Page 1:Building An Entry-Level Gaming PC
Page 2:The Quest For The Right Graphics Card
Page 3:Picking A CPU, Motherboard, And RAM
Page 4:CPU Cooler
Page 5:Choosing An Appropriate Power Supply
Page 6:The Right Chassis Is Mandatory
Page 7:Drives And Installation
Page 8:A Small, Stylish Gaming PC On A Budget
A Small, Stylish Gaming PC On A Budget
Overall Price and Bottom Line
After adding the drives from the previous page, our Red Devil configuration ends up costing about $730. Even when you factor in shipping costs and not getting the best price on every component, should you buy everything from one place, that's still less than $800 for hardware. Not bad for a stylish-looking PC that delivers decent gaming performance.
Perhaps that isn't as impressive as we were hoping, though. After all, Paul Henningsen on our U.S. team built a system with a Haswell-based Core i3-4130, a GeForce GTX 770, and 8 GB of memory for $775 in System Builder Marathon, Q1 2014: The $750 Gaming PC just a couple of months ago. Granted, Paul didn't enjoy the benefit of an SSD.
But we can make the story even more interesting by glancing over at our more barebones configuration. For just $415, we get good value in the form of a nice entry-level PC with reasonable gaming performance. That's where AMD's low-cost Athlon X4 750K appears best-suited, sitting in a well-equipped, yet affordable motherboard, complementing a mid-range graphics card. The performance-per-dollar proposition there simply can't be beat.
We didn’t forget about the operating system. Rather, we're choosing not to factor it into our pricing, similar to the System Builder Marathon. Many enthusiasts have old, but still valid Windows 7 or 8 licenses from previous machines.
If you find yourself biased to the lower-cost option, and can push the Athlon X4 750K to 4.5 GHz, there's always the option to splurge on a Radeon R9 270X or GeForce GTX 750 Ti.
More likely, you'll end up somewhere between our two extremes, trying to decide whether to spend money on looks, performance, or both. Whichever path you take, the destination is easily reachable for less than $800, even if you prioritize speed and aesthetics at the same time. Have fun, regardless!
|Components||Minimum Version||Price||Red Devil||Price|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon R7 260X||$120||AMD Radeon R9 270|
Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti
|CPU||AMD Athlon X4 750K||$80||AMD Athlon X4 750K||$80|
|Motherboard||Socket FM2 or FM2+||$45||Mini-ITX Socket FM2+||$85|
|RAM||8 GB DDR3-1600 Kit||$60||Avexir 8 GB DDR3-1600 LED Kit||$75|
|CPU Cooler||Bundled cooler (overclockable to 3.8 GHz)||---||Raijintek Themis with AM2 Adapter||$40|
|Thermal Paste||Not Necessary||---||Gelid GC-Extreme||$10|
|Power Supply Unit||350 W, 80 PLUS Bronze||$25||Super Flower Golden Green 350 W 80 PLUS Gold||$65|
|Case||Case with USB 3.0||$25||BitFenix Prodigy Red||$80|
|Hard Drive||1 TB Hard Drive (3.5")||$60||1 TB Hard Drive (3.5")||$60|
|Solid State Drive||None||---||120 GB SSD||$65|
|Optical Disk Drive||None||---||DVD Drive||$20|