Finding a Cheap Gaming PC That Can Actually Play Games!

11 months ago Jack 0
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It’s easy to spend more on a PC than you need to. Don’t! You know exactly what games you want to play. Here are some tips to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck.


When you build a gaming PC, it’s easy to get suckered into upgrades that you don’t need. People will talk about bench-marking this and faster that, and that might be fun for them, but if you just want to sit down and play some Counter Strike or League of Legends, don’t follow their path. I’ve gamed on an Intel i3 CPU without a dedicated GPU and on an 8-core system with some of the newest graphics technology. BOTH will get you into the game and let you have some fun playing with friends.

Tip 1: Match Your PC to Your Games

This should be your stating point. When I used to buy and build systems more often, someone once asked me if I could build them a $4,000 PC to play World of Warcraft. I told the guy that a $1000 PC will get him roughly the same experience, but he wouldn’t hear it. He had to make sure that he got every last bit of frame rate out of the game.

In reality, if he could have been happy with moderately high settings and 1080p graphics, he could have played that game on even less than a $1000 PC. I used to game on integrated graphics for a while. Sure, it wasn’t as pretty as a nice PC but it worked. I had fun playing CSGO with friends and didn’t have to spend a fortune on a PC (or electricity). Most competitive multiplayer games can run on almost any recent PC from the last 2-3 years. They are designed for mass market sales. Everything else will be a little tougher on your system.

So the tip really comes down to this: Look up what you want to play, find one what gets the job done well enough to keep you from being frustrated, and get that. Check what the CPU and GPU needs of the game are.

Tip 2: Don’t Waste Money On Parts That Don’t Help You Game

Lights, fancy cases, crazy looking motherboards, braided cables, glowing fans, water cooling, and even solid state drives are not going to change your gaming experience enough to justify the cost. It’s especially true with most of those items, but the listing of SSD’s probably caught you off guard. Think about it, does waiting an extra four seconds to load a map or a level really kill your experience? When you play a multiplayer game, don’t you end up waiting for someone else to load anyway? Solid state drives cost multiple times more than a standard spinning hard disk. Grab yourself a 1TB spinning disk and you’ll probably spend about 1/8 what the SSD costs and have just as much fun playing your games.

Tip 3: Don’t Buy a PC Just Because the Manufacturer¬†Plastered “GAMING” All Over It

Manufacturers know that retail customers will pay extra if they paint a PC red and put words like “Gaming”, “Extreme”, “Ultra” and the like all over the description. Look for the specifications of the PC. The plain black box that runs the same CPU and GPU might be significantly cheaper. It won’t light up, won’t have a fancy color scheme (see Tip 2), but when you turn on the game, you’ll get to play it the same way.


What Would I Buy?

First, I would seriously consider my responsibilities and finances. If building or buying a gaming PC puts me in danger of missing rent or car payments, or puts my family’s well being at risk, I would abandon the idea. Playing video games is not worth the risks.

However, If I was in the market for a gaming PC and wanted to save money, I would look for a refurbished desktop PC about 1-2 years old that has an upgrade slot for a video card and comes with Windows. That way I don’t have to spend money on the OS and I’ve got a decent base for a gaming PC. Then, I would just add a low or middle end gaming graphics card to the PC and get to playing. I’d look for a card under $100 that doesn’t need a direct power feed to run it; something like an AMD RX 560 or a GTX 1050 at the time of this posting. I think a person could get a complete system that way and only spend around $350-400.

That said, it’s still pretty expensive. If I just wanted to play games and it didn’t have to be on PC, I would strongly consider buying a console instead. With consoles, you can be a lot less concerned about upgrades and whether or not a game will run on your system. If they sell it for your system, then you can play it.

PC gaming isn’t for everyone and is a luxury. Hopefully my tips will help you avoid spending too much on a gaming PC.