Building a gaming computer

Discussion in 'Benchmarks & Performance' started by tufunuf, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. tufunuf

    tufunuf OSNN Junior Addict

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    Hi,

    I was wondering if I could get some comments on the topic of building a gaming computer for my grandson. I would like to have your opinion on the difficulty factor I am facing. I have never built a computer. And, maybe a gaming computer is not the place to start. I have watched several videos online regarding the subject, and I believe I can do it. But, It is always good to have someone that knows tell you what they think. That is why I am asking you.

    Thanks,
    Tuf
     
  2. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

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    First off, you need to decide which operating system you will want to use. With Windows Vista just launched, I would advice you to think carefully before jumping to get it.
    On the hardware side, I've noticed that it's almost no longer viable to build your own machine if you are $$ conscious, it'll hurt your pocket more than buying a prebuilt machine that has windows preinstalled. However, by building your own machine, you have the option to choose what components you want inside it.
    The CPU, Graphics Card and RAM are probably the most important parts to consider. I use Nvidia GF7600GT which is sufficient for my needs, and is quite decent when it comes to gaming. 1GB of Ram is recommended on most systems, anything more than 2GB is overkill.

    If you need an idea of what spec is a good one for gaming check my sig, or any other members' sigs that show their pc specs.
    Steer away from Sempron and Celeron Processors (CPU) for media and entertainment.
     
  3. tufunuf

    tufunuf OSNN Junior Addict

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    Thanks for the good information. I had thought I would get the Vista platform. But, I see nothing wrong with XP for now.

    Out of curiosity, what does a system like the one you have cost someone to build - if it were built by an individual. I hope I am not asking to private a question. If so, disregard it.

    Thanks again and have a good day.

    Yours,
    Tuf
     
  4. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

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    As you may know, I'm in the UK so depending on where you live, you may need to compare the currencies... as it stands, GBP1 ~ USD1.85

    My system overall... cost me around GBP1100 rounded up. There are a few other hardware not listed in my sig though.
     
  5. tufunuf

    tufunuf OSNN Junior Addict

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    Sounds like you have a very good system for the money spent!

    I did not realize the currency difference was that close. When I was in England in the 60's the pound was $2.85, or so. Beautiful country you live in! I was outside of Ipswich.

    Thanks again. And, have a good day.

    Tuf
     
  6. David_L6

    David_L6 OSNN Addict

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    Building a computer is not difficult at all. Just about everything is either color coded or configured so that you'd have to force something to plug it into the wrong place. In other words - it's just about David proof! :rolleyes: Plus, you can get all the help you need right here.

    Here's a link to a post in another thread that gives the prices I paid for some parts I used for a computer that I recently built.

    http://forum.osnn.net/showthread.php?p=769523#post769523

    What you "need" to buy depends on how serious of a machine you want to build (and if overclocking is part of the picture)....

    I like the Intel D975XBX2 motherboard and E6700 CPU that I have.

    The D975XBX2 motherboard is as trouble free as they come.

    Single core CPU's are probably still the best as far as gaming only goes, but I wouldn't buy a single core CPU now unless the price was very cheap. If you do buy an Intel single core, buy P4 670. AMD has CPU's in the same price range as the 670 that are far better for gaming. I just don't know much about AMD CPU's.......... I've never had an AMD CPU - always Intel - so I can't help you if you want to use an AMD CPU.

    The X6800 CPU is top of the line but it cost about twice as much as the E6700. The Quad core 6700 is two E6700's combined. It cost about the same as the X6800. Quad core is a waste in a gaming machine though. Buy the X6800 if it's in your budget. If it isn't buy the E6700. As a last resort - before buying a single core or an AMD - buy the E6600.

    If overclocking isn't going to be involved just about any good name brand DDR2 667MHz RAM will do. If overclocking is part of the picture you'll need some very good RAM - something like the Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 DDR2 1000MHz that I have. If you go with XP - 1GB. If you go with Vista - 2GB. More doesn't hurt anything.

    Video cards.... The 8800GTX is the absolute, bar none, best. 8800GTS is one step down - second best. I don't know what games will be installed so I don't know what you'll need. I have a 7800 GTX that is getting close to 2 years old. That's old for a video card but it still serves my purposes very well. Not knowing what games the card will have to handle I'd say to go for anything from a 7900 GS or better - preferably one of the 8800 series since they are more "future proof" than the others. I wouldn't buy a lesser card than the 7900 series since it will be for a gaming machine.
    I don't know much about ATI's video cards as I've always used nVidia's cards.

    Hard drive(s): The Western Digital Raptors are top of the line. I have 5 of them. Never had one fail and some of them have been running 24/7 for over 2 years. They are more expensive as far as $/GB go though. The Seagate 7200.10 series "perpendicular" hard drives are supposed to good. I have one but have only had it for a couple of days so can't comment much about it one way or the other yet.

    Power supply: Buy a good power supply! I like PC P&C PSU's. Any of these should do the trick.

    http://www.pcpower.com/products/viewproduct.php?show=T51XE

    http://www.pcpower.com/products/viewproduct.php?show=S61EPS

    http://www.pcpower.com/products/viewproduct.php?show=S75QB

    CPU cooler: Zalman 9700 or Zalman 9500 are my choices. I have one of each. The 9700 is better than the 9500 and the 9500 is no slouch. The Tuniq Tower 120 ranks right up there too. I'd rank it just below the 9700, but above the 9500. The Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 is another good one. I'd rank it equal to or slightly lower than the 9500.

    Thermal paste: Arctic Silver 5 or Arctic Silver Ceramic. I've used both. Supposedly the 5 is better than the Ceramic but I'd have to see some tests done in person before I believed that one was better than the other.

    Case: My personal favorite is Cooler Master Stacker 810 - then the STC-T01, then the 830 (too darned expensive!). I have a Cooler Master Centurion 5 that's a very nice case for the price. I was really surprised by just how nice it is when I received it. It was cheap and I was about half way expecting cheap. The Lian Li cases are also very good cases. (I think that they are overpriced though.) The Antec p180 case is a nice case but it's more for quiet than for gaming.








     
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  7. lancer

    lancer There is no answer! Political User Folding Team

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    ming that is absolutely not true at all, if he was building a budget machine then i would agree with you, but to actually build any other type or pc, be it a media center, games machine, video editing etc... it is always far cheaper to build it yourself.

    for instance alienware sells a pc for $2599, i just did a cost for how much i could buy and the same parts and build my own machine, $1564, thats a $1035 difference, (which is why i hate alienware and all the other rip off merchants out there selling these so called gaming machines) for video encoding a good machine will set you back about $10,000 if you buy it, i just built one for $4,000 and it is twice as good as one i saw for $13,000.

    So totally not true....


    Tuf, if you give us some ideas on what you want, i can run you down a spec, that will be both cost efficient and a great machine to boot, things like, how old is your grandson. how long does he plan on keeping the machine, does he play a lot of games or just a few...?
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2007
  8. epk

    epk Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    yeah... also which games he would like to play and how much are you willing to spend
     
  9. David_L6

    David_L6 OSNN Addict

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  10. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    1rst Assembling your own PC is easy and there are multitudes of videos and help sites on the web to make it stress free. I help people at work through their first build on a regular basis and they never go back to off the shelf.

    2nd set a budget, then ask for what you can do within that budget.

    3rd what kind of games strategy, simulaiton or first person shooters determines how radical you have to get with the CPU and Graphics card.

    Some pricing guidelines. Based on mail order or local as appropriate. Heavy sparts like case and pewer supply are best purchased locally. Memory, keyboards, mice, etc can usually be gotten locally at good prices. Video cards CPUs and motherboard go mail order for significant savings unless you have something like a Frye's locally. NOBODY sells video cards at reasonable prices locally.

    Generic stuff:
    Power supply - 500-600W* (Antec or enermax) $100-120
    Case w/ 3 fans 2 in front 1 in back - $30-50-$200
    Motherboard (MB)- $90-120
    1-2 gig memory DDR or DDR2 depending on MB - $100-200

    Critical choices:
    CPU - $150-300, dual core or single won't matter. AMD 64 or Intel Core 2
    Graphics Card - $200-400, Nvidia is the best bang for the buck right now. The 88xx series only since the older ones do not support DX10.

    Personal Preference:
    Keyboard - plain or with extra gaming keys
    Mouse - optical with higher resolution
    Monitor - size and type is up to you it will not affect performance unless you go for a cheap LCD which will blur in fast games.
    Sound Card - not critical, on board is adequate if using speakers. If you want to drive his parents crazy go for the top end with 5 speakers ;) $25-200.

    *If you go top end dual core CPU and dual Graphics a 600-650W will be required. Ask back here before buying. This is the most crtitcal component you will buy. If it is inadequate nothing will work right.

    As stated above -
    Avoid Vista for at least a year, it's too immature for the novice builder.

    For a high end system build your own - cheap off the shelf is acheived by using minimalistic hardware (rot gut) and stuffing the system with spyware and bloatware that slows system performance. Off the shelf often does not supply full install and recovery disks which is critical for a high performance system. Off the shelf can not be upgraded due to the minimal approach on selecting hardware.

    With all that said post back with some more details and we'll all be glad to help you spend your money in the most cost effective way possible. It is our favorite pass time here at OSNN.

    Welcome to the boards.
     
  11. tufunuf

    tufunuf OSNN Junior Addict

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    Wow! I appreciate all of your information. I can't digest all of the info in one reading. It will take me some time to put it all together. I should have noted in the beginning that I am a novice compared to you fellas.

    My grandson is only 13. He is just getting started. He is only playing Medal of Honor type games. I was wanting to try and help him build a decent, but inexpensive machine that would enable him to (sorta) keep up with his friends he plays with until he can learn enough to build a better one in the future. He loves computers, games, and wanting to work on website building and (more serious) gaming as time passes.

    So, having said that, I hope you can give me some more guidance along that line.

    Thanks to all.

    Tuf
     
  12. chastity

    chastity Moderator Political User

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    Well Medal of Honor falls under the first person shooter area of games.

    Now depending on your location depends on what you can get locally vs mail order.

    Now I generally when specing out a system go for the middle of the road as far as price vs performce.

    As an example I did this one a few months back

    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Intel® P965 Express Socket LGA775 ATX Motherboard $150.00
    CPU: Intel® Pentium® D 820 Processor BX80551PG2800FN - Box CPU - Socket LGA775 $120.00
    Videocard: EVGA Geforce 7300 GT 512MB Graphic Card $130.00
    Ram: OCZ DDR2 1GB (2x512MB) PC2-5400 Gold Dual Channel $120.00
    Harddrive: Seagate 300GB ST3300631A-RK Parallel ATA Retail Hard Drive $80.00
    Optical: NEC 16X DVD?R DVD Burner Black IDE Model ND-3550A $60.00
    Pioneer DVR-710 Black $60.00
    Case: Antec NSK 4400 Mid Tower Case $80.00

    Total: $800 plus tax
    All from Outpost.com
     
  13. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

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    Forget about alienware - they're targeting the enthusiast market with above market rate charges on their components.
    I judged it from mainstream PCs that you 'could' buy from the highstreet or internet stores (+/- various hardwares). Also, my judgement is based on the UK market as it is obviously more expensive than other countries.
    I probably could have got a pre-built PC with very similar spec PC to my current one for maybe GBP300 less at the time.
     
  14. tufunuf

    tufunuf OSNN Junior Addict

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    Again, I really appreciate your infromative posts! I am saving all your information and am going to compile a list on what you have suggested. Once I get into the actual purchase I will most likely be writing for help.:nervous:

    Thanks for all the posts!

    Tuf
     
  15. epk

    epk Moderator Political User Folding Team

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    i'd say go with an amd 64... single or dual core doesn't matter... it's cheaper than intel (your grandson doesn't sound like an extreme gamer in need of a core 2 duo) and you don't dual channel memory (not only cheaper but also simpler)
    amd64 motherboards are usually pretty good, known brands are msi, asus and dfi... look for one with an nforce chipset (4 or 5) that adjusts to your needs (ie. sata2 if you have a sata2 hd, onboard audio if you're not planning to buy a separate card, etc)
    1gb of ram should be enough sticking to windows xp

    for the graphics card, i think anything on the geforce 8 series is too much... my recomendations in that case are always the geforce 7600gs or the 7900gs depending on how much are you willing to spend

    with this setup plus the usual extras (hard disk, dvd drive, etc.) you shouldn't need a big psu, something branded (enermax, ocz) around 500w is enough
    try finding a good 17" or 19" crt monitor, samsung is a great brand...


    ps: great post, leejend
     
  16. Shamus MacNoob

    Shamus MacNoob Moderator Political User

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    I say set the budget first and then look around,as to what brandnames to follow thats always tough , its not the name that makes the product work better, there are great videocards with chipsets both ATI or Nvidia but there is no way to say take one or the other without looking at the 2 choices side by side, same for the CPU's both Intel and AMD offer great choices need to look at them side by side. I just installed the E6600 Intel core 2 duo and all I can say is WOW what a fantastic CPU , does that mean no more AMD?

    No it means start looking at different pieces and make a list and present us the list here , they are alot of good experienced people here and will pick that list apart for you.

    Happy Hunting !!!
     
  17. lancer

    lancer There is no answer! Political User Folding Team

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    man totally forgot you where in the UK, sorry about that. when i built machines in the uk i had a business account so i bought most of my parts just above cost, but you are right, there are few places like newegg in the uk, although insight.com i believe is fairly good, used to be called action.com.
     
  18. tufunuf

    tufunuf OSNN Junior Addict

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    Let me ask another question. I know this will sound dumb.

    Can you build a "gaming computer" and use it on a day to day regurlar basis for word processing, sufiing the net, excel work, etc.? I mean, like leaving it on all the time like I do mine? (You can tell that I am a novice.:nervous:) I have to ask these questions in advance before I start helping my grandson build a computer. I know that he will be using a computer for school, surfing, etc., and I don't want him ham-stringed with a computer that can only be used for gaming.:rolleyes: Then he and I will both be in the dog house! :disappointed:

    Thanks. - Tuf
     
  19. ming

    ming OSNN Advanced

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    The meaning of building a 'gaming' computer is that you buy higher performance components capable of running the latest games. These components are no different to the ones used in mainstream computers used in the office, except for the fact that they're better performing. You can do what you want with a gaming PC, browse the net, watch movies, do your office work (word processing, spreadsheets or database) or just leave it sitting idle - it's your choice. :)
     
  20. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    Yes, and it will be a lot snappier performing the day to day tasks.

    Also, when running office type 2D programs the video card and processor will be running at low power so the noise and energy usage won't be any more than an ordinary computer.

    Aside from the initial investment it's a no loose situation.