Pro Gaming PC Buyer’s Guide -- Updated Prices and Parts For October 2008



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2 GTX 295 OC inno 3D

intel core 2 duo E8600 3.33GHZ

OCZ DDR 3 4X1 GB 2000MHZ SLI-ready edition PC3-16000

Striker 2 Extreme

WD greenpower 2TB

creative X-Fi fatality titanium pro

all rest of the items on the list above are good thats only my personal changes on list above.

feel free to comment...




Just wondering if you guys will dive into here again and give an update for Jan.? Great list btw, rock on! haha



You want a real build for $2500 (building it right now)

  • AMD Phenom 9950 Black Edition 2.6GHz, Overclock to 3.5GHz on Air - $159
  • SilenX IXC-120HA2 120mm FDB CPU Cooler, with Second Fan - $78.97
  • ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe AMD 790FX ATX Motherboard - $184.25
  • OCZ Platinum Edition 8GB (4 x 2GB)DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Memory - $118.99
  • Patriot PE64GS25SSDR 2.5" 64GB SATA II SSD (OS Disk) - $189.99
  • SAPPHIRE 100251SR Radeon HD 4870X2 DX10.1 Video Card - $499.99
  • Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ-1000 1000W Power Supply - $195.55
  • Samsung SH-S223Q/BEBN Black DVD±R SATA - $27.99
  • Antec 1200 Chassis - $167.59
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate - $169.90
  • (6) SilenX IXP-74-11 120mm Case Fans - $123.00
  • (4) Seagate ST31000340AS 1TB Hard Drives (RAID 10) - 439.96

Total Cost: $2355.18 (With Shipping)



But you lost me at "AMD Phenom".


Core i7 is out, and until AMD is catching up I am staying with Intel. It's only what way the wind blows that makes me decide what parts to get. 





i spent 8 hours a day, for 4 days this week researching all my choices.  basically typing and reading thru 100's of reviews for items, writing down similar mentions of other items in several reviews and researching them the same way.  If you want information on anything i researched, i'd be glad to help.

some important things to note:  MOTHERBOARD
EVGA nForce 790i SLI FTW LGA775 ATX Motherboard
make sure this number is: 132-YW-E180-A, NOT the E179 model you get 16x on the 3rd slot, and the addition of that DIGITAL Pulse Width Modulation.   HARDDRIVE
be careful with the WD hard drives they you buy the 3.5" ones that come with the heat sink, they also sell ones without.   PROCESSOR
the E8600 has EO stepping....The new E0 stepping contains “Speed path improvements enabling higher speed bins”. This should stimulate theattention of any enthusiast who is interested in overclocking, as itcould potentially lead to greater OC’ing potential. For power misers,the E0 stepping also features a new power status indicator and new instruction extensions (XSAVE/SRSTOR), along with greener, more environmentally friendly halide-free packaging.   VIDEO CARDS

these H2OC's have Hydrogen DIOXIDE written right in the name. commonly refered to as water.  yes, you NEED water cooling for these, run it without, and you void your warranty.   EDIT: tried to fix formatting, won't work...




I went with 2 bfg 280x H2OC video cards for
$570 each, these thing were out of stock for a while, and newegg must
have just recieved an order. not a bad deal since Danger Den, it's
partner company for these cards, charges 
for each water block. slap on the BFG lifetime warrenty and tradeup
program, and you got yourself a decent card for the money

Core Clock 680MHz (vs. 602MHz standard)

Shader Clock 1458MHz (vs. 1296MHz standard)

Memory Data Rate 2450MHz (vs. 2214MHz standard)



well that particular power supply websight says:

*OCZ does not recommend the use of our OCZ1000EXS with 2 x
Overclocked GTX280 graphics cards. The OCZ1000EXS power supply is
certified by NVIDIA to power Two GeForce GTX280 GPUs but the
significant dynamic loading of two overclocked GTX280s may cause operational issues and is not recommended.

started searching around and Tagan TG1100-U88 1100W BZ Series Power Supply has some amazing reviews and numbers, and just looks awesome, so i went with that instead.

 (bought this at provantage for $238)


Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz Desktop

This chip is said to be way underrated and suppressed (standard temp WC
sytems report 4.5GHZ or better stable OC), because Intel apparently
wants to push the quad core processors harder. Unfortunately for them,
i know fully that there is virtually nothing out there that can
effectively utilize quad core, and even if there was such a beast, the
new chipset will be coming out, and i'd be willing to bed by the time
someone can fully learn how to utilize multicores, the new processors
(Nehalem) will be more mainstream, and not cost $1000's of dollars.

I chose not to wait for this new chipset because this 8600
processor is only about $275, and the Nehalem processors will be so out
of price range at least until the 1st quarter of next year, it will be

 (bought at




(Part #32-YW-E180-A1)

3x 16x PCI E 2.0

slight improvement over the suggested board, the important thing to get out of this board is the Pulse Width
Modulation, effectively digitally controlling power by switching on and
off at such high rates, that what the capacitive components see is a
very low leak, low tolerance precise voltage that does not change from
exactly what it needs to operate. This allows for slightly higher
overclocking because voltages are much more reliable and don't
fluctuate as much, eliminating the potential for pushing a chip into
instability.( had the best price at $303 minus a $15 coupon code i googled online for the webpage)


OCZ PC3-12800 Platinum Enhanced Bandwidth Edition DDR3 SDRAM 1600

this is better then then reapers for stability, overclocking, and has
the same timing as the reapers on the 1600 model. there's more
reliability, less customer complaints, and better result.  in fact,
retailers are offering discounts and instant rebates on the new reapers
to even cheaper levels then the platinum and gold (lower) models, to
reflect this fact. ( $229.99 after mail in rebate)



Creative PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series ( $136.99)

looks better but probably sounds the same.  guess i got greedy with this one.


150GB Velociraptors

($159.99 after mail in rebate at

i skipped out on the terabyte drive because i already have 2 of the
older raptors and 500gb external HD which is just fine for storage. 


 I ordered the tempest case right away, and it is awesome for
the price, and the mounts for a radiator will help integrate a WC
system easily. ($100 after MIR at


had windows already, i assume many people do also



Samsung SH-S202N 20x DVDRW DL IDE Drive w/LightScribe (Blk) for ( $52)

for such a small amount, why not? couldn't find any bad reviews about them, more then likely an oem part people don't realize they get with prebought systems, i thought 2x drives is occasionally usefull for copying quickly.


I already have a WC system, just need to  transfer it over to this one

$2680.  considering i got free shipping included on just about everything but one item i bought (Googleing coupon codes and free shipping FTW), that'll easily let my choices compete with the original, plus several important upgrades (ok ok, up the price like $300 for WC and windows)

 the few extra bucks were worth it to me for some very powerful upgrades.



 2 GTX280 Video Cards for 750!

Where did get this price. It seems way to cheap.


Love to find out!





I think PCIEx1 sound is better to open up the last slot for upgrading to TRI SLI later. I don't think a person would really need quad core until they are going to want an i7 anyway. The bulk of the money is spent on parts that will carry over. Then you can buy an i7 quad with a better cooler, another 2 Gigs of ram and another GTX 280. Oh yeah, and a couple of X25-M's in RAID O. Oh! and a 30 inch monitor of course. Phase change anyone? Oh man, I need to save up some money.....



Yea I vouche for that, I usually just buy the best one card I can the 280 gtx, then when another card comes out better, Ill have money saved up to buy another 280 gtx for sli. Like you said for pciex1 using the 3 way sli when I can I will just buy a fatality titanimum soundcard that uses the pcex1 so it will fit in, then you have one badass machine.


that Linux guy

I like the parts, but I feel I must dispute the case and CPU cooler. Why is MaximumPC the only one toting this choice for the NZXT case, and the CNP9300 is bested my several other coolers. I would try to name them all, but the comments section is only so big. 

The rest of the parts are top notch. EVGA, OCZ, Intel C2D, etc, etc. NZXT and Zalman? They make some good parts, but the case and CPU cooler could be better IMHO.



Well Im pretty sure these guys are professionals and have done reviews on things like the NZXT Case and compared to many other cases its enough room to hold alot of things, lots of airflow from the fans to keep good temperatures enough bays to accompany even an extreme storage freak, the back panel removeal lets you hide wiring from some things under the mobo, and alot of neat stuff. These guys dont just use the case for no reason, there has to be reasoning behind it, and their is.



This guide needs to be rewritten immediatly.  It should simply say: If you are planning to spend $2500 in the next month on a gaming rig, it would behoove you to wait for Nehalem.



Back when I built my gaming rig 18 months ago, I went with a Core 2 Duo figuring there wasn't enough software support for a quad at the time, but I'd probably have to upgrade within a year.

 It's pretty sad that there's still no real reason to upgrade. Come on devs, get with the program.





Motherboards were just a tad cheaper. When they went up to $300, that was the tipping point. Even though it's a performance board, they shouldn't just jack up prices more and more.



Two GTX280s is gross overkill at anything less than 2560 x 1600, so I have to wonder how many people actually game at that resolution.  I wonder what you'd suggest at 1920 x 1200.  If nothing else you could step up to an E8600 and get a better starting multiplier.  It's a shame they don't offer an unlocked multiplier CPU in a dual core chip, but the 10x multiplier is probably enough for most people.  Right now there is no reason to go quad-core if all you do is game.

I actually like the HDD set-up, though I probably fit the power user profile batter than the pro-gamer. 


That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.



Zalman cooler is a bit underpowered I would use Xigmatek HDT S1283 for the same price. And for case I would go for a full tower like the Cooler Master HAF.



I'd probably modify a couple things:

 1. I would probably opt for two 500GB Hard Drives in a RAID 1 configuration.

 2. I'd run Windows XP.  I'm abstaining from Vista and waiting for Windows 7.  This might keep me from running certain games, but there are plenty options to keep me entertained until 2009.

Other than that, I'd say "Nice one!"




I could build a better rig for that much!Forget nvidia go witha x48 and 4870x2 and i would drop the psu down to a pcpc 750wat and i would def change the ram for 4gig corsair ddr2 1066!I would up the cpu to a q9450 ftw



Only one thing.  X48 are usually only DDR3, but otherwise, I agree with you.



OCZ owns PC Power and Cooling, so essentially, you're purchasing a lower end power supply there. Nvidia's GPU's can do Physx, ATI's cannot unless you hack the drivers.



wow i wonder why ppl still don't realize that ati has had physx technology since early june they partnered with havoc which suppotrs way more games than nvidia at the moment and the fact that ppl didn't notice shows how it doesn't impact game play that much yet



I agree man, I would definately go with a different mobo for crossfire, and a Radeon 4870 x2 , so much better than the gtx 280 :/



you forgot the window unit air conditioner to cool the room down while running the machine.  And one of the configuration steps should be to change the electricity billing plan to balanced billing.



I am considering building this rig.

I have created and shared a parts list on NewEgg Here


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