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

Maximum PC Staff

For the past few weeks we have presented you with our $1500 Budget Badass and $2500 Power User PC . This week we’re bringing to the table our picks for a $2500 Pro Gaming PC. With significant price cuts since our last Pro Gaming PC build-it guide, we were able to give our gaming PC some extra juice so system lag can no longer be blamed for missing a crucial headshot. Many parts have not changed since the last update, but with new hardware technology coming soon to the computer industry, be prepared for some significant tweaks next month. But for now, here’s what we got.




Videocard

2x BFG Tech Geforce GTX280
$750, www.bfgtech.com

Since the last update back in July, the GTX 280 has stayed atop the GPU powerhouse list. As the fastest single-GPU solution out there, it would only make sense to have two of these running in SLI. Unlike our Power User PC , we're shifting our main focus to the GPU(s) and this is it.

Motherboard

EVGA eForce 790i SLI Ultra
$330, www.evga.com

There were some problems with Nvidia's 680i and 780i chipsets, but the 790i seems to have solved all of them. The board's native PCI-Express 2.0 and spacious layout will be a nice home for your SLI setup. Its price-to-performance ratio is just one reason why we gave this motherboard a kickass verdict .

CPU

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3GHz
$165 (Retail), www.intel.com

While CPU performance is significant to a PC's ability to perform well in games, most current games (with the exception of a couple) are still not utilizing all four cores of a quad core thus leaving us with the option to choose a dual core over a quad. With the E8400, we save some extra money for an upgraded PSU and extra hard drives while keeping gaming performance at its peak.

Memory

OCZ 4GB Reaper HPC DDR3/1600
$250, www.ocztechnology.com

As we've mentioned in our previous build-it guides, 4GB seems to be the new standard nowadays for any performance user. Obviously, gaming is no exception.

Case

NZXT Tempest
$110, www.nxzt.com

We've been featuring this case for every build-it guide so far and we still stand behind it 100%. With plenty of cooling and air flow, this case will house all your components nicely.

Power Supply

OCZ EliteXStream 1000W
$195, www.ocztechnology.com

Some readers suggested in our previous Pro Gaming PC build-it guide that a 750W PC Power & Cooling PSU would not be enough juice for our SLI setup. While we feel the 750W would power the rig just fine, we decided to take the safe route and replace it with an OCZ EliteXStream 1000W as recommended by SLI Zone .

Operating System

Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium
$100 (OEM), www.microsoft.com

Hard Drives

2x Western Digital Velociraptor 150GB 10000RPM
$360, www.wdc.com

We had some extra cash to play with after some recent price cuts so what else is there to do but to add some more horsepower to our rig? We took two Velociraptors and stuck them in RAID 0 for some extra performance boost.

Samsung F1 HD103UJ 1TB
$120, www.samsung.com

We just had to keep the beloved terabyte drive in this rig; it just wouldn't be complete without it.

Optical Drive

Samsung SH-S223F DVD Burner
$26, www.samsung.com

Unlike our Power User rig, we don't see the need for a $300 blu-ray burner for the pro gamer. So we saved some major bucks and brought it down to the basics -- a DVD burner.

Sound Card

Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
$86, www.creative.com

Quality sound is important for every gamer. Those subtle footsteps and gunshots from miles away can mean life or death in many scenarios. With the X-FI XtremeGamer, there's no need to worry anymore about those embarrassing behind-the-back stabbings.

CPU Cooler

Zalman CNPS-9300AT SuperFlo
$40, www.zalman.com

Like the power user, gamers need their fair share of cooling, too. While the room may get a little heated from intense game play, your CPU will stay cool with this heatsink from Zalman.

Total: $2,532

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