Not everyone has the extra few bucks to spare for a $550 budget gaming rig, but even when money's tight, it's still possible to set up an amazing budget gaming PC build. This newest revival of our forlorn Cheap Bastard's build is loaded with surprisingly high-performing, high-profile brand names for the restrictive budget we set ourselves.
Unfortunately, due to the recent inflation of the Hard Drive market from the flooding in Thailand, the hard drive is about twice the price it should be - and that won't get any better in the near future. Analysts have told us that hard drives should return to their normal pricing in the first half of next year, but until then, this is the best system you can put together for the money (if you have an old hard drive, salvage it and use it instead).
The objective of this build is to get as many games performing on ultra/high settings as possible for under $500. We've done just that: welcome to the best gaming pc build for under $500.
UPDATE: We have posted a list of several additional fixes for all types of issues in Skyrim. If the below solution does not work for you, try checking our complete Skyrim glitch fix guide.
As we noted in our Skyrim minimize workaround, the game shipped with a number of annoyances for PC gamers (especially those experienced with the TES series). One of the more noticeable, more obnoxious mini-issues is that of mouse smoothing and mouse lag in Skyrim for PC: if you've ever felt like whipping your mouse around doesn't feel quite right, or if the mouse sensitivity feels too low in Skyrim despite how high you turned it up, this fix should help you out. It was the first thing I did before setting off on my 'hardcore mode' adventures!
Here's the fix:
The following is what will be an ongoing journal from my character's perspective from my journeys in Skyrim; I have elected to play the game in what I've dubbed 'hardcore mode,' with the following restrictions:
- No fast traveling allowed.
- If I die, I make a new character (this forces me to play VERY carefully).
- No leveling up unless within a town.
- I will not use my map.
- I will stay in first-person (unless to admire myself).
In this week's journal, our hero is attacked by a nomadic group of bandits crossing the plains, and nearing death's end, he has an unexpected savior (and a very, very large one at that). This log will be updated every Saturday.
UPDATE: We have posted a complete Skyrim glitch-fix guide, found here. If you're experiencing crashes or glitches, check it out for more detailed help.
Skyrim's big release has not been free from its share of video hangs and crashes; we noticed earlier while playing that minimizing and maximizing Skyrim often resulted in a black-screen graphics hang. There's an easy workaround to fix Skyrim's screen going blank on maximizing that we've detailed below -- it's certainly no permanent fix, but for now, it's an easy workaround that anyone can do for Skyrim on the PC.
Follow these steps to successfully restore Skyrim and avoid an alt-F4 of doom:
Publishers EA and Activision have released reports that show a significant decrease in online activity as of midnight, 11/11/11; the reports (shown below) have illustrated an internet exodus that seemed to initiate at midnight and has continued steadily throughout the day. In response to this, EA and Activision have stated that servers for Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 will be shut down due to "the lowest all-time internet activity since 1994."
As powerful as desktop PCs are (our $800 build is a testament to this), they are inherently cumbersome and have limited mobility. If you're often on the go, attend LAN parties with your friends frequently, or just prefer something smaller (relatively), then you may prefer a gaming laptop; we've picked these out for their ability to run the newest games (like Skyrim or BF3). Here is a run-down of the different laptops based on price-point:
Before we go on, keep in mind that most of these laptops have a lot of customization options in terms of the hardware that can be included with the system. This means you can pick and choose from a variety of options (CPU, RAM amount, hard drive space) that you want in order to better fit your budget. For the sake of picking the best bang for the buck we have picked the best hardware possible for you in the laptops featured.
The newest Call of Duty game promises to revolutionize FPS gameplay in ways never before imagined, an Activision rep told us in an exclusive interview. "We're really going all-out this time: we've heard the 're-hash' jokes and the criticism toward Call of Duty as a franchise, so we're responding by doing something completely different from previous games; we're really deviating from the known path this time. Modern Warfare 3's new features will blow your minds," he ecstatically informed us. It's hard to believe that we were excited about BF3's DLC achievement pack - this is even more phenomenal.
Over the past months, Blizzard has done well to tease their fans with StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm mini-announcements; we've compiled those for you below and collected a list of the pending changes. The delicious teasers of things that have changed for Wings of Liberty and are incoming for HotS are below.
EA's attempt at funneling its gamers through a pretentious, under-developed social network (that'd be Origin) is not unknown to players of Battlefield 3 -- the system disconnects players from servers if connectivity to the browser interface is interrupted, it demands that anti-virus software is disabled, and works only partially on some of the most widely-used browsers.
Luckily for us, EA has come up with a solution.
"We've looked at the numbers, and it would appear that the number of people who have figured out how to use Origin are surprisingly low," an EA rep told us, "for this reason, we've decided that achievements should be offered for figuring out how to join a server."
Violent riots have broken-out over Skyrim's recently-released requirements, with some gamers equipping themselves with weighted mice and spiked keyboards to march on Bethesda's headquarters.
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