During our Cheapest Gaming PC Challenge the guys and gals of the GameSessions team tried to make PC gaming more accessible by putting together the cheapest PC builds they could. But a PC, even our cheap ones, are just stupidly expensive boxes without peripherals. This guide will help you transform yours from a useless box into a lean mean gaming machine for as little cash as possible; including recommendations for a monitor, headset, keyboard and mouse.
The Cheapest Gaming PC Challenge has kept the GameSessions team busy for the last few weeks. We set out to see who could build the cheapest possible gaming PC capable of playing our most demanding free trials and after planning and building all four machines, we tested them to see who was the winner. It was a day of anticipation, of tension…but mainly an excuse to play games and eat cake!
You can find out how the day went and how each of the PCs performed in the video below, or check out our final results blog post for more information.
Cheapest Gaming PC Challenge: The Results
Last month the GameSessions Team was set a challenge; to build the cheapest possible gaming PC rigs as part of the Cheapest Gaming PC Challenge. Now, finally, all the builds are done, running and tested. We’re ready to reveal the final result. Which machine is both the cheapest and runs our trials the best?
Since we first announced the Cheapest Gaming PC Challenge a few weeks ago, the teams have been hard at work (some more than others!) Each of the four teams had their own idea of how to go about it, they ordered the parts and built their machines. Take a look at what’s been going on in the office:
For the final build of the PC Challenge we wanted to build an APU based machine that would allow playing fairly recent AAA titles with playable FPS. This makes the machine a good starting point for someone wanting to try out PC gaming without breaking the bank. Plus, if they enjoy PC gaming the CPU is strong enough to support upgrading to a more powerful, discrete, GPU. Allowing the machine to play much more demanding games, without the need to replace any other parts. We also included a 3rd party CPU cooler for overclocking, which can be omitted from the build if there’s no plan to overclock.
As the Third Build we decided to go with something a little risky… the obvious options would be to use one of the AMD FM2 processors that combine a solid CPU and 3D graphics bits on a single chip, or use a lower end Intel CPU with a separate 3D graphics card. Intel HD graphics are not powerful enough to play Ryse or Sniper Elite 3 well – two of the most demanding GameSessions titles!
Although this was part of the GameSessions Cheapest Gaming PC Challenge, to me the concept of this Nerf Gun build wasn’t so much to build the cheapest gaming PC, but to build something worth talking about.
I wanted something that would play all the GameSessions free trials at full HD, the system components were a little over spec-ed to ensure it could be take seriously as a gaming rig, but I also needed to keep the cost down. Here’s more info on how the physical build went.
As part of the Cheapest Gaming PC Challenge, I decided to build something insane and attention grabbing…I turned a Nerf gun into a PC!
Even though I’d made some rough measurements of a Nerf Vulcan beforehand, I didn’t know for certain how all the parts would fit. So after unboxing everything, I installed the CPU, RAM and fan onto the motherboard. There isn’t much to say about this assembly, it’s mostly idiot proof.
With all this talk of Steam Boxes and living room PCs, we decided it was time to give the in-house team a good challenge. After listening to them all talking about hardware and who’d make a better PC, it soon became obvious that there was only one way to find out…The Cheapest Gaming PC Challenge!
Objective: To build the cheapest possible gaming PC suitable for your living room.