Buying a gaming pc help!

By 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

-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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All Answers

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Small Problem

by troy1268 In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

I read your request and in my opinion I think you will have a slight slow down when you play games because of the Intel graphics installed. The sound card will probaly be better if you installed one from creative labs. You will definitely do better by installing at least a 512 mb card then you should not have any problems. But like I said it is my opinion, someone else may suggest something different

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A Couple of Thoughts

by rwbyshe In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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 and

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. (

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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Build Your Own

by jondapicam In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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

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

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A good start

by Mark W. Kaelin Editor In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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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Dell owns Alienware

by devesh In reply to A good start

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 ?



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by JamesRL In reply to Dell owns Alienware

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


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Not Bad

by rbardy In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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.

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Choose wisely

by jkaras In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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 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 and of course 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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If you would like to specify your comonents try CyberPower

by joels In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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

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.

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I'm a gamer, and I'm also thrifty

by JamesRL In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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.


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