Jump to content


Getting a Gaming PC...


  • Please log in to reply
703 replies to this topic

#1 archermitch

archermitch

    Legendary

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 728 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 13 September 2007 - 11:04 PM

So I've given up on gaming with my Mac Mini and have decided to purchase a gaming pc. But before I make it official, I need to know prices and if the industry is just about to release a breakthrough, or if prices are going down. I just want to run F.E.A.R., Half-Life 1 & 2, Stranglehold, Gears of War, and Starcraft II. All help is appreciated!
Mac Tip of the Day is a podcast, blog, archive, e-mail subscription, etc. of for clever mac tip every day!
Also check out Mac Tip of the Day for the Iphone

Click Here and join Gamefly!

Current Comp:
Intel Mac Mini OS 10.4.10
1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo
2 GB DDR2 SDRAM

Correct me if I'm wrong. It happens often.

#2 The Red Scare

The Red Scare

    Fan

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 47 posts

Posted 14 September 2007 - 12:31 AM

I just bought a gaming PC a couple weeks ago after doing a lot of research, so maybe I can help.

I don't think there are any upcoming "breakthroughs."  Prices for CPUs have come down a lot from last year.

With regards to video cards, aside from the very high-end Nvidia 8800 and Radeon 2900 lines, most of the new DirectX 10 cards aren't very good.  So unless you plan on spending a lot of money, I would suggest getting a computer with a high-end DX9 card like the Radeon x1950 pro (512mb), or the GeForce 8600gts which is the only reasonably-priced DX10 card available now that offers comparable performance to the last-gen DX9 cards.

With regards to a CPU, Intel is supposedly a bit better than AMD for gaming, but it is also more expensive.  Something like an Intel 6600 Core 2 Duo or an AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ are really fast processors that aren't too pricey. I opted for the latter on my computer.

You should plan on getting 2 gigs of RAM, as the new games that are coming out really need this much to run smoothly.

One thing you should pay attention to is getting a decent power supply, or else your computer components wont be able to work at full capacity, especially when gaming.  This is not something I knew anything about until I started shopping for a computer.  You should aim to get a power supply that is at least 420 watts.  I got a 500w one to be on the safe side....the next generation video cards are sure to be power hogs.

I purchased my computer from pcusa.com.  Other places that sell computers cheaply are cyberpowerpc.com and ibuypower.com.  These places let you customize your computer to your specifications, which I found really useful.  They're not brand name computers, but the big price difference makes up for this in my opinion.

The computer I just got is awesome.  It plays all the new games (Bioshock, Medal of Honor: Airborne, Oblivion, Stalker) great at very high settings.  It cost me $815 including shipping, but didn't come with a monitor or operating system (I have my own copy of Windows XP, and I bought a 24" widescreen monitor separately for $200).
Here are the specs:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (dual 3Ghz)
2 Gigs ram
DVD/CD-RW
320gb HD
Radeon x1950pro (512mb)
500W power supply

Let me know if you have any other questions, and good luck!
Check out my beats and stuff...
http://www.soundclick.com/redscare

#3 PeopleLikeFrank

PeopleLikeFrank

    Uberspewer

  • IMG Pro Users
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2690 posts
  • Location:The Republic of Soviet Canukistan
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 September 2007 - 08:22 AM

Now is an excellent time for PC hardware - processors have been getting cheaper, along with RAM. I just put together a pretty powerful rig for a friend at ~$800

Intel Q6600 quad core @ 2.4GHz - $275
Gigabyte Mobo (can't remember the exact one - 1 PCIe x16, SATAII, no firewire, onboard audio) - $100
2GB OCZ Gold DDR2 800 RAM  - $60 after rebate ($90 before)
500GB Seagate HD - $100
Some DVD Burner, decent brand, same as all the others - $30
Antec Sonata III with 500 Watt power supply included. - $100
He already had a keyboard/mouse/monitor.

I had a GeForce 7800 GT kicking around from before my last upgrade, so I gave that to him cheap, but you could get a 320MB 8800 GTS for around $300, or an X1900 for around $200.

He was going to use it for a lot of 3D modelling as well as gaming, so I wanted to get him started off with a good multi-core CPU. The motherboard is a good board with the P35 chipset, but not intended for heavy overclocking, which he doesn't intend to do. I figured it was best to just get him started with a fast Mobo/CPU base, and older vid card (though that one is still decent), and let him upgrade to the next gen of DX parts when they come out.

You could also drop down to a 2-core CPU and save a few bucks there. We could probably get in a big argument about whether to bother with >2 cores for gaming. The short answer is right now, there's no point, in a few months there will be a couple of game that use it, and in a year or two it will be really worth it. By then you might be ready to upgrade anyway though. It's worth noting that if you're in to overclocking, most of the recent Intel chips will give you really good results most of the time.

The only big deal coming up is 45nm Penrynn based processors from Intel, as well as the new Phenom chips from AMD. The former aren't due until early 2008, and the latter late this year, so I'd say it's not worth waiting for the ~10% speed boost over current models. There will be new parts from nVidia within the next 4-5 months is my guess, and I have no idea about ATI/AMD, so you could either go for one of the 8800 parts now, or go for a cheap last-gen part like X1900 and wait to see what's around the corner. Some companies like Evga offer 90 day step-up programs, where if a new part comes out within 3 months of your purchase, you can pay the difference to get the new part.
The dork formerly known as nobody
---
MBP: C2D @ 2.66 Ghz | GeForce 9600M GT 256Mb | 8GB RAM | 120GB SSD + 500GB HD | 10.6.2 / W7 x64
PC: Q9550 | 6950 2GB | 8GB RAM | 80GB SSD + 750GB HD | W7 x64

#4 archermitch

archermitch

    Legendary

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 728 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 14 September 2007 - 08:27 AM

wow! That was way cheaper than I expected it to be! That was a very helpful post. I just wish I hadn't tried to push gaming on my mini... :( I put in 2 gb of ram a month ago...

So did you build your PCs? How much does Windows cost?

It seems like $800 is pretty standard, but you guys are building desktops. I was looking for a laptop. (which I didn't mention :P) I'm guessing that they're more expensive. Keep in mind I'm on a low budget. So 800 is a little out of my price range, but it's flexible. I'm trying to think of buying a pc like buying a console. I'll never use the operating system and will only take it out to play games.
Mac Tip of the Day is a podcast, blog, archive, e-mail subscription, etc. of for clever mac tip every day!
Also check out Mac Tip of the Day for the Iphone

Click Here and join Gamefly!

Current Comp:
Intel Mac Mini OS 10.4.10
1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo
2 GB DDR2 SDRAM

Correct me if I'm wrong. It happens often.

#5 PeopleLikeFrank

PeopleLikeFrank

    Uberspewer

  • IMG Pro Users
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2690 posts
  • Location:The Republic of Soviet Canukistan
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 September 2007 - 08:37 AM

I think it would be pretty hard to find a decent gaming laptop for < $800. Almost anything in that price range is going to have integrated graphics, and then you're in the same boat as the mini. I'd be surprised if you could find anything with a halfway decent video card for less than about $1200 - $1400.

I built my PC. You can find online retailers with OEM copies of Vista home premium for around $120. I've seen specials for ~$100 when bundled with some other part (CPU or Mobo usually).

You could shave a few dollars off of the system I specified and get something for $500-600, but remember that a good video card will start to be around the same price as a console. (i.e. $300 for the lower-end of the high-performance bracket, $150 - $250 for midrange cards). This isn't a big deal for me, since I figure the rest of the computer is useful for many things, and it's only the graphics card that's there specifically for gaming. If you're trying to build a 'PC as console' though, it can start to seem quite expensive.
The dork formerly known as nobody
---
MBP: C2D @ 2.66 Ghz | GeForce 9600M GT 256Mb | 8GB RAM | 120GB SSD + 500GB HD | 10.6.2 / W7 x64
PC: Q9550 | 6950 2GB | 8GB RAM | 80GB SSD + 750GB HD | W7 x64

#6 Hansi

Hansi

    Master Blaster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1731 posts
  • Steam ID:hansroberth
  • Location:London, UK

Posted 14 September 2007 - 08:48 AM

In my opinion buying a Laptop for gaming only is pretty much as bad an idea as buying a Mac Mini for gaming, it's basically just throwing money away. I recommend switching, selling the MacMini, buying a MacBook (refurb or used) and then build a deskotop PC gaming machine.

#7 Huntn

Huntn

    Verbal Windbag

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4074 posts
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 September 2007 - 08:56 AM

View Postnobody, on September 14th 2007, 09:37 AM, said:

I built my PC. You can find online retailers with OEM copies of Vista home premium for around $120. I've seen specials for ~$100 when bundled with some other part (CPU or Mobo usually).

I've played alot on the inside of both my Mac and PC- RAM, harddrive, DVD player upgrades, etc. I feel very confident I could build one from scratch, but what is the hardest part of self building a computer? My impression is that it is getting bios configured and I have done a little of that too (going in to change settings for boot order and similiar). One warning I heard from a local retail PC builder. It could have been a plot but they said they are seeing lots of problems with Vista and getting hardware drivers to work right with it.

As far as Hansi's comment, my plan is to have a MacBookPro and take whatever gaming it will give me while traveling. At home I'll have a gaming PC and I'll keep my G5 until it croaks and then make a decision about hooking up a monitor and keyboard the laptop or replace the G5 with an iMac.

#8 PeopleLikeFrank

PeopleLikeFrank

    Uberspewer

  • IMG Pro Users
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2690 posts
  • Location:The Republic of Soviet Canukistan
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:04 AM

View PostHuntn, on September 14th 2007, 10:56 AM, said:

I've played alot on the inside of both my Mac and PC- RAM, harddrive, DVD player upgrades, etc. I feel very confident I could build one from scratch, but what is the hardest part of self building a computer? My impression is that it is getting bios configured and I have done a little of that too (going in to change settings for boot order and similiar). One warning I heard from a local retail PC builder. It could have been a plot but they said they are seeing lots of problems with Vista and getting hardware drivers to work right with it.

We didn't have to do any BIOS configuration with that last PC. As long as the parts are all compatible, then there shouldn't be any need. You have to be careful when installing the CPU, just treat it nice. Almost everything is keyed so that you can't install anything wrong. It takes a bit of peering at the mobo manual to figure out which case cables (activity lights, power switches, front audio/data ports) go on which pins on the mobo, but that's not hard either.

The only difficulty we ran into was forgetting a secondary power cable to the mobo (there's the main ATX power connector, and a smaller 4 pin one), so the computer wouldn't boot at first. We were a bit panicky until we realized it was just a dumb mistake, plugged in the extra cable, and away it went. That's the main thing - just make sure you haven't forgotten everything. Sounds obvious, but there are a whole bunch of cables for power, fans, etc. in there.

Seriously, with a lot of the newer cases having tool-less installation features, and the fact that everything is keyed, it's super easy to put together hardware these days.

You can mess about with the BIOS a bit - it's not hard, but you don't usually need to. I set it to not bother trying to boot off of the optical drive once the OS was installed, and I turned off the default splash screen that my mobo displayed ('cause it was ugly), but that's about it. If you get a mobo with integrated graphics or sound, you sometimes have to turn of those devices in the BIOS when installing a dedicated card (we had to do that with that same friend's last comp when he bought a video card to replace the integrated one), but most motherboards you'd buy as a gamer don't have integrated graphics these days anyhow.

The problems with Vista are a slightly different matter - that's all software once the whole thing is up and running. Should be less of a problem as days go by and more hardware manufacturers get proper Vista drivers written.
The dork formerly known as nobody
---
MBP: C2D @ 2.66 Ghz | GeForce 9600M GT 256Mb | 8GB RAM | 120GB SSD + 500GB HD | 10.6.2 / W7 x64
PC: Q9550 | 6950 2GB | 8GB RAM | 80GB SSD + 750GB HD | W7 x64

#9 Huntn

Huntn

    Verbal Windbag

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4074 posts
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:57 AM

Nobody, could you recommend a good source for online parts and possibly a site that has compiled good combinations of hardware for this purpose- motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc? My plan is/was to wait until the Spring when hopefully by then driver issues had settled down and good DX10 cards are available. As long as my P4 hangs in there for some new games like Bioshock and possibly one of the trio of MMOs I'm considering (Conan, War, Tabula Rasa), my wait until Spring plan will work. If not I may move sooner.
Thanks!

#10 The Red Scare

The Red Scare

    Fan

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 47 posts

Posted 14 September 2007 - 10:19 AM

^^Newegg.com is one of the best places to buy computer parts online
Check out my beats and stuff...
http://www.soundclick.com/redscare

#11 PeopleLikeFrank

PeopleLikeFrank

    Uberspewer

  • IMG Pro Users
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2690 posts
  • Location:The Republic of Soviet Canukistan
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 September 2007 - 10:51 AM

View PostHuntn, on September 14th 2007, 11:57 AM, said:

Nobody, could you recommend a good source for online parts and possibly a site that has compiled good combinations of hardware for this purpose- motherboard, CPU, RAM, etc? My plan is/was to wait until the Spring when hopefully by then driver issues had settled down and good DX10 cards are available. As long as my P4 hangs in there for some new games like Bioshock and possibly one of the trio of MMOs I'm considering (Conan, War, Tabula Rasa), my wait until Spring plan will work. If not I may move sooner.
Thanks!

Newegg, as Red Scare recommended, is supposed to be one of the best for the States. I get most of my stuff from ncix.com, them being one of the better Canadian ones. They sell to the States as well, but I don't know how they compare to Newegg.
The dork formerly known as nobody
---
MBP: C2D @ 2.66 Ghz | GeForce 9600M GT 256Mb | 8GB RAM | 120GB SSD + 500GB HD | 10.6.2 / W7 x64
PC: Q9550 | 6950 2GB | 8GB RAM | 80GB SSD + 750GB HD | W7 x64

#12 Dark_Archon

Dark_Archon

    Master Blaster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1792 posts
  • Location:Rochester, NY

Posted 14 September 2007 - 10:55 AM

Vista has some real issues. A friend of mine recently got 2x Opteron 8218's off ebay for $500, an Asus 680a board, 8600 GT and 4 GB registered DDR2 800 RAM from Newegg, and Vista refuses to install for some weird reason.
Mac Pro 2.66 Ghz NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 7 GB RAM SONY DW-D150A SuperDrive

#13 DaveyJJ

DaveyJJ

    All hail Bastet

  • Forum Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3819 posts
  • Steam Name:DaveyJJ
  • Location:Inside Bastet's secret temple preparing for the catpocalypse.

Posted 14 September 2007 - 12:29 PM

Newegg I also recommend in the States (I lived there five years) and like nobody said, NCIX in Canada offers both great prices and outstanding service (combined with super speedy and cheap air delivery).
Raven 27" i3 iMac 3.2GHz | 12GB RAM | 1TB HD | 512MB 5670 ATI Radeon HD
Crow iPad 2 | 32GB WiFi


"Not my circus, not my monkeys." -- Polish folk saying
"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this." -- Terry Pratchett
"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul." -- Jean Cocteau

#14 Huntn

Huntn

    Verbal Windbag

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4074 posts
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 September 2007 - 02:43 PM

It's not so hard to find parts as it is to find the right combination of parts and get the big picture on the spectrum of processors to mobos and their capabilities. I'll check Newegg. Thanks!

#15 archermitch

archermitch

    Legendary

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 728 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 14 September 2007 - 04:53 PM

Thanks Guys! So here's my question. How much will my Mac Mini sell for (i upgraded it to 2 gb Ram so I have 2 gb installed and 512 MB stored in my closet to sell), how much would the Macbook cost, and how much would the pc cost? (keeping in mind that my list of games isn't too steep)

Also, how much more would it cost to get Bioshock running on a comp? Would the price difference be a lot larger if I went for that technology?
Mac Tip of the Day is a podcast, blog, archive, e-mail subscription, etc. of for clever mac tip every day!
Also check out Mac Tip of the Day for the Iphone

Click Here and join Gamefly!

Current Comp:
Intel Mac Mini OS 10.4.10
1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo
2 GB DDR2 SDRAM

Correct me if I'm wrong. It happens often.

#16 The Red Scare

The Red Scare

    Fan

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 47 posts

Posted 14 September 2007 - 05:47 PM

^The great thing about Macs is that they retain their value really well. I recently sold a rev. B iMac G5 for $700 on eBay.  That's only a few hundred less than I originally bought it for over two years ago.  You should look on eBay to see how much Mac Mini's similar to your's are going for.  My (very rough) guess is that you'll be able to sell it for around $400-500.

On the other hand, buying a Mac Book would be expensive.  Probably around $700-800 for a used one.

You can get Bioshock running on a pretty inexpensive PC gaming rig... $600 or so would do the trick,.  Although if you could afford it, it would probably be a good idea to spend an extra $200 to get something that will play upcoming games adequately.
Check out my beats and stuff...
http://www.soundclick.com/redscare

#17 archermitch

archermitch

    Legendary

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 728 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 14 September 2007 - 06:43 PM

Well, it would be very convenient to have a Macbook to make some desk-space, but it only lowers my budget for the pc... Give me some prices for other Mac laptops. Keep in mind that I need my Mac to be able to at least run word processors, Itunes, surf the web, and play Starcraft.
Mac Tip of the Day is a podcast, blog, archive, e-mail subscription, etc. of for clever mac tip every day!
Also check out Mac Tip of the Day for the Iphone

Click Here and join Gamefly!

Current Comp:
Intel Mac Mini OS 10.4.10
1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo
2 GB DDR2 SDRAM

Correct me if I'm wrong. It happens often.

#18 Huntn

Huntn

    Verbal Windbag

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4074 posts
  • Pro Member:Yes

Posted 14 September 2007 - 07:42 PM

View Postarchermitch, on September 14th 2007, 05:53 PM, said:

Thanks Guys! So here's my question. How much will my Mac Mini sell for (i upgraded it to 2 gb Ram so I have 2 gb installed and 512 MB stored in my closet to sell), how much would the Macbook cost, and how much would the pc cost? (keeping in mind that my list of games isn't too steep)

Also, how much more would it cost to get Bioshock running on a comp? Would the price difference be a lot larger if I went for that technology?

The Apple Store for Mac prices. Check ebay and see how many Mac Mini's are listed and what they are being bid up to. Bioshock (PC version) sells for $49. On a Mac, you'd also need WindowsXP whatever that goes for.

#19 archermitch

archermitch

    Legendary

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 728 posts
  • Location:California

Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:26 PM

I have Windows XP. I got it for my Mac Mini.
Mac Tip of the Day is a podcast, blog, archive, e-mail subscription, etc. of for clever mac tip every day!
Also check out Mac Tip of the Day for the Iphone

Click Here and join Gamefly!

Current Comp:
Intel Mac Mini OS 10.4.10
1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo
2 GB DDR2 SDRAM

Correct me if I'm wrong. It happens often.

#20 The Red Scare

The Red Scare

    Fan

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 47 posts

Posted 14 September 2007 - 11:04 PM

View Postarchermitch, on September 14th 2007, 11:26 PM, said:

I have Windows XP. I got it for my Mac Mini.

Did you buy the retail version (which sells for about $200) or the OEM version (which sells for around $85)?  If  you bought the latter, you might not be able to install it on a different computer.

View Postarchermitch, on September 14th 2007, 08:43 PM, said:

Well, it would be very convenient to have a Macbook to make some desk-space, but it only lowers my budget for the pc... Give me some prices for other Mac laptops. Keep in mind that I need my Mac to be able to at least run word processors, Itunes, surf the web, and play Starcraft.

Maybe a used G3 iBook?  You can get one for $175-$300 on eBay.
Check out my beats and stuff...
http://www.soundclick.com/redscare