PC Gaming cheaper than a Playstation 3?

I hear it almost everyday on forums, blogs, gaming related websites, etc.: PC gaming is just too expensive to survive. I mean have you seen those Alienware and Dell gaming desktops and laptops? Some of those machine can get up to $1500 or more. It can get quite insane. Fear not, though, gaming on a PC is not actually that expensive. In fact, if you (or a friend) know what you are doing and what to buy you can get a really decent gaming PC for cheaper than a bottom of the line Playstation 3. This is definitely something that you’ll probably be interested in as about 98% of all MMORPGs are on the PC. 

Now, before I start with the list there are a few things that you need to know before hand:

  1. This computer will allow you to play any MMORPG on the market right now. I guarentee it.
  2. Somethings list you may or may not want. This will change the pricing structure.
  3. I did not include a monitor. Do HDTVs come with a PS3? No.
  4. I did not include speakers, a mouse, or a keyboard. Most people (especially gamers) have these things lying around somewhere. If not you can nab all three for about $20 total.
  5. I did not include an OS. Windows XP can be found on eBay for around $60, or you can get Linux for free.
  6. Building a PC can be hard, but it’s also a lot of fun. If you don’t feel up to the task, any small-time computer repair shop will build it for you for about $20. DO NOT GO TO GEEK SQUAD!
  7. The above picture is NOT the PC I am “building” for you right now.

As you can see there are a few conditions here. If you add the OS, keyboard, speakers, and mouse it will put you over the low-end PS3 price. It kind of sucks, but it’s still not as expensive as what you already probably thought it was. Also, this PC will be faster and more powerful than about 90% (if not more) of the namebrand (Dell, HP, etc.) PCs you find at your local Best Buy. Ok, onto the PC! Click the links to goto the product:

GRAND TOTAL:  $388.92 (before taxes)

And there you go. With all of these components you’ll have yourself a very decent gaming PC. Obviously it won’t be the best in the world, but you will be able to play most, if not all PC games out there. You’ll certainly be able to play the newest of MMORPGs like Tabula Rasa and Pirates of the Burning Sea.With this blog, I am not expecting an average person to go out and build themselves a new gaming PC, this is for gamers who have always felt that a gaming PC was too expensive to actually buy into. I just wanted to set the record straight. PC gaming still isn’t for all gamers as a number of things can go wrong, things break, and you’ll generally have to upgrade more often, albiet it will be cheaper than upgrading a new console.

For those who still aren’t convinced to buy a PC for gaming you still have Final Fantasy XI, right? Age of Conan and those promised NCSoft PS3 MMOs are still quite a ways away.

P.S. I have tried to get this as accurate as possible. Everything listed here should be compatible. However, I may have overlooked something as there are a bunch of specs to read when looking at these products.

EDIT: It should be ntoed that if you go with a free version of Linux (Ubuntu Redhat, etc.) not all MMORPGs will run with it. Different versions of Linux work with different MMORPGs. Do your homework if you persue this route.


  1. A couple items:

    1. You may be able to run every current MMORPG with your described rig, and you may be able to get Linux for free, but you can’t run every MMORPG on Linux. So if you are a gamer checking this list out, do your research before deciding whether to go Windows or Linux.

    2. If you stick to your guns you can be a pretty budget-minded PC gamer, but IMO it is harder to do than being a budget-minded console gamer. As soon as you decide to step up to mid-range hardware, your total hardware investment will exceed that of a console.

    3. The reason I stay with my PC and won’t switch to a console has nothing to do with $$ and whether it would be cheaper to switch to a console, it is because have levels of customization and depth and IMO is not common or consistently possible on consoles. Can I hook up my n52 game pad to a PS3 or XBox 360? Especially for RPG fans, this is just hands down no contest whatsoever–the ceiling for PC RPGs is just so much higher than console RPGs. Same with RTS, FPS . . . hell, there isn’t anything except maybe the Wii that a PC can’t do better than a console.

    4. The one exception to that is fighting games. It is possible for PCs to run fighting games as well as or better than their console counterparts, but I can’t remember the last time someone designed a good fighting game for the PC. Here I am talking about the genre of Street Fighter, Tekken, Soul Calibur, Virtua Fighter, etc. I would just about sell my soul to see VF5 on the PC.

    5. You will, generally, spend somewhat less on games when you buy for the PC vs. most consoles. Perhaps not much to make a big difference, but every little off-setting bit helps.

    I think at the end of the day if you want to be a PC gamer, you just better figure that you’re going to spend more on hardware than if you bought a console. It is certainly possible, if you become an adept system builder, to spread your hardware investment out over time. For example, I consider myself to be a pretty budget-conscious gamer; I am still running a 939-based AMD rig and I am playing LoTRO on Very High and it is a beautiful experience. I did spend more on hardware last year than had I bought a PS3, but I spent probably half of that in the summer and half in the winter, so it wasn’t too bad at all, and halfway through this year I might look to make another upgrade.

    You are rewarded with a more customized and deeper gaming experience than you will ever get with a console, in addition to all the other things you can do with a computer. I may spend more on my computer, but my return on investment, especially relative to my entertainment dollar, far exceeds that of an XBox 360 or PS3.

  2. I used to build my own computers.
    Actually, every since high school every computer I’ve owned (except for my notebook) has been built from scratch.
    I’ve built at least 20 systems over the years.

    However I just don’t want to bother anymore. I still want to choose my components, but I just don’t want to bother putting them together.

    After researching various options, I finally found an awesome site: http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/

    Super cheap prices! Almost as cheap as building it yourself.

    I just placed my first order a few days ago. I customized the case and everything else to be as ‘quiet’ as possible as I’m building a media PC.

    If the PC arrives in working order and I have a good experience here, I fully 100% intend to use them to build my next workstation/gaming machine.

  3. There are some other things you have to remember about PC’s. They can be used for a lot more than JUST video games.
    – Back in high schooI I know a few friends that got their parents to chip in $500 for their gaming computer, since it will also be used for school.
    – If you do spend more on your computer than the above list, it will only allow you to play games at a better visual quality than any console game is capable (max resolution of a TV is most likely much smaller than on the monitor your using now).
    – As Jim (above) said, there are a lot of styles of games that don’t translate very well to a gamepad.
    – Mouse vs gamepad in an FPS. While a lot of this argument is just what people are used to, more than one developer have stated that the advantage of the mouse is why gamers on 360 and Vista dont get to play against each other. Trying to balance this is just not worth it.
    – FPS’s are huge on both the PC and console. But the PC has all the mod’s and maps that console’s dont. Halo’s Forge just shows that microsoft knows this is a big missing component for consoles.
    And the biggest one, most peple have some type of computer, even if it 10 years old, you can cannibalize it to make your next computer cheaper, or spend the same to make it that much better. The case, mouse, keyboard, monitor, cd/dvd drive, speakers/headphones can all be re-used. Depending on just how old the computer is, maybe more.
    If you can save $100 by re-using old parts, you can get twice the video card, ram, and/or hard drive. Only making it that much faster/better/prettier/useful than any console.
    Now for a caution about having someone else build your computer, be VERY careful with this, i dont know anything about cyberpowerpc.com, but most of these sites will make you regret buying a computer. There are a lot of ways of cheating you. Things like advertising “2 GB RAM only $20!” There is no comment about the speed of the RAM, the timings, etc. (in other words your getting VERY slow/crappy RAM). They can do this with every component you buy. Have a friend who knows computers help you if you do go to a website to get a PC built.
    On another note, I am glad to see a warning about Geek Squad!
    And sorry about the wall of text.

  4. Hate to sound like a spoil sport here, but is there even an MMORPG available on the PS3? No… so the point is kind of moot. No-one interested in buying a PS3 would buy it for the primary purpose of playing an MMORPG and if you tried playing the types of games people actually buy the PS3 for, the PC your built would pale in comparison…

    I’m not a PS3 fan boy by any means. I’m actually an MMORPG gamer, but it seems like the experiment was a bit flawed from the start. Plus, IMO you need to add in the cost of Windows XP plus the keyboard and mouse because the majority of MMOs will not run in Linux without plenty of tweaking and OS emulation, and the PS3 does come with a controller, which you lack for the PC in its current build.

    I like what you tried to accomplish here, but the PC equivalent of a PS3 for the level of gaming quality and price just isn’t possible yet.

  5. Oh, and PS. I love your site but I hate how your comment form parses hard returns and paragraph breaks. Everything just displays in a single blob of text, which is bad for readability. This is a theme issue in your stylesheet, which you should be able to easily fix if you can find “.comment p {}” or something like that. Here’s a support question similar to your issue: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/146106

    I hope that helps! :)

  6. gaming computers should have multiple cpu cores and a lot of memory to support those heavy graphics -;,

  7. I’m more of a Playstation fan than a PC gaming fan. Although I must admit, pc games are easier to set up, with the right card and stuff. But PS3 wins more diversity and quality points.

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