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Looking for a good gaming desktop, where do I begin?

I have had a laptop all through college and now I am looking to upgrade to a desktop, and with Battlefield 3 coming out I would like to get it for PC. However, I am fairly ignorant to what you really need in a computer for true gaming. I basically have no idea what I'm looking for. But I know that I want to be able to run Battlefield 3 on full, and then that will transfer to running other games full. Any suggestions on where to begin?

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Clarification Request
What's your budget?

In reply to: Looking for a good gaming desktop, where do I begin?

This is the question that has to be answered first; from here, we can assist you with more pertinent specifics of the components.
Budget is foremost; as I've seen so-called gaming systems go from less than $600 to way over $10,000

All Answers

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bf 3

In reply to: Looking for a good gaming desktop, where do I begin?

Since the exact system requirements for this game haven't been released yet I found some estimates for it:

Hard Drive Space: 15 GB for disc version or 10 GB for digital version
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU RAM: 4GB
Video Card: DirectX 11 Nvidia or AMD ATI card, GeForce GTX 460, Radeon Radeon HD 6850

So, you could try and make a computer with at least these specs.

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In reply to: Looking for a good gaming desktop, where do I begin?

1. Are you looking to build or buy?
At the low end, the best bang for the buck is to purchase. In the middle, building your own, if you don't count the cost of your labor (consider it a hobby) then building starts becoming the better option. You especially reap savings when later you can easily upgrade instead of buying a new PC. Store bought PCs often have limited upgrade options due to PSU, BIOS support, and other limitations.

If buy - do you have any preferred vendors or stores?
If build - any preferred manufacturers or other considerations?

2. What is your budget - as asked above?
3. Is gaming your highest performance use? Aside from normal internet and office functions, any others such as Photo editing? If so please list the software you use.
4. Since gaming depends heavily on the graphics card, and there are a plethora of options and considerations, you might also want to look at a website with information about upgrading your video card:

4. What is your planned monitor resolution - very important in sizing a video card? Note that you will see other factors to consider in the link above.

5. Any other particular requirements - such as size or particularly quiet for HTPC ops?

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