How to Build a PS4-Like Gaming PC for $600 (or Bust)

CPU, GPU, and Motherboard

CPU: AMD FX-8120

The PS4 has an AMD-made “Jaguar” CPU with 8 cores running at an unspecified frequency. The Jaguar codename is not exclusive to Sony’s new console, however, as these cores are the successor to the Bobcat cores currently found in AMD’s APU lineup. While a suitable Intel solution wouldn’t be hard to find, we’re sticking with AMD for this build because the parts are less expensive. At $160, the FX-8120 CPU is the least expensive eight-core CPU made by AMD, but it’s no slouch; the 3.1 GHz operating frequency and 32nm manufacturing process make for a very capable (and overclock-friendly) chip.

GPU: MSI R7850 Twin Frozr

While Sony was nice enough to give us the core codename for its CPU, the Radeon GPU is a little more tricky – all we know for sure is the TFLOPs performance number, which sits at 1.84. None of the current 7000 series GPUs match up with that figure, but the HD7850 does come pretty close at 1.76 TFLOPs. We chose the MSI R7850 Twin Frozr because it pairs the HD7850 with a tried and true aftermarket cooler design. Two fans are always better than one!

AMD is throwing a killer software bonus in right now, too, as every 7850 comes with free copies of Tomb Raider and Bioshock: Infinite. Our MSI selection also includes a free copy of 3DMark Advanced Edition. In other words, you’re paying $190 (or $170 after mail-in rebate) for a graphics card that comes with $150 worth of software. Will the PS4 give you two of the most anticipated games of 2013 for free? We highly doubt it.

Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46

The MSI 970A-G46 motherboard might be the crown jewel of this entire rig, as it has a lot of features you need in a gaming desktop while keeping our budget intact. The 970A-G46 currently sits around $80 – a true budget gaming board – while still offering two PCI Express 2.0 slots at decent speeds (one at 16x, one at 8x). Most of the boards found in this price range use an x16/x4 configuration, which isn’t very SLI- or CrossFire-friendly. While our build has one video card, this board will play nice with a second 7850 down the road, giving this budget rig serious upgrade chops. Factor in USB 3.0 and the UEFI BIOS, and we have ourselves a winner!

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20 Comments on How to Build a PS4-Like Gaming PC for $600 (or Bust)

R.J.

On February 28, 2013 at 12:34 am

I’ve been waiting for an article like this. My current PC can run The Witcher 2 fairly well, but not nearly at the maximum, and with the announcement that The Witcher 3 will be on PS4, I’ve been giving serious thought to building a PC that runs The Witcher 3 at its maximum settings, so some sort of reference point to go from is greatly appreciated. While I plan on getting a PS4, I’ve played the first two Witcher games on PC, so I obviously need to finish it on PC.

Thanks, Game Front.

Tiagonal

On February 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

“The PS3 is going to be one of this year’s hottest gadgets” ??? There I got a miss. O.o

Anyway… have you all heard of the long forbidden conspiracy of grid gaming??? All revived by GaiKai.

Tiagonal

On February 28, 2013 at 8:39 am

Can’t wait for someone asking:

The cell processor was thought to be designed for grid computing. Though it didn’t happened apparently because of network stability issues and stuff, that was the end of the rumour. Then there was folding@home, to fire up some discussion in obscure forums about shared computing and PS3. And now, since GaiKai’s adquisition, GaiKai has started to say they’ve got their ‘datacenters’ to be spread everywhere in the world… GaiKai’s technology is based solely on software, this time Sony didn’t had to design specific hardware for the works, so… What if their ‘datacenter’ was in fact everybody’s console.. actually some say the greatest conspiracy cue is if the PS4 will have a pair of ethernet connectors… weird stuff. Anyway, if it was that way… would you share your hardware?… in ‘sleep’ mode, slowly consuming your internet bandwidth to share your processing power to others? Think about it, you don’t use your console 24/7… with just a pair of PS4 working together to process a game… it would make most of gaming rigs kneel, well.. what if there were thousands of clusters? O.o

Want to hear more? There’s more… a lot more…

Evernessince

On February 28, 2013 at 11:57 am

@Tiagonal

Don’t know if your comment was serious or not but that will never happen for a couple of reasons:

1) what if the owner has capped bandwidth? He’s gonna find out and investigate what is using
up all of it. Then Sony incures a class action lawsuit
2) Would you notice a slowdown on other devices? The answer is yes, unless you have really
fast internet. Again people will notice this.
3) It’s just plain illegal. It’s equal to a DDoS attack where you are using other Resources without
permission.

They could sneak a clause in the License agreement to allow them to do this but as EA has found
out in the past, it won’t end well for them.

Tiagonal

On February 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm

@Evernessince What amazes me from your comment is… even if you say it’s never gonna happen, you’re actually hinting that the whole scenario is possible. So, uhm.. Thanks? O.o

Devin Connors

On February 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm

@Evernessince and @Tiagonal

Thanks for the comments, guys.

I don’t see cloud gaming overtaking local gaming at any point in the near future. It’s an interesting technology, and it has some practical applications…streaming older titles (PS2, PS3), demos for new games, and a select few single-player experiences. Streaming on the PS4? Yes. Streaming multiplayer Killzone matches on the PS4? Probably not.

-Devin

Tiagonal

On February 28, 2013 at 5:56 pm

…and Devin loses two points of logical flappery:

One for missing the typo in “The PS3 is going to be one of this year’s hottest gadgets”.

Two for missing the breakshift paradigm of cloud datacenters vs. grid processing fragmentation.

Keep loosing points and you might become an IGN editor someday!

Devin Connors

On February 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm

@Tiagonal

You should proofread your own comments before critiquing my posts.

As far as cloud gaming in the triple-A gaming segment goes, I didn’t say it would never catch on — I said it wouldn’t catch on anyttime soon. Several years down the road, maybe, but not in 2013 or 2014.

Tiagonal

On March 1, 2013 at 8:52 am

@Devin Gamefront’s the only place I’m heard and taken relatively ‘serious’! Gotta thank that and this article is actually useful. That itself is preventing you from losing any pseudojelly points. Why so worried? (+1 +1 +1 +1) However… I’m unsure if you got the concept of two different cloud technologies, but you shouldn’t care anyway.. It’s like saying one day we’ll be hit either by an asteroid or a comet.

Still you’re beign unfair… I can’t edit back nor eliminate any comments. One should be able to do so, specially for comments after midnight… Those written almost wasted.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 1, 2013 at 9:05 am

@Tiagonal @Devin

I think last I heard the IT side of things was working on making comments editable or something. Soon we will all be free to delete our drunken comments to our hearts’ content.

Evernessince

On March 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

@Tiagonal

You’re taking things a bit too literal, loosen up a bit. I will delineate that when I said that hardware sharing would “never” happen, what I meant was that if it did, it would have a negative effect anyways. As you stated, I go on to say that later.

@Devin Connors
I would have to agree with the fact that cloud gaming will take time to catch on. Although, will it ever be viable to stream the most demanding games of the time and actually have it look as good as on your own PC? Unless internet bandwidth outpaces graphics improvements, games will continue to require more and more speed to stream. For many, it may never be a reliable alternative to physical hardware.

Wesker1984

On March 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

A PC over a game console? No! Playstation for ever

TheDog

On March 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Yes Wisker, why would someone want to invest in something superior in ever way. Yes, let run on a machine that can’t be updated. Can’t be improved. Can’t hold a candle to it’s betters in any way, shape or form. The brilliance of you plan is astounding, yet so simple (like a fanboy mind I wont mention).
The fact is consoles are nothing more than cheap wanna be pc’s without an OS. They’ve got a motherboard, onboard sound chip, on board video chip (and as any pc gamer will tell you, video chips suck compared to a full card), ram, hd, disk drive and a cpu. Time to grow up and face the music.
The only thing consoles had going for them was price, and when they first come out, you can get a better pc for the money. You have to wait a couple years for a price drop before that even comes into play.

Reebook

On March 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I choose to console game over PC gaming. I accept that it has massive inherent inferiorities and disadvantages over PC gaming, and frankly I don’t care. I enjoy console gaming too much. That doesn’t mean I’ll get every console or accept everything that console developers do, or that I can never appreciate PC-only games. I just prefer to use a console for gaming, despite spending the rest of my time on a laptop. It’s just the way it is, and I don’t wish to change it. That probably makes me a bit foolish but it’s the way I feel. At least I’m able to accept the flaws of my chosen pastime, unlike I imagine Wesker does.

Devin Connors

On March 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

@Evernessince

One step at a time, for sure. Latency management and graphics fidelity are the two biggest pieces of the pie, and both will take a lot of R&D to push towards being universally acceptable. I’m not sure if hardcore MP games (your Quakes, Counter-Strikes, etc.) will ever be cloud-based — the players in those games need every ms on their side.

Tiagonal, chamán de la lluvia

On March 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm

@Devin Connors

Blah.. ms are nimieties! I can blast you off anytime I want, I can predict all your movements… just set a date and I’ll match you in a Duel, Unreal Tournament 4 from Southamerica within OnLive. (The 30 mins free trial allows multiplayer). HA HA HA.. don’t tell me you’re either too slow or bandwidth capped for it…

TheDog

On March 1, 2013 at 7:36 pm

@Reebook Doesn’t make you anything. Just means thats what you like. Nothing wrong with that if that’s what you like. Just like prefering hamburgers to steak. Some people might find that odd, but what you like is what you like. Never wonder or worry about that. Just enjoy it.

Red Menace

On March 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I approve of build articles.

Dom

On December 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm

You never actually gave us building instructions you just gave us the parts and now I spent about $700 on parts I don’t know how to make it

JawaEsteban

On December 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm

@Dom
Assuming that you’re not trolling, have a friend (or acquaintence) who knows hardware show you how to do it. This is not a complicated rig to build. Single graphics card, no RAID, minimal peripherals, no liquid cooling etc.

In the unfortunate case that you have nobody in your social circle who knows what the inside of a PC is supposed to look like, there are literally dozens of step-by-step articles on Tom’s Hardware explaining how to put a PC together.