Building a cheap Gaming PC

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by Mac-Rumours, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. Mac-Rumours macrumors regular

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    #1
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    I see a lot of posts claiming that a cheap gaming PC can be built for under $500 (£300).

    I would like to build such a computer to attach to the living room TV (so the computer needs to output HDMI at 720p).

    The computer will also need to include WiFi and wireless keyboard / mouse (suitable for playing games).

    Would the computer be able to run Crisis 1 & 2 at a decent frame rate?
     
  2. RollTide macrumors 6502

    RollTide

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    #2
    http://www.hardware-revolution.com/

    check out the gaming pc part, it doesn't include exactly everything you want, but does give you a good list of compatible parts.

    I was thinking of doing this before I decided to wait for a new iMac.
     
  3. Glumpfner macrumors regular

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    #3
    Since this is Mac forum you probably wont get much help here.

    Join a PC Hardware forum and tell them your budget and what you want, they'll tell you what to get.

    You could also just buy a ready made PC.

    Either way though, 500 EUR is the lower if not lowest class of gaming PC. Don't expect to run game without problems or having high framerates and good quality. You would need to set most graphic details to medium/low.
    For 600/700 EUR you should get something good though.

    Since you are asking for currency in pounds, I asume your from the UK.
    Check this website out: http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/intel-computers/

    You can build your PC based on a budget. And they make sure the items you can choose from are compatible.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    Like mentioned above 500$/300£ isn't really enough to build a decent gaming PC from a scratch. If you already had a case, PSU etc. then 300£ might be enough to get you something but even then it would be a very limited budget.

    Crysis 2's recommended system specs are:

    And optimum are:

    http://www.game-debate.com/games/index.php?g_id=616&game=Crysis 2

    To be honest, I would spend a few hundreds more now and get a good PC that can run games smoothly for a couple of years. Something along the lines of Sandy Bridge i5 and AMD 68xx.
     
  5. Mac-Rumours thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thanks. I checked out that site — looks very useful. Obviously you get much better prices in the US. :( The same parts that are listed on that site for under $500 cost about £400 ($640) from ebuyer.com and of course I still need to add Windows and a wireless keyboard / mouse.

    The main purpose of the computer is going to be HTPC / Games on the HDTV.
     
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #6
    I made my "gaming" PC for $500, from newegg. It involved a $100 AMD CPU, and a passively cooled 4550 GPU, but I could have gotten a 56xx or so for under $100 at the time.

    Things to keep in mind:

    • AMD will be a LOT cheaper than Intel
    • Get a good motherboard. Spending $100 on a motherboard will save you money and trouble in the long run (and possibly money on add-on cards).
    • Get a cheap case. Once everything is in there, there isn't much difference between a $30 case (w/ PSU) and a $100 case and $60 PSU.
     
  7. Rodus macrumors 6502a

    Rodus

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    #7
    The whole point in a gaming rig is good gaming performance, £300 isn't nearly enough, the cheapest really decent cards (Radeon 5870/Geforce 560) are both over £200 and then you need CPU, RAM, MoBo, PSU, optical drive and case. Save up until you can get something decent otherwise you will be disappointed as all your £300 will get you is a PC World bargain basement special.
     
  8. lewdvig macrumors 65816

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    #8
    6870 cards can be had for $154 CDN - that's £80 (or less).

    http://forums.redflagdeals.com/powercolor-radeon-hd-6870-154-after-pm-mir-1020309/?prefixid=Comp9
     
  9. Rodus macrumors 6502a

    Rodus

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    #9
    ^^not in the UK, they go for more then that second hand here.
     
  10. mosx macrumors 65816

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    #10
    AMD definitely gives much better bang for the buck when it comes to CPUs. A couple of months ago now, I got myself an AMD Phenom II X6 1055T for $170. Thats true 6 cores at 2.8GHz and 100% stable overclock at 3.4GHz. In benchmarks, at stock and overclocked, it hangs in with quad core Core i7s just fine. The cheapest Intel six core is $600. Basically $100 per CPU core.

    I'd recommend nvidia graphics over AMD because of drivers. I've never had a good experience with AMD/ATI drivers. In the 13 years almost I've been using nvidia cards, not once have I had an issue caused by an nvidia driver, dating all the way back to the very first "Detonator" release which finally made the original Unreal playable in Direct3D and OpenGL.

    Plus, a couple of months ago when I built my desktop, I was able to get a GTX 460 1GB card that was slightly overclocked for $150.

    My system plays Crysis 2 smooth as butter on the "Extreme" settings, all clocks stock, at 1920x1080.

    Everyday tasks in Windows 7 on this system makes Snow Leopard on my 2008 aluminum MacBook with 4GB of RAM and 2GHz Core 2 Duo feel like I'm walking through knee deep mud.
     
  11. Mac-Rumours thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    The computer is going to be attached to a HD TV (not Full HD, so 1366 x 768 resolution).

    At the moment I game on my MacBook with an integrated 9400M so almost any graphics card is going to be an improvement. :)

    The most important things are (in the following order): ability to play HD movies and upscale DVD movies, COST, ability to play games at PS3 quality or better.

    The site that RollTide linked to suggested the following as a budget gaming machine:

    AMD Athlon II X3 455 3.3GHz AM3 95W Triple-Core
    ASRock M3A770DE: Socket AM3, 770 Chipset, ATX
    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333MHz
    MSI Twin Frozr II SOC GeForce GTX 460 768MB
    WD Caviar Blue 500GB SATA II 3.0Gb/s
    ASUS SATA 24X DVD Burner
    Antec VP-450 450W
    Rosewill DESTROYER 3x 120mm

    This would be the maximum I want to spend right now. I might consider getting a 5670 instead of the 460 and using an old PC case and PSU. I can always upgrade later.
     
  12. alox macrumors member

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    newegg.com is where u want to go, good stuff overthere, goodluck!
     
  13. Hellhammer, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

    Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    It doesn't matter how many cores and what clock speed it has if you are comparing two CPUs based on totally different microarchitectures. Even though your AMD has six cores, it is MUCH slower than e.g. Intel i5-2500. Even then old i5-750 beats it in various benchmarks. Both are priced pretty similarly to your AMD (~200$).

    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/147?vs=288
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/147?vs=109

    AMD provides better performance with low-end CPUs, especially if you think about core unlocking but in higher-end CPUs, Intel provides a lot better performance, also per buck.

    Get AMD Phenom X2 555 BE instead. It costs the same (89$) but it in fact a quad core CPU with two cores disabled. Unlock the cores (yes, the mobo you mentioned seems to support this) and boom, you got yourself a quad core CPU for less than 100$. Much better performance than the tri-core Athlon.
     
  14. mosx, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011

    mosx macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Go with the GTX 460 if you can. It will give you significantly better performance than the 5670.

    You said you want "PS3 quality" games? That system will mop the floor with the PS3, especially if your TV set is only 1366x768.

    Depends on which benchmarks you read. And those benchmarks you posted don't even give system setups, BIOS settings, drivers used, etc. The fact that they're still using 2 pass encoding for x264 shows that their entire benchmark process for that particular setup is messed up.

    Also want to point out that not all "multi-threaded" software/benchmarks make full use of all 6 cores either. I know I have more than one game and application that claims to be "multi-threaded" but only pegs 2 cores at 100% and the rest are idle.
     
  15. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #15
    I've found AnandTech to be one of the best and most reliable sites when it comes to benchmarks. If you have benchmarks that prove me and Anand wrong, then go ahead and post them.
     
  16. Mac-Rumours thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Why do they make a 4 core processor with 2 cores disabled? If the 2 cores can't be enabled then would the 2 core chip still run faster than the 3 core? I see it has a much bigger cache. Also, any issues with overheating / crashing?

    Another question: ;) As I mentioned I want to use this with a HDTV so will want to use wireless keyboard / mouse and also connect via WIFI. Is this going to to cause lag issues?
     
  17. trip1ex, Mar 27, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011

    trip1ex macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Posted my computer specs/prices elsewhere in this forum a few weeks back.

    Easy to build a sub-$500 gaming pc that's faster than all Macs in games.

    I didn't include cost of keyboard/mouse or Windows.

    You can find deals on Windows. For example, I just a got a 3-license Win7 Home Premium family pack for $75 with a price match to the $99 sales price at a few places and a coupon. $25 per computer. Elsewhere it was $99 on sale. $120 some other places is a going rate I guess.

    I've hooked up my $450 gaming machine to my hdtv. Works best if your plasma has a pc input. And games fly and look great on a 720p plasma. Color on a plasma in games is much better than on a typical computer monitor.

    On my other 720p plasma without a pc input I needed to mess with the resolution a bit to get it display correctly. And still needed to play with it some in games in order for nothing to be cut off on the screen. YMMV.

    With some work I'm sure I can get it perfected, but from my experience much easier if you already have a pc input.

    Had some problems with my wirelss mouse/keyboard in games, but m/k was older and never meant for gaming at least fast paced gaming.

    A computer with at least a 460 gtx 768mb card and a decent cpu to drive it can run Crysis at nice settings and smooth frame rates. Much more so if you are playing it on a plasma 720p tv.
     
  18. Ace134blue macrumors 6502a

    Ace134blue

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    #18
    AnandTech skimps on some areas, and to the OP heres all you need. It plays Crysis 2 btw, http://www.geforce.com/#/News/articles/gaming-pc-for-599
     
  19. Mac-Rumours thread starter macrumors regular

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    #19
    I'm not in the US. :(

    Here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=12078397

    The cheapest I've found Windows for is £55 ($88) for Vista Premium with an upgrade voucher to Windows 7 or Windows Vista Home Basic for £40 ($64).

    What wireless mouse / keyboard do people recommend for playing games?
     
  20. CJM macrumors 65816

    CJM

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    #20

    I don't. All decent mice are wired these days.
     
  21. Mac-Rumours thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    So you suggest I sit on the sofa with 4 metres of USB extension cables or sit right in front of the TV? :rolleyes:
     
  22. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #22
    If your going to play FPS games or the like wired mice rule. So in other words, what you want to do and what you want to buy are not aligned with each other. Kind of like your budget, it is not even remotely related to the requirements you state.

    So if this is all about compromises then go find a cheap wireless mouse and keyboard. Make really does not matter as your budget constrained.
     
  23. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #23
    In the past, they did that to use chips with only two or three functional cores as yields were worse (like always when switching to new SOI/architecture). Now that the chips have been in production for years and yields are as good as they can get, they just sell fully functional quad cores with two cores disabled.
     
  24. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #24
    My impression is that there are quite a few in residence here savvy in the ways of the PC. ;)
     
  25. gkarris, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011

    gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #25
    How did you do this?

    That's a Windows upgrade from XP or Vista or 7 Starter/Home - not a full version...

    Cheap Gaming PC - is there such a thing? :eek:

    ;)
     

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