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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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  • by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @03:09PM (#13905589)
    Shh! You're not supposed to ask questions like this. Console proponents hate when you point out that an RTS or FPS completely sucks ass on these "gaming systems".

    The moment you bring it up, the moment they go into a tizzy about how those game types suck anyway and you should just be happy with other types of games, 'cos, hey, they are, and they don't feel like they're missing out on anything.

    What works for them has to work for you. Or else!
  • Re:Pirates! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xSauronx ( 608805 ) <xsauronxdamnit&gmail,com> on Saturday October 29, 2005 @03:10PM (#13905599)
    The thing is, honestly, that they left those things out so that they could tout a $500 gaming machine as something worth reading so they could attract traffic to their website. A number of hardware sites have been doing rigs for years at multiple levels, especially budget machines, but i dont recall any of them leaving out necessary parts or accessories so they could use the "sub-$500 gaming rig" headline in an attempt to attract traffic to their site.

    Toms did, and now slashdot has directed traffic to them. I dont recall seeing an update on the front page of /. last time ArsTechnica or Anandtech put up budget rigs, which anyone with some common sense could easily look at and say "oh i dont need a new case or monitor for this, ill spend even less on a budget rig!" just so they could attract traffic.

  • by Achra ( 846023 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @03:10PM (#13905600) Journal
    Well, this story is just junk.. But here's my 2 cents. Buy enough cheap ram to upgrade to 512mb. Make sure that you have a machine that runs in the neighborhood of 2ghz (P4/Athlon XP). Purchase an ATI Radeon 9500Pro ($40ish on ebay). This should be enough to be able to play Doom 3 and the other modern titles. No, they won't look great, but they will certainly be playable. I'm on a rig like that right now, and it runs Doom 3 at 1024x768 with specular lighting at around 30fps.
    As a general rule of thumb when purchasing a video card on a budget, always buy yesterday's performance model rather than today's budget model.
  • Re:Pirates! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ChrisGilliard ( 913445 ) <christopher.gilliard@gmail. c o m> on Saturday October 29, 2005 @03:21PM (#13905640) Homepage
    Oh, and I know they only cost $20 sans P/S but they also forgot a case. Idiots.

    Who needs a case? See? []
  • by sarareku ( 817110 ) on Saturday October 29, 2005 @04:45PM (#13905981)
    AMD Semperon 3000/ECS NFORCE3 A combo: Fry's %80
    Western Digital ATA133 80 GB HDD: Fry's $50
    1 GB OCZ DDR400 RAM [2X512]: Fry's $100
    Sony 16x DVDRW Dual Drive: Walmart $70
    Samsung DVDROM 16X OEM: Micro-Center $20
    Diamond/Stealth ATI Radeon 9550 256MB DDR: Micro-Center $65 [easy to overclock]
    Turtle Beach Catalina 7.1 Soundcard: Fry's $35
    MGE M1 Gamer Case with 450W Power Supply: Micro-Center $50
    2X CoolerMaster Case Fans: Micro-Center $10
    Antec Slot Fan/Blower: Micro-Center $5
    Windows XP Home Upgrade: Wal-Mart $89 [All you need is an old Windows 9x/ME/NT or system restore disc to use as full]

    After tax, a tiny bit under $600, not cheaping out on anything [this system has a good burner, a real sound card good for gaming and HT, twice the amount of RAM dual channel at that, and happens to have a case and proper cooling, 0h, and a legal operating system] If you bought all these parts online or ebay, I'm sure you could do even less than what I did.

    And Tom didn't even count in shipping or tax..loser. Someone could counter his system "performs better", but I seriously think the difference in performance would be very marginal, with twice the system and video ram, less intergrated parts, and better though cheap cooling.
  • my new pc... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29, 2005 @05:14PM (#13906124)
    I actually just bought a brand new system for $527 shipped, minus the cd drive, mouse and keyboard, and of course the monitor. Still, with all that, I managed to make a system that comperable to theirs for only ten bucks more AND have a decent case to put it all in. 3000+ Sempron, ECS (as long as it's not pc chips I'm fine with it), half gig of ram (decided to go cheap on the ram as it's a cheap upgrade down the line anyway) Powercolor X800 GT (the only thing I decide not to go cheap on) and case w/ 500 watt psu. That was all from one site that put it together and burned it in, so I actually could've gone cheaper if I shopped around a bit, but I didn't feel like waiting on 5 different orders to come in and then put together. I'm happy with it though, it runs everything I've thrown at it great, except for BF2 (demo), which still runs great, just not as pretty as I'd like. Still, if you add the mouse/kb, cheap cd-rom, and went pawn shopping for a monitor, it would truly be a worthwhile rig for under $600. Hell, nowadays people would probably give you an old crt anyway. I hate going cheap on the ram and especially the mobo, but I had never paid over a 100 bucks for a video card, so I took a chance and so far it's doing great! It gets 80-90 fps in CS: Source and HL2 with settings set to high minus shadows (personal preference) at 1280x1024, which is the max my lcd will go.

      It is possible to make a complete, decent system, just remember that once you hit that $500 mark, spending a few more dollers over, goes a long way.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle