Gaming PC Advice?

Discussion in 'Games' started by whw5, May 4, 2005.

  1. whw5 macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2004
    Hey Guys, I am thinking about building a PC and use it solely for gaming.

    Does anyone have any advice for this topic? Also, what are your views on

    building a PC?

    I am looking to play graphics intensive games such as half-life two and

    Doom 3. If anyone can direct me to a cheap PC that is easily upgradable that

    is also good. Any advice and views are great. There is no way I will switch

    back to PC, but I really want a gaming machine thats not and xbox or PS2
  2. whw5 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2004
    I also forgot to mention, I am would like to run Linux on it. Do I have to keep

    a copy of windows?
  3. Uma888 macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2005
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    for HL2 no, use cedega (a version of WINE, just for games) it will work fine, im running it fine on SUSE 9.2

    Domm 3 i havent tried it on cedega
  4. benpatient macrumors 68000

    Nov 4, 2003
    You'll need windows to play most games. There is less Linux gaming support than Mac gaming support!

    Not a lot of time to get into it, but here's what I'd suggest:

    Find a motherboard with at least 2 SATA channels onboard, gigabit ethernet and some kind of dedicated surround sound processor. I find ASUS's "deluxe" models are pretty reliable and feature-loaded, in general.

    I'd suggest going with a socket 939 Athlon 64 in the 3000-3500+ range. Don't get an FX because they're overpriced. Don't get a P4 right now because they cost too much and underperform in any non-A/V tasks. (if you do a lot of DV editing or mpeg compression, i guess a P4 is better...but then so is a Mac).

    Make sure you get a socket 939 motherboard, of course. How new are you to this? there are lots of online tutorials out there that will help first-timers with things like thermal cement and compatibility and memory timings and stuff you've never heard of if you are new to PC building. It's intimidating but not really too tough with a little research. It takes me less than 2 hours to go from parts in boxes to running game benchmarks, I've done so many builds. Kinda addictive, honestly. It's like working on cars.

    Anyway, If you're looking to stay under 1000 dollars, you'll want to probably get a graphics card in the 6600 GT range (200 dollars or so).

    A socket 939 motherboard should be PCI-Express, so you'll want a PCI-E graphics card.

    I recommend getting Seagate hard drives because from my experience they're the best, and a 5 year warranty is hard to beat. Make sure you get a 7200.8 model...the size is totally your preference. SATA for sure. The 7200.8 is an excellent drive and it's quiet enough that you'll never hear it...ever.

    If you want good read/write speeds from your drives, consider a RAID 0 array with 2 identical hard drives. a lot of people get one small hard drive for a system drive to boot from and then get 2 SATA drives for storing games, movies, photos, audio, etc. Basically everything non-system. Those drives in a RAID 0 array will be very fast...or with a RAID 1 array, you get automatic backup...either way...good investment.

    If you don't want 3 hard drives, then I'd say get 1 SATA drive.

    Unless you plan to overclock, don't bother with anything faster than PC 3200 RAM...although I wouldn't recommend buying off-brand RAM. Get pretty good RAM. Corsair is nice...but there are a lot of good brands. I would recommend 1GB as a pair of 512mb chips. If you get the right mobo, then you'll be able to run them in dual-channel mode, which speeds things up just a little bit...for "free."

    Cases are purely a personal preference, but I wouldn't say that power supplies are a personal preference. It makes more sense to buy a cheap case than to buy a cheap power supply...DON'T skimp on the power supply. And when I say that, I don't mean more watts=better. A crappy, poorly-built 500 watt power supply will crumble under less pressure than a good 300 watt PSU will. Antec is a favorite in the building community. They cost a little more, but you would be amazed what some stable voltages will do to fix an unstable system...a 30 dollar Case+500 watt PSU combo is the best way to fry a motherboard, a processor, a graphics card, and two sticks of expensive RAM that man has ever invented.

    Spend some extra money on QUIET'll thank yourself every time you walk in and can't tell if the computer is on or not. I have had jet engine-loud PCs and literally inaudible is worth the extra cost. a PC can be cool and quiet at the same time.

    well, i hope that's a good start...
  5. Bigheadache macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    Good post benpatient

    i would just add a couple of points.

    Firstly there aren't any A64 motherboards with 'dedicated surround sound processors' (apart from maybe the MSI K8N Neo 4 or Diamond). Nearly all boards come with a codec of some sort which they advertise as 5.1 or 7.1 or whatever. These are still CPU intensive. The last major onboard 'dedicated' DSP was the Nforce2 Soundstorm (for AthlonXP). If you really want a dedicated sound controller to take the load off your CPU then you need a sound card with a DSP like an Audigy. Whether you think its worth the money depends on personal preference as I personally don't think the framerate cost is too bad.

    Secondly, most of the overclocker forums recommend A64 owners get a good quality brand power supply. The key number is not actually wattage, its the amperage on the 12volt rail. Look for 20A-25A even if you aren't overclocking. For overclocking everyone seems to think 30A+ is the way to go. A64 systems are very dependent on a quality 12volt feed.

    And lastly, I want to re-emphasise what Benpatient said. Definitely forget Linux for gaming. its really a zero sum game going from Mac gaming to Linux gaming.
  6. homerjward macrumors 68030


    May 11, 2004
    fig tree
  7. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Jul 23, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    If I were you, here's what I'd get:

    Socket 939 Athlon 64 3500+
    1 GB Corsair RAM
    X800Pro (but I'm a half life person, so I'm biased here)
    120 GB 7200 RPM HD w/ 8 MB Cache
  8. Toreador93 macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2003
    This is the PC I built for $1100 last Christmas:

    Shuttle SN95G5 Barebones (AMD 939, NForce 3 Mobo)
    A64 3000+ winchester (1.8GHz, easily overclockable to 2.2+)
    Seagate 120GB Barracuda SATA
    Sony DVD+-RW 16x, DL
    eVGA 6800GT 256mb AGP
    Kingston 512mb

    You can probably get this setup a little cheaper now. You might want to get a mid tower if you want to add a few PCI cards. If you build a shuttle and want a quiet setup, get an X800__ instead of a 6800__, since the GPU is by far the loudest part in the computer.

    With Doom3, I average 40-50 FPS @ 1680x1050 on all High Settings.
  9. whw5 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 27, 2004
    Thanks a lot this is really helpful. I don't know which setup to build, but I'm glad that its a lot cheaper than buying one already put together.
  10. kuyu macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    My gaming PC is as follows:

    MSI K8T Neo Socket 754 w/ cool&quiet & dynamic overclocking
    AMD64 3000+ @ 2.0GHz
    1 gb DDR400 by Crucial
    80 gb Seagate 7200 RPM
    450W Powersupply
    Gigabyte ATI X800 Pro
    ATI TV Wonder Pro
    Lite-on 8x DVD+/-R/RW
    XP Pro

    HL2 and Doom 3 look incredible on this setup. The processor is sort of a bottleneck, but rarely. I'll sell this system and Doom3, Sims2, Battlefield Vietnam, UT2k4, and Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, by the way. This setup cost ~$1,300 last fall. With the games, it's more like $1,500. I'd sell it for less than that.

    PM me if interested. I'm drooling over the 2 GHz imac.
  11. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    Benpatient has a excellent post there in #4 . I agree. I might add that with socket 939 comes future upgrades and even dual athlons though why anyone would need 2 at the moment escapes me. Also though PCI-E is coming on line 4AGP & 8AGP arent saturated and hence greater savings can be had by skimping on this if one wanted depending on whats on sale.

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