Could really use some help from some skilled computer guys.

Hey guys. I am really new to all this computer building stuff so I could really use your expert opinions. Let me give you a brief overview of my situation.

Right now I am using a POS Dell I purchased back in '04. Now that games are improving graphically, I need to get a new computer but I've heard from many people that buying systems from companies is A) more expensive and B) just a bad idea. One of my friends knows how to build computers but he hasn't followed all the latest and greatest hardware stuff in about a year or so. Needless to say he is behind the times a bit on the new technology. He has offered to build me a new computer, but I need to get all the pieces required.

I plan on spending somwhere between $900 and $1200, give or take a hundred or so. This website has been great for reading up on some of the latest stuff, but I still find myself becoming confused with all the technical terms and what-not. I was wondering if I could get some forum recommendations from you guys on what I should buy. I don't need top of the line, but I'd like this rig to last me at least 2-3 years of good, solid gaming.

Here are some ideas that I have thought of so far. I am not even 100% sure of exactly every item I need so if you have the time, this computer rookie could surely use some good advice.

Graphics Card: After looking at the April 08 recommendations, I was thinking 1 or 2 of these would do nicely for my system-

Processor: This one has great reviews and it doesnt seem that expensive-

Memory: This seems relavtively cheap and has some pretty good reviews as well-

As for the case, power supply, motherboard and anything else I need, I am completely lost. I know prices are changing and new technology comes out every 3-6 months but I am really hoping to get pieces that aren't too outaded and that will last me for the amount of time I mentioned above.

Any help would be greatly appreciated and I look forward to some responses. :)
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  1. You've got plenty of budget to make a great build. I'll give you a sample build so you can get a feel for what you can make with that kind of money:

    Case: Cooler Master 690 - $84.99 + free shipping with code (depends on personal preference really)
    CPU: Q6600 - $239.99 + free shipping
    Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L - $89.99 + $7 shipping
    GPU: MSI 8800GTS - $194.99 (after $30 rebate) + free shipping
    Memory: G.skill 2GB DDR2 800 - $44.99 + free shipping
    PSU: Corsair 550VX - $84.99 + free shipping (-$10 if you use GCO)
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB - $99.99 + free shipping
    Optical: Samsung 20X DVD±RW - $29.99 + free shipping
    Total: $899.92 - $30 rebate + $7 shipping = $876.92 before tax if applicable

    I'm at the very low end of your budget because I don't quite know what all of your needs are. You mentioned "one or two" of the 9600GTs, so I'm not sure if you're planning yo go SLI. I made a single-GPU setup because I'm not a fan of SLI/Crossfire and because it would shoot up your cost by hundreds of dollars. Your money would be better spent getting a single, better GPU. At what resolution are you planning to play?

    The Q6600 is a great choice for a quad-core processor. Are you planning to overclock the new machine? If so, throw in a Xigmatek HDT-S1283 ($36.99 + free shipping) into the equation. If you're only going to be gaming, you might even consider an E8400 ($209.99 + $5.99 shipping) which will give you higher clock speeds. Almost all games nowadays aren't utilizing quad cores, so the E8400 will be faster in most cases (except games like FSX or Supreme Commander). However, since you're planning to keep the machine for 2-3 years, you might still want the Q6600 for "future-proofing" as it's hard to tell when the tide may shift towards quad cores. Deciding between duos or quads seems to be the big conundrum of building a new system at the present. :lol:

    The G.skill ram is great! I've got a pair of the same stuff and I'm loving it. However, there are better deals on other brands of ram if you're willing to go with rebates. But if you'd rather not go through the hassle, you can't go wrong with G.skill.

    Again, I don't know your exact needs, so things will probably need to be changed. Do you want to run multiple HDD's in RAID? Do you need a new OS/monitor/any peripherals? If you're willing to go towards the upper spectrum of your budget, you could upgrade things some more.
  2. Oushi's build looks pretty good, i'd rather go for a modular psu like the hx520. I'd also say go for the quad because you want your build to last a while, and one more thing, you're better off going for the 4gb Gskills for only a little more

    Finally, don't trust newegg reviews as most of the time the reviews there are clueless
  3. Does your $1200 budget include a new LCD monitor?
  4. Hey guys. Thanks for your input. I'm going to look it over some more.

    WR2: If my budget can afford a new 20+ inch widescreen LCD monitor, then yes, I hope to get one. Any recommendations?
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