$1500 Gaming PC Buyer's Guide -- November 2009



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i5 if you decide to buy, you can not just connect it to the generality of the board mill.


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I love Asus' mobos. Inexpensive but poweful!

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great post...been looking for useful info about this...and your article really helped me loadz;)..fanx for sharing dude..keep the great job up;)

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Following my monitoring, billions of persons on our planet get the credit loans from various creditors. So, there's a good possibility to receive a commercial loan in every country.






I am a web and graphic designer and also play games once and a while. When I am looking at this computer and other they come up with all I hear is overclocking, overclocking and more overclocking. But what if I do not overclock my system or care about it? How much money am I wasting buying these recomended parts?

I need a new system because mine is a older than dirt by today's standards. Running an old Soyo Dragon Ultra Platinum board maxed out. Everything still works great and was based off of Maximum's suggestions years ago, but now everything is about over clocking.

I want a system that is stable, fast and can handle future upgrades, not overclocking.

Any suggestions or anyone know if this is overkill for what i need?



you should care about overclocking.  Your wasting money by NOT over clocking.  Anyway, my recommendation is to get the best mobo you can buy.  It is the body of your computer,  IT is what handles the upgrades and makes it possible.



How much does MPC recommend overclocking this rig 2?



what is the difference in the Samsung SH-S223?  there are versions B, C, F, Q, L

The MaxPC folks never specifiy which model. I went here to look at the specs but couldnt tell the differences.


anyone help make the distinction for me?

[update: "B", "C" and "F" do NOT lightscribe]



 Thanks a bunch for that info, I will be getting an A, although I can't find info on the LightScribe, I probably won't use it. I have an HP Laptop (DV5) that does Lightscribe if I ever need it. :)


Teh Rig:

AMD Phenom 720 (Unlocked to Quad, Stable @ 3.6 Ghz 1.47v)
Gigabyte Micro ATX 785gx Motherboard
G.Skill 4GB 1333 DDR3 8-8-8-21 @ 1.6v
HIS ATI Radeon HD4670 (CCC OC'd)
550w Corsai



Thanks MaxPC, this is going to be the first PC I've ever built! I like all you choices but, I want to go with 2 GPUs in SLI. Well thanks again, I'll be using your September 2009 Dream Machine building guide every step of the way.




i think you could have saved more by choosing a cheaper P55 board, unless you want to keep that 16x/16x for CF someday. good call on the video card, the power supply, meh. slap on a 750w if you're staying with a single card. also, i'm not a big fan of the antec 900 II...

my amd would be something like this:
Western Digital 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s $159.99 
ASUS Crosshair III Formula AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard $199.99 
CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W $279.99 -$40.00 Instant -$20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card  $239.99 
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $95.99 each
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz $175.99 
Swiftech H20-220 Compact CPU Water Cooling Kit - Retail $139.99
ATI 5970 - MSRP $600
[cheap $100 full size case]

sitting at $1700+ that can go lower if you want air cooling instead. it's the 5970 that's really pushing it.

the 1000watt cors will cover the 750watt recommendation of the 5970 and overclocking needs of the 955 BE. and higher clocking would require better cooling.

my current saved wishlist in newegg is sitting at a hair under 2k.. so i'm interested in a $2000 build with benchmarks and all. but can we wait till nvidia releases its dx11 lineup?



It'd be nice to have an nVidia alternative for the graphics cards. The ATI card probably has the best price to performance ratio but there's other reasons to go for an nVidia card.



There currently aren't any Nvidia alternitaves.  I'm not joking.



i heard if you put plz in your post more than once it will happen faster



I heard that too. right? plz?





All your base are belong to us!



Drop to the Corsair 750TX PSU, and save $30 up front (just $20 after rebate), while still leaving some headroom for power.  I'd put that toward a Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB HDD -- still pretty fast, with an extra 500GB of storage.

A $220 mobo defeats the purpose of choosing the LGA1156 route.  Check out the MSI P55-GD65 for $155 (-$10 rebate).  I used this in my last build, and it's great, except for the documentation -- be ready to use MSI's website and Google.  Put that $75 toward the extra RAM, if that's what you want.  My recommendation?  Make more room for that Rolls Royce-length video card and move up to a full tower case with Cooler Master's HAF 932 or ATCS 840, depending on you taste in styles. 

If you're not interested in a larger case, you might also consider grabbing a separate 500GB hard drive to use as your OS drive, such as the Seagate 7200.12 or the WD Caviar Black line.  Skip partitioning and protect your data even better on a separate physical drive, and regularly play with dual- or triple-boot configurations without worrying that you'll accidentally format your data partition.

Or just pocket the $95 you saved and head on over to Amazon to find a deal on a couple of games to push that new rig to the limit.  I hear Modern Warfare 2 is pretty good, if you're not boycotting it due to the lack of private dedicated servers.



There are no dedicated servers period.  Not no "private" ones.  None at all.  Just some clarification.



This means the $2000 guide is coming out soon, right?            plz?

 btw, plz make the list asap. thanks



All your base are belong to us!



The power supply in the article is a Corsair 850TX but the newegg link is to the Corsair 650TX. The prices are right but just the wrong link.



Overkill psu and mobo.




Honestly, I would have opted for 8GB of memory for the extra 100. Memory is starting to become more and more needed, plus there is a benefit of being able to run Virtual Machines with a moddest amount of memory instead of 1GB or 2GB leaving your system with 2GB to itself. Especially on 64 Bit machines.



Yeah but for what its meant to do(gaming) the amount of memory picked out is fine



Yes, but typical gaming computers are used for other things too.



The reason why they dont do many AMD bulids in the first place is because the price/ performance doesnt fit the mark. Im sure they would do an AMD build if amd had a cpu that was as good as the i7 860 for the same price but right now AMD have no products that are competitive consumer side.




CPU: Intel Quad 9550 @ 3.65GHZ
CPU COOLER: TRUE 120 w/Antec TRI COOL 120mm Fan
RAM: 4 GIG DDR2 Corsair 800mhz
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS4P
GPU: Nvidia 260gtx+
CASE: Antec P180B Custom Black Interior



are you f*cking insane?! I would choose AMD over and over again. Im not paying Intel's insane bullshit prices for what? .5 - 1Ghz? Yeah right. I'll just over clock my Phenom II X4 to 4.5 or higher and leave intel in the past where they belong, raping their customers of their pride and their money. 



I understand everything about AMD's awesome chips for the price, and also think Intel over-prices their stuff, BUT... it's supply and demand.  As long as people keep paying for those prices, they will never change them.  For the money they had to play with , the i-Core is superior. At least it was when i pitted mine against my buddy's Phenom II black ed. CPU.  They just wanted the better CPU for the price they were given for the CPU in this build.  



Coolermaster RC 690

Intel Core-i7 920

OCZ 1600mhz 6GB memory

Intel X58 SmackOver MOBO (was free, so why not)

Radeon HD 5870

C-labs X-FI Fatality

WD 500GB x 2 BLue HDD

Windows 7 64bit Professinoal




Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! Fanboy! 



  Who cares what the specs are or the clock speeds or the O/C speeds? Intel has a more effecient chip and in real world performance handily beats out AMD CPUs. If you hate Intel fine go with AMD. But do not expect the rest of us to ignore the reality that Intel for now has superior products.

  And I am with someone else who mentioned having issues with ATI boards in the past. I too am very wary of buying an ATI GPU because of flaky cards and drivers over the years. I especially am wary of the 5870 with its low yields. Who knows how many flaky cards are getting shipped because it just barely passes inspection and testing?



You are about a decade late my friend. It's 2009, almost 2010. We no longer measure the power of a CPU in clockspeed alone. I figured you as an amd fanboy focusing on clock speed would understand this. In the 90s AMD fans always claimed their CPUs performed as well as if not better than intels pentium chips even though the AMD parts had lower clock speeds. The fact of the matter is, the lowest end i7 cpu will run circles around the best AMD has to offer. And if you want to start talking about overclocking, the i7 parts have extremely long legs. If you want to compare apples to apples the current intel i7 line can't be touched by anything amd has to offer with their current technology in any catagory except price. Maybe one day AMD will be back on top, and the majority of MPC computer builds will once again be AMD systems (like they used to be.) But I guarantee that day will not come until 2011 at the earliest. As an owner of both Intel and AMD based systems, I assure you this isn't the talk of a fan boy, just an unbiased informed opinion.


Peanut Fox

It's fine if you like AMD, but your performance numbers are WAY off.  AMD's current top end chip is the 965.  It's a quad that comes clocked at 3.4GHz.  That's 600MHz faster than the Intel part choosen in the artical.  Even thoght the AMD part is clocked higher, it still loses to the lower clocked Intel part in almost every benchmark (stock).  If you want to get into overclocking the i7 860 has FAR more headroom to play with. 

About the only thing AMD can compete with is price.  Which the company does very well.  There is a 100 dollar difference between the two.  In my opinnion that's a fair number as AMD's part are inferior chips right now.  If your building a budget system, AMD makes sense.  But with 1500 to play with why would you build an AMD based system? 





It would be nice to see two budget PCs put together and compared: a budget Intel rig and a budget AMD rig. 



I haven't see the MPC guys build an AMD rig all year.  Don't hold your breath.



Their budget Dream Machine was an AMD build.



thank you for the newegg links!

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