View Full Version : making a gaming computer from scratch

Nov 12, 2003, 11:39 AM
been thinking about making a gaming computer...i've heard that starting from scratch is the best/cheapest way to go...however one problem...i don't know a ton about pc hardware, and exactly what you need. i've been to toms hardware guide to look for best prices...but its hard to look when you don't know exactly what your looking for... so for any of you who are bored and know a lot about pc hardware who wants to help me make a gaming pc?!

i'm not 100% when i'm going to buy one... but i want to see what i can get for how much money...cause money is most definitely an issue. i want definitely good stuff, that will run the latest games and up and coming ones...like doom 3 halflife 2 and things like that, flawlessly on high settings. however i plan on upgrading more often to get to the next level of games...so it doesn't have to be a computer that will run the games perfectly that will come out in say a year or 2 from now.

first of all the mother board is where my knowledge goes into a black whole...i don't know much about them unfortunately... as far as processor...whatever runs the best for cheapest...i've heard athlon xps are good but if you know of somthing different... ram, i want fast ram but i doubt i'll need more than a gig for games...right? harddrive...i want a fast one but it doesn't even need to be more than 60-80 gigs..i mean this computer is solely for games, and i could probably fit 50 games on a 60 gig drive. and now for where my money will go....the vid card...i want a really good one...maybe an ati 9800...but if it goes past my budget then i'll settle for a 9700...anyway, so how much do you think this will run me?...and i want to be able to upgrade, i don't know what kind of mother board i should/could get...like i said i'm kinda in the dark about what exactly is good to look for in them. anyway...i'm hopeing to get the best system i can for between 700-800 dollars...btw this is only computer, i have moniter and speakers and everything else i need.


Nov 12, 2003, 11:58 AM
You might want to try this post at a more PC-oriented site, or better yet a gaming site, to get the best response.

Nov 12, 2003, 12:01 PM
If you want a custom PC, everything but the video card will cost anywhere from $500 to $600. So add in a video card price of $300 - $400 and that brings you to a top price of $1000.

I find that NewEgg (www.newegg.com) has the best prices for PC hardware.

Nov 12, 2003, 01:35 PM
Definetly newegg.com. I put together my gamer for about $800 with moniter. Remember if you go AMD to make sure you get a nForce2 ultra board. The nForce board really benifits from low timing ram, i got Kingston HyperX at 2-2-2-5. If you go intel make sure to get a 800 mhz FSB model. Memory timing isnt as important with an intel, but good ram is your friend. An Asus 865 chipset is best, Asus has a work around to essentially enable PAT and turn the 865 into a 875. I love my Radeon 9600 pro, reasonably priced, good overclocker. I had great luck with the Aopen nforce2 board and its only $76 if you go AMD. A good AMD Barton 2500+, 9600 pro, 512 good ram, and you'll be pretty well set for a budget gamer, if you want more check out the ultimate machine posted in the community section.

Nov 12, 2003, 01:42 PM
On my system i just listed;

Athlon 2500+ oc'd to 3200+
512 DDR
9600 pro

I can play pretty much all modern games with everything on high and 4x AA at 1280x1024. The only game that required me to bump down to 1024x768 was halo. A 9700 pro is a great choice. so is a 9800 pro now that the XT has come out the 9800 has gone down in price. 1 more thing, make sure to get a 8mb cache hard drive.

Nov 12, 2003, 06:43 PM
What you want depends on how much you want to spend. here's a basic layout:

AMD AthlonXP 2500+ (cheap and fast)

Intel P4 3.2 GHz w/ HT (too expensive but a little faster than a top end athlon)


Intel mobo (didn't do research, you'll want to buy from either Asus, Intel, or Gigabyte)

Nforce2 based mobo (buy from Gigabyte, I had a good experiance)


512 MB PC3000 DDR 333 (take it to 1 or 2 GB if you want)

Mass Storage

80 GB SATA drive (SATA best but something cheaper probably won't make a difference. 80 GB is probably the least that you'd want to get)


ATI radeon 9800 pro 256 (The BEST gaming card out there, and one of the most expenisve)

ATI radeon 9700 (a cheaper alternative, still outperforms most of the FX serries)

You'll probably want a DVD drive and cd burner too.

Check pricewatch.com, it has good listings of hardware price

www.hackers.com/________.________/ and www.overclockers.co.uk can probably help you better than MacRumors.

Nov 12, 2003, 06:54 PM
so the nforce is a motherboard, hehe that right there clears up a lot of my confusion...i always hear about geforce video cards and just kinda got them confused...

Nov 12, 2003, 07:15 PM
You need to decide how much you want to spend. That comes first,
Since and Atlon FX is the best proc out their at the moment but you probabley don't wan to spend that much.

Fell free to PM me any time and I'll point you in the right direction.

Nov 12, 2003, 07:17 PM
CPU: Pentium 4 2.4Ghz version C overclocked t 2.6 or 2.8GHz on stock cooling (3rd party cooling recommended). Hyperthreading enabled chip.

RAM: 512MB PC3200 (DDR400)> 256x2 for dual channel

Video Card: nVidia Geforce FX 5200(low end), Radeon 9600 pro (mid range end), Radeon 9800 pro (high end), Radeon 9900 XT (highest)

PSU: 400W or higher

Optical Drives: separate CD-RW and DVD drives. DVD burner optional.

Hard drive: At least 120GB ATA/133.

Monitor: At least a 17 inch CRT, 19 inch CRT preferrable. (LCDs arent very good for gaming as only expensive ones have fast pixel response times)

Sound card: Sound Blaster Audigy

Speakers: Doesn't matter, whatever fits into your budget.

Misc: 6 in 1 memory card reader, XP professional, case window/lights, extra fans, etc.

Nov 12, 2003, 07:24 PM
Originally posted by G5orbust
Misc: 6 in 1 memory card reader, XP professional, case window/lights, extra fans, etc.

XP on the list of things to "buy"?

By no means do I endourse stealing software!

but I do support Kazaa **cough** :p

Nov 12, 2003, 07:42 PM
Unless you are doing advanced networking save some money and go with xp home. It is the same with some of the advance features taken out. this a $100 difference but most people will never know the difference.

Nov 12, 2003, 08:24 PM
Since you're gaming, installing Windoze is inevitable. But hey, you could set up a dual boot with say, Slackware 9 and M$.

Aah, overclocking. I would not reccommend upping your FSB too much or setting ridiculasly high voltages... I am currently troubleshooting my nforce2 based mobo which I might have fried :(. My 2500+ is still in good condition though, I have OCd it 400 MHz on air, stable in Prime95!

Nov 13, 2003, 08:45 AM
i don't think i would try overclocking...

1. cause i don't really know how
2. cause i don't want to fry anything that i spend this much money on

i'd rather just spend the money on a nice processor/motherboard instead of frying a cheaper one trying to get it to work faster

Nov 13, 2003, 09:17 AM
Don't forget to get a good case and power supply. A tool free aluminum case with good component layout and airflow design will save you headaches in the future.

AMD is still the best for performance on a budget.

Nov 13, 2003, 12:47 PM
Originally posted by yamabushi
Don't forget to get a good case and power supply. A tool free aluminum case with good component layout and airflow design will save you headaches in the future.

AMD is still the best for performance on a budget.

what about fans and heat sinks sort of things?..do those usually come with the case or seperately? would i need to buy them if i don't plan on overclocking my processor?

Nov 13, 2003, 02:40 PM
The heatsink for the processor will come with the chip if you buy retail. I really reccommend buying retail. Instead of a 10 day warrenty you get 3 years, you get a heatsink, and its only a few dollars more. Case fans depend on the case. Some have them, some dont. The retail heatsink will be fine if you dont overclock, if you do look at a zalman, vantec, or other name brand. I have a coolermaster aero7+, and its looks awesome, but not that great a cooler. You should get 2 exhaust and 1 intake for sure. Ideally you would match the fans and air going in to the fans and air going out, but its not a big deal. But with an athlon and a high end radeon, do get some case fans. And do get a good power supply, athlon's and radeons need lots of power. I am partial to enermax, but antec is another really good brand.

Nov 14, 2003, 03:40 AM
Once you know what parts you want, you should definitely check out pricegrabber.com to find the best price. Try comparing which online stores sell the same products for a good price overall. That way you save money and aggravation when it comes to shipping.

As far as what to buy:

-Asus K8V Deluxe Mobo
-Athlon 64 3200+(the FX costs twice the price)
-or to save some cash-
-Asus A7V8X Mobo and an Athlon XP Barton(333MHz bus Model)

-Thermaltake brand heat sink(www.thermaltake.com)
-Lian-Li or Antec Case(depending on if you want all aluminum or otherwise)
-ATI Radeon 9600 Pro, 9700 Pro, or 9800 Pro with at least 128MB

-Kingston Memory
Buy PC2700(DDR 333) if you are using the ASV8X w/ an Athlon XP
Buy PC 3200(DDR 400) if you are using the K8V w/ an Athlon 64

-2 Western Digital 10000 RPM Serial ATA HDDs
36GB each on a RAID 0 setup for 72GB boot volume
Serial ATA and RAID controllers for them are on both of those boards

-Soundblaster Audigy 2 Soundcard(www.soundblaster.com)

Other than that, it's a matter of taste. But, once again, when you know what you want use pricegrabber.com to shop around.

To answer your question about the nForce 2. That's what's called a chipset(specifically one of the two main chipsets for an Athlon XP). That is what determines what features, such as Serial ATA, Firewire, and what bus speed the Mobo can support.

On a side note, you should have tried Maximum PC's forum which I also use.

Nov 14, 2003, 03:44 AM
forgot about the power supply. Go with an Antec or Enermax power supply that provides enough power for all your components. Once again, check maximumpc.com Comport Forums. They can get more specific.

Nov 14, 2003, 04:07 AM
Originally posted by rueyeet
You might want to try this post at a more PC-oriented site, or better yet a gaming site, to get the best response.

I agree... WTF is up with peeps...

"I want to build my own vacuum cleaner from scratch... Give me some tips!"

Nov 14, 2003, 04:12 AM
Originally posted by Rezet
I agree... WTF is up with peeps...

"I want to build my own vacuum cleaner from scratch... Give me some tips!"

here you go