New Gaming Rig

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Xavierblazer, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. Xavierblazer

    Xavierblazer Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 30, 2005
    I am looking for a new gaming rig.

    My old(current) one is:
    IBM clone
    P2 333
    256 MB RAM
    Trident video card
    Avance logic sound card(100+)
    (This thing barely plays Fallout without lagging. Please help me out here)

    I have a budget of around $250-300 American(160-190 EUR) I need something that will play San Andreas and Silent Hill 4, games of last generation. But I know nothing about computer hardware. Any suggestions?

    I don't care about special features or anything. My only two concerns are:
    1: It plays any half decent game at at least 10 frames per second on middle settings
    2: It lasts at least 5 years(because this is the most money I will have to spend on a computer until I leave college)
    Any thoughts?

    PS: I could probably scrounge up 100 dollars for a new graphics card in 6 months or so if I skip trivial expenses like food and TP. I've heard naughty things about on board video(cannot remember where or why, though)
  2. horse

    horse Vault Fossil

    May 31, 2003
    i own one extremely cheap computer, bought the whole rig a year ago for arounf 400 euro for my living room.

    so here goes: amd 64x2 3800, 3 gb ram, 250gb harddisk, onboard sond and grafic card. plays up to s.t.a.l.k.e.r., cant play bioshock or oblivion. onboard is something called nvidia 5160 and works well enough.
  3. Xavierblazer

    Xavierblazer Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 30, 2005
    What is more important, I wonder. Processor speed or Graphics card leetness.

    I remember I once had an Optiplex GX150(Dell) with only 1ghz P3 and 32mb ATI Radeon 7200 that played Silent Hill 2 and Vice City like a champ(well...not exactly like a champ, but it managed to my satisfaction)
  4. Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude

    Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jul 9, 2004
    Right now processors are the biggest bottleneck in modern systems. GPUs are progressing much faster than processors, and games are becoming more and more CPU reliant.
  5. ZiggyMeister

    ZiggyMeister It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 7, 2008
    For a 300 US dollars budget, I found this components on

    As you don't say nothing regarding the case and Power Supply (PSU), I assume that you'll need a new one.

    Case: COOLER MASTER Elite RC-330-KKR1 Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 350W Power Supply - Retail $49,99
    PSU: 350W with the Case $0,00
    Motherboard: Foxconn M7VMX-K LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 7050 / nForce 610i Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $53,99
    Processor: Intel Pentium E2180 Allendale 2.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E2180 - Retail $69,99
    RAM: CORSAIR ValueSelect 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Desktop Memory Model VS2GBKIT667D2 - Retail $39,99
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $59,99
    Optical Drive: LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model DH-20A4P-04 - OEM $21,99
    Sound: onboard Realtek ALC662 6 Channels $0,00
    Graphics: onboard NVIDIA GeForce 7050 $0,00
    LAN: onboard 10/100/1000Mbps $0,00

    Total: $295,94

    I hope this can help you, at least as a guide for what you can find online or on stores.

    With this system, in the future, you can upgrade the CPU and add a dedicated Graphic card to improve the overall system performance, but both RAM slots will be used.

    With a max budget of $300 it's not easy to build a good system and that can last for 5 years, because even today this system is outdated.
  6. Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude

    Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jul 9, 2004
    Not to be a dick, you don't know much about PC hardware do you?

    Recommending that he skimps out and goes with a bottom of the barrel PSU that was substandard 5 years ago is setting off red flags everywhere.
  7. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    So give better advise/construct a better one at sub-400 USD levels.

    I don't know enough about computers to advise here, but sitting around shooting down other people's advise = not helping
  8. ZiggyMeister

    ZiggyMeister It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 7, 2008
    Hey Phil,

    If you are a dick or not, I really don't know, I guess that's up to you to decide and to know...

    Hey, maybe not, but I really never said that I'm an expert on that subject!
    If you look at my nickname, you can read that I'm a ZiggyMeister not a HardwareMeister.

    But if you take a look at the following website:
    You can see that for the system I suggested + a NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB ($100+, today), can survive with such a lame PSU from Cooler Master.

    Hey, at least I gave my suggestion, that's more than you have done until now.
    If you have a better suggestion, please fell free to step forward and give it.

    And by the way, did you at least read what I wrote?
    But I'm not sure you even read what Xavierblazer was asking in the first place.
    Because you can't buy a Ferrari if you only have money for a Fiat.
  9. Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude

    Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jul 9, 2004
    The PSU is by far the most important piece of hardware in your rig (Yes, more important than that shiny 9800 GTX; Yes, more important than that 3.4ghz quad core).

    If you buy a piece of shit; you're not only going to be running unstable (if it runs at all), but you're going to cook your hardware at some point as well (good luck with the warranty on that).

    I forgive your lack of nerdiness kharn.

    You forgot to read the fine print below the red flashing "ATTENTION" sign:

    As we can see here, this PSU (that comes with that coolermaster)has 10 amps on a single 12v rail. A single 8800 GT takes ~22 amps to run.

    I recommend the PSU I'm currently using. It isn't too expensive, and it can handle any modern single-card setup.

    Good luck building that PC Xav. I recommend waiting until you've got ~$700, because you really don't have any room for a passable CPU/GPU in the 400 range.
  10. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    First off, Phil is correct... you'd be better off trying to scrounge up another $300-400 dollars to build a better rig. However, if you really can't do that and want to build with that budget, then I'd go ahead and take Ziggy's suggestion but with a couple of caveats.

    First, if you're really planning on doing any sort of gaming, even games like San Andreas and Silent Hill, a dedicated graphics card is a must. Onboard video chipsets are simply a no. With that in mind, I'd change the motherboard to something more like this. Yes, it's more expensive even without the onboard graphics, but the motherboard is one of the parts you really should not skimp out on too much, even on a budget. The motherboard has a big impact on the future expandability, overall performance, and stability of your system.

    So, with no onboard graphics, you need a graphics card. Probably the best graphics card sub-$100 is an 8600GT. Yes, that's adding $80 to your price tag right there (though there is a nice $30 rebate on that particular one), but I simply can't recommend anything less than that (don't go for cheapo models that use GDDR2 instead of the faster GDDR3). There's also this Radeon 2600XT which is comparable, and it's only $66 up front but there's no rebate. If you really, really must go cheap, then you could possibly make due with something like a 7300GT. But make note that I very much recommend against it.

    As far as the PSU is concerned, Phil is also correct there, though I don't like to be quite so insulting to someone who was trying to be helpful. The PSU is an important component often not given enough research by someone not experienced with building PC hardware. With any halfway modern video card / CPU combination, you want at least two 12V rails so that the CPU and GPU aren't using amperage on the same rail. You often never know exactly what you're getting when you buy a case/PSU combo, especially with the cheaper stuff, so I generally recommend to buy the case and PSU separate. The cheapest PSU I could really recommend is an Antec 430W Earthwatts. It's $60, but there's a $30 rebate for that one. Phil's recommendation is good as well. I simply have had good experiences with Antec PSU's myself, and getting half the price in a rebate is always nice.

    Also, PSUs like that one are more efficient than cheapy ones, and so you'll save money over time on your energy bill (if that's an issue for you).

    For a case, that should be the last concern of anyone on a budget. As long as your current case isn't falling apart and is spacious enough (take some measurements and compare against the motherboard's specifications if you're iffy; any mid-tower case design should be able to fit an ATX motherboard though) it should do fine. Or just try to find some old case someone is throwing away or stashing or whatever. Some might disagree because of airflow issues and the like. I'd say, since you should be running everything at stock, overheating isn't likely to be an issue (just as long as there's one good exhaust fan on the thing and you make an effort to keep the cables tidy and out-of-the-way).

    So, taking Ziggy's recommendation with my substitutions, the total would run up to $407 (US), not including shipping, with $60 coming back in rebates. Heck, you can't even get a Dell for that cheap (unless you go with a model that uses a Celeron *blech*). That's the best I can do for you.
  11. ZiggyMeister

    ZiggyMeister It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 7, 2008
    @Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude

    Now, that was some constructive criticism and also some good and helpful information.
    You got me thinking, and I guess that I wont replace my 7600GT for a 8800GT, at least using my current PSU.


    You really made a very good upgrade to my suggestion, the only problem is Xavierblazer's small budget.
    But I guess if he can wait 6 months and save $100, then he will be able to buy that and maybe the 8600GT will be cheaper.
    But on the other hand, I don't remember seeing the GB of RAM so cheap. And RAM price is cyclic, 18 months ago I gave 130€ for 1GB and some time after that I bought 3GB for that price, and now it's even cheaper!!!


    If I were you, I guess I would go with Kyuu's suggestion. You "just" need to squeeze another 100 bucks.

    You should try convincing your parents and/or grandparents to support you on a special project for College.
    Because saving money by cutting on food and TP (what ever that is), is not really the best way to save money.

    And, Hey! You're in college, you need to eat, study and PARTY!
    Because there's no place like college to have some fun and go crazy. And you need some money for that.
  12. Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude

    Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jul 9, 2004
    The easiest way to save money is to stop by your local warehouse store; buy a big fucking palate of ramen, and a large bottle of one-a-day vitamins.

    No beer, no soda, just water.

    Eat that way for a month or so and you'll have a couple hundred dollars saved up (if you're already eating like that, do what ziggy suggested and hit up your parents for some 'educational funding').


    Oh, and I'd stay away from the 8800 GT ziggy. I've had to RMA two of them before I said fuck it, and got the g92 GTS.

    Nvidia was trying to go for a cheap/sleek design on the 8800 GT and stuck it with single-slot cooling. This means that not only does the card run much hotter than dual-slot coolers (Artifacts up like a bitch, and has very little overclocking headroom unless you rip off the old cooler and slap an aftermarket dual-slot on it), but the tiny fan sounds like a hairdryer. It also exhausts the heat into your case, heating up the rest of your rig, almost forgot that fun-fact.

    Shitty single-slot cooling (GT):

    Not shitty dual-slot cooling (GTS 512):
  13. ZiggyMeister

    ZiggyMeister It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 7, 2008
    @Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude

    Thanks for the warning about the 8800GT. If I ever do that upgrade to my PC I will need to take that into account, the PSU and even some more details...

    But as nowadays I'm not really a hardcore gamer, nor even a real gamer, I will only upgrade my PC if I need to do that in order to play Fallout 3.

    But Fallout 3 has also to meet my minimum expectations so I will spend more that 150€ in a upgrade. But as days go by, and I read all the reviews and all the news, I get more skeptic about that...

    Well, I'll wait an see!
  14. Xavierblazer

    Xavierblazer Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 30, 2005
    Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately, I was kidnapped by a Buddhist monk for a week and couldnt get to a computer with internet.

    I ended up getting this
    because 3ghz processor. Will I regret?

    Unfortunately the video card is useless until I get an LHF to VGA splitter or whatever that is, so I am stuck with my 2mb Trident. I managed to scare up 65 more dollars, so what are my options in regards to video cards on that budget?
  15. Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude

    Phil the Nuka-Cola Dude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jul 9, 2004
    If you mean a DVI to VGA adapter, every graphics card comes with one.

    As for the processor, how much did you spend on it? Getting a non-multicore processor (especially with how retardedly cheap they are now) is kind of shooting yourself in the foot.
  16. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    Well I can't see anything other than that it's a 3GHz Pentium 4 with Hyperthreading, an 80 GB hard drive, and 1GB of RAM. In all honesty, with your limited budget and low expectations, I'd say that's fine, though perhaps not... optimal. The only thing I'd be concerned about is that it might be an AGP motherboard, rather than a PCIe. But, still...
    Well, if the motherboard uses AGP, then this Radeon 2600 HD Pro is your best bet (HIS isn't exactly a well-known brand, but it's got dual-slot cooling, which is always nice if it fits in your case, 512MB of RAM, and the best core/memory clock speeds). If it's PCIe, then a Radeon 2600XT. Again, I wouldn't really recommend such low end cards, but if you really can't get any more money together and really want to be able to run San Andreas and SH4, those cards should probably manage it. Don't expect much if you ever try more recent games on it though.
    I'm willing to bet whatever video card came with that HP is absolute garbage and not worth the effort, especially if you have to get a splitter to connect VGA to it.
  17. Buxbaum666

    Buxbaum666 Heterostructured Nanorod oTO Orderite

    Dec 5, 2003
    It's crap. The Pentium 4 is probably the worst processor ever. You may be able to play "half decent games" but it will depend on what that means to you. I guess you will have problems with most games released after 2003/2004. (If you exchange the video card, that is.)
  18. horse

    horse Vault Fossil

    May 31, 2003
    just ordered a 7300 gt graphic card. seems to offer good performance for very little money... (36 euros with 512 mb ram). ill post again after testing a bit. now the "gaming rig" in my living room seems complete. i am way too lazy to install some 5.1 boxes etc, than it would be perfect.
  19. Dove

    Dove Half-way Through My Half-life

    Dec 2, 2003
    My AMD 3400 and Ati X1300 run pretty well still.

    Have to lower resolution for the newest of the new games, and still have options turned up high. Just got done playing Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed.

    Looking to upgrade CPU and GPU soon though, but it's going to cost your whole budget for just the upgrades I want :drunk:
  20. requiem_for_a_starfury

    requiem_for_a_starfury So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Apr 3, 2003
    Is the 8800GT really that bad, I'm not interested in overclocking and the 8800GTS seems to be hard to get here at the moment.

    What over nvidia cards are worth getting for gaming?