for anyone looking to enter the world of PC gaming and offers plenty room for future upgrades.

We decided to go with a Kaveri gaming PC build list for this one, implementing fast RAM and a very stylish case from Corsair. Here's the list:

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Christmas is right around the corner, so we've decided to do a budget build that you could ask Santa to build for you. This build is a step up from the recent $508 Cheap Bastard's Xmas Gaming build we did for those of you on an ultra-strict budget, and at $727, you get a lot more power for a bit more cash. This build is powered by an eight-core CPU and an AMD R9 270 GPU; it's a great combo for gamers who play games more demanding on the video card than what was offered with the above mentioned build. You should have no problem playing most (if not all) games out there at mid to highest settings.

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This $727 budget gaming PC build offers a DIY option for high-end gaming at a mid-range price. Let's get to the goodies you hope to find under your Xmas tree this year.

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It's been a while since a true revival of our Cheap Bastard series of gaming PC builds. We recently posted a low-end League of Legends PC for $425 that can be assembled very quickly, but it was really spec'd just for low-end games. We had a recent forum request for a cheap PC build capable of Twitch streaming, YouTube video editing, and gaming for around $500. That's what this gaming PC tries to do. This Cheap Bastard's gaming PC build has no frills -- it just gets the job done, namely gaming on high settings, lightweight video rendering, and Twitch streaming for around $500.

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If you need help learning how to build the system, hit us up on the forums or keep an eye out for our impending guide!

Let's get started! 

Published in Gaming Upgrade Kit

It's been a while since we've done an ultra-budget gaming PC build, and never have we done one for so little. At just over $400, we've got a PC that's perfect for the casual gamer -- someone who plays games like League of Legends, Path of Exile, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, or FORCED. For less than the MSRP of the highly-anticipated console that is launching later this month, you not only get a PC, but a modest gaming system as well.

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This Cheap Bastard's gaming PC build stands at less than $500, making a great DIY gaming computer for League of Legends, Path of Exile, Skyrim, and DOTA 2 players. With the powerful A10 APU and Zalman Z9 case, this PC not only looks ready to go into battle, but ready for you to summon your champion and decimate whomever crosses your lane.

Published in Gaming Upgrade Kit

Halloween is upon us, and since most of our readers are too old to trick or treat, we decided to bring the treats to you. We put together a Halloween-themed build that uses an orange and black scheme, but is still very capable of playing most games at medium-to-high settings.

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Theme builds are a fun way to stand out from the usual black-and-blue configuration, so if you're looking to build a new system with a Halloween theme or just love orange and black, this is the build for you. Plenty of alternatives and upgrade options are also listed below.

With this $647 budget gaming computer build, you'll be able to play most modern games on mid-to-high settings and have a couple upgrade options open; for anyone looking for a first-time PC build (or a refresher), this one's a great starting point.

 

Published in Gaming Upgrade Kit

It's easy to get excited about ultra high-end computer hardware (like the HAF Stacker), but realistically, the largest percentage of our system building audience looks for cost efficiency. We've previously reviewed RAIDMAX's Cobra and Rosewill's R5 in the entry-level ~$50-$60 budget range, and in an effort to fill out our bench, we're adding Antec's new GX700.

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We first looked at the GX700 at CES 2013, where Antec representative Justin Chou demonstrated the case's main features. At the time, Antec noted that its objective was to fit a $50-$60 price-point and maximize case fan count without inflating cost. The case also hopes to fit a 'gamer' aesthetic that a lot of modern enclosures attempt, almost vaguely mirroring Corsair's higher-end C70 with its military styling and flair.

This Antec GX700 gaming case review aims to benchmark performance, optimal case fan placement, build quality, and best cable management practices. We tested multiple aftermarket fan configurations, so if you've got extra money to add fans, our below benchmark will help with  airflow optimization. We'd also recommend that you take a look at our case fan placement guide.

Published in Hardware

It's been a while since we've posted a proper budget build, so with the re-launch of the site and subsequent giveaway, we figured it was a great time to post another. As with all our budget gaming PC builds, we decided to go for the best possible build for the lowest reasonable price, without entering HTPC territory (you can find one of those over here). This is a true gaming build.

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Featuring an AMD Radeon HD 7850 GPU paired with an AMD FX-6300 processor, this machine is purpose-built for budget-focused gamers with a desire to still run medium or better graphics settings. You won't be maxing-out high-end games (like Battlefield 4, check out this rig for that), but the 7850 will readily handle most mid-range games on high settings and high-end games (BF4) on medium settings.

Priced at a little under $600, this DIY budget gaming computer build provides a strong foundation for your PC gaming and building endeavors. Let's get to the components break-down.

Published in Gaming Upgrade Kit
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