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I'm getting a new gaming PC, should I build or buy?

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May 27, 2008 8:09:15 PM

I'm planing on getting a gaming PC, in the end I hope to have something that can run all games on good settings. I know I can't just buy one (to expensive) and I don't want to pay for someone to build it for me either. So I'm going to build it from scratch or buy a mid range computer and upgrade (I'm sort of experimenting with this idea).

If I buy one I'd get a decent dual core processor, 2GB of RAM, 320GB+ hard drive, good onboard audio and good DVD drive. Then I would upgrade the PSU and Video Card (mabye add a fan).

If I build (it would be my first build), should I buy a buget PC and then upgrade it later? What parts should I spend a lot of money on and what should I upgrade later? What if I spend a little more money and get a high end computer right away? Whats the best choice, I'm very eager but sort of strapped for cash.

Which would be the best choice based on cost, performance, ect.

Thanks

More about : gaming build buy

a b 4 Gaming
May 27, 2008 8:22:57 PM

I don't like the idea of buying a cheap PC and throwing out parts you paid for and then paying for good replacement parts anyway and mixing them with the rest of the cheap parts.... It's a mess, and you end up paying more and getting less value. Just build from scratch, picking good parts from the beginning, you'll be much happier.

What's your budget, your screen size, and which country are you in?

In general, if it's a gaming PC, you should spend most on the video card, then the CPU, then the rest.

May 27, 2008 8:25:44 PM

Agreed. Purchasing from an OEM makes sense for basic computing needs, but if you intend to game, the best value comes from building your own.
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May 27, 2008 8:30:28 PM

Strapped for cash, but you want a good gaming machine then you have to build your own. There are plenty of people on this site that will help. Start by going to newegg.com and look at the cost of thing make a list then come back here with it.
May 27, 2008 8:31:40 PM

I agree with AEVM.

The question becomes, how much are you willing to spend to avoidd the trouble and hassle of building it yourself?

$50, $100, $200???
This is an important question when looking at systems.

Some of the DELL XPS systems can be bought that are not terribly over-priced. The Key for the XPS systems is that their PSUs can handle the better GPUs and often ship with a nice GPU. Secondly, their BIOS will support user over-clocking and their cooling systems are sufficient to allow for a decent OC.

Mind you, this will still cost you more than a home-built, but it can supply a reasonable gaming machine at a reasonable price. Especially if you don't want the hassle of building it yourself.

With Dell, Deals come and go quite a bit.
Someplace like "SlickDeals.Net" can help you determine what a "Good" Dell deal would be for such a system and then compare it to a build cost.

Then if need be wait for a similar deal to roll around again.
a b 4 Gaming
May 27, 2008 8:45:29 PM

Yeah, slickdeals.net is an interesting site, and people do seem to post Dell deals there fairly often.
Still, if you have the interest, and at least some aptitude with hand tools, building your own can be satisfying and a good learning experience. As baddad says, there are plenty of people here who are quite willing to pontificate on parts (I'm one of them). What is your budget, and where are you located?
May 27, 2008 9:40:04 PM

Ok I'll build my computer, my buy and upgrade was just an idea I was looking at a little bit.

So should I build a high end computer or a low end and then upgrade later. I'm willing to spend $800 - $1200 dollars. The reason I was thinking about a slightly cheaper computer at first (upgrade later) is so that I would have money left over for games, a good mouse, good headset, ect.

By the way I live in Canada, which has become a bit of a problem because a lot of sites (like newegg) don't ship to Canada.

So what should I do?
May 27, 2008 9:43:20 PM

speaking from experience, I know relatively nothing about computers and between posting here and on a gaming clan forum I decided to build my own. I saved about $1000 over a comparable system and it basically took me a couple of hours to assemble and the rest of the weekend for the vista updates. ;-) You need very few tools and it is difficult to plug anything in where it doesn't belong. i tried several times to no avail. After building my first one I would never buy out of the box again. Beside getting a better overall price it is very gratifying to build your computer from parts you have selected.
May 27, 2008 9:44:20 PM

I believe tigerdirect.com ships to Canada and they are comp. priced.
May 27, 2008 9:58:55 PM

you should check tigerdirect.com for combo deals. some times they have some really nice ones for cheap.
May 27, 2008 9:59:32 PM

http://www.tigerdirect.com/cgi-bin/ShoppingCart.asp

I put this together. It is approx $1270 including a $200 monitor, keyboard, mouse etc. Basically it is everything you would need so you would not have to salvage parts from an older system. I am sure one or several of these posters could look at it to make suggestions for improvement. Plus there are $70 worth of mail-in rebates. I personally hate mail-in rebates. By the time I remember to send them in it is too late.
May 27, 2008 10:05:05 PM

I got a dell xps 630 for $1450 and added a seccond 8800gt and it works great, but you could get the basic one for around $1250 and upgrade over time.
May 27, 2008 11:43:33 PM

Thanks a lot mexpedip, but unfortunately I can't view your shopping cart. Maybe you could just tell me the parts you got and I could find them myself.

I have decided to just get the best system i can afford including mouse, headset, ect. I have some questions though. On the Crysis system requirements it says you need a DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card. How do I tell if my audio is DirectX 9.0c compatible? Also Can someone tell me how much a motherboard effects the computer's performance and how to pick one out. That would be very helpful.

Thanks

May 28, 2008 12:40:52 AM

I agree with aevm.
May 28, 2008 12:59:27 AM

I picked out some decent parts, they all had some nice reviews and warranties. It's a good price but with shipping and taxes it gets to almost $1200 dollars (my maximum). What do you think I could switch to get a better price.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.00GHz processor
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Asus P5N-E SLI Motherboard - 650i, Socket 775
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

2GB OCZ Dual Channel PC6400 DDR2 Memory
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

GeForce 9600GT
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

320GB Hard Drive
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

DVD-RW
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Cool Master Mid Tower ATX Case
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

600Watt PSU
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

So what do you think I could do to cut back on price while still having a good PC that can run Crysis and stuff.

Also, I think I have on board audio, haven't checked really, if I do, is it good enough for exceptional quality?

Thanks
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2008 1:39:07 AM

Don't forget to check www.ncix.com too. Maybe get it all from ncix and ask for price-matching on items where tigerdirect is cheaper.

$1000 buys you a great gaming machine in Canada, btw. The only condition is to buy from the right places. For example the same video card can cost $200 at ncix or tigerdirect and $500 at Best Buy :kaola: 

OK, so what you've got so far:
E8400 retail $244
P5N-E SLI 650i $159
OCZ 2GB DDR2-800 $35
9600GT $178
Hitachi Deskstar P7K500 320GB $86
LG SATA burner $30
Cooler Master Elite 330 $49, comes with one fan and a mount for another
OCZ / StealthXStream / 600-Watt $88

Let me do some shopping around at NCIX and see if I can beat that. It might take a while because I'm on dial-up at this time.
May 28, 2008 1:49:02 AM

@OP: Try and get a 8800GT, also unless SLI there is no need for an SLI motherboard. You can save $ by going with a P35-DS3x (ie P35-DS3L). Also do you plan to OC?
May 28, 2008 2:03:28 AM

Build, Build, Build especially if used for gaming there is no better way than to build it yourself.
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2008 2:09:45 AM

E8400 OEM (no fan) $215
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35103G22&vpn=BX80570E8400&manufacture=INTEL%20%2D%20PROCESSORS

CPU fan, HDT-S1283, $35
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30012&vpn=HDT%2DS1283&manufacture=Xigmatek

So far this change costs you $6 compared to the retail E8400 from tigerdirect but you end up with a much better cooler. Learn to overclock and this will help a lot.

Asus P5N-D 750i motherboard, $161
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27901&vpn=P5N%2DD&manufacture=ASUS

This costs you $2 more than the P5N-E 650i but you get a newer chipset with PCI-E 2.0 slots. This is good for future-proofing.

Corsair XMS2 DHX TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX 4GB DDR2 2X2GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 CL 4-4-4-12 240PIN $90
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=29300&vpn=TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX&manufacture=CORSAIR

BFG 8800GTS G92 512MB $245
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27247&vpn=BFGE88512GTSE&manufacture=BFG%20Technologies

WD6400AAKS, $104
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=333315628&vpn=WD6400AAKS&manufacture=Western%20Digital%20Corporation

Corsair 650TX, $90
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26414&vpn=CMPSU%2D650TX&manufacture=CORSAIR

SH-S203B burner, $28
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=111112037&vpn=SH%2DS203B%2FBEBN&manufacture=Samsung

RC-690 case, $77
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26048&vpn=RC%2D690%2DKKN1&manufacture=COOLERMASTER

I got a total of $1045. If you're not in British Columbia you only pay 5% GST, no PST. Shipping is extra, and there's some cash in rebates that you pay on top of that and hope to see back later. This costs $180 or so more than your original list but IMO it has enough advantages to be worth the difference. For example with this setup you can add add another 8800GTS G92 card later (your original PSU and case weren't so good for that). Also, the faster video card and HDD and double RAM will help. If you overclock, you'll find that the Xigmatek cooler does much better than the stock Intel cooler.




May 28, 2008 9:46:36 AM

Thanks a lot aevm! wow that was great, I don't have time right now to choose my final parts, I'll do that later when I have more time (probably tomorrow sometime). Thanks for giving me another sight to look at, the taxing is great. I'll probably go with what you picked out cause you did a good job.

Thanks.
May 28, 2008 8:24:24 PM

Quote:
E8400 OEM (no fan) $215
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] PROCESSORS


CPU fan, HDT-S1283, $35
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] e=Xigmatek


So far this change costs you $6 compared to the retail E8400 from tigerdirect but you end up with a much better cooler. Learn to overclock and this will help a lot.


Asus P5N-D 750i motherboard, $161
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] cture=ASUS


This costs you $2 more than the P5N-E 650i but you get a newer chipset with PCI-E 2.0 slots. This is good for future-proofing.


Corsair XMS2 DHX TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX 4GB DDR2 2X2GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 CL 4-4-4-12 240PIN $90
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] re=CORSAIR


BFG 8800GTS G92 512MB $245
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] chnologies


WD6400AAKS, $104
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] orporation


Corsair 650TX, $90
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] re=CORSAIR


SH-S203B burner, $28
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] re=Samsung


RC-690 case, $77
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] OLERMASTER


Looks good, but why an SLI motherboard? Also if planing to OC the 750i chipset is known not to be very OCing friendly. Don't know the prices there but unless OP plays at 1600*1200 or higher SLI is kind of a waste and a good P35 or a X38 might be more of a cost saving option.
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2008 8:56:29 PM

My bad about SLI. The OP started with a P5N-E SLI and I assumed he actually needed SLI. Probably wrong assumption, because people with 30" $1000+ monitors usually have bigger budgets for the PC.

mac709, GA-EP35-DS3L or GA-EP35-DS3R boards overclock better than the 750i boards and cost less. With the DS3R you'd only lose FireWire and the second video card slot (and PCI-E 2.0, but you don't need that for a 8800-series card). With the DS3L you also lose eSATA and RAID and are limited to 4 SATA ports, but that's also OK IMO since you only have one HDD on your list.

May 29, 2008 1:05:37 AM

Yeah P35 was recommended to me earlier, which is what I will most likely get. Can someone please give me a good web page that will give me the whole rundown on motherboards, I'm really getting confused sometimes because I can't really find something that explains it all.

Also, will integrated audio be able to handle audio for games like Crysis. Crysis requires a DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card, is that a standard for most sound cards anyway? If there was something I was less informed on then motherboards it would be sound cards. So please someone enlighten me on these.

Thanks a lot, you've all been a great help so far.
May 29, 2008 1:29:41 AM

Quote:
Also, will integrated audio be able to handle audio for games like Crysis. Crysis requires a DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card, is that a standard for most sound cards anyway? If there was something I was less informed on then motherboards it would be sound cards. So please someone enlighten me on these.

Onboard sound will work fine.
a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2008 1:44:14 AM

MAC709 said:
Can someone please give me a good web page that will give me the whole rundown on motherboards, I'm really getting confused sometimes because I can't really find something that explains it all.


http://anandtech.com/ Click the Motherboards tab, start reading. They have some of the best reviews on the Web.
May 29, 2008 2:12:28 PM

I've finally picked out all the parts for my gaming PC. I decided to go with ncix, they're very competitively priced and that tax policy of only GST was really what grabbed my attention. So here are the parts of my future machine, let me know what you think.

Core 2 Duo E8400 3.00GHz $215
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35103G22

Heatsink $35
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30012

Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3L ATX LGA775 P35 $100
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=29705

OCZ Gold XTC PC2-6400 2GB 2X1GB DDR2-800 CL5-5-5-12 240PIN DIMM Dual Channel Memory Kit $62
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=18495

BFG GeForce 9600GT OC $185
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=28662

3.5 640GB SE16 7200 SATA $100
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=333315628

Samsung SH-S203B Black SATA DVD+RW $33
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=24649

Coolermaster CM 690 Mid Tower Black ATX Case $77
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26048

Corsair TX650W $109
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26414

aevm, I kept a lot of the parts you picked out, you did a great job, I just decided to get a different video card, RAM, motherboard, and some other miner parts. The reason I only got 2GB of RAM is because I'm not getting vista at first, I wont get it until there is a game I want that requires it. Please critique my system, let me know if it is future proof ect.

Including shipping and taxes it only cost about $1025. It also has $85 worth of MIR.

I can't decide if I should get XP pro or home. What extra things does pro include that make it so expensive? Can I still game with just home edition?
a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2008 2:38:17 PM

That's a beautiful build, no worries.

Change the video card again, to this one:
BFG GeForce 8800GT OC 512MB GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out DIRECTX10 Video Card, $169.45 after rebate
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26781&vpn=BFGE88512GTOCE&manufacture=BFG%20Technologies

It's $16 less and actually a faster card. I know 9600>8600, in math class, but nVidia didn't take that class and their 8800 is faster than their 9600. :p 

Between XP Pro and Home:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/home/howtobuy/choosing2.mspx

With Home you can still play games. You only lose features designed for IT admins, IIS, and the ability to manage access rights. The access rights are handy if you share the PC with your parents and want your naughty pictures from the Web to be in a personal folder where they don't have access :)  IIS is needed if you work from home and develop Web applications with ASP.Net. My feeling is that you'll be fine with Home.
May 29, 2008 8:49:38 PM

Thanks again aevm. I knew that the 8800GT was faster, but I never knew you could get it at that price.

As for XP, I'll just get the home edition because I'm only using windows for gaming, I'm installing a dual boot with linux, which I will use for everything else.

Thanks for your help.
a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2008 8:56:31 PM

You're welcome. Let us know how it works :) 
May 29, 2008 8:58:44 PM

I just looked at the xp link you sent me, it says at one part:

Scalable processor support – up to two-way multi-processor support.

Can you please explain what this feature does because it isn't included in the home edition.
a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2008 9:08:03 PM

It's about motherboards with two sockets. It's really not your problem :) 
A CPU with two or 4 cores still qualifies as a single processor, no worries.
May 30, 2008 12:59:31 AM

Thanks again, I'll let you know how it all works out.
!