Mom of son who likes gaming needs help

My son is 9 and loves minecraft and other games...he's using my old pc and it looks like it is time to upgrade his system. His video card isn't getting it done...memory is weak, quad core is early generation and not very powerful...

So, big question, should I go with an off the shelf pc or have one built? He's 9, but loves gaming, so I don't see that changing soon. I'd love something that can grow with him. Budget is less than $1K.

If you can help by listing specs to look for that would be great - I am not a computer expert by any means...thank you so much for your help!!!!!!
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  1. Well it would be much easier to buy one, but you would get more for your money by building one. Of course if you don't have somebody to build one for you, you could pay somebody to do it for you, but then again you could be better off buying one in that case.
  2. $1000 will get you a very good system whether you build one or buy one.
  3. Best answer
  4. This is a really good system.

    PCPartPicker part list:
    Price breakdown by merchant:

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Pro4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Microcenter)
    Storage: Hitachi Ultrastar 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.00 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($329.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NSB0 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $993.90
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-22 00:50 EST-0500)
  5. The problem with off the shelf PCs, specially on the budget, is that they're usually not built for games. The biggest issue is the graphics card. Many don't have dedicated graphics. You can buy a PC and then add a graphics card. In fact, if you discuss this issue with staff at say Best Buy, then they can help you to select a PC and a graphics card, and install the card for you if necessary. But another problem with off the shelf PCs is that their power supplies are as cheap as possible and often just don't have enough juice for a high end graphics card. Again, in a place like Best Buy the staff can help to select the graphics card that will work with your PC.

    Of course, it's best to build a PC, but then you need a bit more skills, such as putting the hardware together and installing the operating system. A lot of web sites, such as Tomshardware, maximumpc, and anandtech regularly publish articles like "build a gaming rig for under X dollars". Those can be instructive.

    $1000 is plenty for entry level PC (is that with monitor?). You could get away with half that budget for an entry level gaming system, but that depends on the games you play. Some games don't even need a dedicated graphics card and will work with the integrated graphics on an Intel or AMD CPU.
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