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Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby SlyckTom » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:13 am

My friend wants to build a gaming machine that can play graphics intensive games such as World of Warcraft and Crysis. I'm not much of a gamer and I'm sure there are many more people here that know about gaming PCs than I do. We put together a few things here, with the exception of the video card (considering the Nvidea 8600 GTS.)

As I'm reading more on this, I'm realizing the performance differences between PCI express 2.0 and 1.x. PCI Express 2.0 seems to be gaining a lot of momentum, maybe we should consider the upgrade?
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby Paladwyn » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:46 am

Without looking at the specs, I can kind of give you a bit of a heads up.

First, there is alot of difference between WoW and Crysis, so if he wants a machine to play WoW on full detail, a dual core, 2-4GB ram and a 8800 series or ATI 3000 series cards will be very sufficient. This will also run Crysis on moderate detail.

Now if you are really wanting to burn through the pocket book, go with a Quad-core, 4gb ram, and either nVidia 8800's in Sli or crossfire ATI's 3870 cards... This would produce an awesome machine...

As for PCI Express 1 or 2...if you aren't concerned with costs, go bigger...however, like i said this would only be for if you plan on wanting to run Crysis on high. WoW is an older game and doesn't require that much power.

I'd also consider going with a Raid 1 configuration to speed up read times on the hard drives, as most of your gaming is mostly reading anyways...it helps me.


*EDIT* Also, my case is decked out in awesome green cold cathodes on custom mounted switches I put in, and a remote start with external temp gauges. It does look nice if I've got it all together.
My configuration is a tad older, but:

Abit AT8 motherboard
AMD X2 4200+ processor
2 GB DDR Ram
2 x ATI Radeon x1600 Pro (crossfire)
2 x 250GB Sata Hard Drives

Video is obviously my bottleneck, and I would love to upgrade to 4GB of ram, then the machine would really rip. I (used) to run WoW on full detail at about 30fps.
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby MrFredPFL » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:56 am

Paladwyn wrote:Also, my case is decked out in awesome green cold cathodes on custom mounted switches I put in, and a remote start with external temp gauges. It does look nice if I've got it all together.


well cmon then, show it off. post some pics :)
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby Downloader » Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:33 am

It really depends on budget. IMO AMD is better for gaming.Motherboard and CPU are most important. Get the best motherboard possible considering CPU and cost. I would go for something with SLI or Crossfire (Depending on how much you want to spend you can get motherboards with 3 or even four PCI-e slots), DDR 3 ram isn't that good (unless overclocking) so DDR 2 is ok. Just make sure the board supports Dual channel ram. Everything else can be upgraded later. Depending on when this purchase is to be made you could wait for the DDR 4 boards to hit the market but thats going to be a few months at least. ATI and Nvidia are usually pretty close with their card performances, But I would probably get whatever Crysis supports better.

I just partially upgraded my rig (on a small budget) to improve my Age of Conan experience, It is a very resource intensive game. I got a AMD Athlon X2 Dual core 6000 @ 3Ghz, 2BG Ram, New Power supply, and Gigabyte S-series motherboard (GA-M61SME-S2) for $275 AU. No the motherboard is not Xfire or SLI capable, but I was on a tight budget. Still using my old Videocard ATI HD 2600 Pro but I will upgrade it later. Still using old HDD and Burner.

My Rig will run most games fairly well (once I get some spare cash to upgrade the GPU), can't comment on Crysis I have never played it. But I heard it needs a very very good machine to run well.

Without knowing the budget its hard to be specific. Good Luck shopping. 8)
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby Curmudgeon » Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:01 pm

Why are you buying a Ethernet card? The motherboard has built in.
I would look for a monitor with 2ms response GTG. Samsung makes some nice ones.
Unless your over clocking, I would skip the Arctic silver and CPU cooler.CPU comes with HS and fan ,yes?
I generally buy cases with P/S,some people around here would faint at the idea of not paying $300 for a P/S but
I have never had problems with it ,and really,the components that make a difference are so cheap I doubt there are any
real differences.
My $.02
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby Maestro120 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:02 pm

Just a note on the RAM. Anything above three Gigs, you need to have a 64 bit OS... regardless of whether its Vista or XP. Else it will not recognise that extra Gigabite. Three Gigs of RAM approximate is the limit seen by 32 bit OS.
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby HalOfBorg » Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:08 pm

Whenever I'm ready to build a new system, I always find this a good read:

http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/guide-200805.ars
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby Curmudgeon » Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:33 pm

Keep in mind that MB uses Intel chipset,so no SLI.
You have to go with ATI only for dual GPU's.
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby Paladwyn » Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:15 pm

MrFredPFL wrote:
Paladwyn wrote:Also, my case is decked out in awesome green cold cathodes on custom mounted switches I put in, and a remote start with external temp gauges. It does look nice if I've got it all together.


well cmon then, show it off. post some pics :)


You know...I just may :P

I've still got some stock of case modding stuff left over too..was thinking of using the Chameleon lights for something...just not sure where...

The bad thing about the clear sides, the plastic cracks from the screw holes - so I do have a crack that goes across my UV sensitive biohazard decal on the side. Still, doens't make it look too bad when I got the blacklight on :)
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby SlyckTom » Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:53 pm

The budget is around $1,500.00. Probably can go up a few hundred more...

I would say the machine would be used more for WoW than anything else...
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby Paladwyn » Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:59 pm

Damn internet tried to eat my post...good thing I copied the text before it went kerplop- in the pooper.

For 1500 you should be able to put together a really nice machine for WoW...now is that "World of Warcraft", or "Waiting on Warhammer"? :)
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby lordfoul » Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:16 pm

I like the setup you've chosen so far Tom. How about this case and this Video Card instead though? You'll get a more usable case and great gaming performance. Is over clocking in the air? Well if so I'd grab this mobo and this RAM coupled with a reasonable HS/Fan unit. If you go with the upgrades it'll be badass.
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby SlyckTom » Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:57 pm

Thanks for the responses so far. I'm thinking the quad core might be a bit overkill...Core 2 Duo would probably be just fine...
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby Psycho Ced » Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:43 pm

I've yet to find a functional computer above a P4 that can't run world of Warcraft as well as computer that can Crysis on full settings. >.>

Before upgrades, I've had a similar build with Q6700 and and 3870 and it played Crysis fine although I've only played at medium to ~75% resolution.
I'm not a gamer so a single EAH 3870 should carry me through for a while, but instead of crossfire or SLI, I'd suggest an "X2" card
I'd recommend a Raptors also, if you can fit that in the budget (use another drive for storage). Tom, you seem like someone with a lot of connections; If you know someone who can do the "Intel retail edge" (if they work for a company that sells Intel based computers), they're giving away QX6850s for $239 USD.

Just read you last comment
I should also add that I've ran crysis fine with my AMD 5600 at medium settings on a Geforce 7600 GS.
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby IneptVagrant » Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:42 am

I did alot of looking around recently for the wife. You can't DIY anymore and still save money, IMO. Esp if its for someone else. WoW takes almost nothing in todays market to run. You're new-egg shoping cart doesn't have a Vid Card in it, so your budget is up to 1530 ish, before taxes.

Heres some of my recommendations. Notice these are thur the small business category at HP, they don't come with windows-OS, or any other software (Actually come with Free-DOS for you OS), and have 3 year parts/service/next day onsite. You can get basically the same package from competitors, just have to find the right place to start the re-configuration at. Prices are without monitor so remember to add that cost to the quote (HP monitor runs about 270$ for a 22" widescreen).

I start with, Cart #3770639, Cart Name: Inept 860$ Drop to 1 year service and save 70$. (cart is available to view for next 71hours)

First off the E8000 series Intel processor. Kicks butt, the only option right-now IMO. Quad is great if your running 64bit SQL databases with 3gbit thurput -- but your not, so don't bother -- for less money you can get more performance in your software from a Dual-core. New-Egg you're looking at 160-180$USD for one. THe E4000/E6000/Q6000 are almost the same price, but compare specs and its clear the E8000 is worth 20$ more

ATI Radeon HD 3650 for video. SLI and crossfire are both gimmicky IMO, I've tried it. I'ld rather spend more money on a single video card, then two slower ones. Alternatively, you could go with on-board and buy your own, I talk about that more at the end.

RAM -- I've only configured it for 2gb -- their ram prices are ridiculous. Here you really are paying for the support. Some Options, is buy another 2gb from a 3rd-party, and install it yourself, or drop it down to 512mb save 80$ on purchase, and put that toward 4gb as you have quoted on New-Egg. The ram won't be covered by HP-support, but is still covered by its warranty and New-Egg.

On-board sound vs Audigy -- can you tell the difference? goto a store and try. The limitations are more often on the speakers than the sound output.

Heres the same thing but with Energy STAR 4 compliance (has all the features the PSU you were looking at from New-Egg, but lower wattage) in two different cases.. Cart# 3771004, Car Name: Inept $1050/1160 (again cart is available to view for next 71hours)

I'd prefer to go with a slim-line casing and Energy STAR (can do it for about 850 w/ on-board video), but the PSU is a bit weak for a high-end video card. HPs microtowers run 300w (the 3 models I've listed above), and the slim-line runs 240w -- but they are GOOD PSUs. You can see here (if you play with the calc enough), and here. 300w is all you will need, for these systems, and any vid card you want. But 240 is a bit harder to sale. I like the compact style thou, takes up very little room. If it was me, I'ld go for the slim-line and get a 8600ish graphics, but for sure alot better than I have need for and have now.

Finally, consider who your buying for. Chances are by the time you they want to upgrade, it will be better to buy a whole new system. So don't bother considering upgrade potential.
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Re: Friend needs help building gaming computer

Postby IneptVagrant » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:35 am

Maestro120 wrote:Just a note on the RAM. Anything above three Gigs, you need to have a 64 bit OS... regardless of whether its Vista or XP. Else it will not recognise that extra Gigabite. Three Gigs of RAM approximate is the limit seen by 32 bit OS.
Thats not true.

Turn PAE on, XP/Vista will recognize up to 4GB. 2003 enterprice will go up to 32GB, and 2003 R2 up to 64GB, thou your drivers have to be able to support it also.

A single process will still be limited to 4GB total.
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