People are constantly looking for that Gaming Sweetspot when it comes to PC gaming. The sweetspot, in my opinion, is being able to play games with good graphics settings, like medium to high settings, at 1080p with 60 frames per second or higher. Most people think you need a $1000 computer to do this. You used to, but not anymore. The Gaming Sweetspot these days is around $700. You’ll be able to play anything at medium settings (read: console settings) for the next 3 years at least at 1080p at 60fps with a $700 computer, so we’re going to do that today. As usual, prices are in USD from Amazon.com unless otherwise stated. Let’s get going.
CPU: AMD FX-6300
Arguably the best decision AMD has ever had, the FX-6300 has been selling for less than $110 consistently since 2013. It is the budget CPU to end all budget CPUs, with six cores ready to be utilized by smart developers. Games that love multithreaded physical cores, such as Battlefield and The Witcher 3, use this chip really well, and at the cost it’s at right now, it’s arguably the most cost-effective chip available on the market. Let’s hope AMD’s road map has something as good as this in store, cause if so, Intel will have some major competition with DirectX 12’s release.
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo
To make the CPU even better, we’re gonna put a nice Hyper 212 Evo with it. This cooler will allow for a nice overclock of the CPU, with easy overclocks up to 4.0Ghz and hard overclocks to 4.5Ghz. However, you’d need great air flow for the 4.5Ghz, so stick with the 4.0 and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Motherboard: Asus M5A99X EVO R2.0
A lot of Evos in this build. The M5A99X is a great board from Asus. Tons of USB ports, eSATA in the back, heatsinks on major components, SLI and Crossfire support, and support for 140W TDP CPUs. Man, all those abbreviations. Anyway, this board is perfect for what we want it to do: play games now and overclock safely. In the future though, AM3/AM3+ will be dying off for the AM4 socket type, so this board isn’t future proof entirely. Still, you won’t need to upgrade to more than an FX-8xxx chip anytime soon if DirectX 12 is as good as they say.
As we’ve said before on these articles, A-Data makes pretty nice RAM. For a Gaming Sweetspot, anything less than 8GB will harm you and anything more than 8GB will be diminishing returns when gaming. Even the 1866Mhz isn’t necessary and won’t give a major benefit, but these modules are still really cheap and look pretty cool too. Even if yellow isn’t your colour. You won’t be using all your RAM slots with this board either, so you will do fine if you ever need a RAM upgrade in the future.
HDD: Hitachi Deskstar 1TB
Now, this is weird. An HDD that isn’t a Seagate? Well, the check bounced. That’s a joke. The real reason is that I recently bought one of these drives, for about 15 dollars more, and it’s pretty nice. Hitachi makes a lot of stuff, from hard drives to “massage”… things, but their hard drives are awesome. So buy one. They make a good spare or backup drive, or even extra storage.
The R9 285 is a cool card. It has a bunch of stuff the R9 290 Hawaii chips have but at the price point of the R9 280s. It also has a lower TDP, is a completely new chip unlike the R9 280, and has almost all the capabilities of the higher end brothers. The R9 285 doesn’t have the same amount of VRAM that the R9 280 had, but it actually performs better than the 280 had higher than 1080p resolutions thanks to how AMD configured the RAM. It surprised a lot of people, including myself. It’s a good card for the money, and if they’re under 200 bucks, definitely consider picking one up.
Case: Enermax OSTROG
I decided on this case because of the possibility of awesome, clean cable management. While the drive cages face inside the case, there seems to be enough room behind the rear side panel to reroute cables. However, the CPU cutout is hidden by the motherboard, so some steps need to be taken to get good management. It’s not a bad case, and comes with the standard affairs you’d want in an ATX mid tower case.
PSU: Corsair CX750M
To increase the cable management and air flow, we’ll go with the semi-modular CX750M from Corsair. As usual, Corsair makes good stuff and their power supplies are a fan and builder favorite. 80+ Bronze, plenty of juice and enough overhead for subsequent upgrades, these PSUs will do perfect for any build. This is no exception, since we’ll need approximately 400W on a full load. Overall, it’s a great power supply, and should be on the lookout for anyone looking for a juicy PSU.
So this machine will be perfect for anyone just looking to play games on a badass computer. You’ll get more than the bare minimum, and be perfect at running games on at least medium graphics for the next 3 years. That’s three years where you don’t need to buy Xbox Live or PSN. This machine will cost around $700 according to PCPP, but you could get it cheaper if you shop around for good deals. You could even save more money by getting cheaper stuff like a cheaper motherboard of using the stock cooler. Happy building!