Console n00b building a steam gaming machine to beat the Alienware Alpha. PC Master race experts please advise

Hello your highnesses, console peasant checking in for duty. Or should I say ex console peasant. I have always been a firm supporter of consoles but I hear that PC gaming is where the real competition is at and I thrive on good competition. Also I've done endless research the past week into the early morning hours (fun but tiresome) and I just can't decide on something. Ideally I would build something around $1000 but that's wayyyyy over my budget. Soon I shall be Knighted into the ranks of gentleman gamers. Anyway! time is money so skip below to (1) if you want to avoid all the small talk. I also have some sample builds that were inspired by Logan's videos. 

I have seen tek syndicates videos on building a PC in the $400 range and $800 range. Very good videos with very good advice. I like the fact that Logan doesn't like rebates. (I hate them too, why not post the parts cheaper and make it more appealing?)

Anyway I was originally swayed towards the base model i3, 4gb, Alienware Alpha for $499 a couple weeks ago when I sold my PS4. I've realized it's probably better to build something instead. Only issue? I don't know jack squat about it. I'll be using youtube videos and hoping I don't screw up somehow. The other issue is I wouldn't have the slightest clue on how to install the OS on a fresh brand spankin new computer.

Alright so I've asked these questions on so many forums and so many youtube videos and the responses I have been getting were basically "herp derp, AMD sugcks badly, herp derp get intel or face overheating. derp derp".


So here is my criteria for a nice budget 'shit rig'. I want something that gets me started on the right foot in the gaming PC world and will handle games within a couple years from now.

1) Total price must be around $550 including keyboard, mouse and OS. (Logan had nice suggestions for cheap gaming keyboard and mouse so I may go with that. (I'll be buying a 360 controller separately anyway)

2) Doesn't necessarily need upgradable parts as long as it can run MOST games (like Battlefield) as close to the highest settings and FPS as possible. Being realistic it's a cheap budget but I want the most I can get!

3) Don't want to overclock it since I have no reasonable knowledge on it and I don't want to compromise it on accident. 

4) Planning on selling this rig within a year or two to put money towards a super rig so perhaps something with better resale value if that makes sense?


I know this is a tough criteria but I'm staying up late nights trying to research on what's the absolute best of the best for the money. Glad I found Logan's videos and I know I'm at the home stretch of the process but I wanted to see what you guys thought!

Current options: (Keep in mind I will be selling no matter what I get within a year or two to put towards a super $2k+ rig)

-Buy an Alienware Alpha console

-This is the build I put together and contemplating: (please feel free to make suggestions or modify my build if you can improve it while keeping costs as low as possible. If you can make it cheaper while retaining quality AND avoiding all rebates you would be a Superhero to me. lol.

I am also considering the "$400" console killer build logan had but I really think that build is not too powerful to handle games on high settings like I'd prefer.

So for my price range is it possible or is it just a pipe dream in an alternate universe?

On the plus side I will be documenting my build and will post pictures on a build thread here once I have everything. This will be exciting if we can make it work for the money!

your link doesn't work make sure you use the perma link not your hotbar.

Try this:

It's decent. It'll hold ya over. Change as you want.


Hints and tips for building

Double check you've got all the standoffs installed in the right place. (I did that.)

Make sure the io shield doesn't pop out when the case is dropped.

route your cables in such a way so that you can follow the cables and where they go without any issues.

When you install the os only connect the drive you want to install the os onto. (less confusing that way.)


To install the os. Download a windows 7 iso (or better yet linux) and put it on a usb microsoft provides tools for this. Linux also does this.

Other than that it's just follow the prompts.

Linux offers you the oppurtunity to use the os without installing it. 

for all the linus's ego pervading his videos, they are still very in-depth, check it out.

fyi, i've witness my 11 yearold cousin put together a pc without any help from me with the pc parts i bought him for xmas. so im hoping you're smarter than an 11 yearold


Hah, my first post and I already screwed up. I went back and put the correct link.

Rollymaster your build is shockingly low priced and it seems very well thought out!! Thank you for all the great tips, any tip is much appreciated. 

I think for the money your build would hold me over until an upgrade. What setting do you think I'd be able to play Battlefield with that build? FPS estimate? I am surprised you went with 16gb of ram and still managed to keet cost low. Do you think a CPU cooler is necessary? Logan said that if you are using the stock fan you need to go sit in a corner with a funny looking hat on. Then again it's a cheap CPU so a fan may not even be worth it eh? Although if the fan is too loud I might just upgrade it with a cheap quiet fan. I can pocket the rest of the money and put towards the new computer build next year. Every dollar counts after all! So glad your build is cheaper than mine. I'm comparing motherboards and stuff and I definitely think my build was overkill considering I only need something to hold me over till next year.


anarekist, thanks for that. If a fifth grader can do it then an 11th grader should be able to tackle it no problem! =P

One thing I will say, if you are getting into this for the competition, your rig doesn't need to be high spec at all.

Competitive gamers will usually play on lower graphics settings. There are many reasons for this. One example, you are hiding in tall grass so your competition can't see you... or at least that's what you think. On his/her display you are hiding in a few blades of short grass and they can see you clear as day. 


Thanks for that bit of advice Murda. That is outstanding haha. I never thought about that. There are so many more variables to consider on PC gaming and that is something great to know.

Right now I'm in the process of updating the build that was suggested by rollymaster and then posting it here to compare to my build. For now I'm gonna change out the 1tb seagate hard drive after i read this article. I'll just go for the 320gb western digital for $25 off amazon. Here is the link for anyone interested. Seagate also bad bad reviews on amazon, supposedly they are selling old hard drives.

Make sure the RAM is pushed in all the way, that's what got me the first time haha.

Personally, i would go with the 6300,a biostar 970,1t wd blue, and a 280. Look for sales. With later upgrades including a cheap ssd (sandisk 120g) aftermarket aircooler. This will give a a pleasant gaming experience on the cheap and still leave you a choice which ever os you have. ( including windows ) My 6100 games rather nicely on linux. I realized the intent but.... for gaming.

I feel like this one is a bit more reverent. No disrespect, please don't misunderstand.


Hah, it's the little things like that which can throw a monkey wrench into how you feel. I'll be sure to double check that though!

So this is my current build. The CPU and MOBO are of course the ones recommended by tek syndicate on his $400 build.

This is my CPU:

This is my motherboard:

It may not look like it at all since all the parts are swapped but rollymaster's list really did help! 

Total price of EVERYTHING I need to have a gaming computer from scratch is $504. I'm sure this $504 is better spent compared to the alienware console. Any other suggestions are welcomed!

The 860M in the Alienware shouldn't be hard to beat. I can't seem to be able to make a system for less than $800, but I like nice things. Don't forget to add $100 for a windows disk. Also dvd drives are lame, don't buy one. put that $20 into something else. 

I made it a picture, deal with it.

drop the ssd for an hdd and spend the extra cash on a better gpu or cpu ssd aren't worth it if your short on cash

ha got my first bad ram stick on mt 5th build last week lol

don't forget a wireless card there about 20 bucks and you need one for wifi. thats got me a couple of times

EDIT: Holy cow I just noticed the extra replies! Let me process all this information and I'll come back and edit again. Can't believe how much support I'm getting here =] Thanks guys


Thanks for the tip freaksmacker. I posted up my newest build right above your post so I'm not sure if you saw that before posting. I modified my build. 

Based on what I'm using the PC for do you guys think that 6300 is 'too much' for this build or would the FX 4200 at $59.99 be ideal? I don't mind the extra money for the CPU if it will actually assist in making the gaming experience better but I'd hate for it to be a bad combination with my parts.


That isn't a bad build. 

Thanks for the advice. I'll skip the dvd drive then.  I really can't afford that right now though. It doesn't help that I'm in school but when I graduate next year I'll definitely be getting something kick ass!

As far as windows. Tek syndicate provided this link

Seems like a good deal for windows. Maybe I'll even go with windows 8

I actually have the modem in my room so I'll just run an ethernet cord directly to it. You have a funny and creepy avatar by the way lol

Just read that article. They didn't seem to recommend it for gaming even though they said it can handle games pretty well. Hmmm.