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Buying a gaming pc help!

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Buying a gaming pc help!

Petersnoboard93
I'm trying to build a gaming pc on dell. I thought about building one myself but decided against it. So my question is, will this pc I build be a strong gaming pc, what should i upgrade? Thanks

Components
-Intel ? Core?2 Duo Processor E6400 (2.13GHz, 1066 FSB)

-Genuine Windows Vista? Home Premium

-19 inch E197FP Analog Flat Panel

-2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz- 2DIMMs

-320GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache?

-16x DVD+/-RW Drive

-Intel? Graphics Media Accelerator X3000

-Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
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    rwbyshe

    Sounds like a Dell XPS that you're looking at. Here's what I'd consider.

    1. The monitor - usually Dell bundles monitors in the package that have a Contrast Ratio of 500:1. I would opt NOT to have the monitor included and shop for one that has a minimum of 700:1 Contrast Ratio. The images are quite a bit better at the 700:1 level. A couple of great places to shop online are http://www.tigerdirect.com and http://www.pricewatch.com

    2. RAM, RAM, RAM - I'd opt for 4G of RAM if that is possible for you. I just bought a 2G upgrade to my Dell XPS from Crucial for $135. So Dell may not be the cheapest way to go for that upgrade. (http://www.crucial.com)

    3. Again, if it's feasable, I'd upgrade the CPU to at least a 2.4GHz and consider the 2.6GHz if that's possible.

    4. I have no clue about the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator but if it has 256M RAM it should suffice quite nicely. If it doesn't have 256M you can always upgrade it through Dell or by purchasing a video card later on.

    Those are my thoughts. Hope this helps.

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    0 Votes
    jondapicam

    I recommend building your own. You can get an excellent gaming system for a fraction of the cost. The site I recommend for components is newegg.com.

    Also, when picking out your video card, it's all about clockspeed, not memory. Keep that in mind.

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    0 Votes
    Mark W. Kaelin Editor

    You have got a good start there. I am currently looking to purchase my next gaming rig so I have been thinking long and hard about this. I see others have chimed in with similar advice, but I will reiterate:

    You need a standalone video card, the best one you can afford. I recommend one of the nVidia DirectX 10 compliant cards. nVidia has a whole line of cards ranging from around $150 to around $600.

    Personally, I buy Alienwares for the specific reason that they offer me more choices then Dell or HP.

    I also saw someone suggest that you stick with XPSP2 -- you'll regret that if you follow it. DirectX 10 is the next big thing in gaming and you don't want to miss it by not getting Vista.

    Good luck on the quest -- I'll blog about my experiences when I finally decide to pull the trigger.

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    0 Votes
    devesh

    Hi Mark

    Alienware is now owned by Dell, and their machines cost a bomb.

    I still advocate a wait approach to Vista, not from the Vista bugs stand-point, but getting drivers for the motherboards and other peripherals.

    How many games in the next 6 months do you think will support DX10 ?

    Regards

    Devesh

    +
    0 Votes

    And

    JamesRL

    For those of us playing today's games, upgrading to Vista means DX9 games run slower than they do under XP.

    James

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    0 Votes
    rbardy

    Not a bad start for a stock PC, but you would do much better to actually build your pwn. I can see that PC going cold in about 18 months. With a PC you build yourself, you can control (better) the upgrades and scaleability of it without having to worry about manufacture limitations.

    +
    0 Votes
    jkaras

    There has been a lot of good feedback for you. Basically you need a minimum of 2 gig. The more the merrier. Personally I would go with the pc-6400 ram since it is the new standard. It will stay relevant longer. I would start with 2 gigs and see how your computer performs to your needs. If you need more, then buy more especially if you could wait, it gets cheaper. You can always add it.

    I imagine you are quite proficient with computers so I would reccommend you building your own. You can save money and get quality parts and select brands that have good warrantees. If you are looking for a site that you can trust, has great customer reviews of issues with the parts, great deliveries, no hassel return or rma, then www.newegg.com is you place. I use them exclusively and I never have an issue with them vs other sites. For HDDs I would buy Seagate because they have a 5 year warrantee even on the oem! Thats what I get and it is mondo cheaper. As for processor its a coin flip for either Conroe or the AMD X2 line. If you go with the Conroe the reviews for the 2.4 are quite stellar. If you go with the Conroe chip then you better overclock because that is why you buy it. It has the capability to go from 2.4 to 3.4!!! You cant find that sort of overclock anywhere. If you do then you need the right ram and a better cooling solution. Also they have improved the L1 cache and L2 for gaming purposes. Another site for part reviews is www.pcstats.com and of course www.tomshardware.com. They have good relatively unbiased tests of cutting edge parts.

    Because XP is almost out of support you have to go to Vista. It is too early to trust it mind you but if you gotta go with Vista I would go with Ultimate simply for the extra perks. There is no real security difference between the versions just added bonuses. I would use Xp and once Vista gets going, then get it.

    For the video card of course everything is PCI express now. Go to newegg and see the reviews. You will see which to stay away from, which have driver issues, noise problems ect... If you buy a Dell box you can make it a great upgrade with a high quality card and ram. Only problem you would have is power consumption where you would have to get a good one. If you are gaming a flat screen cant handle the refresh rates that a crt can. If you go with a flat panel then you need to cough up some serious moola. Flat screens are nice for space but not for gaming. They have come along way but they are not quite there unless you spend rediculous money. Also games dont need a huge HDD. Sure they page out during gaming but you dont need a mondo drive. The faster the drive the better and I use 7,200 IDE and they are fine. Sata is the new standard and like I said OEM drives are cheap with the same warrantee. Get a few and and you will be fine. Never forget just becasue Dell built it doesnt mean the warrantee is that great. You still have to talk to someone overseas. You buy a prefab box and you pay extra for that warrantee which isnt that great to begin with.

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    0 Votes
    joels

    If you are looking for a gaming PC & would like something similar to an Alienware product, check out www.cyberpowerpc.com.

    You can buy a pre-configured gaming system from them, or do like I did & have them custom build one for you with the components & software of your choice.

    This way you can also eliminates all the bloatware associated with the name brand PC's.

    +
    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    I know I've commented elsewhere, but so many people determined to get you to spend a ton of $$, when it is not really necessary.

    1) Your Processor. Believe it or not most current games are not processor intensive. Having a Core2Duo is good, and will give you a marginal improvement over a regular single core Pentium. Don't feel you have to get the faster ones, just wait. If in two years you are buying games that slow down your PC, you will find that faster Core 2Duos will be reasonably cheap (or quad cores).

    2) Vista. Few games take advantage of DX10. If you really want them, then you have to go Vista. Otherise you may find, as I pointed out in another message, that older games run slower in Vista (of course having fast HW may compensate).

    3) 19 inch Flat Panel. I am an old guy, I still use a CRT. They are still brighter and faster, though the gap is always gettings narrower with time. Many gamers find LCDs easier on the eyes. I also like having the higher 1600x1200 resolution on my CRT - thats important for gaming.

    3) 2 GB of RAM. This is the sweet spot for most gamers today. A 32 bit OS will only recognise 3.5 GB. A big question of course is do you have more slots to add more ram.

    4) SATA. In most games the only thing that HD speed has an impact on is load times, and even then its a wuestionn of waiting a few seconds more.

    5) DVD RW - some games come on DVD these days, but again, has no real impact expect when installing games.

    6) Video card As stated before, this is where you need to spend. But you can get a decent card for $200. If you are focussed on Vista and DX10, then look at the new 8600 series from nVidia. In most current games the difference between a card with 512 MB and 256 is negligible. I would much rather have a faster GPU with 256 than a slower one with 512.

    7) Audio - $100 will get you a decent Soundblaster card that will take some load off the CPU. Consider if you are going for multispeakers. Again, you can delay that purchase now and add it later.

    James

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    0 Votes
    support

    You have made some good suggestions, but the thing about the processor and upgrading to a better chip later, all depends on the capabilities of the Motherboard. Again, our friend here, is using a shoe-string budget for building a Gaming PC. The processor becomes more important to overall performance when you start using the cheaper Graphics and Sound Cards. The beefer the graphics cards and sound cards, the less work the processor will have to do! The best rule, as I stated earlier, is go check out the Games intended to be played, and make sure the system will handle the minimum requirements, but shoot for the 'Recommended System Config'. And as someone else suggested, he really should consider going with Window XP Professional w/service pack 2, as opposed to going Vista. That might save him a $100 bucks or so there, and they would have a much more stable platform. But they need to make sure their processor at least meets he minimum requirements their game is calling for, and if they can't afford to do the 'recommended processor, then somewhere in the middle would be what I would do, if at all possible. Also check the game(s) you are wanting play's website, especially the forums and see if it is having issues with Vista!

    Just my experience in building gaming PC's on a budget, then having to deal with the consequences of my choices.

    Later.

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    0 Votes
    meryllogue

    Video card will be extremely important, as pointed out so many times above. Check out this site... it divides cards by class. You need a Class 1 for serious gaming. http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-Quadro-NVS-110M.2435.0.html or at http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html

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    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    I suggest :
    http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html as one place to start, you can compare two cards easily on many current games.

    www.guru3d.com is pretty good too.

    If I was building a gaming PC and had 100 extra dollars to spend, I would put it on a better video card every time.

    My current rig by the way is quite the budget outfit.

    Its a Dell Precision 470 workstation, just bought it off lease for $550 Cdn. It has a dual Core Xeon 3.2 processor (with room on the MB for a second one, which would cost me about $350), 2 GB of DDR2 RAM, 80GB SATA drive. It has a 550 watt PSU with 150 watt of that dedicated to the video card. The only issue is my PCI express 16 slot is beside the only PCI slot, and my video card takes room for the fan/heatsink, the fan needs the next slot room. There are other PCI X slots that I will never use. My system benchmarks very well.


    James

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    Crash84

    If your going to go with Dell, then look at the XPS machines. You can get them with SLI, dual video, SATA drives, and Creative sound. Also I would stayaway from Vista and go with XP for your operating system. Still to many bugs in Vista and not many games are supporting it yet.

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    0 Votes
    jw_dev

    I have owned a Dell XPS 400 since they released them back in October 2005. I just built a new machine to replace it, and I did so for the following reasons:

    1) Lack of space for better graphics cards (most high end cards for gaming run close to 10 inches in length nowadays), unless you buy an XPS 700 series (the only Dell with a case REASONABLY large enough to handle high-end graphics cards)

    2) Lack of a good stock PSU (only 375 watts in the XPS 400), and difficulty upgradeing (check forums, lots of people have issues upgrading PSU's when it comes to Dell because they tend to use BTX instead of ATX). If you want a gaming machine that is going to run a good graphics card, you will need a bigger power supply. You don't sound like you're going to run SLI (2 cards at once), so if you're going to maintain just 1 card then a 500 or 550 watt PSU would probably suit you just fine.

    3) Cooling. If you're buying an XPS machine it's closer to a gaming rig than other Dell lineups, however, if you really want to have a "gaming" machine that plays all the latest and greatest stuff, you WILL need a better graphics card and if we're talking Geforce 8800 whether it be the cheaper GTS version or the GTX, cooling is something Dell doesn't offer many options on. Those cards run very hot (GTX will get up to around 70 degrees celcius at least without 3rd party cooling)

    Also, you have to look at what resolutions you want to play your games at. If you want higher resolutions than 1280x1024, new games coming out are going to slow you down with a 512 MB card. The Geforce 8800 GTS 640MB card is a great buy for the money. Higher res = need more video ram. Games are also leaning more towards using heavy use of shaders and moving away from high polygon counts as in the past, so video ram is becoming more of a necessity.

    As far as graphics cards go in general, I would wait a few months - ATI is going to release a new line of high end cards that will force Nvidia to roll out something better than the Geforce 8800 GTX, which will drive prices down on those cards. I would pick up a GTX once prices drop because the card is a monster and it isn't going to remain in the 500-600 dollar arena for much longer.

    I would personally re-evaluate your decision to not build your own machine because once again, Dell uses BTX cases and motherboards, which are NOT standard. Also, Dell tends to use chipsets that are pretty much junk for their motherboards. If you ever wanted to upgrade your processor and keep using your Dell, you are forced to keep using the motherboard. New chipset came out? Too bad. New type of socket? Sorry, can't upgrade with a Dell.

    Also, now is a great time to build on your own because Intel just slashed prices big time on their Core2Duo chips that pretty much have put them right on par with prices of AMD and Core2Duo simply outperforms AMD right now.

    I'm sure I have more rambling thoughts in my head but hopefully some of this was useful.

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    0 Votes
    coffeyscompcenter

    have you priced anything at a local PC shop?? somewhere that you can walk in, pull up a stool and talk about your purchase. you are the exact type of customer my business serves. at the $1500 mark i can build you at least that much PC and probably more. plus i do it with full warrantied parts. there are a huge number of us out here who will do the same thing. ask around about local lan partys and go to one. then ask about who they would trust to build them a system. a lot build their own but a name or two will surface.
    i give credit to the big PC builders they have brilliant people in their marketing departments. they keep certain names at the tip of our tongues.
    i feel that without looking at a local builder you are cheating yourself!

  • +
    0 Votes
    rwbyshe

    Sounds like a Dell XPS that you're looking at. Here's what I'd consider.

    1. The monitor - usually Dell bundles monitors in the package that have a Contrast Ratio of 500:1. I would opt NOT to have the monitor included and shop for one that has a minimum of 700:1 Contrast Ratio. The images are quite a bit better at the 700:1 level. A couple of great places to shop online are http://www.tigerdirect.com and http://www.pricewatch.com

    2. RAM, RAM, RAM - I'd opt for 4G of RAM if that is possible for you. I just bought a 2G upgrade to my Dell XPS from Crucial for $135. So Dell may not be the cheapest way to go for that upgrade. (http://www.crucial.com)

    3. Again, if it's feasable, I'd upgrade the CPU to at least a 2.4GHz and consider the 2.6GHz if that's possible.

    4. I have no clue about the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator but if it has 256M RAM it should suffice quite nicely. If it doesn't have 256M you can always upgrade it through Dell or by purchasing a video card later on.

    Those are my thoughts. Hope this helps.

    +
    0 Votes
    jondapicam

    I recommend building your own. You can get an excellent gaming system for a fraction of the cost. The site I recommend for components is newegg.com.

    Also, when picking out your video card, it's all about clockspeed, not memory. Keep that in mind.

    +
    0 Votes
    Mark W. Kaelin Editor

    You have got a good start there. I am currently looking to purchase my next gaming rig so I have been thinking long and hard about this. I see others have chimed in with similar advice, but I will reiterate:

    You need a standalone video card, the best one you can afford. I recommend one of the nVidia DirectX 10 compliant cards. nVidia has a whole line of cards ranging from around $150 to around $600.

    Personally, I buy Alienwares for the specific reason that they offer me more choices then Dell or HP.

    I also saw someone suggest that you stick with XPSP2 -- you'll regret that if you follow it. DirectX 10 is the next big thing in gaming and you don't want to miss it by not getting Vista.

    Good luck on the quest -- I'll blog about my experiences when I finally decide to pull the trigger.

    +
    0 Votes
    devesh

    Hi Mark

    Alienware is now owned by Dell, and their machines cost a bomb.

    I still advocate a wait approach to Vista, not from the Vista bugs stand-point, but getting drivers for the motherboards and other peripherals.

    How many games in the next 6 months do you think will support DX10 ?

    Regards

    Devesh

    +
    0 Votes

    And

    JamesRL

    For those of us playing today's games, upgrading to Vista means DX9 games run slower than they do under XP.

    James

    +
    0 Votes
    rbardy

    Not a bad start for a stock PC, but you would do much better to actually build your pwn. I can see that PC going cold in about 18 months. With a PC you build yourself, you can control (better) the upgrades and scaleability of it without having to worry about manufacture limitations.

    +
    0 Votes
    jkaras

    There has been a lot of good feedback for you. Basically you need a minimum of 2 gig. The more the merrier. Personally I would go with the pc-6400 ram since it is the new standard. It will stay relevant longer. I would start with 2 gigs and see how your computer performs to your needs. If you need more, then buy more especially if you could wait, it gets cheaper. You can always add it.

    I imagine you are quite proficient with computers so I would reccommend you building your own. You can save money and get quality parts and select brands that have good warrantees. If you are looking for a site that you can trust, has great customer reviews of issues with the parts, great deliveries, no hassel return or rma, then www.newegg.com is you place. I use them exclusively and I never have an issue with them vs other sites. For HDDs I would buy Seagate because they have a 5 year warrantee even on the oem! Thats what I get and it is mondo cheaper. As for processor its a coin flip for either Conroe or the AMD X2 line. If you go with the Conroe the reviews for the 2.4 are quite stellar. If you go with the Conroe chip then you better overclock because that is why you buy it. It has the capability to go from 2.4 to 3.4!!! You cant find that sort of overclock anywhere. If you do then you need the right ram and a better cooling solution. Also they have improved the L1 cache and L2 for gaming purposes. Another site for part reviews is www.pcstats.com and of course www.tomshardware.com. They have good relatively unbiased tests of cutting edge parts.

    Because XP is almost out of support you have to go to Vista. It is too early to trust it mind you but if you gotta go with Vista I would go with Ultimate simply for the extra perks. There is no real security difference between the versions just added bonuses. I would use Xp and once Vista gets going, then get it.

    For the video card of course everything is PCI express now. Go to newegg and see the reviews. You will see which to stay away from, which have driver issues, noise problems ect... If you buy a Dell box you can make it a great upgrade with a high quality card and ram. Only problem you would have is power consumption where you would have to get a good one. If you are gaming a flat screen cant handle the refresh rates that a crt can. If you go with a flat panel then you need to cough up some serious moola. Flat screens are nice for space but not for gaming. They have come along way but they are not quite there unless you spend rediculous money. Also games dont need a huge HDD. Sure they page out during gaming but you dont need a mondo drive. The faster the drive the better and I use 7,200 IDE and they are fine. Sata is the new standard and like I said OEM drives are cheap with the same warrantee. Get a few and and you will be fine. Never forget just becasue Dell built it doesnt mean the warrantee is that great. You still have to talk to someone overseas. You buy a prefab box and you pay extra for that warrantee which isnt that great to begin with.

    +
    0 Votes
    joels

    If you are looking for a gaming PC & would like something similar to an Alienware product, check out www.cyberpowerpc.com.

    You can buy a pre-configured gaming system from them, or do like I did & have them custom build one for you with the components & software of your choice.

    This way you can also eliminates all the bloatware associated with the name brand PC's.

    +
    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    I know I've commented elsewhere, but so many people determined to get you to spend a ton of $$, when it is not really necessary.

    1) Your Processor. Believe it or not most current games are not processor intensive. Having a Core2Duo is good, and will give you a marginal improvement over a regular single core Pentium. Don't feel you have to get the faster ones, just wait. If in two years you are buying games that slow down your PC, you will find that faster Core 2Duos will be reasonably cheap (or quad cores).

    2) Vista. Few games take advantage of DX10. If you really want them, then you have to go Vista. Otherise you may find, as I pointed out in another message, that older games run slower in Vista (of course having fast HW may compensate).

    3) 19 inch Flat Panel. I am an old guy, I still use a CRT. They are still brighter and faster, though the gap is always gettings narrower with time. Many gamers find LCDs easier on the eyes. I also like having the higher 1600x1200 resolution on my CRT - thats important for gaming.

    3) 2 GB of RAM. This is the sweet spot for most gamers today. A 32 bit OS will only recognise 3.5 GB. A big question of course is do you have more slots to add more ram.

    4) SATA. In most games the only thing that HD speed has an impact on is load times, and even then its a wuestionn of waiting a few seconds more.

    5) DVD RW - some games come on DVD these days, but again, has no real impact expect when installing games.

    6) Video card As stated before, this is where you need to spend. But you can get a decent card for $200. If you are focussed on Vista and DX10, then look at the new 8600 series from nVidia. In most current games the difference between a card with 512 MB and 256 is negligible. I would much rather have a faster GPU with 256 than a slower one with 512.

    7) Audio - $100 will get you a decent Soundblaster card that will take some load off the CPU. Consider if you are going for multispeakers. Again, you can delay that purchase now and add it later.

    James

    +
    0 Votes
    support

    You have made some good suggestions, but the thing about the processor and upgrading to a better chip later, all depends on the capabilities of the Motherboard. Again, our friend here, is using a shoe-string budget for building a Gaming PC. The processor becomes more important to overall performance when you start using the cheaper Graphics and Sound Cards. The beefer the graphics cards and sound cards, the less work the processor will have to do! The best rule, as I stated earlier, is go check out the Games intended to be played, and make sure the system will handle the minimum requirements, but shoot for the 'Recommended System Config'. And as someone else suggested, he really should consider going with Window XP Professional w/service pack 2, as opposed to going Vista. That might save him a $100 bucks or so there, and they would have a much more stable platform. But they need to make sure their processor at least meets he minimum requirements their game is calling for, and if they can't afford to do the 'recommended processor, then somewhere in the middle would be what I would do, if at all possible. Also check the game(s) you are wanting play's website, especially the forums and see if it is having issues with Vista!

    Just my experience in building gaming PC's on a budget, then having to deal with the consequences of my choices.

    Later.

    +
    0 Votes
    meryllogue

    Video card will be extremely important, as pointed out so many times above. Check out this site... it divides cards by class. You need a Class 1 for serious gaming. http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-Quadro-NVS-110M.2435.0.html or at http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html

    +
    0 Votes
    JamesRL

    I suggest :
    http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html as one place to start, you can compare two cards easily on many current games.

    www.guru3d.com is pretty good too.

    If I was building a gaming PC and had 100 extra dollars to spend, I would put it on a better video card every time.

    My current rig by the way is quite the budget outfit.

    Its a Dell Precision 470 workstation, just bought it off lease for $550 Cdn. It has a dual Core Xeon 3.2 processor (with room on the MB for a second one, which would cost me about $350), 2 GB of DDR2 RAM, 80GB SATA drive. It has a 550 watt PSU with 150 watt of that dedicated to the video card. The only issue is my PCI express 16 slot is beside the only PCI slot, and my video card takes room for the fan/heatsink, the fan needs the next slot room. There are other PCI X slots that I will never use. My system benchmarks very well.


    James

    +
    0 Votes
    Crash84

    If your going to go with Dell, then look at the XPS machines. You can get them with SLI, dual video, SATA drives, and Creative sound. Also I would stayaway from Vista and go with XP for your operating system. Still to many bugs in Vista and not many games are supporting it yet.

    +
    0 Votes
    jw_dev

    I have owned a Dell XPS 400 since they released them back in October 2005. I just built a new machine to replace it, and I did so for the following reasons:

    1) Lack of space for better graphics cards (most high end cards for gaming run close to 10 inches in length nowadays), unless you buy an XPS 700 series (the only Dell with a case REASONABLY large enough to handle high-end graphics cards)

    2) Lack of a good stock PSU (only 375 watts in the XPS 400), and difficulty upgradeing (check forums, lots of people have issues upgrading PSU's when it comes to Dell because they tend to use BTX instead of ATX). If you want a gaming machine that is going to run a good graphics card, you will need a bigger power supply. You don't sound like you're going to run SLI (2 cards at once), so if you're going to maintain just 1 card then a 500 or 550 watt PSU would probably suit you just fine.

    3) Cooling. If you're buying an XPS machine it's closer to a gaming rig than other Dell lineups, however, if you really want to have a "gaming" machine that plays all the latest and greatest stuff, you WILL need a better graphics card and if we're talking Geforce 8800 whether it be the cheaper GTS version or the GTX, cooling is something Dell doesn't offer many options on. Those cards run very hot (GTX will get up to around 70 degrees celcius at least without 3rd party cooling)

    Also, you have to look at what resolutions you want to play your games at. If you want higher resolutions than 1280x1024, new games coming out are going to slow you down with a 512 MB card. The Geforce 8800 GTS 640MB card is a great buy for the money. Higher res = need more video ram. Games are also leaning more towards using heavy use of shaders and moving away from high polygon counts as in the past, so video ram is becoming more of a necessity.

    As far as graphics cards go in general, I would wait a few months - ATI is going to release a new line of high end cards that will force Nvidia to roll out something better than the Geforce 8800 GTX, which will drive prices down on those cards. I would pick up a GTX once prices drop because the card is a monster and it isn't going to remain in the 500-600 dollar arena for much longer.

    I would personally re-evaluate your decision to not build your own machine because once again, Dell uses BTX cases and motherboards, which are NOT standard. Also, Dell tends to use chipsets that are pretty much junk for their motherboards. If you ever wanted to upgrade your processor and keep using your Dell, you are forced to keep using the motherboard. New chipset came out? Too bad. New type of socket? Sorry, can't upgrade with a Dell.

    Also, now is a great time to build on your own because Intel just slashed prices big time on their Core2Duo chips that pretty much have put them right on par with prices of AMD and Core2Duo simply outperforms AMD right now.

    I'm sure I have more rambling thoughts in my head but hopefully some of this was useful.

    +
    0 Votes
    coffeyscompcenter

    have you priced anything at a local PC shop?? somewhere that you can walk in, pull up a stool and talk about your purchase. you are the exact type of customer my business serves. at the $1500 mark i can build you at least that much PC and probably more. plus i do it with full warrantied parts. there are a huge number of us out here who will do the same thing. ask around about local lan partys and go to one. then ask about who they would trust to build them a system. a lot build their own but a name or two will surface.
    i give credit to the big PC builders they have brilliant people in their marketing departments. they keep certain names at the tip of our tongues.
    i feel that without looking at a local builder you are cheating yourself!