As all serious gamers know, the most important equipment to have in your gaming arsenal is a good computer. But a decent system can easily cost thousands between retail and warranty fees. Is there any way a loyal gamer on a $500 budget can obtain a decent system? You quick answer is absolutely!
There are two options for desktop computers that may work for your needs without attacking your budget: Pre-made and DIY. If you have no interest in researching how-to’s, shopping for individual components, and making a project out of building your own gaming computer, you can still buy one outright for under $500. Although, be forewarned that, in most cases, a lower priced desktop computer will not be advertised as a gaming computer.
Even cheaper priced desktops will contain a decent running platform. The main component that will set it apart from a good quality, i.e.: more expensive, gaming computer is the graphics card. Luckily, you can purchase a decent one separately for under $200 and either have the store’s tech department upgrade it for you or you can do it yourself – or get a friend to help – at home. The minimal ram required for today’s serious gamer will be 4 gigs. So, you’re looking at spending close to $300 for the computer itself. Add in the higher quality graphics card, and you’ve hit your budget.
Of course, pre-made computers can go on sale through monthly turnover, liquidation, and discontinued sales. So, look for that option whenever you can. Amazon and eBay may be easy catches for cheap pre-made systems, and you can always look around at yard sales and check out ads in your local paper as well. You just might be lucky enough to get a higher power, gently used model for a couple hundred less than retail. Popular names such as Dell, HP, and Acer currently have 4 gig ram pre-made computers on the market for quick sale. You will likely have to upgrade at some time, but you’ll be able to enjoy most of the current games on the market without a performance drag on that budget.
The current best rated new, pre-made gaming computer under $500 is the CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra GUA880 Desktop. It contains 8 gigs of RAM, 3.8 GHz quad core processor, and 1024 GB hard drive. In other words, it has power. Amazon has it listed right now for $499.00, which is $190 off of its normal price. Best Buy, however, has the same model on sale for $50 more.
However, you can potentially make a more powerful system for yourself for that price if you do have the interest and opportunity to do so. You’ll just need to find a decent walk-through, create a shopping list, and buy the right components. But if you have a little DIY knowledge and enough patience, you can build your own system relatively easily.
Regardless of your budget, the basic component list is pretty much the same. However, not all boxed components are compatible. So, do your research, shop around, and ask questions to guarantee your DIY project isn’t a waste of time and money before you leave the house.
You will need a Central Processing Unit (CPU):
The CPU is the hardware that tells the computer what to do base on the requirements of the program. You won’t get anywhere without a decent CPU.
A good motherboard:
The motherboard is the main circuit board inside the computer. Without a good motherboard, you’re wasting time and money. But a good one can start around $100, so relax.
A video Card goes by several names (graphics card, graphics adapter, display adapter). Regardless of the name on the box, it’s necessary for today’s high quality gaming.
Memory stores your computer data and allows you to access it in any random order you choose. The time it takes to retrieve the data depends on the stored location of the information.
An Optical Disc Drive uses a laser or electromagnetic waves to read/write data from optical discs. Every modern computer contains a drive. The newer decent optical disc drives read your discs and also record (burn or write).
Hard Drive Disc retrieves data from the digital information and data from the rotating discs. An HDD will not lose data when the unit is powered down. The better quality HDD, the more data you’ll be able to store from your discs.
A Power Supply Unit is a box that attaches and converts your normal wall jack, alternating current (AC) power supply to lower direct current (DC) power required for computer usage. This is a relatively inexpensive component piece.
Metal or plastic tower used to enclose all power components. The case is practical, but it’s also a visual component. So, the price all depends on how flashy you want to be.
Operating System (OS):
OS is computer software that supports all basic functions and applications. Windows 8.1 Pro is an example of Operating System software. It sells for just over $100 and it’s a required expense and installation if you intend to do anything on your computer.
A good gaming computer can easily fit within a $500 budget and take the place of overpriced gaming consoles. Regardless of which option you choose – buying outright or building it yourself – just have fun. That’s the point of the hobby, after all.