If you’re willing to spend a thousand bucks, I’d say start with the Studio XPS 9100. Link
Thanks to Dell’s craptastic website I can’t link to a direct build. But the one there, second from the left, looks good.
Win7 64bit, Home Premium
1TB hard drive
8gb DRMM 3
Radeon 5670 1gb
2 yr warranty
For another $80 you could jump to the Radeon 5770 - either of those are better cards than the one in your spec.
It might save a couple hundred bucks to DIY. You could do a price check at Newegg.com or get a build from a place like Ars Tech or Tom’s hardware. But maybe not. That’s a nice machine for that price. Plus you get the warranty.
Well, it should be able to handle new games for up to 2 years.
In that case, I would recommend a DIY build with:
A 1200 watt power supply
A dual PCI-E motherboard
A quad core processor over 3 ghz, either before or after overclocking
Get either a top of the line graphics card from Nvidia or AMD/ATI with the idea of adding a 2nd compatible card in a year. It appears that 3.33 ghz is the max nowadays, and intel chips generally can be overclocked a bit higher than that on air cooling.
I’ll echo what everyone else has said about the graphics card. But I’m really posting to say that you need to be careful about the system itself: you should make sure that it can take a full length double slot graphics card and has a PSU capable of running it.
In this quarter's System Builder Marathon, we balance out our CPU and graphics subsystems, rather than piling on the GPU performance like last time. The results are shocking, to be quite honest. Check out the performance of our $1000 enthusiast...
Pretty lousy. It’s either at or below the minimum requirements of most games today. Nevermind two years from now. If you’re trying to get two years out of a card, you’ll want to look at an nVidia 460 GTX or AMD ATI 5850 (or better). You’ll probably be able to get away with an AMD ATI 5770, but the others are pretty much certain.
Tom’s hardware keeps a regularly (quarterly) updated video card list. However, this tends to be undependable for dual card builds because of the CPU bottleneck effect (two video cards give more graphics power than any CPU on the market can handle.)
BBS’s like amd.com/forums or tom’s forums tend to have good advice and/or input about specific cards people have used. However, this is intrinsically out of date (you’ll never find somebody who has a card before it comes out, like magazines) and biased (“I’ve used one of the GTX, but this is my first ATI” etc.)
Most reliable to me is if you go to www.pricewatch.com’s video card section, the upper-middle card always costs between $200-300. The top of the line cards always cost 400-500+, while the crap cards always cost under $150. Of course, the higher cards become the lower cards over time, but what can you do. I remember when a nvidia 8800 was like $500.
As a general rule, more chips and fewer cards are better for the same price. A dual chip graphics card that costs $200 is better than two single chip $100 graphics cards that are Xfire/SLI’d together (although because of the bottleneck above, we aren’t sure about 3 cards or 4-6 GPU’s.) SLI/Xfire tends to add about 150% of the performance of two cards instead of 200% the performance. Two chips on one card gets really close to 200%, 175-180%, iirc…check the charts at tom’s.
Because of how advanced graphics cards are, it creates other logistics problems. For example, they often need an additional case slot for the fan. You usually need to compare the card design with your case to make sure it will fit. Dual cards create a heating issue that afaik can only be addressed with a 20-25cm, front to back case fan (example.)
I also read an article about the new 6 core chips. From what I can tell, you can save a bit of money by getting a quad core or even dual core. The main issue today continues to be clock speed, and the intel Q series continues to be a great deal with a ton of performance after overclocking. Back when quad cores first came out, very few programs could utilize it. Probably, the software will lag behind the 6 core chips for a while longer. Or, like the quads, you will see enhanced performance for only a few specialized activities. For example, I only do video compression on my quad core.
Hi, I’m looking to buy an overpriced PC as well, Australian though. A friend recommended an outfit called Computer Alliance, and this is the one I’m considering.
The graphics card is a GT240 1 GB, which was in the upper half of the Tom’s hierarchy. Another friend suggested adding a TV tuner card.
If there are ways to cut costs, that’d be good, of course. More money for the monitor and a new desk.
I hope I’m not breaking etiquette. If you’d rather, Crowbar, I can start my own thread instead of piggybacking on yours.
My advice is that whatever your budget is, 1/3 should be for the graphics card alone. You won’t see this kind of performance improvement from any other single component. I went with a cheapo graphics card (8600) on my last build with a better CPU. It’s faster, yet uglier…but, to put it another way:
An extra $100 spent on a graphics card will improve performance far more than the same $100 put towards a better CPU/Mobo.
Example: If I spent an extra $100 on CPU, I could overclock my computer from 2.88 ghz to ~3.2ghz (going from the Phenom X4 to the Black Edition) for maybe a 10% gain On the other hand, if I spent $180 (ATI Radeon 3700 or 4500 series) instead of $80 (Nvidia 8600, prices from 2007) I could have gained something like 10X the performance (1000%).