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Building first gaming PC - $1800 budget [need help]

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September 12, 2008 1:48:22 AM

Okay so I'll start off by saying I have never built a PC before so this will be my first one. As well this computer is going to be solely for gaming only, I am not a complete amateur when it comes to computers but I'm also not very up to date on the newest and best hardware. I see no problem in spending up to $1800, but I'm sure i won't even need to spend that much.

I've started doing a bit of research about parts and the only thing I'm pretty much certain about is the CPU, which I have chosen the Intel core 2 duo e8400, or is it worth the extra cash to get the 8500? Or maybe I'm completely off on the CPU... I also know that I want at least 4 GB of ram.

Aside from that, I'm currently at a loss as to the motherboard, type of RAM, hard drive, video card and whatever else I need. So if you guys could give me some reccomendations i will look into them, thanks.
September 12, 2008 2:38:16 AM

1800 will buy yourself a beast, assuming you have a monitor already.
even if not, u'll still get a very powerful comp.
if you're looking to make this comp last, you should for a quad-core, as that's the direction the comp industry is headed.
the 9450 is very overclockable, with a huge 12mb cache.
4870x2 is currently the cream of the crop gpu wise. if you don't need that much power or want to spend $600, u have plenty of cheaper alternatives such as 4870/260 gtx for 300, 280 gtx for 400, and the price/performance beast 4850. 4850x2 is coming out this month, so if u can wait that'll be magic and free up a pcie spot for future cf/sli
motherboard depends on what GPU ur getting really, x38 is great for multi gpus, and if u got the money to move up to the x48 even better.
p45 is solid for a one gpu solution, i'm not too familiar with SLI boards unfortunately. overpriced though haha.
Corsair makes high quality PSUs, u really can't go wrong with any of them.
RAM, ddr3 is not worth it at all, might want to invest in ddr800-1066, 1066 if you're overclocking.
case wise, if all preference, most cases are very well built now. can't really go wrong with any of the antecs (900, 1200, p182, even the 300). coolermaster HAF 932 is the new kid on the block getting all the attention. cm 690 is a very very solid performer for the price at $80.
hard drive wise, if u want the best it's the velicoraptor, will cost u $300 tho, i'd recommend a western digital 640mb 16mb buffer, best capacity:p rice ratio and great performance.

the biggest decision u have to make is what video card u want, from there, everything else will fall into place. goodluck!
September 12, 2008 2:38:44 AM

oh ya, depends on what resolution you're playing games at.
Related resources
September 12, 2008 2:48:44 AM

CPU
-Either 8400 or 8500 good choice. Only extra $20.00 for extra 0.16 Ghz on 8500

MOBO
-X48 Mobo. I like the Asus Rampage or for bit less $$$ Asus P5E Deluxe
-Could go P45 to save $$$, has slighly less performance if you go 2 GPU's

MEMORY
-DDR2 800 2 x 2 Gig. I like Corsair. Kingston, Mushkin good brands

GPU
-4870 or if got $$$ 4870x2

PSU
-Corsair, Antec Quattro, or PC Power and Cooling

CPU Cooler
-Xigmatek S1283

HARD DRIVE
-Western Digital 640GB SATA II

or

Seagate 500 GB SATA II

CASE
-personal choice.

:sarcastic: 
a b 4 Gaming
September 12, 2008 3:17:39 AM

I think he can skip the Xigmatek. He doesn't sound like an overclocker at all.

@Blah:
What country are you in?
Does the $1800 need to include a monitor and Windows and keyboard and mouse and speakers?
What are your favorite games?
September 12, 2008 6:51:03 AM

I definitely won't be overclocking as I have no idea how to go about that. I am living in Canada, and the $1800 does include the monitor, but I'm fine for windows, keyboard, mouse and speakers. Thanks for the reccomendations so far, it's very late here right now so I'll have to read over them again tomorrow and will most likely have some questions about things.

Also, how difficult is it for one to build their first computer? From what I've read it isn't too too hard, and I am very confident that I will be able to do it, but is there any specific things I should look out for when doing this? Beginners mistakes or anything?
a b 4 Gaming
September 12, 2008 2:26:09 PM

All right. I'm going to pick some parts for you from NCIX's current junk mail about specials. Try www.memoryexpress.com too, maybe other sites as well, and ask NCIX for price matching if you find better deals.

Samsung 2443BW-HAS 24IN $340
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=32738&vpn=LS24MYKRBQ%2FXAA&manufacture=Samsung&promoid=1074

Q9550 $356
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30576&vpn=BX80569Q9550&manufacture=Intel&promoid=1074

Antec 900, $100
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=21123&promoid=1074

Mushkin HP PC2-6400 4GB 2X2GB DDR2-800 CL5-4-4-12 240PIN DIMM Dual Channel Memory Kit, $75
BTW, I totally doubt that you need more than 4GB for a gaming PC.
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=23895&promoid=1074

Samsung SH-S223Q/BEBN Black DVD+RW 22X8X16 DVD-RW 22X6X16 DL16X/12X Lightscribe DVD Writer SATA OEM, $29
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=33142&promoid=1074

Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB Hard Drive 3YR MFR Warranty, $79
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30004&promoid=1074

Asus P5Q Pro, $140
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30418&promoid=1074

PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad 750W ATX V2.2 EPS12V 24PIN SLI Active PFC Power Supply Black, $125
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=22071&promoid=1074

Diamond Radeon HD 4870 X2 750MHZ 2GB GDDR5 2XDVI PCI-E Video Card $585, free shipping
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=32472&promoid=1074

Total 1829.

Possible savings:

750TX PSU, $105, save $20 over the Silencer 750W.
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26415&vpn=CMPSU%2D750TX&manufacture=CORSAIR

CoolerMaster CM 690, $79, save $21 over Antec 900 (and get rid of the blue lights too)
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26048&vpn=RC%2D690%2DKKN1&manufacture=COOLERMASTER

Q6600 retail (includes cooler), $216, saves $140 over the Q9550. This will lower your fps in games, but you'd be surprised by how little.
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=22211&vpn=BX80562Q6600&manufacture=Intel&promoid=1074

Samsung SyncMaster 2253BW 22IN Widescreen LCD Monitor Black 1680X1050 8000:1 DVI VGA, $240, save $100 over the 24" monitor but play at 1680x1050 instead of 1920x1200
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=29091&promoid=1074


I'd buy the video card separately, from Memory Express, because they have my favorite brands in stock.
Radeon HD4870 X2 2GB GDDR5 PCI-E w/ Dual DVI, HDTV-Out, HDMI, $580
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX21661(ME).aspx //Sapphire
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX21670(ME).aspx //Visiontek


Edit: you didn't tell us what kind of games you play. I was asking that because typically shooter games (Crysis, Frontlines, etc.) need a better video card than RPGs (Oblivion, Diablo, etc.).
Anyway, this article shows you some benchmarks for a HD 4870X2 at 1920x1200 with Q6600 and with a bunch of other CPUs. Look at all the pages and then decide if the Q6600 is enough or you want the Q9550 instead. The Q9550 is not in those charts, but it's somewhere between Q6600 and Q9650 which are in the charts.
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=770&p=2



a b 4 Gaming
September 12, 2008 2:40:18 PM

Blah DTMM said:

Also, how difficult is it for one to build their first computer? From what I've read it isn't too too hard, and I am very confident that I will be able to do it, but is there any specific things I should look out for when doing this? Beginners mistakes or anything?


Possible mistakes:
1. touching parts the wrong way and without discharging static electricity first - you can fry RAM chips for example
2. applying the thermal paste badly (which usually leads to overheating and the CPU shuts down, or works but has a shorter life)
3. not doing stability tests properly while the parts are still under warranty - you should at least run memtest86 or similar stuff to check the RAM

Here's a tutorial:
http://www.pcmech.com/byopc/
You can find a lot more with Google, of course.

September 12, 2008 5:43:18 PM

Wow so much to choose from. Sorry I must have missed the games question, they will typically be shooters like you mentioned, so I will go for the Q9550 if that will improve my performance. I like most of the options you've given me aevm, so I'll take a closer look at those now, thanks for all of the help.

And with buying parts online, these sites you've mentioned (ncix, memoryexpress) are typically the better and more trusted sites? I see newegg posted on these boards a lot, is that a good site for buying as well? And a quick question about static electricity, I will probably be building it in a room that is carpeted, so this will increase the risk of static shock I'm guessing. Will using a wrist strap take care of this problem or will I need something else to reduce the risk?
a b 4 Gaming
September 12, 2008 5:51:50 PM

Newegg is probably the best place in the world to buy PC hardware. I use their site a lot to get specifications and read user reviews and check if part A works with part B (e.g. does this cooler fit on this motherboard, etc.) However, they don't ship to Canada. There will be a Newegg.ca in a couple of months, but it's not ready yet.

A wrist strap is the official solution against electrostatic discharge. Lots of people just touch the PC case or some appliance before handling the components. Hold them by the edges, of course. Very important: lock the cat in the bedroom :)  My cat can actually produce visible sparks in winter, and he loves playing with cables.

September 12, 2008 6:09:18 PM

Haha wow, I'll be sure to keep my dog in a separate room then. Shame about newegg not shipping to Canada yet, those other sites you've mentioned are still good though yes? And I've just got one more question, what's the difference between the sapphire and the visiontek that you posted?
a b 4 Gaming
September 12, 2008 8:51:07 PM

They're good sites, yes.

I think Visiontek has a better warranty, but TBH I'm not sure right now. It's in the fine print... Anyway, the Sapphire is out of stock now.
September 12, 2008 9:22:58 PM

Alright, thanks a whole lot for all the reccomendations and help, I'd have been lost without it. This should put me off to a good start to getting my computer built! :) 
a b 4 Gaming
September 13, 2008 1:23:53 AM

You're very welcome. Let us know how it went...
!