Build a PC on a console Budget?

#1 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

This link pretty much does it all really...

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/can-we-build-a-gaming-pc-on-a-console-budget/1100-6418829/

Good article and really shows you you want you get out of a PC if you know what your doing. Yes its possible to build a 500$ PC and it still out beat the new console duo. You just need to know what your doing to pick out the parts. Personally the AMD one is far superior because its 6-cores instead of 2. Only thing is both specs only have 4GB RAM.

#2 Edited by Ezekiel (545 posts) -

Does it take optimization into account? You won't be able to run new console games well with that for long.

#3 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2403 posts) -

This is very relevant for me because I've been wanting to build a PC for quite some time now, but don't really have the funds to so (at what I thought would be a reasonable end price) but seeing these guys build these PC at sub $600 (and I could care less about graphics so I will turn that shit down as much as I have to in games) is great.

#4 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

Yes I think you will be able to run new games on that no problem, just simply wont be maxed out graphically, but neither do the consoles either, as the videos in the article quite rightly point out even the xbox can't even run the games as their base graphically integrity at a 1080 either where the PCs there can. Its not a which one is better argument but it does prove this can definitely be achieved on a console budget that everyone always argues about. You can build a cheap PC, and you it can perform extremely indeed and not be like a total dog shit. Just knowing your parts makes the difference heh

#5 Posted by believer258 (12184 posts) -

This is very relevant for me because I've been wanting to build a PC for quite some time now, but don't really have the funds to so (at what I thought would be a reasonable end price) but seeing these guys build these PC at sub $600 (and I could care less about graphics so I will turn that shit down as much as I have to in games) is great.

Apparently that AMD machine can run games at pretty good framerates, resolutions, and settings, so go for it! If you're willing to bump the resolution down to 720p for some games farther on down the line, it will probably last you quite a while (thought I would strongly recommend getting four more gigabytes of RAM to at least match the PS4/XBone's RAM amount). These days, even Low settings don't look unplayably bad.

It's worth noting that you should still go with Intel/NVIDIA if you've got the cash, but AMD is best if you're on a tight budget.

#6 Edited by TechnoSyndrome (959 posts) -

@ezekiel said:

Does it take optimization into account? You won't be able to run new console games well with that for long.

This is a very real concern, as the recommended specs for Watch_Dogs prove. Still, just because you can't play a PC game at max specs doesn't mean you aren't getting at least a PS4-equivalent experience. I have to turn down a couple options in Assassin's Creed IV in order to get it to run at a stable framerate, but it's running at 1080p, 60 frames a second versus the PS4 version's locked 30, and still looks better than the PS4 version in all categories. As games are better optimized for consoles and not PCs this could change though, especially with both consoles using 8 core CPUs which isn't common in PC gaming at the moment.

I think if you want to build a PS4 equivalent PC at console prices you're better off waiting a couple years. It's absolutely possible to build a rig that outperforms the PS4 without breaking the bank, but if you don't want to spend more than $500 it'll probably end up obsolete pretty fast.

Also AMD processors suck, you're better off with Intel.

#7 Posted by MB (13090 posts) -

I like that they included the O/S, mouse, and keyboard in their budgets. All too often these builds have a little disclaimer at the end letting the reader know they'll be out another $200 just to get it running if they don't have a Windows license or input devices laying around.

Moderator
#8 Posted by Andorski (5365 posts) -

I'm guessing the AMD build's better performance is due to Mantle. I'm pretty sure BF4 has Mantle support at this point and I think Thief has rolled out support via update.

#9 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -
@taku128 said:

@ezekiel said:

Does it take optimization into account? You won't be able to run new console games well with that for long.

This is a very real concern, as the recommended specs for Watch_Dogs prove. Still, just because you can't play a PC game at max specs doesn't mean you aren't getting at least a PS4-equivalent experience. I have to turn down a couple options in Assassin's Creed IV in order to get it to run at a stable framerate, but it's running at 1080p, 60 frames a second versus the PS4 version's locked 30, and still looks better than the PS4 version in all categories. As games are better optimized for consoles and not PCs this could change though, especially with both consoles using 8 core CPUs which isn't common in PC gaming at the moment.

I think if you want to build a PS4 equivalent PC at console prices you're better off waiting a couple years. It's absolutely possible to build a rig that outperforms the PS4 without breaking the bank, but if you don't want to spend more than $500 it'll probably end up obsolete pretty fast.

Also AMD processors suck, you're better off with Intel.

Just one thing really. I just have to disagree with the AMD Processors suck. HAving used AMD processors for the past 10 years I can safely say that when it comes to real world gaming performance there is almost zero performance difference. When it comes to how well games play its all about the GPU, I out perform I5s and most middle ranged i7's with my AMD FX 8320 @stock speeds. For a CPU thats half the price of any decent i7 that is just simply a no brainer really. Most will disagree but that is my experience and there are quite a few articles and youtube benchmarking videos to back that up. Intel absolutely out-perform AMD in rendering, encoding, audio editing, and all the other more professional stuff without a shadow of a doubt, but in games its a much much closer performance then people actually realize.

#10 Edited by Corvak (1172 posts) -

Just remember, it might match the consoles, but don't expct that PC, or those consoles to be running things 1080/60 for long.

Watch Dogs already doesn't, though open world is more demanding than most games.

#11 Posted by keyvin (34 posts) -

@taku128 said:

@ezekiel said:

Does it take optimization into account? You won't be able to run new console games well with that for long.

This is a very real concern, as the recommended specs for Watch_Dogs prove. Still, just because you can't play a PC game at max specs doesn't mean you aren't getting at least a PS4-equivalent experience. I have to turn down a couple options in Assassin's Creed IV in order to get it to run at a stable framerate, but it's running at 1080p, 60 frames a second versus the PS4 version's locked 30, and still looks better than the PS4 version in all categories. As games are better optimized for consoles and not PCs this could change though, especially with both consoles using 8 core CPUs which isn't common in PC gaming at the moment.

I think if you want to build a PS4 equivalent PC at console prices you're better off waiting a couple years. It's absolutely possible to build a rig that outperforms the PS4 without breaking the bank, but if you don't want to spend more than $500 it'll probably end up obsolete pretty fast.

Also AMD processors suck, you're better off with Intel.

Just one thing really. I just have to disagree with the AMD Processors suck. HAving used AMD processors for the past 10 years I can safely say that when it comes to real world gaming performance there is almost zero performance difference. When it comes to how well games play its all about the GPU, I out perform I5s and most middle ranged i7's with my AMD FX 8320 @stock speeds. For a CPU thats half the price of any decent i7 that is just simply a no brainer really. Most will disagree but that is my experience and there are quite a few articles and youtube benchmarking videos to back that up. Intel absolutely out-perform AMD in rendering, encoding, audio editing, and all the other more professional stuff without a shadow of a doubt, but in games its a much much closer performance then people actually realize.

Try playing a star craft II 4x4 game on *any* AMD processor.

#12 Posted by Crysack (348 posts) -

Yeah, this is all well and good, but I wouldn't recommend building a PC like that. It's only a matter of time before 4GB RAM and 2GB of VRAM become insufficient - nevermind the relatively weak CPU. I am not convinced that they managed to run BF4 at 1080p/ultra/msaa without noticeable stuttering.

If you're going to build a PC, take my advice and save up $1000 to get yourself a solid rig. It seems like a lot to pay, but given how weak the latest-gen consoles are, you can expect to get a fair amount of life out of a medium-high-end PC at this point in time.

#13 Posted by keyvin (34 posts) -

@crysack said:

Yeah, this is all well and good, but I wouldn't recommend building a PC like that. It's only a matter of time before 4GB RAM and 2GB of VRAM become insufficient - nevermind the relatively weak CPU. I am not convinced that they managed to run BF4 at 1080p/ultra/msaa without noticeable stuttering.

If you're going to build a PC, take my advice and save up $1000 to get yourself a solid rig. It seems like a lot to pay, but given how weak the latest-gen consoles are, you can expect to get a fair amount of life out of a medium-high-end PC at this point in time.

For people that a budget really matters, it could take five more months to get to $1,000.
I'd rather game now and pay $250 next year on more ram and a better gfx card.

#14 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

yeah I can understand that, $1000 can be a lot for peeps that just simply don't have it, have high bills with a low paying job or just kids that are still in highschool. I do believe the 1000 mark is the sweet spot when it comes to buying a PC personally, I always want the best but can never have the best haha! but its interesting to see it is actually possible to build a PC, on a console budget, thats actually not dog shit.

#15 Posted by axf4ever (39 posts) -

People really over inflate how much it costs to buy parts for a pc. Yes you can spend 1000$ or more but you don't need too. I'm running on 3-4 year old hardware and consistently can play everything that comes out with framerates above 40 fps. All told i've spent about 600$ on this machine and if you already have some parts that price goes down a lot. Plus the best part is you can always upgrade your graphics card or other parts down the line when you do have the money :D.

Current Rig:

Motherboard: ASRock 970 Extreme4

CPU: AMD 965BE 4.0GHZ

GPU: AMD 6870 1GB

Ram: 10GB

PSU: Corsair TX650

#16 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

@axf4ever said:

People really over inflate how much it costs to buy parts for a pc. Yes you can spend 1000$ or more but you don't need too. I'm running on 3-4 year old hardware and consistently can play everything that comes out with framerates above 40 fps. All told i've spent about 600$ on this machine and if you already have some parts that price goes down a lot. Plus the best part is you can always upgrade your graphics card or other parts down the line when you do have the money :D.

Current Rig:

Motherboard: ASRock 970 Extreme4

CPU: AMD 965BE 4.0GHZ

GPU: AMD 6870 1GB

Ram: 10GB

PSU: Corsair TX650

Indeed, My old machine was 6 years old and that was holding out just fine, it was an old AMD Phenom II x3 tripple core with a simple 4GB DDR2 800 ram and a GTX 260 lol... Seems so dated now but really it would still survive quite a few games today, at the time I bought it, at newegg, I spent $649. To me, that was an absolute bargain back then when those parts were very good, not high end, quad cores were the high end back then but everything else was good, still more expensive than a console, but no you don't need to spend $1000 on a good machine as i proved that myself. What 1000$ does give you though is the higher specs of a machine that is built to last more than just simply a year or two. As more people are PC gaming, prices of sky rocketed with it, as more demand for components rise, so does the cost of everything, 16GB RAM year n half ago cost 80$, now for the same RAM you're looking at $150-$180. $1000 is the sweet spot in my opinion, in longevity with the performance, in conjunction to spending 1000$ on just a single graphics card, or a full system from Del/Alienware/falcon-Northwest/Ibuypower/Cyberpowerpc and so on for $2-3000. you don't need to spend that much money and this article definitely helps prove that.

#17 Edited by MB (13090 posts) -

@vackillers: The reason RAM costs went up isn't because more people are playing PC games...it was due to various other factors, chief among them being one of the world's main RAM manufacturers suffered a factory fire in late 2013. If you look at the average cost per gb of primary and secondary storage, it has been consistently going down year after year since pretty much forever with only a couple of temporary spikes here and there.

Another example of why I think your conclusions are all wrong - just look at video cards and cpu's. Your GTX 260, when it released back in 2008 or so it came with 896mb of vram and retailed for $399. Today you can get a GTX 770 2gb card for even less than that and it is orders of magnitude more powerful than the 260 AND consumes less power. CPU's are the same way, they just don't cycle as fast. The price of components is going down, storage and performance is going up. Things are continuing to get cheaper, smaller, faster, and more powerful year after year.

Moderator
#18 Edited by FakeKisser (366 posts) -

I'll echo some of the other things said here:

  • If you only want to spend $500 on a game machine, that is totally, totally acceptable, but you should buy a console, because games will continue to run on that for the entire generation (or until it dies and you have to buy another one - but that's still cheaper than keeping up with a gaming PC).
  • PC games don't get optimized the same way as console games, and their minimum specs tend to rise throughout the generation - even if older consoles still run the same games due to better optimization and focus on consoles. So, big budget games are going to demand more on PC than what you have in just a few years (5 if you're lucky). Therefore, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage for those games - as opposed to buying a console.
  • Getting a cheap PC for indie games that may not come out on consoles or will be less fun to play with a controller is not a bad idea at all. If that's the case, though, I still say you should also buy a console if you are interested in big budget games and keep the PC as your indie games / older, classic games / less-demanding games rig.
  • I personally think you need to invest about $1000 to really have a good game machine in a PC that will give you the same experiences as a console...and you will probably have to spend another $1000 4-5 years later.
  • All that being said, I LOVE PC gaming for many reasons - a few are mouse+keyboard, cheaper games at launch, more sales, more customization, the ability to control frame rate and performance more with upgrading parts or mods or tweaking, ability to run older games better (i.e. no need to worry about backwards compatibility, really). There are more reasons, but those seem the most relevant to this conversation.

P.S. The problem with just buying more RAM and another GPU in a year or two is that the real bottleneck in PCs always ends up being the CPU, because changing the CPU almost always means a new motherboard, which almost equates to a new PC (since you already have to get a new GPU and RAM). I just upgraded my PC, because I couldn't push the CPU any harder. I could have put a $500 GPU in my old PC, but the CPU I had would have kept me in minimum to moderate specs, anyway.

#19 Posted by keyvin (34 posts) -

I'll echo some of the other things said here:

  • If you only want to spend $500 on a game machine, that is totally, totally acceptable, but you should buy a console, because games will continue to run on that for the entire generation (or until it dies and you have to buy another one - but that's still cheaper than keeping up with a gaming PC).
  • PC games don't get optimized the same way as console games, and their minimum specs tend to rise throughout the generation - even if older consoles still run the same games due to better optimization and focus on consoles. So, big budget games are going to demand more on PC than what you have in just a few years (5 if you're lucky). Therefore, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage for those games - as opposed to buying a console.
  • Getting a cheap PC for indie games that may not come out on consoles or will be less fun to play with a controller is not a bad idea at all. If that's the case, though, I still say you should also buy a console if you are interested in big budget games and keep the PC as your indie games / older, classic games / less-demanding games rig.
  • I personally think you need to invest about $1000 to really have a good game machine in a PC that will give you the same experiences as a console...and you will probably have to spend another $1000 4-5 years later.
  • All that being said, I LOVE PC gaming for many reasons - a few are mouse+keyboard, cheaper games at launch, more sales, more customization, the ability to control frame rate and performance more with upgrading parts or mods or tweaking, ability to run older games better (i.e. no need to worry about backwards compatibility, really). There are more reasons, but those seem the most relevant to this conversation.

P.S. The problem with just buying more RAM and another GPU in a year or two is that the real bottleneck in PCs always ends up being the CPU, because changing the CPU almost always means a new motherboard, which almost equates to a new PC (since you already have to get a new GPU and RAM). I just upgraded my PC, because I couldn't push the CPU any harder. I could have put a $500 GPU in my old PC, but the CPU I had would have kept me in minimum to moderate specs, anyway.

If you plan your buys, you can purchase cheap on the tick and splurge on the tock. Intel keeps the same socket on tick/tock. Between sandy bridge and haswell, performance only increased ~15%, which is a full tick/tock cycle. Between Ivy and Haswell it was like 10%. If someone buys a Pentium Haswell, in two years they could upgrade to an i5 broadwell or i7 broadwell and not be that far behind the next tick. Just because you *can* buy the latest and greatest when upgrading doesn't mean you get the best bang for the buck by doing so.

#20 Edited by FakeKisser (366 posts) -

@keyvin: I agree about bang for buck. I built several PCs where I really evaluated where the sweet spot was for good performance before prices start increasing exponentially. However, another thing I know is that getting the best bang for your buck is great, really great, but it doesn't mean that those who pay more are wasting their money. It's like buying a car. Buying best bang for buck still won't get you some of the perks that a more expensive car has. Sometimes, you just have to pay up for certain things.

That being said, I just built, for the first time in my life, what I consider a pretty beefy gaming rig. Like I reference before, I didn't have that kind of money for previous builds due to being too young with less income. And I did totally fine. :)

#21 Posted by VACkillers (1075 posts) -

@mb said:

@vackillers: The reason RAM costs went up isn't because more people are playing PC games...it was due to various other factors, chief among them being one of the world's main RAM manufacturers suffered a factory fire in late 2013. If you look at the average cost per gb of primary and secondary storage, it has been consistently going down year after year since pretty much forever with only a couple of temporary spikes here and there.

Another example of why I think your conclusions are all wrong - just look at video cards and cpu's. Your GTX 260, when it released back in 2008 or so it came with 896mb of vram and retailed for $399. Today you can get a GTX 770 2gb card for even less than that and it is orders of magnitude more powerful than the 260 AND consumes less power. CPU's are the same way, they just don't cycle as fast. The price of components is going down, storage and performance is going up. Things are continuing to get cheaper, smaller, faster, and more powerful year after year.

At the time the GTX 260 was released for 260$ not 400. Its considered a mid range card back then and it was plenty good enough to run almost anything at the time. you can't compare a 260 with a 770, a 270 would be much more on par for that card interms of the price/performance ratio for that current generation. As for the RAM facturies catching fire, that wasn't the case for the RAM spike, that was way later after all ram had bumped up in price, the RAM spikes happend all the way back in 2012 due to several reasons. RAM was so dirt cheap, everyone started hording the ram sticks because you could just get so much for it, you can check retailers like newegg for how many times RAM went out of stock, then you had the natural disasters that destroyed several manufacturing plants in asia, flooding, earthquakes ect... and then on top of that, you had the brand new line of consoles need RAM also for their machines. But that was just an example of some price spikes, how many 1000$ video cards do we currently have on the market today? how many did we have back in 2012? it has almost doubled, this is because of demand. There is a much higher demand for high end GPUs than there ever has been before, doesn't mean there is any less midrange cards not at all, but a mid range GPU will cost you more around the $400 mark today, then what it was a few years ago, where as a 260 used to play everything on max cept crysis, not quite the same when it comes to a 760 in comparison today. You're much better off getting a 770 in that regard. Intel motherboards have always been expensive, but never more than double what AMD is before until recently. Storage is about one of the only things that have kind of stayed the same, and SSDs are finally coming down slowly over the past year as they should, 500$ for a harddrive is just ridiclous especially when they don't last half as long as regular drives do.

At the end of the day we all have our own opinions this subject, what we have to consider is that with each generation of GPUs, there is much more tech and power in them, so a 760 could even be the equivilant to what a 580 used to do to games back several years ago but of course a 760 doesn't cost you 5-600$. When it comes to working out prices, GPUs are general a good way to go in calculating it, compare what a 580 used to cost when they first came out, to what a 780 cost when that one first came out, when both essentially are doing the same performance to the respected high end games of their time of release, a 780 was 2-300$ more in that respect. That is not cheaper as we' re going forward, price-vs-demand has pushed that.

#22 Posted by Hunter5024 (5962 posts) -

Well both the new consoles cost 400 dollars now, so the PC's actually cost an extra 150 dollars. That's about 40% more. Also, as other people have said, this pc isn't going to be very good for very long.

#23 Posted by CakeBomb (223 posts) -

If you have a PC already, it's a major money saver as you probably don't need a case, power supply and hard drive. If not, don't expect PS4 quality graphics for 400$/€, maybe Xbox One though.

AMD CPUs are generally cheaper but perform a little worse, and consume more energy than their Intel counterparts, at least for now, but a FX 6300 (Phenom X6 is good too) is still miles ahead of the netbook grade CPUs on the consoles, and there's room for overclock or upgrade.

As for graphics, AMD always beats Nvidia in price/performance ratio, but not so much in performance/watt. If you have/want to buy a cheaper power supply (or just want a greener PC, electric bills...) this may be a concern. If not, a Radeon 7850 or R7 265 with overclock and 2GB of VRAM will suffice for PS4 quality graphics, at least in these early games, if you want to be ahead a little to be safer, there's the R9 270 or 7870, or the GTX 660/660ti. If you're looking for between XBone and PS4 power the Radeon 7790/R7 260X is right between those two, but the jump from the 260X and the 265/7850 is worth it (double the ROPs and bandwidth, which matters for high resolutions), also, the GTX 750ti is a great inbetween card that consumes less power than even the 7790.

Keep in mind it varies from game to game, as Digital Foundry revealed, a 260X will sometimes overtake the PS4 in performance (at the same resolution), possibly in games which are hung back by the weak CPU, which you won't have to worry about. The 750ti, 7850 and R7 265 are all more powerful than the 260X so you might be set with those for a while. In my opinion, go for the R9 270 if you have the money, if not, try to at least get a 7850 or R7 265 with 2GB, it's worth the jump over the weaker cards.

There's another way though. Instead of buying a 180$/€ card now, buy a 7770, R7 250X or R7 260 (without the X) to get roughly the same performance as the XBone (possibly better), and then buy another card for the same price two years later that is clearly superior to the PS4.

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