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One of the main benefits of PC gaming compared to consoles is expanded choice for where you get your games. There are a ton of digital stores for purchasing games, with many also doubling as game launchers, social platforms and more.
Anyone who’s been in the PC gaming space for a while will likely be familiar with most of these digital stores. However, for those new to PC gaming (or for anyone out there buying gifts for a PC gamer this holiday season), it might be helpful to know some of these different platforms.
This list will focus on some of the more well-known options out there, but if there are any smaller ‘hidden gems’ we haven’t mentioned, feel free to leave a comment below sharing some of your favourite game stores too.

Valve’s Steam platform is one of the largest and perhaps most well-known platforms for PC gaming. The platform offers a massive store (with a penchant for sales), a game library for accessing your titles, chat and other social services and a lot more. If you want to play a game on PC, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to do it with Steam.
Steam can also act as a game launcher for non-Steam titles, has a ‘Big Picture’ mode for a more console-like experience and interestingly is also involved in a massive effort to make more PC games playable on Linux. Oh, and there’s the Steamdeck portable PC on the way too.
Learn more about Steam here.

Best known for the wildly popular Fortnite and the Unreal Engine, Epic Games also has a store/game launcher. Epic has tried to position the Epic Games Store (EGS) as a major competitor to Steam. Although some in the PC gaming community dislike EGS, and the client isn’t quite as robust as Steam in terms of social offerings and quality-of-life features, it’s still a pretty good alternative to Steam.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of using EGS is the weekly rotation of free games — not just free-to-play, but free-to-keep. That makes the store a great option for people starting out with PC games as it’s a great way to build up your library and try out some older titles without spending a bunch of money or waiting for a sale. EGS also recently became the home for several of Riot’s games (like League of Legends) which traditionally have only been available through Riot’s game launcher.
You can learn more about EGS here.

Although these are effectively different platforms, I’m lumping them together since they both come from Microsoft. Xbox Game Pass is another excellent option for someone new to the PC platform as it gives you access to a ton of games for a monthly subscription. Plus, you can get discounts on some games sold via the Xbox Store — for example, if a game you like rotates out of the Game Pass library, you can buy it at a reduced price to keep playing.
Microsoft has been putting a lot of effort into gaming on both its Xbox consoles and on Windows PCs, and while the Xbox app on PC has its issues, it’s also improved a lot over the last year. Whether you buy your games from the Microsoft Store, through the Xbox app or subscribe to Game Pass, it’s a great little game launcher (especially if you have friends that play on Xbox).
Oh, it’s also nice if you’re interested in testing Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service. And, as an added benefit, if you play a lot of EA games you can gain access to some titles through EA Play as part of Game Pass (more on that below).
Game Pass for PC costs $11.99 per month in Canada, while Game Pass Ultimate (which includes PC, Xbox consoles, EA Play and xCloud) costs $16.99 per month. However, for a limited time Microsoft is offering Game Pass for $1/mo for the first month with Ultimate or the first three months with PC.
You can learn more here.

Electronic Arts currently has two PC games platforms — EA app and Origin. My understanding is that EA app will eventually replace Origin, but the software is still in beta at the moment.
Aside from a new design and some other minor changes, there’s not a whole lot different between the two platforms. If you’re okay with running a beta, I’d say go for the EA app to save yourself the hassle of switching if/when Origin bites the dust.
Anyway, the main reason to download Origin was, for a while, that it was the only option for getting EA titles on PC. However, EA has since started offering games on other platforms (like Steam and the EGS, although you still need to use Origin even if you buy the games from other platforms). It’s also worth noting that if you want to connect your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to gain the EA Play benefits, you’ll need to use the new EA app.
Speaking of EA Play, it’s a subscription service specifically for EA games. It comes in two flavours — Play for $4.99/mo or $29.99/year or Play Pro for $19.99/mo or $129.99/year. Play lets you access new EA releases up to 10 days before launch for up to 10 hours total playtime, as well as up to 10 hours of playtime on all of EA’s latest games. Play Pro gives both those benefits without the playtime cap.
Beyond that, you also get in-game rewards, exclusive member-only content, unlimited access to a collection of premium EA games (look for the ‘Play’ and ‘Play Pro’ logos on games) and a 10 percent discount for purchases on Origin and EA app.
You can learn more about EA app here, Origin here and EA Play here.

The Battle.net app will be your main destination for Blizzard and Activision games. This has basically always been the case for Blizzard games, while it’s been more recent that Activision has pushed some of its biggest titles to the platform rather than on competing services like Steam.
If you’re not interested in any of Blizzard’s titles, Call of Duty or Crash Bandicoot 4, you can totally skip Battle.net — otherwise, it’s a must-have. Once upon a time, Bungie’s Destiny 2 was exclusively on Battle.net but after Bungie split with Activision, Destiny 2 moved to Steam (it’s also available in the Xbox app).
You can learn more about Battle.net here.

Like some of the other niche game stores/launchers, Ubisoft Connect (formerly UPlay) is completely unnecessary unless you play a lot of Ubisoft games. And while Ubisoft games are available on other platforms like Steam, almost all of them require you also download Ubisoft Connect, even if you never use it.
For my part, I basically only ever interact with Ubisoft Connect when I launch a Ubisoft game from another platform and a pop-up informs me Connect needs an update before I can play. Once the update’s done, I banish Connect back to my list of installed apps and don’t think about it again.
That said, for any big Ubisoft fans, there’s likely some benefit to using Connect. For example, if you buy Ubisoft games through Connect you can collect ‘club units’ for discounts and there’s a whole ‘Ubisoft+’ subscription that lets you play “new releases on day one.” Ubisoft+ costs $19.99/mo in Canada.
You can learn more about Ubisoft Connect here.

GOG is a game store from CD Projekt, the company behind popular games like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. GOG positions itself as a “DRM-free home for a curated selection of games.” There are some decent titles on GOG and frequent sales. The DRM-free part is a nice bonus too.
There’s also the GOG Galaxy 2.0 app, which looks to be a game launcher that pulls from several sources (Xbox, Epic, etc), which could be a helpful tool in managing your game library if you have a large collection across different apps and services.
You can learn more about GOG here and the Galaxy 2.0 app here.

While a potentially lesser-known option, Humble Bundle is a pretty great PC gaming store to keep an eye on. The unique thing with Humble is that it offers limited-time bundles of games (there are software and book bundles) with a focus on charity.
Typically how it works is there will be a bundle of games, usually with a theme (such as a type of game or games from a specific publisher). Customers can “pay what they want” for the bundles to get the games, with many bundles offering tiers (for example, pay at least $2 to get these games). You can also adjust how much of your money goes to the charity, Humble Bundle and game publishers, which is neat.
While not every bundle is a winner, I’ve definitely seen some incredible deals in my time (I once scored a bundle with Civilizations III, IV and V, including DLCs and a host of other Sid Meier titles for less than the cost of just the base Civ V game).
Humble also has a digital games store and a monthly subscription called ‘Humble Choice’ that gives you new games every month.
You can check out Humble here.
Finally, to cap things off are a few other PC game stores worth mentioning. There’s Google Stadia (although I’m not sure that really counts) and ‘itch.io‘ for indie games. Bethesda has its own online store and game launcher. There are also a few ‘key resellers’ (most digital games rely on keys that you enter in Steam or other stores to unlock the title). Key resellers can be shady, but if you’re comfortable with the risk can be a great way to pick up games at a discount. Speaking of which, you can often buy digital game keys from Amazon too.
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Entry-level gaming PC guide: The best parts to pick for budget gaming – XDA Developers

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With the shortage of key components and the corresponding prices on the rise, building a new computer may sound like a daunting task right now. But luckily, it’s relatively easy to build a basic computer for entry-level gaming even under current circumstances. In this article, we’ll take you through a guide to help you build a solid entry-level gaming PC for around $700. With the recent price spikes on GPUs, it goes without saying that it’s impossible to fit a discrete graphics card into a $700 budget. As a workaround, we’re using a Ryzen 5 5600G APU to power the graphics for this build. So without wasting any more time, let’s get to the build.
Note: We’ve added a couple of budget GPU recommendations in the ‘Price Summary’ section of this article for those who are interested. We’re not including a graphics card for this build because, well,  most people don’t have access to even budget GPUs at retail prices or anything remotely close to it. Perhaps we’ll update this build once the dust settles down and the GPU market stabilizes.
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Retail box of the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processorRetail box of the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is one of the best processors in the Ryzen 5000 series. This tried and tested APU is an absolute no-brainer as it’s a part of our collections of the best gaming CPUs as well as the best AMD CPU on the market right now. The Ryzen 5 5600G APU offers an impressive price-to-performance ratio for those who’re looking to save money on an entry-level build. It eliminates the need for including a discrete graphics card in your build for entry-level gaming. Intel’s new Core i5-12600 is a solid processor to consider for a budget build but it comes with an associated cost for the new 600 series chipset motherboards that are still somewhat expensive on the market. The Ryzen 5 5600G, on the other hand, drops on one of the existing affordable motherboards including the less expensive B550 boards.
As for the performance, the Ryzen 5 5600G should be good enough for entry-level gaming. You’re not going to get fantastic frames across all games, but we think it’s plenty to run even some of the newer titles at 720p or at 1080p with low-graphics settings. The Ryzen 5 5600G is a six-core APU that comes with the AMD Radeon Vega 7 graphics. This particular APU also comes with a bundled CPU cooler which means you’ll save more money on the build. There’s a lot to like about the Ryzen 5 5600G as long as you keep your expectations in check from a budget-centric PC with entry-level parts.
Black colored ASRock motherboardBlack colored ASRock motherboard
For the motherboard, we think any of the affordable B550 chipset-based boards should be able to handle the Ryzen 5 5600G APU. We’ve picked the ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard for this build mainly because it’s one of the most affordable options on the market right now. It comes with plenty of noteworthy features including an eight-phase power design, support for DDR4-4733+ RAM, and more. The ASRock B550M Pro 4 isn’t the best when it comes to overclocking, but it should allow you to tweak the 5600G to offer better performance than its stock settings. The ASRock B550M Pro 4 is an mATX form-factor motherboard, which means it’s probably best to stick to a small-sized PC case or a mid-tower case at best. Alternatively, you can check out our collection of the best AMD motherboards to find more options for your build.
An XPG RAM module with a red-colored heat spreader being installed on a motherboardAn XPG RAM module with a red-colored heat spreader being installed on a motherboard
Unlike the new DDR5 memory kits, there’s no shortage of DDR4 RAM sticks on the market right now. You can always pick up a pair of budget sticks for the build but we recommend picking up the XPG Gammix D30 gaming DDR4 RAM sticks. There’s a lot to like about these sticks and we think they offer great value for money. We’re looking at memory latency of CL18 and memory speeds of about 3600Mhz. These sticks are faster and have tighter timings than a lot of other kits on the market. They also have a stylish heat-spreader that we think will add to the overall look of the build.
A WD SN550 Blue M.2 SSD installed on a B550 motherboardA WD SN550 Blue M.2 SSD installed on a B550 motherboard
Western Digital’s Blue SN550 is one of the most affordable and reliable M.2 SSDs on the market right now. This particular SSD is the go-to option for a lot of entry-level builds and we’ve picked the 500GB variant of the drive for this guide. For just $60, the Blue SN550 offers plenty of features including high sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,400MB/s and 1,750MB/s, respectively. If you don’t mind putting up with slightly slower speeds in favor of high-capacity, then we suggest you replace the M.2 drive with a SATA SSD of choice. Additionally, you can also pair it with a high-capacity 7200+ RPM HDD as your secondary drive to dump your files. These are entirely optional upgrades though, which is why we’re not adding them to our price summary of this build.
A black colored Corsair modular PSU with a fan on topA black colored Corsair modular PSU with a fan on top
When it comes to the PSU, we recommend picking up the Corsair RM550x. This unit, as the name suggests, offers 550W of power to the PC, which is plenty for a relatively low-powered build like the one we’re working with for this guide. We’re only using an APU to power this rig, which is why we can get away with spending less on the PSU. That being said, it’s still recommended that you pick a reliable power supply unit with a good rating. The ATX PSU that we’ve picked here comes with an 80 Plus Gold rating and is fully modular, making it better than a majority of other PSUs in its class. 550W of power is enough for the build we’ve listed here but it goes without saying that you will have to upgrade it if/when you buy a discrete graphics card.
A black-colored PC case with RGB lights on the frontA black-colored PC case with RGB lights on the front
At $80, we think the Phanteks Eclipse P360A is the perfect PC case for this particular build. Despite the affordable price tag, it’s a reliable mid-tower PC case that comes with two 120mm D-RGB PWM fans pre-installed out of the box. Additionally, the case has plenty of space to add more case fans and radiators for CPU coolers, should you decide to add them in the future. It offers great clearance for all the components including tall CPU cooler towers, modern GPUs, and more. The case also has plenty of vents for airflow and they’re all covered with mesh filters to keep the dust away from the internals.
You can always step down and pick up PC cases that cost as low as $50 or less. However, we decided to stick to the Eclipse P360A mainly to keep our upgrade paths open for the future. This particular case is considered to be amongst the best in the budget space. It’s also one of the better-looking cases out there market with included RGB fans and a see-through side panel.
Here’s a quick look at the price summary of the entry-level gaming PC based on the parts we’ve picked for this guide. The prices are subject to change based on the availability of stocks and other factors, so keep that in mind.
While the Phanteks Eclipse P360A comes with a pair of 120mm fans, it’s recommended that you add at least one more fan to maintain adequate airflow. We’re not adding the cost of the case fan to the price summary because a) it’s not a significant addition to the overall cost of the build, and b) the number of required case fans depends on your choice of the PC case. The same is true for thermal paste. We’re not adding it to the overall price of the build, but it’s not a bad idea to pick up a thermal paste syringe for as low as $5 and keep it handy for when you need it. You can check out our collection of the best thermal paste solutions to find some good options. We also have an essay explaining how to apply thermal paste if you need help with your first build.
If you’re hellbent on adding a discrete GPU to the build and somehow have access to one at retail price, then we recommend considering either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super or something more affordable like a Radeon RX 570. You can also swap out the Ryzen 5 5600G with an IGP-less CPU to save some money for the graphics card.
Building an entry-level budget gaming PC, as you can see, is entirely possible even under the current circumstances. Sure, you may not be able to afford a discrete graphics card in this price range, but this particular build is capable of running even some of the modern titles at low graphics settings. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G can also act as a reliable stop-gap GPU while we wait for the discrete GPU prices to stabilize. It’s the next best thing to a discrete GPU that’ll save you money to spend on graphics cards when the prices go down.
It’s also possible to build more affordable PCs by swapping out our recommended parts with cheaper alternatives. For instance, you can replace M.2 SSDs with SATA SSD or even slower HDDs to save more money. Similarly, you can pick up a non-modular PSU and perhaps a more affordable PC case to save a few more dollars. That being said, we don’t recommend skimping on the APU or a compatible motherboard to make sure you’re not taking a performance hit, especially while gaming on a budget. As always, you can also join our XDA Computing Forums to discuss your build and get more product recommendations from the experts in our community. You can also check out our PC building guide in case you need help building your PC at home.


XDA » Buying Guides » Entry-level gaming PC guide: The best parts to pick for budget gaming
Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.
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Winter Weather Game Day Operations Alert – Duke University – GoDuke.com

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EA Guzman and Shaira Diaz are already celebrating their anniv and Valentines Day – GMA News Online

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EA Guzman and Shaira Diaz are celebrating Valentines Day and their 9th anniversary early — as in January early.
On his Instagram Stories, EA posted a couple photo of the two of them inside a parked car and greeted his girlfriend a Happy Valentines Day as well as an advanced happy 9th anniversary because "same kami ng schedule ng lock-in taping," EA said.
"Happy Valentine's Day! Happy 9th anniversary! Advance ko na Baba," he continued.
"Mami-miss kita. See you in 2 months," EA said as he tagged Shaira.
Shaira, who has gone into quarantine for "Lolong" taping, reposted EA's IG Stories and said she was also "gonna miss you baba."
"See you soon!" Shaira wrote after three crying face emojis.
"Advance HVD and happy anniv, too!" She greeted EA.
The two are each working on a project that will have both of them in locked-in taping through February. — LA, GMA News  

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