Gaming Rig - This time, for real!

Hi all. I have posted a few times before and found the site and forums here to be very helpful. I made a post some time ago about building a new gaming rig, and while I did get something new...I decided to get a new laptop instead. However, I must say you guys lead me to a killer notebook (HP dv6000 - AMD Turion 64x2, 2gb RAM, etc.)

It has been around 6 months since my last "help me with a new PC" thread, and I wanted to see what the current H-O-T trends are, so this one is for all of you multi-tasking speed hogs out there :D.

First off, budget. Quite often the deal breaker...but my wallet has a little fight left in it yet. While I won't say a solid figure (because I never adhere to them), between $1,500 - $2,000 seems to be a good high-ball target. Then again, I am not looking for 'severe' overkill...just mild-to-moderate :pt1cable: .

Here is what I am looking for, starting from the top. I added a price range for each just to give you guys a small guideline. They are in no way bottom-lined hehe:

Monitor - Big...Crystal-clear/high-res with good refresh rates - I don't know which name brand this would be, and also don't know too terribly much about LCD monitors (since I have used CRT forever)...but would like something 20in. + and preferably widescreen. Quality and durability are important too (dead pixels can stay dead...just not on my display XD.) I would even consider (given that the price was reasonable) using the 2 monitors on 1 rig. I mainly want a positive change from these back-breaking 80lbs. CRT's.

Monitor Range - Not the heart of my system, but still something I want to be proud to look at. Again, I really don't know much of LCD monitors.

CPU - I'm guessing dual/quad core is still king, so that would be good lol. Something fast enough to run games like Crysis (not going to probably, but want to be prepared lol...). I want to be able multi-task (program, classwork [haha], browse sites and play good games without struggle). I've gone with AMD for years now...but I could be swayed more easily than not, unless AMD has just taken control or something.

CPU Price range - I really don't know the cost of the new CPUs.

Mobo - Speed, functionality, and possibly expansion. This is one of the few areas that I may cut if I need to save a few bucks. Lots and lots of RAM, leaning towards SATA will need all that good stuff...but not too many other bells and whistles. Needs on-board LAN.

Mobo price range - under $200 would be ideal, but I could live with a touch more if it was worth it.

RAM - All of my old systems have been gimped by a small amount of RAM, and wow...have I paid the toll for that. I'd like to stick as much RAM as Windows (maybe Vista...but ONLY for DX10 /hides) and my budget allows. I do want a good brand with the best overall CAS latency (assuming that is the measurement I am looking for heh).

RAM price range - Again, not very familiar with recent prices...and I know I will pay a lot for a LOT of SOLID RAM.

PSU - As I understand it, power is important...more so now than ever. A good 1000w with good power ratings all around (I've always loved Antec, but couldn't always afford them lol) that isn't a) an inferno and b) overrun with wires should do me just fine.

PSU price range - Negotiable

Video Card Setup - Gettin' down to business...I want beauty with performance. SLi or no SLi, it matters not. Geforce has long been my brand, and from what I have heard...they are the better bet. I have considered 2xGF 8800GT SLi...but don't know.

Video Card price range - ~$500 is what I hear SLi would cost me. I am willing to cut corners here as well though.

HDD - I want a lot of room on some blazing drives. I am thinking of making this my first RAID system. Fast access times with a large cache.

HDD price range - Negotiable, but don't want to go too cheap.

Case - Antec 900, from what I know to be true, was and continues to be THE case.

Case price range - No more than what is needed.

Cooling - I want my system to, well, basically freeze lol...and while I know it isn't possible, the PC I have now literally ups my rooms temp by about 10-15 degrees (it gets REALLY hot with no A/C in the south!)...I would consider water cooling if others recommend it...but don't mind running the house of 100 fans (I just don't want people to think I just cranked up a jet plane.) Quite and cool is my dream...but then again I guess no one says they want to feel their fans more :P.

Cooling price range - I want to make sure the cooling is covered well. If heat spreaders will help, I want them. If more fans/better watercooling unit or a more expensive heatsync is the way to go...I am there.

The rest - I still would like to get a new G15 keyboard (unless better ones exist) and an equally amazing/comfortable mouse. Sadly, my old 10+y/o Logitech Mouseman Wheelman is fading slowly into the night. Feel free to toss some suggestions!

And...because if a lot of people are like me and want to skim to the bottom of a wall-a-text post like this...XD...

Summary -

For $1500-$2000 - Gaming/Mini-Massive-Multitasking PC -

Monitor: Flat-panel - high res/refresh rate, widescreen maybe, 20"+, quality.

CPU: No AMD OR Intel prefrence/dual or quad core - price:performance.

Mobo (pref. under ~$200): Cheap, fast, good. RAMtastic (~4GB)/SATA RAID/On-board LAN

RAM: Quality/speed. Best overall brand/CAS Latency

PSU: Powerful, quiet, reasonable.

Vid Card (under ~$250 unless SLi): SLi or no SLi? Anything beat the GF 8800GT?

HDD: Maybe RAID?, big cache, beefy.

Case (under ~$150): Anything beat the Antec 900?

Cooling: Water or every component?

Other: Know any good keyboards or mouses? :D


I would love to say that out of the box, I will be overclocking this bad boy...but I can't say that for certain. I have a system now that is easily OC'able now (has the cooling power, PSU, and easy tune software lolol) and I have been pretty much too scared to mess with OC'ing it. That being said, my new machine will have to be able to run games like Crysis perfectly out of box (once that box is put together lol). I would consider OC'ing if it is going to make the world of difference...but only if the system was built with that in mind. And with the above 'yet-to-be-built box', I don't know that it is.

I sincerely apologise for the beastly post. I tend to get very bored. But I am very thankful in advance for the advice! You guys rule!
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  1. Here is my suggestion for that price range:
    CPU: Q6600, affordable quad-core.
    MOBO: I like the 680i SLI setups, not bad price, SLI option later. MIS, ASUS and Gigabyte are my favs here
    2GB DDR-800 is cheap now-a-days, any Name brand is fine. Crucial, OCZ, Kingston, Geil, G.Skill, Corsiar.
    Video card: I like the ATI HD3850 for bang-for-your-buck, but the 8800GT is a better performer, for a little more money.
    HDD: doesnt really matter, I would worry about raid unless you get raptors. Just get a 500-750GB Seagate or WD if you want a lot of GB's
    Case: I like the Antec 900, got with that
    Cooling: no OC = no water cooling, just get a good thermaltake HSF and some AS5 and your good to go.

    Hope this helps somewhat, you are on the right track.
  2. Well the biggest question is how long is this going to have to last you? It sounded like your last build lasted you around 5 years)
  3. Monitor: Samsung 226BW or similar from LG or Viewsonic. The sweet spot is 22" widescreen these days.

    CPU: Q6600, no contest. Q9450 if you can wait a month.

    Mobo: GA-P35-DS3R or aBit IP35 Pro, if using a single video card. P5N32-E SLI Plus, if using two nVidia cards. GA-X38-DQ6 if using two HD 3870 or HD 3850 cards.

    RAM: 2x2GB DDR2-800, preferably Crucial or Corsair or OCZ. More is overkill for now. 2x2GB allows you to get 2 more sticks later for a total of 8GB.

    PSU: you don't need 1000W for 8800GT SLI, even with lots of disks. If you insist, Antec Quattro 850W or 1000W. See the reviews at I do think you're better off with a PC Power & Cooling Silencer Quad 750W Crossfire (if doing SLI or Crossfire; it has PCI-E connectors for both) or 610W (if using a single video card).

    Rather than 8800GT SLI, consider 8800GTS G92 512MB SLI. It costs more, but performance is better and you don't have to worry about noise and heat.

    HDD: WD7500AAKS or any Hitachi/Seagate of similar size or more.

    Antec 900 - good choice. CoolerMaster Stacker and SilverStone TJ09 are better but cost a lot more.

    Cooling: look for case fans that make less noise. I picked Scythe SFF21E, but in the USA you have more choices. Noctua and Nexus make quieter fans than others. Avoid noisy CPU coolers. Some quiet and good coolers are Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro or various Scythe or Thermalright products. The Freezer is cheap, the Scythe Ninja costs more but cools better, and the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme cools best but costs a lot (especially if you include the cost of a good fan like SFF21F)

    Mouse: get something with a cord, the wireless ones are not so good for games.
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