Gaming On The Cheap – The Cheap Gamer’s Guide to HD Gaming
Some of us can afford to splash out on a nice big HDTV with the nicest set of 5.1 speakers as well as having the best cables to achieve the best resolution. However some of us can’t afford these things, as we’re either cheap asses like myself or we genuinely can’t afford such luxuries. Either way HD Gaming isn’t as much of a pipedream for us as you might think, as it’s pretty cheap to go HD, providing you know how to. This is what this Gaming On The Cheap article is for. I had to do all this when I joined the HD bandwagon back last December so I thought I’d share the wealth and let the rest of you cheapasses in on how to upgrade to HD cheaply. Before you start the best thing to do is set your budget. For me my budget in total after getting everything I needed came to around £150/$226 but the most I’d use for this cheapassness is £200/$300 as that’s when you’re starting to pay normal price for what we’re doing here. If you don’t set a budget, you’ll just keep buying things and then you won’t be saving any money at all. Anyway hit the jump for what to do.
Step 1 – Get a monitor, not a HDTV
This is a LG W9142S monitor. I bought it the 19″ version and it cost me £100/$150. In comparison the cheapest 19″ LCD TV is £140 and while it has built in Freeview, if you’re following this guide then that’s not what we’re here for. This also seems to include 1 HDMI cable and no apparent component inputs given the specs on the page. Even so monitors tend to be much cheaper and give you the same quality than what you’d get with an LCD TV. So now that we’ve got our monitor, we need something that lets us play our games on the monitor, since most tend to only offer VGA or DVI input.
Step 2 – Get a VGA Box
VGA Boxes aren’t something you’d commonly find in a technology shop but their job is to convert input usually used on TVs to a VGA signal that can be connected to a monitor. Some offer RCA only, some offer Component only and some other both. The most well known is the one above, the XCM Mega Cool Box, which offers up to 1080p resolutions for anything that outputs component. As for me, I use the VGA Box I found in Maplin, which offers RCA and Component, although only offers up to 1440×900 resolution. That being said the monitor I use is that resolution anyway, so it’s perfect. Like I said, mine offers RCA but the best option are component cables, as RCA looks slightly fuzzy, as is expected. Some are dearer but mine was £50/$75 and you can find the option above for the same price, with the older model including the component cables in the picture. The only obstacle faced are dodgy Chinese retailers, so if you find a website selling them, make sure to have a look around the Internet to see if they’re worth the risk. Finally, if you can find VGA cables for the consoles you want, like the Xbox 360’s official VGA cable for example, then buy them as that should give you the best quality possible for your consoles. Now we just need some speakers and we’re set.
Step 3 – Get some regular Speakers
This is the most flexible option of this guide. Depending on your budgets, you can either get 2.0 speakers or cheap 5.1 speakers. I warn you though, don’t go for the cheapest 2.0 speakers. I made that mistake when I got the monitor and within a day or two they stopped working. The 2.0 ones I use now are Tesco’s own technology brand ones for £10/$15 and they work just fine. Ultimately it comes down to how much of an audiophile you are.
So now we’re finished so let’s count it. For me, it was £100 + £50 + £10 = £160/$240. So we’ve kept under our budget and we now have a monitor that we can play all of our vidja games on in HD. So concludes the cheap whore’s guide to HD gaming.