Cheap "gaming PC", possible?

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  • Cheap "gaming PC", possible?
  • Premier Icon molgrips

    A PC like that one above would be very cheap indeed. You could easily blitz that with £300 I reckon.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes

    The laptop I’m typing this on is at least eight years old, and is one of the more modern computers in the house, aside from a couple of netbooks. Mrsmidlife went out and bought our son (the newish) Sim City for his birthday, and it won’t run on his PC. it’s an old Medion something or other with an AGP slot with a 5200 card in it. It’s just about up to Minecraft, but still not exactly quick.

    This is what Sim City wants:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better / Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.0GHz or better

    Operating system:

    Windows XP/Vista/7


    1.5GB (Windows XP)
    2GB (Windows Vista / Windows 7)
    2GB (built-in graphical chipset)

    Graphics card:

    ATI X1800 or better*
    nVidia 7800 or better*
    Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics or better*
    (*Minimum of 256MB of on-board RAM and Shader 3.0 or better support)


    8x or better

    If I start again on a new box rather than trying to upgrade his current one, where should I look? Out of touch with PC hardware, they sort of lost me when they just called all the processors Pentiums. Thanks if you’ve read this far, thanks again if you can help.

    I cant give you an expert answer, but this caught my eye:
    “Athlon 64 x2” – only because I bought one about 8 years ago!

    I dont know what your budget is, but I’d shy away from buying that level nowadays.

    Also I dont know how old this young chap is, but buying that now will end up with you chasing your tail.

    It’s old tech, and even if most of the motherboards at the time will take modernish GFX cards, your still on the trailing end of the used market.

    Fair enough if you owned one already, but no way would I buy one. If you insist : a guide price: £60 – £120 excl monitor, keyboard etc.

    The next game he gets will cost you a lot more.

    Give us an idea of budget and we may be able to help.

    Lastly – and not meant as a downer, but there are some very unhappy Sim’s users around at the moment (server probs mainly).

    Premier Icon CHB

    Give us thoughts on budget and we can all pitch in with advice, some of which might even be useful!

    Premier Icon molgrips

    You don’t want the minimum spec for a game anyway, especially not Sim City as it’ll just limit the workable size of your city*.

    My point is that even a modest budget will kick that spec into orbit.

    * I ran out of power on my Celeron 1GHz in 2003 playing SC4 with moderately large cities.. I am seriously tempted to install it on this quad core i7 and try and build something truly gigantic.

    Premier Icon CHB




    Graphics card (i have this same one…its ace and makes most difference to games):

    1tb hdd:

    2tb is not much more!

    Case….just one of many to choose from!

    Psu…big fan of corsair in our house, cool, quiet and reliable:

    Also…..dont forget keyboard and mouse.
    A backlit keyboard will add much kudos to kids and my son loves his £30 ratz mouse.

    Above is a mere suggestion. For cheap pc I think AMD is the way to go. The motherboard above will take the very latest amd processors so you an upgrade in a couple of years to speed up even more.

    Now mate , nowt to do with laptops , I tried mailing you but no response , do you still have the retro bike I sold you ? If so you interested in selling it ? Cheers Paul

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes

    Ta for all the help so far.

    I haven’t thought of budget much, I hadn’t planned on upgrading his PC until he installed SimCity and it didn’t run. Always known gaming on PC was an expensive way to do it though. Wii and DSLite are the only consoles in the house so never been part of the pixels arms race, and until Minecraft he was only interested in freebie flash games and the like on the PC.

    Just added all of CHBs components into the basket at CCL, with a £44 copy of Win8Pro, it comes in at £408.13. More than I want to pay, and I’d have to add other bits to get the best out of it.

    I’ve had a mooch around eBay in the last hour or so and this looks interesting. Older but higher spec business desktop with a graphics card thrown in. Is it a silly idea?
    Dell 380 with 1GB Graphics card

    To my out of the loop eye, aside from the HDD size, it’s mostly pretty decent and could keep him going for current-ish games. How wrong am I?

    Edit: I guess I’m really asking can you get away with a cheap PC with a reasonable graphics card or do you have to jump in with both feet?

    Premier Icon CHB

    You could maybe save another £50 or so, but with the pc specced you have a fair compromise on spec, ie as cheap as possible without being nasty or quickly obsolete.

    An ebay ex business pc will be hopeless for games, the card just wont hack it.

    Happy shopping.

    Premier Icon chrisdw


    Premier Icon molgrips

    You almost certainly don’t need W8Pro. The normal edition should be fine.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Hmm, I’ve got a 8800GT graphics card which is about 10 million times more powerful than the X1800 they mention there, just going spare. Now I have no clue if it works any more, and it’s possible it’ll explode anything it’s attached to, but if you want it, it’s yours 😉

    But yeah, a PC to ace that spec shouldn’t be expensive. A PC to only meet that spec will be pretty hard to find these days tbh.


    You can buy good gaming PC’s that will blow that OP spec away for about £350 on Amazon and ebuyer. It’ll be a well put together, long lasting device that will run Sim City at balls out pace.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes

    Northwind, very kind of you. I’d like to give it a go if I may. Does it have standard VGA port and is it PCIe slot? My son’s system is AGP, but my daughter has an old Fujitsu desktop that I think has PCIe, so we can have a swap about. Cheers.


    I built something up from bits bought from, but it was a little bit over that budget.

    I carried over my hard drive, which is also the only weak link in the performance apparently.

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