Building a Gaming PC

Discussion in 'Games' started by Stevez0r, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. Stevez0r macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2006
    New York City
    I know, I know this is Mac forum, but I was hoping for a little help.

    I know I could get a Mac Pro for gaming, but the $2,500 price tag is hefty. I could also get a iMac, but theres no room for upgrading and I don't like the current design. So I'm left with buildng my own PC and I'm trying to find some good websites or books. That's where you guys come in can anyone recommend a good site or book for building a Gaming PC? Thanks
  2. topgunn macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2004
    You might want to try the guide section over at AnandTech which can be found here.
  3. stonyc macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    For silent computing (yes, gaming computers can be silent):

    Nice general site where you can ask for advice, has reviews as well:

    For the [H]ardcore gamer:

    Great places to buy your components from: (I actually prefer these guys now over Newegg) (for your water-cooling and more high-end needs) (another solid vendor for wc parts) (has some of the lowest prices on after-market add-ons like case fans, heatsinks, etc.)

    Those are just off the top of my head... some miscellaneous advice:

    - Intel over AMD, for now... and I'm a big fan of AMD.
    - SLI is NOT worth it... you pay double for -maybe- a 50% increase.
    - Choosing the right PSU is absolutely critical... rock solid choices might include Seasonic, Corsair (they're actually modded Seasonics), and sometimes Antec.
    - Stay away from all things Thermaltake, unless you like flimsy, gaudy, and over-priced.
    - Air-cooling is highly comparable with water-cooling... so if you were looking to water cool, it's probably not worth it. EXCEPT for cooling vidcards... there, water cooling cannot be beat.

    If you have any questions on specific components feel free to ask.. I've built a few systems in my day. Also, let people know what sort of budget you have to work with. I'm a registered member (same username as here) over at spcr and I've found the members there to be particularly helpful. Good luck! :)

    EDIT: Oh, forgot to mention one more nice site for getting help/advice in building a new system: They have semi-regular system recommendations for different budget levels (budget, hot-rod, and the god box).
  4. Stevez0r thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2006
    New York City
    I'm working with a $1,500K not including monitor.

    I'm looking to be able to play WoW and newer pc games with room for upgrading. I'll also be using the maching for MS Office, Internet and Music.
  5. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    If you want you can go through the hassle of building your own machine or you can take for example a Dell XPS410 start with a strippo model add your memory, a 7900GS video card and whatever and still save hundreds. I myself had a Dell E521 made for ME, not some silly committee(hint Apple) then added a 7600GS silent video card. Its perfect,runs great and plays all my games like HL2 like a champ and was still under $900 plus I have a warranty etc etc free Vista upgrade blah blah blah. When it comes to hardware Dell has everyone beat except the home builder. Just my 2cents plus PC gamer gave high marks to the XPS410. Shame on Apple for no Consumer tower Shame Shame Shame!
  6. zero2dash macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2006
    Fenton, MO
    I have something that should work fine, I was thinking about building another PC but have since decided to buy a Mac so I'll be going that route.

    (All parts from
    Total $1,247.92

    Antec Performance One P150 White Steel ATX Mini Tower Computer Case with 430-Watt ATX12V v2.2 Power Supply - Retail $159.99

    Intel BOXDG965WHMKR LGA 775 Intel G965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $119.99

    POWERCOLOR X1950 PRO Extreme 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Extreme Edition Video Card With AC Cooling - Retail $219.99

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6600 - Retail $316.00

    CORSAIR XMS2 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X1024A-6400 - Retail $121.00 each x 2 = $222.00

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $94.99

    Logitech MX3000 967553-0403 2-Tone USB + PS/2 RF Wireless Standard Desktop Mouse Included - Retail $63.99

    LITE-ON 20X DVD±R Burner with 12X DVD-RAM write and LightScribe Technology Black IDE Model LH-20A1H-186 - Retail $38.99

    Antec 761345-75092-9 92mm Case Fan - Retail $5.99 each x 2 = $11.98

    Total $1,247.92

    You can add more ram if you want or a different video card, but I think this a killer system. 2 gigs of ram should be plenty (even if you go insane and decide to use Vista) and the video card should be plenty for a lot of stuff; I was going to get this one primarily because it has HDTV out. You can also omit the two case fans if you want.

    Some comments about this all:
    -Intel Core 2 Duo is the only cpu line you should look at right now if you're buying. AMD will have something later this year but otherwise - C2D will beat the pants off anything AMD currently has for sale.

    The E6600 is the midline C2D, a little slower than the E6700 but about $200 less and has the same 4 meg L2 cache.

    -There are other mobos out there but I'd get the Intel. I chose that one because it had a lot of features and nothing I didn't need.

    -Corsair - I like their ram. Bought Corsair ram for 5 or 6 computers, never once had a problem. Lifetime warranty. Quality like Crucial without the Crucial price.

    -Powercolor makes great products, and I prefer ATi over nVidia. Plus that card (I believe) is factory overclocked with ample cooling so you get some more oomph for your buck.

    -I like Seagate drives a lot now; used to be all about Samsung but theirs are harder to find now.. maybe they quit making drives...? Anyhow I bought that exact Seagate drive for my other desktop PC about 4 months ago, no problems yet and the drive is quiet and fast. 16 meg cache is nice

    -LiteOn is the only company I buy optical drives from; you could get a BluRay or HD-DVD burner if you wanted to spend the bucks. DVD-/+Rs are so cheap now anyway

    -Mouse/keyboard you may not need; I love Logitech mice and their keyboards are nice too.

    (last but not least)
    -Antec makes great cases, I looked at several Antec cases (including the P180B) before deciding on that one. (They have the Solo II which is that case in black, without the power supply, if you'd rather have a black case)

    That case comes with an Antec Neo430HE power supply (HE for High Efficiency), from what I read, those power supplies are very efficient, low low power intake, very quiet, and that case itself is also very quiet. Plus that psu has modular cables so you use the power supply leads that you need and omit the rest, keeping your case clean. Speaking of the case being clean, that case has cable routing to keep a case nice and neat (almost Mac-ish).
    Silent PC reviewed the case here

    That case also has hard drive suspension cables to eliminate more noise if you want.

    One last final comment: whatever you buy, I'd get it from NewEgg. [this is a shill, yes] I don't work for NewEgg, but their prices are the lowest around, their customer support if A+ #1 excellent/superb (put whatever synonym you want in), and their shipping is fast and cheap.

    Good luck
  7. stonyc macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    Re: Newegg.. I still like them a lot, but often times if you compare the same item at ZipZoomFly, the price at ZZF will be slightly higher, but their shipping is free. So before you buy your parts, check both sites out and see which gives the better deal.

    The Antec P150 is good, as is the included power supply... BUT, I like to pick every single component myself. So if the the P150 appeals to you, I would recommend getting the Antec SOLO instead... it's the new revision of the P150 and it's also finished in black (which is nice, because finding white-finished components is sometimes a littler harder). Then take the $60 or so that you saved to buy a separate PSU (the new Corsair HX series is great, also reviewed by SPCR).

    Re: Dells... they're okay, BUT what happens when a new socket comes out? You're then left with a mobo and case that are basically useless. The whole point behind building your own comp is that you can customize each and every part, down to the last fan or heatsink. Add to the fact that Dell and other computer manufacturers will disable key options in your BIOS, and you've just lost another avenue of customization. Dells are fine for most end-users, but most enthusiasts might prefer having more control over their systems.

    For $1500, have a look at the reference boxes over at Arstechnica... they can give you a really good idea of what you can get for your budget. In fact, I think that their Hot-Rod box uses a budget of $1500... so give it a look and replace/remove components as you see fit. :)
  8. zero2dash macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2006
    Fenton, MO
    I liked the P150 because it's a nice neat looking case; most of the cases nowadays are either really plain or obnoxiously neon complete with glowing eyes, fangs, and biohazard symbols. :D (My current P4 3.0C is in a Chieftec server case, pretty much no frills)

    But yeah, I mentioned the Solo II as well.
    I wish the Solo II had the optical drive bezels but I'd get the P150 regardless because I like the white color (although I'm sure it shows dust like a mofo). Very Apple-esque.

    I think I'm going to get a new case, the Antec Fusion and put the P4 in there and use it as a HTPC.
    That case is frickin' unbelievably good :eek:
  9. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    I've had good success with Tom's Hardware for comparing pieces of architecture.
  10. mahashel macrumors 6502


    May 5, 2005
    "the lab"
    I'd definitely second (or third?) the recommendation of newegg.
    I've used newegg for parts in my gaming PCs for the past 4 years.
    They're quick to send the parts, and just as quick to exchange anything that happens to arrive DOA.

    If you can afford to get a Mac Pro for gaming, that's great. For the rest of us poor folk, there's newegg & OEM XP. :D

    (Yes, I need a gaming PC. Contrary to popular belief, my iBook doesn't quite make the grade, even if it does run OSX) ;)
  11. weldon macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2004
    Denver, CO
    For gaming, I'd definitely look at the Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 and the Asus P5B Deluxe motherboard. You can overclock the snot out of the E4300 (~3.3GHz) and get X6800 performance with stock air cooling. It has tons of headroom and a low default multiplier - perfect for overclocking. And you don't have to worry about any expensive cooling, just the stock Intel fan will do.

    CPU ~$180
    MB ~$180
    gaming sweetness = priceless
  12. Nicolasdec macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2006
    São Paulo
    its so easy i just built one a copple of weeks ago. search on youtube " Pc build" there are a some videos on how to build one.
  13. zero2dash macrumors 6502a


    Jul 6, 2006
    Fenton, MO
    The P180B is a good case, I've seen people say the separated psu chamber can cause cable problems though (cables not being long enough).

    The only flaw I see in that cpu (or the 6300) is the 2 meg L2 cache vs. the 6600/6700/EE having 4 megs L2 cache. The increased L2 cache (AFAIK) will help with gaming, but if you want to save the $90, that's your call.

    That ATi card is nice; I didn't think to look for an ATi branded card. :)
  14. stonyc macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2005
    Yeah, the P180 overall is a very good case.. when you get it though, there are a couple things you'll want to check:

    - Like zero mentioned, the length of your PSU cables.
    - The door/hinges.. some people have complained about that the hinges on the P180's door are flimsy (they're made of plastic.. versus the SOLO's which are metal). Some have also complained about the door being warped... luckily, Antec customer service has a very good reputation if any problems should pop up.

    You might also think about waiting for the new revision of the P180 to come out (called the P182)... has a few new tweaks and improved cable management:
  15. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005

    Now if you are talking about water cooling as LITERAL h2o cooling then yes, it wouldnt be worth it. However liquid cooling with certain types of coolants you can get it VERY much worth it, especially if he plans on overclocking. General rule of thumb is stay with the standard HSF if you arent going to overclock...

    As for the thermaltake comment, I personally dont know about their other products but their HSF products I have always had great experiences with. Right now I am using their Blue Orb 2 on my system and I am able to overclock my system without even the need to plug in the fan for the heatsink (well then again the thing is 4 inches in diameter...).

    Finally I would llike to point out to the OP, that Nvidia will be releasing a line of budget 8800 out soon. It might be worthwhile to hold out
  16. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    why do people always and I mean ALWAYS forget to put the OS in the cost. You need to make sure you add in the OEM cost of at least the OS.

    as for a good place to go that I used for my build for help is it a great forum full of builders who know there stuff and if you post your idea they will give you suggestions.

    Oh yeah and it is not full of mac haters Hell quite a few of them do own a mac.. Just do not go there talking about how mac rules and PC suck or the other way around because that is a quick way to piss these guys. They hate fan boys of any type. That be an Apple M$ ATI, Nividia and so on. They general are pretty calm and open minded and if you say you want certain limitations (like an ATI card or some part) they will work with it there. Just never go bashing some company and they are happy campers.

    And again quite a few of them love apple computers. again the forum is

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