Upstar 22'' monitor ($90): Even though Upstar isn't one of the name brands we usually recommend, this deal is almost too good to pass up for the thrifty-minded gamer. You get 22'' of viewing area with a maximum 1920 x 1080 resolution and 5ms GTG response. For only $90, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better deal out there.
Patriot Viper eXtreme 8GB 1600Mhz RAM ($50): With the prices of RAM still higher than we're comfortable with, Patriot has a great bargain here. For $50 after rebate, you get 8GB (2x4GB) of moderately fast RAM that would look good in your gaming rig. Considering most other active RAM sales around this price are for single modules (thus, stuck in single-channel configs), 2x4GB @ 1600MHz at $50 is pretty close to what we're comfortable with.
Normally this is the part where I select the deal of the week. This week I found not one, but three video cards that are priced for the budget-minded gamer. I found a good, better, and best video card selection for you to choose from.
Good: Sapphire HD 7770 GPU ($80) - This is a GPU from AMD for the gamer that does not require a whole lot from the video card. The HD 7770 has 1GB of GDDR5 RAM on a 128-bit interface, so it's not particularly advanced, but it gets the job done in most HTPC and entry-level applications. What all that will equate to is running games like League of Legends and World of Warcraft beautifully, though it will struggle with games like Battlefield 4. If you demand more from your GPU, look elsewhere. For only $80, you get a decent budget video card for League of Legends, Skyrim, or other visually low-demanding games. Included with this GPU is a coupon for one free game redeemable from the AMD website.
Better: EVGA GTX 650 ($97) - This is the first of the duo of video cards from nVidia I selected for this article. The GTX 650 will provide slightly better performance over the HD 7770. The GTX 650 also has 1GB of GDDR5 RAM on 128-bit interface, but has 384 CUDA cores with a slightly faster (equivalent) clock, both working to enable better performance than the HD 7770. This GPU will also play League of Legends and World of Warcraft great, but as mentioned above may struggle with games that demand more from the GPU. For less than $100, you get a really good low-end budget video card. You also get the $75 F2P game credit that is common with almost all nVidia GPUs.
Best: MSI GTX 650ti Boost ($110) - For the best video card deal, I selected this very capable MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost. The GTX 650 Ti Boost is pretty much just an amped up version of the GTX 650, fitted between the 650 and 660, made to compete with the HD 7850 -- and it does a great job of it. With 2GB of GDDR5 RAM on an ample 192-bit interface, you should be able to not only blow League of Legends and WoW out of the water, but play the higher-demanding games on medium to high settings. The 1006MHz core clock is supported by a 1072MHz boost clock to really get the most out of this video card. For only $110, this is truly a bargain for the budget gamer.
Well, that's all for this week. There are many more deals out there to find, so until next time.
- Michael "Mikagmann2" Mann