It's technically Thanksgiving here, and we need some easier content to consume to go with the rest of the consumption this weekend—and we mean consumerism and Black Friday, not food. Our latest experiment is a cheap gaming PC build for under $500, using an AMD X4 845 and GTX 1050 for games like Overwatch, DOTA2, and even GTA V.
Oh, and just for fun, we did throw in a Battlefield 1 benchmark -- it's just that this isn't an ideal configuration for that sort of game. Still worth learning about performance limitations, though.
The system build is detailed below.
Too often people considering PC gaming will fall into the train of thought that gaming PCs have to be expensive. This train of thought is both unfortunate and untrue: Gaming PCs can certainly be expensive, but a decent gaming PC can also be built relatively cheaply.
Today’s “Cheap Bastard” gaming PC build comes to a total of about $436, and uses an ASUS R9 380 Strix along with an i3-6100 to allow for solid gaming performance at 1080p. Graphics settings at 1080p will generally fall within the “medium” to “high” range, depending on the game.
It sometimes seems that gaming PCs have to use high-end components and, subsequently, be expensive. These high-end PCs may provide a pretty looking picture and high FPS, but a PC capable of a decent gaming experience at 1080p can actually be built fairly cheaply.
Today's "Cheap Bastard" build totals about $455, and uses an nVidia GTX 950 along with an i3-6100 to enable a decent gaming experience at 1080p for most games using medium settings.
PC build list follows!
Power isn't always necessary. We recently benchmarked AMD's new A10-7870K APU, which necessitated the testing of low-end video card testing alongside low-end processors; our findings dictated that the latter coupling made for perfectly playable framerates at 1080p in popular eSports games.
Counter-Strike: GO, DOTA2, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm are all readily played on low-end hardware. In the case of CSGO, DOTA, and LoL, the games can be run using a cheap, $400 PC build on high and medium-high settings with framerates exceeding 60FPS. We've got benchmarks lower down to back this up.
We've said it before: Gaming HTPCs are rising in popularity. The viability of a quiet, small form factor gaming PC has never been more pronounced. For the PC builder who wants something for use in the living room with a larger screen – something that can double for movie and TV playback alongside gaming use cases – building a gaming HTPC is a quick, affordable solution. A TV-attached HTPC also bears with it the possibility of cable plan termination, given that most shows are now officially hosted online or on video streaming services.
Gaming, of course, is a major draw for such a build. We make some sacrifices in favor of budget but, in general, most graphically-modest games will go well-played on an APU or low-end dGPU.
This budget gaming PC comes in at less than $500 thanks to a DIY approach; it's easily capable of playing the likes of Skyrim, Fallout, DC Universe, and similar titles at reasonable graphics settings.
It's been a while since we've done a low-budget HTPC build, so this time around, we've pieced together a PC for under $500. This will do great as either an entry-level gaming system or as an HTPC for the living room. If you're looking for a build with a bit more "under the hood," consider our high-end Witcher 3 PC Build.
This sub-$500 gaming PC build is powered by an AMD A10-7850K, which is a cheap solution for light gaming, streaming, and everyday usage. You won't be playing GTA V or the Witcher very well on this build, but not everything has to be high-end – for League of Legends, Skyrim, DiRT, and similar games, this will do just fine.
Now that we're well into a new year and still feeling the lingering effects of all the epic components we saw at CES, what better time to do the first budget gaming PC build of the year. As usual, we scoured the internet for the best components at the lowest price range, piecing together a PC that will be great for an entry-level gaming rig.
For less than the price of a current-gen console, we assembled a PC that can play most games out at medium to high settings. This budget gaming PC uses a do-it-yourself approach, landing the price at under $500 for an entry-level system.
In doing so, we put together a PC that is great for streaming videos, games, and even playing less intensive games like League of Legends, Minecraft, Path of Exile, and DOTA2. This PC should not be considered a viable option if you're looking to play games like Far Cry 4 (benchmark) and Assassin's Creed Unity (benchmark). If you're looking to build the best general purpose streaming PC for the lowest price, this $299 gaming HTPC build is perfect for you.
In these “Cheap Bastard's” gaming PC builds, we put together the best build possible for less than $500; this one comes to $488 after rebates. Even though Black Friday is weeks away, we were able to find some great deals on PC components right now. We decided to go with AMD for this build, seeing how Team Red offers some of the best performance for the low-end PC user – especially for the PC gamer.
This time around, we were able to put together a formidable low-end gaming PC for under $500. We paired an AMD R7 265 with an Athlon X4 860k, which should be able to play most games out at medium to high settings. This build is perfect for those of you who are looking to upgrade for Warlords of Draenor or the upcoming Shadow of Revan MMO expansions; gamers seeking performance for the likes of Assassin's Creed Unity need to invest substantially more for a capable PC.
You didn't read this wrong. We’ve put together an ultra-budget “Cheap Bastard’s” gaming PC build for just over $400. At around the same price of a current gen console, you can build a quality entry-level gaming PC. Featuring an Intel G3258, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and an MSI R7 260, you get a great gaming PC for games like LoL, DOTA2, WoW, GRID, Titanfall and TOR.
This budget gaming PC build takes the DIY approach to building a custom computer for games like Titanfall, priced far below our usual $500 budget target.