Challenge: Make The Cheapest Gaming PC Yet!

Gaming is not an expensive hobby, if you choose the hardware wisely.

There is no doubt about the fact that gaming PCs are expensive, but the term ‘expensive’ is quite relative. A gaming rig for Rs 50,000 is obviously cheaper than the one costing Rs 80,000 or Rs 1,50,000 and so on. The obvious difference is that the more moolah you pump in, the higher you go with the settings the anti-aliasing and such, while gaming. Not to mention the better gaming experience with larger monitors, better graphics cards, speakers and so on.

 Challenge: Make The Cheapest Gaming PC Yet!

The Alienware Area-51 Desktop Gaming PC: One Of The quickest ways to blow cash !!

There’s a sample hardware configuration of a mainstream gaming PC following the next couple of paragraphs, but before that, let’s get to the point of this article. Apart from the mainstream rig, we’ve listed a couple of entry-level gaming PCs. Now, these PCs will have entry-level hardware and the end product ought to be cheaper, say about Rs 30,000. The two PC configurations we’ve listed are about Rs 30,000 and Rs 39,000.

The challenge is to come up with a good entry-level gaming rig under Rs 25,000 (or lesser). The comments section is open for suggestions, so if you can come up with a better PC configuration in a lower price, send in your entries.

The top three configurations will be put up in Part 2 of this challenge, and from those three configurations, we’ll decided which ‘one’ offers the best gaming experience and the best value for money. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the gaming rigs!

Thermaltake Matrix VD2000BNS

Mainstream gaming

  • Motherboard: MSI 890GXM-G65 (AMD 890GX) – Rs 7,400
  • Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T, 2.8 GHz – Rs 10,500
  • RAM: 2x 2 GB Strontium DDR3-1333 MHz – Rs 4,800
  • Hard disk: Western Digital Caviar Green - 1 TB – Rs 3,300
  • Graphics card: Powercolor Radeon HD 5750 - 1 GB DDR5 – Rs 7,900
  • Optical drive: LG GH22 SATA 22x DVD-writer – Rs 1,100
  • Monitor: Benq V2200 Eco - 22-inch TFT (LED) – Rs 12,500
  • Keyboard: Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 – Rs 950
  • Mouse: Razer Salmosa – Rs 700
  • Speakers: Logitech Z4 – 4,300
  • Sound card: Asus Xonar DX 7.1-channel – 5,000
  • PC Case: Thermaltake Matrix VD2000BNS – Rs 2,800
  • Power supply unit: Cooler Master GX550 – Rs 4,700
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium – Rs 6,300
TOTAL Rs 72,250

Powercolor Radeon HD 5750

Now, this gaming PC is a loaded one—well, relatively speaking—and it has all that you need, to enjoy games at higher resolutions and with higher settings. However, with the budget we’re looking at, this PC completely defeats the purpose. No matter how hard you try and replace the hardware components or deduct some from the list, you won’t be able to change the hardware without compromising on the performance. This is why there are entry-level gaming rigs, where you can play games, but at lower resolutions and with all low settings.

Budget Gaming (Option 1)

  • Processor: Intel Core i3-530, 2.93 GHz – Rs 5,700
  • Motherboard: Intel DH55TC – Rs 5,300
  • RAM: 2 GB Strontium DDR3-1333 MHz – Rs 2,300
  • Hard disk: Western Digital Caviar Blue – 320 GB SATA – Rs 2,300
  • Graphics card: Zotac GeForce GT 220 – Rs 4000
  • Optical drive: LG GH22 SATA 22x DVD-writer – Rs 1,100
  • Monitor: Samsung B2030N – Rs 6,300
  • Keyboard/mouse combo: Microsoft Desktop 500 – Rs 800
  • Speakers: Artis S7+ – Rs 350
  • Sound card: Onboard HD audio
  • PC Case: iBall Pride – Rs 1,550
  • Power supply unit: Bundled with the PC Case
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Basic – Rs 4,300
TOTAL Rs 30,400

Here’s an example of how you can get a better graphics card in the same budget; you’ll have to compromise on the CPU performance. Choose a cheaper motherboard and processor, such as the Asus M2A74 AM (Rs 2,900) and the AMD X2 245 CPU (Rs 3,000). After replacing the currently listed motherboard / processor combination with this one, you save about Rs 5,100. There, we have a gaming PC for Rs 25,300. However, with this graphics card, you’ll have to keep all the settings off, no anti-aliasing and games at lower resolutions. But we’re looking for a good gaming rig which can at least go up to medium settings. So let’s move on!

Budget Gaming (Option 2)

  • Processor: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5400, 2.70 GHz – Rs 3,800
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L – Rs 2,600
  • RAM: 2 GB Strontium DDR2-800 MHz – Rs 2,700
  • Hard disk: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 - 500 GB SATA – Rs 2,600
  • Graphics card: XFX Radeon HD 5670 - 512 MB DDR5 – Rs 6,600
  • Optical drive: LG GH22 SATA 22x DVD-writer – Rs 1,100
  • Monitor: Dell ST2010F - 20-inch TFT – Rs 7,600
  • Keyboard/mouse combo: Logitech G1 Gaming Desktop – Rs 1,500
  • Speakers: Altec Lansing BXR 1121 – Rs 1,350
  • Sound card: Onboard high-definition audio
  • PC Case: Cooler Master Elite 335 with 500W Extreme – Rs 4,850
  • Power supply unit: Bundled with the PC Case
  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Basic – Rs 4,300
TOTAL Rs 39,000

This one looks more promising, and, in games like Crysis Warhead at about 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1080, you’ll get about 40 fps and 36 fps respectively. Then there are other games you can play like Race Driver: Grid, Left 4 Dead and so on.
Speaking of game titles, in our recent grudge match between the Asus EeePC 1201N and a custom desktop PC, one of our readers in the comments section, mentioned that he uses an entry-level PC on which he plays a number of games. There’s a long list of games he mentioned, but I’d like to highlight a few like, Crysis Warhead, Battlefield Bad Company 2, COD 4: Modern Warfare, Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead. Now these are games that can bring even powerful gaming PCs down to their knees when played on higher resolutions and settings but this guy can play them because he’s probably keeping all settings low. Also, his PC is two years old, hence outdated hardware, take a look:

Reader's PC
Motherboard: ASUS P5B-MX/Wifi-AP (Intel 946GZ chipset)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHZ
RAM: Kingston DDR2 667 3 GB
Hard disk: Seagate 660 GB SATA (500 GB + 160 GB)
Graphics card: XFX 9500GT 512 MB GPU

By now you must have understood how you can bring down the price of your gaming PC to accommodate better core hardware into the same budget. The graphics card, RAM and processor (in that order) play the most crucial roles. The prime concern here is good game play. It doesn’t matter which keyboard/mouse combo you choose, or whether you have a 500 GB or a 1 TB hard drive, or whether you choose a sound card or use onboard sound. This is mainly about gameplay. That's because gameplay is something you won’t be able to ‘add to your PC’ once the hardware is bought. Peripherals can be bought separately.

So, who can customize the cheapest gaming PC ever? The comments section is all yours!

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