$2000 Gaming PC Buyer's Guide -- Updated Prices and Parts for April 2009



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Nice, I'm getting that, as soon as the retail version of Windows 7 comes out, because I personally dislike vista.



I look forward to more lists on $2000 pcs in the future



My New Work PC

I spend 8+ hours at work using a PC so I wanted a killer PC for business applications. I am also my company’s hardware architect so I wanted a PC that was a “conversation piece”.

I chose with an Antec Skeleton Case so I could show off the hardware.

I went with the EVGA X58 motherboard, the 920 i7 processor, and 6GB of RAM.

I chose 2 10,000 RPM 300GB Western Digital VelociRaptor hard drives, configured as a RAID 1 array. These drives are pretty much as fast as SCSI drives. I have more or less unlimited network attached storage for file storage so "only" 300GB is not a limiting factor. Having really fast local storage (for the apps) was what I was after.

I bought two GeForce 9500 GT as “place holder” graphics cards until I could decide what graphics cards that I would ultimately go with. I run a 3 monitor system with a 24” monitor in the center, flanked by two 19” monitors to the right and the left.

As the 9500s don’t pull all that much power, I went with a 680 watt power supply. I chose the APEVIA ICEBERG as this supply looks especially cool in the Skeleton case. If I upgrade to better graphics cards in the future, I may have to upgrade to a 1000 watt power supply.

I had an issue with the 1st motherboard being DOA and I also had an issue with some unstable drivers. But after I corrected the driver issue and flashed the motherboard with the latest BIOS, my system is rock stable.

When I initially bought this system, I was thinking about overclocking but all my apps are running so fast (even Autodesk Inventor 2009) that I am not sure I am going to explore overclocking.

My total system came in at around $1500.00. (Not including the monitors)



I can vouch for most of that setup!

I don't do much gaming, so I got a video card off a friend thats a couple years old. That then allowed me to use a Corsair 650W Power Supply for $99, which is still strong enough for a moderate video card upgrade should I ever decide I need it. I also got a slightly lower priced case, the Cooler Master Centurion 590 for $69. Other than those 3 substitutions, I am now using said machine OC'd to 3.6 Ghz, and it's unreal!


digital demon

That's very similar to the build I have in my Newegg wish list right now. Only differences are the mobo (EVGA X58), video card (one 285), hard drive (WD 1TB...still leery of Seagates even though I'm a fan), cooler (Noctua NH-U12P SE1366...still researching coolers), case (Silverstone FT-01) and I've got a power supply (Thermaltake 750), burner (Plextor 716SA) and sound card (X-Fi Elite) already.

Like someone else said, I'm gonna wait for DX11 cards to hit the market before I really consider buying anything. I'm also waiting to see what the Core i7 revision is going to look like price/performance wise.



Decent system. A few things though


6 gigs of ram - I prefer Corsair or Mushkin but OCZ is fine.  6 gigs is plenty at this time.

Corsair 1kw PSU- I own one of these, its rock solid.  I do wish PCP&C would build a nice 1kw PSU for around $250 though.

Vista 64 - People need to dump the crap 32 bit OS crutch and move forward


Mobo - Im kind of meh toward ASUS anymore.  They are not nearly
the leader they were 3 years ago.  I Gigabyte makes a far nicer board
and IIRC Gigabyte outsold ASUS last year.

Video - 2 285's?  A par of Nvidia 275s or ATI 4890s would be a much better choice for less money.  They will give near the same performance at common resolutions like 1680X1050 or 1920X1200.

Case - If you are building something this nice why use such a cheap case.  Invest in a nice Coolermaster, Silverstone, Lian Li or something.  Spend a couple hundred for a nice case.

CPU Cooler - Why do you guys keep recommending the Zalman coolers?  3 years ago they we great, now they are average.  Look at a TRUE, Prolimatech Megalems, Thermolab BARAM, Coolermaster V8, Xigmatech 1283/84, or any number of choices that are FAR superior.  

The rest:

Intel 920 - standard

Seagate HD - Now that Seagate has the bugs worked out, no issues there

DVD Burner - I like Pioneer drives.  Just glad you didnt recommend Plextor.  All 3 of the Plextors Ive boughten have died an early death.  Will never buy another from them again.


You guys need to start looking beyond hardware that you review for your sources for stuff like this.  Its a very narrow scope you use when you do that when there are far better options out there then what your suggesting.





Well I spent somewhaere around $200 - $300 for my case about 4 years ago and it is an all aluminum and hold 6 interanel drive and has room for 4 externat dvd, etc and a place for 2 3.5" devices and has 7 case fans. I have upgrade twice now and this case is stillworking just fine - it did come with a 650W p/s as well. At this time I am thinking of spending $599.00 for a new case that is a newer full tower case like mine but comes with water cooling.. In my view a good case is never a waste and for $69.00 that is a junk case in my view. My current case and the one I'm looking at are made by Thermail Take. Good cases in my view. And if that $69.00 case has a p/s installed it was at most a 350W one and I'd bet a low-end one that I would not want to trust with my stuff.



Can someone please explain why so many of you insist on spending so much money on a case? This is the first time I've seen MPC reccomend a case that under $150 and even still I think it's way too much to spend on a case! I begrudgingly spent $69 and feel like I got an excelent case.



Because its the kind of thing where you buy one case and you use that case thru several builds.  Some people, myself included, are constantly tinkering, whether its overclocking, changing parts, adding water cooling, and the list goes on.

If your spending $2k why not buy a nicer case?




Since this is a guide or template to buid a 2000 dollar Gaming PC, I have started to tweek the specks a little for my own needs.  I already have a few parts that I can reuse from other builds leftovers.  Such as an Antec 900 case (which is a real pane but has great cooling), 2 300G raptors (unused), 1TB WD Black HD(unused),  old DVD RW. and a few others  I have been working on a new design it since the 1000 dollar budget came out.  I was hopping you would pick the ASUS motherboard.  I like the ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 model for 289.99 which has a bunch of combo deals right now on Newegg. If you check the support page at ASUS http://support.asus.com/PowerSupplyCalculator/PSCalculator.aspx?SLanguage=en-us.  This can help with the power supply minimum requirements for the configuration you might use or have in mind to upgrade too.  Beleive it or not for this 2000 $ PC this is a good place to be with a 1000w model. Just remember that a power supply shouldn't be max'ed out and 70 - 80 % usage is better (check miths about PS at PC Power & Cooling Web site.  I might get the newer version of the 285 with the 55 nm process, but its 50 70 $ more I think, but only get one for now.  12g OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 for 109.99 per set, which also has part of the combo deals.  ZALMAN CNPS9900LED 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail $60 now if I was to over clock it. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail for $90.  Maybe even a Blue Ray ROM combo drive for a $110 or so.  when I am finished I will post



By the way, it is 1920x1200 not 1900x1200.



Not bad. Going with anything other than 920 no matter your price range is just silly. The overclock-ability of it makes it #1.

But Seagate? Really? Sorry, but I won't use a Seagate hard drive again even if it is free.


Keith E. Whisman

I've got two Seagate 7200.11 drives a 1.5tb and a 500gb drive. Both have been rock steady. You just gotta quit hating.



Quit hating? I quit hating when they stop releasing garbage. They are as bad as maxtor. Heck they even bought maxtor.



I would use a Rampage II GENE, same price and better onboard audio.  As far as the video seems like overkill.  should've left out the SLI and put a display monitor choice.  Personnally I don't think the time is right to build right now... motherboard, processors, and memory are all great but if I were going to build, I would want a graphic card that had full dx11 support and windows 7.  just my 2 cents.



So how does this compare to the Max PC Zero Point system? It looks a lot like the Gateway PC in last issue, so I guess it performs similarly. I'd like to know how much we're gaining relative to the lower cost builds. Is this the PC Nathan ordered in the podcast?



I'm buiding a similar gaming pc with the VelociRaptor and one NVIDIA 285. It"ll be easier (and cheaper) to add another 285 later rather than the harddrive. Isn't a 1.5TB just too big for the main harddrive?



what if you dont want to go with the most expensive ddr3? would waiting for 2gb video cards be better?



With a $2000 price point, this is the first build I am very surprised and almost disappointed.

I would go with the Deluxe version-and it DOES NOT support 3X SLI. Only 3X Crossfire with single cards.

The CPU, and Zalman are on par.

Memory should be more along the lines of 1333MHz, but still hold the 6GB. Only $50 more, with a decent performance boost. 

The GPUs are always a hot topic...I would go with a single 285 or even a single 295.

Drop the PSU to a 750 PCP&C or other respectable brand. Maybe go up to 850W.

The case..with this type of hardware I would of expected a full-tower, not like a Silverstone or Lian-Li but maybe a Cooler Master or something else like that.

Hard drive could stay, or maybe just go with a 1TB. I still don't trust Seagate with their TB drives, but it's just a personal opinion.

Optical drive and OS are standard fare. 

 It's a decent build, but I feel you guys could do better.



personal changes to the list above:

additional ram 6GB = 12GB

additional 1.5 TB seagate raid 0

sound card creative X-fi titanium pro fatality




Keith E. Whisman

Actually I've heard that the 1.5Tb HDD's don't do to good in a raid array. Because of their shear size or something. It may have been that stupid firmware problem and they actually do fine in Raid. I haven't heard anything bad about 1.5TB in raid lately. Maybe it was just the firmware issue.



I doubt that PC needs a 1 kilowatt PSU.



Yes, but the extra head room is always nice.

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