First Gaming Computer

You all seem to know what you're talking about on this site. How do I know this? Because I have no idea what you're talking about!

I am looking for a first gaming computer for my son- turning 10. He needs something that can play his age level internet games and some PG/PG-13 games. He doesn't need windows and all the other crap that comes on store bought PCs. He just wants to play games and get good "reception"????

Do I build one (that is have someone build it)? If so, who, where, what components?

Is there a site/online store that offers such a product that fits my description- what is it/are they?

Price- as inexpensive as decent quality will allow. Remember- he's only 9/10 so he'll want to upgrade soon enough anyway and customize his way. But I want him to be psyched now!

Any other advice? B'day in 3 months- got to get started :-)
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  1. 1) You need windows, unless your son knows what were talking about (someone has to maintain system) windows is making things easier for novices.
    2) the advantage of building a computer is you get way better parts for a little bit more money(in some cases a lot more money)
    3) You can build with advice from this site if you are patient, have a slight mechanical ability and can follow directions. (Check out system builders section)
    4) 1000's of products, you have to set a budget.

    Has he played any games?, what does he like? How long should it last.
  2. Well, if you have absolutely no idea what you're doing, then you might considering browsing Dell and Gateway and HP products in your price range. If you find one you think looks decent then you can come here (there's a category for new PCs) and see what the forum goers think of it.

    If you don't mind building it yourself, and honestly it's pretty easy, then some suggestions to keep it cheap would be
    -AMD Phenom II X3 CPU (or X4, bit better but a bit more costly)
    -Appropriate motherboard (Depends on the CPU you want)
    -Radeon 5770 or Nvidia GT250 are decent midrange cards. Again depends on budget and how you put it together. If you can spend $200 on the video card, a GTX460 is a great choice.
    -Go for at least a 500W power source. Something like a Corsair 650TX should be more than enough (very high quality)
    -You'll probably have a DDR3 compatible CPU so the defacto RAM is 1333mhz, 4GB (2x2gb dual channel)
    -You can pick a case based on motherboard size, a standard ATX board requires a larger case than, say, a micro ATX. But with smaller cases you also have more heat issues. You should look at HAF or Antec cases for cheap, quality cases. This, being the part you always see, would be a great one to let your kid pick out.
    -Hard drive - probably a $50 500GB Seagate drive will be sufficient. You get better $/GB price at 1TB drives but it's probably more than needed
    -Any DVD RW will be fine, you can get them for $20.

    You can certainly go cheaper. Something like an AMD Athelon CPU or what have you (Intel Core 2 Duo perhaps). If you head to tomshardware main page there's a gaming CPU comparison article and from that you should be able to pick a fairly good one based on your price range. If you pick your CPU, we can help you with the rest in terms of getting cheaper but quality parts.
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