Show us your rig: The LowSpec Gamer

Show us your rig

On Show Us Your Rig we feature PC gaming's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.

Alex lives in Barcelona, having moved there from South America. He's part of a global community who by necessity have a lot of experience gaming on a budget, and he shares that knowledge on a YouTube channel called The LowSpec Gamer. In his videos he explains how to tweak .ini files, combine obscure mods, and generally mess with things you're not supposed to mess with to get games like The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 running on low-end PCs with a decent framerate. Even if you're not gaming on a budget, it's entertaining to see just how far a game like Final Fantasy XV can be pushed. 

What's in your PC? 

The base system

If I am going to make a video about a game this is the first place that I try it on. If you're building a PC for the first time or if you want to get into the world of building a PC and you have a very limited budget, go out, buy a used Dell Optiplex with a first-generation i5 or i3, which are usually sold wholesale. They're usually sold by offices that are updating so it can be obtained super cheap. Then buy a GT 1030 or some other GPU with a really low power consumption, just plug it inside and you probably could use that to game at 720, 30fps. This is my attempt at recreating that because I know that a lot of my community uses that as a baseline.

CPU: i5-750
RAM: 8GB of DDR3
GPU: GT 1030

There is not any game that I have thrown at it that I have been unable to play at least at 30fps. Wait, no, there's one exception—Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, because it requires more than 2 gigs of VRAM. But anything else that I have been able to throw at it I have been successful in managing to make it work. If I am going to work on a video this is the first place that I game on. And it's very similar to what a lot of my people, my viewers, have.

The system where everything was donated or cost less than 20 Euros

The case and the power, the PSU, this was from a friend that I made from a local meet-up. He had no idea what I do online but his girlfriend was pregnant, he was making space in his apartment, throwing a bunch of stuff away. We were talking and I told him I work a little bit doing this thing with videogames and hardware. He was like, 'Oh, I'm throwing out a bunch of stuff do you want to keep it? Otherwise it will just go to the trash.' Amongst those things was this case and this particular power supply. 

Then, three years ago, the first Gamescom that I went to I had a bit of a small fan meetup if we can call it that and I met this fan, this teenager from Germany, who as a hobby does basically dumpster diving. He goes through electronics scrapyards in Germany and searches for electronics that people have thrown away, particularly PC parts, and he had a bag of PC parts that he gave me. 

Motherboard: This is a huge motherboard with a 775 socket so we're talking pre-i3, pre-i5, pre-modern CPUs. We're talking like Intel Core duos, Intel Core quads, like that generation of CPUs
RAM: 8GB of DDR2
GPU: GTX 570
CPU: Xeon X5460

I discovered that there's this huge market in China for Intel Xeon workstations, CPUs from this generation that someone mods from their original workstation socket, I can't remember the number but it's a slightly different socket to the consumer 775 socket. You can buy something that was amazing back in the time, a Xeon pre-modded for the 775 socket from AliExpress, shipped to Spain for like 20 Euros. It was much lower than I expected. Obviously I bought one of those, I modded the BIOS of this motherboard for it to work.

What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup? 

I had received emails from this Chinese brand that does water cooling and I had no experience with water cooling. But I was reading through their specifications and they were like 'Our water cooler supports 775 sockets' which is unexpected because it's such an old socket. I was like, 'OK, I'm interested in that one. Send me that one and I will experiment.' Because this motherboard, as old as it is, supports overclocking. What I ended up doing is overclocking this ancient Xeon that is modded for the wrong socket that is running in a motherboard with the wrong BIOS to 3.7 gigs of speed using this watercooling to keep it under control and with that, the obsolete Xeon, 8 gigs of DDR2 RAM, this GTX 570, I played Overwatch, PUBG, Battlefront 2...

How many computers do you own?

If I count laptops—I might have five or six laptops? Small devices, like the GPD Win and the Intel Sticks I might have four or five of them. If I count desktops I have four of them. 

What's always within arm's reach on your desk? 

The GPD Win 2. Are you familiar with it? It looks like a Nintendo DS. It runs Windows 10 and the original model—this was crowdsourced by a Chinese company—uses an Intel Atom an Intel HD GPU. This year they crowdfunded the second version, which they call the GPD Win 2, which is the same, it looks like a 3DS a little bit more heavier, much bigger screen, but it runs on an Intel M3 CPU which means it actually can game pretty well on low resolutions. 

They sent me a prototype and I have been making videos of the prototype because I think the final version releases this month or the next, I'm not sure. I love that darn thing. I always compare it with the Nintendo Switch only that it runs way more games. I have it in my hands now because it's always next to my monitor.

What are you playing right now? 

Currently I'm playing Dark Souls—the remastered edition of Dark Souls—mainly for personal reasons. For a mixture of personal reasons and videos I'm playing Dauntless and Vampyr.

I feel like there are more things they could have done mechanically with the fact that you're a vampire. You have a lot of superpowers but they're a lot of superpowers I have seen before in other videogames, so they don't sound specifically vampiristic to me. But I'm nitpicking, it's a good game. It's a good RPG, the dialogue is really good, I really like the voice acting. The setting, old London with its vampire mysteries and the protagonist being a doctor that combines vampirism with science is well done. That part I'm enjoying a lot.

What is your favorite game and why? 

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. The reason why is, well, Legend of Zelda games aren't exactly narrative masterpieces usually, but I think this is the exception. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.