Build a cheap retro gaming PC for £3. It is extremely cheap to build a retro PC. A lot of the comments we get on the old retro PC build videos are disbelief about how cheap I get parts for these gaming PCs. I build this 2000-2002(ish) retro gaming PC for less than £5 budget and I’ll show you how.
Evesham case from eBay £0.99, marked as not working. I used the motherboard and CPU cooler too but replaced everything else.
Gigabyte GA-7VTXH+ motherboard is a pretty decent entry level gaming PC motherboard from 2002 with the KT266A Chipset. It's Socket A so I needed an AMD CPU. I fully intended for this retro PC budget build to be a Pentium 4 PC. P4s are so so cheap and you can get them anywhere. I picked up 26 retro CPUs from Shpock for £8 and most of them were P4. There were some Athlons in there though so I used a 1.7gb AMD Athlon XP 2100+. Cost averages out at 23p. CHEAP!
I got a PSU from Freecycle for nothing, a guy was getting rid of a bunch of old PC stuff, perfect for my cheapest retro gaming PC build. From the same lot I got loads of old PC RAM. I used two 256mb sticks of PC2100 / DDR266 DDR. I installed WinME, and it acts up above 512mb. I know there's unofficial patches, but this is fine.
I found a 40GB single-platter Maxtor in a drawer. You can get old PC hard drives for cheap or free if you know PC people.
I pulled my Sound Blaster Live! from my 1998 retro PC. Great sound card. I originally bought it cheap from eBay for 99p.
The GPU is a GeForce FX 5200. A 2003 GPU, budget-level but totally fine for our cheap gaming PC. FX5200s support DirectX9 and T&L, which is great for old retro PC games. Nvidia made loads of FX 5200s, they're so unbelievably cheap today and they work fine in budget gaming PCs. You really don’t need a GF4 Ti or a Radeon 9700. A cheap, entry level GPU from 2004 will perform fine. Mine was in a cheap job lot from a car boot sale, the cost averages out to 79p.
I just built a fantastic retro gaming PC for £3. I can't think of a cheaper gaming PC, and for retro PC gaming this thing will smash it. I installed Windows ME and against all protestations, I installed the OS absolutely fine.
To upgrade this old retro gaming PC to peak performance I’d get a PCI SATA controller to SSD. I could bang in the Geforce 7 series or Radeon HD 4670 as these are pretty much the best GPU cards for AGP but crucially I really need a better mobo. This one is fine for a quid, but something like the GA-7DXR+ would let me use a faster Athlon like my 2GHz 2600+
Is this the best retro gaming PC ever? No, of course not. But it's cheap and you know it’ll work. I wasn’t trying to build the best retro PC here, I just wanted to show you that if you want to get into retro PC gaming but you’re on a budget, something like this PC is a great cheap entry into the hobby of retro PC gaming. I’d love to hear about any retro PC bargains you’ve picked up so please tell me all about them in the comments, or tell me on our social media.
I'm putting together a guide for sourcing cheap parts and putting together retro PCs so hit subscribe to get that cheap retro PC video right to your inbox. And if you want a Pentium 4 then DM me on twitter and I’ll post you one, I’ve got bloody loads of them!
Quake 3: 1280x1024, everything on Full
Unreal Tournament: 1280x1024 everything on High (D3D)
Severance: Blade of Darkness: 1080p OpenGL, on High
Evolva: 1280x1024 all Max