Gaming PC for less than $1200? Nerdy.

DirectX9 games are looking attractive, and the Dell is acting up. Any suggestions other than buying an X-Box, etc.? Money is tight, so $1500 is probably my limit.

I’m thinking…

DFI nForce2 Ultra 400 Motherboard NFII-Ultra Infinity - $94.00

AMD Athlon XP 2800+, 333MHz FSB, 512K Cache, 2 GHz - $136.00

Thermaltake Silent Boost - $26.99

ANTEC Black Solution Series Model SLK3700-BQE - $77.00

Hitachi 80GB 7200RPM Model HDS722580VLAT20, - $67.00

Lite On Black 52x32x52 CD-RW, Model LTR-52327S - $38.00

MSI Black 16X DVD-ROM, Model MS-8216140BL, - $34.99

Creative Lab Sound Blaster Audigy ES(SB0162) Sound Card - $42.00 (Amazon.com)

SAPPHIRE RADEON 9600XT Video Card - $195.00

SAMSUNG SFD321B/LBL1 Black 1.44MB 3.5inch Drive - $5.99

ROUND, 24-Inch, True ATA133/100, IDE Cable. - $3.75

UNINCOM ROUND, 18-Inch, True ATA133/100/66/33, - $3.35

NEC/Mitsubishi MultiSync FE770-BK 17" CRT - $145.00

Creative Blaster 56K V.92 PCI Modem, Model DI5652-1 - $12.00

Logitech Z-3300 2.1 Speakers Retail - $110.00

Corsair Value Select Dual Kits 184 Pin 1G(512MBx2) PC-2700 - $153

Logitech Cordless MX Duo USB/PS2 104keys --RETAIL - $76.00

$1082 total (minus shipping) - If it isn’t from Amazon, it’s from NewEgg.

I got the prices for these a few months ago, so it might actually be less, but if anyone has any upgrade suggestions, they’d be much appreciated.

Ditch the modem. I’m betting your board has one.

Ditch the speakers. buy some refurbished klipsches. I believe ecost.com has refurbished 4.1’s for 120 shipped. Trust me, even refurbished those speakers will kick the crap out of the z-3300’s. :wally
You can get a better processer for the money. I’d suggest a barton with a 400 fsb for maximum performance, but eh whatever.

Everything else looks fairly reasonable to me. I haven’t built a system in a long while though.

I bought a Samsung SyncMaster 763 MB CRT two months ago, and I love it to death. I looked at the Multisync too, but this one was cheaper (slightly) and the display looks a little crisper.

Madden '04 on this beats the hell out of PS2 Madden '04 on my roommate’s plasma TV.

Oh, the SyncMaster only comes with a sort of silver/shiny light grey casing, which matches my speakers and stuff, but might not work for you.

Oh, and I’d cut some money somewhere else and get another stick of RAM.

Have you considered eBay?

Looks like good components to me although I have always bought ABIT boards. I would 2nd the recommendation concerning the Klipsch speakers. I got a pair of the 2.1s and I love them and the 4.1s are $120.00. I bought refurbs and they are brand new looking and no problems. I thought that the cordless keyboard and mouse systems may have some performance issues with games. In other words they may not respond as fast as the corded systems. Good Luck and have fun.

actually, right now i’d go for the bottom-of-the-line A64 chip.

Yeah those things kick arse, and are similiar if not same in price to the 3200+ 400FSB.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone, they’ve been enlightening. :slight_smile:

You owe me new pants.

I think I might go with them…

It’s been the 21st century for a few years now… you don’t really need a floppy drive, do you?

For the combined price of the CD-RW and DVD-ROM, you could get a DVD+RW instead.

Ditch the $27 heat sink fan, the one that comes with the (retail) CPU is fine.

$77 is a lot for a case. I got this jukeboxesque one, with PSU, for $30.

Quality cases are worth the money IMHO, as are the heatsinks. If you ever used a quality case you know.

also, those retail heatsinks are seriously meant for air conditioned rooms. They work, but my cpu’s get uncomfortably hot – not hot enough to crash, but still in the 55+ range. Thats just too hot for an XP in my opinion.

Might need one in an emergency. You just never know.

You might need a floppy drive for BIOS updates if your motherboard is picky about how to update. But I would seriously skimp on the floppy or just forget about it. DVDRW’s are neat if you’re going to be burning alot of DVDs (as backup) but I think it would be kind of a waste to get it at this point in time since the Dual Layer drives will be coming out soon. A DVD/CDRW combo drive should suffice and will save alot of dough since the good DVDRWs are up around 200 US beans. Sorry to go against you Mr2001 but please do NOT skimp on the heatsink-fan and PSU! Gaming systems put alot of stress on the CPU, you can expect a CPU to be running full load for however long you are playing the game. 3… 4 hours? More? You don’t want full load temps with a retail sink, that’s for sure. Even most bargain heatsinks are much much better than the retail. I, however, wouldn’t mind a SLK-800 coupled with a decent fan to get a couple hundred more MHZ out of that CPU. Then, for PSU’s we’re once again dealing with a load on power. Generic PSU’s are usually advertised as PEAK-wattage, as opposed to constant wattage. So a generic 400W is usually/most often 400W Peak. Also, they tend to burn out much quicker than quality units. A PSU is the backbone of a stable system! A couple extra bucks will ensure the safety of the rest of your components as well as avoiding unnecessary downtime.

Sorry for the long-ness of this post, had one too many Sparks.

Well, I haven’t had any problems with the retail HSF or cheap power supply, but I’ll concede that if you’re going to spend extra money for stability, those are good things to spend it on. (I have some stability problems in games, but I’m blaming my video card. Everything’s fine when I put load on the CPU with hashcash or video encoding, but it locks up after about 10 minutes of Q3A or Halo.)

But $200 for a DVD burner? Only if you get a dual format drive. Since this is a bargain system we’re building, I’d just recommend a single format Lite-On drive for $80 or so.

Wow, 80 dollars? I have not seen a drive that cheap. DVDRW is a sketchy thing though. There is a ton of compatibility issues which is why dual format drives are great. I was talking about dual layer drives though. Most, if not all (not sure if dual layer came out yet) DVDRW drives are single layer meaning they can fit 4.7GB per disc (actually really about 4.4GB). Almost all commercial DVDs are dual layer, meaning they can fit about 9GB per disc. So, if you are buying a DVDRW drive to say, backup one of your DVD movies, you’d have to compensate for that extra space by cutting out subtitles, alternative languages, and sometimes even compressing the actual video. This is why I think it’s best to wait in the DVDRW department, unless of course you’re just using it to backup data in which case 4.4GB is plenty per disc. As for price, Lite-on seems to make good drives, but I wouldn’t expect an 80 dollar drive to have a good compatibility record and other technical details such as reading scratched discs/dual layer discs.

This isn’t the most sexy option, but if you’re on the cheap, have you considered looting your existing PC for parts? Why buy a new monitor, CD drive, floppy drive, speakers, etc. if you (presumably) already own good ones?

Maybe you have plans for your current PC that preclude this. But if not, you should consider stripping the current PC. Reuse non-performance-critical components in the new one, and sell what you don’t use. And then use the money you save to go bonkers on the CPU and video card, things which will really make a difference.

:smack: That’s a good idea, Joools! Wonder why that didn’t cross my mind… I haven’t done that before either; I just toss my old computers into the garage. I’ve even got my first computer down there, a Packard Bell.

About the heatsink and case - they’re essential. I use my case as a foot rest/bookshelf (because I’m not bright you see), and also plan on overclocking (or at least trying it out). All of your posts are great, thank you very much! If you’ve got anymore, I’d love to hear it.

I wouldn’t trust a power supply that comes with a $30 case to not start on fire if you ran it anywhere near it’s stated wattage. $70 is about right.

-lv