When I was hunting for a brand-new gaming PC, I really thought that I was going to have to pick my own parts and build the rig myself rather than buy some “off-the-shelf” computer that would give me the kind of power or performance I was searching for.
I have built a couple of gaming rigs in the past, and while I was pretty confident about building another one, I decided to give the marketplace a look just to see if there was anything out there that would save me a lot of time and maybe even just a little bit of money.
I was initially looking to purchase a gaming desktop for a friend of mine as a gift, but chose instead to keep the one I found – the AM649FX – for myself. I did have to trade in my previous desktop (but I kept the upgraded AMD FX-8320 processor for myself and packaged in the old GTX 660 card) on eBay just to help pay for this one, but I do think it’s worth the money. Take a look at my review below:
— Note: This iBuyPower gaming PC is one of our top gaming desktops under $500. Follow the link to find other budget computers! —
iBuyPower AM649FX Initial Impressions:
It just looked pretty simple, pretty straightforward, and wasn’t exactly as “flashy” as maybe something from Alienware would be, but I’ll admit that it definitely grew on me a little bit – and now I absolutely love how understated it is, especially when I end up dragging it to LAN parties.
It’s almost like I have a turbocharged Ferrari engine hiding inside of a Volkswagen Jetta, and people are always surprised to see just how much power and performance I am able to squeeze out of this box!
Taking advantage of an AMD processor and an AMD Radeon graphics card also wasn’t exactly something that had me jumping for joy (at first), but only because I was focusing quite a bit into the Intel and NVIDIA marketing hype of some of their newest CPUs (more on that later).
Once I had a chance to check out these components a bunch of different reviews online I knew that I had made the right choice! Not only are they almost as powerful as the Intel/NVIDIA direct competitors out there, but they also cost about half as much – pretty prime bang for your buck!
Now let’s dive into what I like (and what I’m not exactly crazy about) when it comes to the iBuyPower AM649FX gaming setup:
iBuyPower AM649FX: Pros
Any time you are able to get your hands on a gaming computer that is running a quad core 3.8 GHz processor you’re looking at a box that is going to be pretty snappy, even when you aren’t busy chugging out high FPS ratings with the latest and greatest titles.
Sure, the AMD FX4130 3.8 GHz processor isn’t exactly “bleeding edge” anymore, but it’s definitely got more than enough juice to play today’s latest titles at 30 to 40 FPS on medium (and in some cases, high) settings – and it does so buttery smooth.
This is because that AMD quad core processor has been paired directly to an AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics card, capable of “Crossfire” support so that you can throw a second one in and really up the graphic juice your box is capable of squeezing.
The 1 TB hard drive is pretty standard today, but the fact that it is a high-speed 7200 RPM drive definitely makes it stand out from the rest of the pack. It would have been nice to see a standard high capacity solid-state drive packed right in out-of-the-box, but it’s pretty easy – and inexpensive – to add one later.
I would definitely recommend throwing one in using it as your operating hard drive for your OS, favorite applications, and games, and then using the 1 TB as a “catch-all” drive from there on out.
Lastly, it’s a big benefit that the iBuyPower AM649FX offers a gaming keyboard and mouse, even though it’s not nearly on par with the kind of quality that you get from a company like Razer.
But as far as freebies go, they are really, really nice!
IBuyPower AM649FX: Cons
There are really only two knocks against this particular gaming setup that I have noticed:
- The fact that the AMD processor and graphics card aren’t exactly “top notch” anymore, though they do just fine for a little bit of modern gaming
- And that this box is running Windows 7 Home Premium
As mentioned above, the processor and graphics card aren’t slugs by any stretch of the imagination – and are still quite capable – but they are getting a little outdated compared to today’s latest models. Also, it would have been nicer to see Windows 8.1 out-of-the-box for all of the extra advantages that it offers rather than Windows 7.
However, neither of those two are deal breakers at any rate.
At the end of the day, this is still definitely one of the more impressive budget based gaming PCs you can get your hands on. The AM649X won’t compete with the more expensive computers, like 4K gaming desktops, but it is considerably serviceable for what iBuyPower is asking. All the pieces are upgradeable and it comes in an excellent starting package.
I absolutely love it and would recommend it to everyone looking for an already-built desktop that is affordable and can play most modern games at medium settings.