I rarely have the chance to do an enthusiast build as I'm normally tasked with doing the cheaper PC builds, like the $475 Cheap Bastard's Gaming PC that we recently published. It's been a while since we've done an enthusiast build -- in fact, this is the first of its type this year. We decided it'd be a great time to see what we could do with a higher budget while retaining a small and versatile form factor. The goal was to build a small form factor PC that could do just about anything you typically required from a gaming or video editing rig; this could double as an HTPC for those who'd like a living room gaming machine.
I was able to fit a core i5-4670k, MSI Z87i motherboard, and GTX 770 all inside the extremely versatile Corsair Obsidian 250D mini-ITX case that we saw at CES. This $1100 gaming HTPC build can handle just about anything you throw at it, including gaming at max settings and video editing / game streaming tasks.
It's been a while since we've done a true Cheap Bastard's gaming PC build -- our last one was our $506 Titanfall gaming computer back in February. This time we've done it a bit differently than before. My goal here is to build an entry-level gaming rig at the lowest price possible while offering plenty of room for upgrades. This build would be great for the gamer who plays games that do not require a great deal from the GPU. I included an FM2+ motherboard because it provides all the newer features missing from the dying AM3+ platform, like an onboard USB 3.0 header, and a newer
In this $475 ultra-budget, cheap gaming PC build, we'll make component selections for building your own computer for lightweight gaming; a how-to video guide is included below, as is a list of upgrade options for those with a bit more cash to spend. If you've got some more money, we'd suggest checking out the $740 EverQuest PC (Intel) we posted recently.
So let's get to the build.
After our interview with Dave Georgeson of the EverQuest franchise (including Landmark) and follow-up on the beta's availability, we've started the process of playing Landmark for content purposes.
The first bit of related content, as is usually the case for us, is a mid-range gaming PC build that's spec'd for EverQuest Next: Landmark at near-max (high) settings. You could certainly build a cheaper AMD system (keep eyes open for that), but this one will get you running EQNL at high (or thereabouts) settings and still provide room for high graphics output with more demanding titles. If you're interested in Titanfall, you'll be happy to hear that this machine will also easily run Titanfall on max settings, as we benchmarked over here.
This budget gaming PC isn't meant to be overclocked. The parts were selected specifically to reduce initial cost and get users playing games quickly with minimal tweaking; if you're more enthusiastic in your hardware endeavors and would like overclocking as an option, check out our overclocking primer and other PC builds. Jumping to the DIY PC parts list after EverQuest Next: Landmark's system requirements!
This is just a short bit of advice for those of you working on new PC builds. As the industry's manufacturing processes advance, we eventually begin to see a disproportionate cost-to-performance or cost-per-GB ratio forming at the lower-end of a particular product type. In many ways, it's more expensive for a manufacturer to continue producing lower-end products; the fab or assembly processes change to accommodate new advancements, like higher density or more desirable high-frequency yield, so continued production of devices under the new bar is undesirable and often halted.
Although I've yet to pen my thoughts on Titanfall as a game (still debating whether it seems mechanically-sound or not), there's no doubt that it's going to be a big title across all platforms, regardless of the buggy PC beta. We previously benchmarked Titanfall on numerous video cards using the PC beta -- prior to any official driver support or game patches were announced -- and saw that AMD's generations-old Trinity performed surprisingly acceptably. Given that Trinity is a couple generations aged and there aren't any official drivers or optimization patches, this is good news for APU owners.
It's even better news for budget system builders.
This budget Titanfall gaming PC will get you playing the game on medium settings (you might be able to push medium/high hybrid) for around $500. By using an APU, we bypass the need for a discrete GPU and can get you up-and-running for cheaper; our $797 mid-range Titanfall PC build guide is another option, for those with a bit more money.
Our Titanfall coverage included a benchmark of the game's PC performance across multiple hardware configurations, and after this preliminary performance analysis, we can now safely start making build recommendations. Keep in mind that our benchmark was initially run on the beta version of Titanfall, so it is highly likely that AMD and nVidia driver updates will significantly improve performance; further PC optimization by Respawn will also do wonders, given the hauntingly-familiar, broken state of the game right now.
Regardless, the benchmark gives us an excellent idea as to the bottom line of Titanfall's performance spectrum, since things will only improve from here.
This $797 budget gaming PC for Titanfall ensures the best performance-to-budget ratio, focusing heavily on delivering maxed-out (high) settings at 1080p with a steady framerate. If you haven't built a gaming PC before (or if you need a refresher), our full "How to Build a Gaming Computer" guide can be found here. We've also embedded the video guide below.
With the new year, it's time for a new low-budget gaming PC build. With our coverage of CES 2014 in the books, it's time to reflect on what we discovered there and move on to provide you with the best builds available for your budget.
This sub-$500 Cheap Bastard's gaming PC build attempts to demonstrate how little you have to spend to get a quality gaming PC -- now featuring a Kaveri APU. My initial purpose was to do a Steam Machine-style build, but seeing how the new SteamOS is still in beta, and the Steam Controller is not readily available, I decided to temporarily cut those two pieces. This is a great starter build for anyone looking to enter the world of PC gaming and offers plenty room for future upgrades.
We decided to go with a Kaveri gaming PC build list for this one, implementing fast RAM and a very stylish case from Corsair. Here's the list:
This reference guide is aimed to get you up-and-running swiftly with building your own computer. We've posted several articles about the general process, even pre-configured PC build lists for your ease, but this will be the first step-by-step "build a PC" guide (including a video PC building tutorial).
We've got a 15-minute video guide that gives a brief-but-comprehensive walkthrough of the system installation process. That's embedded immediately below. If you need further tips & advice or would like to check out our other pre- and post-build resources, those are also in the written part of the guide.
In this "how to build a gaming PC" tutorial, we'll walk through the process of grounding yourself (ESD-free), installing the CPU, RAM, power supply, storage, video card, and all the cabling (and other components), as well as basic testing options.
This guide is split into pre-build, assembly, and post-build sections. Keep in mind that we have already written articles on many of these topics, so the sections may be truncated and linked elsewhere for full depth.
Christmas is right around the corner, so we've decided to do a budget build that you could ask Santa to build for you. This build is a step up from the recent $508 Cheap Bastard's Xmas Gaming build we did for those of you on an ultra-strict budget, and at $727, you get a lot more power for a bit more cash. This build is powered by an eight-core CPU and an AMD R9 270 GPU; it's a great combo for gamers who play games more demanding on the video card than what was offered with the above mentioned build. You should have no problem playing most (if not all) games out there at mid to highest settings.
This $727 budget gaming PC build offers a DIY option for high-end gaming at a mid-range price. Let's get to the goodies you hope to find under your Xmas tree this year.
It's been a while since a true revival of our Cheap Bastard series of gaming PC builds. We recently posted a low-end League of Legends PC for $425 that can be assembled very quickly, but it was really spec'd just for low-end games. We had a recent forum request for a cheap PC build capable of Twitch streaming, YouTube video editing, and gaming for around $500. That's what this gaming PC tries to do. This Cheap Bastard's gaming PC build has no frills -- it just gets the job done, namely gaming on high settings, lightweight video rendering, and Twitch streaming for around $500.
If you need help learning how to build the system, hit us up on the forums or keep an eye out for our impending guide!
Let's get started!
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