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PC Games (Games) The Almighty Buck Hardware

How to Build a $500 Gaming Machine 305

bacterial_pus writes "Tom's Hardware has a very interesting article on how to build a $500 gaming rig. 'Instead of the newest killer rig from Alienware, Falcon Northwest, Voodoo, etc... how about a system for the rest of us with a realistic budget starting from scratch? We set out to build a reasonable gaming system that will get you through today's game titles without breaking the bank for around $500.'"
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How to Build a $500 Gaming Machine

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  • Pirates! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Saturday October 29, 2005 @02:43PM (#13905451)
    Uh huh. A gaming machine that doesn't run Windows? Or are they just yo ho ho pirates at Tom's and expecting everyone to be loading it up from the bootleg .iso of Windows XP Corporate Edition that 'everybody' has in their shoebox of warez?

    Add that line item in and to stay on budget will require some drastic downsizing in everything else.

    Oh, and I know they only cost $20 sans P/S but they also forgot a case. Idiots.
  • Where is the Case? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by bajan_on_ice ( 32348 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @02:45PM (#13905466)
    And keyboard? And mouse? Monitor? Speakers?

    Not much of a gaming system without those. And those can add an easy $200 to the price if you
    go bargain basement...

  • A Few Omissions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chasuk ( 62477 ) <chasuk@gmail.com> on Saturday October 29, 2005 @02:52PM (#13905501)
    Most of us find a keyboard and a mouse useful on our gaming rigs, and a pair of speakers, and oh, I don't know, an OS, a case, and possibly even a monitor.

    A $500 gaming rig? Not quite!
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @02:52PM (#13905503)
    And then there's how to acquire a gaming machine for less than $500.

    Nintendo GC

    And coming soon:

    XBox 360

    Remember that they were building a machine only for gaming too in that article.

  • Re:Pirates! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rkcallaghan ( 858110 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @02:53PM (#13905512)
    Uh huh. A gaming machine that doesn't run Windows? Or are they just yo ho ho pirates at Tom's and expecting everyone to be loading it up from the bootleg .iso of Windows XP Corporate Edition that 'everybody' has in their shoebox of warez?

    Oh, and I know they only cost $20 sans P/S but they also forgot a case. Idiots.

    While I realize it was bad form not to mention it directly; neither of those items is exactly rare in the typical Tom's reader's closet. I've got a few legit Windows licenses and extra chassis. They're aren't hard to come by.

  • by slackmaster2000 ( 820067 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @02:55PM (#13905526)
    You can always scale back graphics to bump up fps, but some of these new games are so memory intensive that 512MB just isn't cutting it anymore. I certainly regret making the decision to do 256x2 in my machine...especially since upgrading to gig and maintaining dual channel means I have to buy 2 sticks of 512. Bummer. Swapping is something I've had to deal with in a number of games, from HL2 to BF2. It's not terrible, but enough that I do have to go and shut down a lot of stuff I run at startup before playing to minimize it. I would spend the extra dough on a gig right off if I had to do it over.

    This article assumes (hopefully intentionally) that you're reusing a bit of stuff from your last machine...I mean, a *case*, mouse/keyboard, monitor, speakers, etc. Money might be found for more memory then by recycling a hard drive and CDROM/DVD drive.
  • Of Course No Case (Score:4, Insightful)

    by matthewcraig ( 68187 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @03:28PM (#13905660)
    Many comments have mentioned the case and keyboard and mouse and monitor and speakers were not included. Of course, they were not included because PC gamers building a new system already have another computer. These peripherals are assumed to be present in computer gamers' enviornments. The article did not include prices on a chair for sitting upon, but I will assume a gamer probably already has this peripheral. They don't need help purchasing one because if they didn't have a chair or a case or a keyboard, then they surely know it and can go buy it without the help of a computer purchasing walkthrough. These peripherals have not changed in decades, and Tom's Hardware does not include it in their gaming-rig loadouts.
  • by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @04:00PM (#13905801) Homepage Journal
    Okay, folks. Let's look through what we have so far in this thread - a number of people complaining about no monitor, keyboard, mouse, or case.

    Did it ever occur to any of you that all of those items are what WE CURRENTLY HAVE? Look at the parts list that he's building up in the review. It's evident that he's talking about UPGRADING a current system on a shoestring budget!

    Keyboards, mice, monitors, and cases can remain consistent through any upgrade. They neither improve nore degrade performance. HOWEVER...

    A new processor is obvious.

    Depending on how old your current system is, a new motherboard is probably required for the new CPU.

    New memory is also often required in order to take advantage of faster buses. (No smart-ass comments about public transportation, please.) Although I personally would not recommend anything less than 1 GB for gaming or 2 GB if you plan on playing Battlefield 2.

    A new video card is obviously needed for a lot of newer games, and the 6600 has a very good price/performance ratio right now.

    A new hard drive is always a good idea for several reasons. (A) Price/GB is always dropping. (B) More storage is always good. (C) A new drive allows the ability to transfer data from the old hard drive more efficiently than making a backup to DVD. (D) New hard drives are just about guaranteed to be faster than older hard drives, especially if there is a multi-year difference between the two.

    Everything that he mentioned in the article are what are needed to get yourself a "new" gaming system. A new case, keyboard, mouse, and monitor are not needed. The main internals that matter are clearly what he's talking about. So, it should have been evident that the article is about UPGRADING a current system, not buying a whole new gaming system from scratch!
  • News? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ma3oxuct ( 900711 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @04:22PM (#13905890) Journal
    What the hell is wrong with Slashdot today. This article is dated the 14th of October. This is not news; the prices have changed if you browse the 'net a bit now. On top of that the article was rather stupid as so many have pointed out.
  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @04:57PM (#13906050)
    Is it just me, or is it getting harder and harder to buy a decent card for less then $200? I gotta say, I miss the days of $99 Voodoo Banshees. Heck, if you ask me cards in the $100 range should at least play last years games at 800x600x60fps, and a lot don't. Nvidia's and ATI's naming schemes don't exactly help here either (I especially like how ATI 8500s are faster than many 9200s and the ever increasing alphabet soup trailing off Nvidia card names).
  • by Oz0ne ( 13272 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @05:39PM (#13906211) Homepage
    Any entry level budget PC which can be had a Frys, Compusa, Walmart, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc etc for about $200, with an upgraded video card and MAYBE upgraded ram will run today's games.

    No it won't run them at top resolution at 120fps... but who cares. Anything above 30fps is very playable. Anything above 60fps is just pure gravy.
  • Re:Pirates! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Decker-Mage ( 782424 ) <jack_of_shadows@yahoo.com> on Sunday October 30, 2005 @02:44AM (#13907897)
    I beg to differ on your second point. I've moved my Windows Server 2003 Enterprise from one system to another with no problem and it hasn't required anything except that I do one of two things: completely fill out the registration information before I click on Activate or give Microsoft a call. the same is true with Windows XP Pro here as well and yes I have called them when I've been at one of my remote machines or at a clients and are moving things over and it bounced for some strange reason. Actually they are quite nice over the phone when you explain what you are doing.

    Oops, I forgot. This is Slashdot. Microsoft is evil, they can't ever be nice. Sheesh!

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!