The Cheapest PC I Would Build: August 2014

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Joos:
A gaming PC without a GPU. Riiiight, I'll take that with a couple of buckets of salt.

A gaming pc that slower than the current crop of consoles is not doing PC gaming any favours; you are basically recommending people to buy what is in essence unsuitable for it's intended purpose. Not cool.

... the 7850k runs circles around the PS4 and the Xbone's little hybrid mobile APUs (their architecture was based on an old E-series line)... PS4 has an edge in memory bandwidth, unless you grab an R7 with some GDDR5 and crossfire it. Other than that, both consoles are considerably weaker than the system outlined here.

I'll admit it's no beast, it's just a little better than building a system with a Radeon 7770... but with the current gen of just-released consoles, that's all you're gonna need.

Still, it would need a bigger case and an aftermarket heatsink to operate at full capacity without risking damage.

There is also
http://www.logicalincrements.com/
for PC builds. When I built my PC I chose a 600 € one from a comparable German site end of 2011 and up to now it is holding up quite nicely.

coil:
You won't get a PC to last a console generation.

Sure you can. Looking at Playstations, it was six years from 1 to 2, six years from 2 to 3, and seven years from 3 to 4. My four year old PC easily runs new games at 60fps in 2560*1600 resolution, and I'll easily get another year or two before I have to start thinking about turning down graphics settings to keep that performance. If I downgrade to the hilariously low 1080p resolution people keep talking about for some reason, it will last much longer than any console generation has so far.

Of course, that was a fairly expensive PC to buy, but it comes down to Vimes' boot theory - a rich man buys a good pair of boots for $50 and they last 10 years. A poor man buys a crappy pair for $10, and they last a year. The poor man ends up paying twice as much for boots over 10 years, and still has wet feet for most of it. PCs are exactly the same - if you buy a cheap one every few years, you end up paying more than if you'd just bought an expensive one, and you get a worse gaming experience for most of that time. You won't get a budget PC to last a console generation, but if you can't get an expensive to last at least that long you're doing something very wrong.

Devin Connors:
It's a DVD burner! It burns! It reads! It annoys all the "YOU DON'T NEED AN OPTICAL DRIVE"-spouting readers who will surely make themselves known in the comments!

Hi!

OverEZ:
Those CPUs that also work as a GPU are prone to overheating.

There's a different between "gets hot" and "actually overheats". As others have noted, it might get up to 80o or so under load. A regular Nvidia GPU will generally try to limit itself to 90o by default. The safe limit is surprisingly difficult to find, but appears to be around 110-120 depending on the model. Yes, that's Celsius. 80 isn't overheating at all, it's just hotter than you'd normally expect a CPU to get. Because it's not a CPU.

I still Feel a Discreet GPU is the way to go. APUs are great for tiny form-factor media applications but having all of that on one dye for gaming? We're just not there yet, eve with the latest stuff you're still going to get shafted by that 8GB of RAM. There is a reason video memory is DDR5 now and there is 2GB of it on even mid-range cards. Loading and unloading all of that for any kind of modern game? Ehhh.... I don't know. I'm not 100% on how these newest APUs coupled with higher frequency memory perform in the wild but everything i've seen and from my most recent builds if you want any kind of performance you're going to want to go the Graphics Card direction.

Kahani:
There's a different between "gets hot" and "actually overheats". As others have noted, it might get up to 80o or so under load. A regular Nvidia GPU will generally try to limit itself to 90o by default. The safe limit is surprisingly difficult to find, but appears to be around 110-120 depending on the model. Yes, that's Celsius. 80 isn't overheating at all, it's just hotter than you'd normally expect a CPU to get. Because it's not a CPU.

that... isn't entirely true. Sure, you can run your hardware at 100C for a little while, but even as low as 80C, you're risking solder joins over the long haul. I probably had my old 7950GT running a few thousand hours over a few hundred sessions at around 85C before it failed... but the solder on the board did fail. I managed to bake it back to functionality, but it still throws up artifacts at weird times, and most people would have thrown it out as soon as the failure happened.

So while it's not necessary to run a cool system for function over the few years that most people keep hardware, it is necessary if you plan to keep it running beyond that time.

..but then, I still have a single-core XP laptop from 2003 that I use on occasion... and I drive a car that's older than me. I'm just a bad consumer.

DSK-:

The Athlon X4 750K will be a major issue, in my opinion, because it lacks level 3 cache. However, it depends on what games you want to play and what you will use the PC for. The FM series of processors don't offer any decent upgrade paths to explore further down the line.

Case in point, this PC has an Athlon II X4 620 @ 2.6ghz and a lot of games that came out in the last 5/6 years make this thing crawl on it's knees.

If you can get an AM3+ CPU similar to the FM 750K, like the Athlon II X4 640/645, you'll be able to keep your AM3+ motherboard if and when you choose to upgrade, instead of having to to change your CPU and motherboard wit the FM series.

I'd also consider getting a bigger power supply as it's always a good idea to have a bit of leeway, even if the CPU and GPU won't suffer.

Thanks for the feedback. Sadly, I am on a tight budget. So updatability is an important issue for me. I am a little bit confused though, I thought the FM2 sockets were more modern than AM3.

loc978:
that... isn't entirely true. Sure, you can run your hardware at 100C for a little while, but even as low as 80C, you're risking solder joins over the long haul. I probably had my old 7950GT running a few thousand hours over a few hundred sessions at around 85C before it failed... but the solder on the board did fail. I managed to bake it back to functionality, but it still throws up artifacts at weird times, and most people would have thrown it out as soon as the failure happened.

So while it's not necessary to run a cool system for function over the few years that most people keep hardware, it is necessary if you plan to keep it running beyond that time.

I suppose it depends on how exactly you define "overheating". I'd generally take that to mean getting so hot you face an automatic shutdown or face the risk of catastrophic failure. Getting hot enough to reduce the lifetime to just a few years of normal usage might not be ideal if you can avoid it, but it's not what I'd call overheating.

Incidentally, the 90o limit I mention is set by Nvidia - that's simply what the automatic fan controls try (and generally succeed, although I have caused it issues when overclocking) to keep the temperature below. So while it may well reduce the overall life expectancy, I'd certainly hope it's not a temperature that risks immediate damage.

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