We received a lot of great feedback after we recently updated our PC buying guide and then built and rated the systems. Our cheapest version, the Budget Box, caught the attention of many readers and cost only ~ $ 500, including the monitor, speakers, keyboard, and mouse.
This system only has core components worth $ 350, but buys a quad-core CPU with decent integrated graphics, 8 GB of high-speed DDR3 memory, a 120 GB SSD, an optical drive, and a solid combination of chassis and Power supply to bring everything together.
The budget box is ideal for everyday computers, although it is suitable for light games. For everything else, you should invest in a dedicated GPU like the $ 100 Radeon R7 260X that, in our tests, gives the Budget Box 355% more performance in BioShock Infinite and allows the game to run at 50 fps in ultra quality .
Although the budget box is for general use, when building a game system it makes sense to drop the AMD A8-7650K ($ 105) for the Athlon X4 860K ($ 75), the latter not only cheaper , but also faster is out of the box.
The Athlon X4 860K is essentially the A10-7850K with no built-in R7 (8 CUs), making it a little over 40% cheaper, let alone almost 30% cheaper than the A8-7650K, and every penny counts for getting started Graphics card at level level.
While the Athlon X4 860K for $ 75 with a dedicated GPU is a smarter choice than the A10-7850K when looking for a game, knowing which processor to buy is not that easy.
The only reason we chose AMD over Intel for our budget box is that AMD's APUs offer a much better balance between CPU and GPU performance – it's a single-chip solution that actually works Can handle casual games. However, If you don't plan to perform 3D-related functions, Intel is the way to go, as is often the case when installing a discrete GPU.
Finally, for the same price as the Athlon X4 860K, you could own a Pentium G3258, the Anniversary Edition chip that overclocked in the air well beyond 4 GHz. People who want to play on a ~ $ 500 computer can choose from AMD's FM2 + platform with the quad-core 3.7 GHz Athlon X4 860K or Intel's LGA 1150 platform with the dual-core Pentium G3258 with 3.2 GHz.
We rejected the G3258 to a certain extent when we tested it about a year ago because it's just a dual-core processor and the Core i3-4160 thanks to HyperThreading for a little bit more money (admittedly, 60 % more) a safer option is support. However, if you're aiming for the cheapest gaming rig, the G3258 is a more practical choice than the i3.
Both the Athlon X4 860K and the Pentium G3258 are priced the same as supporting motherboards from around $ 40 to $ 70 if you want the latest chipset (A88X vs. H97), and you'll buy DDR3 memory, regardless of whether there is no cost difference there too.
Your decision will inevitably depend on which platform performs best, where you need it most. To determine this, we compared the Athlon and the Pentium with the GeForce GTX 960 and the Radeon R9 285 in 20 of the most popular AAA titles.
The CPUs are tested with their default settings and tested separately with each GPU, which enables games to run at 1080p, the most popular game resolution. The hell we also recorded maximum air-cooled overclocking results for both processors.
Test system specifications
The AMD Athlon X4 860K and Intel Pentium G3258 were rated at both their standard operating frequencies and an overclocked 4.4 GHz configuration. Based on our overclocked experience with these air-cooled processors, the Pentium G3258 can easily reach 4.4 GHz, while this is a stretch for the Athlon X4 860K. We used the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo for cooling, a very popular $ 35 budget air cooler.
AMD Kaveri system specifications
Intel Haswell system specifications