It's been a while since our last proper home theater gaming PC build; as Steam's Big Picture mode continues to develop, and with the impending arrival of Steam's Linux gaming platform, HTPCs now have more big-name support than ever before. This time, I wanted to put together an "enthusiast-class" HTPC, meant for those who want to play games on high resolutions with maximum settings and play around with overclocking, too.
Using several Cyber Monday & remnant Black Friday deals, we're able to put together a high-end gaming computer for relatively low cost. This $1028 HTPC build is best used as a DIY DVR or Big Picture gaming PC (for the likes of Assassin's Creed IV, Battlefield 4, Thief, etc.).
When I set-out to build this one, I struggled for a good ten minutes on one motherboard versus another... and ultimately decided to put together a list of components that I thought would be fun to build, not just functional. This system packs a couple TFLOPs of power in a small box and will run relatively quietly, so let's hit the list!
We stated that AMD "indisputably owns the $100-$200 video card market" in our coverage of their newly-released Radeon R9 270 GPU. With the card's focus on delivering high gaming performance at a sub-$200 price-point, it outperforms AMD's present 7850/7870 lineup and nVidia's GTX 660. The R9 270 lands just below the 760 in both price and performance, making the new AMD card an excellent choice for any mid-range, budget-conscious PC builds.
This isn't quite a "cheap" gaming PC build -- like the $425 LoL option we posted -- but instead aims to fill the mid-range market for gamers with a bit more change. This gaming computer is built specifically with Battlefield 4 in mind, though it'll run any game on the market with high-to-max settings on 1080p with 4xAA (or higher). If you're looking for a sub-$1000 DIY budget gaming PC for Battlefield 4 -- or other high-end games, like Assassin's Creed IV -- you've come to the right place.
As a bonus, this entire build has an awesome blue/black theme; the CPU cooler fan, motherboard heatsinks, and RAM all use a metallic blue.
It's been a while since we've done an ultra-budget gaming PC build, and never have we done one for so little. At just over $400, we've got a PC that's perfect for the casual gamer -- someone who plays games like League of Legends, Path of Exile, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, or FORCED. For less than the MSRP of the highly-anticipated console that is launching later this month, you not only get a PC, but a modest gaming system as well.
This Cheap Bastard's gaming PC build stands at less than $500, making a great DIY gaming computer for League of Legends, Path of Exile, Skyrim, and DOTA 2 players. With the powerful A10 APU and Zalman Z9 case, this PC not only looks ready to go into battle, but ready for you to summon your champion and decimate whomever crosses your lane.
Halloween is upon us, and since most of our readers are too old to trick or treat, we decided to bring the treats to you. We put together a Halloween-themed build that uses an orange and black scheme, but is still very capable of playing most games at medium-to-high settings.
Theme builds are a fun way to stand out from the usual black-and-blue configuration, so if you're looking to build a new system with a Halloween theme or just love orange and black, this is the build for you. Plenty of alternatives and upgrade options are also listed below.
With this $647 budget gaming computer build, you'll be able to play most modern games on mid-to-high settings and have a couple upgrade options open; for anyone looking for a first-time PC build (or a refresher), this one's a great starting point.
It's been a while since we've posted a proper budget build, so with the re-launch of the site and subsequent giveaway, we figured it was a great time to post another. As with all our budget gaming PC builds, we decided to go for the best possible build for the lowest reasonable price, without entering HTPC territory (you can find one of those over here). This is a true gaming build.
Featuring an AMD Radeon HD 7850 GPU paired with an AMD FX-6300 processor, this machine is purpose-built for budget-focused gamers with a desire to still run medium or better graphics settings. You won't be maxing-out high-end games (like Battlefield 4, check out this rig for that), but the 7850 will readily handle most mid-range games on high settings and high-end games (BF4) on medium settings.
Priced at a little under $600, this DIY budget gaming computer build provides a strong foundation for your PC gaming and building endeavors. Let's get to the components break-down.
With Battlefield 4's beta officially opened to those who pre-ordered the game, it's time to start looking into rig configurations to best take advantage of the game's high-end visuals.
Battlefield has historically pushed PC hardware significantly harder than most other games simultaneously hitting the market. When it comes to games like Crysis and Battlefield, we see the biggest differentiator lying in the game engine: Frostbite and CryEngine both support heavy multithreading (CryEngine natively supports 8 active threads), offload to GPU hardware for real-time physics processing (PhysX), and drive intensive tessellation / volumetric particle effects through the GPU.
The new school year is fast approaching, so it's time to do some back-to-school PC shopping. Office applications and the internet aren't exactly technologically-taxing, but why not build your own PC that can not only perform those tasks, but also play your favorite games?
This back-to-school budget gaming PC build lands at less than $500 and provides a DIY approach to system building; if you're a student (or if you're buying on behalf of a student), then system building is not only educational and rewarding, but cheaper than buying a pre-built box.
With the recent release of our high-end Haswell PC build and the budget Haswell PC build, we felt we should also include an ultra-low budget Richland gaming build to cover all the bases. This provides a couple solidly-priced options for those sourcing a new gaming PC, with HTPC builders also getting some attention (throw this hardware into an SG09 and switch to a slim ODD instead and you've instantly got an HTPC).
AMD still stands as the leader in price-to-performance setups, so a "Cheap Bastard's" build on an APU seemed to be a no-brainer. While this build is more focused at the budget arena, you should also be able to play most games out there comfortably without breaking the bank doing so. For less than $450, you can build a very capable, cheap gaming HTPC that should also overclock well with the new Richland A10-6800K APU powering it. So if you have a limited budget, and don't intend to play graphics-heavy games like Crysis 3 or Metro: LL on highest settings, this is the build for you.
It also makes for a good living-room unit -- a controller and cable box later and you've got a DVR replacement.
With our high-end Haswell PC build now officially published and getting assembled by builders everywhere, we figured it was about time to post something more budget-friendly. We're keeping this build short-and-simple: It's targeted toward pure gamers looking to build a system for mid-to-high level of detail in games, so if you don't have much interest in a PC outside of gaming (read: not doing any video rendering or overclocking), then this is the build for you.
This system won't overclock in the same fashion as a Z87/K-SKU build would, so you get what you buy, but not everyone needs overclocking -- we recognize that readily. I've offered a few suggested changes in-line for those who would prefer to have the option open to them, though it boosts the final price a fair amount.
This budget H87/i5 Haswell gaming PC is perfect for those learning how to build a computer: Priced at just over $600, you get a machine that'll play games very well without over-investing, but still get the fantastic experience of system building. Let's check out the list:
Haswell's here. We've thoroughly analyzed Haswell's viability and performance for gaming and light workload applications, and with that research backing us, we can comfortably recommend that new system builders opt for Haswell over its predecessors. Fear not, though -- if you're on Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, and in some cases, even Nehalem, our conclusion was that it's not necessarily immediately beneficial to make the leap to Intel's new Tock. For new builders, though, there's absolutely no reason not to opt for the newer chip, especially given its support of emerging graphics technologies by Intel and game developers.
GRID 2 is a fine example of this: Self-shadowing smoke (adding depth and volume to the tire smoke) is only available to owners of Haswell systems, whether or not you're using the IGP or a discrete card. Similarly, OIT (order-independent transparency) and other render techniques can be 'unlocked' in the options menu only by Haswell users.
This custom ~$1000 high-end gaming PC build aims to put you in a position to play almost any game currently on the market on maxed or high settings, including the likes of Crysis 3. We've got a "cheap bastard's" build coming out shortly, for those on an ultra budget, and then a normal budget build for the in-betweeners. Buying a pre-built system can't lay a hand to the level of power, customization, and affordability gained in building your own gaming PC -- let's jump to the list.
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