How to Build a PS4-Like Gaming PC for $600 (or Bust)
CPU, GPU, and Motherboard
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.
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.
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!