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$1,200 Limit Gaming Comp

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My friend wants a gaming computer. He's got about $1200 to spend. I like the idea I've set up for him so far, but I would love your suggestions. He says his requirements are:
Nice looking case
Fast running CPU
Atleast 4gb of RAM
Atleast 300gb hard drive space
Really great graphics card
Nice LCD monitor
Sound doesn't matter much, hes more into the graphics.
Here's my sketch so far:

Computer Case (with Power Supply)(with OS)





Optical Drive

Video Card

Keyboard and Mouse



That came to $1,168.89, and by shopping around, I can probably get it down by 20 bucks or so. That will leave room for shipping and handling.

Otherwise, what do you guys have for input?

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Hey Jason:

I took a quick look through the parts list:

I really only noticed a few things...

The HDD you should try to get one with a higher cache like 32mb

Speed on a HDD for gaming is up there in importance. He would benefit from a faster spinning HDD also, but they can cost a lot more money

The other thing is the Case and PSU combo:

You are always best off purchasing a PSU separately... The PSU that comes with that case will not be that great. You would be much better off getting a Corsair PSU, or other comparable PSU (Remember Wattage and Amperage are very important in a stable rig)

If you cheap out on a PSU this great computer will be horrible(most likely)

Some problems include:

All things that a gamer and any normal person don't want to experience...

There is a cheap $50 corsair 450w that a tech here pointed out to me.
It can kick alot of other PSU's butts based on amperage and not watts (of course it is not able to run every computer)
Some PSU's boast high wattages but can't supply enough amperage so it is just as bad a buying a cheap low watt PSU

Use the eXtreme PSU Calculator Lite to determine your power supply unit (PSU) requirements. Plug in all the hardware you think you might have in 2 or 3 years (extra drives, bigger or 2nd video card, more RAM, etc.). Be sure to read and heed the notes at the bottom of the page. I recommend setting Capacitor Aging to 30%, and if you participate in distributive computing projects (e.g. BOINC or [email protected]), I recommend setting TDP to 100%. Research your video card and pay particular attention to the power supply requirements for your card listed on your video card maker's website. If not listed, check a comparable card (same graphics engine and RAM) from a different maker. The key specifications, in order of importance are:

1. Current (amperage or amps) on the +12V rail,
2. Efficiency,
3. Total wattage.

Then look for power supply brands listed under the "Good" column of PC Mechanic's PSU Reference List. Ensure the supplied amperage on the +12V rails of your chosen PSU meets the requirements of your video card. Don't try to save a few dollars by getting a cheap supply. Digital electronics, including CPUs, RAM, and today's advanced graphics cards, need clean, stable power. A good, well chosen supply will provide years of service and upgrade wiggle room. I strongly recommend you pick a supply with an efficiency rating equal to, or greater than 80%. Look for the 80 Plus - EnergyStar Compliant label. And don't forget to budget for a good UPS with AVR (automatic voltage regulation).

Credit to Digerati for this speech: :)

Other than that I really didn't see anything else that stuck out...

Good luck


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I think your friend would be much more happier with a Quad Core Processor like this one:

Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83Ghz
It has 4 cores instead of 2 like the Core 2 Duo, which is much better for gaming. 12MB of L2 Cache instead of the duo's 6MB all for the same price.

I think this would be a better graphics card too:

Geforce 8800GTS Higher Core Clock and Memory Clock.

Here would be my second pick, but is a little more expensive.
GTS 250

All compatible with the nice mobo you have picked out.

Edited by Ferrari, 05 June 2009 - 09:02 PM.

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The number one thing you should be focused on when building a gaming computer is the GPU. While things like a faster hard drive and a quad-core CPU will help in some instances, nothing comes close to having as big an impact on gaming performance than the GPU. That said, I'd be more inclined to go with a slightly slower CPU that is over $100 cheaper (E8400 - $165), and get a much more powerful GPU (GTX 260 Core 216 SC - $170 AR).

cbarnard is right about the PSU. You don't want the one that comes with the case. And while the case is largely a personal preference, there are better choices in terms of usability and air flow (that still look good too). So, for a case and PSU, I'd go with:

Case: Antec 900 Two - $140
PSU: 650W Corsair PSU - $90 AR (AR = after rebate)

And since you wouldn't be getting the OS in the bundle anymore, you'd need to buy it separately.
OS: Vista Home Premium - $100 (Ultimate is a waste of money.)

That's a total of $330, which is about $75 more than you were going to spend on the case, PSU, and OS, but I saved you $35 with my CPU and GPU choices, so I'm over by about $40 in total, which puts you about $9 over the $1200 budget overall.

To get that $9 back...

4GB Patriot Viper RAM - $34 AR is $14 cheaper than the RAM you selected. It also has tigher timings (and therefore better performance) than the RAM you selected.

Now we are back $5 under budget. Unfortunately, I'd like to put us $20 back over budget by getting this 640GB WD hard drive which is a better performer and has double the storage capacity of the one you selected, for only $25 more.

I was stressing to see how to cut $20 from the system to keep it under budget, but I see both the motherboard and monitor have $20 rebates that you didn't factor into the price. Including those, we are still $20 under budget. :)

If you're still looking to save money, this motherboard is $10 cheaper AR and is basically identical to the motherboard you've chosen, but with only one PCI-E x16 slot and only one ethernet port. But, unless you were planning on using CrossFire (which you wouldn't be since you're using a NVIDIA GPU), or connecting to more than one network via ethernet cable, then you won't miss those features.
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Thanks all, for your good suggestions. I'm revising my idea; I'll keep you updated :)
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