One of the first comments I get when I tell people that I’m mostly a PC gamer is that gaming on a computer, rather than a console, is MUCH more expensive. After I tell them to shut their face hole, I calmly explain that the cost of computer hardware has been going down for the last few years; and that we are now at a point where we can build a gaming computer that can match any current console at a very decent price. Once they’re done laughing at me and insulting my mother, I usually go ahead and show them the amazing value of buying and building your own computer.
Now, going into this build, I’m going to lay some assumptions down:
– First, that you already have a monitor and a mouse/keyboard combo. If you do not, add at least 200$ for decent peripherals.
– Second, that you are confident enough in your abilities to put all of this together. There are many guides out there that explain, step by step, how to build your own computer. I personally recommend using LinusTechTips’ video, that you can find here:
Now, onto the actual components of the build. I’ll explain a few of the choices I made and why I think this is a perfect computer for anyone looking to get into PC gaming. I will not be going into minute details on which part does what, but if you want more information, feel free to comment below and I’ll answer as quickly as I can! I tried to take quality parts that will not only last you a while, but that you’ll actually be able to upgrade easily without having to change your whole computer.
Processor: Being the backbone of your computer, we’ll have to put a bit more money into those parts than any other. AMD’s CPU are very affordable and perfect for a budget gaming PC. The AMD Athlon X4 750k is a quadcore processor running at 3.4ghz so you won’t find yourself bottlenecked by your CPU, which is often the case in budget builds.
Motherboard: The motherboard is the central nervous system of your computer and probably the last thing you’ll want to upgrade. I chose the MSI A88X-G43 because the price was good and it featured great flexibility for future upgrades. MSI is also renowned for the durability of their hardware, so it’s always a good pick!
Memory: Another important part of any computer build. 4 gigabytes (or GB) is enough to run any modern game and application. However, memory is quite cheap and you might want to see yourself upgrading to 8GB in the near future. For this part, I chose G.Skills 4gb DDR3 memory.
Video Card: The single most important part of any gaming build. The R7 series by AMD is the perfect choice for budget gaming, as they offer between 25 and 30 FPS at 1080p for a very reasonable price. I chose the MSI R7 250X, which offers great cooling and performance.
Hard Drive: The hard drive is where all your information is stored. Aaannnd that’s pretty much the gist of it. Until you get into Solid State Drives which are much more expensive, the brand/model won’t make a huge difference. 1 terabyte is plenty enough to last you for a while. For this particular build, I chose the Seagate Barracuda 1TB hard drive.
Case: When choosing a case, I always look at 2 big factors: airflow and cable management. The better the airflow in your case, the cooler it will be and the better your machine will run. Having a cool computer will also extend the lifespan of your components which is always important. A case with good integrated cable management is also important because you don’t want cables dangling inside your case or getting tangled with other components as it can hinder the work of your fans and make your computer run much hotter than it should be. Also, it looks damned ugly! The CoolerMaster HAF912 is a great bang for your buck in both categories. It also looks pretty nifty!
Power Supply: I chose a Seasonic 470W 80+ bronze certified power supply to give juice the system. It’s great PSU for the price and it gives you a bit more flexibility for future upgrades like a graphics card or more memory.
Operating System: Finally, I added a licence for Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit edition, if you don’t already have one. Note that if you DO already have a Windows 7 licence, the price will go down by about $100. Although keep in mind that the 64bit version of the OS is absolutely necessary, since the 32bit version will hinder the performance of your machine and bottleneck the amount of memory you can have in your system. You can check which version you have by following these simple steps, provided by Microsoft themselves.
Buying the parts
Now that we’ve established the parts needed to build the awesome computer, let’s look at the different locations where you can actually buy them!
www.ncix.ca: Probably my favorite website for computer hardware. The interface is simple, the prices are good, shipping options are plenty and customer service is efficient. But, the most useful feature of all is the price match system which is integrated to their online shopping cart. If you find the same part somewhere else but cheaper, NCIX will match it. This is an amazing feature that only they have online. They are also 100% Canadian. I HIGHLY recommend them!
www.newegg.ca: Another great website. Prices are good and shipping is fair. They are fed by their main US site and usually have good sales. Use it to price match!
www.tigerdirect.ca: A clustermuck of a website, but very good prices. Shipping options are limited. Also use it to price match!
www.directcanada.com: Probably the worst of all the sites, but the prices and usually much lower than anywhere else. There’s also an option for free super saving shipping, which is really nice.
And there you have it, folks! A great computer that will run any recent game at a decent 25-30 FPS and at a 1080p resolution. I’ll be honest, I prefer PC gaming over console gaming, simply because of the flexibility it brings me. I can be playing an MMO and at the same time on my 2nd screen watch Netflix or Youtube videos. Games are also often much cheaper on PC, if you don’t mind waiting a few months after release! Steam, GreenManGaming, GoodOldGames and many other websites have great daily deals on all sorts of games which make building up a collection for less than on consoles much easier, even after a few months of release. Alicia wrote a great article on less known games you can find on Steam for cheap. You can find it here! If you are looking into getting a 2nd next-gen console to complement your first one, I would say, look into PC gaming. It’s much cheaper than you think and it’s worth every penny.