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Old 08-25-2006, 03:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Buying the ultimate Gaming PC

Ok let me preface by saying this post will be rather long, but all info is needed, and I need help. Its time to buy a new rig for me. Basically I've been suffering with a Compaq 1.7Ghz P4, 512RAM, Windows XP ,64MB nVIDIA video card, 80GB hard drive machine that I purchased in fall 2001.
Long story short, this PC was good for a while, but now its time for an update. Compared to the PC at my office (Dell P4 3.2Ghz, 512MB RAM, 120GB Hard drive) its very slow. It will still work and has still some life in it but its just slow and in about 2years will be useless. The power supply
and hard drive both died on separarte occasions about a year ago and I needed to replace those parts and upgrade to 2.0 USB ports (came with only 2 1.1 ports), so I'm pretty
much done with Compaq. I bought that PC back when I just needed it Word processing, email, and the internet
but now I want to upgrade to a PC with balls. I'm now into PC gaming, so I want a rig that can handle PC games.
All this time, whenever I wanted to play PC games I had to go to my friends house and play on their machines
or use thier laptops. Those days are now done!!!!

Just to give background here are some PC games I will play
Doom 3
Call of Duty 2
Falcon 4.0: Allied Force

All this time I have been saving money and think now is the time to upgrade. So I need advice from the pros on this one. I dont know much about building a PC so I'm going to purchase an already made one. This may shock some people, but my budget is around $8000-$9000 (I've been saving for a long time)
I'm looking for a top of the line PC that will last me a good 5-6 years and that I can upgrade
along the way.

So, doing my own research I've got a general idea on what I want. I've narrowed it down to a few PC's.
-Dell XPS 700
-Alienware ALX intel verison
-IBuypower Game Master [Core 2 Duo] http://www.ibuypower.com/ibp/store/c...r.aspx?mid=194
-Gamer Infinity SLI Pro from cyberpowerpc http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/i...trac2d.asp?v=d
and I'm even considering the Dell M2010 with 4GB installed (comes out to about $7,000)

Also what I'm about to say may **** off some gamers, but I really dont like AMD's.
I really prefer/want an Intel. Now having said that, I'm almost sold on this processor Intel Core 2 Extreme Processor X6800. The reviews say its the best on the market for gaming.

So the areas I need help in are cooling system, RAM, Power Supply, RAID config, video card, and motherboard. So here go my general questions:

1. I know what liquid cooling is, but is it just some fancy thing you really dont need?? Does it really help cool the processor better? Should I get the top of the line liquid cooling? (I hate a noisy PC) iBuypower, cyberpowerpc and alienware all usually throw in liquid cooling as standard in their high end PC's. So if its standard then I guess it wont hurt to keep it

2. RAM, everywhere I look with the exception of Alienware and Dell the max RAM they allow you to pick is 2GB eventhough the motherboard will support more. What I will do is purchase 2GB and then install 2GB more on my own, because I will need all the RAM I can get. So my question does the RAM have to be the same as the ones the PC comes with? I plan on getting these with the computer 2048MB [1024MB X2] DDR2-800 PC6400 Memory Module, Corsair XMS2 Xtreme w/Heat Spreader
What is important in the RAM for it to be compatibile with pins, mhz speed DDR2, model number or is it
based on your motherboard?

3. Is the higher watt better for the power supply? I mean I once read that the more
expensive the power supply, the better especially for gaming. So
would I need an expensive one like Tagan TurboJet 900 Watt Power Supply [Quad SLI Ready] or
PC Power & Cooling TURBO-COOL 850 Watt Power Supply - SLI Ready. What type of power supply
should I aim for??? I do plan on adding the Ageia Physx PPU unit, so would I need strong cooling?

4. For the motherboard I should look for one that is compatible with the video card, and RAM right? What else is important?

5. For the hard drive, I already know I want a 150GB WD 10,000 RPM in the first slot and a the same in the second giving me a total of 300GB. But I know nothing about RAID configuartion. I know that RAID 1 has mirroring so if your data is lost you can recover it, and RAID 0 is faster. Ok here is what I need, it would be cool to just in case my hard drive crashes to take it to data recovery and get the data back, but if that means slowing the HD or making it less stable then I want to go for speed.


6. Is the Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965 Dual-Core CPU w/HT Technology 3.73GHz 1066FSB 2x2MB Cache EM64 still a very capabile, fast processor?? I mean with Core 2 Duo out, would it make sense to get an old processor??? Is the Pentim Extreme 965 better than the Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 CPU @ 2.67GHz 1066FSB 2x2MB L2 Cache? I mean Core 2 Duo claims to be faster and uses less power.

7. I must say I do like ATI for a graphics card. I want basically a total of 1GB of video memory (dual cards) but is all that memory neccessary? I mean I read that that much memory is only good for big monitors and high frame rate games. Is that true, do I really only need about 512 or even 256mb?? I want as much now so for future games I wont have to ungrade. I do plan on getting a either 23in or Dell 24in or Dell 30in or 20in monitor. What should I look for in an ATI video card?

Can I have one ATI Radeon X1900XTX PCI-E x16 512MB and the second a NVIDIA Geforce 7900 GTX 512MB 16X PCI, or do they have to be the same?

Also, another note about the video card. I read about this card
ATI ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON X1900 256MB W/ TV TUNER X16 PCI EXPRESS VIDEO CARD and I see that it has a TV tuner in it already. thats cool cause I might want to record TV while watching another. But if I get that card can I get another, cause on ibuypower and cyberpowerpc only have that as the first card. Is the TV tuner basically
that, a TV tuner meaning that you can record TV??? would it be better to purchase a separate
capture TV recorder from tigerdirect?

Does anyone think that I'm over doing it and I dont totally need a super high end PC or that a high midrange PC would be better? (something like a Pentium D 3.6ghz or Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965 Dual-Core CPU w/HT Technology 3.73GHz 1066FSB 2x2MB Cache EM64T(Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 965 Dual-Core CPU w/HT Technology 3.73GHz 1066FSB 2x2MB Cache EM64T)) Someone once told me that if you get a super high end PC you wont be able to upgrade it later cause its been maxed out.

Again, thanks for all your help
Mike
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Old 08-25-2006, 04:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i don't even want to read it all because dell is there..... i will tell you now, if you want top of the line i will give you a list of what to get.. with that budget, money is not of a matter.. so i will not list prices.....

-Intel Conroe x6800 (best cpu.. IN THE WORLD.. no joke or exaggeration)
-Dual Nvidia EVGA 7950 GX2's SLi'd (this will give you 2 gigs of vid memory)
-2 GB DDR 1000 ram
-Creative Labs X-Fi Fidelity or wahtever... (with the ram)
ahh... the 850 watt psu will do you fine.. even for quad sli (which is 2 7950 gx2's)
-2 150 GB Western digital raptors in raid 0
-all this is nowhere near 8000 dollars.... so with the extra money.. get the dell 30 inch monitor.. all that will probably cost around 4000-5000... soooo have fun

and as a side note.... clock speeds mean nothing now a days... the pentium 4 extreme edition is literally crap compaired to the e6700
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Old 08-25-2006, 04:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Check out the Dream Machin in the September issue of Maximum PC. You could build something similar to that if you like. I definetly dont recomend you buy a computer from Dell or Alienware or most companies since they mostly will rip you off. Build it yourself, its very easy, and fun

But really Im going to be reasonable here for a minute and give you some advice. Dont spend that much money on a gaming pc..unless your rich. You build it today and tomorrow its old. Of course it will be a solid machine for a couple years but then you'll start seeing lag and stuff
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Old 08-25-2006, 04:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by iamchel
Check out the Dream Machin in the September issue of Maximum PC. You could build something similar to that if you like. I definetly dont recomend you buy a computer from Dell or Alienware or most companies since they mostly will rip you off. Build it yourself, its very easy, and fun

But really Im going to be reasonable here for a minute and give you some advice. Dont spend that much money on a gaming pc..unless your rich. You build it today and tomorrow its old.
point well taken!! but i'll only agree to that on the graphics card part... graphics cards grow outdated quickly... but processing.. i don't see the conroe's going outdated for a bit
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Old 08-25-2006, 05:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah really the only thing that is nearly impossible to keep up with for the average person is video cards. My Athlon xp 2400 is still a desent proc
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Old 08-25-2006, 06:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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performance from a computer costing $9000 isn't gonna be THAT much more powerful than a computer costing $3000. you want this to last for 5-6 years, well even $9000 won't be good enough for high end gaming after 2 or 3 years.. here's my suggestion:


spend $3000- $4000 on a computer for now, keep it for 3 - 4 years, then trash it and buy a new one for $3000-$4000 after. this way even after 5 years you'll have a ballen comp...

also, if you want best bang for your buck, i recommend building your own computer. if you're gonna blow so much money on a comp might as well make it a learning experience! its not that difficult.. a lot of guides are out there.
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Old 08-25-2006, 06:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
performance from a computer costing $9000 isn't gonna be THAT much more than a computer costing $3000. you want this to last for 5-6 years, well even $9000 won't be good enough for high end gaming after 2 or 3 years.. here's my suggestion:


spend $3000- $4000 on a computer for now, keep it for 3 - 4 years, then trash it and buy a new one for $3000-$4000 after. this way even after 5 years you'll have a ballen comp...

also, if you want best bang for your buck, i recommend building your own computer. if you're gonna blow so much money on a comp might as well make it a learning experience! its not that difficult.. a lot of guides are out there.
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Old 08-25-2006, 07:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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May I add that you may want to wait just a little while longer for the DirectX 10 cards to be released before splashing out a whole heap of money on a machine that will be mid-range in a matter of months
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
This may shock some people, but my budget is around $8000-$9000 (I've been saving for a long time) I'm looking for a top of the line PC that will last me a good 5-6 years and that I can upgrade
along the way.
IMO you would be better off building a $3000-$4500 computer every 2 or 3 years instead of buying one $9000 computer.
Main reason being that more stuff comes out all the time. Example being that if you built a brand new comp now, within 6 months there will be DX10 cards and QUAD-core processors. And in 3 or 4 years there could be all kinds of crazy stuff out.

If you wanted to build right now, I would guess for about $3700 you could something get like
Conroe E6700
2 - 7950gx2 (Does nvidia even support that?) or you could get 2 - x1900xtx
Phsix card
raptor hard drives
2gigs of ram (if your running xp you don't want 4gb since xp can't handle it properly.)
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Old 08-25-2006, 10:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with everybody...build a $3k-$4k comp, because computers has something new every few months. Blowing $8-9k on one single computer is not worth it unless you're a millionaire.
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