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The $500 Gaming PC Upgrade 215

sand writes "Building a powerful PC for gaming doesn't have to be expensive. In this article, FiringSquad spends $500 on a gaming upgrade, and compares its performance to that of a high-end Core 2 Extreme PC. The Core 2 Extreme rig is faster, but you may be surprised by how well the $500 PC is able to hang with it in Crysis, Call of Duty 4, and Unreal Tournament 3."
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The $500 Gaming PC Upgrade

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  • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrianRoach ( 614397 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @11:51AM (#21241755)

    Newsflash: If you buy the last generation of hardware, and not the top-of-the-line video card, you'll save money!

    I've been keeping my PC about one or two cycles behind the bleeding edge for this reason, and it plays games just fine ... you just can't crank ALL the settings in some of the newer games.

    - Roach
    • It's simply about buying mainstream stuff, instead of ultra-high-end stuff. Those high-end buyers PAY for the technology to be developed for all the mainstream users. But, games aren't made for a few people with high-end cards; they're made to play pretty damn well on what most people who bought any decent card/machine recently will have.

      For 99.9% of people, buying very high-end stuff is a lot like buying a ferrari. Sure, it looks nice, but what practical use are you going to find for it?
      • You know, I'd say the mid-to-low-end market is probably where the money is actually at, the high-end is there for advertising and image-building purposes. Well that, and a side-effect of R&D. But I don't buy for a moment the claim that the high-end user is the primary market of PC component manufacturers, and the reason they keep developing new tech.
      • Oh, I completely agree. I was just pointing out the non-newsworthiness of the article.

        I have to say though ... I've owned sportscars, and sportbikes.
        Practical? No, not really.
        Fun, on the other hand? Absolutely.

        A high-end gaming rig falls into that category ... I just don't have the interest anymore. Mid 90s? I HAD to have the latest and greatest.

        - Roach
    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Informative)

      by Corwn of Amber ( 802933 ) <corwinofamber@sk ... e minus math_god> on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:13PM (#21242009) Journal
      The best hardware for the price is always, always 'top-of-the-line minus ONE'.

      As in, only desperately lobotomized morons would buy an Intel Extreme for $1000, when there are Intel Quads with as much cache and the same FSB for one fourth that, and frequency means zilch when the price difference allows you to buy liquid cooling. Now how's that 4x 4,8 GHz with 2x 4Mbyte cache sound?

      As for GPUs, well, just buy the last-gen Ultra. An ATI X1950Pro 256M is now $200, anything really more powerful is at least $500. And it will run any recent game at decent speed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by darkwhite ( 139802 )

        As for GPUs, well, just buy the last-gen Ultra. An ATI X1950Pro 256M is now $200, anything really more powerful is at least $500.
        Wrong. A GeForce 8800GT completely obliterates anything from ATI or any non-8800-based card from nVidia, and costs $260, not to mention consumes a lot less power. Now, getting a hold of it is another matter since they're selling like hotcakes...
        • No kidding on that..... Twice last week, I threw one of those 8800GT's in my NewEgg shopping cart, showing "IN-Stock" only to have it auto-removed "out-of-stock" before I could get to checkout. On top of that, vendors are charging upwards of $290 for these cards due to the demand. If you want one quick, you gotta monitor NewEgg all day.
        • by Creepy ( 93888 )
          Yeah, and the point of the Firing Squad article was that 8800GT cards (replacing the 8400/8600 at that price point) could be had for nearly the same cost as a 1950Pro, and are DX10 and have 512MB of memory instead of DX9 and 256. If you want to go cheaper, look for the older model cards, but remember these cards are sometimes outperformed by last generation cards (but support DX10/OpenGL 2.1).

          That just reminded me that OpenGL still has yet to provide their answer to DX10 - hopefully still this year, but po
      • by COMON$ ( 806135 ) *
        Heck I am running Current -3 and still kicking ass. I have an athlon 2200XP running at 2.6GHz a Gig of Ram, and a NVIDIA 6800 512 that I bought a while ago. I recently retired the PC to a server but up to that point it played every game I owned, eg Wow, BF2042, and a series of other FPS's that I love without a hitch. Not to mention I did video rendering with pinnnacle studio and AutoGK (now that took a while but worked fine).

        I may upgrade in the next couple years, but I am a mobile user now, unfortunat

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Amen. Can you believe that someone would go to Dell's website and pay an extra $200 for an Intel Core2 Duo Processor E6700 (4MB L2 Cache,2.66GHz,1066 FSB) instead of an E6600 (4MB L2 Cache,2.4GHz,1066 FSB)?

        Friggin' amazing!
      • This is using current-gen hardware - namely the 8800 GT GPU, which is so new most places haven't even got stock in yet, or have sold out of their first shipments. The processor isn't as cutting-edge, but is still current generation.

        Their point is that current-gen has multiple price points, some of them more accessible than others.

        (I'm in the process of upgrading a 3 year old PC (6800 GS / Athlon 3000) so paying attention to how not to spend a billion dollars on the thing)
    • Hell, my PC is more than one or two cycles behind the "leading edge", I think.... but I haven't been playing anything at less than max settings (with good frame rate).

      Athlon64 3500+, Geforce 7900GT, and 2gb of PC3200 ram. I suppose my processor is creating a bottleneck, but I've not been tempted to upgrade it. Everything runs fine-- Just finished Prey, which was running at a wonderful framerate with all settings maxed out-- did the same thing to C&C3 a month ago, and F.E.A.R. before that. Am I just luc

      • I ran the Prey demo with AMD Athlon 3000+ (under-clocked even, to keep heat down. I bought a poor case or something), ATI Radeon 9600 XT and 1 gB of ram.

        I'm pretty sure I ran it at close to max as well. Dunno if Prey was just well designed or we've reached a sort of plateau in requirements growth.

        How was the full game BTW?
        • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
          Yup.... I've never been really disappointed with my systems... the kids are still running AMD XP 2000+ (or there abouts... from 1800 to 2400 on three older systems), and they all run everything we want, including pretty much all the Steam games and anything on GameTap.

          I have upgraded some of the video cards (it was painful when someone used a smoke bomb in Counterstrike), but I've never spent more than $125.00 on one.

          Really, when you're getting to that level, if it's not making you money, it's a pretty sens
          • by kcornia ( 152859 )
            I love how rife with judgement this post is. When did *your* calculation of value per dollar become the end all be all, with all others representing irrational overspending or lack of social skills?

            It reminds me of people who use to gasp when I told them I took the toll road home. "But you're wasting seven dollars a day doing that!" they would say. They didn't get that I'd gladly pay seven dollars to have an extra hour or two at home doing what I want with my time vs. sitting in shitty traffic.

            I'm fine wi
      • by fwarren ( 579763 )
        Am I just lucky or something?

        No, your just not running Vista.

    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:37PM (#21242397) Journal
      The people designing these games are losing money (maybe in this case "loosing money" would be appropriate) for what? I just don't get it. The elitist attitude is what got me to stop playing PC games in the first place.

      In 1990 when I first started playing games on a PC, a computer like the one in my living room now took a dedicated building and was called a "supercomputer", yet I can't play a new game on it. And the new game cost sixty bucks.

      Now, I used to be into gaming; some of you may remember the old Quake site th Springfield Fragfest. But here's where the absolutel stupidity of the game designers comes in: they design for the next generation of machines. This gains teh hardware manufacturers dosh, at the expense of game designers who can't even sell me a game any more, let alone Joe Normalguy.

      A game called Screamer 2 is an excellent example of why their designing for the next generation is stupid. When it came out (1997 IIRC), there wasn't a single PC in existance that could run it at its highest resolution. Today it would be a piece of cake - except that it is written for DOS and my Audigy isn't supported. No sound.

      I still get Road Rash (1995) out once in a while. A fun game is fun. Developers, by designing for the next generation of equipment, are shutting out this generation of equipment, as well as most of their possible audience. Design for this generation of equipment and sell the games for $15 instead of $60 and you'll sell a hundred times as many.

      -mcgrew []
      • Not all developers. That's been Blizzard's plan for at least 12 years or so and they're making out quite nicely.

        You won't hear me complaining, though. Those crazy developers and bleeding-edge early adopters keep technology moving ahead at a quick pace for the rest of us.
      • Re:Duh (Score:5, Informative)

        by ameoba ( 173803 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @01:27PM (#21243171)
        Most of time when you see a game that can't be played on maximum settings with current hardware there's a good reason for it.

        In many cases, such as Quake 3 and, more recently, Crysis, it's because the game engine is designed as a licensable asset that will be reused by other game studios for a number of years & they want it to remain relevant. Game engines are expensive to produce so once you've written a good one, there's few reasons not to license it out. If you plan on licensing the system & you want it to be relevant in 2-3 years, you not only need to be able to support todays top-of-the-line hardware but also be able to produce respectable results in two years when derivative titles are being released.

        The other case is when you anticipate games to be played for long periods of time. A great example of this is Everquest 2 - SOE knew that they could expect the game to be actively played for 5 years or more. Given an anticipated lifespan like this you face 2 options - produce an engine with room to grow or plan on rewriting the engine so that 3 years in you can continue to meet player expectations.
      • Most games coded that way are designed so that the engine powering the game can be used for other games, years and years in the future. The classic example is the Unreal engine; when the first Unreal came out, computers were lucky to be able to use a third of the options in it. But that same engine was used for dozens of games, some released 5-8 years after the original Unreal 1.0 engine was coded, and those options were much appreciated.
      • I really don't think Games designers are designing for the NEXT piece of hardware -- they are designing for what that hardware allows them to do. Gameplay is very important, but when you have all these Me-too FPS games, then graphics make a huge difference. Eyecandy sells games too. And a lot of games have to go through a lot of tricks and then compromise to function. Newer hardware makes it easier on developers -- either by allowing for less tight code, or fewer compromises. The competition of various game
      • by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

        Perhaps you're looking at the wrong games. There are games that will run very well on extremely low end machines, even AAA titles. Valve's Orange Box comes to mind. There are also games that will demand a ludicrous machine to even contemplate playing. If you walk into your local Best Buy and look on the shelves, you will find system requirements on average to be overwhelmingly low. It's just that games like Crysis get a lot of press, so you're getting the *impression* that the entire industry demands expens

      • by ahoehn ( 301327 )
        Angry gamer meet the Nintendo Wii. Nintendo Wii, meet the angry gamer.

        I was just thinking about this weekend as I was playing the Wii. I just got a 1080p display, and some Wii games look fine on it, and others explise the Wii's technical limitations. Games like Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Strikers and Super Paper Mario (see a theme here?) look excellent. Other games, like Twilight Princess, have beautiful art in them that could really benefit from a higher resolution, the Wii's technical capabilities are
      • In 1990 when I first started playing games on a PC, a computer like the one in my living room now took a dedicated building and was called a "supercomputer", yet I can't play a new game on it. And the new game cost sixty bucks.
        ... In my day a nickelodeon only cost a five cents at the malt shop. And we respected our elders, too. Those kids these days! With their tattoos and their long hair and that rock-and-roll devilry... GET OFF MY LAWN!!!
    • Not to flame, but I have gotten much better value from console games, especially because lots of awesome games are exclusive to consoles. I bought an XBox 360 Pro Bundle for $350, and Halo 3 for $60. Lots of fun for years to come.
  • by Seakip18 ( 1106315 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @11:51AM (#21241763) Journal
    I think they wanted to call this a cheap build, but saw that it equated to another normal build. So they removed things like an optical drive, hard drive, case, power supply, speakers, and a monitor to "reduce the price" and make this an "insanely cheap upgrade!"

    Honestly, I'm sure half the nerds on this site could build an entire SYSTEM that'd put this upgrade to shame at that price.
    • by beavis88 ( 25983 )
      Being an upgrade and all, they assumed you already had things like a case, hard drive, monitor, etc...
    • Honestly, I'm sure half the nerds on this site could build an entire SYSTEM that'd put this upgrade to shame at that price.
      Ok, go for it. Spec out an entire gaming system for $485 that will easily beat the benchmarks posted on the last few pages of the article. Seriously, I haven't upgraded my gaming rig in three years and this would prove extremely useful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xzzy ( 111297 )
      Omitting details like drives and case is cheating quite a bit.

      What about the types who are still running a system with IDE drives? Or their old case has dead fans? The cost starts escalating fast. If they built an all-new system for $500 that could play Crysis, maybe then I would be impressed.
      • by Liquidrage ( 640463 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:17PM (#21242077)
        IDE drives aren't really an issue. For the MB in the article, sure. But that's not the spirit of the article I'd say.

        I recently went through having to upgrade, and I have 4 IDE drives I wanted to keep. I found most new AMD based boards only had one IDE channel. Meaning, I get to keep my DVD drive and one HD.
        Most intel based boards had more. Usually 2 to 3. Not sure if this is because of the reference designs for the chipsets or not. But a lot of searching led to that conclusion.

        The ASUS I just grabbed had 3 IDE channels. And 6 SATA connectors.

        I got a thread on here detailing what I picked up for $450 shipped last week. It's inline with what they're showing in the article. Nice full-size ATX towers can be found for $75 and less, with a power supply. Add a single 500 gig IDE drive, $100. That's how much I paid for one a few months ago at CompUSA even. DVD R/W Drive, $30. 17" flat screen LCD, $100. Find a decent one onsalse at CompUSA or BestBuy. Heck, I walked into a 21" View Sonic on sale a few months back and grabbed it for $250. Mouse and keyboard, wireless optical 2, $40.

        So you're looking around $800 for a comparable system, but including everything built from scratch. Of course, you still need an OS, and since you're talking games, you're going to be paying for that too. So you're looking at a grand total IMO.

        But it would be a rather nice system.
        • IDE drives aren't really an issue. For the MB in the article, sure. But that's not the spirit of the article I'd say.

          I recently went through having to upgrade, and I have 4 IDE drives I wanted to keep. I found most new AMD based boards only had one IDE channel. Meaning, I get to keep my DVD drive and one HD.

          You could have used usb and kept 4 IDE drives, if you really didnt want external enclosures you could mount the drives internally and connect using internal USB connectors. Or a PCI IDE card...

          • I thought about doing that. Or, buying IDE to SATA converters that would sit inside the case. But either way I was looking at spending more money, when really I was able to find decent boards for X2's or Core 2 Duo's, for under $100. So then spending about $20-30 on converters, etc... looked bigger in comparision. That's basically an additional 25% of the mobo price just to get it working with my old IDE drives.

            But like I said I was able to find them OK for the Intel based boards. Considering most CPU's
        • Not sure if this is because of the reference designs for the chipsets or not. But a lot of searching led to that conclusion.

          Most motherboards for AMD Athlons are based on the latest chips from either nVidia or ATI/AMD which usually feature SLI/Crossfire, etc. and a big amount of SATA channels. In theory, motherboard makers could provide more IDE ports by soldering additional controller on the motherboard (and that used to be the case a couple of years ago, when IDE was king and chipsets only provided 2 chan

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bcwright ( 871193 )
        Fans aren't very expensive unless you have an oddball case. And even if you aren't upgrading, you'll have to keep up with replacing the fans if you don't want your rig to burn up. The IDE drives can be more of an issue, however most motherboards still support 1 IDE connection (=2 devices). Unless you want more than 1 hard drive and 1 CD/DVD that's enough - and if you do want more, there are still a number of options; a few motherboards still support 2 IDE connectors, and even if the one you choose doesn
      • An upgrade is just that. I don't think it's cheating to keep as many of the existing parts that makes sense to reuse, especially given the budget. Being able to reuse existing parts is supposedly one of the advantages of assembling your own computer. If it's buying all new parts, then it's cheating to call it an "upgrade" because upgrade usually suggests that you replace or add parts to make an existing system better, not pull out the old power cord and put it into a new computer.

        Fans aren't that expensi
    • Not to mention OS...wouldn't windows activation have a fit if you replaced that much of your computer? And yes, if you are gaming Windows is pretty much required(which is why I own a wii that I hook up to my mac :P)
      • That is a no, you wouldn't have a problem. Worst case you have to reactivate. If you've done more than the 10 installs that Microsoft let's you activate over the web then you have to call to activate. In any case, still not a problem as they will still let you activate it.

    • by phantomlord ( 38815 ) <> on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:11PM (#21241979) Journal
      Not quite an entire rig, but I had a power supply fail* last week on my trusty old dual athlon box, so I just ordered parts pretty similar to this scenario (with the primary focus of everything working in Linux)

      NVidia 7600GT with 256MB: $99.99
      Asus M2N-E motherboard (4 PCIE slots, 3 PCI slots for my existing cards): $96.99
      AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ (Brisbane/65 watt version): $84.99
      1 GB Corsair RAM: $44
      Seagate 250GB SATA drive 16MB cache: $69.99
      Lite-On SATA DVD burner: $36.99
      Thermaltake 430 watt PS: $39.99

      Total: $472.94 not counting the $40 in mail-in rebates

      That's basically everything but a case and peripherals... and my focus was getting the best bang for my buck (while being able to retain things like my PCI SCSI controllers), not trying to keep under a certain amount.

      * My computer started randomly rebooting and the other night, I smelled that wonderful joy of electric melting plastic. Turns out all the 5 volt lines connecting the power supply to the motherboard melted their connectors. I cleaned the melted plastic out the matching pins on the motherboard side, connected it to my backup power supply and things have been running fine since... though I wasn't sure if it was going to work at all when I ordered my new parts last week. /eagerly awaiting the last delivery from UPS today so I can put my first new computer together in 5 years.
    • by leuk_he ( 194174 )
      And the 500 $ does not include any microsoft taxes for directx9.0 or 10.0 , also named windows Xp or vista.

      Since even the nerds from firingsquad are able to do their benchmark on the 30 days evaluation version.

  • The summary (and even the article) is a bit confusing. They're spending $500 on 4 components:

    It is assumed you already have the other components (PSU, case, HDD, etc)

    Dan East
  • Unimpressive (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kenoli ( 934612 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @11:56AM (#21241807)
    I recently upgraded my machine for playing games. I spent about $450 and built something *significantly* better than what is shown in this article. How? By buying cheap/discount/used hardware off eBay. It's really just that simple. I could have easily spent several hundred more dollars on the same stuff by buying from an actual store.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CarpetShark ( 865376 )

      How? By buying cheap/discount/used hardware off eBay.

      You left out "/stolen" ;)
    • by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

      Sure, but that's not news. You can save a lot of money by buying goods with no proven legitimate source of supply, and could have come from anywhere, under any means. Not that I'm condemning you for it, but just food for thought. A *huge* amount of goods on eBay are stolen (or worse, robbed).

      If you're talking about >40% off store prices, your goods are almost certainly stolen, since that is below even wholesale cost.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 )
        If you're talking about >40% off store prices, your goods are almost certainly stolen, since that is below even wholesale cost.

        Unless the goods are used. When I sell parts to fund an upgrade I usually dump them for around half retail.
        • by p0tat03 ( 985078 )
          The OP claimed that he built a significantly faster machine for less than the price in the article. The article calls for a 8800GT, which runs faster than the 8800GTS, and is basically the second-fastest card on the market. Quite a deal I would say. You want to find something *faster* than a 8800GT, is used (yeah right, at that performance level?!), and isn't stolen, and is much cheaper than retail to boot. Not going to happen.
          • by vux984 ( 928602 )
            You want to find something *faster* than a 8800GT, is used (yeah right, at that performance level?!), and isn't stolen, and is much cheaper than retail to boot. Not going to happen.


            The 8800GT is something of an anomaly in the normal price/performance ratio, and its brand new so used isn't really an option. So yeah, I agree in this specific circumstance, you probably can't beat that card for less money without it being stolen parts.

            But in general, you can.

            That said, the OP could have used an 8800GT,
  • by Cragen ( 697038 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @11:57AM (#21241817)
    The recommended GPU is not currently available. I wonder if it will be available in time for XMas for (^h^h^hfrom) St. Nick?

    From TFA:

    "The GPU of choice in our upgrade article is without a doubt the recently announced GeForce 8800 GT from NVIDIA. ... ... ... Most of the online retailers sold out of their inventory of GeForce 8800 GT cards within hours of the GPU's release, but hopefully they'll be restocked shortly. EVGA is a great brand, offering goodies like a lifetime warranty and their Step Up trade-in program. We've reviewed their cards in the past quite extensively and always liked them.

    Keep in mind that NVIDIA is producing all of the early GeForce 8800 GT cards for their board partners like EVGA anyway, so regardless of the brand of card you choose they're all coming off the same production line. This includes the factory overclocked cards.

    Alternatives: Until AMD ships their upcoming RV670 chip, the Radeon HD 3800, there really is no viable alternative to the GeForce 8800 GT that we'd recommend. If you want to save a little money the Radeon X1950 Pro would be an excellent alternative though."

  • I had a fairly high end, new rig (4GB of RAM, Vista Home Premium, Quad Core processor) and I was not satisfied with Crysis at all using a 8800GTS (384MB). At 1600x1050 (default resolution) it was just able to run with Medium - Low settings with some stuttering. I dropped in an 8800GTX Ultra instead (probably the only time in my life I'll ever be able to get away with buying a near top of the line card), and now I can run at High possibly even sneaking some things to Very High.

    Once the article actually loa
    • I bought an 8800 GTS last week, and discovered the imminent 8800GT coming out now! Its about ~5% off of an 8800GTX, at a lower price than the 384mb GTS...definitely a bargain.

      Just some advice re: gaming and graphics. I typically limit myself to a resolution 'behind' the current target state -- my monitor is 1280x1024, i can play any game @ full options no problems. 1600x1280 or thereabouts is a substantial increase in pixels and requires alot more GPU power.
  • by Liquidrage ( 640463 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:08PM (#21241935)
    FTFA: "There's a silly misconception out there that you need to spend $1,500 or more to own a decent gaming rig. This is just nonsense"

    Sure, I know people that always buy top of the line right when it comes out. They actually care if they're able to get 71 fps in a certain game vs 68 fps. Not because they play it, but because it means something to them to have a high number.
    But that's the exception, not the norm. People building their own systems like was done in the article aren't that retarded.

    I was just forced into upgrading due to a motherboard that went bad on an old Athlon XP 2400 system.
    A few hours of looking and a e4600 Core 2 Duo, 2 gigs of DDR2 667, decent Asus MB, and a 512 meg Nvidia 8600GT...
    $450 shipped. That included seating the processor and having them do the bios upgrade before shipping for $9. This from a reputable online service that many people have used for years. Even if I had to add a case, monitor, hardrive, dvd drive, key board and mouse, you're still looking at under $750 without a problem. And that would certainly qualify as decent.

    Now, I got no doubt they spent a ton of time finding just the right stuff to eeck out all that little bit of tweaking.

    But overall, no one thinks when building a system yourself you need to spend anywhere near that for a decent gaming system. For top of the line to have bragging rights over a meaningless fps score, sure. But not for something that'll play everything new just fine and be fine for years.
    • by pbhj ( 607776 )
      >>> People building their own systems like was done in the article aren't that retarded.

      Not all of them are anyway!
    • Nice.. where did you get this setup from???
    • So who is kind of a redundant question. As for the over the top fps competitive players or people with disposable income come to mind. I used to team/clan and the players willing to drop more money on their systems got better performance at key moments (like tight combat with lots of effects/explosions). Of course I err on the frugal side myself, but I never gave much thought to anyone over-specing their system.
  • It seems like console games and computer games have little if any distinction besides input method (controller vs keyboard/mouse). With USB coming standard on the next gen systems, why not "upgrade" your console with a keyboard/mouse? It wouldn't take much from game devs to allow this control scheme, especially for games that are going to see a PC port anyway. The whole PC gaming thing never made much sense to me. You can spend $500 on a console that performs as well as a computer at 3 times the cost.
    • It seems like console games and computer games have little if any distinction besides input method (controller vs keyboard/mouse).

      Some PC games just arent available on consoles. In depth simulation or strategy games, more hardcore RPGs such as Witcher or NWN2:MOTB, adventure games such as Sam and Max...

    • by Dorceon ( 928997 )
      An analog stick is no mouse, but WASD is no analog stick.
  • by pbhj ( 607776 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:41PM (#21242479) Homepage Journal
    Well the best price for that card in the UK (could only find one vendor with the EVGA one) is £172. That's about $350.

    Rough figures:

    Athton 64 X2 4000 = £42
    Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H = £45
    2x 1GB PC2-6400 = £80 (kingston, or £60 for cheaper brand)

    GPU + CPU + Mobo + RAM = £339 (about $700)

    -- [] ?
  • GPU bound (Score:3, Informative)

    by Buzz_Litebeer ( 539463 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @12:44PM (#21242523) Journal
    These games seem to be heavily GPU bound.

    What about a game like Supreme Commander? Which can bring a quad core processor to its knees.
    • Actually, even though SC is somewhat designed to take advantage of multi-core processors, it doesn't use them very well. Check the gaspowered games forums, you will see people writing apps to re-thread the dll/game cpu affinity. On my own Q6600, it runs 100% on one core, and about 20-30% on another. The other two cores are not used at all. Multi threaded programming isn't easy, and these quickie games are almost never designed to take advantage of threads and different cores. Hopefully it will change a
  • I thought that was outrageously expensive for a gaming machine!
  • The Significance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by keithjr ( 1091829 ) on Monday November 05, 2007 @02:36PM (#21244209)
    Most people don't seem to see why this number is so special: it's about the cost of an X-Box 360 with all the bells and whistles. Sure, they left out a case, monitor, speakers, and input. But compound to the cost of an X-Box 360 the fact that you have to buy controllers, an HD-TV, and a Live account. The point that should be taken home is that if you put your brain to work, you can build a system that's cheaper, more powerful, and plays better games than the consoles out there right now. This is the first time this has really happened: consoles from a generation or two ago were always rather cheap.
  • I think about the time 386/486 Intel processors came along and people started counting Mhz is when I began encountering games that were too demanding for my PC. However, considering that I was still young and thus didn't have the money to upgrade I was stuck. The difference to today, however, is that you could do a moderate upgrade and immediately have a machine that runs all the current games well.

    I think one of the bigger limiting factors back then was if your machine still ran only CGA or EGA when games

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern