Help me find a good computer and win 300k (in Off-topic)

Goodfish June 11 2009 11:29 PM EDT

I recently started looking in to buying a decent gaming PC to replace my laptop (at least for gaming). The problem is, I'm not very computer-savvy when it comes to hardware, so I figured I would get a CBer to give me a hand.

I don't care what site I buy it from, but I'd prefer more "reputable" dealers, and I'd love to get a package deal (+keyboard/monitor), since I currently don't have any peripherals for a tower. My biggest concern is money, since I'm only a 20 year old college kid with little disposable income.

I want to have a PC with a good graphics card. What that is, I'm not sure. Certainly I'd like to be able to play current games (Bioshock, Prototype, Oblivion, Left 4 Dead, et cetera). I'm not too picky about running things on super-ultra-mega-high quality, but would like Oblivion-esque games to at least look "great".

I'd also like a sizeable hard drive, but that isn't really a big deal since I plan on using an external for all my music/video, which is currently the biggest hog on my laptop's HD right now. I think 300 GB is really all I'll need.

Honestly I guess I can find my own screen and keyboard pretty easily, so while a package would be handy (especially if it was cheaper to get as a package), it is certainly not required. I want a bigger screen anyways (I'm currently looking for something between 25 and 30 inches...), so most packages probably won't run screens that large.

Assuming a package deal, I am willing to spend 1100 USD. If somebody winds up just finding a tower with no peripherals, my price range is 800 USD.

If anybody needs more information, just say the word. Whoever helps me find the computer I wind up buying will get 300k.

Goodfish June 11 2009 11:33 PM EDT

Two more things I forgot about because I am stupid:

One: this should be in contests.

Two: Here is a decent baseline for what I'm looking for.
I'd prefer something with a heftier videocard, and possibly a bit more RAM, but other than that it seems a very solid economical choice, and I can always buy some upgrades for that machine (namely, a new videocard).

alaskanpsyko June 12 2009 12:29 AM EDT

this is to the response of good's post on that cyber power rig.

updating your graphics to at least an 8800gt would be good its one of the best ones, its up near the 9800gt(got the 9800gt for about 120 after shipping) or even exceeds it, that's for performance, i had a xfx 8600gt 512mb card, and was only able to handle fallout3 on medium settings, until i ordered a EVGA 9800gt 512mb, and stuff got prettier! :D. if moneys a concern, try a 9600gs or around there. also getting a bigger power supply for future upgrades wouldn't hurt since if you're going to get beefier hardware your rig will require higher power. if you're goin to get into overclocking you'll need a better fan heat sink for your processor along with some compound called arctic silver which helps distribute the heat from the cpu to the heat sink resulting in better heat dissipation for my cpu heatsink/fan i chose the arctic cooler 7 set my cpu hasnt been overclocked but it hasnt exceeded 39C in temps. as for keyboard get a optical if you already weren't planning as optical are more responsive. as for monitor try getting one with a good response, something around 5-7ms, I've gotten one that's probably too small for your spec's which is a 19" acer wide-screen which i bought from a walmart here in Alaska for 190 after shipping, it was originally around 160 but since im in a villiage up in Alaska shipping was bigger then most residential cities. that cyberpowerpc is pretty good for the price you're getting. just you'll need a bigger graphics card and power supply as stated before since when manufacturers put in they own power supplies they tend to suck and end up busting due to trying to cut corners.

i dont really know what i can do to help, here are my specs of my self built rig: Asus p5n-e sli(able to run 2 similar graphics cards in sli mode which generally lets them run as one)core 2 duo e8400, 2x2gigs of Kingston ram, an EVGA 9800gt 512mb graphics card, xion power real 600watt power supply. Antec 900 gamer mid tower case, a dvd drive. and a Seagate Barracuda 500gb SATA hdd..which comes to a total of 1200 in price. due to my location shipping was a bit high. shipment for my computer case was close to my actual price for it which was about 99bucks. (bought it from amazon though)
and my Acer 19" wide-screen monitor from a Walmart in Fairbanks Alaska cost me 169 before shipping. the grand total after i added them up was roughly 1200. don't really remember cause i did all this in late nov last year. thought id try n help you out in some way i dont know how ive done it saying this i just hope i have

Sickone June 12 2009 12:32 AM EDT

Not exactly in your price range (950$) and probably with "some tinkering needed" in case it gets shook up on transit, but pretty damned good specs for the price.

The CHEAPEST 25" screen you can hope to find runs well over 300$, and you're looking at your entire initial price range for a 30" screen.
However, something simpler, like a 21.5" screen should run at around 150$. For instance, this one:

Together, those two would run at just about the 1100$ you mentioned, and you're actually getting quite a good deal for that cash.

Speakers, keyboard, mouse, those together should barely register... if you were happy with your laptop speakers, you should be more than happy with a pair of cheap 15$ speakers too. And if you weren't... well, I can only assume you have a sound solution, so just use that one.
All in all, I doubt you'd get to 30$, all the rest of the peripherials combined.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] June 12 2009 4:45 AM EDT

Man newegg doesn't know its stuff. If you go intel go i7 if you go AMD go with any of the phenom II series!

That is all old crap they are selling for prices of new technology.

if the i7 is too expensive then get a Q9450 or at least a high dual core like the E8500-E8600

But I recommend going AMD because the upgrade path is much easier as the 775 socket is at its end and is being replaced by the i7 & i5

Brakke Bres [Ow man] June 12 2009 5:13 AM EDT

This one would kick most of the systems you got:

but the graphics card is crappy

in that case this one is better then most of those systems:

Goodfish June 12 2009 7:42 PM EDT

Henk, your first post went right over my head, I'm not a computer techie... but the two systems you linked do look good.

Sickone's doesn't look bad either, from what I hear the GTX260 is a very good video card.

However, from all the reviews I've heard, Cyberpower PC tends to be pretty shady, and I really don't want to have to jump through hoops.

I'd even consider building my own system, but then I'd really require a tutor to be able to do that all myself. I just want a good gaming rig for less than 1K usd.

Dudster4 June 12 2009 8:03 PM EDT

it's not hard to build a computer, you just plug the stuff where it fits.

Flamey June 12 2009 9:42 PM EDT

@Henk, first link. It has a 9500GT which isn't very good for gaming. He should settle for at least a 9600GT/4670.

Flamey June 12 2009 9:49 PM EDT

Henk's 2nd link is decent. If you want a bit more budget this would be good:

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] June 12 2009 10:19 PM EDT

i spent 1200 bucks on an alienware recently and could not be happier with it! here is the stats, i know it is beyond your budget but if you could use similar components you would be very happy:

1] Area-51ᆴ 750i

Processor: Intelᆴ Coreル 2 Duo E8400 3.00GHz 6MB Cache 1333MHz FSB
Alien ware P2 Chassis: Alien wareᆴ P2 Chassis with Alien Iceル 3.0 Video Cooling - Cyborg Green
Alien FXᆴ: Alien wareᆴ Standard System Lighting - Terra Green
Alien ware P2 Chassis Upgrades: Alien wareᆴ Standard System Cooling
Power Supply: Alien wareᆴ 750 Watt Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply
Graphics Processor: Single 896MB NVIDIAᆴ GeForceᆴ GTX 260
Memory: 4GBᆱ Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz - 2 x 2048MB
Motherboard: Alien wareᆴ Approved NVIDIAᆴ nForce 750i SLI Motherboard
Operating System (Office software not included): Genuine Windows Vistaᆴ Home Premium (64-bit Edition) with Service Pack 1
System Drive: Single Drive Configuration - 500GB SATA 3Gb/s 7,200RPM 16MB Cache

Goodfish June 13 2009 1:28 AM EDT

I have actually seriously considered an Alienware, but when you can buy something off newegg with better specs for less cash, it seems kind of unnecessary.

Unless I can find a PC I really like, however, I may certainly snag a customized Alienware.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] June 13 2009 7:42 AM EDT

Ahem, please no Alienware. Building it yourself is really the smartest (read: cheapest) way to go.
All in all, I'd go for an AMD processor (listen to Henk!), something in the Phenom II series, preferably. As for the GPU, I'd get the new ATI card, 4890, I believe it is.
Get a decent PSU, 500-600 watts (? - I'm not sure about the 4890's wattage), maybe a Corsair one.
4GB of, say, 1200MHz RAM, and a 500GB HDD.
As for the mobo... my dad uses an ASUS P5Q, and it's _quite_ good. Overclock-able, and fast.
The monitor might be a problem though.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] June 13 2009 8:04 AM EDT

i have built my own computers for 15 years or so and have made many systems. it is definitely cheaper to build your own in the short run. to do it right though does take some time and research. i have also burned up many hours researching minor incompatibility issues to try to get a system stable due to said issues. for me it is now a "what is my time worth?" question and that is why i buy dell or alienware.

their engineering department does much of the grunt work for us. building your own system and get an out of the box solution are both valid for different reasons. if you want to start gaming immediately with great results and no time spent tweaking the system, alienware is a good bet.

if you like to tinker with it and have the time to do so, then go the other route.

with that being said, over the years i have had good experience with both amd & intel systems, the motherboard is probably the more important decision though. as for graphics, nvidia seems to me to be more stable than ati. i had hoped that would change but my last system was ati and i still had issues with it. bigger caches are better and go with a 7200 rpm hard drive or better.

if you are putting together your own system, read all of the reviews you can on the key components and throw out the extremes as you will always have highly opinionated people but they are pretty easy to spot.


Brakke Bres [Ow man] June 13 2009 10:46 AM EDT

if you want help on building you own system I would be happy to help its easy. I made my own pc a while ago:

Power supply unit: 600W silent Pro
Case: Antec 900 two
Mobo: Asrock 790gx/128m
CPU: AMD phenom II 940 black edition (that means unlocked multiplier)
GPU: Club3d 4870 OC edition
Ram: pc8500 2x2GB OCZ gold
Cooler: artic freezer extreme
DVD: dvd writer x22
sound card: creative titanium XiFi
HDD: 2x500 GB seagate in raid 0 (this means a really fast 1 TB HDD)

Running Vistax64 and I can play all games (but not crysis and GTA4)
on full @ 1920x1200

And don't be fooled when people say that they can play crysis
smoothly thats just nonsense. They probably played it at low
resolution and every detail at medium or low.

Not even my system can play crysis at high

PearsonTritonRaveshaw June 13 2009 8:54 PM EDT

I continue to direct everybody who wants a computer, either for gaming, multimedia, or simply browsing the web, to this shop. I honestly don't know how they make a profit with such low prices.

Goodfish June 14 2009 12:20 AM EDT

Yes, but can anybody vouch for their integrity...? Seeing a 1200 USD computer for just over 500 USD smells kind of fishy to me.

Although if it's legit, I'm drooling.

Demigod June 14 2009 12:27 AM EDT

No OS cuts down costs quite a bit. If you can score an OS for free, it doesn't look bad. I'm adding that site to my favorites list.

Goodfish June 14 2009 12:30 AM EDT

I believe you can score Linux for free, and I actually have the Vista install discs that came with my laptop.

If anybody who's a bit more computer savvy than I am check out the validity of the ebay sellers Rave posted, I'd appreciate that.

Thank you to everybody so far, right now it's between buying something off newegg and the site Rave posted. I won't buy Alienware simply because it's too expensive, even though they are definitely good gaming computers.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] June 14 2009 6:19 AM EDT

that seller Raveshaw recommended can sell his products that cheaply because he is cutting corners in certain area's and since the parts aren't listed you can't see which ones he uses.

Most probably old technology

QBPixel Sage June 14 2009 1:32 PM EDT

Hey Goodfish. I'm going to suggest you shoot high and go for one of the brand new MacBook Pro's. And just to your luck, the new 13" MacBook Pro is $1100 (with educational discount).

Yes, I know it's a laptop, which probably isn't what you're looking for. And it's a Mac. But considering the quality you get for its price, and that you can boot it up to Windows (so long as you have the Windows OS ready for installation), it might be something worth considering. I've had many friends switch over to Macs over the past two years, and they're as happy as can be. Consider:

1) You can use an educational discount to save $100
2) Order soon and you'll also get a free iPod Touch

You can order straight from the website with free shipping. Let me know if you need any other information.
Just check it out at . You might be surprised

Goodfish June 15 2009 2:47 PM EDT

The problem I have with laptops is that you aren't getting nearly as much processing power for your dollar as you are in a desktop. I considered a MacBook when I first got a laptop, but now I am strictly looking for a desktop. 1100 bucks isn't that bad, but when it's really not much of a step up from my current notebook, I don't really see the point...

Of course, you're free to convince me otherwise- like I said, I am no smartypants when it comes to computers, and I have no problems admitting that. :)

Goodfish June 15 2009 7:50 PM EDT

I'm looking at this computer (or, when I get enough money, something very similar):|66%3A2|39%3A1|72%3A1205|240%3A1318|301%3A0|293%3A1|294%3A50

Somebody who knows computers want to tell me a) if that computer is good, and b) if it's a good deal?

PearsonTritonRaveshaw June 15 2009 7:56 PM EDT

A buddy of mine purchased a computer from the guys at the ebay shops place I linked earlier. He told me he's never been happier. Also, since it's ebay shops, I'm sure there is some sort of guarantee, and I think they even give warranties.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] June 16 2009 9:12 AM EDT

That's a great system, Borgin.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] June 16 2009 9:13 AM EDT

make sure you get the new gt260 and not the re-branded 9800gtx

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] June 16 2009 9:15 AM EDT

Yeah, I believe the new GTX260s will be labeled "Core 216".

Goodfish June 22 2009 4:02 AM EDT

Sent Rave 300k for the link to etc_computers. I'll be buying from them when I have the clams. :)

Demigod June 22 2009 8:28 AM EDT

If you don't mind, drop a post whenever you get it. That site's still in my favorites list, and I like guinea pigs.

Nehemiah June 22 2009 10:49 AM EDT

Try, i bought a desktop from them 11 years ago, its still running! I may have to replace the dvd drive, but it lasted me 11 years :)

As far as free OS's are concerned, i would avoid them for gaming, their not game friendly mainly because the people that make the games dont design them to run on free OSs, i looked around, its true.

God Bless you!

Jesus Loves you!

Brakke Bres [Ow man] June 22 2009 10:52 AM EDT

dell is great if you want overpriced old technology that is only suited for text and internet. Not if you want to game.

Nehemiah June 22 2009 10:56 AM EDT

I bought my dell comp in 1998, its been running games ever since then, managed to run WoW on my machine, considering how old it is, it ran really good.

Dell makes really good comoptuers, even for gaming.

Demigod June 22 2009 11:33 AM EDT

I'm still angry at Dell for screwing me over with a useless motherboard. I bought a PC from them in '03-'04 that had all the rest of the stats clearly listed, but nothing mentioned about the mobo. I assumed it would be AGP or PCI-E, but instead it came with PCI. Even back then, that was crap for video cards.

The PC itself has done masterfully, and it came at a great price, but the cheap mobo and the 20 unwanted follow-up phone calls from India left me with a sour taste for Dell.

Goodfish June 22 2009 2:55 PM EDT

Yup, I'll keep you guys posted as to how the transaction goes down, and how well the computer performs. :)

I currently have a Dell laptop, and while I'm relatively happy with it, it came with a dead screen which caused me a bit of unnecessary headache. I'd stick with Dell but I want a very good gaming desktop without paying over 1k usd.
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