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Buying a gaming PC, recommendations?

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March 27, 2009 1:32:32 PM

This is my first post and wasn't sure if i should post here or in the game forum but from a quick look it seemed this forum would suit better.

I'm going to be spending a lot of my time in my house over the next 6 months and im going to get back into PC gaming to pass the time. I'd be interested in a prebuilt system or if i knew exactly what components to buy i can build my own since ive built them before. I'm years out of the loop on the new devices and architectures so im coming for advice. Also, i own a restaurant so my time to look into all of this is really limited. I'm interested in fallout3, crysis, a couple other top games from the last year or two, diablo 3, and especially the upcoming starcraft 3. I think my pricerange falls somewhere in the 1100-1500 dollar range with a monitor.

Are there any prebuilts out there that are a good deal? Im comfortable with refurbished and open box stuff.

Any advice on looking for prebuilts? What components should i look for and stay away from?

If anyone has a list of components to pick up and build a custom system, i could go this route to cut cost.

Either way im sure ill get some good responses here. It really seems like this is the place to go to get good advice for PCs and other high tech items. Im sure ill be on the forums here for a long time.
March 27, 2009 2:22:06 PM

Well first you need to decide whther or not you are going to be using the latest and greatest tehnology or not. If you want to go Core i7 then you will be dishing out a lot of dough. I would suggest going Core 2 Quad and upgrading from there later on. Try buyin stuff that will transfer over like getting a good CPU cooler that works on socket 775 and 1366. But if you look at expensive gaming rig and then price out the parts individually the price difference is astronomical. People are intimidated by building because of horror stories they have heard from others who didn't know what they were doing. Just buy the parts of a rig you like, make a few changes if you want, and put it together yourself. Just be sure before you do anything that your jumpers on your optical drive are set to master so you'll be able to install Windows with ease. Just read up on how to build a machine and pick up on little techniques that will help make the proces go a lot easier.
a c 115 à CPUs
March 27, 2009 4:21:57 PM

ASUS Black 25.5" LCD Monitor: $320 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...
(version with 3000:1 contrast ratio / 5ms = $390)

Phenom II 720BE / Asus 790FX combo: $286
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB: $200 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $78.58 w/shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR 750W ATX12V / EPS12V CrossFire Ready Power Supply: $90 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5: $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


That's around $1.164. What about an OS?

Corsair 2 x 2Gb DDR2 1066 is $44 AR and is on the Asus QVL list for that motherboard. An optical drive is $25.

There are a lot of different ways you could go. You could save $230 with a 790gx motherboard and a WD 640Gb hard drive - and Crossfire the HD 4870 (with money left over to upgrade to a Phenom II 940BE).

The Phenom II 720BE is definitely the sweet spot at $135, though.

AMD will be rolling out the Radeon HD 4890 soon. Werd on the street is maybe a 10% or so gain over the HD4870 but since new tech carries a price premium it probably won't be worth it (and may even drive down the price of the HD4870 some more).

Related resources
March 27, 2009 6:06:57 PM

Wow thats a lot of good information for me to dig through. Im sure ill have some followup questions about those options once i read a little more into them.

I'll take a look at all of that this weekend. Thats great. Exactly what i was looking for.

Anyone else have an opinion on components like that post?

Thanks,
Marty


By the way, is there a way to give out karma or thank people who offer good advice/help?
a b à CPUs
March 27, 2009 6:27:07 PM

Gateway gaming rig
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9081325&t...
Gateway Media Center Rig
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9174564&t...

These are some decent store bought units for you to think about. The media center rig can actually play fear2 at mostly high settings at 1920x1080. The GPU and the PSU can be upgraded later. But comes with a tv tuner and hotswap bays for HDD. A friend bought it and while I would never get a store bought PC for myself I admit it was impressive for the money.
March 27, 2009 6:36:27 PM

Don't buy prebuilt.
You'll get inferior parts for a pumped up price.

Wisecracker has the best setup probably.
Check www.edealinfo.com for daily deals on some parts.
March 27, 2009 6:50:01 PM

Here's something to sink your teeth into. :-)

INTEL, Core™ i7-920 Quad-Core 2.66GHz, LGA1366, 6400 MT/s QPI, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm, 130W, EM64T EIST VT XD, Retail
ARCTIC COOLING, MX-2 High-Performance Thermal Compound, Non-Electrical Conductive
eVGA, EVGA X58 SLI, LGA1366, Intel® X58, 6400 MT/s QPI, DDR3-1333MHz 12GB /6, PCIe x16 SLI CF /3, SATA 3 Gb/s RAID 5 /9, HDA, GbLAN /2, FW /2, ATX, Retail
KINGSTON, 6GB (3 x 2GB) ValueRAM PC3-8500 DDR3 1066MHz CL7 (7-7-7) 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
eVGA, GeForce GTX 260 Core 216, GTX 260 576MHz, 896MB GDDR3 2000MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, DVI /2, HDTV Out, Retail
WESTERN DIGITAL, 150GB (WD1500HLFS) WD VelociRaptor™, SATA 3 Gb/s, 10000 RPM, 16MB cache
WESTERN DIGITAL, 1TB WD Caviar® Black™ (WD1001FALS), SATA 3 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 32MB Cache
RAID, No RAID, Independent HDD Drives
SABRENT, CRW-UINB Black 65-in-1 Card Reader/Writer Drive, 3.5" Bay, Internal USB
SAMSUNG, Super-WriteMaster™ SH-S223 Black 22x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner w/ LightScribe, SATA, w/ Software, OEM
ANTEC, Three Hundred Black Mid-Tower Case, ATX, No PSU
CUSTOM WIRING, Standard Wiring with Round Cables
THERMALTAKE, Toughpower QFan 650 Modular Power Supply, 650W, 80 PLUS®, 24-pin ATX12V EPS12V, Quad +12V, 3x 6-pin PCIe, Retail
MICROSOFT, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM
SERVICE, Use Name from Billing Address as OS Login
SERVICE, OEM System Recovery (secure HDD partition only)
SERVICE, System Binder
BFG TECH, BFG Black T-Shirt, XL Size, Cotton
CUSTOM GAMING PC, Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)
SERVICE, Standard Shipping (UPS, DHL, or Fedex)
$1863.54

This rig will be able to play almost everything at high settings, at 1680X1050.

Feel free to email me with any questions you may have.

joseph.mundy@avadirect.com
March 28, 2009 1:22:14 PM

Im pretty much in agreement with wisecracker. I looked into a couple of different options and after reading reviews all over the place i like this layout best.

As for ram, i notice this motherboard uses ddr2. How many gigs should i get? Do i have to get corsair? Is there a difference between corsair top of the line ram, and others that aren't top of the line?

Also, what about cooling/fans and an optical drive? I dont know anything about fans and as for the optical drive, are they all standard sized so they will all fit or is there like a list somewhere that i can look at for compatibility w/ this tower?

Am i missing anything?

Thanks,
Marty



Wisecracker said:
ASUS Black 25.5" LCD Monitor: $320 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...
(version with 3000:1 contrast ratio / 5ms = $390)

Phenom II 720BE / Asus 790FX combo: $286
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB: $200 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $78.58 w/shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR 750W ATX12V / EPS12V CrossFire Ready Power Supply: $90 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5: $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


That's around $1.164. What about an OS?

Corsair 2 x 2Gb DDR2 1066 is $44 AR and is on the Asus QVL list for that motherboard. An optical drive is $25.

There are a lot of different ways you could go. You could save $230 with a 790gx motherboard and a WD 640Gb hard drive - and Crossfire the HD 4870 (with money left over to upgrade to a Phenom II 940BE).

The Phenom II 720BE is definitely the sweet spot at $135, though.

AMD will be rolling out the Radeon HD 4890 soon. Werd on the street is maybe a 10% or so gain over the HD4870 but since new tech carries a price premium it probably won't be worth it (and may even drive down the price of the HD4870 some more).

a c 115 à CPUs
March 29, 2009 3:56:11 PM

mjkelly93 said:
Im pretty much in agreement with wisecracker. I looked into a couple of different options and after reading reviews all over the place i like this layout best.

As for ram, i notice this motherboard uses ddr2. How many gigs should i get? Do i have to get corsair? Is there a difference between corsair top of the line ram, and others that aren't top of the line?

Also, what about cooling/fans and an optical drive? I dont know anything about fans and as for the optical drive, are they all standard sized so they will all fit or is there like a list somewhere that i can look at for compatibility w/ this tower?

Am i missing anything?

Thanks,
Marty


2 x 2Gb DDR2 1066 should be fine unless you will be doing some serious multitasking or utilizing software such as Photoshop which take as much RAMs as you can throw at it. You do not have to use Corsair but as noted, the Corsair TWIN2X4096-8500C5D (5-5-5-15) is on the Asus QVL list, but so is memory from G.Skill, GeiL, etc.

Optical drives are 5-1/4 inch standard. The Antec 300 comes with a rear 120mm fan and a top 140mm fan which exhaust air. The PSU has a 140mm (which functions as a semi-exhaust fan). It is possible to add two 120mm fan at the front of the case and a side 120mm fan for your video card(s). If you add these fans they should be set up as 'intakes' (there is an arrow on the side of the fan which designates the direction of air flow).

The HD 4870 1Gb has a side intake and will exhaust air out of the rear of the case.

The Asus 790FX is a 'serious' game platform. Using the monitor listed (at its 19x12 resolution) you may install 2 HD4870 1Gb video cards and use them in tandem, or 'CrossFire' configuration. The Corsair 750w power supply has the necessary connectors and amperage to power 2 video cards.

It is possible that you may select a smaller resolution 22-inch monitor (at 16x12) that will not need the 'performance' of an HD4870 1Gb video card(s). A lower resolution may allow you to utilize a HD4870 512Mb card(s) but I'll let the gaming gurus follow up on that.

If you have a flat panel TV with an open HDMI slot you may also use it as a monitor :) 

And as noted above you may save some serious green if you do not require the 'ultimate' in gaming experiences. A 790GX motherboard will work 'just dandy' and allow you to Crossfire 2 video cards. If you don't need the loading power of the WD Raptor a 640Gb WD hard drive is an excellent choice with great performance and will save you $120+.
March 29, 2009 4:11:12 PM

i ll always vote for AMD in case for games
April 1, 2009 7:41:30 PM

Hey Mjkelley, VoodooDan here from HP. You should definitely do your research before deciding on any system.

From HP’s perspective, the Firebird 802 is a good pre-built option – with great specs for gaming. For example the system has quad-core Intel Core 2 processors, 4GB of DDR2-800 memory, and dual Nvidia Geforce 9800S video cards with 1GB of memory.

The Firebird is also great for keeping energy costs down. The new system uses compact components usually found in notebook PCs, providing a reduced footprint and maximum energy usage.

It's also worth mentioning that the system is also incredibly quiet – only 30 decibels at full crank and 25 when sitting idle.

Also, we have recently lowered the price Around $1,700 to $1,299 which puts it right in your price range.

Check out this recent Wired review:
http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2009/03/review-hp-fireb.h...

Let me know if you have any other questions. I’m happy to help

Cheers,
VoodooDan

April 2, 2009 2:45:44 PM

Yeah that looks like a decent deal for a prebuilt at 1299.

I went with the i7 920 build in the homebuilt forum instead of saving and going with AMD. I did a 640GB HD, 750W Corsair Power, Gigabytes ex58 board ud3r, 3x2gb ddr3 ram, a 25.5" asus monitor, windows vista 64bit, a 9800gt gpu, a case, a cooler, some smaller stuff, a g5 mouse and a g15 keyboard.

I figure ill use the 9800gt gpu that i have and then upgrade when that doesnt cut it anymore. Prolly just in time for Starcraft 2.

It all came to about 1400 after rebates.
April 2, 2009 4:08:00 PM

Look at the Phenom II X4 (940/945) with a HD4870 X2 2GB Graphics, 8GB RAM, 500GB or more HD, 700W ThermalTake PSU, ASUS 790 MB, 19" ASUS Monitor, ASUS DVD-R/W Vista x64, Logitech Mouse and Keyboard.
!