I have an old Dell monitor, can I use that with any PC or do I need a new one? I also just want to be able to play games like Battlefield 2142 and Age of Empires 3. Don't count that in the budget though, I can get those seperately. Thanks.
get a motherboard thats made for gaming and has pci express slots for new graphics cards, a power supply that supports it, you would have to do all of the figuring in what you want exactly and the prices, use tigerdirect to look at prices
the important parts are your cpu, gfxz card, and ram
-just go for 2 gigs ram, its worth it for gaming and the standard right now
-cpu are always changing, so ask people who play BF 2142 [forums !] what they use. Cpu's are tricky and you can get the same power for many different prices it all depends on if your willing to overclock or shop around.
-video card, just follow what i said above
everything else is not as important you can kinda use whatever you want and wont make much difference. Except maybe the hard drive. But honestly I would worry
Hard drive memory, on board memory and video memory.
The one thing that will make games error the most is video memory. (spend the money 256K is good)
I just bought a custom Dell and it does all I need and the cost was $1132 with monitor, 256K Video, 250 G hard drive, cool case, 2 gigs memory and all accessories.
It plays all games I want and I am a game admin/server
There are some really good MB out there and you might be able to score a deal on a MB and CPU combo. I like ASUS boards and try to use them whenever I do a new build. I go with chip sets that have the Nivida N-force as part of their archatecture.
Finding a MB that supports the new RAM is a plus. Most will support dual channel and up to 2-4GB's.
More RAM the better but then again you will need to get what you can afford. You can always start out with 1GB and then get another GB later.
Get a good monitor. There are some good deals out there on 17-19 inches. The technology is far improved and there isn't the video shadowing or lag when playing games on LCD screens.
AMD or Intel? Again that is personal preferance. The new AM2 CPU's are coming down in price. I steer to AMD because of the price, but I will admit I have seen the new Core Duo 2 in action and have been impressed. However, you are paying for the Intel name. If an Intel CPU is $499, a AMD equivalent may be $250. That gives you more money for more RAM or upgrading that video card.
Don't go cheap on a power supply unit (PSU). With the power requirements of CPU's, video cards, MB's etc, they'll eat up power. A cheap PSU will take down your whole system. Get at least something over 500-600W now a days and you can have some room for improvement later.
SATA hard drives are the best choice. Get one that give you plenty of room to save those games on.
Have fun building your rig. Buying the parts is half the fun. Prices change regularly so don't fret if something might be out of your price range initially. A week or a month and you might be able to afford to put it in your rig.
For $1300 you can put together a very nice system. You can either build it yourself, buy the parts and have someone build it for you, or purchase one prebuilt (Best Buy, online, etc.)
These are the bare essentials you need:
A motherboard that supports Core 2 Duo processors, DDR-2 memory, at least two full 16X PCI-e express slots - hopefully one with those plus a third PCI-e slot.
A Core 2 Duo processor E6400 series or above.
Minimum of 1GB of memory -2GB if you have enough left over.
PCI-e video card. If you get a mobo that can do SLI, teh ntwo nVidia GS7600 cards is a great way to go on a budget. You can always upgrade later.
A fast hard drive. There is debate over a 15,000 RPM Raptor drive or the newer SATA drives. Some board support both. If you have to chose, go with a board that supports SATA drives. That is the newer technology, and eventually those drives will be faster than Raptors.
There is no need for gian hard drives, since those will actually slow you down a bit. The more data on the drive, the longer it takes to find it. 120GB primary drive is fine.
(You may also see if the mobo you pick is capable of RAID. Down the road, you can get additional drives and set them up in RAID and then you won't have to worry about size.)
Important: You also need a good power supply and case. For power look at getting at least 600W if not more. Depending on how many video cards or drives you use, the machine will be hungry for juice.
This also means you will be generating a lot of heat, so get a good case and cooling solution.
Here is a smple listing of parts that would make for a pretty good gaming system:
$217 - ASUS P5N32-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131073
$220 - (2) CHAINTECH GAE76GS-A2 GeForce 7600GS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814145140
$140 - Patriot eXtreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220144
$145 - Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133154
$145 - Thermaltake W0106RU Complies with ATX 12V 2.2 & EPS 12V version 700W Power Supply
$218 - Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115004
$70 - SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD252KJ 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152083
That is a total of $1155 leaving you $145 for cables, thermal paste, and a cpu colling setup.
The bang for the buck version is right in the price range since you already have a monitor. You can drop the CPU a little, or the memory to shave off some cost, I would try to come up with a little extra cash if it was me.
This case is half the cost also http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2337809&Sku=ULT33177 and has a clear side, word of caution, cases with included power supplies may be cheap. Try to get a brand name power supply.