You’re broke. You want to play Battlefield 3, but your current computer can barely run Battlefield 1942. You could get it on console (meh) or you could rob a bank. You can also follow this DIY guide and build a gaming PC under 500. Battlefield 3 is graphically stunning, but keep in mind this game came out in 2011. By using older parts we’ll build a gaming PC that’s state of the art – for 2011. That means deep discounts on hardware that’s still viable for almost every game of the past few years. This under-$500 gaming PC can achieve 40-60 FPS playing Battlefield 3 on High – amazing, considering what you’re spending. The following guide is a modified version of the build I use myself:
The build: Bargain Bruiser
AMD Phenom II X4 965 AM3 3.4Ghz 512KB 45NM 125W 4000MHZ: $130.00
We want to run the game on High settings while staying within budget, and this $100 quad-core processor from AMD will do the job and then some. You could spend $100 more for a low-end eight-core processor but the game is not optimized for 8 cores. The Phenom II isn’t a monster, but it offers a lot of power for a <$500 gaming PC . And since BF3’s performance depends more on your video card than your processing power, it’s perfect for us.
Optional: if you plan to overclock (the Phenom II works well around 3.8Ghz), get a fan. This Cooler Master Standard CPU Cooler with 80mm Fan (DK9-7E52A-0L-GP)
costs $10.99 and works with the processor; it’s worth your machine staying nice and cool.
Radeon 7850 2GB: $199.99
For a gaming PC under $500, this is a beastly graphics card. B.A.S.E. jumping out of a helicopter and blitzing three enemy tanks with a rocket launcher will look and feel damn satisfying with this under the hood. With 2GB of graphical memory (well over the 1GB recommended for BF3) your PC will be able to handle all of the high resolution textures that make Battlefield 3 such a wonder to behold. This card was promoted alongside BF3 when it came out, and it’s absolutely the best $200 graphics package for the game. This product also comes with a lifetime warranty right out of the box.
MicroATX 600W Power Bundle: $64.99 + $10 shipping
These juiced-up components will require a lot of power so let’s go with a 600 watt power supply for your gaming PC. Don’t skimp here; this may be a gaming PC under 500 but it needs serious wattage. The bonus is that it comes with a nice-looking computer case, which saves us a lot of money in the long run. If you’re going to overclock heavily you should think about getting a cheap case and investing in a high-end power supply like this one ($69.99 with rebate) from Corsair.
Gigabyte AMD 760G + SB710 Chipset DDR3 1333 AM3+ Micro ATX Motherboard (GA-78LMT-S2P): $56.54 – $10 rebate = $46.54
This cheap motherboard features the powerful SB710 chipset and supports our Phenom II processor. With the rebate it’s an obvious choice to plug all of our hardware into. Look for the “post purchase rebate” on the page.
Corsair XMS3 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333 MHz (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory (TW3X4G1333C9A): $30.93
Most brands of RAM are pretty much the same in terms of performance. Corsair is considered “high-end”, but at $30 for 4GB it’s also as cheap as RAM can be. Most current-gen games work great with 4GB of RAM, but you can always buy more.
Seagate Momentus 7200 320 GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 16MB Cache 2.5 Inch Internal NB Hard Drive ST9320423AS-Bare Drive(Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging): $44.99
This is a fine hard drive. At $44.99 it puts the “budget” in “budget gaming PC” while providing a decent amount of storage space. However, for $25 more, you can get a Seagate Momentus 1 TB 5400RPM SATA 3Gb/s 8 MB Cache 2.5-Inch Internal Notebook Hard Drive – Retail Kit STBD1000100 from the same manufacturer; something to think about, since this will significantly increase the use you’ll get out of your machine.
Behold your domination gaming PC under 500
By utilizing this build, you’ll save hundreds of dollars versus buying a premade computer from a big retailer like Toshiba or Dell. When it comes to purchasing a mouse and keyboard for this under 500 gaming PC, don’t be fooled by advertisements for “gaming” accessories; any old keyboard is fine, and you definitely do not want a wireless mouse as it reduces your reaction times in any FPS.
Stay cheap, soldiers! But remember: you can’t buy skill. But you can show it with this Gaming PC Under 500.