How to Build a Budget ($487) and a Recommended ($866) Gaming PC for Fallout 4

There are numerous reasons why you should choose to play Fallout 4 on a PC, perhaps foremost amongst those is the huge modding scene which still produces new missions, items, weapons, characters and graphical improvements for both Fallout 3 and New Vegas, as well as many bizarre and amusing extras and you can even expand the game almost endlessly yourself with Bethesda’s own Garden of Eden Creation Kit (GECK) development tool.

Based off of those trends, this guide will explain the parts needed to build a PC around the best possible experience for Fallout 4 for differing budgets.

Regarding the two levels of hardware requirements for a game; minimum requirements generally means it’ll play at a similar quality to the console versions, while recommended requirements are suggested to give the best possible experience that the game is capable of delivering. The minimum, or budget requirements will net you an inexpensive build, however, the recommended parts will also future-proof the PC to a certain degree. In this case, the budget build will be more than adequate to play the game with far better performance than the console versions and I’m targeting a minimum of 1080p at 60 frames per second on medium detail and effects settings.

Worried about missing an amazing side quest in Fallout 4? Then this deal is for you: Use the coupon code FALL41 to get 10 USD off when picking up Killer Guides' Fallout 4 Guide. In this guide you’ll find all undocumented quests as well as proven builds, weapon modification tips, and building settlement strategies and much, much more! Click here to read a review from one of the most popular community sites for Fallout 4.

Official Specs Requirement

Minimum
Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
Intel Core i5-2300 2.8 GHz/AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0 GHz or equivalent
8 GB RAM
30 GB free HDD space
NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti 2GB/AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB or equivalent

Recommended
Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
Intel Core i7 4790 3.6 GHz/AMD FX-9590 4.7 GHz or equivalent
8 GB RAM
30 GB free HDD space
NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB/AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB or equivalent

PC -1

Selecting Parts for Your PC

Processor/CPU
When building a PC from the ground up, you have to begin by planning it around the processor. AMD hardware is a solid choice for a balance between power and price, but for performance and all-around flexibility if you plan on using your PC for more than gaming or want to future-proof somewhat, Intel would be a better option.
Budget choice: AMD Athlon X4 860K – $75
Recommended choice: Intel Core i5-4590 – $180

It’s important to note here that the recommended CPU is a $300 i7 and I’m recommending a somewhat cheaper i5. This isn’t a mistake, it’s a correction. Very few games utilise much CPU time, and the i5 I’ve chosen is more than capable of handling this or any game. However, if you choose to go with the Intel Core i7 4790 they have listed, it will also fit in the recommended motherboards LGA 1150 socket.

Motherboard
As mentioned, the motherboard is dictated by the socket that your chosen CPU needs. Many recent AMD CPUs need AM3+ or FM2+, while Intel’s Core i5 and i7 will require Socket LGA 1150 or 1151.

Budget choice: Gigabyte AMD FM2+/FM2 A88X $55 (for AMD’s FM2+ socket)
Recommended choice: MSI Z87-G45 $130 (for Intel’s LGA 1150 socket)

Memory
The minimum memory requirement is likely to be 4gb, but given the price of DDR3 memory and the added performance boost it’ll impart to any system, we’re going to double it for both the minimum and recommended systems. The only thing you need to bear in mind for memory is that two types are available, one for laptops and 240-pin DIMMs which are for desktops. Obviously we’ll be choosing the latter for our desktop.

Budget choice: Mushkin 997164S DDR3 2133Mhz 8GB (2x 4GB kit) $45
Recommended choice: Crucial 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz Ballistix Sport $49

You may have noticed that the budget memory is faster than the recommended system’s memory; this isn’t a mistake. AMD CPUs are capable of supporting much faster memory than most Intel chips, and you can also use cheaper memory ranging through 1333, 1600 or 1866Mhz as well.

The Graphics Card
This is the single largest factor on how well Fallout 4 will run and there is a broad array of GPU for all budgets and requirements. For both the budget and recommended builds, we’ll try to target a minimum of 1080p running at 60 frames. The Budget system may need a few of the details turned down, but it will still look better than the console versions.

Budget choice: PNY NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 $188
Recommended choice: Zotac GeForce GTX 970 4GB $310

I’ve chosen Nvidia cards for both systems because the performance they offer are currently the best for their price. The recommended system’s GTX 970 is a superb card that will last many years and will be able to play everything at the top detail settings. More expensive cards are moving into the realms of diminishing returns and you can spend $500 on a card that will only offer another 15-20% more performance.

Storage
Your drives are where you’ll keep Windows and your games, and while the performance of the games isn’t dependant on them, loading times are. Solid state drives, which are far faster and are more like flash memory than the traditional mechanical drives, are now coming down in price, but they don’t offer much storage space.

Budget choice: Seagate Barracuda 1TB Sata Hard drive 7,200rpm $56
Recommended choice: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB $82

Optical Drive (Optional)
Regarding optical drives, very few PC games are released with a boxed copy, even installations for your operating system are done via a USB stick now, and there are very few reasons to have an optical drive of any type. That said, if you wish to play optical media on your PC then there are numerous drives of all types available for very little. A $20 drive will take care of most of your needs.

The Power Supply (PSU)
The wattage of your PSU is vital to being able to power all your hardware. Too few watts could cause your PC to shut down unexpectedly and too high a wattage can make the PSU unstable and reduce it’s life expectancy if the majority of the wattage isn’t used.

Budget choice: Coolmax I-500 $18
Recommended choice: Corsair CX600 – 80 PLUS Bronze $65

The GTX 970 in the recommended system requires two power inputs in order to run that aren’t normally found on cheaper PSUs, hence settling on the Corsair PSU.

The Case
This is all down to personal preference and they come in all shapes and sizes depending on your aesthetic needs and how much space the internal components require. Both these builds feature very large graphics cards that need quite a lot of space. I’ve chosen a very simple, minimal case that has great accessibility and ventilation and is ideal for a first time or experienced PC builder equally.

Both: NZXT Source 210 S210-001 $50

The Totals:

Other Peripherals

PC-2Some short notes on each of the other things you’ll need to get the most out of your new box of circuitry.

Monitor
You can use your TV via an HDMI lead as a monitor or a good quality, extremely low priced desktop monitor such as a 24 inch BenQ GL2460HM. You can also get a wireless display adaptor such as Valve’s Steam Link or a Miracast stick.

Keyboard
There are literally thousands of keyboards with everything including media controls, macro keys, colored LED backlighting and so on. If your preference is for something a little more simple, go with the Cherry MX Red mechanical switches. It’s entirely down to personal preference and I strongly recommend you try your keyboard out in the flesh before settling on what’s right for you. My personal choice is Corsair K70.

Mouse
Most mice these days are perfectly good for gaming, but you might feel you need something with more buttons than the typical 3. The Logitech MX510 has long been a favorite for many but Logitech’s G502 Proteus Core is an example of a more modern, customisable mouse. Generally wired mice are prefered for competitive gaming, but for more casual gaming almost anything will do just fine.

Game Controllers
You can use a DualShock, and Xbox controller or Valve’s new controller to play your games. For Fallout 4, the controls are going to to be optimized for a modern console’s controls and many PC games come pre-configured for Xbox controllers, including the on-screen button prompts and control schemes, so either a 360 or a One controller is usually the more natural choice, but again, it’s entirely down to preference and more and more games are including DS4 buttons for the onscreen prompts as well as for the Xbox controllers, depending on which is connected.

PC-3

Gaming Laptops

If you love the convenience of portability and don’t want to build your own PC, a laptop is a great option. No need to build a case or buy a monitor, you start gaming right away and pretty much anywhere.

Budget Gaming Laptop
Lenovo Edge 15 $579
2.0 GHz Intel Core i7-4510U Dual-Core
8GB of 1600 MHz DDR3L RAM
1TB 5400 rpm 2.5″ Hard Drive
NVIDIA GeForce 840M (2GB)
15.6″ LED-Backlit Capacitive Touchscreen
Full HD 1920 x 1080 Native Resolution
Windows 8.1 (64-bit)

With a reasonable price, this touch screen laptop computer fits the bill for a mobile budget solution. The Edge 15 is powered by an Intel Core i7-4510U, and equipped with a NVIDIA GeForce 840M 2GB video card. The screen comes with a 1920 x 1080 resolution – plenty for what the hardware is capable of running. This is a decent go-to option for gamers who prefer laptops but have a limited budget.

High-End Laptop
MSI GT80 Titan $2,799
Intel Core i7-4720HQ Processor (2.6GHz Clock Speed, 3.6GHz Max Turbo, 6MB Intel Smart Cache)
16.0 GB of DDR3 Ram
1TB 7200.0 rpm Hard Drive with 256.0 GB Solid-State Drive
Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5)
18.4-Inch Screen;
Windows 8.1

You gotta break some eggs to make an omelette, but for this baby chick, you’ll need half a chicken farm. From a built-in mechanical keyboard to top of the end hardware, you can run any game smoothly. The power of 2 NVIDIA GTX 980M puts it in a class of its own that doesn’t shy away from comparisons to top tier gaming PCs. The only problem of this titan is the nearly 10 pounds weight and 2-inch thickness. If it’s any consolation, you won’t have to carry so many bank notes around anymore.

Final Thoughts
Fallout 4 is sure to be a huge game, and owning the right equipment makes sure you get the most out of it. Not only will you benefit from a more advanced performance for Fallout 4, but you will also reap the rewards for years to come as you play future titles. Building a PC may seem to be a daunting task, but when it is finished, the knowledge you’ve gained and the way you experience games is well worth the investment

Worried about missing an amazing side quest in Fallout 4? Then this deal is for you: Use the coupon code FALL41 to get 10 USD off when picking up Killer Guides' Fallout 4 Guide. In this guide you’ll find all undocumented quests as well as proven builds, weapon modification tips, and building settlement strategies and much, much more! Click here to read a review from one of the most popular community sites for Fallout 4.



  • Y2jay

    Will my Asus G75 laptop run this? If not I’ll purchase fallout on console.

    ProcessorIntel(R) Core(TM) i7-3610QM CPU @ 2.30GHz Video CardNVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M Dedicated Memory2048 MBTotal Memory3.9 GB Memory13 GB

    I’m worried because I used canirunit.com n got this image http://s1074.photobucket.com/user/Y2jay1983/media/Capture_zpsgcbk0sp3.png.html?

    But the rest has a green check mark see
     http://s1074.photobucket.com/user/Y2jay1983/media/Capture1_zpscosrsnfd.png.html?sort=3&o=0

    I can run Guild Wars 2, Final Fantasy XIV, Fallout New Vegas, Skryrim, Archeage all just fine so I’m really hoping I can run Fallout 4 too.

  • Lorelei

    I would love some advice. I have a HP Pavillion h8-1110. I know that
    my video card (Nvidia GeForce GT 520) needs updated, since it won’t pass
    the minimum requirements. I also know that if I get another graphic
    card I’ll probably need to replace my power supply. With my system will
    I need to replace any other components? Or will that be enough to play
    Fallout 4? Any advice would be awesome since I’m not exactly tech savy.
    Thanks! BTW: Other system info of mine: Intel Core i5-2400 CPU @ 3.10
    GHz, 8GB RAM, IPISB-CU (Carmel2) & 300W power supply.

    • derek fleming

      As long as you get yourself a decent gpu your i5 shouldn’t hinder the game too much. As for a power supply you can find them so cheap these days a 500 watt power supply should be a good upgrade all the while giving you overhead to upgrade something else in the future.

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  • Xavier Miller

    Unfortunately, I don’t have time at the moment to game as much as I’d
    like to, so buying a high spec gaming rig/ laptop would be completely
    unnecessary.

    What I do fortunately have however, is a Pip Boy Edition of Fallout 4 and the time to play it.

    The laptop I have right now, is a HP 15-G010DX 15.6″ Laptop with the following specs:

    4 GB RAM

    Screen size: 15.6 inch

    Graphics processor: AMD GPU

    Processor speed: 1.8 GHz CPU

    Drive capacity: 500 GB drive

    It fills its purpose well. I needed it for my studies, and all the games
    I’ve been playing on it are all old (Fallout 3, Morrowind, Jade Empire
    ETC.) and play perfectly. I don’t this thing could handle Fallout 4
    however.

    Could anyone recommend a cheap (ish) laptop for me to buy in order to
    play Fallout 4? I’m easy, I care about the game play, not the graphics. I
    don’t need to play on max settings. I’ve seen Fallout 4 played on
    everything from low to ultra settings, and ultra suits me just fine. So
    long as there’s no lag/stuttering (that occurs due to the laptop not
    flaws within the game that need patching) I’m all set.

    Any suggestions folks?