The AppStorm Budget Gaming Guide – Spring 2012

PCs are where gaming began and the gaming PC is the bonafide mother of gaming. Over the years building a gaming PC has given way to buying consoles but if anything, the rise of Steam and the recent slew of PC exclusives have shown that PC gaming is anything but dead.

Today, we’re going to talk about a budget build that will cost less than $750 and lets you play most recent games at high quality and with a respectable FPS.

Our main goal for this budget build is to provide enhanced gaming performance that will allow you to play current generation games, such as Battlefield 3 or Skyrim, on medium specifications at around 50FPS. I myself, have a build similar to the one we’re creating, so I know that the PC will out-perform some of its competitors by a long shot.

Where to Buy From?

The items I’ve linked in the build are purchased all from Novatech. The reason for this, it’s a great supplier in my region and I also believe it ships internationally as well, they provide a great range of products for such a small price, have a live support option and have a great technical team behind their products. They also offer an excellent range of their own remade graphic cards, monitors, and keyboards.

Editor’s note: If you’re from the US, NewEgg always gets my vote!

Our Build

Component Model Price
Processor [CPU] AMD Bulldozer FX-6 Six Core 6100 $185
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-880GM-USB3 $80
Video Card [GPU] NVIDIA GeForce GTX550Ti 1GB $140
Memory Corsair Vengage 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHZ $60
Storage Western Digital Caviar 500GB $80
Case/chassis Novatech Vortex Tower Case $70
Power supply Novatech PowerStation Gaming 500W Silent $60
  Core Build Total $675

It’s under our $750 original price-mark, and for the build there you’ll get yourself a great gaming computer that can run most games flawlessly. If you’re aiming for other kinds of websites, they should all range around the same price as Novatech, but I’d recommend strongly with using them if you can.

If you’re a little hungry for more information, allow me to elaborate a little as to why I picked each of these components among, seemingly, a gazillion choices. I’ll also be listing out alternatives for each category, so if you’re even slightly hardware inclined, you should really keep on reading!

Now for the fun stuff…

Processor

There is a perfectly good reason as to why I’ve gone for the AMD Bulldozer FX-6 Six Core 6100 Black Edition over another processor. I believe the sheer power of this processor will give you anything you need to run any program/game. The i7’s these days are great, if you’re rich. We’re going for a great, budget build, so this is what we’ve chosen. For only $180, you get six cores of 3.4GHz per core… that’s outstanding.

Alternative: You could grab yourself an i5 Sandy Bridge 2nd Generation, if you’re more of an Intel fan, for around the same price.

Motherboard

Motherboards are a key part of the equation and are the hardest things to pick in a build. They have to be right, for you as a person. I’ve grabbed this one myself as it’s very close to the one I have right now, which is outstanding. It has a variety of USB3.0 slots too, expanding too with the new on/off power saver options on the Gigabyte range.

Graphics Card

A very good reason as to why I chose this, it’s the same as the one I have! It’s a GTX550Ti, with 1GB dedicated memory and it runs flawlessly. I’ve been able to run BF3 on High Quality settings at around 30-40FPS on average no problem, and that’s what we’re here to do, build a great gaming machine. I think, for its price, it’s a great graphics card.

Alternative: However, if you’re aiming/willing to throw in an extra $50-$70, I’d recommend getting the next upgrade, the GTX560Ti. It has a better range of performance, and can run BF3 on Ultra with around 35-45FPS.

Memory

You simply cannot complain with Corsair on this one. For just $60, you can get 8GB of DDR3 RAM, two 4GB modules with epic designs. They range in three colours, the original, blue, and red to match your motherboard. If you run them alongside each other at a dual-crossfire style setting, they will do any task no problem, and if you want to be cheeky, you can buy two of these!

Hard Drive

The Western Digital range of hard drives have always been a great one. Their range of green, black and bue drives all have their individual characteristics: green for storage, black for performance, blue for the best of both worlds. We’ve gone for a 500GB, 6GB/s blue which will run games at a great rate and not have any “slow” loading speeds.

Alternative: If you’re one of them speed freaks (like myself) you may want to grab yourself an SSD. Novatech have a OCZ 60GB SSD for around $100 at the moment and it’s one hell of a performance blower.

Case

The Novatech Vortex case is said to be based on the Corsair 600T, one of the best gaming cases available (also featured in PCBuilder and PCGamer magazines). The case itself has two USB3.0 ports on the top, one E-SATA, two USB2.0 ports, and a fan controller knob. It also has great cable management slots, alongside four water-cooling entry/exit points if/when needed.

Power Supply

I would say one of the most important components in a PC, is a power supply! Do not forget this component or leave this to your minimal budget as it is one of the key parts, that will keep your computer running well or see it crash and burn. You need to make sure you have enough wattage for your parts, and for a build like this we’ll need a 500W PSU. I’ve provided a link above of a Novatech one that does the job perfectly, runs flawlessly and doesn’t cost a ton of money. Of course you may invest in a higher wattage if you want, but do not go too low.

And We’re Done!

That’s it for our build this time around. As you can see, I’ve left out parts like the display and input devices since they tend to be incredibly subjective items. If you’re looking for a little help, make sure to hit our earlier guide that goes a little into those as well.

Look for more builder’s guides catering to different niches as well as in-depth guides on picking individual parts very soon! Thanks for stopping by and let us know if you have any questions in the comments below. Happy building!