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Building High End Gaming Machine

by dcassery / April 7, 2006 1:37 AM PDT

I'm in the market for a high end gaming desktop and was looking around at the Alienware machines and Dell's machines which would run over $4500 for everything I wanted. I figure I can probably build for cheaper and was looking for suggestions for a $4000 budget.

This would be my first time building, so I'd also like to hear if it's worth it for me to be building such a high end system as a newb.


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$4K challenge
by ramarc / April 7, 2006 3:51 AM PDT

Here's my suggestion. It's a bit over-budget ($4235) but these prices are ball-park... agressive price-shopping could shave a couple-hundred off. The Logitech 5450 speakers are $300 but the 5500's are just as good (if not better) and only $200.

Processor & Heatsink/Fan: $500
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ and Artic Freezer 64 Pro
2.2ghz standard, 2.6ghz overclock target

Motherboard: $210
ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe with heat-pipe cooling
DFI LanParty nF4 SLI-DR

2GB RAM: $250
OCZ Platinum DDR-500 (3-3-2-8)

Video Cards: $700
XFX GeForce 7900GT XXX edition, 560mhz standard 600mhz OC target, $350 each

Hard drives: $500
Two WD Raptor WD740GD, 74GB 10Krpm SATA hard drive in Raid-1 (mirrored array), $160 each
Two WD Caviar SE16 WD2500KS, 250GB 7500rpm SATA hard drive in Raid-0 (striped array), $90 each
C: drive usable capacity: ~ 70GB
D: drive usable capacity: ~ 470GB

Audio: $125
Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi

Case: $125
Whatever suits your taste with 120mm fans and side port (above CPU)

Power supply: $180
Enermax Noisetaker II 600W SLI certified

Optical drives: $85
Lite-On SHM-165H6S 16X DVD burner, w/DVD-RAM support
Lite-On SHD-16P1S CD/DVD reader

Floppy/Media Reader: $20
Mitsumi combo with CD/SD/MS

Keyboard/Mouse: $120
Logitech MX 5000 bluetoth wireless combo with laser mouse

TV Tuner: $100
ATI TV Wonder Pro w/remote

Monitor: $900
Dell Ultrasharp 2405FPW (need to one of Dell's many promos for this price), 1920x1200

Speakers: $300
Logitech Z-5450 5.1 THX certified, wireless rear channel, Dolby Digital/DTS/Pro Logic II

OS: $120
Windows XP Media Center Edition

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by nathanpsz2 / April 8, 2006 9:14 AM PDT
In reply to: $4K challenge

...I wish I could build a PC like that. But I don't have the $$$.

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i am going to say for gaming why so many HD's
by ScrySherrie / April 8, 2006 1:30 PM PDT
In reply to: $4K challenge

make the machine more powerful not ridculous amounts of storage. besides storage is cheap, buy it as you need it. but right now spend you money on making the machine a monster! i took all the prices off tiger direct so i am sorry about the cheesy wording!

Thermaltake Tai-Chi Aluminum Case - Liquid Cooling
Take-no-prisoners gamers take heed?this is the best case on the market to cool and optimize your fire-breathing powerhouse components.
Asus A8N 32-SLI-Deluxe
Gamers can easily enjoy faster graphics performance and higher video quality today, and be ready for the even more demanding tasks of tomorrow!
Only $229.99

Zalman Reserator1 Plus Complete Water Cooling System
The Reserator 1 Plus is a fanless water cooling system that unites the functions of a reservoir, radiator, and water pump into one system for easy ope

Item #: CP1-A64-FX60
COMPARE AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 / 2MB Cache / 2000MHz FSB / Socket 939 / Hyper-Transport / Dual-Core / Processor with Fan
Allows power-hungry users to experience the next generation of Dual-Core threaded games with intense and realistic graphic resolutions
I have this- i am speechless at it's preformance

2 of these

I like Evga better than all th eothers qaulity equipment!
COMPARE eVGA GeForce 7900 GTX EGS / 512MB GDDR3 / SLI / PCI Express / Dual DVI / HDTV / Video Card
If you are searching for an extreme HD gaming and video experience on the PC, look no further than a GeForce 7900 GPU.

Item #: C13-3500
COMPARE Corsair TWINX Dual Channel 2048MB PC3500 DDR 433MHz Memory
The Corsair TWINX2048-3500LLPRO is a 2GByte matched memory pair specifically designed for motherboards using chipsets with dual memory channels.
i lied i had to go to newegg to get some stuff

Western Digital Raptor WD360GD 36.7GB 10,000 RPM 8MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive 109. - this all you need to keep your games and os on. do not store media on it. this will keep your loads fast.

I doubt you will fill this in 2 years
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive-289.00

Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply 100 - 240V UL, CUL, TUV, CE, FCC, CCC, CB, C-tick - Retail 119.00

Weekend SaleViewSonic VX922 Black/Silver 19" 2ms LCD Monitor - Retail
Avg Rating: [191] Original Price: $329

New 18X DVD +/- R , 10x DL Burner - HOTPLEXTOR 18X DVD

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(NT) (NT) Your CPU cost more than my whole system
by nathanpsz2 / April 8, 2006 1:52 PM PDT
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$4K challenge response
by ramarc / April 9, 2006 2:21 AM PDT

i don't know about you, but if i'm spending $4K on a PC (regardless of purpose), it better not break down on me. the C: drive in my config is mirrored raptors... if one dies, the PC keeps going. as for the D: drive, its striped for extremely fast transfer to reduce level loading times. and since its for a gamer and games chew up storage (especially if you make virtual cd/dvd images), the d: drive will accomodate a big library of games.

water cooling is great if you're a tinkerer. frankly, i don't want to risk my $4K setup because of a bad seal.

eVGA's a good brand, but XFX's XXX series is pre-overclocked and guaranteed to run at those speeds. Their 7900GT XXX is almost as fast as a stock 7900GTX. And when you add 2 of them in SLI, they will smoke any single 7900GTX.

Some Antec power supplies are known to be incompatible with SLI (insufficient 12V amperage). I like Antec, but I don't use them for SLI builds (better safe than sorry).

the dell 24" monitor puts gaming at a new level. blows away a 19" with only 1280x1024 res. and with the tv tuner, windows mce, wireless keyboard/mouse and the kick-a$$$ speakers, this gamer can also be the centerpiece of an entertainment system.

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Iguess it's a matter of what you want.
by ScrySherrie / April 9, 2006 3:05 AM PDT
In reply to: $4K challenge response

Your right about the ANTEC, Some are not acompatible to SLI and some are. the one i picked is. Also if i speed 4k on a gaming computer. Purpose is important to me. and a failed HD on a Gaming computer is like a busted tail light on a car. Yeah i wish it was not broke but i will fix it. so i have reinstall windows and some games. at least last years taxes did not get losed. I do not find it a tradedy if i lose a game because of a HD crash. I do not know about you, but how many HD's have just all of sudden dropped of line before they were 4years old. as for XFX and Evga...that is all about quality not speed or preformance. one thing about computer parts is...if you buy cheap, you buy twice.
you got me on the DELL, I was getting close to 4k spot. and why media center. for a gamer you just need home. that will save him 50.00

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give this guy a call!!!!!!!
by ScrySherrie / April 9, 2006 2:09 PM PDT
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Thanks for your responses
by dcassery / April 10, 2006 3:34 AM PDT

Thanks for some helpful responses!

What do you guys think of this one that I pulled together from Newegg:

Thermaltake Armor Series V ATX Full Tower Case - 139.99
ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce SPP 100 ATX AMD Motherboard - 204.99
AMD Athlon 64 FX60 Toledo 1GHz HT Socket 939 Dual Core Processor - 1011.99
eVGA 256-P2-N563-AX GeForce 7900GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - 638.00 (price for x2)
ePOWER Silent Engine Tiger 650 EP-650P5-T1 ATX 650 Watts Power Supply - 169.99
CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR400 (PC3200) Unbuffered System Memory - 284.00 (price for 4GB total)
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.00Gb/s Hard Drive - 285.00 (don't think I'll need this big, but just threw it on the list)
Logitech G15 2-Tone USB Wired Standard Keyboard - 69.95
Logitech G5 Laser 6-Buttons Wheel USB Laser Mouse - 46.89
NEC 16X DVD+/-RW DVD Burner - 36.99
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - 121.99
Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Speaker - 213.98
Samsung 940b 19" 8ms LCD Monitor - 329.99

Does not include operating system, but the total so far is $3553.75.

Let me know what you think.


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If you must...
by nathanpsz2 / April 10, 2006 5:11 AM PDT

...get the X2 4800+ and save $400 while minimally sacraficing performance. I personally wouldn't get anything over the X2 3800+.

Get 2 gigs of RAM because 4 is the limit for a 32-bit OS, and XP 64-bit edition is rather buggy. When Vista comes out, gamers will need 4 gigs of RAM, so get two 1GB sticks and upgrade when it's needed. Because price is no object, get XMS RAM rahter than ValueSelect.

I've never heard of ePOWER before, so I'd get an Enermax:
If the power supply goes, the system goes, so you don't want to skimp on that to save money.

Also, save money by getting a 300GB hard drive.

Just my thoughts

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get an x2 4400 and OC it
by ramarc / April 10, 2006 8:08 AM PDT

With a good coolor (like arctic cooling's freezer 64 pro) you should easily be able to OC it to 2.5/2.6 ghz and it will be just a smidge slower than a fx60. (check out the forums at, xbitlabs, anandtech, etc. to get OC tips for this mobo/cpu.)

Don't cheap out and get VS RAM. Cut back to 2GB and get DDR-500 RAM (g.skill extreme is on sale now at $157 for 2gb). 2GB is more than enough for any of today's games, and you can always add more in the future when the price goes down.

With these suggestions, you've saved $600 so why not move up to a widescreen monitor. 20" WS's are about $100 more than the 19" Samsung.

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