General Question

Russter's avatar

Best gaming computer for under $400?

Asked by Russter (242 points ) May 22nd, 2010

What computer (for gaming) would you buy if you only had $400?

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8 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

If building your own appeals to you, here are a couple of guides. They’re a year old, so probably the available processors and video cards will be different (and better).

$300 Hardcore Budget Gaming PC
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265143-31-hardcore-budget-gaming

Build a Kick-Ass $500 Gaming PC, Play Crysis at 40FPS!
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/build_a_500_pc_play_crysis_40fps

Ars System Guide: October 2009 Edition
http://arstechnica.com/hardware/guides/2009/10/ars-system-guide-october-2009-edition.ars

wenn's avatar

I would get a PS3 myself.

jerv's avatar

It’s a little tricky to get any decent computer gaming or otherwise for that low a price. Note that the $300 rig @jaytkay linked to listed a price of $0.00 for Windows? That right there means that you will pay more than $300 for that rig unless you already have a legal retail copy of Windows that you can install. And the Maximum PC $500 build has a similar omission: “In order to keep the machine under $500, we factored out the price of purchasing an operating system, and assume that you already have a copy of Windows XP, Vista, or the Windows 7 Beta lying around.”

At that price point, you will be building your own, and you must already have an operating system to install.

I managed to shop around and got a Core i3 with 6GB RAM, a 1TB drive, and Win7 Home Premium for $500. I am sure that with a little shopping, you could find something comparable and a graphics card to cover that one relative weak spot if you need more oomph. Then again, the Core i3’s integrated graphics are about on par with the Radeon 9800 GT I had in my old rig not “kick ass” but it gets the job done. I only made it choke on one game so far which should be enough to hold you over until you can save up for a card.

Still, at $400, you won’t get much, and likely not even get Windows. Bring it up to $500 or have a “free to you” OS like a retail (non-OEM) copy of Windows and your options increase exponentially.

.

@filmfann @wenn To each their own, but I think that the OP has already chosen a platform.

ShiningToast's avatar

Like what @jerv said, bring your price up to $500 and you can build a fairly nice quality computer. Not bleeding edge, but it will do you nicely.

The key though is shopping around and buying stuff as it goes on sale. You can get incredible deals from different websites, like Newegg, if you have the patience. Good luck!

Fred931's avatar

I would just wait for OnLive to come out. It uses cloud computing for games by taking your inputs, running them through the internet to their servers, which actually play the game, and video of the game in action is sent back to your computer all very quickly. Therefore, the only real limiting factor is internet speed. Get a reliable, cheap computer and the service instead of a potentially expensive gaming rig (which is also limited to games that run on the PC platform).

Jelly's avatar

@jerv your right, its going to be very hard to get a decent gaming computer for $400. If you want a good gaming computer your money range might be anywhere from 500–900 dollars.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Heh, my advice is don’t buy a gaming computer for less than 400, you will be disappointed.

You might be able to piece together a decent rig with around 600, monitor and operating system cost not included.

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