Windows, Mac, DOS, and all those-other personal computing platforms
User avatar
RCBH928
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5166
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:40 am

Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by RCBH928 Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:45 pm

What is the lowest I can pay to get a PC that will run modern games? say 2015 and earlier at 720P? I am willing to buy used. I want to double use it as home theater PC so I wonder if it can run quite. I am unable to choose the specs necessary because I don't how they grade graphic cards now days. They used to grade them with numbers like "minimum 400Mhz CPU" but now its more like based on brand name "GeForce GTX 660, Radeon R7 370" .

Although it would be nice if it was able to run the upcoming Cyberpunk.
User avatar
Ziggy587
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 13010
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:12 pm
Location: NY

Re: Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by Ziggy587 Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:18 pm

The graphics card is going to be the most important piece of the puzzle here, but less of a concern (price wise) if 720 is your max resolution.

Until June of this year, I was using a desktop built around the first generation i7 and I didn't have any issues doing some light modern gaming (including DOOM from 2016). I just checked used eBay prices, an i7-920 will run you about $10 and an i7-965 around $50. If you parts together a PC using a first gen i7, it would be fairly cheap. For the heck of it I searched eBay for "Dell i7 920" and found a couple of XPS models for $200. Although I would really recommend building it yourself, you'll end up with better quality parts that way.

The real question is what video card you need. What I would do is make a list of the game you know you want to play. Then look up the minimum and recommended requirements for them. Like you said, they usually mention specific models of video cards, like GTX 660, but this is a good thing. After you make your list, you should have a pretty good idea of the range of model video card that you need.

You can always post your list of games here and we can try and come up with a suggestion for video cards.
Image

My Sale Thread - I am selling around three quarters of my video game collection as well as some other odds and ends!

I want to buy Universal Game Cases, if you have any spares please PM me! I'm looking to only deal with members that have good BST feedback on this forum.
User avatar
isiolia
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5708
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:52 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by isiolia Sun Dec 29, 2019 8:10 pm

The lowest I would expect you to pay for a new build worth looking at would be in the $300-400 range. At the lowest end, a Ryzen 5 3400G ($149 part) nets you a decent CPU and GPU combo that'll turn in solid enough 1080p performance if you are willing to turn down some settings. There's the Ryzen 3 3200G for $99 that'd still probably be good enough.
By the time you're done fleshing out a build with sale/rebate name brand parts, you'd probably be around $300, and more if you opt to get something more than the bare minimum, find a less shady route to a Windows license, or whatever else.

By the time you hit $600 though, you do start having the option to just go buy a bottom-end "gaming PC" from Dell or HP. I think most of us here would still rather put that money into parts to build our own, but, just so you're aware. :lol:


The other route to budget gaming is to go used. As mentioned, the biggest determining factor is your graphics card. Seriously, put a modern midrange GPU in a computer from 2012...and it can still do fine. There's a performance hit, but, likely not one that'll change something from playable to not. For the GPU, it's mostly a question of what'll fit into the case, the capacity of the power supply (though it can likely be upgraded as well), and cost.

A common route for the sort of thing you're talking about is buying a refurbished office machine and putting a lower-midrange card into it. While you can go the route of building with old hardware, I think people tend to go this route due to more consistency and availability. Things like Dell Optiplex machines are sold/leased in large volume, which tends to mean those making a business of refurbishing them can get them in volume as well. For what you mentioned, a Small Form Factor model would likely fit on the shelf better and are quiet...but would need a half-height graphics card.

While I think building from used parts is otherwise viable, it'd probably get increasingly more attractive the better the market for such things is for you locally.
User avatar
RCBH928
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5166
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:40 am

Re: Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by RCBH928 Mon Dec 30, 2019 1:27 pm

I kind of want to pay $300 MAX. Most the games I want to play are PS3 era games, like GTAV, and earlier like Age of Empires. If I could stretch it to play some more modern stuff like Frost Punk and Cyberpunk I would be happy. Of course I would prefer 1080P but not willing to pay the price. I am currently playing PS3 games and the graphics still look gorgeous to me.

I think I will definitely be going the used route here, my understanding is the any modern CPU will do but the GPU is the big question. What is your recommended GPUs?
One thing I would like to do if possible is to stream the games to my laptop, I heard this is possible with Steam Link app. 90% of the games I would like to play are from 2005(many 90s ones) and earlier and this is the reason I do not justify much more than $300.
User avatar
Jagosaurus
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 3627
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:15 pm
Location: Houston, TEXAS

Re: Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by Jagosaurus Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:11 pm

What home theater functions are you looking to run?
My Mod Threads
"Victory and honor do not grow from timid seeds" -Arbiter, Halo 5
User avatar
SpaceBooger
Moderator
 
Posts: 4137
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:40 am
Location: The AK-Rowdy

Re: Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by SpaceBooger Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:19 pm

I'm rocking an AMD FX 6300, 16gb ram and a GeForce 980 and I pull off 60fps on most all games at high or highest settings.
I am playing Destiny 2 work custom settings some set at high and some at highest and it plays at 60+ fps.
BLOG | BST
Systems Owned: NES, Game Boy (Original, Pocket, Color & Advance SP), DSi, 3DS, Genesis, Sega CD,
Nomad, SNES, Saturn, PS1, Dreamcast, XBox, PS2, Gamecube, Nintendo DS, Wii, PSP, PS3, WiiU & XBONE.
User avatar
isiolia
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5708
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:52 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by isiolia Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:59 pm

RCBH928 wrote:I think I will definitely be going the used route here, my understanding is the any modern CPU will do but the GPU is the big question. What is your recommended GPUs?
One thing I would like to do if possible is to stream the games to my laptop, I heard this is possible with Steam Link app. 90% of the games I would like to play are from 2005(many 90s ones) and earlier and this is the reason I do not justify much more than $300.


Streaming shouldn't be a big deal as long as you don't go too old with hardware.

IMO, narrow down what your options are for a used machine first. See what's available locally, or from online sources you can use. It's possible you'll find someone selling their old gaming machine that's already great for what you want. If, instead, you get a refurb Dell or something, then there'll likely be limits to the cards you can put in it without further upgrades, which could narrow down card selection (or determine how much of your budget is left, at least).

if you want a good, safe bet, look at something like a GTX 1650 (or the 1050 it replaced). It's about the best you'll find that doesn't need PCIe power (some models might, so you do want to check), and that can readily be found as a half-height model. Not the top bang for the buck, but something you can almost certainly drop in any machine you get that'll do fine for 1080p gaming.

If you want a further suggestion (keeping in mind that I would personally just build a Ryzen 5 3400G system), I'd look at a Dell Optiplex 9010 (or thereabouts) and a 1050 or 1650. Dell's SFF case is small enough that it'd fit in with consoles in the living room, and it's quiet (it's a common model for the "+ graphics card" sort of budget gaming video, though the mid tower is a lot more accommodating). All that takes is watching for a decent price on a config you want (tend to be $50-200 BIN on eBay, can easily get a solid one for $100-120) + $150ish for one of the GPUs I mentioned above.
User avatar
Jagosaurus
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 3627
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:15 pm
Location: Houston, TEXAS

Re: Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by Jagosaurus Tue Dec 31, 2019 1:56 pm

If you're looking to stream movies & music (XBMP), run games at 1080p, run streaming "TV" type apps (Sling, Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, Pluto, Crackle, ESPN, etc), play 360/PS3 era games (backwards compatible) , & run newer games at decent specs... for under $300... you just described a Xbox One S.

Hate to be that guy on a PC thread...

But seriously, have you thought about it? The One S can be sub $200 new.
My Mod Threads
"Victory and honor do not grow from timid seeds" -Arbiter, Halo 5
User avatar
RCBH928
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5166
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:40 am

Re: Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by RCBH928 Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:19 pm

Thanks everyone I am learning a lot. I will shop locally to see what I can find. Surprised no one mentioned AMD GPU since they are supposed to be the bang for the buck ones.

@isiolia

I loved the Optiplex suggestion, really compact. How would I know if a specific GPU would fit in there or not? is there a spec to look for? What about the PSU requirements?

@Jagosaurus

I am just looking to play movies and stream video, although I need it to be quite. I don't mind the fans kicking in during gameplay.

You are not wrong about your suggestion, but I am not looking to play modern games. A lot of the games are retro ones that require Windows(Anacrhonix, Daikatana, Deus Ex) I am just trying to see if I can get the best of both worlds . Not to mention getting downloadable PC games is much cheaper than buying each game for a console. I have a feeling the next Xbox console will run Windows games though.
User avatar
marurun
Moderator
 
Posts: 10097
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Cheapest PC that will run modern games?

by marurun Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:03 pm

I think it will be the other way around. Most Xbox games will come to Windows, but I don’t think the Xbox will be open to any old Windows games.
B/S/T thread
My Classic Games Collection
My Steam Profile
The PC Engine Software Bible Forum, with Shoutbox chat - the new Internet home for PC Engine fandom.
Return to Personal Computers

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest