For that price, I don't think compromises need to be made (depending on existing equipment/peripherals, but it sounds like that price might be excluding so I'm going to assume you've got a monitor and other peripherals and just build the gaming box).
You really want to start with a budget bare-bone box. Intel H55 chipset, 4GB DDR3 1333MHz, i5 quad core, 450+ Watts of PSU, and a box. It's a really easy way of buying a cheap case and getting a deal on the more budget orientated end of the component scale in the bundle. My Google-fu is failing me, I'm going to link a less parts bundle and point out it is using the old ASUS bundled PSU which is no good. 380W may well run this system in the end, but you really should be looking at a 450W sticker on the box to be safe, I'd say a 550W/600W is a good bet if you want it to also run your next rig (cases often last forever, as BTX died and we're still using the same design as a decade ago, one of my rigs runs in the case I got 10 years ago, and I try and get two generations of rigs out of each PSU*).
Prices are taken at time of posting, linked to a website I've used plenty of times but taht does not indicate they are either the best or cheapest (their selection isn't too great). Here is a full component purchase as I couldn't find a good starting barebones to build from:
P55 mobo (bit older than H55 stock, can still take the CPUs we want and runs fine) £77
£22 gets you a basic case with crappy 500W PSU, while £20 + £25 gets you a slightly less crappy case and PSU. (we're building down to a price here, not up to a quality standard; Chinese OEM PSU is the budget not my personal preference)
Quad Core i5 760 £140 or £80 i3 530 if you're run out of cash and need something to make the box run now (in the future having 4 decent cores will be important for not crippling your GPU, but today many engines are still only really worried about two fast enough cores to be happy)
2x2GB DDR3 1333MHz £65
nVidia fan? 1GB GTX460 £175 or ATi dude? 5850 £200. Personally I go nVidia because I like their driver team (per game driver settings profiles, SSAO driver support for older engines) and their PR offensive of parachuting guys into game developers to tweak stuff gives results like day zero profiles that give decent AA options (even if it is a bit slimy to ATi users who get shafted from time to time). This price, these cards; I'd say this is a personal preference call rather than one being better than the other.
DVD-RW £13 (*bam*, opticals are cheap)
500GB of cheap SATA HDD £30
Ok, so let me do the maths and see if I can make the nice options box for £550.
P55 + i5 760 + separate case and budget PSU + 4GB DDR3 + 1GB GTX 460 + DVD-RW + 500GB HDD = £545, inc VAT.
So, £550 is more than enough budget (if you take a few OEM shortcuts) to get a blazing fast latest gen DX11 GPU with the full 1GB RAM that that card should have, decent quad core of Intel i5 CPU, 4GB of good enough RAM, and the other gubbins that make it work. I'd be really shocked if that rig struggled with any game available today at anything up to 1080p even with all the shinies dialled up.
You can probably do better with AMD, but I don't know that selection as well (been a while since I theory-crafted a gaming rig like this; just though you should know that £550 has been able to buy you very good visuals on the PC for quite a few years now and having to settle for the crippled 768MB 460 or going last gen for a DX10 part isn't something you need to do at this price range)
*After this point of 5+ years they're likely to give up and break or end up not having the right rails/power/plugs to run the next system you're building into the box and you will need to grab a new one.
#6436870, By Shivoa 4850 v GTX 460 (it's not as stupid as it sounds)
Shivoa 5,677 posts
Seen 9 months ago
Registered 13 years ago