Battlefield 4 Budget Build Performance
Published: 12th February 2014 | Source: PCSpecialist | Price: £549 |
The aim of this build was to prove you don't need to spend the ends of the Earth in order to get a great performing gaming PC which is able to tackle the latest games. For that, we believe we've succeeded. For the price of this system, you'd be able to buy one of the latest consoles along with a couple of games. However, as we all know games on PCs can be found considerably cheaper than a hard copy of a console game and so in the longer run this low costing PC will most likely prove to be a cheaper alternative. In the past, it's always been a common belief that the initial costs of PCs were far higher than consoles to see them as a worthy alternative, but as that's no longer the case we do hope more people will turn to the PC side of gaming, which will only aid the industry in the future.
To kick off the conclusion we start with temperatures. Overall, the load temperatures are more than acceptable. The CPU temperature didn't really go far above 60 degrees Celsius, and the GPU kept under 70 degrees Celsius. This is perhaps explained partly by the lower end hardware inside being very efficient and not producing much heat. It is still a big plus point for a system such as this however, as the user won't ever have to worry about temperatures going above safety limits as there's such a large gap between the temperatures we saw here and the limits that we'd be comfortable with.
The processor performance is certainly lacking in areas. In the CPU tests we ran, the Penium G3220 in this comes out well below the i3 and the AMD options. However, as this is a gaming system, our results in the gaming tests obviously show that a more expensive processor isn't really needed, so we can't be too critical about this. Our system is more of a guideline however. If you were to build your own, we don't expect you to choose the exact parts that were used here. Therefore if you did require more CPU performance you could easily swap the Pentium for an i3 for an extra £50 or so, or alternatively switch to an AMD processor and motherboard which should yield a slightly higher CPU performance.
The graphics intensive tests clearly show that this is a more than capable gaming machine. The Pentium processor doesn't drag down performance too heavily in games since pretty much every game we ran was able to achieve frame rates close to, or above 60. If you're in the market for a gaming PC on a budget, then this system might just be perfect for you. Battlefield 4 was our main target for trying to get a budget PC to run, and even at Ultra settings, our system managed to average around 55FPS. The minimum frame rates are also something to be wary of since sudden spikes of lag certainly don't make the game enjoyable. Even on ultra settings, the FPS didn't drop below 40 which is still great, and in most cases that wouldn't even be noticeable. It is worth noting that frames only dropped to this level when faced with explosions from grenades or other particle effect actions such as buildings collapsing. If you wanted to turn the settings down to high or medium, the frame rates wouldn't drop much below 60 FPS at all which would make gaming on this a very fluid experience.
It is also worth noting that this system does support Mantle; AMD's new programming interface which offers an alternative to DirectX. Although Mantle only supports a handful of games, and currently has numerous issues in those, it does promise to give far higher performance than DirectX, meaning in the future you should see higher FPS in games than the results that we showed here. We just need to wait for AMD and the game developers to iron out all of the bugs and when they do, it will make this system even better value for money than it already is!
The specifications of our budget build were sent to PCSpecialist who put the review system together for us. In connection with this review, the Intel based system is available from them for £549 including shipping which is great value for a pre-built system which includes a copy of Windows 8.1. We calculate that the parts alone plus a retail copy of Windows comes to around £500-520 depending on where you buy the parts from, which means for putting the system together and shipping it out, PCSpecialist only charge you around £30 which is incredible value for money for a pre-built system. Therefore if you want the security of a company building it for you, or don't have the time to put it together yourself, PCSpecialist offer a great service at a really good price point. The system as a whole is available for purchase here.
So, if you're in the market to build or buy a budget system, then this is definitely worth a look into. Our part list should be seen as more of a guideline if you are wanting to put it together yourself as prices change frequently and so parts like RAM or the SSD/HDD may swapped for a potentially cheaper alternative.