Budget Gaming PC
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17-08-2017, 10:52 PM
Budget Gaming PC
Right, so I went and did a thing.

I experimented with one of those budget PC builds, and was pleasantly surprised with the results.

[Image: H24-1636_phcallout02_cba_1398471.jpg]

I bought a HP Pro 8300, a enterprise grade refurbished small form factor PC, from a re-seller on Newegg. What caught my eye is that this particular PC came with a i5-3470, 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, and no OS, monitor, keyboard, or mouse. Seeing as how I had spare monitors, keyboards, and mice, that was no problem. I also have my own Windows 7 Home 64 disk and key, but ironically enough the PC case itself still had a legible product key sticker for an enterprise copy of Windows 7 Pro, but I didn't bet on that being there.

So the CPU is a legit quad core i5, clocked at 3.2 GHz and boosts up to 3.6 GHz. This was a legit gaming CPU back in the Ivy Bridge days, if you were looking for something more reasonable than Intel's unlocked K series chips. In fact, it got it's own review in PCmag.com as well. Brand new, this chip sold for a MSRP of $184. I bought the entire PC for $169.

Now it's biggest flaw was the lack of a dedicated GPU, as the on-board Intel HD Graphic on a CPU that debut in 2012 was sure to be underwhelming. Given the case's small form factor and proprietary power supply unit, the easiest solution would be to get a GPU that drew all of it's power from the PCI-Express lane on the motherboard without needing additional power leads from the PSU. The current king of this 'just drop it in and go' category is the nVidia GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti. Seeing as how the Ti version comes with a hefty premium for a small performance boost and a doubling of VRAM, I went with the cheaper 1050 model. Also key here was getting a low profile model, so I grabbed a MSI Geforce GTX 1050 low profile model complete with a low profile bracket. While there was not enough room to slot it into the first PCI-E slot on account of the CPU's cooler enclosure, it did fit into the second PCI-E slot (but just barely). The GPU set me back $119, bringing the entire setup cost to $288.

[Image: msi-gtx-1050-COMPACT.jpg]

Now there are other refurbished models, the same re-seller on Newegg also had the same model with a 500 GB hard drive and Windows 7 Home pre-installed for $215. While this was my first refurbish buy, I was quite impressed. the entire PC was immaculately clean, not a speck of dust on it anywhere. With a sample size of one, I cannot say whether this is typical or not, but I was pleased nonetheless. Plugging it in and booting it up went off without a hitch, and installing Windows 7 from a DVD was no hassle. The only hiccup was that the default Windows drivers in 7 did not support the motherboard's Ethernet, so I had to shut it all down and start up my gaming PC in order to search HP's website for their drivers. About 10 minutes and a USB transfer later, the refurbished machine was back up and online.

So I smuggled it into work, hid it behind another broken PC that being tucked away unused for years, and switched all of the hookups. So now I have my own PC at work, using spare monitors, keyboard, and mice that nobody has noticed or cared about in years.

Performance is more than respectable. Older titles like Diablo 3 run great with all the bells and whistles, while newer ones like Metal Gear Solid V and Killing Floor 2 look at least as good as their console counterparts but with better performance, even if it's still not quite at the level that my GTX 970's can push at home. While it's not the most powerful gaming PC around (not by a long shot), this is far cheaper and better performance than parting out everything new and building it myself. For a budget 1080p gaming machine that can stream 4K video if needed, it ain't a bad spend at under $300.

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17-08-2017, 11:05 PM
RE: Budget Gaming PC
Did someone say budget for a gaming PC?

[Image: origin_the_big_o-540x374.jpg]

The Big O, only 30,000 dollars

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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17-08-2017, 11:21 PM
RE: Budget Gaming PC
In all honesty though, I think I'm gonna go to a gaming laptop and not do desktops anymore. I mean..... once I get like 5 grand so I can afford a good one.

DLJ Wrote:And, yes, the principle of freedom of expression works both ways... if someone starts shit, better shit is the best counter-argument.
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17-08-2017, 11:56 PM
RE: Budget Gaming PC
(17-08-2017 11:21 PM)JesseB Wrote:  In all honesty though, I think I'm gonna go to a gaming laptop and not do desktops anymore. I mean..... once I get like 5 grand so I can afford a good one.

If you have $2259 to burn, get yourself a MSI GT73VR Titan. It has a 17.3'' 1080p display at 120 Hz, a Intel i7-6820HK, 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB HDD, 128 GB SSD, and a nVidia Geforce GTX 1080 with 8 GB of VRAM.

If you have $2999 to burn, get yourself a EVGA SC17 with a 17.3'' 4K UHD IPS screen with G-Sync, a Intel i7-7820HK, 32 GB of RAM, 1 TB HDD, 256 GB SSD, and a nVidia Geforece GTX 1080 with 8 GB of VRAM. Also, a sleek aluminium chassis.

Actually using all of that 5K budget on a laptop would see diminishing returns as you get into really gimmicky stuff, like dual GTX 1080's and docking stations, and laptops so large they cease to be practical to carry around (that dual 1080 setup needs 2 power bricks, and can only run maybe an hour of gaming on the battery alone).

There are also options from ASUS (their entire Republic of Gamers line), ACER, Aorus, ProStar, and others.

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