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How To Get Started on Affordable and Legit Gaming on PC

(This article was originally published on November 25, 2016) About 10 years ago, big discount promos on PC games don’t exist and buying a legit copy of a game will usually cost you more or less PhP 2,500. Region-based pricing, affordable indie games and free-to-play games are also non-existent at that time. Only those from well-to-do families were able to buy a legit copy of PC games. With the introduction of game distribution platforms like GOG and Steam, playing games on the PC have become affordable and more accessible. Both GOG and Steam regularly conduct game discount promos in which you can buy games at 50 – 90% off. When you purchase a game through those game distribution platforms, the game files will be downloaded directly to your hard drive. Game discs which will just clutter your room as your game library grows are not needed anymore. You just need a 5 Mbps internet connection which can be had for a monthly fee of PhP 1,199. A slower connection will do but downloading may take a week or more since many games now have a download size of more than 20 GB.

Related: How to Buy Games with Paymaya

Another major expense in building a gaming PC is the OS (Operating System). A legit copy of Windows 10 will cost you PhP 7,299. As you will see in the build comparison below, that PhP 7,299 can be the difference between having an acceptable gaming PC and having a good gaming PC. So, if you want to reduce your expenses in building a gaming PC, look first at the OS. We do not promote piracy so we strongly suggest you use Linux instead of pirating Windows if you do not want to spend for an OS. Valve, the developer of Steam, started supporting Linux in February 2013 and it gave gamers an alternative OS for gaming.

The Builds

Note: OPTION 2 has been updated. Refer to our PhP 23,000 Gaming Build for March 2017.

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OPTION 1 OPTION 2
Part Name Price (PhP) Part Name Price (PhP)
CPU Intel Pentium G4400 3.3 GHz 2,710 Intel Core i3 6100 3.7 GHz 5,400
Motherboard ECS H110M4-C3D 2,800 ASRock H110M-HDV 3,060
RAM G. Skill Aegis 8GBx1 DDR4 2400 2,420 G. Skill Aegis 8GBx1 DDR4 2400 2,420
Graphics Card Palit GTX 750 Ti StormX OC 2GB 5,290 Inno3D GTX 1050 Ti 4GB 6,990
Power Supply Corsair VS 450 watts 1,650 Corsair VS 450 watts 1,650
Storage Drive Western Digital Blue 1TB 2,270 Western Digital Blue 1TB 2,270
Case Tecware F3 1,100 Tecware F3 1,100
TOTAL Main Unit 18,240 22,890
Monitor AOC E970SWN 18.5 inches 3,620 LG 22MP67HQ 21.5 inches 6,270
TOTAL Main w/ Monitor 21,860 29,160
Input Device Logitech MK100 keyboard & mouse 499 Logitech MK100 keyboard & mouse 499
Speaker Edifier M1250 470 Edifier M1360 1,240
TOTAL Complete 22,829 30,899

OPTION 1 is aimed for gamers who are on a very tight budget. It would do very well for light games like DOTA 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In case you want to play games which are more demanding, the GTX 750 Ti will suffice at 1366 x 768 resolution which is the native resolution of the monitor in OPTION 1. For games that are CPU-intensive, you can slightly modify the build by choosing Intel Core i3 6100 for the CPU. It’s still a dual-core CPU but it has Intel Hyper Threading which makes it faster than Pentium G4400 but still slower than Core i5 6600. Just keep in mind that Core i3 6100 will increase the total build price by PhP 2,690. OPTION 2 is perfect for those who want to play the latest games at 1920 x 1080 resolution (a.k.a 1080p resolution) and with greater detail. If you see yourself upgrading to a more powerful GPU 2 to 3 years from now, we highly recommend to choose Intel Core i5 6600 3.3 GHz for the CPU. Your PC will have much better performance for upcoming games that will require a quad-core CPU. However, the added benefit of having a quad-core CPU comes at the cost of increasing the total build price by PhP 5,000. To those who might ask, we chose GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB instead of Radeon RX 460 2GB because NVIDIA GPU’s currently have better performance on Linux.

Game Library

B2G Gaming Linux v2

What you see above are some of the many games you can play natively on Linux. However, some of those games have a price that may be still out of reach especially for students. The list below are games that have a full price of less than PhP 500 or had a lowest recorded discounted price of less than PhP 500. If you can save PhP 20 each day, you can buy a game at full price every 1 or 2 months.

You can can check the Steam Store for a complete list of games that are available on Linux.

Price (PhP)
Title Full Lowest Discounted
DOTA 2 Free Free
F1 2015 1,319.95 395.98
Alien: Isolation 999.95 309.98
Divinity: Original Sin 999.95 499.97
GRID Autosport 999.95 249.98
Shadow Warrior (2013) 999.95 99.98
Bioshock: Infinite 759.95 29.99
Mad Max 759.95 249.98
Euro Truck Simulator 2 629.95 94.48
Tomb Raider (2013) 589.99 88.49
Aragami 499.95 449.95
Borderlands 2 499.95 124.98
Dead Island – Definitive Edition 499.95 299.97
Metro: Last Light 499.95 124.98
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor 499.95 9.98
Outlast 499.95 99.98
Portal 2 499.95 99.98
Strike Suit Zero 499.95 99.99
The Witcher 2 499.95 74.98
Torchlight 2 499.95 99.98
Transistor 499.95 99.99
Anomaly 2 419.95 41.99
Bastion 419.95 83.99
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 419.95 136.77
DiRT Showdown 419.95 83.99
Dust: An Elysian Tail 419.95 83.98
Saints Row IV 419.95 99.99
Sanctum 2 419.95 83.98
Shadowrun Returns 419.95 41.99

To get the most out of your money, we strongly recommend you wait for the Steam Summer Sale which usually happens every June-July and the Steam Christmas Sale every December. During those Steam sale promos, you can buy a game at an extremely low price.

If you cannot wait for the sale promos mentioned above, you can check this link for Linux games that are currently discounted. Sometimes, game franchises go on sale or some publishers sell their games discounted if you buy in bundles. The discount may not be as big as in Steam Christmas Sale but it’s better than nothing.

Installing the Operating System

We highly recommend Ubuntu MATE as the Linux version you should use because it has a user-friendly interface which long-time users of Windows would easily get used to. In case you are also going to use the PC for school or work, Ubuntu MATE comes pre-installed with free applications for word processing, spreadsheet creation, slideshow presentation, and video playback.

Linux is a free OS so you won’t find an installation disc in PC stores. You need to download an ISO image from the internet then create a bootable USB installer. If you are building your first ever PC, you are going to need to use a friend’s PC or go to a PC rental shop to download an ISO image. The ISO image size is less than 2GB and it can be downloaded in less than an hour on a 5 Mbps internet connection. Once you have the ISO image, use Rufus to create a bootable USB installer. Plug the USB in the USB port of your PC then power up the PC. Go to the BIOS then set the USB drive as primary boot device. The installation process is straightforward so just follow the instructions you’ll see on the screen.

Once the OS installation is done, the first thing you have to do is install the driver for your graphics card. You can do this by going to System Settings then look for Driver Manager. You would see a list of available drivers for your GPU then select the vendor-specific driver. Restart the PC once the driver installation is done.

Buying and Installing Games

Before you can buy games, you must install Steam first. You can install it via Ubuntu MATE’s Welcome. To access Welcome, click on System in the main task bar on the desktop, then look for Welcome. In the Welcome window, click on Software then go to Games category. Scroll down until you see Steam. Click on Install.

After you have installed Steam via Ubuntu MATE’s Welcome, run Steam and the program will download additional files (approximately 250MB) to finalize the installation. Once complete, run Steam again and you will be asked to log in to your Steam account.

steam-log-in

Creating a Steam account is free and you just need a valid e-mail address. The Steam account creation process is straightforward so just follow the instructions you’ll see on the screen. Once logged in to your Steam account, just browse the Steam store for games. To purchase games, you need a credit card which you probably do not have if you are still a student or if you have just started working. You can add funds to your account’s Steam Wallet which you can use for purchasing games. To add funds, you need Steam Wallet cards which you can buy at Data Blitz or at I-Tech. Alternatively, you can also use PayMaya for purchasing games on Steam.

Conclusion

Choosing Linux over Windows for gaming is a debatable topic. The usual argument that will come to mind is the large gap in available games. When it comes to library of games, Windows is currently the better choice of OS because many popular game franchises like Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K, and Resident Evil are still not available on Linux. Take note, however, that the game library for Linux is continuously growing and improving. About 3 years ago, Linux ports of popular games get released 2 to 3 years after the game came out on Windows. Today, it only takes months to a year. The biggest surprise this year is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. It was released by Square Enix on Windows last August 24, 2016 and the Linux port done by Feral Interactive was released on November 3, 2016. That relatively small gap between the Windows release and the Linux release of a popular game franchise is a sign of good things to come for gaming on Linux.

In the beginning of this article, we also mentioned GOG which is another game distribution platform like Steam. The main difference with Steam is that games on GOG do not have DRM (Digital Rights Management). In simple terms, the purpose of DRM is to prevent illegal distribution of games. For example, if you tried to copy the game files from your PC then transfer it to your friend’s PC, the game will not run on your friend’s PC. Games without DRM can be run on any PC without having to connect to the internet for validation (Marcin Iwiński of CD Projekt explains it better in an interview at infoShare last May 19, 2016). However, many games are still not available on GOG and prices are higher compared to Steam.

We showed that affordable gaming on PC does not always mean using pirated games and pirated Windows. Game support for Linux is continuously improving and there is really no excuse now to illegally download PC games. Though, some may argue why would they pay more for a legit copy of a game when they can get it for “free”. First of all, you don’t have to worry if the cracked game is working properly. Second, you can immediately receive updates which fixes bugs and improves performance. Third, you get access to multiplayer mode which is fun because it allows you to play with your friends online. Lastly, you help the game developers continue making games that we all enjoy. If game developers go bankrupt or decide to implement annoyingly intrusive anti-piracy measures, we all suffer.

For those who still cannot afford the build in OPTION 1 we have shown at the beginning of this article, we advise against downgrading some of the components so it can fit your budget. Sure, you can build a complete PC for PhP 15,000 but it would not be a gaming PC and you’ll just waste your money. If you have PhP 15,000 or less, the much better thing to do is to not spend it and instead make that money grow in the stock market.


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Pinoy Linux Gamer

I'm a PC gamer and Ubuntu MATE is my recommended OS for gaming.

10 Comments

    1. got mine for free earlier this year… MS windows 10 promo 😀

      afaik… there is a huge gap between linux and win when it comes to the availabilty of games

      not to mention both nvidia and amd’s linux driver at still lagging behind their windows counterpart

  1. Don’t forget the Steam bundles. Bundles help you save a lot. I got the Bioshock trilogy for less than P300, and I also got other games for cheap as well. Also, wait for GOG’s seasonal sales. If you reach a spending tier, you’ll get some games for free. Humble Bundle throws in some free games if you pay for a certain amount 😀

      1. Check the OPTION 1 in the link below then just upgrade the GPU to Radeon RX 480 8GB

        http://www.back2gaming.com/guides/how-to-get-a-better-pc-by-investing-early/

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