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.
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.
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.
|Motherboard||Asus A78M-A Micro ATX FM2+ OR MSI A88X-G43 Board||US$70 / US$83|
|Total||US$235 / US$248|
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.
|CPU||AMD Athlon X4 760K 3.8GHz||US$85|
|Motherboard||MSI A88X-G43 Board||US$83|
|GPU||MSI R9 270X||US$179|
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.
|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|
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).
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.
Lead image via Speedy Freaks