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[dropcap letter="T"]he video games industry hype machine always says that we are at the cusp of a paradigm shift. Soon, Microsoft and Sony will drop their monolithic black boxes from the sky, forever changing the landscape of the games industry. That is, if you haven't played on a PC.
Despite being branded as a "dead platform" since time immemorial, in reality the PC has never strayed from the bleeding edge of gaming technology. All these fancy new antialiasing techniques, these complex lighting and texturing techniques, real-time physics effects and all other geegaws and doodads considered to be part and parcel of the "next-gen" of gaming? They all came out first on the PC.
Of course, as many of the PC's detractors claim, all that advancement comes at a steep price. They're not exactly wrong, but they're not completely right either. The thing is, as expensive as PC gaming can get, the entry fee for the high end club is not as expensive as one would think. Especially when you consider that you can get a lot more done on a PC.
In fact, here are 8 components for building your own "next-gen" computer, all for the not-so-princely sum of around PhP30,000.
Note: you can build a PC for far cheaper, but I’m aiming for a next gen-ready build here. If you want to scale it down to something that can play Dota 2 on medium graphics settings, then by all means, knock yourself out. Also, keep in mind that the final total doesn’t include Windows. Chances are, you’re already using that operating system, and there’s no compelling need to upgrade even if you’re using Windows 7.
[text_image img="http://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/8t.jpg" type="subheading"]8. The CPU: AMD FX 4130 3.8ghz (Black Edition) [/text_image]
These days, games are more GPU-bound than before. What this means to you is that you don't have to splurge on the most expensive processor you can find; save your money for the video card and other components. The FX 4130 is meant for the budget-conscious gamer who likes to keep options open. This has got an unlocked multiplier, so once you save some more money you can slap on an aftermarket cooler and experiment with overclocking
[text_image img="http://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/7t.jpg" type="subheading"]7. The Motherboard: Am3+ Asrock 970 Extreme3[/text_image]
This is one of those parts where it pays to plan ahead. Get something that's got as many ports as you need, and always with expansion in mind. The Asrock 970 Extreme3 is overclocking-friendly, supports both SLI and Crossfire, and more memory slots than you will possibly need, but will definitely want.
[text_image img="http://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/6t.jpg" type="subheading"]6. The Graphics Card: Sapphire HD 7850 2gb 256bit gddr5 [/text_image]
If it were up to me, I'd tell you to waste your life savings on the graphics processor and don't look back. Of course, not everybody has the disposable income to buy those ridiculously expensive GTX Titans or those Republic of Gamers-branded dual-GPU stuff. For the man who wants to show up his friends' PS4s and not go bankrupt at the same time, the best option is the Radeon HD 7850. Yeah, you'll have to say goodbye to stuff like PhysX, but the tradeoff is you get "realistic" TressFX hair! Amazing!
[text_image img="http://www.abload.de/img/with_tressfxg5kbf.gif" type="subheading"]vv[/text_image]
[text_image img="http://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/5t.jpg" type="subheading"]5. RAM: Geil Evo Veloce 8gb (4gbx2) ddr3 1866[/text_image]
RAM is ridiculously cheap these days. You also won't need a lot: 8GB is more than enough for the gamer who doesn't like Windows stalling on him while alt-tabbing between games. Any less and Windows will spend a lot of time writing virtual memory to disk -- slowing you down. Any more, and you've just wasted money, unless you've started a side business doing graphic/video work. Note that the motherboard we're pairing with these DIMMs max out at 2100MHz (Editor's Note: A fancy technical way of saying data will be transferred to and from your memory really fast), but that's with overclocking (See #8).
[text_image img="http://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/4t.jpg" type="subheading"]4. PSU: Aerocool Strike-X 500w 80 Plus Bronze[/text_image]
When it comes to power supplies, don’t go for those el cheapo ones that come with cases (see #2 below). A poorly-made PSU can doom your system to electrical shorts and all sorts of niggling little problems, like excess heat. At the same time, you don't really need to get those 1,000-watt behemoths unless you're providing power for a small apartment block. This PSU meets the bare minimum.
[text_image img="http://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/3t.jpg" type="subheading"]3. HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB SATA 3[/text_image]
Personally, I'd go for a solid-state drive at this point, but those things don't come cheap. A Western Digital Caviar Blue, on the other hand, goes for as low as PhP2,500, and is decent enough for both a boot drive, game library, and your "hidden" collection that you are never, ever showing to anyone else. You know what I mean.
[text_image img="http://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2t.jpg" type="subheading"]2. Case: Bitfenix Merc Alpha ATX[/text_image]
Let's face it, you're on a budget, and if looks are the ultimate expression of extravagance, then right now you're looking for the reliable ugly chick. The Bitfenix Merc Alpha ATX isn't exactly ugly, but it is a lot more utilitarian-looking than some of the fancier cases out there. It's also really affordable, and can accommodate enough extra cooling fans to stave off the exceedingly scorching Manila summers.
[text_image img="http://8list.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/1t.jpg" type="subheading"]1. Monitor: BenQ (GL2055A) LED[/text_image]
It's kinda pointless buying a sweet gaming rig if you don't pair it with a decent monitor. The problem is, most modern displays have a visible lag. This is due to all the extra processing in order to display the image. For gaming, go with as minimal a lag as possible. BenQ's come up with some decent and cheap monitors with low response times, such as the GL2055A. It's got a ridiculously low 10ms lag that probably can't be detected by human eyes. Probably.
The only caveat is the relatively low resolution at 1600x900. So no, you won't be gaming at 1080p; just slightly under it.