Best Cheap Gaming PC Build

Shopping for PC components can be intimidating if you’re not up to date on hardware news. Fortunately, we’ve done the research for you and have put together three tiered builds (cheap, mid-range, and high-end) geared to deliver great gaming experiences.

You can certainly build a gaming PC for less than our budget-oriented rig here, but it’s often a good idea to spend a little more to mitigate serious bottlenecks and to avoid harsh compromises. With that in mind, we spec’d out components that will deliver an excellent 1080p gaming experience for around $700.

CPU: Intel Core i5-6400 $179.99
GPU: Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 480 4GB $220.99
Motherboard: ASRock H170M Pro4 LGA 1151 Intel H170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX $78.98
RAM: HyperX FURY 8GB (2 x 4GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2133 (PC4 17000) $51.99
Storage: Kingston SSDNow UV400 120GB $42.99
HDD: WL 1TB 32MB Cache 7200rpm $39.99
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 100R $49.99
PSU: Corsair CX Series CX 500W 80 Plus Bronze PSU $49.99
Total $714.91

Listed prices reflect time of publish.

CPU: Intel Core i5-6400

Best Cheap Gaming PC Build

Intel’s $60 dual-core G4400 CPU is a tempting proposition for a budget rig, but in general, we recommend a quad-core CPU for gaming. Four cores is really the sweet spot. While the current crop of AMD CPUs are generally cheaper than Intel’s modern quad-core solutions, they require AMD’s AM3+ chipset, which is outdated and will soon be replaced by the company’s upcoming AM4 platform. With AMD’s Zen CPUs around the corner, it doesn’t make much sense to go with an AMD processor right now.

That’s why we’re going with the Core i5-6400 processor, which is Intel’s most affordable four-core Skylake CPU. The chip is built on a 14nm production process and offers four threads. The CPU is clocked at 2.7GHz, features a max turbo frequency of 3.3GHz, and offers 6MB of cache. Since the i5-6400 uses the 1151 socket, there’s an upgrade path to Intel’s desktop Kaby Lake processors when they come out next year. This gives you the option to upgrade your CPU down the road.

Graphics Card: Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 480 4GB

Best Cheap Gaming PC Build

For our budget-friendly graphics card, we’re going with AMD’s Radeon RX 480 GPU. The card is built upon the company’s new Polaris microarchitecture. The RX 480 offers 2304 stream processors, a 1266 boost clock, and 4GBs of video RAM. In total, it features 5.8 teraflops of GPU performance. It also happens to be an amazing card that can max out just about any game at 1080p, and it can handle 1440p really well, too. Specifically, we’re going with Sapphire’s Nitro+ variant, which features a slightly overclocked 1306MHz core clock.

Motherboard: ASRock H170M Pro4

Best Cheap Gaming PC Build

To supplement our Core-i5 6400 CPU, we’re going with ASRock’s H170M Pro4 motherboard. While ASRock is known as a budget brand, it has the LGA 1151 socket support we need.

It also has eight USB 3.0 ports, 7.1 HD audio support, six SATA III ports, and two PCIe slots.

RAM: HyperX FURY 8GB (2 x 4GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2133

Best Cheap Gaming PC Build

While 4GB of system RAM will allow you to squeak by in most games, you’ll really want 8GB. We’re going with two 4GB sticks of HyperX Fury DDR4 memory clocked at 2133MHz. Going with two sticks allows us to run the 8GB of RAM in dual-channel mode, which allows us to get more memory bandwidth. At around 40 bucks, it’s fairly priced and also has some heat spreaders that keep the sticks cool.

SSD: Kingston SSDNow UV400 120GB

Best Cheap Gaming PC Build

Friends don’t let friends build gaming PCs without solid-state drives, even for budget-oriented rigs. We recommend even a small SSD, at least for the operating system. This will allow your PC to quickly boot. For this budget build, we’re going with a modest 120GB SSD from Kingston, the company’s SSDNow UV400. This is enough for the operating system and your most-used games and applications. The drive offers read and write speeds up to 550MB/s and 500MB/s, respectively. Though the drive scales up to 960GB, the 120GB variant costs around 40 bucks, which isn’t likely to break the bank.

HDD: WL 1TB 32MB Cache 7200RPM

Best Cheap Gaming PC Build

In an ideal world, we’d all be using nothing but massive solid-state drives, but because SSDs are still relatively expensive compared to hard drives, we’re recommending a 1TB HDD to supplement this rig. Just because this is a budget build doesn’t mean we have to go with a slow 5,400rpm drive, however. The white label version that we’re recommending here spins at a faster 7,200rpm. The big thing to look out for when shopping for an HDD is price per GB. With this drive costing four cents per GB, that’s not a bad bargain.

Case: Corsair Carbide Series 100R

Best Cheap Gaming PC Build

Just because we’re putting together an affordable gaming PC doesn’t mean we have to skimp out and buy an ugly case. The Corsair Carbide Series 100R chassis not only looks clean and modern with its all-black finish, but it’s also made of steel and features a side-panel window, which allows you to admire all your rig’s sexy components. The front of the case features two USB 3.0 ports and 3.5mm audio jacks. Inside the case, there are four tool-less drive trays and enough room for full-size graphics cards that measure up to 12 inches. The 100R also includes one 12cm fan and a removable dust filter beneath the power supply slot.

Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX 500W 80 Plus Bronze PSU

Best Cheap Gaming PC Build

While we’re on a mission to build an affordable rig, you don’t want to skimp on the power supply unit–you wouldn’t want a cheap PSU to short out and harm any of your components. We’re going with Corsair’s CX500 power supply. The company makes great PSUs, and the CX version here carries a respectable 80 Plus Bronze rating. With 500 watts of power, we’ve got enough juice for our entire rig.

Conclusion

The total for our build comes up to $714.91. You can certainly build a PC for less, but this build represents a killer gaming rig that will be able to max out the most graphically demanding games at 1080p with smooth frame rates. It’ll also be able to handle VR and plenty of 1440p games as well. It has all the core components you need in a great gaming PC.

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Overwatch Reveals Tracer’s Girlfriend, Emily

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The Overwatch comic Reflections is all about Tracer.

Blizzard has confirmed in the latest Overwatch comic that Tracer is the game’s first LGBTQ character.

The Overwatch comic, Reflections, opens with Tracer lamenting about how previous years’ holidays have been lonely for her, but this year “is going to be different.”

Tracer receives a present from a stranger who she helped after failing to buy one herself,  and then comes home to a woman named Emily, who she appears to be dating. Emily opens the present — it turns out Tracer was trying to get a gift for her — and then kisses Tracer in thanks in the scene depicted below.

Overwatch Reveals Tracer's Girlfriend, Emily

Emily kisses Tracer in the Overwatch comic Reflections

This reveal comes after Overwatch artistic director Bill Petras confirmed at BlizzCon 2015 that Overwatch would feature gay characters, though no specific character was mentioned at the time. Blizzard’s Chris Metzen added that there would be multiple LGBTQ characters in the game, so future reveals are likely still forthcoming.

The comic ends with Tracer and Emily surprising a lonely Winston at the door after he lamented spending the holidays alone, with Tracer reflecting about how happy she is to be spending the holidays with her Overwatch family.

Overwatch Reveals Tracer's Girlfriend, Emily

Tracer and Emily join Winston for the holidays in the Overwatch comic, Reflections

Tracer is one of the most popular faces of Overwatch, frequently headlining the game’s marketing. Overwatch fans have depicted Tracer as LGBTQ in fanfics and on Tumblr, with many shipping seeming nemeses Tracer and Widowmaker. IGN’s Lucy O’Brien wrote extensively about how fandom has helped grow the culture of Overwatch.

Overwatch has had a huge 2016, and was one of IGN’s Best Reviewed Games of the year. Here’s a roundup of everything you need to know about the currently underway Winter Wonderland event, which ends on January 2nd.

Terri Schwartz is Entertainment Editor at IGN. Talk to her on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz.

Crytek Closes Multiple Studios, Refocuses Future Business Plans

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CryEngine will continue to be a “core pillar” of the company’s strategy.

Crytek is refocusing its business strategy for the future, and as such, the company has announced the closure of several of its studios.

While its Frankfurt and Kiev studios will remain operational and “continue to develop and work on premium IPs,” the rest of Crytek’s studios are closing up shop. The company has taken measures to “ensure a smooth transition and stable future” for those affected by the closures.

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Going forward, Crytek is going to focus on its “core strengths of developing innovative games and game-development technology.” As such, CryEngine will continue to serve as a “core pillar” of the company’s strategy.

Avni Yerli, Crytek’s co-founder and managing director, released the following statement regarding the company’s future business plans:

Undergoing such transitions is far from easy, and we’d like to sincerely thank each and every staff member – past and present – for their hard work and commitment to Crytek. These changes are part of the essential steps we are taking to ensure Crytek is a healthy and sustainable business moving forward that can continue to attract and nurture our industry’s top talent. The reasons for this have been communicated internally along the way. Our focus now lies entirely on the core strengths that have always defined Crytek – world-class developers, state-of-the-art technology and innovative game development, and we believe that going through this challenging process will make us a more agile, viable, and attractive studio, primed for future success.

Crytek has been in financial trouble for quite some time. Back in 2014, a large portion of the Crytek UK staff reportedly stopped going into work during the development of Homefront: The Revolution, after not being paid on time. According to Kotaku, this problem has persisted all throughout 2016.

In addition to the Crysis series and Ryse: Son of Rome, Crytek also is behind the virtual reality game Robinson: The Journey, which released last month for PSVR.

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Alex Osborn is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.

The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series — A New Frontier Review

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Nothing tests the will to choose like family.

For two seasons of Telltale Games’ venture into the apocalyptic wastelands of The Walking Dead, we have experienced the life of survivor Clementine as she has dealt with unimaginable loss and strife in a world overrun by walkers. Whether together with others or alone on the road, Clem (and, in turn, us as players) have kept alive through sharp intellect, honed instincts, and wise tutelage. But for Season 3 of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series, everything is changing. Here, you find a new family of survivors, and a new playable protagonist named Javier. Here, you will be tested to make choices that will affect not just people you know and trust, but those bonded by blood. Here, you will discover A New Frontier. And here, no one can be sure to get through what awaits and come out alive…

IGN will be reviewing all five episodes of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series — A New Frontier. You can find links to these episode reviews for the third season of The Walking Dead through the links below.

The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series -- A New Frontier  Review

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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 1 Review — Ties that Bind, Part 1

VERDICT: I don’t have a clear sense of where the season as a whole aims to go just yet, but “Ties That Bind Part I” is one of Telltale’s strongest openers in recent memory. Scenes feel carefully constructed in their camera direction and editing, and Telltale avoids the pitfalls of its most egregious past issues — only one environmental exploration sequence temporarily slows things down — but for the most part the episode moves along at an exceptional clip. But that’s not just thanks to Part I’s style. Smart characterization and writing for Javi and his family, plus the return of Clementine, add weight to a largely unfamiliar but already engaging new frontier that I can’t wait to continue to explore.

 

The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series -- A New Frontier  Review

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The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 2 Review — Ties that Bind, Part 2

VERDICT: Season 3 of Telltale’s Walking Dead continues to deliver some of the impressive world-building and characterization that made me love the series when it first premiered. I feel a part of Javi and Clementine’s plight, and though I hope the rest of the season can avoid some of the familiar Telltale and Walking Dead formula trappings that Episode 2 fell into and to keep surprising me, I’m still invested in finding out what’s next. Especially with a little more context for the New Frontier revealed, Telltale is starting to better lay out all the logs it has to build a cabin. I just hope the rest of the structure is as strong as the foundation.

 

The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series -- A New Frontier  Review

(*Coming in 2017)

 

The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series -- A New Frontier  Review

(*Coming in 2017)

 

The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series -- A New Frontier  Review

(*Coming in 2017)

Be sure to check back for future reviews of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series — A New Frontier as new episodes are released.

January Free Xbox Games With Gold Announced

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Rayman Origins and Killer Instinct Season 2 are among the free games.

Microsoft has revealed the four games available for free for Xbox One and Xbox 360 Gold subscribers in January as part of its Games With Gold program.

The full list and periods of availability to download these games for free are:

  • World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap — January 1-31 on Xbox One
  • Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra Edition — January 16-February 15 on Xbox One
  • The Cave — January 1-15 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One
  • Rayman Origins — January 16-31 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One

World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap combines elements of tower defense and action-RPG games for single-player and co-op campaigns, as well as a versus mode as players fend off horrifying foes.

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The Cave will also be available on February 1 for both Xbox One and Xbox 360 players. From Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion designer Ron Gilbert, The Cave is a side-scrolling platformer filled with logic puzzles. Players explore the games titular Cave, which actually serves as the game’s narrator. IGN gave The Cave a 7.9 when it first released, saying the game is “a pure, puzzle-solving adventure game rife with funny lines and chuckle-inducing non sequiturs despite trying to disguise itself as a side-scrolling platformer. It doesn’t stay with you the way Gilbert’s classics did, however.”

On January 16, both Rayman Origins and Killer Instinct Season 2 will become available. Origins started off a new era of 2D platformers for Ubisoft’s limbless character when it first debuted in 2011. IGN gave Rayman Origins a 9.5, calling it “special, rare, and precious.”

Killer Instinct Season 2 began in 2014, and the Ultra Edition that will be free for players also features a port of Killer Instinct 2 Classic.

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Games With Gold free downloads requires an Xbox Live Gold subscription .

Don’t forget that one of this month’s free games — Outlast — is still available through January 15 on Xbox One.

Jonathon Dornbush is an Associate Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter @jmdornbush.