Well, an enthusiastic reader of mine responded to a blog post I put together for Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales with this response post. While his opinions were also true, I thought why not just scrap the whole preference thing and just buy the bare minimum? Functionality only. Let’s see what I come up with. . .
CPU / GPU- People always get into such a big argument about Intel vs AMD, or AMD vs NVidia. Why not simplify things and just get an APU? Roughly speaking, an APU is a CPU designed by AMD that offers bolstered integrated graphics performance, allowing builders to forego the GPU component alltogether. Plus, I spy a certain AMD A10-6800K Richland (4.1 GHz) processor for $109.99. Done.
Motherboard – Nothing fancy needed here, just a piece of PCB to plug our parts into. A $40 motherboard will suffice. Just roll a die if you can’t decide on one, but make sure it is FM2+ (the CPU socket type) compatible.
RAM – Get 8 gb of Crucial Ballistix memory for like $37 just about every other day of the year.
CASE – Technically you don’t even need this part, you could just plug stuff in while it sits out ($0), or if you really must spoil yourself, grab an ugly looking case from Rosewill or Cooler Master for $25.
STORAGE – Seagate 400 GB HDD. From Ebay. Used. $20
PSU – O.K., we’re cheaping out on everything here. Except the PSU. Still, you can get a Bronze rated CX 430 power supply unit for $35 that comes with a mail in rebate (or something).
PERIPHERALS – These shouldn’t cost you a dime, seriously. All they do is relay your clumsy human input to the computer. Just use your old Microsoft mouse that’s sitting in the closet. You might run into some trouble if it’s PS2. Keyboard? There should be one lying around, somewhere. If not, just walk over to your neighbors and ask them (politely, of course). Monitor – I got you on this one: the trick is realizing that monitors are really just T.V.s for computers. Hook up your flat screen to your PC with an HDMI cable, and if it doesn’t take HDMI, there are S-video cables (your graphics are already terrible, you won’t be missing much) and adapters for these sticky situations. Did you say speakers? Real gamers have stayed up late countless nights with the volume muted and don’t need sound to win. $0.00
CONCLUSION: Alright, you built a computer without spending a dollar more than absolutely needed. What can you do with it? Play some free games like TF2, Dota 2, or Hearthstone. Maybe some slightly more demanding titles, nothing fancy. Not too shabby for a $110 one-and-done APU. If you actually built your PC without a case, try not to burn the house down.