"Cheap" (<$150) Gaming PC's!

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by gkarris, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #1
    While looking at all the videos and benchmarking for "Console" PC's (PC's built for the price of a current gen console), I came across people making super-cheap (or even "scrapyard" PC's) to play mainly a specific game or generation of games at a rock-bottom minimal price.



    I guess I've been doing that already, gaming on my cheap ASUS sub-note I got on sale at Holiday 2014 at the MS Store (on sale for $150). Many Steam games I own (both old and newer ones) are more than playable - hook it up to a TV and add a gamepad and you're good to go!

    I will post my experiences with my ASUS ($150) and Kangaroo PC ($99) for those that are interested.

    If you have any experience with one or can reference a build on-line it would be cool to see what people are doing.

    As I have mentioned in another post, it is sometimes cheaper to buy an inexpensive PC rather than trying to get Windows and games working on a Mac (in the person's case I had mentioned it was a flight sim)... :eek:
     
  2. panda76 macrumors member

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    Jun 18, 2016
    #2
    I used to love doing this

    Would buy refurbished PC's from ebay, like a Dell or HP (often with a surprisingly good processor and windows installed) and then I would scour for a second hand moderate graphics card

    They'll play 90% of games.. and it's amazing how cheap it can be done

    Yeah it does require a bit of knowledge.. but great for cobbling together a cheap console style machine, throw on Steam OS
     
  3. gkarris, Aug 9, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016

    gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #3
    I've become a big AMD fan (no pun intended). I put together my PC relatively inexpensive all new and got some pretty good performance out of it.

    Here's an AMD cheap-o - all used parts from eBay...



    I think you can put a better card on it, but I'd imagine you'd run into a CPU bottleneck...

    http://www.pcgamer.com/will-your-cpu-bottleneck-your-graphics-card/2/
     
  4. DevNull0 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 6, 2015
    #4
    On the tiger direct clearance table, I picked up an MSI z97 gaming 5 motherboard with bent pins for $40 and a haswell i3 quad core for $30 (just a loose chip). I got the pins straightened out and was almost surprised to find that everything worked perfectly.

    That's a hard deal to beat and with a gtx 960 it will run just about any game on the market in high quality with ease.
     
  5. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #5
    THAT'S AWESOME!

    One man's junk....

    (plus those big retailers get a lot of free Vendor "Samples"...)
     
  6. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #6
    So I've come across my old PC parts scrapyard at home.

    I'm now into this "Budget Game PC" building and got some cheap parts at Microcenter. Combined with my scraps I'm building a $90 one.

    Plus I used to keep boards and parts around to just test with. Especially now I don't want to do that on my Console PC.

    Will post my findings....
     
  7. aarond12 macrumors 65816

    aarond12

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    #7
    The company I work for retires PCs every 3-5 years. (Although I have two 5-year-old PCs on my desk right now...) Those PCs get raffled off and the winner gets to buy the PC for $50 with the money going to charity.

    The last one I won (I've won every time, somehow!) was a quad-core Xeon workstation with 12GB RAM. I added a mid-range video card and was able to play TF2 on Steam at 4K resolution at 60 FPS without breaking a sweat. Total spent: $50 for the PC and $120 for the video card.
     
  8. Garrod macrumors regular

    Garrod

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    UK
    #8
    In my line of work I come across old (I mean, 10+ years) PCs that are 'scrap' and aside from the dust inside work perfectly fine. Granted, they could all do with a bit more RAM (even for Windows XP which is all they are really good for) but a fresh install and hey; a brilliant emulation gaming machine! I've fixed quite a few up for literally pennies and given them to family and friends, throw in a cheap USB control from eBay (usually around £2 / $3) and it keeps a lot of people happy playing some (decidedly good) classics!
     
  9. Suture macrumors 6502a

    Suture

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    #9
    If I had more time I'd love to put together an older gaming rig (like a 486DX4/100 or something along those lines) for classic games. Maybe save this idea for a fun task to do with the son of a summer sometime so he can check out the games I used to play in the 1990s.
     
  10. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #10
     
  11. Suture, Aug 12, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016

    Suture macrumors 6502a

    Suture

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    #11
    Funny as I actually watched that video from Cliff when he posted it on his channel and that's what got me interested. I used to build all of my PCs but now I'm just lazy.
     
  12. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #12
    I actually built one of those back in the day... :eek:

    Wow, I had a bunch of the stuff he has. Even that 14" Hitachi TV in that room he's in (I gave it away - I wish I would've kept it for my videogame console collection...).
     
  13. Suture macrumors 6502a

    Suture

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    #13
    I don't like clutter but of all the things I've gotten rid of over the years, I wish I still had a few of my old computers. In particular: Atari 65XE, 486DX4/100 (8MB, Trident 2MB GPU, 425MB HD, Creative Labs 4x CD-ROM, SB16 Pro), and maybe my old PS/2 Model 30 (8088, 640KB, 30MB HD).
     
  14. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #14
    So a couple weeks ago I got some budget parts from Microcenter:

    AMD 5350 APU w/ R3 Graphics, $40
    Gigabyte AM1M-S2H Motherboard, Free (bundle with CPU)
    Inland 500W PS, $30
    2x4Gig PNY 1866 DDR3 Memory, $23 (closeout from Best Buy)
    320 Gig laptop HD from my spare parts (originally from my Black MacBook).
    No case, but you can get a cheap case/PS combo instead of the PS I had gotten.

    Total: $93

    Here's a video about the APU:



    Interestingly enough, I had originally gotten the same Motherboard as in the video, but I heard that ASRock has gotten poor, and I did have nothing but problems with it, so I exchanged it for a Gigabyte (same brand as in my Console PC, and had absolutely no problems).

    Trying out games in Windows 10, I'm getting the same results as the video.

    With Everspace Beta, I'm getting really low/unplayable framerates. Of course, that's a very recent game. Interestingly enough, I put in the AMD R7 360 card I had before exchanging it, and my framerates shot up to the same as my Console PC... :eek:

    I guess if you are using games that use mainly the GPU, you'll get nice results. Could I have saved $100 on my console PC using one of these APU's instead? That's a call you have to make since if you play any games more CPU intensive, the APU will suffer greatly.

    Older games are just fine on it.

    I'm gonna use this as my Testbench PC and try other OS's, testing components, and my older cards on it.

    I did just buy a *nice* case for it - costs more than the components.

    I can call it a "Fruity Computer Build" where you have a beautiful designed case with hopelessly under-powered components inside... ;)
     
  15. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #15
    I am currently updating the software on my "budget" build ($90 in parts not including the nice case).

    I am using an "not-activated" copy of Windows 10 since I build it last September - no issues apart from the small watermark.

    I am loading the latest versions of games to try...
     
  16. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #16
    I'm currently scraping together some parts for a hackintosh for homework use after my daughter broke my spare white macbook laptop. I haven't built a PC in years so it will be fun :)

    tonymac is a good, regularly updated, guide. It tends to recommend quite expensive parts, which adds a bit of an edge to my scouring, but seems that's what you need if you want a hackingtosh that doesn't eat your daughter's homework at regular intervals.

    https://www.tonymacx86.com/buyersguide/july/2017
     
  17. cube macrumors G5

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  18. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #18
    Thanks!

    Re-use and re-cycle I always say...

    It is amazing what you can do now with such a cheap computer...

    Loading some games from Steam on my budget "fruity" build ($93 parts and $95 case :eek: LOL).

    Obviously, casual games and older games work just great... will post games and fps later after loading a whole bunch... :)
     
  19. cube macrumors G5

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    #19
    http://store.gigabyte.us/refurbished-ga-am1m-s2h-amd-am1-motherboard/
     
  20. Yvan256 macrumors 601

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    Jul 5, 2004
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    Canada
    #20
    These days people with more money than sense are throwing away perfectly good hardware. My gaming PC has an EVGA GTX 650 with 1GB GDDR5. I got it at a recycling place for free, it was headed for the dump along with a wired USB mouse that was still brand new in its box.
     
  21. Suture macrumors 6502a

    Suture

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    #22
    Last night I wound up repurposing an old netbook that was collecting dust. An Asus Eee PC 1005HAB: Intel Atom @ 1.6GHz, 2 GB of RAM, Intel GMA 950, 160GB 7200RPM HD, and Windows XP Home. I've got a Logitech keyboard and mouse to pair with it, and an old Asus 23" IPS display to use with it. Going to start us off with some Sierra games probably (the classic "Quest" games). Other games on the "play again list" include MechWarrior 2 and 3, C&C series, and original Starcraft.
     
  22. cube, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017

    cube macrumors G5

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    #23
    If you overclock, Micro Center has the 8320e for $80. You can get it with a motherboard for as little as $97.
     
  23. gkarris, Aug 9, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017

    gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #24
    *holds up cross in one hand, wooden stake in other*

    There was a whole discussion about that "GPU" back in the day on these forums, as Apple for the longest time kept using it in the Mini...

    The PassMark benchmark for the GMA 950 (aka 945G and slight variants) is around 5... yes, just the number 5... :eek:
     
  24. Suture macrumors 6502a

    Suture

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    Feb 22, 2007
    #25
    Hahah I remember that thread. Some people were really delusional about the performance. I guess when you're used to crappy GPUs in Macs, you set the bar low.

    Regardless, it should run all these 90s games fine... I think.
     

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