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vladiator
30-01-2009, 03:35 PM
Hi everyone! I am new here.

I have a computer that I use to play games. It is Acer MediaCentre T620, purchased from DSE 3.5 years ago. It came with Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz, 512Mb RAM, 60Gb HDD, and intergrated graphics card. Over the years I slightly improved it by giving it 2Gb RAM, and Palit 512Mb Geforce 9800 (or maybe 9600, I forgot..).

The computer served me well all these years: for example, I can play Oblivion on the highest settings and Stalker on high-ish settings. It does have its moments however -- e.g. playing Football Manager 2009 it gets almost stuck from time to time. I am worried that I will have troubles playing newer games as they constantly become bigger and more technically advanced.

So, I thought about building my own PC. I read what components are required for a computer to operate and went to pricespy and some online store sites to check them. I was shocked to discover the variety of different CPUs, MoBo, etc that are currently available! To make things even more complicated, prices range immensely!

I am not an expert on computers, so I simply do not know what to choose. If I see two CPUs, one costs $300 and the other $600, I will assume that the first one is rubbish and will not allow me to play big new games and the second is good. However, I am not prepared to spend more than about $800 (without a graphics card) on building a system, preferably less.

So, my question is: is it possible to build a good gaming PC for around $800 (again, this is excluding a graphics card -- I would use my current one and get a better one in due course)? One that would be fast and would run on highest settings both any games currently available and those that are coming out in near future? Or is it only possible if I spend thousands?

If it is possible, would you be able to recommend what components I should get to make such a computer?

Thanks in advance.

Blam
30-01-2009, 03:43 PM
Definitely, building a gaming PC for 800 is achievable.

You could go AMD if you want and save a bit of money, or just Intel would be OK.

Get something similar to this:

CPU: $150.00 Intel Pentium E5200 2.5GHz 2M LGA775
Mobo: $185.00 Asustek P5QL-PRO LGA775 Intel P43 FSB 1600 DDR2 1066 PCIE 2.0
RAM: $76.00 2x1GB DDR2-800 CL4 Memory
GFX: $243.00 ATI Radeon HD 4830 512MB
Case: Use old case
PSU: $88.00 Antec TRUEPOWER TRIO 430W
DVD: $42.00 Asustek DRW-2014L1T Serial-ATA DVD Writer
HDD: $128.00 640GB Western Digital SATA 7200rpm 16MB

This should allow you to play most old games on high settings and current games at medium, depending on the resolution and size of your monitor.

Thanks
Blam

pcuser42
30-01-2009, 03:45 PM
He's already stated that he's using his current graphics card, so that's not necessary. :)

You could also reuse your optical drive if you wanted to, like I did.

wainuitech
30-01-2009, 03:48 PM
Welcome to PF1 -- A Gaming PC for under $800 - not going to be that flash, even without the card included.

The example given about prices on components cheap = rubbish NOPE- meaning if you saw the exact same CPU ( or any other component) for different prices then they are the same component, just different places charge more.

You have to look at the CPU or other component spec's - for example a Intel E7300 Dual Core will be a LOT less than a Intel i7 940. General rule of thumb - the more expensive the more power the CPU will have.

The Graphic card you have -if its an AGP card - you'll be hard pressed to find a Modern board with AGP slots, they are now PCI-E, totally different slots , and not interchangeable.

vladiator
30-01-2009, 03:55 PM
Thanks blam

I notice you chose Pentium CPU. But everywhere I look, I see Dual and Quad Cores. Is Pentium considered outdated now?

Would the system that you suggested, be much better than what I have? (As I mentioned I can play Oblivion, Stalker. Never tried something like Crysis).

You system comes to $912, which is fine. But if we remove the price of the graphics card and DVD (can use my old ones), can the rest of elements be improved further?

hueybot3000
30-01-2009, 03:55 PM
hard to answer because many different styles of games need more of different computer resources (some ram, others cpu, but mostly graphics)

Basic decision is AMD or Intel

Amd is generally the cheaper option and they perform pretty good, i personally use intel

So if you were going with an intel system id recommmend...

Core2duo q6600 - $420ish
Motherboard is all down to how much upgrading you plan on doing - roughly $180ish
Ram - 4gig ddr2 800 - $75 (http://pcpacific.net/product_info.php?products_id=4272) cheapest stuff i could find, preferably youd get better but you want cheap
Power Supply - This isnt worth being cheap about, cheap psus are known to cause problems. For what you want i think the one im using would be excellent, its in my sig $200 from memory
Hard drive - 640gig Western Digital for about $130

Have you got a case? DVDrom is pretty much a must if you want latest games as well
Youl see that we're already up at about 1k, you can buy a cheaper cpu or psu but if you want it to be reliable and be sorta future proof go with it

Also whether or not this would run on highest settings is alot to do with the resolution your monitor is running, the higher the resolution the better your pc needs to be. If your at 1280x1024 or something like that then you should be fine

hope that helps

pcuser42
30-01-2009, 03:56 PM
You would probably want to use at least a Core 2 Duo for a gaming system. ;)

EDIT: Sorta snap. :D

hueybot3000
30-01-2009, 03:57 PM
you guys type to quick

is your budget set at 800 or is that just what youd like to spend?

vladiator
30-01-2009, 03:59 PM
Wow, that's a very busy forum! Thanks to all of you!

My card is PCI-E. I also did mean that different CPUs come in different prices and wondered whether I could get a cheaper one that would still be good enough for modern games.

hueybot3000
30-01-2009, 04:01 PM
core2 is cheaper but quad core is more future proof (games are slowly starting to make use of them) so that would be up to you

what your really tryin to achieve is a cheap fix, its like a car, the more you spend on mods the more the improvement

EDIT: should also add that mine (e6600) which is the same price as the quad handles modern games fine, adminttedly im ocd but even stock it held up fine

vladiator
30-01-2009, 04:02 PM
I prefer to spend $800, but can go a bit higher.

I use a 27" LCD TV as monitor. Resolution - something like "1320-don't remember".

vladiator
30-01-2009, 04:05 PM
Would a Quad Core that cost the same as Core2 be always better?

hueybot3000
30-01-2009, 04:06 PM
that resolution wont help things, althou like i said mines fine

i play the latest games 1920x1080 on my tv on medium -> high settings quite happily.

Of course you dont have to go intel though, i know nothing about amd really. When building computers for people i think AMD=Reliable family computer/ Intel=Gaming

hueybot3000
30-01-2009, 04:08 PM
Would a Quad Core that cost the same as Core2 be always better?

dead right

e6600 core 2 = 2 processors on same chip
q6600 core 2 = 4x processors on same chip

vladiator
30-01-2009, 04:32 PM
Thanks for all advices. I am now thinking as hueybot suggested:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, 2.4GHz, LGA775 - $399

Asustek P5Q-EM Motherboard intel G45 mATX - $234 (or can you see any Mobo from this site that would be good at that price range? - http://www.atech.co.nz/c.aspx?r=&ssid=&c=Motherboards&s=Intel)

2x 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM - $75

Western Digital 640GB SATA 7200rpm hard drive - $117

PSU -- can you suggest one from here - http://www.atech.co.nz/c.aspx?r=&ssid=&c=Power&s=Power+supplies?

I would use my DVDrom, PCI-E card, and case for now. All in all it comes to around $1000. Does it look like an adequate system for now and near future?

hueybot3000
30-01-2009, 04:39 PM
the mobo you chose should do the trick, if your not planning on overclocking it doesnt matter so much anyway.

I personally wouldnt buy a psu from there, theres nothing great. If you had to though go with the coolermaster 600watt

Nomad
30-01-2009, 04:40 PM
If I am constrained by price I get dual core but quad core if you pay more.

Just bear in mind the Acer case is it actual ATX design? Many brand name PCs use their own designs ie., you may need to buy a new case too.

Blam
30-01-2009, 04:48 PM
It would be, but for applications/games that don't support 4 cores, the difference would be minimal, so therefore going for the C2D with the higher clock speed and cheaper price would be a better choice. But more and more apps/games are starting to take advantage of using multiple cores, so going quad core would indeed "future proof" your pc.

I selected the pentium dual core because from my experience, it overclocks quite well.

Getting a Pentium dual core and hsf then overclocking it would be better than a C2D IMO. But a C2D does have more cache, and is newer.

C2D would prob be a better choice for you. For mobo, always go Asus or Gigabyte.

Cheers
Blam

Blam
30-01-2009, 04:50 PM
Just bear in mind the Acer case is it actual ATX design? Many brand name PCs use their own designs ie., you may need to buy a new case too.

Eh...correct me if I'm wrong but I think ALL PC cases have has the same standard since many years ago, so current mobos will most prob fit into a 3 year old ATX case.

IIRC....

Blam

pcuser42
30-01-2009, 04:52 PM
The ATX standard was developed in the '90's IIRC, so they should be alright. :) HOWEVER, brand-name PCs often use proprietary connectors, so, indeed, the case will need replacing.

hueybot3000
30-01-2009, 04:56 PM
The ATX standard was developed in the '90's IIRC, so they should be alright. :) HOWEVER, brand-name PCs often use proprietary connectors, so, indeed, the case will need replacing.

how you mean? if your guttin the case anyway what it matter?

Nomad
30-01-2009, 05:34 PM
I think OP said he may use his current case. Therefore there is a chance that might not work so may need to buy a new case if not already planning to do so.

wainuitech
30-01-2009, 06:38 PM
I've fitted Standard Boards any one can buy in both HP's Dells & Acers - some of the cases have built in risers that are out of the board, but are of no bother - the biggest problem is some (mostly HP & Dell, dell are the worst) of the case front header plugs / blocks are not compatible with the motherboards.
So you need to either have spare separate connectors laying about, or get some from some place, or pop them all out and rewire it.

Several times I have also struck with HP's that while the USB plugs fit on the standard boards, HP wire them up differently and you instantly blow any USB device thats plugged into the ports.

Best bet if you are buying a new PSU would be to get a New case as well, unless you are happy playing about possible changing plugs - get it wrong and there is a possibility when you turn the new PC on for the first time if the wiring is wrong its can blow something. I've fried one NEW board that way ages ago.

vladiator
31-01-2009, 01:50 PM
I see, thanks. Wouldn't want to destroy everything I bought :). Does the price of a case matter, because it varies a lot too. Also, does it make sense to buy a case that already has PSU?

Would you suggest any of these? http://www.pricespy.co.nz/cat_7.html

I am also surprised to see on pricespy that e6600 core 2 and q6600 core 2 cost the same amount, even though q6600 supposed to be better.

hueybot3000
31-01-2009, 01:57 PM
$100 bucks for a case should be fine, all you really want in a case if your not to fussy is 120mm fans not 80mm like some cheaper cases as they are noisy

Id also recommend gettin a seperate psu, i know your tryin to do it cheap but i think everyone will agree that generic psu's arent worth the hassle, go with a known brand

The reason for this is cheaper psu's are not always reliable, especially under load. And the last thing you want is your psu givin all your components a nasty shock

Blam
31-01-2009, 08:18 PM
The E6600 is getting old and stuff so thats why its expensive.

Get the E8400, its around 330, 70 cheaper than the Q6600

pcuser42
01-02-2009, 07:16 AM
I see, thanks. Wouldn't want to destroy everything I bought :). Does the price of a case matter, because it varies a lot too. Also, does it make sense to buy a case that already has PSU?

Would you suggest any of these? http://www.pricespy.co.nz/cat_7.html

I am also surprised to see on pricespy that e6600 core 2 and q6600 core 2 cost the same amount, even though q6600 supposed to be better.

I got my case for $20 off TradeMe :D, and I've had no problems with it so far.

Blam
01-02-2009, 10:36 AM
Also, try not to buy a case with a PSU like you meantioned, usually they're pretty bad quality, just go with corsair or antec. Modular, if you can afford it

jwil1
01-02-2009, 12:16 PM
My case (a Gigabyte GZ-X1) was $83 from Ascent (I think), w/o a PSU and it's great.

Completely screwless (apart from mobo and PSU mounts). Has a bezel for one of the optical drive bays (so if you have a white drive and a black case it doesn't look like crap).

Definitely recommend it.