My guide to making a killer PC on the cheap

[Editor’s note: WastelandTraveler wrote up a great guide at building yourself a awesome PC on the cheap. — CTZ]

[Note: I did not include mouse/keyboard or monitor. I’m taking into consideration that most people on here already have such things, so you can use them for the new rig. Main reason for the monitor is because with most HDTV’s today, they have a PC port on the back. Not to mention the video card in this build has a native HDMI port … you see where I am going with this?]

Well now, the holidays are right around the corner, or lets say you want to spend a little something and not get sh*t for anyone else. What’s a better way than to complete your realm of gaming then getting a new PC on top of the other platforms you own! “BUT ITS SO EXPENSIVE AND NOT WORTH ITS BAWBAWBAWBBAW”. Hold on there Timmy, I have a solution for you. I bring you … NEWEGG! A Web site which has always been known for some of the lowest prices on hardware components and all that jazz.

What I am bringing to this blog is a possibly holiday gift for you, or for someone in your family while taking into consideration a tight budget. I have put together a list of parts that will bring you a brand new PC that will be capable of running any game out today on the PC with great performance! And guess how much it is? $597.91. That’s right, a gaming PC that can run Crysis cranked, and every other title out on the PC right now fully cranked. Where is your God now?! 

Now I know some of you will say “but I don’t know how to build a PC, its too complicated!” Well you have to start somewhere don’t you? Have you ever played with LEGOs? Or Lincoln Logs? If you can accomplish putting two prongs into two holes that are the same size and shape, you can build a PC. Its really that simple. The most daunting task for most people is putting in the processor. Thankfully the processor in this selection comes in its retail box, and it has instructions with pretty little pictures!

I’d have to say the most important rule when building a new machine is keeping yourself grounded, and there are several ways you can do this. You can get an ESD band to wrap around your wrist (the other end attaches to the main metal frame of the PC Case) to prevent static discharge, or you can just wrest your forearms on the edge of the metal frame of the case while you are working on putting the pieces together. PRO-TIP: For the love of Christ, please do not plug in your system while you are working on it. Make sure your computer is unplugged from the wall when you install/remove components. I don’t need to hear your shit blew up because you sneezed on your damn system while it was still on, and Satan came out and punched you in the face with 120 volts of electricity.

Other than that, really all you have to do is RTFM (read the f*#*KING manual). Everything is explained in all the documents that come with the parts. Most of the stuff is self explanatory, but if you need to figure out where the SATA ports are, or where you have to plug the cables from the PC case onto the mother board, the motherboard has an instruction manual to guide you on this wonderful adventure. And if you really don’t feel up to it, ask a friend who knows how to build PC’s or take it to a PC shop and they should put it together for you.

Now lets get on with the goodies. Below is a list of parts, along with their prices. If any item is out of stock when you go to purchase it, just look for something else with similar specs, or wait a couple of weeks for the items to get back into stock.

Case: Rosewill R64 ATX Mid Tower

Mounting the Power Supply should be easy as pie, just match the big square hole with the big square block and it should fit in nicely (you’ll have to screw it in of course). And make sure the power supply cables are inside the case not out of it.

Price : $29.99

Power Supply: BFG Tech GS-550 550W ATX12V V2.2/EPS12V V2.8 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready.

This is a rather beast power supply, and for the price its worth it. Granted this current board does not support SLI or Crossfire, its always good to have this ahead of time so that if in the future you decide to change boards, you will be ready for it!

Price: $49.99

Motherboard: ASUS P5QL – LGA775 ATX Intel Motherboard

This motherboard can support several different speeds of DDR2 Ram, however I set it up with DDR800 to be safe for the new guy. The other great benefit to this board is that it can be upgraded from the processor in this list to a Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo for future upgrades (Yes Core 2 Quad means Quad Core). The board can also support up to 16GB of memory (not 16 sticks, you will have to purchase memory sticks with a high level of memory on them — like for the default of this build I got 2 x 2GB sticks to bring the total system memory to 4GB. There are a number of other features on this board as well that you can view from the link below.

Price: $79.99

Processor: Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5ghz – 2mb L2 Cache Duel Core Processor

This really is the best budget processor I have seen on the market right now, and it runs unbelievably stable. Its a beast for the price that’s for damn sure. Not only can the bad boy be overclocked to around 3.6ghz and run under 100 degrees f. at 100% load (with custom heatsink — not the stock that comes with the processor), but it’s also on the new 45nm processor tech, making it cheaper to produce and more efficient! Also has a 3 years limited warranty (parts & labor)

Price: $66.99

RAM System Memory: A-DATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-pin DDR2 800 Duel Channel Memory

Since I put windows 7 64bit with this system its safe for you to go with 4 GB of memory, on a 32 bit system you would not get the full advantage of the 4GB. This stuff is mainly for technical mumbo jumbo but if you wish to find out how system memory works you can go here:

Price: $76.99

Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb DDR3 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card

Best bang for the buck, this card will have the power to have you screaming Crysis at high resolutions & graphic settings, as well as every other game out there on the market right now (with the exception of shitty ports due to rushed development or bad porting like GTAIV, etc. This isn’t to say you can’t play these games, I just warn you because its been up and down for some machines).


Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 – 500GB 7200 RPM 16mb Cache – SATA 3.0gb

Great reviews all across the board, not just Newegg. And its also 500GB. Need I say more?

Price: $54.99

CD/DVD Rom (Burner): Samsung DVD+R/RW 2mb cache – OEM

OEM means it comes out of the retail box, so it will ship to you in the fun bubble wrap. Do not be discouraged by this however. OEM’s usually are cheaper in cost and just as good as the products that come in a retail box.

Price: $28.99

Operating System (OS): Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-pack for system builders – OEM

OEM Operating Systems generally mean that the key you get with this system is tied with the systems main board specs. So once its registered, this key is tied to the motherboard. Which is why I gave you a motherboard that can be upgraded processor and video card wise over the next several years so it will last you awhile.


(If you do of course already have a legit copy of Windows 7 or another OS, by all means use it. If its 64bit you will get the full benefit of the memory in the system, if not it’s no big loss I suppose).

Grand Total $597.91

[NOTE: If any parts come DOA (Dead on Arrival) you have 30 days to ship them back to Newegg and they will ship you a brand new part free of charge. This is very rare from my position, I have never received a DOA from Newegg and I have been ordering through them for 4 or 5 years.]