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gaming pc

Here’s how to build your own killer $500 Xbox One or PS4 gaming PC

Both the next generation gaming consoles, Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are out and we’ve seen some really interesting performance comparisons. But what if you want a gaming machine that does more than just gaming and media playback?

The custom AMD GPUs used in the PS4 and Xbox One are close to a Radeon HD 7870 or an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti at best. Meaning that none of these consoles can run games at resolutions higher than 1080p, let alone things like 4K and many games on these consoles still run at 720p or 900p.

Xbox One

Is it possible?
I personally prefer gaming machines to consoles, simply because they can run full-fledged desktop operating systems and applications without any restrictions. And, they have the coveted mouse / keyboard gaming combo. First person shooters were made for the PC, despite how excellent the control options are on consoles. Outside of this, there are several other ways PC’s defeat consoles in practical, daily use.

There’s also price to consider. Console games are usually more expensive than PC titles. Also, gaming consoles can’t really be upgraded, outside of the hard drive. In the long run, you might find a gaming PC to be much more affordable and cheaper to maintain than a gaming console because of the cost of the games and upgradability issues.

If you were about to spend US$399 or US$499 on a gaming console, then think again. You can build a better machine than any of those consoles by spending just a little bit more. I’ve done the research and found two PC configurations (varying by budget) which are capable of providing decent to great gaming experiences, which are easily on par with the PS4 and Xbox One.

First, you have to decide on the processor and motherboard. Deciding on other parts such as RAM, storage, case and power supply is a much simpler process.

PS4 large

Yes, of course it is
Option 1 – Going the APU way to reduce overall cost

AMD has been making great strides in APUs. These processors come with integrated graphics and things like HSA and hUMA result in excellent system efficiency. The AMD A10-7850K Kaveri APU is one of the best options around if you are looking at a gaming PC on a tight budget.

You can also make use of dual graphics while upgrading the rig and add an AMD Radeon R7 250 later on for performance improvement. Pair it with an Asus A78M-A Micro ATX motherboard and for running the latest games like Titanfall at medium settings on 1080p resolution. If you want more ports, you can have a look at the MSI A88X-G43 Board which costs US$13 extra.

Part Model Price
APU AMD A10-7850K US$165
Motherboard Asus A78M-A Micro ATX FM2+ OR MSI A88X-G43 Board US$70 / US$83
Total US$235 / US$248

MSI A88x

The MSI A88X-G43 in PS4 blue
Option 2 – Conventional CPU and a dedicated GPU combo

If you have room to spend US$100 more, and want to head the conventional CPU and GPU way, I would advise you to pair an AMD Athlon X4 760K which is clocked at 3.8GHz with an MSI A88X-G43 motherboard and an MSI R9 270X graphics card. This combo will give you a higher FPS output and the freedom to ramp up the graphic quality.

Part Model Price
CPU AMD Athlon X4 760K 3.8GHz US$85
Motherboard MSI A88X-G43 Board US$83
GPU MSI R9 270X US$179
Total US$348

MSI R9 270X

The mighty MSI R9 270X
Once the important bits like processor, motherboard and graphics have been finalised, most of the work has been done. A single 8GB stick of Crucial Ballistix Sport RAM clocked at 1600MHz will take care of multitasking, and a 750GB Seagate Barracuda HDD will be more than enough to store all your games and media files. Keep your film collection on a 1-2TB external hard drive.

Just to remind you, The PS4 only has 500GB of storage by default. A BitFenix Comrade mid-tower case fitted with an Antex Basiq 430W power supply will do justice to your budget gaming rig. You can throw in a basic DVD writer from Asus to complete the package. If you want to watch Blu-ray titles, you can replace it with an LG Black Blu-ray drive for just US$30 extra.

Model Price
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 US$75
HDD Seagate Barracuda ES 750GB 3.5” 7200RPM US$55
Case BitFenix Comrade ATX Mid Tower Case US$50
Power Supply Antec Basiq 430W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply US$45
Optical Drive Asus DRW-24F1ST DVD/CD Writer US$20
Total US$245

Opting for an APU based configuration with DVD writer will cost you US$480 while a dedicated GPU option will cost you just under US$600 (US$593 to be precise).

Optional upgrades

If you already have a PC, you must have a Windows OS license so you can transfer it to your new computer. If not, you can always buy the no-nonsense Windows 7 for just US$100. Later down the line, you can throw in a CPU cooler, game controller plus a keyboard and mice combo for another US$150.

DVD writer

Remember when these used to cost a fortune? We do
So if you think that consoles offer better gaming at a cheaper cost, you’re only slightly wrong. A PC offers easy upgrades and the cost of games is significantly cheaper (you’ll never see a sale like Steam’s Summer Sale on Xbox or PS4). Start building your own budget gaming rig now and thank us later. Also, we’re well aware that there are countless hardware options for the PC, we’ve just chosen our favourite parts. If you know how to build a cheaper gaming PC on-par with the consoles, let us know.

Lead image via Speedy Freaks

Author Bio

Asif Iqbal Shaik: Columnist
Asif followed the consumer electronics industry closely for 6 years now. He’s such a hardcore gadget user that he literally dreams about them. He loves keeping up with and predicting consumer technology industry trends. He works as a full time consumer electronics expert for MySmartPrice and contributes to various technology... More
  • Holeybartender

    Too much work,that’s why I buy consoles.PC games suck ass,another reason.

  • ME

    I would like to say that a ps4 has 16 CUs (a modified 7870 with 2 CUs disabled), the xbox one has 12 (something like a 7770 + 2 CUs) and a 7870/r9 270 has 18.

  • I think I’ll stick to buying the ps4 in a store.