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DPete27
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We Can Still Game Under $400 USD

Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:22 am

Obviously the GPU/RAM market is stupid right now. But I just happened across Linus-tech's $70 gaming PC video. That got me wondering, can we still build a decent 1080p gaming rig under $400?

So what constitutes a viable 1080p gaming rig these days? It shouldn't be a system that's already obsolete, it should be able to do its thing for 2-3 years at medium to low-medium settings and >40fps on most games. I'll lay down some rules according to what I imagine that to be:
CPU = 4+ threads
RAM = 8GB+ (yes, this is a bit high, but everyone likes a challenge)
Storage = 250GB+ (anything less won't hold many modern games + OS)
GPU = Thinking something in the RX460/GTX1050 range or higher with 4GB VRAM (you can obviously get away with 2GB, but let's keep it somewhat desirable). GPU Hierarchy Chart for your convenience
Ebay is fine, but it has to be something you'd buy for yourself (honor system) and it has to be a "Buy Now" price. Auctions generally end up around the same price anyway.
Used/Refurb is okay, but again, it has to be something you'd buy and use for yourself. Keep in mind, refurbs need to have enough PSU to drive your video card, so if it needs a beefier PSU, you have to account for that.
All components should be....2012 or newer. Intel Ivy Bridge/AMD Piledriver or better
Sale Prices/Coupons/Promo codes/MIRs are all usable.
Any shipping/tax must be included
OS is not required, but you get bonus points for fitting one in.

I see this going two directions:
1) Minimum price for specs above
2) Maximum specs within the $400 limitation

Feel free to justify your build direction and/or choices.
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
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Re: We Can Still Game Under $400 USD

Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:24 am

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DPete27
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Re: We Can Still Game Under $400 USD

Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:25 am

I'll kick one off. Going for something that's got modern components, max budget:
Pentium G4560 = $59.5
Gigabyte GA-H110M-A = $40
8GB DDR4-2400 = $84 (saves one open slot for adding later)
Corsair CX-M 450W = $27 after MIR
Seagate 250GB = $21
Powercolor RX 560 4GB = $156 w/ shipping (torn on this, but I've had good luck with Open Box GPUs from newegg in the past)
Case = $9.63 after MIR (not great, but it's got USB3 and a couple pre-installed case fans...its a metal box to put stuff in)

Total = $397.13
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
HTPC: A8-5600K, MSI FM2-A75IA-E53, 4TB Seagate SSHD, 8GB 1866MHz G.Skill, Crosley D-25 Case Mod
 
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Re: We Can Still Game Under $400 USD

Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:02 pm

I wouldn't build for under about $800, honestly. Keyword build. What I would do, instead, is get an old Sandy/Ivy era corporate box for $300 or so and upgrade the GPU.

In the old days, building on the cheap made a lot of sense because the CPU arms race rendered anything obsolete after 18 months or so, but that's not really been the case since 2012 when CPU performance gains and game requirements both dramatically slowed down.
 
coolflame57
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Re: We Can Still Game Under $400 USD

Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:55 pm

I'll take a whack at this.

CPU/Mobo/Ram combo: $135 from r/hardwareswap
The linked combo lists an i5-3330, 8gb of ram, and an h77 mobo for $115. It's not too much of a stretch to assume a 3570 would be $20 more expensive. If you can't find a combo with a 3570, then flip the 3330 and spend an extra $20 for a 3570.

PSU:
I went new on this one bc skimping here is definitely not a good idea. link
$40 Seasonic bronze M12II 620W PSU

GPU:
HD 7970 or r9 280x -$100

Storage:
240gb SSD and a 1tb HDD - $90
This blows the 250gb requirement out of the water.

Case:
Raidmax Vortex V3 - $10 after 20% off code and $15 MIR

Total Cost: $375

I honestly think that building on a budget is never and will never be truly dead. In "bad times", you just need to shop around a little more, deal hunt more. I could have probably spent the extra $25 on a better CPU cooler or a better GPU. It's definitely doable.
 
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Re: We Can Still Game Under $400 USD

Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:46 pm

NovusBogus wrote:
I wouldn't build for under about $800, honestly. Keyword build. What I would do, instead, is get an old Sandy/Ivy era corporate box for $300 or so and upgrade the GPU.

In the old days, building on the cheap made a lot of sense because the CPU arms race rendered anything obsolete after 18 months or so, but that's not really been the case since 2012 when CPU performance gains and game requirements both dramatically slowed down.

You can catch a decent deal on the Dell Outlet on even more recent stuff. I got my dad a Core i3-7100 with 8GB of memory, 1TB 7200RPM hard drive, and a 21" IPS monitor for $400. I think the system by itself was around $300. Just keep an eye out. You'll push closer to $450 (monitor excluded) after you add a halfway-decent GPU like a GTX 1050 or RX 560, but it's definitely doable on the cheaper side. Plus you get Windows 10 and a year of warranty on the hardware. Dell's warranty service (even mail-in service) is miles ahead of what you'll get RMA'ing your own components to the respective manufacturers.
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Re: We Can Still Game Under $400 USD

Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:17 pm

If you've got a Microcenter close by, you can keep your eyes open for systems like this. A 4/4 Sandy i5 with 8GB and a W10 license for $190. The location by me has 7, and a few other similar machines for around the same.



Edit: Of course you'd want to throw it into a non-slim case with a decent midrange PSU. First thing I'd do is pop it open to make sure it has standard PSU connections before you get too far.
 
DPete27
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Re: We Can Still Game Under $400 USD

Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:32 pm

coolflame57 wrote:
I'll take a whack at this.

Your CPU/Mobo/Ram reddit post is 10 months old, and your linked GPU post was back in January before GPU prices skyrocketed again. You'll pay about $170+ for the same GPU nowadays. It's pretty sad.

@derFunkenstein & Egg. I actually considered newegg's refurbs. This Dell i5-4570, 8GB, 500GB, Win 7, 290W PSU for $180 seemed like a decent buy since those components in my build totaled $241. I think the i5-4570 still has some useful life left, but the G4560 probably isn't too much slower while still leaving room for a 7th Gen i7 upgrade path and I know I've only got 1 stick of RAM that I can double to 16GB down the road if needed. I was uncertain about the 290W Dell PSU, so while it technically would run an RX560 requiring no aux power, I'd probably feel better with adding the Corsair CX-M 450W just to be safe which raises the subtotal to $207, but you get Win7 in the process, and that extra $30 is much appreciated in the GPU budget these days. By the way, any concerns about the UEFI GPUs in OEM machines with this era refurb?

Either way, it goes to show that there's more flexibility in the sub-$400 budget range than most would anticipate.
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
HTPC: A8-5600K, MSI FM2-A75IA-E53, 4TB Seagate SSHD, 8GB 1866MHz G.Skill, Crosley D-25 Case Mod
 
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Re: We Can Still Game Under $400 USD

Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:49 pm

In my area there is a boom on used desktop units like Dell Optiplex, HP, Lenovo tower style units that sell for USD $200 or less depending on the components.

Typically one could buy a Dell Optiplex tower style desktop with a Core i5-4570, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and a 500GB harddrive for around USD $180. Then the rest of your budget would go to upping the memory to 8GB and getting a videocard like a brand new GTX 1050 Ti or a second hand GTX GTX 760, GTX 750 Ti, etc. Others opt to replace the PSU with a brand new one like a Corsair VS450 or Seasonic S12II 500W unit for their peace of mind.

With videocard and memory prices as it is now, many in my location are foregoing getting a new system and just building a gaming PC from 2nd hand parts. The lowest priced builds based on a Ryzen 3 2200G APU or Pentium G4560 + GT 1030 combo would typically cost USD $500 and above due to the high price of DDR4.

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