Left 4 Dead 2 budget build

I recently bought Left 4 Dead 2 to play on freshly built system (November of last year)... but after tiring of the uncoordinated bot allies, I'd like to try playing with some humans. Specifically, my younger brother.

He's currently using my father's pc... and though I haven't looked at it in a while, I'm fairly certain that it's specs are as follows:

CPU: Pentium 4 @ 2.8 ghz
Graphics Card: 128 mb PCI-E X16 Radeon X300 SE
DVD: Standard 16x
RAM: 512 mb SDRAM @ 400 mhz (256 mb x2)
HDD: 80 gb SATA 7200 rpm
OS: WinXP Pro 32-bit

Unfortunately, I'm unsure of the non-Dell brands... and I have no idea what Dell used for the mobo.

Given that, I'm hoping (as I have no experience with "serious" gaming nor optimizing) that someone here might be able to provide a plan for upgrading my father's pc, or building a very low-budget alternative. I'm only interested in using this pc for gaming... in case anyone was going to recommend any over-the-top parts (like a 1 tb HDD).

I have no experience with overclocking, but I'm confident in my ability to succeed at it (with a reasonable amount of research).

So, to sum my request up....

OS: Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows Vista64 / Windows XP
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz
RAM: 1 GB for XP / 2GB for Vista
HDD: 7.5 GB Free
Graphics Card: DirectX 9 compatible video card with 128 MB, Shader model 2.0. ATI X800, NVidia 6600 or better
DirectX: 9.0c
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card

OS: Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows Vista64 / Windows XP
CPU: Intel core 2 duo 2.4GHz
RAM: 1 GB for XP / 2GB for Vista
HDD: 7.5 GB Free
Graphics Card: DirectX 9 compatible video card with Shader model 3.0. NVidia 7600, ATI X1600 or better
DirectX: 9.0c
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card


Budget: Low as possible, preferably not over $200 if optimizing, $250 if building.
Uses: Left 4 Dead 2, assorted games of the same power consumption
Parts Preference: None whatsoever, so long as they don't fail.
Parts not needed: OS (I'll grab a used HDD from a junk pc, if I have to build), Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor
Overclocking: Willing to try.
Site preference: Newegg... and there are no part retailers where I live, so unless it's shippable, it's out.

I know that building a pc (let alone one that will last) for under $250, is nigh impossible... but if you're able to get the cost close, please feel free to post it. My budget isn't set in stone. Of course, in the event that I do need extra financing, the benefits will have to be convincing.

Many thanks for taking the time to read my request.
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  1. Building a PC for $250 isn't impossible, but gaming on a $250 PC is.

    In my opinion, it will be impossible to do this for $250. The problem is that you would need a new CPU, which at it's age, means a new motherboard (total at least $150). The RAM you have is at least 2 generations behind, which means new RAM, bringing the total to $210 or so. You would also likely need a new PSU, as Dell's are pretty crappy (at least $40). The cheapest card you could get and still be playable would be about $50. That brings you to $300, assuming you don't actually need anything else.

    Have you thought about picking up an Xbox? The console, the game and an extra controller would be $300. You would not be able to create a PC out of the parts you have to make the game playable for that.

    You could try convincing your dad that he needs a new PC. You could even be so devious to set a bunch of stuff to run in the background at start up to make him think it's too slow...
  2. Best answer
    Came back with the closest build I can get to the budget and still have L4D be playable.

    CPU: X2 250 $65
    Mobo: ASUS M4A78LT-M LE $65
    RAM: Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 $57
    PSU/GPU: Corsair 400W and HD 4670 $100 after rebate

    Total: $287. This would be barely playable at 1600x with lowered details. (38 FPS, not counting for any CPU or other bottlenecks).

    That's assuming the case, optical, and HDD will work. Keep in mind that many prebuilt PCs use the OEM version of an OS, which means just putting in an HDD with it installed won't work unless the copy has been registered to the motherboard. That would be an addition $105 for Windows 7.

    This isn't a bad upstart build, as the AM3 socket will continue to be used for a few years. In addition, there are a wide variety of CPUs for the socket. The PSU would need to be replaced if you try to get a bigger GPU though.
  3. $287... hmmm.

    Given that I could salvage a few of my father's current parts and put them back in later... I might be able to convince myself that this is a "downpayment" of sorts on a higher end pc (which my brother will inevitably need), and spring for the extra cash.

    Ah, and I forgot to mention his monitor's resolution, 1024x1280, no HD here (and there probably never will be).

    I'm not discounting MadAdmiral's Silver Medal, but does anyone else have a cheaper solution?

    EDIT: Ah, and on a side note... any quick recommendations for a low-price build that can get above "barely playable"?
  4. Damn, beat me to it. Good eye, catching that PSU/GPU combo deal.
    As the mad man said, it's a great start for a gaming rig. I've had the 4670 for a while now, and it's had no problems with L4D2 (granted, I run a Phenom II X3 720BE, OC @ 3.4GHz). The X2 should be able to handle it no prob.
    I'd save $10 and go for the Athlon II X2 240 instead

    Even with the stock cooler, you should be able to OC that bad boy to 3.0-3.2 no problem.
  5. yea you should have no problems with the athlon 2 L4d2 wont tax your cpu to much anyway but it can push your graphics card pretty good though! depending on what settings you want to play at...

    My wife has the 4670 and she has no problems playing most games on low to medium settings so if that works for you go for it!!!

    She also has and athlon II x2 2.7 brisbane
  6. I wasn't sure how the X2 240 would fair in the game. Other than that change (saves only $8), there isn't a way to get any cheaper.

    The only way to get above barely playable would be to spend more on the GPU. There isn't any way to offset that increase, as I pretty much went to the cheapest CPU, cheapest board and cheapest RAM.
  7. Thats a fine combo to work with like i said its close to what my wife has and she plays team fortress 2, dragon age, and surfes the net all the time so it should be fine playing left for dead 2. its specs are close to dragon age's specs...
  8. Thanks for the replies, guys.

    Sorry about letting the thread die for a while... had some other issues to take care of.

    Seeing as there's a general consensus that MadAdmiral's response is the best option, I'll go ahead and mark this solved.

    ... not sure if I'll be able to get the money together, but at least now I know what I'm aiming for.

    Thanks, again, for taking the time to help. I appreciate it.
  9. Best answer selected by ti1706.
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