Mid-range Gaming PC pricing: Affordable Performance
1080p gaming with max details on a reasonable budget? Yes please!
In this article we take a look at the parts you’d have to put together to build the best gaming PC under a certain budget.
In our previous feature, What’s the cheapest gaming rig you can build?, we assembled a small computer based on AMD’s APU processors for just under R5,000 with an Xbox 360 controller. However, that PC is better suited to playing games at 1080p with low settings or 720p with medium to high settings in games.
So what if you have a little more money and want the build to deliver fluid gaming capability for 1080p without breaking the bank too much? Today we’ll have a look at some parts we recommend, as well as the cheapest place to buy them.
The table below shows the various components available from local retailers. The lowest prices are highlighted in Bold. For this article, prices for components that aren’t in stock in a particular store but are in supply with another will be included, as it is expected with larger orders like a full rig that the supplier will attempt to source stock for you.
|AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz six-core||1698||1804||1856||1749|
|MSI 970A-G46 AM3+||906||909||959||979|
|Kingston ValueRAM 2x 4GB DDR3-1600||688||804||750||798|
|AMD Radeon HD7850 2GB (cheapest)||2462||2179||2624||2549|
|Western Digital Caviar Blue 1000GB||724||768||884||775|
|LG 24x SATA DVD-RW SATA||169||199||170||189|
|Corsair VS550 550W power supply||516||597||545||590|
|Cooler Master Elite 311 Plus||512||564||515||549|
Final cost: R7,392 (shipping excluded)
So for a modest R7,400, we got a pretty decent deal out of it. I decided on AMD’s FX-6300 because it has two extra cores and allows for some overclocking and tweaking with a better CPU cooler later down the road, which Intel can’t (or won’t) do with the same budget.
With more games using more cores and the PS4 sporting no less than eight itself, the extra grunt will help accelerate your gaming in the future. As a bonus, with the right multi-threaded app the FX-6300 can overtake most Core i5 chips as well.
The motherboard, MSI’s 970A-G46, enables most of the baseline features of the AM3+ platform and as a bonus will run dual-SLI or Crossfire graphics setups without complaint.
On the memory side I went with cheap and mostly cheerful Kingston RAM. I know there are better deals out there at the moment, like ADATA’s DDR3-2000 Gaming RAM, but because it wasn’t in stock at most retailers it was withdrawn from the roundup.
For the graphics card I had to make some concessions and stuck to AMD’s HD7850. Note that I haven’t chosen a specific version, I’ve just listed the cheapest one available from each retailer to make the roundup more fair. As usual, don’t forget that you qualify for the Never Settle Reloaded bundle while stocks last.
For storage, we’re going with a 1TB hard drive from Western Digital’s Caviar line. If you prefer Seagate, prices for their Barracuda lineup are very similar. We still pop in the DVD drive here, although it’s needed less and less these days unless you’re still buying the bulk of your games from online retailers and walk-in stores.
The power supply comes from Corsair and its the new VS550. Technically it can run two HD7850 cards, although that would leave you with no headroom for any overclocking. Having the option is nice, though.
Finally, Cooler Master’s Elite 311 Plus ducked in under our budget and gives us lots of enthusiast features for a budget price, including lots of fan mounts, cable management and a roomy interior. It also gives us a front-panel USB 3.0 port by using a cable that snakes its way into the back of the chassis. Because our motherboard doesn’t have an internal USB 3.0 header, this is a very useful feature.
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