The new school year is upon us, and there's not much better time to build a PC that will enable both school-related tasks and also some light gaming. We put together a budget build that will not only allow the user to write those essays and build PowerPoint projects, but also play games like League of Legends, WoW, SW:TOR, and many other games that do not demand a great deal of power from the GPU. For only $414, you get a great PC that should be ideal for the student gamer.
This DIY gaming PC build guide aims to assemble a cheap, ultra-budget LoL and schoolwork system for under $500. As a bonus, a mini-ITX form factor ensures potential for use as an HTPC build or living room gaming PC / future DVR replacement.
GRID: Autosport (benchmarked) is sure to get the juices flowing for any car lover. Doubly so with the graphics enhancements that benefit from Haswell chips from Intel. But what happens when you want performance that matches a 500-horsepower car and only have a 100-horsepower Saturn budget? Simple, grab this build, add a touch of overclocking, grab a copy of GRID: Autosport, and enjoy the drive.
The focus of this build was to feature the overclockable Intel Pentium G3258, offer solid mid-to-high level graphics for gaming, and allow for easy upgrades in the future. Our last few extreme budget gaming PC builds were mostly AMD and, based on some great comments both in the forums and article comments, I felt it was time to give Intel a chance to make its mark in this price range.
For those looking to build a cheap gaming PC with the ability to run games on high / ultra graphics -- all for just around $500 -- this is where the buck stops.
Larian Studios managed to release an amazing RPG gem just a few days ago. The company behind the Divinity Series has spent the entirety of last week atop Steam's best-selling games list, and that's out of the company's full catalog. We originally wrote about Divinity: Original Sin here, giving an overview of the game's tabletop-like RPG elements. To celebrate Divinity: Original Sin, we decided to do an ultra-budget "Cheap Bastard's gaming PC build" for right around $400.
With a minimalistic build like this, it obviously won't be able to play everything on max settings; however, it will be able to play most games on min-med graphics -- including LoL, DOTA2, Skyrim, Divinity, Banished, StarCraft 2, and others. You won't even need to wear a bucket on your head... but feel free to. We won't judge.
Our gaming PC build guides typically don't get published alongside as extensive benchmarking endeavors as this AMD build has undergone. In this budget AMD gaming PC build & tutorial, we assemble a ~$700 PC with the ability to play most modern games on maximum settings at 1080 resolutions. We've spec'd out this system for entry-level overclocking, so if you're interested in pumping more power out of the system while keeping costs down, this is a fantastic entry point to system tweaking.
As always, we'll start with a specification table and then jump to the video content. I've augmented this post with an additional video over what we normally provide, including a brief guide on how to overclock the Athlon 760K CPU and benchmark thermals. Below that is provided the regular "how to build a gaming PC" tutorial video, for those who are new to system building.
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 an onboard USB 3.0 header, and a newer
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.