This is not meant to be a console vs PC diatribe. Each has its pros and cons.

One of PC gaming’s cons is that it’s expensive. That’s a “fact”, right? Even among PC gaming circles and people in the know, PC gaming is considered to be expensive. It is very easy to spend over R20 000 on a machine only to have it become outclassed in 6 six months by something new.

One thing that does get to me is when people say no matter what you buy it becomes obsolete in 6 months. If your graphics card can run CoD4 at 40fps at 1280*1024, will it suddenly now only give you 30fps because a new range got released? Your hardware does not have an inferiority complex. As long as your hardware does all that you require, it’s all that should matter. Outclassed does not mean obsolete.

You don't need the top of the range to enjoy your games

You don't need the top of the range to enjoy your games

When choosing the right components, a PC should easily last you 2-3 years without needing to be upgraded.

Of course, you have those that take everything to the extreme. They always have to have the best of the best, with flashy lights, super silent, super fast hotrods of PCs. They have no business exclaiming that PC gaming is expensive. Do you ride a bicycle because the Mercedes AMG SLK55 you want is too expensive, or do you buy a Corolla instead?

Why can’t people that can tolerate a Corolla when they want the Mercedes, not apply the same principle when it comes to PCs? You don’t need that Mercedes to drive to work, just like you don’t need a 20k rig to game.

A R6000 PC is more than enough to game at 1280*1024 or even 1680*1050 at max or very close to max settings, with current games.

Case in point:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Black Edition processor R996.00

HIS Radeon HD 4830 R1872

MSI AMD K9A2GM V3 Motherboard R608

Western Digital 320GB HDD R652.59

Coolermaster eXtreme Power Plus 460W PSU R525.04

LG GH22LP20 20x LightScribe dual-layer DVD writer Price: R 317

Transcend JetRam High-Performance 2GB DDR2-800 R323.60

Cooler Master Elite 334 Chassis R591

Microsoft Basic Keyboard & Mouse R230.03

Total: R6115.26


These are online prices and are correct at the time of writing. Be prepared to pay between 10-20% more from a brick and mortar store. Please keep in mind that a monitor and operating system are excluded. As the components are from different shops, the PC will require assembly.

Such a PC can run Left 4 Dead at 1280*1024 0AA 0AF, highest settings at 65fps, Crysis at 1280*1024 0AA 0AF, all medium settings at 32 fps and Far Cry 2 at 1280*1024 0AA 0AF, high settings at 47 fps.

amd_his_4830

The HD4830 is great value for money

As can clearly be seen, the Corolla gets the job done quite convincingly. One could even swap the 4830 for a 4670 and the 460watt PSU for a 390watt, save R1000 and still have completely playable framerates.

If you are using a resolution below 1280*1024 the ATI 4650 is also a great choice.

Moral of the story: a gaming PC is only as expensive as you want it to be.

Update 06/04/2009: After some further digging we’ve encountered possible compatibility issues between the CPU and the motherboard originally selected. We’ve updated the link to a new motherboard.

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