$1500 Gaming PC Buyer's Guide -- Updated Prices and Parts for March 2009

54

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

Philips

Thanks for the guide. The new processor is enticing. The newest parts are awesome.

brondell swash 1000 review

avatar

ponchato

How well are 64-bit OSs supported?  I've heard horror stories of software incompatibilities, but that was around 2007... will it cause any problems if I do run 64-bit Vista?

avatar

flyingformosan

I'm building my rig using a very similar setup (MSI X58 Pro, Diamond 4870X2, Corsair CMPSU-850TX) and I'm wondering if there is any LAN box case or micro tower that can host the same setup?

avatar

skeptic

 

 I realize it is only April 4, but I went searching for some of the parts listed above and have yet to find one listed at the price shown in the article. Everything I found was more expensive than what was listed, even after trying to find the products at multiple places. Can we get an update for April to reflect current prices? Or am I just not understanding where and how to look for the prices shown here?

Taking another look, not all of the prices are different though most are. And the difference is not necessarily a deal breaker, but $10 or $20 here and there can add up. Oh, and the link for the vid card for Newegg indicates that the card is "deactivated." Not sure what that means exactly, but I do know you can't buy it there now. 

 Experience: What you get when you don't get what you wanted

avatar

Keith E. Whisman

Newegg's prices fluctuate based on current market prices and rebates and discounts change and expire and new ones pop up. Sales come and go as well.

avatar

nekollx

there a disclaimer right at the top

 

(All prices found on newegg.com, as of March 23rd, and do not include mail-in rebates, tax, or shipping)

 

 and your complaingthat april 4 has different prices

avatar

skeptic

 Actually, it is not a complaint. It is a recognition of the fact that the prices are no longer accurate, and I am asking for an update because of this. 

 

Experience: What you get when you don't get what you wanted

avatar

skramblr

I think the idea of using street pricing for the build was a great idea. But using a single 'lowest price' from 1 company on the internet seems unwise. As expected, just days after posting the parts are no longer available and you have to look $50 ti $100 higher for the video card (It seems Street pricing is really ~$500, not ~$400 if you google it).

avatar

da_samman

There are a score of games out there (Baldur's Gate series, Icewind Dale Series, NWN) that may be considered legacy and may not even work on this OS of choice.  And what about console emulators.  I know from experience they don't work on the 32-bit version of Vista, so they sure as heck won't work on the 64-bit version either.  Just ome food for thought.

Sincerely yours, from Fort Campbell, KY,

SGT Samuel E. McClard II

Life's a journey, enjoy the ride!!

avatar

nekollx

compatability mode

 

Seriously folks using Legacy Games as a excuse to not get Vista, your reaching. By that logic no one should by XP because some DOS games wont run in it. 

avatar

quadcoregammer

They didnt talk that much about a cooler or case.

avatar

Keith E. Whisman

They choose the $100 NZXT Tempest for their case on page 2. They are using the OEM HSF that comes with the processor.

avatar

da_samman

 How can it be a gaming PC with NO SOUNDCARD?!?!  In the $1000 budget rig they make room for a sound card.  How can they not make room for a sound card, even the PCI soundblaster X-Fi?

Sincerely yours, from Fort Campbell, KY,

SGT Samuel E. McClard II

Life's a journey, enjoy the ride!!

avatar

Nightingale

Sound cards are all well and good, Sergeant, if your rig needs one. I've been using the integrated sound on my Asus P5N-D and it gives me way more fidelity and bass than I could ever need. The motherboards that they have on the market right now, including, I imagine, the Core i7 boards have fantasic audio support, which is why MaxPC didn't include it in this build. This has been a friendly tip from your neighborhood night bird, Nightingale.

avatar

Keith E. Whisman

I have the P5N-D in my main gaming system and the on board audio just plain sucks. Sure it works but the sound is crap compared to my Xfi Extreme Gamer PCI sound card. 

What I hate about on board audio is noise and low Signal to noise ratio. I prefer my Xfi. If I had to go with integrated then I would choose a motherboard that offers a PCI or PCI Express break out card to keep the sound circuits off the motherboard and hence clean. 

avatar

da_samman

 How can it be a gaming PC with NO SOUNDCARD?!?!  In the $1000 budget rig they make room for a sound card.  How can they not make room for a sound card, even the PCI soundblaster X-Fi?

Sincerely yours, from Fort Campbell, KY,

SGT Samuel E. McClard II

Life's a journey, enjoy the ride!!

avatar

Keith E. Whisman

In the article above for the PSU you state that "We don't review power supplies in the magazine," end quote.

I've been reading maximumPC since 1999-2000 and I've read dozens of reviews of power supply units in the magazine nothing recently but I recall a review of a bunch of them a few years back.

Is now a rule that MaximumPC no longer reviews PSU's? 

avatar

bandeezee

I just received an e-mail from newegg with a deal on an Samsung DVD drive ($24.99), but it's the SH-S223Q.  Is this an updated model from the SH-S223F that is listed here?  Is this new model better?  Wondering if you guys new anything about it and if the speeds should be improved.  Perhaps it already has that patch included that speeds up the read capability of the drive (talked about in this month's magazine article)?  Any input would be appreciated.

avatar

silentrob187

The difference is that Ver.Q includes the ability to burn light scribe while Ver.F does not have that ability.

avatar

bandeezee

Anyone know if that patch for version F will work for version Q?  I am in the process of a new build and with the patch the version F is super quick at reading DVD's, but wouldn't hurt to have lightscribe capability.  I don't want to go for the newer version though if I can't patch it to the same speed as the F version though.  If anybody knows or if anybody from MPC has tested the Q version, please let me know if you can patch the newer version and what the speeds are like.

avatar

stereo55

+ 1 on that .

 Ive searched exstensivly about this and cant find an answer either .

avatar

The Amazing Asmasian

$180 MSI 990FX-GD70 Mobo, $225 AMD PII 940 CPU, $90-70 Corsair XMS3 DDR3 PC3 10666 SDRAM, $310-280 Sapphire 4850X2 Video Card, $130-110 Corsair TX850W Power Supply, $140-110 Antec 900 Black Case, $100-90 Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB Hard Disc Drive, $24 Samsung SH-S223F Optical Drive (OK, now for some extras), $100 Creative SB X-Fi Titanium Sound Card, Creative Inspire T6100 5.1 Speakers, and $75 Zalman CNPS9900LED; with the $110 in rebates you could get the Vista Home Premium 64-bit Operating System all for under $1500.

avatar

The Amazing Asmasian

Well, I should have known when I posted this so late with classes to teach the next day that I might just have an error somewhere...ha ha ha...well it should say $225-215 AMD PII X4 940 CPU (OC this one).  I understand that today's AMD CPU's do not compete with the I7's, but it was the best to fill the AM3 slot on the mobo and could use the DDR3 instead of the DDR2 RAM...and the 4870X2 would have been great but had to cut the budget somewhere...now can someone lend me the money to build this rig?

avatar

Bender2000

The PII beats the Core2 CPU, but takes a beating by the Core i7, so why consider it? I wouldn't sacrifice the performance. I would try to get a sound card in there, though, but otherwise this is a solid build.

avatar

hentaiboi

nice core i7 build.

but again my personal changes to the list above:

asus ATI 4870X2 TOP

rampage 2 extreme

additional tri channel OCZ DDR 3 PC3-10666 7-7-7-20 1.6v 6GB =12GB

additional WD caviar black 1TB = RAID 0

avatar

MAXPCreader07

I wouldve gotten a smaller power supply (like a Corsair 750TX) and used the money for a better motherboard.

avatar

shellpc

This is titled as a gaming pc, but there's no soundcard?

avatar

Keith E. Whisman

I agree there should be a stand alone sound card such as the Xfi Extreme Gamer as this motherboard is equiped with Realtek HD audio and that aint anything to brag about.

avatar

Keith E. Whisman

Well you would have gone a little over by about $100 bucks but you could have had 12gigs and the GTX295. I really like that 1000watt PSU but you could cut $100dollars from that by getting the Corsair 850W and that is power enough to run this rig with 2x GTX280 Video cards in SLI.

And the Seagate 1.5Tb HDD is around $120dollars so again this is a case of for just a few dollars more you can have that much more.

avatar

stige

i agree on a slightly less powerful PSU to upgrade memory and add a sound card.  it makes my skin itch to buy ATi in stead of nVidia (SLI upgrading be damned) but that card is pretty damn powerful so i can't knock it too much.

buying the Seagate would be foolish because of their reliability problems of late.  i recall reading something in MPC that they were going to forego recommending Seagate (and using it) until they'd sorted their firmware issues and stopped borking hdd's.

i recall you saying, Keith, that you couldn't bear to put 'crap' in a computer so why would you want to use a Seagate vs the WD?  that extra capacity is useless if you cant... well... USE it.

avatar

Keith E. Whisman

I have two Seagate 7200.11 HDD's a new 1.5TB drive I bought two months ago and a 500gig drive I bought a year ago and both are running fast and strong. I have not had any problems with my drives and therefore will not bother the firmware. Seagate was having problems with a factory firmware series that was in the middle of the 7200.11 production cycle like 6months after the first 7200.11's hit the market and it lasted for like 4 or 5 months. People that didn't have any problems with their drives were flashing their firmware and bricking their drives because the firmware fix was buggy. But new drives and drives made at the beginning when the first 7200.11 drives first went to market had no problems. 

What I'm trying to say is that if you go out and purchase a brand new Seagate 7200.11 drive right now it'll work great with the normal failure rate you can expect from hdd's that get killed in shipping.

Really I'm not going to hate on Seagate as they have fixed the firmware problems with the new drives. As for people that got bad drives because of buggy firmware don't spend your entire life hating on them because it happens to all the manufacturers at one time or another. Remember the Deskstar that wasn't even firmware that was the damn spindle bearing exploding that's what happened to mine anyway. 

avatar

nmanguy

$1500 isn't really a "budget". I mean, you can build a PC for $500, albiet Core 2, and then throw in the 4870 X2 for another $400.

avatar

FRAGaLOT

then it wouldn't be a "gamers" rig for $500, unless you were upgrading an existing PC.

 

avatar

Captain

the included cooler slipped my mind, sorry.

avatar

silentrob187

This is a much better round-up guide...but only for an Intel system.  I do think that it would only be fair to also have an AMD system as well (which can be built much cheaper without sacrificing THAT much performance). 

Speaking of, I wish that MPC would include a price-to-performance ratio in reviews, especially for "performance" hardware.  In other words, like having a zero-point system that is used to compare performance of hardware, MPC sets a "zero point price-to performance" marker.   That way readers could compare price/performance empirically.  Or more concretely, whether or not paying $500 more for a system (or peice of hardware) that benchmarks 5% faster is really worth an extra $500 (e.g. $100 per percent performance increase), or conversely if NOT paying out $500 more results in a %25 decrease in performance had we bought it (or $20 per percent performance decrase).  

Such an index would technically fit into Maximum PC's ultimate goal of finding peak perfomance and reporting on it since the price to performance ratio is sure to be curvilinear (i.e. their exists a floating "Maximum" price to performance integer for every set-up or peice of hardwar). Sure we could figure i out on our own but isn't that what we PAY our subscripts for(me 5 years in advance mind you)?!

The exact details of the index could be determined by the staff (they are geeks after all) and I am sure that the readers of the mag would appreciate it. Moreover, it is relevant to the economic times.

Just a thought... 

avatar

skramblr

Really? Spend the same $1500 to build a slower system? No thanks AMD Fanboy...

avatar

Cache

I was actually wondering how long it would take an AMD fanboi to raise hir head and beg to know why AMD may be a good bang for the buck, but why doesn't anyone consider it 'maximum'.

avatar

guoruiwu1994

why do we need a 1000 watt psu? a corsair 750 watt psu would be more than enough for that build.

avatar

sasquatch42

maybe we want to oc the h#ll out of the 920 and we might want those extra watts

avatar

guoruiwu1994

yeah, like oc'ing will require 250 extra watts.

avatar

Cache

I agree with this statement.

avatar

nekollx

i still like COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137 for a case

 

and you save another 20 bucks!

avatar

Captain

I thought you included the cpu cooler in the price, and if you did, it would still be under 1500$ if you use the zalman 9900.

avatar

MAXPCreader07

Or go for the Xigmatek Thors Hammer. Much better cooling than Zalman.

avatar

norman

 the zalman 9900 is priced at $75 on newegg right now (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118046) so the price would go over 1500 if you don't count rebates (which we don't, since those are time-sensitive). The cooler that comes with the core i7 retail box is actually very good at its job, even if you plan to do a little overclocking. for the record though, i run a 9900 at home and it's really superb.

-- Norm

avatar

Captain

the included cooler slipped my mind, sorry.

avatar

nekollx

how much power does this rig really use, wont 650 wats be more then enough? wit ha smaller PSU and the case i recomented thats a good couple hundred extra to thorew into i dunno a second vid card *shrugs*

avatar

Keith E. Whisman

Well the 650 would be at it's limits and unless it's an extremely high quality one it wont last more than a year perhaps if it survives the summer months even in a home with AC. The hotter a PSU gets the less efficient it is and the less demand it can handle. So I Wouldn't use anything less than a quality 800watt plus PSU.  I used to buy PSU's by the math and get something with about a 200watt buffer but in the summer heat here in Arizona the air gets really thin and dry and even with airconditioning it get's really hot in my computer case and I've had a bunch of Power supplies die the bang of capacitor death. 

You see when it gets hot inside the PSU it's ability to meet power demands gets lower and lower until the system sucks more juice from the capacitors than they can fill and some how or other the capacitors go bang and then the computers monitor goes blank.

So don't get just the minimum. Get a really good reliable power supply from a really good manufacturer that uses great quality parts and offers alot of great features and get a PSU with alot more than just a 200watt buffer over demand. Get alot more.

The only reason why I suggested the 850W Corsair is because it's a really good PSU from a great manufacturer and it has great features and it appears to offer the bare minimum Wattage for contemporary gaming machines like this one. Actually the 1000watt PSU that is being used is perfect but because the 850 is a hundred bucks cheaper I'd get it so I could get more ram and a larger HDD.

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.