Build a League of Legends or Minecraft Computer for Under $300 2014
A Budget 1080p Build for Minecraft or Lol in 2014
As two of the most popular games in the world right now League of Legends and Minecraft are both free-to-play. That being said if you’re looking to join in the fun, then you’ll still need a decent computer to do it.
In this post I’ll give you my thoughts about a build under $300 that should do a great job in 1080p with not only most MOBA genre games, but many other modern games as well.
Building an Under $300 Gaming PC 2014
Best APU for Under or Around $100 2014:
In this price range there’s only a couple of decent options if you want to stick to your budget. One would be to go with AMD’s Athlon 750k which runs just under $80 and performs at a reasonable level. With that processor you’d still need a dedicated graphics card in order to achieve a decent level of in-game performance.
AMD’s Budget Gaming Processor and Graphics Card Solution
An alternative solution to that processor would be one of AMD’s APU or accelerated processing units. These combine the graphics card and processor in a single solution for the budget-minded consumer.
Since its release of Llano in 2011 AMD has released an additional 3 series of APU including Trinity, Richland, and most recently in 2014, AMD’s Steamroller architecture Kaveri APU. Carizzo is set to release in 2015.
AMD A10-5800k Vs. A8 7600 APU:
For this build we’re somewhat limited by what APU we can purchase. Clearly we want as much of our budget to go to the APU as possible; however, purchasing a top-of-the-line Kaveri model is out of the question. Not only that, but there are also better solutions in that price range.
That leaves us with two options, the A10-5800k or the new Kaveri A8 7600. The A8 7600 is the newer model and despite not being the highest-end model for Kaveri costs more than the top tier model for Trinity, the AMD A10-5800k, at this point in time.
That being said if you're willing to go $20 over budget the A8 7600 should be well worth it at around $120. On the other hand, upgrading to Kaveri’s higher-end models hardly seem worth the price vs. the current AMD and Intel CPUs on the market alongside a dedicated graphics card. In addition while the A8 7600 scores higher on gaming benchmarks it’s almost certain to be lower in most CPU benchmarks than the cheaper A10-5800k.
Overall, if this is truly a gaming rig, then you'll opt for the A8 7600 which features R7 graphics vs. the A10-5800k's HD 7660D. If not, then the A10-5800k is the less expensive, but more powerful, processing option. If you ever need to upgrade this machine down the road, then you can purchase a r7 240 or 250 graphics card to use in dual graphics mode alongside the A8 7600 APU.
What CPU or APU Option Is Better for Around $100?
Many gamers will find that AMD's 2012 Trinity A10-5800k is cheap enough now to be a solution for those wanting to play popular free-to-play games like DOTA 2, LOL, and Minecraft. For around $100 it's hard to beat.
A Good FM2+ Motherboard for under $50
With AMD's APUs we now have 3 socket types including FM1 - only compatible with Llano, FM2 which is compatible with Trinity and Richland, and FM2+ which is compatible with Trinity, Richland, and Kaveri.
Overall you're better off spending a little more to go with the newer FM2+ boards. These boards are not only backwards compatible, they also have PCIe 3.0 compatibility when used in conjunction with FM2+ APUs. In addition, only FM2+ is compatible with Kaveri.
For me the board that's really jumping out is the Gigabyte GA-F2A75M-HD2 FM2+ motherboard which gives you Gigabyte quality at an affordable price along with features like triple monitor support and USB 3.0.
Budget Gaming Ram Under $50 2014
While it would be ideal to have 8GB of ram with this setup, unfortunately, this particular build can only afford 4. That being said neither Minecraft nor League of Legends require more than 4GB and if you turn down the 1080p settings on more graphically intense games, then 4GB will most often be fine.
Right now I like the Kingston's Hyper-X ram as a good solid budget choice for around $40. You can save money out of the gate if you're willing to purchase 2 4GB modules for around $70; however, it's not ultimately necessary for this build.
My YouTube Video for this Review and Channel
A Good Power Supply Under $25 to $50
The last thing you want to do even in a budget build is skimp on the power supply. Getting something that isn't energy efficient might cost you bigger bucks in the long-run in energy costs.
Go for an 80 Plus PSU:
I recommend something low wattage that's 80 Plus certified. This will ensure you not only have a higher quality supply, but one that is also more than 80% efficient.
This month I'm recommending the CX 430 which has a $20 rebate making it $25. That being said what I recommend for this build may change month to month. Try to find something equal in quality that also happens to be on rebate for whatever month you build this gaming PC.
A Cheap Computer Case with Good Airflow Under $25
Obviously we don't have a ton of money to spend on the case here. That being said there's one model that jumps out to me in terms of included fans and even decent quality.
The Rosewill FBM-02, or previous version FBM-01, is my choice here and is one I've used for budget builds in the past. It's a micro form factor which works for our micro motherboard pick and has a decent look to it as well.
As far as durability it's not like a steel mesh case; however, if you're not constantly kicking it with your feet, then it will hold up just fine.
Wrapping it Up with an Inexpensive Hard Drive for this Gaming PC
With around $50 to spare we have just enough to go with the Western Digital 500GB hard drive. If you already have a hard drive or don't need a ton of space, then the Samsung 840 EVO series has a 120GB version for around $38 more.
While gamers are known for needing space this would be a good option for speeding up your entire computer and especially valuable for someone who only keeps a couple of games installed on their computer at a time.
My Final Thoughts on our $300 PC Build:
Each year I'm surprised at the improvements made in the $300 space. This is now where the entry-level consumer can enter 1080p PC gaming. With improvements to the Steam OS even a pricey Windows 8 can be avoided and you can be ready to play.
© 2014 Brandon Hart