Gaming Build for under $3000

I am currently looking at putting together a new gaming build for around $3000. I am looking for any recommendations you can throw my way in terms of the best gaming rig possible for that price range. I realize that there is quite a bit of variability in the choices available, and hence want to get a good idea of what I want before I start placing an order. This will be the first computer that I have ever personally built, hence why I am asking for any advice on the subject. Thanks in advance.

Edit - forgot to note, already have a monitor so that doesn't need to be included in the price.
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  1. I don't actually have the time to put up a full build, but you could probably put together a new top of the line rig for half or 2/3 of that budget (especially without needing a monitor). If you really want to spend that much to be on the bleeding edge of technology it's your choice, but if you just step back a little bit to the cutting edge your price/performance will be much much better and you'd probably never notice the difference. Just something to keep in mind.
  2. Thanks for the advice, that is simply my budget, I don't necessarily want to spend all of it.

    Was thinking of this setup:
    ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135156

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

    Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102006

    (2x) G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231145

    GIGABYTE GA-X48-DS4 LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128336

    Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Ultimate for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116215

    Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003BWS Black Full Tower Case w/ 25CM Fan - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133021

    Thermaltake W0131RU ATX12V / EPS12V 850W Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153043

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Yorkfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9450 - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115042

    Video Cards: 2x 4870x2 in crossfire mode

    Should put me around 2500ish, before shipping.

    Is all this compatible and the best bang for the buck? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
  3. Don't need a soundcard unless you have speakers of over $500.

    Look at this build:
    Middle High End- Goal: $3000 Actual Price: 3064.84 shipped before MIR

    CPU: Intel Core2Duo Q9450 Quad
    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-X48-DS4 Intel X48
    RAM: G.Skill 4GB DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 x2 (8GB)
    Hard Drive: 500GB Seagate 32MB cache for Data
    Hard Drive:Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB- For OS and Programs
    Optical Drive: Sony 8MB Cache 4x Bluray Burner
    Optical Drive 2: LG DVD Burner Bluray/HD-ROM Reader (burns DVD, reads Bluray and HD-DVD)
    Case:Antec P182
    Power Supply: Corsair 1kW PSU $20 MIR
    OS: Vista Home Prem 64-bit
    Video Card: Visontek 4870 x2 Crossfire
    Arctic Cooling MX-2 compound
  4. shadowduck said:
    Don't need a soundcard unless you have speakers of over $500

    Not true. Unless you are nearly deaf you will be able to hear the difference between onboard sound on a $40 2.1 setup and a mind-blowing difference on some z2300 or similar speakers. You'll also be able to hear a huge difference on $30 headphones, which most gamers have.

    A sound card will also slightly increase gaming performance and provide better positional audio effects. It might not be worth it on an entry level machine but any 1500+ gaming machine should have a sound card.


    OP:
    Xonar sound cars are worth a look as well.
  5. Thanks a ton for posting that setup, looks good to me. I am not as concerned as having a bluray burner or player for that matter, so will probably just stick with the dvd burner.

    I have never used a computer with two hard drives, and was curious about how difficult it is to utilize. Is it quite simple to switch what hard drive you are using on the fly, or do you need to physically change any connections? Thanks in advance, sorry for being so uninformed on the subject. Also, I am not sure what the Artic MX-2 cooling compound is for, if you would elaborate on that I would greatly appreciate it.

    Updated the list a bit:

    (2x) G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231145

    GIGABYTE GA-X48-DS4 LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128336

    Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Ultimate for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6832116215


    Video Cards : 2x 4870x2 in crossfire mode

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Yorkfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9450 - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819115042

    Antec P182 Gun Metal Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129025

    Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136260

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148288

    ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface Sound Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132006

    CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139007

    Will all of this fit? And be compatible? Thanks in advance for any help.
  6. Running multiple HDDs is as easy as plugging them all in. But even with your budget I'd find it hard to recommend a VelociRaptor for any reason. True, you'll get your loading times a bit quicker, but if you just get the WD6400AAKS you'll get more space, almost the same quickness, and a crap-ton cheaper.

    You need to have a very thin layer of thermal compound between your CPU and HSF (heat sink fan). If you're getting a retail version of your CPU and you aren't getting an aftermarket cooler, you probably don't need to worry about it since the retail version will come with a HSF with thermal compound (usually a thermal pad) already in place that is adequate. You may still want to remove the stuff that comes with the HSF and apply higher quality stuff like the MX-2, but it isn't really necessary.
  7. Thanks very much for the advice. So other than opting for a cheaper second HDD, everything else looks ok?

    Also since I am a complete beginner at building computers, will I have to put a network/ethernet card into this build or would it be fine otherwise? I usually run through a router at home with 3 other computers on it.

    Also should I invest in a heat sink or should it run cool enough as is?
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