July '10 - Piratical Budget PC - $498

By Published July 17, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Find out why pure domination is bursting from the platters of our hard drive in this latest budget gaming build!

The only magazine capable of relating seafaring pirates to your gaming splendor has returned, and this time, with booty. You need to hoard the cash (and the cache) for gaming excellence, and nothing is more excellent than spending a weak $498 on a new rig (for those of you getting the calculators out, that’s nine games). Time to dig up that pirate’s treasure from your backyard, let’s take a look at these parts.

Piratical Parts List Name Price Rebates/etc. Total
Video Card MSI N250GTS Twin 1GB $140 -$25 $115
CPU AMD Athlon II X3 3.0GHz $75 - $75
Memory Corsair XMS3 4GB 1333MHz $100 -$10 $90
Motherboard ECS IC780M-A2 AM3 $65 -$15 $50
Power Supply BFG Tech GS-550W $60 -$20 $40
Hard Drive Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB $55 - $55
Optical Drive Sony Optiarc AD-7260S-0B $20 - $20
Case Rosewill Challenger ATX Mid-Tower $55 -$5 $50
Cables LinkDepot 20" SATA III Cable $3 - $3
Total $573 -$75 $498


Video Card:

The most expensive part of any deserving rig should be its video card, and at a quarter of the total build price, we think this card qualifies as ‘deserving’ of your games. We armed this system with MSI’s GTS 250, a beastly card clocking in at a respectable 675MHz core and 2200MHz memory. 1GB of GDDR3 flowing through a wide 256-bit channel will ensure any bottlenecking is done elsewhere. Combining these speeds with an impressive two fans and huge heatsink makes this card not only powerful, but also very cool.

Power Supply Unit:

BFG Tech recently stepped into the PSU arena, and with good cause: their 550W power supply will put your circuits at ease, while maintaining enough power for every component without risk of getting fry-inated by using a sub-par unit.

Optical Drive:

Pirates may only have one eye, but that's all the more reason to get a decent Optical Drive. The average budget gamer has no need for blu-ray or HD, so we slapped in your basic DVD/CD burner and picked up a reliable Sony Optiarc. Burn baby, burn!


Hard Drive:

We like to tell ourselves that the budget gamer is only saving his hard-earned ca-ching for the onslaught of soon-installed games. In order to hold all of those games we needed at least 500GB worth of shiny platters, and the Samsung Spinpoint F3 fit the bill due to its price and great quality. 16MB of cache and 7200 RPM will keep you in the game any day. This drive is the first step to learning what 'gamer' truly means.


You’ve told us in previous budget builds: every real gamer needs at least 4GB of RAM. We listened. This time around GN chose 4GB of piratical glory with Corsair’s DDR3 memory, sailing crisply at 1333 MHz with timings of 9-9-9-24 for a smooth $100. Take that, dollaaaaars!


EliteGroup is the new kid on the block, but with a name so promising how could you deny them? ECS’ IC780M had everything we were looking for in a low-priced build: 6 USB 2.0 slots, PCIx16 2.0, support for DDR3 memory, basic reliability, and an AM3 CPU socket.


Understanding circulation and airflow can be challenging, and that’s why you need the Rosewill CHALLENGER! It’s a great cooling system that ships with 2x120mm fans and 1x140mm fan, including a few optional expansions. This full tower was needed to house our powerful video card.


AMD’s Athlon II X3 440 Rana triple-core processor hums along at 3.0 GHz, and we give it our approval that gamers will have all the processing power needed to keep his machine sprinting under any amount of game-induced stress.

Additional Cables:

Seeing as no one ships a cable with hard drives anymore (because they’re SO EXPENSIVE), we added these generic Link Depot SATA cables for your new storage facility.

Add this DIY PC build to one of our 14 free games and you'll be raping and pillaging in no time!

~Brant "Bob" Armstrong and Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke

Last modified on July 18, 2010 at 7:19 pm

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