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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Balancing Act...

by support In reply to I'm a gamer, and I'm also ...

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.


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Lookup place to compare Video cards

by meryllogue In reply to I'm a gamer, and I'm also ...

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. or at

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He isn't building a notebook

by JamesRL In reply to Lookup place to compare V ...

I suggest : as one place to start, you can compare two cards easily on many current games. 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.


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by Crash84 In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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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Power, cooling, and upgradeability of Dell

by jw_dev In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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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Try Local !

by coffeyscompcenter In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

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!

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My Suggested Specs

by mtarggart In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

I just built a new PC that I am going to use for gaming as well as other things. At this time, I spent just over $1200 buying everything from Notice I did not buy a monitor, keyboard/mouse or speakers because I have those things already.

Here is a list of what I have:

iStarUSA S-U-H35
Mother Board
MSI K9A Platinum
2GB mushkin enhanced HP2-6400

AMD Athlon64 x2 4600+ 2.4Ghz socket AM2

Video Card
Sapphire Radeon x1950GT 256MB

Power Supply
Hiper HPU-4K580 580W modular

Optical Drive

Hard Drive
2-Seagate Baracudda 7200rpm 250GB SATA

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

I am in the process of ordering 3 more Hard Drives becasue the case has 5 hot swap bays in the front.

The monitor I have now is a 21" CRT. I'v ebeen looking at LCD and there is a 19" Hanns-G for $169 that the reviews on say are great for gaming, if set up properly.

The Sapphire video card that I bought does support ATi's Crossfire so if I wanted to add another card in the future I could. It also supports HDCP.

I would avoid Vista for a while yet because with anything Microsoft, it will have bugs for probably the first year where as XP has been out for several years and is pretty stable.

So, if you really wanted, you could build a decent gaming system for $1500 easily. Like others have said, it all depends on how much eye candy you want and what type of games you will be playing.

Hope this helps.

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Graphically speaking

by Biggles2001 In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

Good Base, but graphically unsound, unless you intend skimping with Dell and buying outside them.
Specifically the graphics (which I think is on-board) is v. low spec. You should be looking at ATI x1950 or NVidia 880 with SLi dual card capabilities.
Display wise, you should be looking for a Digital monitor (not Analogue) with digital inputs, so you can pipe digital graphics straight through with no conversion, for max quality and performance.
Spend thh extra, you will not regret it !

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by davidconrad In reply to Graphically speaking

OK, everyone danced around it, but as I've built several systems for both high end graphic work and also for gaming, i've come to realize the importance of a very good MotherBoard.
All the other posters made some very good recommendations but a low end MB can hobble all those ideas. Nothing worse than a MB that can't take new hardware!
A good MB can get you started with good if not spectacular hardware and yet let you upgrade to the newest and baddest when your pocketbook is ready.
I personally like Abit or Gigabyte although almost all the MB manufacturers make at least one good board.
As someone posted earlier and can guide you to the board that you need.
I've bought the best MB I could find several times and populated them with good but not great hardware and later upgraded to the best. It can work well if you do your research.
Good luck and remember, Not all MotherBoards are built the same!

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Sub 800$ with 7600GT card (not counting monitor/OS)

by j-braden In reply to Buying a gaming pc help!

I got 720$ in my existing machine - put together in the last 2 weeks (not counting monitor - samsung 204b- 300$ back in Nov06, or speakers)

Core2duo - E6300 - 183$
Biostar T965 MB - 105$
2gig OCZ 6400-800mhz memory 160$
Nvidia 7600GT - 100$
ANTEC 400watt PS - 28$
WD160AAJS - sata2 56$
Thermal take Soprano 3 fan case 80$

Everything but the HD and case were from new egg and had rebates of from 20$ (for Video card and memory, to 30bucks for PS). Case and HD were from directron.

You might need more video card - depending on game you want and more PS wattage. But it CAN be done on a budget.
PS, I have had minimal luck overclocking my E6300. It will go about 10 percent over rated speed and then check out.. Many said this thing should go 3.2+gig.. but I have not tried too hard yet.

AND NO, you dont want to try it with ANY integrated graphics processor.

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