Help me play Left 4 Dead 4 Cheap
November 12, 2008 12:54 PM   Subscribe

What is the cheapest pc gaming rig you can come up with that can run Left 4 Dead at a playable and decent framerate?

here's what i came up with.. though i'm thinking this PSU will probably crap out in a couple months and it'll probably be worth it to invest in a better quality one.

-CPU- AMD Athalon 64 X2 5000+ 2.6ghz $60 -
-GPU- EVGA 8600GT 256MB $40 (rebate) -
-RAM- Corsair 4GB (2x 2GB) DDR2 800 $24.99 (rebate) -
-HD- Seagate 80GB 7200RPM $38.99 -
-CD/DVD- Lite-On 20X Super Allwrite $21.99 -
-Mobo- BIOSTAR nForce 520D $33.99 -
-CASE- Linkworld /w 400W PSU $36.99 -

total = $256.95

lemme know what you guys think!
posted by bettershredder to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would worry about that PSU, which could kill the other components in the computer if it fails badly. Also, the GPU in the video card you choose is prone to failure, so you may want to make sure it comes with a good warranty.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:04 PM on November 12, 2008

Why not get the $199 XBox?
posted by phearlez at 1:32 PM on November 12, 2008

An aside: Don't be counting on that rebate from EVGA. I've submitted several rebates to them (all correctly per their instructions) and they rejected all of them. Thing is, they send the rejection notice AFTER the rebate period ends, so I've been SOL.

Definitely spring for a better PSU if you can work it in your budget.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:39 PM on November 12, 2008

Oh and maybe throw in some more cash for a retail mobo rather than an open box.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:46 PM on November 12, 2008

Ars Technica Buyers Guide.
posted by notyou at 2:00 PM on November 12, 2008

@Dr-Baa - I have submitted ~10 EVGA rebates and NEVER had a problem. I do the following: Fill out rebate form. Photocoph UPC. Tape UPC over photocopied copy of UPC. Write my name and address on every form.

Do power supplies really crap out? I have a crappy ATX power supply that came with the cheapest case I could find (300watt) running a 9600 GSO + 8GB Ram + Dual Core Intel without ANY problems. This is its 3rd machine.
posted by SirStan at 2:52 PM on November 12, 2008

Yeah, metafilter is full of people harping on buying expensive power supplies. I have never had any problems with them that didn't result from me letting so much gunk build up in the fan that they over heated. Even then it didn't do anything to the rest of the PC.

posted by zhivota at 2:59 PM on November 12, 2008

The best gaming rig for playing Left 4 Dead at a decent frame rate would be an Xbox 360.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:07 PM on November 12, 2008

I'm going to say the opposite about your PSU- for your graphics cards, a 400-watter will be just fine. A cheaper one can damage components, but so can expensive ones. Chances are very much that it won't. An important component is what resolution do you play at? The graphics card needs for running a 17" at 1024x768 versus a 24" at 1920x1080 is a world of difference.

Regarding your HD, do you ever plan on having other data on there like music/videos/etc? For less than twice the money, you can get a HD 8x the size you linked to.
posted by jmd82 at 3:44 PM on November 12, 2008

Oh, and regarding the your video card, I would check out this article. It looks like for a little more money, you can get much better gameplay.
posted by jmd82 at 3:47 PM on November 12, 2008

Did you notice you can double your hard drive capacity for less than $5, triple it for less than $10, or quadruple it for less than $15?

A Radeon 3650 (e.g.) should provide better performance than that 8600GT at a lower price before and after rebate. However, I doubt that either this or your pick will run Left 4 Dead well. At the same time you're browsing newegg look at some benchmarks to get a fell for what spending $40, $60, $80 etc. will get you.
posted by PueExMachina at 4:42 PM on November 12, 2008

Do they let you use a mouse on the Xbox yet like they do in a few PS3 games?

And seconding what resolution do you want to run at? I ditched my 8600GT when I got an bigger LCD because it choked on TF2 at the higher resolution.
posted by markr at 7:30 PM on November 12, 2008

I'm running the demo smooth as butter with my old custom built AMD64 3000+, DFI Lanparty motherboard, 2Gb RAM, 8800GTS 512Mb.

Your weak link in your proposed build is the video card.

Depending on your personal gaming preferences (and not to open the usual can of worms), I strongly recommend not trying to play a twitch FPS on the Xbox. The truth is, too, that the Team Fortress Xbox community was pretty quickly dead in the water, and still hasn't received all the updates and expansion stuff that the PC version has, and you can be pretty sure that Valve has the same kind of plans for L4D. TF2 is still heavily played on the PC platform, more than a year later.

Obligatory plug: join us at, the Metafilter-offshoot gaming community. We have 4 TF2 servers running 24/7 and one L4D server up already, and are friendly and happy to help with questions like this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:42 PM on November 13, 2008

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