Ok Experts, Building a Gaming Machine and Need some Help!

Hey Folks,

I'm looking to put a nice gaming desktop together around Christmas time. My budget is between $1000-$1300. I'm really interested in hearing what everyone here recommends. I have always been an AMD guy, however, after doing some research it appears that Intel is the way to go now.

If it helps, I'm pretty much a "Blizzard" gamer. Currently play WoW and will switch to Diablo III when that comes out. I'm looking for a machine that will last me a long time with high performance. I will be using a dual-monitor setup and I have my secondary monitor already. So, I will need to purchase another monitor (probably looking for around 21-24").

I'm very excited to build this PC and I really appreciate any feedback you guys can give me. I'm looking forward to discussing what you guys think will give me the best performance for the money. I'll be checking this thread often if you guys have any questions!

Cheers,
Gout
14 answers Last reply
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  1. I would start with a system build around a P45 Mobo, E7200 CPU, 4850 GPU, and 4GB of RAM (It's cheap so splurge on 4gb)

    I always recommend (2) HDDs, so you can backup from one to another.
    Again not required if you don't have real data that needs saving, but most have something. Even if its just pics of friends....
  2. If you up your budget up to 1500 you could probably get into a new i7 CPU with a 4870 vid card.
  3. for 1300$ including a monitor, i'd say you're a bit limited if you want a 24inch. The cheapest 24inch you can find is around 320$USD (acer, check www.pricewatch.com). So, for 1000$, you want to build a full pc.

    Newegg has deals for cpu+ PSU
    E8500 + 950w rosewill PSU for 290$
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182096
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115036

    hardrive + case combo:
    640gig WD + sonata 3 for 170$
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129024

    motherboard:
    p5q se+, 82$ with 15$ MiR
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131347

    ram:
    2x2gig, free shipping 44$
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231122

    video card:
    sapphire's hd4870 512mb, 240$
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102797

    dvd burner:
    liteon, 25$
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106226


    that leaves you 100$ for mouse/keyboard. I suggest a g5 mouse but it's depending on your preference.

    edit: raid solutions are not worth it for your type of use. Not only is it more complex to setup (and I assume you don't want to mess around too much if you didn't even bother to make a list of equipment by yourself) but it is also more costly for basically little gain.
  4. Thanks very much for the feedback!

    I apologize I left some things out that would be beneficial. I already have my mouse (Logitech gaming mouse, can't remember specific name) and keyboard (G11). I also already have a DVD drive that I will take from my old PC. Without including the costs of these 3 items, if you still feel it would be best to increase the budget to $1500, I would definitely consider it.

    I agree with you Anti about the 24" monitors. I think 21-22" would be best considering the cost difference between 22 and 24. What do you think of something like this? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824116396. Can you explain what the "Contrast Ratio DC 18000:1(1000:1)" means? I like that one too because it supports 1920x1080.

    Do you think 8GB of RAM is worth it? The price difference isn't that much.

    Thanks!
  5. a 22inch monitor usually is 1680x1050 and a 24 is 1920x1200. That means that the 24inch can support "true" 1080p content while the 22inch cannot.

    DC = dynamic contrast = marketing term used to try and interest you in a product. What you should care about is the static contrast ratio.

    As for the non-standard resolution on that 21.5inch screen, I'm sure that if it supports 1:1 pixel mapping, it isn't the end of the world. What I mean by that is that you want to be able to view "normal" resolutions without having to worry about rescaling. I still would suggest a decent 22 or 24inch display though. I personally bought a G2400WD from BenQ (24inch) and I am very satisfied with it so far.
  6. antiacid said:
    a 22inch monitor usually is 1680x1050 and a 24 is 1920x1200. That means that the 24inch can support "true" 1080p content while the 22inch cannot.

    DC = dynamic contrast = marketing term used to try and interest you in a product. What you should care about is the static contrast ratio.

    As for the non-standard resolution on that 21.5inch screen, I'm sure that if it supports 1:1 pixel mapping, it isn't the end of the world. What I mean by that is that you want to be able to view "normal" resolutions without having to worry about rescaling. I still would suggest a decent 22 or 24inch display though. I personally bought a G2400WD from BenQ (24inch) and I am very satisfied with it so far.


    If that is the case, then I would much rather spend the extra $ and get a 24" monitor like the one you described. It really seems like the 1920x1200 is the "ideal" gaming resolution for most. Would you agree with that?

    Also, do you think it would be worth getting the 1GB version of that video card? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102801
  7. How about i7?

    Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz -- $320
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202]

    MSI X58 Platinum LGA 1366 Intel X58 -- $220
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130216]

    CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 -- $250
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145220]

    SAPPHIRE 100257L Radeon HD 4870 -- $250
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102797]

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit -- $100
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488]

    Antec Performance One P180 Silver -- $150
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129154]

    Antec NeoPower 650 Blue 650W -- $70 after instant rebate with case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371010]

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB -- $70
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218&Tpk=WD6400AAKS]

    Total $1,430.00
  8. If $1,430.00 is too much you could save on the memory or the video card.
  9. I'm not sure if you were planning on the OS in the budget also, but this is what I'd buy for a gaming rig around your price range. This build includes the OS and monitor. If you need to cut any corners, I would downgrade to the Antec 300 and maybe a 600W - 650W PSU. The build below is ready to add another 4870 down the road without having to upgrade any other parts. I also added a burner even though you said you have one from a previous build. I would buy a new one unless the one you have is SATA. There is no reason to put anything with a big IDE cable in a new build unless you absolutely have to.

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037 $164.99

    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128358&cm_sp=DailyDeal-_-13-128-358-_-Homepage&guid=28e23a828ae049b990b0a9ec48cbc426 $129.99 -$20.00 MIR

    G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209 $59.99

    Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.buy.com/prod/antec-nine-hundred-steel-atx-mid-tower-computer-case-900-antec-nine/q/loc/101/202997579.html $94.99

    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006&Tpk=750TX $119.99 -$20.00 MIR

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218 $69.99

    SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102801 $279.99 -$15.00 MIR

    XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233003 $31.99 -$10.00 MIR

    XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233019 $8.49

    SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151173 $26.99

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488 $99.99

    Acer P243WAid Black-Silver 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP Support 400 cd/m2 3000:1 ACM - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009125 $339.99


    Total $1,427.38 - $65.00 MIR's = $1,362.38

    You could also save another $22 after MIR if you go with this RAM:

    mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146731 $57.99 -$20.00 MIR
  10. Interesting times for a build with the i7 and X58 motherboards just out. So many different options it's tough to pick one. The i7/X58/DDR3 along with the 24" monitor seem to knock your budget out, but could be a worthwhile choice if you're interested in longevity. The Q9550/P45/DDR2 looks achievable at the $1,300 if you count rebates.

    CPU / motherboard combo - Q9550/P45 $400 - $15 in rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115041
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131299

    RAM - 2x2 GB DDR2 800 1.8v - $38 after rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146731

    Monitor - 24" Samsung $340 after rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824001309

    Case - Coolermaster 690 - $75
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137

    PSU - OCZ 700w GameXstream $60 after rebate and code
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341002

    GPU - GTX260 896MB - $209 after rebate.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341002

    HD - Western Digital 640GD $70
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

    Operating system - Vista Home Premium 64bit $100
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488

    $1,450 with shipping (to me at least)
    - $140 in rebates.
  11. I got to LMAO, a bunch of good builds with evon and shortstuff. Lots of things to research and weigh the merits of. Good luck gout33!
  12. as you see, there's a lot of viable options out there.

    You mentioned wanting to play diablo3 on that machine. That game isn't going out until starcraft2, another wow expansion and then possibly an ice age. I'd argue that if you want to play tomorrow's game with today's hardware, you will end up angry at the performances. You might want to consider a cheaper option now and an upgrade along the way instead of going all out now and falling short in 2-3 years. It's your call :)

    Obviously though, a 24inch screen now is still going to perform well in 2 years, no matter what.
  13. dirtmountain said:
    I got to LMAO, a bunch of good builds with evon and shortstuff. Lots of things to research and weigh the merits of. Good luck gout33!


    Just what I wanted bro :)

    I just did some research on the I7 Processors and I think that is something that I might want to look at. I'd be looking at getting the Core I7 920, which seems to have a great performance/price ratio. What can you guys tell me about the I7 technology? Is it worth getting now? Waiting for prices to drop?

    Thanks!
  14. Way to go! You can upgrade later when prices go down. Core2Duo is kind of a dying breed. Sooner or later it will be abandoned.
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