This was my experiment to see if the Pentium G4400 would live up to the benchmarks I've been seeing. I set out to build the cheapest possible rig capable of playing games at 1080P, very high/ultra settings (no AA) while maintaining 60+ FPS. Essentially a rig that is attainable by the average console gamer, while offering a better gaming experience. The original budget was set at $500 (before sales taxes) with parts that were stocked by local stores. It didn't take long to realize that this was simply not possible. The only graphics card that would fit the budget was either the R7 370, or the GTX 950. Both of which are not truly up to the task of high quality 1080P gaming. I was originally going to purchase a GTX 960 (putting the cost well into the $700 range), until I found a used GTX 770 for $150. Not only did it save my budget, but it also nets better performance than a GTX 960.
Now, on to the title. After reading 2-3 reviews/benchmarks of the Pentium G4400, it showed some real promise. In the gaming benchmarks it was within 10% of the i5 6400 (the i3 wasn't used in ANY reviews as a comparison). GTA5 was used in one of the reviews, showing 51 FPS vs the i5's 56 FPS. That was enough for me to try it out over the i3 6100, especially at half the price.
Grabbed all the parts, put it together.
CPU: SO, the G4400. All those reviews...... It started out well with BF4, some slight hiccups and some obvious CPU bottle necking. However, I could run it at max settings (with AA) and still churn out 50-65 FPS in a 48+ man server. Moved on to Star Craft II, again maxed out it did fairly decent. Physics had to be turned down to Normal for good FPS in hectic scenarios. GTA 5....10% slower than an i5.....not true. Regardless of settings, the game would stutter and have texture loss issues. I tried all of the "dual core fixes" the internet would offer. Made sure the cores were unparked, gave them affinity etc. The game was unplayable. One of the fixes was to simply reinstall the game, but at nearly 70GB that would have taken some time. I had an i3 6100 from my HTPC so I figured I'd give that a go. The i3 completely smashes the G4400. GTA5 stuttering gone, avg of 70-80 FPS on very high settings @ 1080P. Even at 1440P it still churns out an avg of 60 FPS. BF4 fps went up well into the 80s, and SC2 could manage the Physics settings on "Extreme". That being said, if you are a light gamer, the G4400 really does offer some value. Do not expect it keep up on AAA titles at 1080P regardless of what the reviews say. The i3 offers alot more performance (even though its twice the price) and should be considered the absolute lowest CPU to use for high quality 1080P gaming.
GPU: At $150, no brainer. Crushes AAA titles @ 1080P highest settings. It beats out the GTX 960 by a fair margin but I would consider them equivalent just because of the age difference. GTX 960 has the DX12 advantage and should be considered the only option for budget 1080P gaming in my opinion (R9 380 aside). A GTX 950 may suffice, but it wouldn't be long before it needed to be upgraded. **The GTX 960 shown in pictures was returned. Got the GTX 770 before it was ever installed.
CASE: Building in the TT Versa H15 was super simple, cable management was easy and has plenty of fan locations. I added a couple fans for some additional airflow as they didn't really break the bank. Honestly, this is the best budget case you can get aside from the CM N200 in my opinion. It's on the flimsy side, but ease of building makes the SS PS08 or Fractal "1000" seem over priced.
MOTHERBOARD: The motherboard was chosen specifically for the price, it functions great but lacks a few features. 2x DIMM slots really doesn't leave much room for growth and it only has ONE additional fan header. ONE. Fortunately the fans I got came with a 3pin to molex. The price being so cheap was due to it being a refurb. Swap for a H110 motherboard of your choice to keep budget of $500ish
RAM/HDD: These require no explanation. Cheapest, most capacity allowable by budget.
PSU: EVGA power supplies have been good to me. Was also the cheapest 80+ 500w I could get my hands on.
FANS: Very loud when not controlled. Used inline resistor cable to get the sound in check. They definitely move alot of air.
Said and done, with taxes, this build cost me $625 CAD and I really can't complain about the performance. All parts we're purchased from Memory Express and price matched to lowest Canadian prices I could find. Ended up $100 over-budget, but it provides exactly what I aimed for and then some. If you don't play seriously intensive games, get a GTX 950 (R7 370) and a G4400 and have a decent gaming rig for only $500-550 CAD.
Now that you've read this explanation of some ******* building a computer, rate the build and leave some feedback!