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advice choosing build or buy for Starcraft II

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October 24, 2008 1:49:59 PM

I have 4 co-workers that play starcraft. They all want to play Starcraft II. The best pc out of the bunch is a Dell, p4 3.0Ghz with ati x1050 256M. The others are celerons or worse with integrated video. None of them will play SCII. None of them want to spend a lot of money.

Here are the options:
1. buy a complete pc with modern CPU and a PCIe video card. ~$700 plus. This gives them full warranty support. at a higher cost tho. For that starting price the componants would be weak.

2. buy a cheaper HP, Dell or gateway and add a gpu and psu. ~$500+$200. This gives them some pc support and flexibility to add the gpu they choose.

3. Build a entry level gamer, with parts like a E7200/E2180/E and 3850/9600gt for ~$700. No warranty but more flexibility and better parts.

I would have to help them build anything. They may be better off with some customer support and a partially built pc. I can do it, i just dont have the time. they used to build their own PC's but the last pc any of them built was a Pentium III.
October 24, 2008 3:17:44 PM

Another option might be to get a reconditioned computer, add a PSU/GPU.
http://www.recoupit.com/Shop/Control/Product/fp/vpid/61...

E6750, 2GB RAM, 400 GB HD at $320. Add a Antec earthwatts 430w at $50 and a 9600GT at $70. Total cost about $440. Could upgrade to a 4850 and slightly better PSU and keep prices not too much over $500. Extended warranties are available.
October 24, 2008 3:46:43 PM

not a bad deal.

I had suggested some refcertified PCs. Your suggestion beats those.

That 8400 might even be able to play SCII. Badly, but it might get them by.
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October 24, 2008 3:52:25 PM

"The bitterness of low quality is remembered long after the sweetness of the price is forgotten"

I would opt for option 3.

As to warranty, a typical pre-built pc will have a one year warranty. The manufacturer's component warranty is often longer. For example, an Intel CPU will have a 3 year warranty. EVGA will have a lifetime warranty for the vga card, and Corsair will have a lifetime warranty on ram.

For support, these forums would probably deliver better support than you can get from any pc builder.

If you build 4 of those pc's, you may be able to get a small volume discount on parts.

Sounds like a good opportunity to have a "build your own PC party" With some guidance, it should only take an afternoon.

What are the requirements for starcraft-2?
October 24, 2008 4:00:33 PM

I dont have the SCII min requirements in front of me, but i think min req. is Pentium 4 and Nvidia 7xxx/ATI 1xxx.

I imagine that would be really bad with that combo. scary bad.

I would not play it with less than a intel C2D 2G and a Nvidia 8xxx/ATI 3xxx. If i remember that is close to the recommended req. for SCII.

Quad core would be best, maybe a Q6600, considering it is a strategy game with little AI's running around everywhere.
October 24, 2008 4:14:46 PM

NEVER get a preconfigured PC cause your limited to what you can conrol of what hardware and software you can put in it. if you can always buy parts separately and builfd it yourself. with PC`s like dell or HP you get tons of crap software installed on it that you don`t need and low quality parts
October 24, 2008 4:24:51 PM

I agree. I never buy preconfigured PC's. These guys either dont want to build or cant. I dont want to be supporting them for the next 2 years. I dont mind helping, but I have 3 PCs of my own to support. I might be able to talk them into building if the cost is minimal. Like an E2180+3850+etc.

My specs are in my sig below.
October 24, 2008 4:26:12 PM

50bmg said:
I dont have the SCII min requirements in front of me, but i think min req. is Pentium 4 and Nvidia 7xxx/ATI 1xxx.

I imagine that would be really bad with that combo. scary bad.

I would not play it with less than a intel C2D 2G and a Nvidia 8xxx/ATI 3xxx. If i remember that is close to the recommended req. for SCII.

Quad core would be best, maybe a Q6600, considering it is a strategy game with little AI's running around everywhere.

Unless SCII recommends a quad, it is probably not indicated. It is very hard to code to use more than two cores, and if the game required quads, they would not sell very many copies.
A faster clocked duo is better in most games. Looking at the web site, it looks to me like a graphic intensive game, warranting at least a middling vga card.
October 24, 2008 4:53:18 PM

Option #3 is actually more like $500. If they've all built PCs before, even if P3s, then I'd say they probably can handle it.

Here's a budget build that comes in at <$500:

Antec earthwatts EA500 500W ATX12V v2.0 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Model #:EA500
Item #:N82E16817371007

$89.99 -$40.00 Instant $49.99

Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 Wolfdale 2.53GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7200 - Retail
Model #:BX80571E7200
Item #:N82E16819115052

$117.99 $117.99

Rosewill R220-P-BK Black 0.5mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:R220-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147074

$29.99 -$5.00 Instant $24.99

ASRock P43Twins1600 LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model #: P43Twins1600
Item #:N82E16813157130

$89.99 -$10.00 Instant $79.99

HIS Hightech H467QS512P Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Model #:H467QS512P
Item #:N82E16814161249
Mail-in Rebate

$89.99 $89.99

A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K - Retail
Model #:ADQVE1A16K
Item #:N82E16820211066

$31.99 $31.99

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #:ST3250410AS
Item #:N82E16822148262

$54.99 $54.99

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS120-08 - Retail
Model #:iHAS120-08
Item #:N82E16827106264

$26.99 $26.99

Subtotal: $476.92

This is only looking at Newegg. You could probably tweak another $25-$50 off this price if that's the biggest concern, or easily add another $200 for a better GPU, more RAM with better timings, and/or a slightly heftier PSU.
October 24, 2008 5:25:39 PM

You guys should wait until Starcraft 2 is out and there are benchmarks. If you can't because there's another game you want to play now, look at that game's benchmarks. In theory a HD 4670 should be plenty of GPU power for a Blizzard game, but it's safer to wait for actual numbers. Besides, performance per dollar gets better every month when it comes to both video cards and CPUs.

Just FYI, Diablo 3 developers are apparently using "mainstream" cards. I got that from an interview with one of them. I assume that StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3 will have similar requirements, and that "mainstream" meant HD 4850 or 9800GTX+. I may be wrong, of course.
October 24, 2008 5:37:52 PM

Hmmm, when I read "mainstream" somewhere, I'm inclined to think of the card that an HP or Dell might include, like an 8400GS, 8500GT or at most, 8600GTS. Is that term "mainstream" better defined anywhere?
October 24, 2008 9:27:50 PM

Thanks jtt283.

I havent checked prices in a few months. I might pick up that case. I agree, duo should be fine.

I aree aevm. They should wait for benchies, so they don't waste that money.

Thanks guys. I will point them to waiting on the benchmarks and building an entry level pc based on that info.
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