How To Build A £100 Gaming PC! Is This The Cheapest Fortnite & Apex Legends Gaming PC?
Posted by GameRoomOne on November 19th, 2020
I love building good value gaming PC’s that punch above their weight, and after my recent £164 budget build I got a comment asking “Is there an option for £105 quid”
And the PC detailed in the video above is the PC I’ve built for only £99, in the above video I’ll detail the PC I’ve used as the basis of this project and the parts I’ve used to upgrade it, I’ll also run through some benchmarks but as a teaser this cheap gaming PC can run games like Fortnite on competitive settings at surprisingly good frame rates.
The Main PC
Ok so first up whenever trying to build low cost PC’s it’s typically cheaper to buy a pre-built system, and Dell Optiplex’s tend to be really popular for this, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t find one that was cheap enough to leave us with enough budget for a decent graphics card.
So after scratching my head for a while and shopping around I stumbled across the Acer Veriton M2611G, these seemed to be a bit cheaper and there’s normally a few of them available on places like eBay.
But before buying any pre-built system I always advise people to do as much research as possible, try and find out what CPU’s and graphics cards the system you’re looking at supports before spending your hard earned money. This can help avoid disappointment when upgrading your system at a later date.
But.. that’s not easy with these Acer Veritons, even the Acer site doesn’t give us much in the way of detailed specs, so in the interests of science I decided to take a chance and go for it.. only one of two things could happen right? we could end up with a great budget gamer or this project could end up being a total failure! But at least if I get it wrong, you won’t!
And after watching a few auctions I won this particular machine for only £42.
It arrived in a huge box and first impressions were good, it’s not mint but it’s in decent condition, plus it feels very sturdy, this thing could survive a nuclear blast and I have to admit that this Acers case definitely feels better quality than the aftermarket budget gaming PC cases I’ve used recently.. and 30 seconds after the PC arrived I was pulling of the side casing to see what it’s like inside, I was that kid that had to take everything apart, and at least some of those things went back together!
With the side panel off I was pleasantly surprised, it’s not spotless but equally it’s not a disgusting, dust filled mess that I often encounter when buying used PC.. seriously, some people really don’t understand the importance of keeping a computer clean!
On the inside of the side casing there’s a sticker detailing various things about the system and the motherboard and one thing that could prove useful is that it states that this system supports 2nd and 3rd generation Intel CPU’s, this could prove to be very important when upgrading this system as 2nd gen i5’s and i7’s are cheap nowadays. I’m also wondering if it’ll support Xeons of this era as well because these are even cheaper, let me know in the comments below if this is something you’d like me to test.
Once inside the case the first thing I noticed was the 300w FSP power supply, this is a good thing, some OEM systems come with as little as a 230w PSU plus FSP makes power supplies for some big aftermarket companies. So whilst it’s not a high power PSU, it’ll be enough for what I’ve got planned for this system.
The next thing I noticed is that there’s already a Graphic card in this system, after removing this we can see that it’s a 1GB Nvidia GT710, not powerful enough to run modern games but we can sell this and deduct it from the price of our build. And whilst we’re looking at the graphics card I just want to mention that I really like the little clamp that’s used to secure any add-on cards, it’s a simple idea but works great and means that a screwdriver isn’t necessary to swap graphics cards, just another one of those little touches that makes a system feel a bit more premium.
What I wasn’t impressed with is the full height hard drive cage that runs right from the top of the case right down to the very bottom, this is going to limit the maximum length of any graphics card we fit.
Next up I noted the single 4gb stick of DDR3 1600 ram, this is a decent quality stick of Kingston ram, I’d hoped that this system would have four ram slots but for only £42 I can’t grumble too much. Plus I was pleased to see that the ram is actually running at 1600mhz, I’ve had problems getting ram to run at the correct speed on other OEM systems.
And finally, let’s remove the CPU cooler to see what the thermal paste looks like.. It’s a bit dried out but again I’ve seen worse and at least Acer managed to get the thermal paste on the cpu!
And under the cooler we find our i3 3240 CPU, this is a 2 core 4 thread cpu that runs at 3.4ghz, so we haven’t got a huge amount of CPU power to work with but hopefully it’ll be enough to run some modern games on reasonable settings.
And before we put this back on I’m going to have to clean up the CPU heat sink, those clogged up fins definitely won’t be helping with air flow! I’m using a small brush to do this job but something like an old toothbrush will also do the trick. And once that’s sorted I used Arctic MX4 thermal paste to help keeps things cool, not that I’m expecting this little 55w i3 to generate much heat.
And talking of heat, one other thing I noticed is that this PC doesn’t have any fans.. not even a rear exhaust fan, it does at least have a ventilated side panel which should help let some of the warm air escape from the case, I’ll take a look at temperatures later in this video but hopefully this doesn’t prove to be too much of an issue. If I had more budget to work with I’d add a cheap 120mm fan, these can be picked up for less than £5.
This only leaves us with the hard drive, and this is where I made my first mistake, I’d watched a few of these computers on eBay and most tended to be fitted with a 500gb hard drive so I stupidly assumed this machine would also be fitted with a 500gb.. but nope.. it’s fitted with a 160gb unit, and whilst this is enough to run an operating system it’s not enough for a gaming PC at a time when most AAA games are at least 50-60gb nowadays, ahh I miss the Xbox 360 days!!
So with that said.. I pulled this drive out and have swapped it for a 500gb drive I already own, you can pick up 7200rpm 500gb drives in CEX for a tenner so I’ve added this cost to our final tally, plus we can sell the 160gb unit back to them for a few quid.
Ok now for the fun bit, upgrades.. but when it comes to upgrades this section is going to be shorter than normal because we won’t be making as many changes, the first thing I did was add a second 4gb stick of 1600mhz DDR3 memory, 8GB really is the minimum needed for gaming nowadays.
I’m using the Mushkin stick that I picked up for my £164 budget build but you can pick up good quality sticks of ram for less than £8 on eBay, just make sure you buy from someone with lots of good feedback.
And for the biggest upgrade we’re going to be making to this PC I’ve added an Nvidia GTX 750 TI, prices tend to vary a lot on these depending on which exact model you go for but you should be able to pick one up for less than £50 with a little patience.
And the great thing about these GTX 750ti’s is that they typically only need 60w to run and get all of the power they need from the PCI Express slot, this in turn means that the 300w power supply that came with this PC is up to the Job. But be careful when ordering one of these, some of the factory overclocked models require an additional 6 pin PCI Express power lead which our power supply doesn’t have. If you’re not sure ask the person selling the graphics card before you commit to buying it.
The particular model I’ve got is a Palit KalmX 2GB model which is passively cooled, it looks great and I do like a nice quiet PC!
Ok, so with that final piece of the puzzle in place I’ve spent a total of £104.94 but was able to sell the old hard drive, graphics card and CPU back to CEX for £6, which means that this whole PC has cost £98.94, so it’s definitely cheap.. but the real question is.. can it game? I’ve included some benchmarks in the video at the top of this post if you’re interested in seeing how this PC performs.
So there you have it, a £99 pound gaming PC, sure it’s not perfect and some compromises have to be made, for example in some games you’re going to need to drop the settings and resolution right back to hit playable frame rates. But at least this system get’s you gaming whilst you’re saving up some more money for upgrades, and talking of upgrades I could do a follow up video detailing the next round of upgrades I’d make to this machine, let me know in the comments below if you’re interested in me making this video.