how cheap? my experience is, hand built computers play games and perform larger tasks better, if you're beyond a basic user (someone who types papers and checks facebook) then hand built will be more enjoyable, let you comstomize, specially and be more flexible with your money. For example, a prebuild computer comes with options x and y, hand build can be adjusted to so many more options, as long as all parts are compadible.
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There is no cheap gaming machine.
However you are far better off building your own as JoshFFuller has recommended.
Not only do you have full control over component selection at a slightly cheaper cost, you have the satisfaction and increased knowledge base of assembling the screaming neon liquid cooled monster that lays throbbingly nestled in the corner of the room. Start with the http://techreport.com/ to save 10-20% off retail cost and last 1-2 years longer than anything off the shelf.
First you really have to define "cheap". My rig is well over the $1000 mark and it's still not close to bleeding edge. For $500 you can get a decent system, but you also have to define what "other" games are. If that's Skyrim and BF3 you're going to need a more powerful system. If its just TF2 or Chuzzle, then not so much.
The country you are in will also affect part price and availability. If you want to tackle building a PC, you may want to find someone near-by to at least talk to about the process and possibly mentor you. There are also thousands of decent video guides on youtube. Just don't watch one and get cocky.
My rig is at $1100, but there are cheap options availible...for minecraft and "other games", personally, I would reccomend the Alienware X51 w/ CPU upgrade and GPU upgrade...the i5 (the i3 is okay, but still not the best) and GTX 555 will play most games at max settings with decent frames...for dirt cheap (and building your own).
Here is what I reccomend for you...
Intel i3 2120- 3.3 GHz, Dual core : $127.99
HIS Radeon HD 6770 - $109.99
Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1600MHz : $49.99
ASUS P8H67-V : $104.99
Corsair TX650 : $89.99
Samsung Spinpoint 1TB (Yup, hard drive prices are still insane) : $159.99
Corsair Carbide Series 400R - great case, keeps components cool, SUPER easy to build in : $99.99
Final price: $732.93
That should play most modern games decently, problably not with max graphics @ 30 FPS, but with maybe high @ 30 FPS....
Worthwhile upgrades: ASUS P8P67 (better upgrade path because you can overclock unlocked processors on that board)
XFX Double D HD-685X
Intel i5 2320
With those three, it raises the price by about $150, but will then play most games on max settings, and the motherboard provides a better upgrade path
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Desktop: Intel i5 2500K @ 4.0 GHz | Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti @ 950MHz | ASUS Z68-V | Corsair XMS3 8 GB 1600 MHz | Corsair 750AX | Corsair 400R | WD Caviar Black 1 TB | Samsung 840 120 GB; ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31a
restart the topic on the Computer forums I can show you a build there if you are willing to build it your self we can provide videos that show you how to do it. We will also pick out the parts for you.
I use an early 2011, 15 inch Macbook Pro, i7 Quad core, 8 Gigs of RAM, (I added the extra 4). Runs Minecraft beautifully. I do admit it's not cheap but you can't really go cheap if you want to run highly intensive processor games and apps. High end laptops these days have become quite powerful. However, if your up to it, building your own PC with components of your choice and budget is also a good way to go.
I have a dell inspiron 660 with core i5 3330, 8GB of ram and intel hd graphics 2500. It runs minecraft like a beast. It can easily reach 300 fps on tiny+ fast graphics etc. etc. But on far and fancy it easily reaches 150 fps on singleplayer worlds WITHOUT optifine. If you plan to record I would recommend optifine to speed it up as recorders take up a CRAPTON of memory. I would also like to mention it does not go below 50 fps on servers with CRAPTONS of people. If you have anything bad to say about my post...... SCREW YOUR FACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!