PC Gaming Is Cheaper Than You Think, Here's A Guide
Posted on Sunday, January 22 @ 11:14:00 PST by Jonathan_Leack
It's no secret that PC gaming can be pricey, but the people who have told you that it costs thousands of dollars to build a gaming PC are full of hot air. Sure, you can spend that much if you choose, just like you can buy 70" 3D LED TV to melt your brain while you play your favorite console game, but the fact remains that a modern PC isn't very expensive and has a lot of productivity to offer.
There are some great PC games coming out this year, such as Guild Wars 2, Diablo III, and even the new StarCraft II expansion, Heart of the Swarm. You've probably thought of buying a new PC, as many others have, so we've decided to head on over to Newegg and Amazon to see how much it really costs to get a command center on your desk.
Before we get started, please note that the prices listed are based upon the prices available through Newegg or Amazon on 1/21/2012, excluding any rebates available.
Gaming on a Budget
Case: Antec Three Hundred [$59.99]
Power Supply: Corsair CX V2 500 [$49.99]
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 960T [$114.99]
Heatsink: Stock [$0]
Motherboard: ASUS M4A87TD [$99.99]
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 16002 x 2GB [$29.99]
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 6850 [$149.99]
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB [$89.99]
Total Price = $594.93
I recently ran a build similar to this one, except the graphics card was a 5770 instead, which is slightly less powerful. This setup is capable of running every game at around medium settings, including the likes of juggernauts such asCrysis 2 and Metro 2033 in an efficient manner. Assuming you're running at resolutions of 1680 x 1050 or lower, you'll also be able to turn some settings like anti-aliasing up to bring a sharper image to your display.
The Power House
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 [$89.99]
Power Supply:Corsair TX650 [$89.99]
CPU:Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge [$229.99]
Heatsink: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus [$26.99]
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68Z-D3H-B3 [$122.99]
Memory:G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 16002 x 2GB [$29.99]
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 560Ti [$249.99]
Hard Drive:Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB [$89.99]
Total Price = $929.92
For a few extra hundred dollars this build offers a few better components, namely the legendary i5 Sandy Bridge. Sandy Bridge is currently considered the most competitive architecture on the market, and although it's a bit on the expensive side, it outperforms anything AMD has to offer by quite a margin. In addition, the GTX 560Ti is a best-seller at several vendors due to its high power to cost ratio.
Mr. Future Proof
Case: Corsair Graphite 600T [$159.99]
Power Supply: Corsair TX650 [ $89.99]
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge [$229.99]
Heatsink:Thermaltake Frio [$54.99]
Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 [$204.99]
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 1600 2 x 4GB [$46.99]
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 [$339.99]
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black [$129.99]
Total Price = $1256.92
If you choose to get the build above, chances are you'll end up the popular guy at school. Okay, maybe not, but anyone you know who understands computers will admire you. What this build offers above the previous setup is that it has some more horsepower, and its cooling potential will give you an opportunity to overclock your CPU and/or GPU to push the rig even further.
Buying a PC all comes down to how much you'd like to spend, and how future-proof you want to be. No matter how much you decide to spend, I urge you to make sure you get a high-quality case and power supply. The power supply is what drives the PC, while the case is in-charge of keeping air-flow in check. If a computer doesn't get a healthy amount of electricity, and begins to run hot from not being able to breathe, danger will ensue.
Also, the computer cases chosen are recommended but cases typically come down to looks, although more powerful systems run much warmer and thus a moderately more expensive solution is needed. You'll also notice that each setup is missing peripherals such as a keyboard, mouse, operating system, and monitor. Those components are purely up to you to decide on, and even if you don't have a monitor you can choose to hook it up to a television since all of the graphics cards above support HDMI.
Building a PC isn't something you learn overnight, but there is a large community out there of people like myself who considered it a hobby after our first time doing it. Don't be intimidated, and if you really want to see what 2012 has to offer in the way of eye-candy (DirectX 11, Tessellation, etc.), then a few hundred bucks invested in a PC is your best option.
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