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Old 03-24-2011, 02:51 PM   #1
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Default Need Recommendations Fast!! (Desktop!)

I'm getting a summer job and I'm planning to rack in at least $1,000, and I really need a gaming desktop for my room.

I love macs, but they're way too expensive for what I'd use them for. Windows 7

6GB+ DDR3 RAM (unless DDR4 is coming out soon?) How much do I need?
Quad Core Processor...I want a good cooling system, too.
Pretty good graphics card

That's about it. I just kind of want it to be "future-proof", but not for like 10 years or anything.

Any recommendations? I don't feel comfortable building my own computer...Unless any of you want to build it for me. hehe I'd pay $100 for the build and shipping, plus all the money it costs for the materials!

Any help, links, suggestions on if 6GB RAM+is necessary, if I should wait for DDR4, etc., are greatly appreciated

I dont really know where to start to look for desktops with all of these requirements & I don't know exactly what good graphics cards there are that are available already built into a computer for under $1000 total.

Anyways, thanks!

:) Need a builder!
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Need Recommendations Fast!! (Desktop!)

If you are going to spend $1,000 on a computer you should really build it yourself, because at this level the system sellers load in a lot of profit margin. Lower priced systems in the $300 to $600 range can often cost more to build than buy and the system sellers have very low margins. But as the cost of the computer increases, so does the profit margin.

To build or not to build, that is the question.

The advantages of building

1. Lower initial cost on most systems, although might be minimal on basic systems costing less than about $450
2. Personal satisfaction
3. Better quality components
4. Acquisition of knowledge about computers and skills
5. Confidence in working on computer - and in doing upgrades
6. The big cost savings really comes after several years when you can upgrade instead of buying a new one. You can generally continue using the case, power supply, optical drive and operating system (depending on obsolesce on the latter) and maybe the graphics card (which you might already have updated anyway), and get just a new motherboard, CPU and memory at about half the cost of a new machine.
7. No vendor installed bloatware slowing down your system and taking up hard drive space for the life of the computer.
8. Having a complete BIOS that allows making changes and supports overclocking rather than one limited by manufacturer.
9. The ability to size components correctly so you don’t later find out that when you want to upgrade a graphics card that you also have to upgrade and replace a power supply.
10. Membership in the eclectic group of BYOers - a very intelligent, affable, handsome, honest, trustworthy, loyal, kind, and modest group.
11.Bragging rights - be they as they may - of BYO - and all the chicks it brings - or vice versa if you are vice versa - or even just vice.

Of course there are disadvantages:

1. Time is the big one - you have to invest some time in configuration, purchasing components, assembling the PC, loading the operating system, testing it, and sometime trouble shooting problems. The actual assembly only takes about 1-2 hours for an experienced hand, for a newbie taking their time approximately 4-6 hours, assuming no problems, which do occasionally occur. But if you consider it a hobby and learning experience then this should not be a big issue.
2. Support and - if something goes wrong with the PC you don't have a convenient number to call, you have to fix it yourself, with help from forums like this.
3. Warranty - you have the individual component vendor warranties which are sometimes shorter than what is provided by a vendor selling complete systems.
4. No vendor to cuss at when things go wrong. If you enjoy being able to rage at someone for months the BYO is not for you – it is no fun raging at yourself.

Here’s how simple it really is:

Youtube video showing how easy it is – with good general instructions
Step by Step Instructions with Pictures


And two more options with detailed instructions:


For more detailed instructions on installing a video card:


Off course, most computer components also come with instructions for their installation, and the motherboard usually has a guide for plugging everything into it.

Now go back and re-read the advantages and build that thing. Or not.

Should you decide not to build (shudder) you might find these links helpful:

Here are some model builds that might provide a starting point and ideas:

1. Tom's Hardware Guide does an annual "System Builders Marathon". They have post model builds for $500, $1,000 and $2,000 (March 2011)
$500 model
$1,000 model
$2,000 model

2. ExtremeTech’s also does several model builds:
A “cheap” ($850) desktop (December 2011):
Build It: A Cheap Gaming Desktop - How To by ExtremeTech
A “Best Value ($1,714) PC (November 2010)
Build It: ExtremeTech's 2011 Bang for the Buck PC - How To by ExtremeTech
Build a $200 Linux PC (July 2010)
Build a $200 Linux PC - How To by ExtremeTech

3. You can also find some model builds at by usage and for different price points at the THG forum:

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Old 03-25-2011, 12:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Need Recommendations Fast!! (Desktop!)

Wow! You helped so so much.

Yes, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by a lot. However, I did try to build a computer right now and I ultimately gave up and failed because I kept doing things wrong. (I didn't even know that there were nails you pinned the mobo to on the bottom of the case!) Anyways....that's another story. Didn't end up too well. Still sitting in my closet... D:

The mobo still has support for DDR3 and such, but I think I want a fresh start with an i7 processor.

I think what I'm going to do is hire somebody from Craigslist who I think I can trust. Do you think $40 is good to build one? I already posted an ad to see what kind of responses I could get and some college student said he's build it for me for $50, and he's built his own and his 2 roommates computers. I think that's a good deal...

I think I'm going to look for this:
mobo that supports almost all i7s, even the super powerful ones (according to the benchmark) and has at least 4 slots for RAM
Is 6GB RAM necessary?
What's a good graphics card if all I want to play is like Sims 3 on HIGH settings?
Oh, and is an SSD necessary, and if so, is it easy to install/configure an OS to boot from it? I think having a 40GB SSD to boot Windows would be nice...
:) Need a builder!
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Old 03-27-2011, 06:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Need Recommendations Fast!! (Desktop!)

What parts do you have sitting in your closet that you might use for a new build?

Building it yourself is really not that hard if you follow the type of detailed instructions I linked above. I think paying someone $50 is a fair option - assuming you have someone really good to do it. Note however, that you will lose some of the advantage of building it yourself- and have no one but online forums to turn to if you later have problems.

Perhaps you could find some local group that helps people BYO - perhaps ask at local computer stores or google it with name of city. Or, for the same $50 maybe you could find someone not to build it but to help you build it - to provide direct guidance.

For the i7 mobo - are you looking for the new i7 Sandy Bridge processor with the 1155 CPU socket or the older i7 with the LGA 1366 socket?

At your budget level you should go for a 8GB of memory in the 2 x 4 GB configuration. With Windows 7 4 GB is considered the minimum level for memory and the 4 GB pairs don't cost that much. That assumes you have a 64 bit OS.

Sims 3 does not take a high powered video card - actually lower powered cards will work well. For good low end video cards, take a look at this site which has recommended models at different price levels:

Best Video Card Upgrades for Non-gaming Use

However at you budget level, I suggest getting a little better card such as:

Video card tests for GTS 450 Multimedia comparison
Compares 220, 240,9800,450, 460, HD 4770, 4850,5570,5670,5750,
Fermi Light: Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 Review . Page 5 - X-bit labs
Page 1 of review
Fermi Light: Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 Review . Page 9 - X-bit labs

GIGABYTE GeForce GTS 450 OC 1GB Video Card[IMG]file:///C:/Users/Rockland/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG] - $110 AR
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GV-N450OC-1GI GeForce GTS 450 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
GIGABYTE GeForce GTS 450 OC 1GB Video Card :: TweakTown USA Edition

An SSD would be nice to have to speed up booting times, however it won't affect other performance much so I would get all the other necessities first and only ad the SSD if you have discretionary funds after that. Note that booting times won't even affect you much at all if you hardly ever turn off PC - I mostly use the sleep function and machine is ready to go when I start. I have Vista and the fetch functions makes most commonly used applications load quickly.
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