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Gaming Comp for around 1000 bucks?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Nitam, Nov 26, 2009.

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  1. Nitam

    Nitam Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Alright, so I'm a college student and between work-study and the occasional random job, I've got a bit of extra cash that I don't immediately need to throw at tuition, so I figured it's about time for a computer upgrade. My troubleshooting thread here ended with the conclusion that my old comp's hard drive is shot, and as my graphics card could probably use an upgrade too, I figured I might as well get a new system.

    Price Range: Obviously, the target would be around 1000 bucks. I could probably stretch to around 1200ish and of course if I waited a bit longer, I'd have more money. But... waiting sucks.

    My old system:

    500 gb hard drive
    4 gb DDR2
    Pentium E2220 (C) 2.4 GHz (65W)
    GeForce 8600 GT OC
    vista 32-bit

    What I'm lookin for:

    A gaming computer. I don't need the computer for any whips and jingles, id est Blu-ray, DVD burner, webcam... whatever the young folks are up to these days. I just want to game. I've looked around at Best Buy and newegg, but I don't feel as comfortable as I used to shopping for computers. The only thing I've really been playing intensively latey is League of Legends, which I can play on low settings on my current rig. However, I'm probably going to pick up Dragon Age: Origins soon and of course, there's a lot of pretty graphically intensive games coming out soon with Christmas approaching.

    Basically, I want a computer that I won't have to worry about upgrading for a while, but which leaves room for future upgrading if/when I need to.

    So, of course links to awesome, l33t, relatively cheap computers is much appreciated, but general advice would be helpful too. Should I go with a mass-market computer- if so, which brand? Should I go to an independent builder- if so, what parts specifically should I shoot at? Building it myself isn't really an option since I'm a philosophy major.... it's just not my thing. :D

    Thanks ahead of time.
     
  2. Ecf1

    Ecf1

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    Messages:
    78
    Building is almost always the better option. So you should build.

    cpu: core i7 920
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202&cm_re=i7_920-_-19-115-202-_-Product

    mobo: an asus one
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188039

    ram: 4gb ddr3
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231180

    psu: 750w+
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006

    case: mid tower
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147075

    hdd: reuse your 500gb

    odd: doesn't matter
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106274

    video card: hd 4890
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102852&cm_re=4890-_-14-102-852-_-Product

    os: i assume you can still just use vista unless you want to spend the money for windows 7

    so, before shipping, this comes to about $985 and it will last a long time

    here it is in a wishlist
    https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=12920406

    EDIT: do note that the hd 4890 uses directx 10.1 and the new one is directx11
    you can spend a little bit more for the directx11 cards, but the performance decreases by a wide margin

    EDIT2: building a computer is not nearly as hard as it sounds.
     
  3. Compiler

    Compiler

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    5,855
    Your computer maybe upgradable. Is your current computer a name-brand system or a custom built system?

    Your CPU is about a year old so if your system board is a P45 chipset, then you have options.

    $1000 is more than enough for a gaming system. You could try to locate a consultant to build a system for you.... or buy a Pre-built system and change a part or two...

    Like this Dell XPS $740 w/4GB RAM: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellst...wkw1&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=studio-xps-8000
    Go with its default configuration (other than memory) - since any upgrade costs major $$$... like going from a 500GB HD to a 1000GB HD = $150 extra in price, yet if you bought such HDs off the shelf at a local store - they are $75 / $100. Or going from Win7Home to Win7Pro is $100 extra, even thou the typical OEM cost difference is $40 (Dell most likely pays M$ $50 for W7H and $65 for W7P)


    Then I would replace the PSU with a 550watt quality PSU: $90 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...04&cm_re=corsair_power-_-17-139-004-_-Product

    Gets you up to $830... Then the ATI 5770 = $170 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...0&bop=And&ActiveSearchResult=True&Order=PRICE

    Your total is then $1000 (before any tax or S&H)

    The regular Dell desktop is $100 less with an older intel tech CPU. Again, you can start with a basic system - then add/replace the PSU and video card.

    If you buy parts and build them yourself... a quick quote:

    $165 - X4 AMD
    $ 90 - Gigabyte motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128397
    $ 90 - 4GB DDR3 1066
    $ 90 - 550w Corsair PSU
    $ 55 - 500GB Seagate ($80 for 1TB)
    $ 55 - Antec 300 case (before $20 rebate) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...129042&cm_re=antec_300-_-11-129-042-_-Product
    $ 30 - DVD-RW drive Sony, pioneer, Samsung ($26~33)
    $105 - Windows7 Home 32 or 64bit. might as well be 64bit and you get a REAL disc
    ==================== CORE parts total:
    $685 - subtotal

    Going with the same $170 ATI 5770 brings your total to $865. Not including rebates or combo-deals with newegg. Which could reduce your cost by another $15~40. ie: buying the Gigabye 785G board with 4GB RAM = $15 savings. Then the AMD X4 955 CPU + ATI 5770 = $20 instant savings. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.280475

    Combo deal of PSU + DVD burner ($10) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...SubCategory=58&SortField=0&PageSize=10&page=1

    So, with combo deals and rebates... the final cost cost be: $630

    Doesn't include keyboard or mouse - get what you want... or use what you have. Note: you should be able to sell your old PC for about $150~200.

    Your call... :)
     
  4. IMiteBable2help

    IMiteBable2help

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,094
    Build, don't buy, like these guys say. Might even be able to swap out your mobo for something that will let you run a striped raid array, and dual crossfire graphics, with HD audio. It is conceivable that you could end up with a decent gaming PC for less than $1000
     
  5. Nitam

    Nitam Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
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    Haha alright, I'll give building a shot. However, my experience with computer hardware is pretty limited. I know how to replace graphics cards, add memory, replace PSU's, I know where the power headers go and stuff... but I don't feel like that adds up to building a computer. Is there a guide on the specifics of it, or am I just worrying too much?

    Also, thanks a bunch for the help and the links, but you guys gave me two different potential systems- does it matter which one I choose?

    Lastly, my hard drive isn't re-usable. The heads in it are thrashing or something- my BIOs in my old rig doesn't even recognize that its plugged in, or that its a hard drive anymore. So I need another one.

    In any case, are you guys telling me that I just go on new egg, buy all the stuff you listed, have it shipped to me and just plug it all in? That sounds actually kinda doable.
     
  6. Ecf1

    Ecf1

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    Messages:
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    The one I picked out is more powerful, but way more expensive.
    It's really just your choice. Money or Power?
    There are countless videos out there that will show you how to build a computer.
     
  7. BruinBeer

    BruinBeer

    Joined:
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    There is also a sticky here on the hardware forum and its really a helpfull guide when building your own system
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  8. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

    Joined:
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    Building a computer is fairly easy, and we can help if you run into problems along the way.

    One problem we can't fix is if you install case standoffs in wrong places under the motherboard :eek: (they go only where there are screw holes in the motherboard).
     
  9. loserOlimbs

    loserOlimbs

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    Messages:
    7,800
    I would go Comiler's route... a better GPU matters more than having an i& for a gaming build.
     
  10. Compiler

    Compiler

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
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    5,855
    Well, if you've done those things already (GPU / PSU / RAM) - that is about half the job.

    Whats different or added?
    4 screws per drive. (8 total)
    9 screws for the motherboard into the case - this biggest challenge is to (A) install the stand-offs (where the screws go into) - they must match the motherboard. If you add to many... uh oh. (B) don't drop anything or bend anything or something that damages the board (C) invest in a anti-static wrist strap or ground your self a lot. Those most delicate parts to handle will be Motherboard, RAM, CPU and GPU (in that order). Don't touch (avoid) any contacts / pins of those parts.


    Order of things:
    1 - Study PC building, upack parts, have a nice table space work area... a kitchen counter or dining room table. Without carpet is best.

    2 - install stand ins to match board, put in mobo at angle before layout
    3 - install PSU, move cabling out of way. Attach case connectors to mobo (power / reset buttons)
    4 - install drives, then CPU, then memory then GPU (CPU pops in, push down a lever two and your done)
    5 - plug in power cables to devices (GPU / mobo / drives)
    6 - double check everything - don't force ANYTHING. refer to manual for ANYTHING you put in. Proper memory installation, etc.
    7 - pray, power up and install Windows7 (or other OS).

    The AMD setup is cheaper and easier to build. Yes, the i7 is faster in many cases - but not all. When playing games, the difference in performance between a $60 AMD X2 CPU and a $600 i7 CPUs (both systems with same RAM & $400+ graphics card) is not much... the AMD X2 may get 95fps vs 130fps. Both are well above 30/60fps (30fps = min. 60fps = preferred). The $165 AMD X4 955 @ 122fps vs $550 i7-870 @ 132fps or $280 i7-920 @ 120fps. note: intel i7 builds will add about $100~200 to the cost for RAM & mobo alone). Here, check this out: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?b=48

    The video card is a bit tricky at this point.
    For DX11 - the ATI 5770 is recommend at $165... but you could get the $300 5850 which is a lot faster (a bit louder)... once its in stock. But the DX10 4870 used to be a $130 card (discontinued) which is a bit faster than the 5770, has gone up in price. The AMD 785G mobo I recommended has onboard video if you wish to use that for a while until the 5850 becomes more available in stock. Even the $400 5870s are flying off the shelves. :(

    For Geforce: theres the GTX 260... but its sometimes slower than the 5770 and is a DX10 part... at $200. Unfortunately, the strained supplies of the 5850 keeps its price high (Its MSRP is $250). After that, There are no GeForces that compete against Radeaons 5800s.... if people can get them. PS; as of this moment, there is a single 5850 on newegg... for $360. Ouch... that could be gone soon. But by Jan/FEB - there should be plenty of 5800s and the price will be around $250~275. :( PS2: Even the $650 5970, they are having trouble keeping in stock!

    So for video card choices here are options:
    5770 - to use for most of the year until the 5850 becomes a $200 part... or you're ready for more speed.
    4670 - a $65 part, to hold you over until the 5850 become a $200~250 part. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...n=4670&Ntk=&CFG=&SpeTabStoreType=&srchInDesc= (The HIS 1GB with dual slot cooling is out of stock -$65. But get any of the other dual-sloters).

    So... if you think the 5770 is all you need for 1+ year, it would be fine to get. Want something that'll be about the best... you going to have to wait. Graphic benchmarks:
    5770 review (Includes 5800s) - read then go to 1st page: http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3658&p=6
    5850 review http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3650
     
  11. Nitam

    Nitam Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Alright, as for parts- it looks like I can get pretty much everything off newegg, but is there another place I should look if newegg goes out of stock?

    Again, thanks everyone for the help, especially Compiler... you wrote a small essay. ^^

    Also- could you give me a couple more links if it's not too much trouble? There's quite a few 500 gig Seagate HDD's. And there's a lot of reviews on newegg about Seagate hard drives freezing/crashing (sorta like mine did). Are Western Digital's any better?

    or this
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218
     
  12. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

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    I wouldn't worry about newegg.com not being able to delivery items listed on their website. But in that event there is zipzoomfly.com or frys.com.
     
  13. Nitam

    Nitam Thread Starter

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  14. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

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    It should be about the same. FWIW, I have had Seagate drives last for ages. And WD drives last for ages too. Sometimes you might get a bad one though.
     
  15. Nitam

    Nitam Thread Starter

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    What difference does having a bigger hard drive cache make?
     
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