The grossly expensive Monthly Monster for this month might as well have been solid gold. We decided that gamers need a good selection of gaming rigs, thus we have created the $474 Budget Gamer PC. GN Staff was given a $500 budget to build the opposite end of the spectrum, a budget gamer's dream machine. We did it with $26 to spare! Check it out, and then replace your rusting, dusting crapbox with it!
ASUS M3A76-CM Motherboard
nVidia 8800GTS (G92) 512MB
AMD Athlon X2 7850 2.8GHz Black Edition Kuma CPU
OCZ Platinum 4GB DDR 1066 (PC2 8500) Memory
Raidmax Hybrid 530W PSU
Sony Optiarc 24x CD/DVD Burner
Western Digital Caviar 320GB 7200RPM HDD
Raidmax Tornado Mid-Tower Case
ASUS M3A76-CM Motherboard Link
With this budget build, we went for a motherboard that had the bare essentials: PCI-Express 2.0 (1), PCI-Express x8, plenty of USB, dual or quad core support, room for up to 8gb of DDR2 1066, onboard audio, and enough SATA ports to hook up multiple drives if there is a need for more gigs later. ASUS delivered all of this to us for a generous $65, earning this motherboard a spot on our budget build.
Nvidia 8800 GTS 512MB (G92) Link
$110 - $20 Rebate
This card, while dubbed to be part of the 8 series, sports the same core as nVidia's 9 series, turning the 8800 GTS card into a beastly competitor in the budget market. This card will be able to run any game you throw at it with the highest or high graphics settings (I am looking at you, Crysis). All this at a reasonable $110 means the 8800 wins the best choice for budget gamers award once again.
AMD Athlon X2 7850 Black Edition Kuma 2.8GHz Link
Intel is putting up a fierce fight, and since competition is such a compelling force, AMD has renewed their price-reduction strategy for many products, allowing gamers access to speedy and reliable CPUs and GPUs at stellar prices. This dual core shows its swagga with a bling-worthy 2.8GHz - before overclocking - and can be bumped up a few notches thanks to it being the black edition processor. Boasting a 2 x 512KB L2 Cache and a 2MB L3 Cache, this processor will perform admirably in any games you currently own for a low $70.
OCZ Platinum 4GB DDR2 1066 PC2 8500 Link
No true gaming computer is complete without a minimum of 4GBs of RAM, so we threw in this OCZ RAM running at 1066 MHz with cas timings of 5-5-5-18 AND platinum heatspreaders to keep your cooling factor up at a cost of $55.
Raidmax Hybrid 530W PSU Link
$55 - $15 Rebate
Good brand, good power, good price. GET IT!
Sony Optiarc DVD/CD burner Link
With standard and above par speeds this drive made our build instantly. The speeds are listed below.
Write: DVD+R 24x, DVD+RW 8x, DVD-R 24x, DVD-RW 6x, CD-r 48x, CD-RW 32x, DVD+R DL 12x, DVD-R DL 12x, DVD-RAM 12x
Read: DVD-ROM 16x, CD-ROM 48x
Western Digital Caviar 320GB 7200 RPM HDD Link
A 320GB capacity will handle all the games a budget gamer needs to worry about, and it still retains a strong operating speed of 7200 RPM. For the price of $50, this HDD easily beats out the competition to make it onto our budget build.
Raidmax Tornado Midtower Case Link
$40 - $10 Rebate
Rocking a pair of USB 2.0 slots, two 80mm fans, and one 120mm fan, this case will keep your computer running cool and quick without putting a lot of heat on your wallet for $40.
A strong CPU, RAM, and GPU mean you will be owning at a high FPS for a low cost. We highly recommend this build for anybody looking to upgrade an older machine for cheap, or at all for that matter. Have a higher budget? Stick around for our upcoming Hardcore Gamer build, featuring all the hottest equipment for about $1500.
Comment on the rig below or in the forums!
~Brant "Bob" Armstrong