Ultimate Gaming Computer for $3k

Apr 10, 2008
  1. Firstly, I dont know much about computers :/

    Could you please help me build the best gaming pc for $3000 (Im happy to spend more If Its better).

    I play CSS. You may say that $3k Is overkill..I just want a really leet PC with all the bells & whistles :p

    Here Is what I would like/ want Included:

    I want the Nvidia 9800GX2 card

    A Great cpu (Intel Core2Duo E8400, that any good?)

    A really good sound card & headphones

    Im thinking I want atleast 4 gig of ram

    22/24inch Monitor

    A fast loading hard drive (I hear there are some better for gaming)

    A case that will keep everything really cool (I have had overheating issues in the past with gaming cases)

    1000w PSU

    I will be running Xp home (not sure about getting Vista yet) & I have no Intentions on overclocking, thats why I would rather spend more on getting the best I can buy.
    I will also be using this for d/l movies If that makes any difference or should I keep my current pc for that?

    Thanks from Australia :)


    P.S I hope this Is the correct place to post. I have also searched & found nothing current on this topic.
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    You might really want to considering reading this thread, I'm sure it will bring a few things to your attention:

    Spending much more than $2,000 is overkill, but I'm not going to argue with you as I've argued enough in the thread linked above.

    SPARTA TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for that link zenosincks :D

    I now fully understand that I dont need to spend that much.

    Im guessing it should cost me between $1500 to $2000ish In OZ.

    Could you recommend what I should get? I get really confused at the computer shop. That Is the reason why I have posted here. They were more than happy to take my money when I told them my budget :/

    Video card: nVidia 9800GX2

    Cpu: (Intel Core2Duo E8400, Is that good or are there better?)



    Ram x?:

    Sound card & headphones:

    Hard drive:



    Xp or Vista?

    Thanks from Australia :)

  4. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    Are most of the components on Newegg available to you? Do you have a link to an Australian outlet you'd prefer us to look at?

    SPARTA TS Rookie Topic Starter

  6. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    The E8400 seems to be the sweet spot as far as performance : price goes from what I can see. It's your call on the OS. There aren't many PSU's to choose from on their site :(. You'll have to rely on yourself to choose a sound card/headset as I can't really decide on anything there.

    Motherboard: GA-X48-DS5 $319.00
    CPU: E8400 $239.00
    VPU: EVGA SuperClocked 8800GT 512MB $299.00
    RAM: Samsung 2 x 1024MB DDR2 1066MHz $66.00
    HDD: Seagate 7200.11 500GB $115.00
    PSU: SilverStone ST65ZF $176.00
    Case: Apache H-21BK $99.00
    Monitor: AOC 2216Vw 22" WideScreen LCD $264.00

    Total (before shipping): $1,577.00
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,457   +1,759

    Incoming two cents.....Duck.......!

    You really should look at a couple reviews on the Antec900 case..

    The worst part of a computer to get two reviews to say the same thing is the CPU cooler. My head is still spinning from trying. Thank goodness my current toy is a G31 - E2200 Pent dual core, stock clocked. I just said F*** it, and installed the box cooler.

    If these builders of $4000.00 "wonder boxes" want all the aggravation that they're entitled to with a machine in that price range, then they should liquid cool it.

    I'm still really puzzled about the Q6600 recommendation for a gaming box. We have a member who had a quad extreme, turned around and built a C2D box (6850 maybe) which he claimed outperformed it, gave away the quad, and turned around and still kept recommending the quad! Or ??? as the case may be.

    So, read some reviews on the C2D E6850 (65nm) or the E8400 (45nm). or simply shut up, and wait for the 45nm quads to appear. After all, this box is supposed to make us the envy of every kid on the block isn't it. So, what if the game writing , the BIOS , or the mobo chipsets don't catch up for 6 months or so. There's a whole heck of a lot of bragging (and complaining) to be done in the mean time.

    There, I dun said my piece, but don't mind me, I'm a bitter old man.

    SPARTA TS Rookie Topic Starter


  9. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    Uh.. what, captaincranky? :confused:
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,457   +1,759

    Problems With My Train of Thought....Choo...Chooo....?

    1. I think the Antec 900 is at least worth taking a long look at for a game box. (Great reviews, fierce looking)

    2. No 2 Heatsink/ fan reviews say the same thing about the same product so I'm confused also.

    3. If you ganna have a "brag box", you might as well have Prestone (Ethylene Glycol) coolin' the CPU. It's mean, it's green, its somethin' I have that you don't! (Can you follow that line of thought)?

    4. I'm of the "opinion" that as of right now the C2Ds are still better for gaming than the quads. > E6850 or E8400

    5. Here's a stray thought that wasn't in my original post.

    XP is still faster than Vista in gaming. Soooo.... If you're going to sink a ton of money into a gaming rig, then put some of that money into DUAL BOOT system XP home and whatever flavor of Vista you think you need to have. Actually, XP Pro isn't a bad idea, since you'll get 7 years of support with it.

    6. And Zeno, as you yourself pointed out certain boards still have problems with 45nm processors, so the CPUs are always ahead of the curve with respect to the rest of the system. Boards and BIOS are always playing catch up, so be prepared for some aggravation to accompany the pride of ownership, of a cutting edge system.

    7. I can't imagine paying the price they want for DDR3

    So, I were building a gaming box tomorrow, I work with this parts list to begin with;

    Intel C2D E6850
    Antec 900 case
    Thermaltake "Big Water" cooling system. (I think that's right)
    The best DDR2 I could find
    A dual HDD , Dual boot OS

    So, now you make some suggestions, I can't think of everything, after all I could barely think of that.:chef:
  11. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    1. Cases are generally open to interpretation. I spent quite a bit on the case I have currently, and while I don't regret spending it ($400-$450), if I were to build a PC right now I'd probably lean toward something significantly more modest. Different strokes for different folks...
    2. Ignore the actual reviews for heatsinks and take a look at their charts of performance. You'll definitely see some fluctuation between review sites, however, you will also notice a clear pattern.
    3. Meh, I've had a Thermaltake water cooling kit. To be honest, I wouldn't bother going water again and really it's only practical in a few situations. If I were going to go that route, I'd definitely aim for a more well rounded set of components than most Thermaltake kits have to offer. I was trying to steer him away from a "brag box" as they're not practical apart from stroking egos.
    4. It appears to be the common consensus that Core 2 Duo's are the top performers with games. However, personally (gaming or not) I'd probably lean toward a Q6600 because the average user (especially myself) has enough going on at once to be denoted "multi-tasking" in my opinion and I feel I would get more out of the Q6600. That said, I too believe his best bet for a CPU would be a Core 2 Duo (as far as performance : price goes).
    5. I don't recall stating anything about 45nm CPU's :confused:, I think I post too much...
    6. Aye, DDR3 is too costly for what it's worth in my opinion. I'd definitely stick with DDR2 for the time being.

    It would probably help if you could provide links for him as he is limited to Australian outlets, hence the reason he posted the three he would prefer to purchase his components from.
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,457   +1,759

    I'm from PA too, so .my links would be the same as those you probably would first think of. It's not a problem, I suppose he could just window shop at Newegg, and buy locally.

    The Antec 900 is fairly modest price wise about $140.00 USD at full pop

    It does cool like a champ though,

    It wasn't you that said anything about 45nm CPUs. I stand corrected. Rage_2k_Moiz' claim was about G35 Gigabyte boards and 45 nm CPUs.... Sorry.
    That said, all the 45nm CPUs would require the latest BIOS version for any given board, which probably wouldn't be the shipping version, so they're not really true PnP.

    Here's the water cooling system; It's probably worth a look just to familiarize oneself with how it works. That said, performance and aggravation probably go hand in hand in an undertaking such as this.

    As to "multi-tasking" I think there's a certain amount of myth there. If I were a gamer, I'd shut down my video encoder, and concentrate on killing the other guy exclusively.You know let video s*** run on the old box while I went off to battle.


    Memory choice would depend partly on board choice, I think. Since I'm not trying to pick a board here, I'll leave the DIMMs to the not as "dim" as me guys.
  13. SPARTA

    SPARTA TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Im really enjoying the discussion you two are having :)

    Zenosincks why didnt you choose the nVidia 9800GX2 graphics card for your recommendation? Just cause of the price?

    Are there better monitors to choose than the 1 you suggested?

    I have heard from friends that Raptors hard drives are better for gaming.
    Is this true or false?

  14. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    Not worth the cost in your situation for a 9800GX2, the 8800GT is good enough.

    Yes, of course there are better monitors. You're going to pay for "better" though.

    A 10,000 RPM HDD would probably boost performance, yes. Worth the extra cash? Doubtful, but if you want one, just buy the 3xGB or 7xGB version and use it for your OS/programs. Then, buy a larger 7,200 RPM drive for excess storage.
  15. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,457   +1,759

    The 2 "baby" Raptors don't support NCQ. Only 150GB models have it. Obviously, that would only matter in a RAID 0 installation, and then only with certain RAID drivers. IE "Intel Matrix Storage". I just mention it because I thought, "perspiring minds want to know", or something like that.
    Actually the HDD only matters when you need to access it. Now, before you say that's stating the obvious, (which of course it is), I'm guessing that different games will have different requirements for loading scenery and what not. So, the more available RAM in place, the less drive access should be going on. Or so my delusions are leading me to believe.

    Anyway, with 2 (150 GB) Raptors in a RAID 0 configuration, I think the read/ write times are in the neighborhood of 3 ms. (Muy espectacular, como dicen en Espana). But, now you've spent $500.00 (US) and you'll have only about 100GB of actual storage, with no back up.
  16. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    Perhaps so, regardless, the point is: a 10,000 RPM HDD is faster than a 7,200 RPM HDD. You can twist and turn that to any angle you like, it's still the same base truth. Whether it's accessed once an hour or twenty times a minute is irrelevant in my opinion.

    Now, whether or not an actual performance difference would be noticed is another story and that's why I left it open up there.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,457   +1,759

    Interestingly enough, ALL Seagate SATA2 drives support NCQ, even the "baby 80GB model. In RAID 0 this would enable very, very creditable read/write times but at a reasonable cost. I only bother to mention this, simply because the dicussion of RAID usually is undertaken in the assembly of a high end gaming system, and yeah well, for better or worse.

    If I post you don't need it (RAID), somebody else will ring in and say you do. I say talk about it (RAID) and get it over with, then allow the system builder to make his choices based on an informed decision.

    The next thing that can happen is, somebody else a builder might meet walking down the street says, you didn't RAID your drives, boy those ********* at Techspot don't know squat.

    For, me all these, "I want to build the bestest computer in the whole world" threads don't amount to zilch until the original poster comes back with, "I bought this, this, and that, and I'm thrilled".

    As you stated here(?) "i did enough arguing about cost at this thread www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxx ".

    These things can (an do at times) just go on and on, with the net result being "well, I'm going to start saving for this tomorrow".

    Think back, I did say "don't mind me, I'm a bitter old man". Albeit one who hasn't posted any misinformation.
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