Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Building a budget gaming machine Jan 2013 for less then £250

So, what with all the Christmas money (about £250), thought it best spent on a nice gaming machine. Where to start? Research:

  • AMD or Intel?
    • AMD is the cheap option, Intel the expensive. So, as it's a budget PC then AMD is first choice. If I had more money I'd go Intel.
    • AMD just released FM2 socket A series, with APU (on chip graphics). After reading a few reviews this seemed the obvious choice.
    • Go with cheap A4 chip or expensive A8 chip?
      • basically I could buy a cheap A4 chip with good motherboard and good RAM or
      • expensive A8 chip with cheap motherboard and cheap RAM
      • I choose expensive chip. The only real benifit of an expensive motherboard is an extra 2 slots for RAM. But I think I'll only need a max of 32GB RAM for the near future.
    • Chipset - A75 or A85X?
      • I think the A85X is newer, but I like the fact that the A75 is cheaper and also has USB 3 native controller to make it more future proof
      • both have SATA III support for fast SSD action
  • graphics card or APU?
    • after reading this nice review from Anandtech I wanted to go for the higher priced A8 chip, and when I get more cash, get a graphics card which uses crossfire.
  • SSD or HDD?
    • HDD are cheap and BIG! £40 for 1TB!
    • I can't believe the price of an SSD (about £40 for 64GB). I can always plug an external one in for more storage, which isn't a priority. I want SPEED!
    • Also SATA III is a must!
  • 2 sticks of 4GB RAM, or 1 stick of 8GB?
    • reading up on it, because the new motherboards support "Dual Channel" RAM thought it best to get two. Apparently works out at 1/3 quicker.
  • Windows 7 or Windows 8?
    • Windows 8 is the future. Also reviews say it's a little quicker.
So after scouting about in I found:
£35 - 2 x 4GB DDR3 1866MHz RAM
£222 - total!!!

So, when I get more money I can always:
  1. Buy AMD 6670 graphics card
    1. cheapest at the moment is £52
  2. replace 8GB (2 x 4GB) with 32GB (2 x 16GB)
    1. cheapest at the moment is £185!
  3. Buy an AMD A10 5800K processor
    1. currently £94
And these will be cheaper in the future.

I predict without the upgrades it'll last me 2 to 3 years (£220 / 3 = £73 per year), with the upgrades it'll last up to 5 years (hard to say what things will cost in 3 years time).

Just putting it together at the moment, will send some pictures and do some benchmark testing for games!

If anyone has any other recommendations, or perhaps what I should have done with the £250 then comment below.

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