Build an $800 Gaming PCMarch 14, 2008 – 4:55 AM
Gaming computers cost several thousand dollars, right? That’s common knowledge, you’d think. Of course, those of us in the do-it-yourself community know better. You can build a perfectly capable gaming PC for little money. In fact, for years we’ve been challenging ourselves to build a decent gaming rig for less than $800.
Sacrifices must be made for such an inexpensive gaming rig. With a $1,000 price point, you could do a lot more. But picking a price point that is easy, that requires no tough decisions, isn’t the point. The point is to show that large-scale OEMs, the guys who do the most volume at these prices, could certainly sell you a good gaming PC for this price if they wanted to. For the most part, they don’t, and that’s the power of building your own computer—you can get what you wouldn’t buy elsewhere.
So read on for our component picks and performance measurements on our $800 gaming PC. Feel free to discuss what you would do differently, and point readers to some of the great deals you’ve found.
Rule #1 for Build It systems is this: The components we recommend have to be readily available, in stock, at online vendors we would trust with our own money. We don’t just go with the lowest price we can find anywhere in the wild land of online commerce. Prices tend to fluctuate and we’re sure that you can find a better deal if you dig around enough—we’d rather err on the side of “you can actually find these prices” than promise a less-expensive system you could never build yourself.
|Brand / Model||Price|
|CPU||Core 2 Duo E6550||$170 (Compare Prices)|
|Motherboard||ASUS P5K Pro||$132|
|Memory||Corsair TWIN2X 2048 6400||$75 (Compare Prices)|
|Graphics||EVGA GeForce 9600 GT SSC||$180 (Compare Prices)|
|Hard drive||Seagate 7200.10 160GB||$53 (Compare Prices)|
|Optical Drive||Lite-On LH-20A4P||$30 (Compare Prices)|
|Case||Cooler Master Centurion RC-534||$80 (Compare Prices)|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master 430W (incl. with case)||NA|
|Operating system||Windows XP Home||$74|
Our $800 Gaming Machine configuration comes sans monitor, keyboard, and mouse. We figure everyone interested here has those components already and can recycle them. If not, don’t worry. You can get a perfectly good quality, non-generic keyboard and mouse for about $50 and a nice widescreen LCD monitor in the 20–22″ range for a couple hundred more.
Some of those component choices might seem odd, but we’ll explain our reasoning for each on the following pages…