Building a Gaming PC (OH GOD HELP ME PLEASE)

I’m currently pooling about two years worth of saving into a machine that’s actually meant to play games at least a bit better than half-assedly. The problem being, I have no fucking idea of what I’m doing.

I know the basics: CPU, motherboard, memory, video card, HD, a power supply that can actually handle all that shit, cooling and, the fun part, making sure all the stuff actually can work together.

My uncle is helping me, but so as not to bother him too much I’d like to do sufficient research on my own. Internet tutorials and the like are helping, but I keep coming up with questions that I’m not sure of how to answer, particularly on the last point. So I decided to harass you guys. I’m going at it slowly, so I’ll probably keep bringing up stuff as it comes up:

Question Number 1:
Does it look like this motherboard, this processor and this card go together?

As far as I can tell, the motherboard manual says it supports Intel Core Quad, but I don’t know if there’s anything else to take into consideration. Likewise, the manual shows that the motherboard has a single PCI Express X16, one Express X4 and 2 PCI slots, but the card mentions PCI Express X16 2.0 and I’m not sure how to tell if the board’s slots are 2.0 or not or what the hell 2.0 is to begin with.

You needn’t worry about PCI Express 2.0 or 1.0. They’re backwards and forwards compatible, and there’s little noticeable difference in performance.

I would’ve replaced the mainboard - It’s using an old chipset and it isn’t even the good incarnation of it. There’s this, which is what I use. It’s a solid board, but don’t expect to do any overclocking. If you want to stay Gigabyte there’s this, which is about equivalent to what you had picked, but with a more recent chipset. It’s not a necessity though as what you’ve picked will work just fine.

What were you planning for RAM?

If you’re in Canada (which I don’t think you are… if I recall you’re in south america? was it argentina?) you’ll find the best deals by using Price Canada and also occasionally looking at sites of other big box stores and using the price match feature on NCIX.

A classmate showed me those. He saved hundreds on his new PC.

No, I’m not planning on any overclocking, with the amount of money this stuff costs here, I’m forcing them as little as humanly possible. I’ll look on the second option, I’d rather stay with Gigabyte not so much because of brand but because of availability. I’m not only limited by budget but by what’s actually possible to get my hands on down here.

I haven’t looked much into it yet, so I’m not sure exactly what options I’ve got. If you mean amount, I’m aiming for at least 4GB.

What’s there to play on PC anymore, besides Blizzard games? Are you holding your breath for Duke Nukem Forever, or is the next Sim City really that demanding? What are you gonna get that isn’t better on 360? I swear these are innocent questions. I thought PC gaming was dying, and the only thing you needed good specs for anymore were graphic rendering machines (and even then you could get away with a lot). I mean, my PC is like 1.8g with 300mB of ram running XP and I haven’t envied anything in a while.

I’m just doing it to wave my mechanical dick at you.

Nah, honestly, I’ve been out of pc-gaming for more than half a decade because of an incredibly old rig and even now and then there’s one or two titles that catch my interest and I would like to play without, at long last, automatically setting all graphic options to either low, really low, or DudeGetANewFuckingMachineAlready.

There’s Sins of a Solar Empire, Galactic Civilizations II, Team Fortress II, Making History, Civilization IV, Battle for Wesnoth, there’s emulators, retro games, and there’s games in development, like Elemental: War of Magic. is useful for finding compatible RAM. If you go with theirs that is.

Be aware that a 32-bit OS can’t utilize more than 3.5GB RAM. You can physically have 4GB+, but the OS will only be able to access 3.5GB. If you want to be able to access the whole 4GB, you’ll have to use a 64-bit OS.

I get the theory behind it, but have no practical experience with it: How much of an issue is going up to 64-bit? As in, do you encounter too many compatibility issues, unavailable drivers, etc, or is it mostly a negligible difference?

Heroes of Might and Magic V, King’s Bounty: The Legend, the better versions of Counterstrike, Portal, Team Fortress (well, just about any multiplatform FPS), Empire: Total War, Company of Heroes, and yes, Emulators from Gamecube and PS2 down (sadly, no good ones for Xbox) to the earliest consoles and computers.

I mean what are you gonna get that can’t just as easily be played on a shitty machine. Emulators don’t count.

Well, I bought Fallout 3 after hearing that it was quite good, only to find out I didn’t meet the minimum reqs, with a midgrade laptop bought one month prior. There are also MMORPG alternatives to WoW that shitty machines have trouble with.

It mostly works just fine, the issue is more that you have to use Windows Vista than that it’s x64.

Crysis? And there are a lot of other PC exclusives that take a lot of power.


I have this setup (Cost me 700 smackers just three weeks ago, but my previous machine was at it’s break point anyway and even if I had bought from the cheapest retailers, the delivery costs would’ve made it that high anyway), self-assembled and all.

Can go ULTRA HIGH with Fallout 3. Previous machine with a GF7600GT had to have minimum settings to even start, and even 4-year old games like Battlefield 2 turned into a slide show if I happened to be under an artillery strike.

Mobo: P5Q Pro
E8400 Core 2 Duo
Sapphire Radeon 4870
500Gigs of HD
Some SATA DVD drive
Built into a Sonata Antec III case with a 500w power and decent (read: Quiet when I want to) fans.

4 gigs of DDR2 ram (@800mhz), in case 7 or Vista ever show up on my machine.

I could’ve saved on the DVD drive, but my previous one had a case of thinking it was a Formula One race car. Well, at least I had a router, a monitor (19") and speakers ready.

Hades: Certain video formats also require quite the beast if you’re into high definition video. (Hell, I had h264 encoded videos lagging behind the audio.)

Get something with 4 gigs of RAM , a 256mb vid card, a few hundred gigs of HD space and whatever motherboard nulani says is good. This shouldn’t cost you much and you’ll run most things on decent settings for a few years to come.

Its pretty much what my laptop has and it runs Left 4 Dead on the highest specs better than everyone I know.

Crucial RAM is cheap. You can get 4 gigs for 100ish easily. 256mb vid card will also not cost that much. An internal HD with 250 gigs will cost 100 or less.

I’d go with what most everyone else has said. You wanna get good stuff, but not pay a buttload of money for it. I had some friend try to build his own PC and spent several thousand dollars doing so (not to mention making payments to his sister for said money…he was very stupid).

Reading all this makes my laptop feel shitty in comparison. Though I’ve already been through one hard drive after my 1st burnt out on me. (Too much WoW?)

and note that not all 256mb video cards are the same. and some 512mb cards may be worse than some 256mb cards.

I got a 256mb ati x600xt back in 2004 for cheap I remember, even a now old card like that is better than some of the older 256mb cards out there. Be careful.

Okay, this is going slower than I thought since I have to hunt down these guys one by one, but using these as a vague estimate:

Question Number 2: Power Supply.

How much power do I need on average for a machine using the stuff I mentioned? I’m not planning on overclocking, but I’d still like to play it safe with anything related to electricity.

It won’t use much more than 200W, but I’d still go with around 450W, or at least 380W. Have you decided on a case yet?