The last few weeks we’ve been going bonkers with high resolutions, high prices, and high speeds, but what about someone who just wants to play some older games? Well that’s what we’re going to be doing today. We’ve got a really cheap build today, coming in at the price of an Xbox 360, but since this is a computer, you can upgrade it whenever you need or want. As usual, this will be in USD from Amazon.com unless otherwise noted. Let’s get started on a Low End Gaming PC.
CPU: AMD A10-5800k
While it is an older chip, it is still a good one. The original low end gamer APU, the A10-5800k is a perfectly capable APU that offers good speeds for both graphics and CPU processes. Since it is an APU, you can directly upgrade it just by upgrading your RAM, allowing for faster graphics processing in games. You won’t need to pay hundreds of dollars to upgrade this to get more FPS at lower resolutions and settings, meaning it’s perfect for people who play indie games or even Source games that are streamlined and great with lower end hardware. You won’t play the gorgeous looking AAA titles like Battlefield, but you will be able to play tons of games like Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2, League of Legends, among others at a low, low price.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H
The cheapest motherboard with USB3.0 headers, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. The A88X chipset can overclock really well on the CPU, GPU, and even the RAM. It is a well built motherboard, has plenty of RAM slots to hold all your RAM needs, USB3.0, and even offers SLI support if you are crazy enough to run a GPU on PCI-e 2.0 x4. You can get a lot of use out of this, and even makes for a great server board too, since it has tons of SATA ports. And it’s less than $70 right now. Perfectly fine for this build.
Since it’s an APU, RAM clocked at a higher speed is a benefit. 1866Mhz is the lowest to play games at nice frame rates, consistently getting over 30FPS on good settings. The sweetspot resolution for APUs is 720p, and even games like Battlefield will run at 60FPS at 720p on medium settings, which is about what the Xbox One plays at. You can also add more RAM in the future if you need or want to – just make sure you run both as high as you can put them or your frame rates will take a hit.
Though we’re keeping costs low, we still want speed. So we’re gonna go with a cheap SSD to allow booting and app loading to be a breeze. The SSDNow from Kingston is perfect for the job coming in at less than fifty cents per gigabyte. You’ll boot into your OS in no time, and there’s space there for plenty of games suitable for this PC. The SSDNow has good read and write speeds (450Mbps each), so you’ll be able to get to your content in no time.
Case: Cougar Spike mATX
The Cougar Spike is what most would call the best budget case available right now. It was even given an honourable mention spot from Hardware Canucks in their Top 5 best cases of 2013. It costs as much as a side panel for some high end cases, but it’ll hold your entire system. While the hard drive cages face inwards and there isn’t a front intake fan that comes in the price, you will still get a great case for the low price of $30-35.
PSU: EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze
This PSU has been used before, and the reason is because it’s inexpensive. It’s not cheap by any means but is certainly budget oriented. It’s 80+ Bronze so you feed everything well, and you won’t be going over the wattage anytime soon since this build pulls at most 170W under heavy load. You also have enough headroom to put in a graphics card as well, just make sure it matches with the lower end CPU.
Speaking of the graphics card, where is it? Since this is an APU build, you don’t need a graphics card immediately, since the graphics cores are directly on the processor. That’s why the high speed RAM is needed in order to feed that GPU. Some good choices for a card when you want or need an upgrade would be the R9 270 or the GTX 960, both giving great FPS without breaking the bank.
The total price of this bundle is $307.94 before rebates, discounts, and taxes. Not bad at all for a full computer that you can also play older games on. Even if you aren’t a gamer, and just need something at home to browse the internet with, this is definitely a good alternative to a standard pre-built computer.