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How to build a budget gaming computer?

Keep in mind that I am looking to make a system that can run BF2/WoW/etc flawlessly and not have to sacrifice graphics for fps. I have some questions on makes more than anything else:

1. AMD or Intel, which is faster? Which is cheaper?

2. ATI or Nvidia, which is better? Which is cheaper?

Radeon® X1950 PRO 256MB PCI Express® $429

Radeon® X1950 XTX 512MB PCI Express® $299

(WTF is the difference between PRO & XTX?)

I've always gone with ATI, but am open to changes as the PC world changes so fast.

3. Windows XP or wait for Windows Vista? What's so great about Vista anyways?

4. How much RAM is enough RAM? What brand of RAM & type of RAM is good/affordable?

Any other tips would be appreciated.


One more thing, I have a 2.8ghz processor, why would I want to get a processor that is slower... what qualities aside from speed make the processor worthwhile, what does "BUS speed" have to do with anything?

8 Answers

  • Eng
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    1)For low budget, AMD Athlon or Opteron

    For normal budget, Intel Core 2 Duo

    2) Nvidia

    nothing is different except a total rip off in name, it has less GDDR3 RAM yet it is overclocked by about 50 to 100 mhz in speed

    3) XP for now, Vista will have tons of bugs, wait a month or 2 then buy it on ebay.

    4) 2gbs if enough to run flawlessly.

    I enjoy OCZ RAM, but Corsair is good too. all affordable

    I can give you 2 setups, both will require overclocking to function best

    to learn more about overclocking, join forums at

    Lower Budget Computer

    AMD Opteron 165 Dual Core stock 1.8ghz (i run it at 2.8ghz)

    DFI LanParty nF4 SLi-Dr motherboard

    2gbs OCZ Platinum Edition RAM

    2x 7900GT in SLi

    Sound Blaster Audigy 4 SE

    160gbs of memory from Seagate (barracuda series)

    PC Power and Cooling 510 series PSU

    this will cost about 1200 or so.

    Average gaming end setup

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 stock 2.4ghz

    2gbs Corsair XMS2 RAM

    EVGA 680i motherboard

    8800GTX videocard

    Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty sound card

    160 gbs of Seagate (barracuda series) harddrive

    PC Power and Cooling 850 watt PSU

    about 1800 to 2200

    Note: this will run Vista with no problem and rip, cut, and destroy any game with a blink of an eye.


    GET A Zalman CNPS 9500 !!!!!!!!

    (pure copper air cooling, totally silent i have one)

    For the Opteron 165, i know 1.8ghz is slow

    but i have it running at 2.8ghz on air, using the Zalman i stated above.

    all temperature are fine.

    2.8ghz is like a 3.6 to 3.8ghz Pentium 4.

    It is the architecture of AMD and Intel that makes it so different.

    THe E6600 can overclock to about 3.4ghz to 3.6ghz.

    that is about a 4ghz or so Pentium 4

    i am basing this off of Pentium 4s because most people know about them rather than AMD Athlons

    All prices include a case, and dvd burner along with addons as well.

    I personally don't like ATI, but u can always go taht way.

    Comparing price to speed, Intel is faster

    but AMD can overclock very well. but the new Core 2 Duos can too.

    so it is a choice u have to make

    My setup for gaming is

    AMD Opteron 165 running at 2.8ghz

    Zalman CNPS9500 cooler

    DFI LanParty nF4 SLi-Dr motherboard

    2gbs of OCZ Platinum Edition

    2 EVGA 7800GTs in SLI

    Sound blaster audigy 4 SE sound card.

    PC POwer and COoling 510 series PSU

    280 gbs of harddrive from Seagate Barracuda

    a dvd burner

    a floppy

    and a cool alienware case (don't get one, they aren't that cool)

    It rips through BF2, Counterstrike, WoW, and BF2142

    the lowest FPS i get is around 30 to 50fps

    highest i've ever seen it is 380 fps on Counter Strike Source

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  • 1 decade ago

    1. Right now you're best bet is to go for an Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, or E6400 if you need to save the $90 price difference. Both offer excellent performance and don't cost that much. They perform MUCH better than similarly priced AMD processors, and the $320 E6600 performs comparably with the AMD Athlon FX-62, which is nearly double the price. They are also very overclockable if that's an option for you.

    2. Can't offer much advice here, since I don't have much experience with ATI. I will say that I have an nvidia GeForce 7900 GT and it runs all the latest games very well. My advice would also be to replace the video card's stock cooler with a Zalman GPU cooler, since they are MUCH quieter and allow you to overclock if you want to. Also, if you want DirectX 10 compatibility, you will need a GeForce 8800GTS or 8800GTX ($400 and $600), or you can wait for cheaper versions of these 8 series cards to be released.

    3. Windows Vista isn't out yet, but any computer along these lines should be able to run it without any problems. Since you're interested in gaming, it should be noted that Windows Vista offers support for DirectX 10, which will be very useful for gaming in the near future.

    4. You should be just fine with 1 GB of DDR2 memory. 2 GB will give you a slight increase in performance with some games, and will prove to be more necessary in the near future. Also, the type of motherboard you get dictates what kind of memory options are available. It would be a good idea to invest in AMD's AM2 socket or Intel's 775 socket, as these support DDR2 memory.

    Hope that was helpful.

    Oh, and use the toms hardware performance charts if you need to compare the performance of different CPUs, video cards, or hard drives. (It's on the right side of the page)

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  • 1 decade ago

    AMD is faster. Intel is slightly more compatible with windows applications. Should be fine for any games though.

    I use ATI. It's cheaper and has always worked well for me

    Windows XP. Vista is over hyped. I think that people will want xp pro for some time yet before going to vista premium.

    Get as much ram as you can. 1GB minimum.

    Last, and most important. Use Tiger Direct ( They have the best prices and their customer service is the best I have ever seen.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    my dad runs a company reconditioning, rebuilding and building computers, and other stuff like networking, and i build a lot of the build to order machines, and i have never tryed to build a budget gaming machine, either its budget or gaming, i think the most expesive computer i built cost nearlly £2000 and sold for £2600 but if your looking to do it cheaply, ASrock make some great Mobo's get an ATX don't go mATX for a big case, 2GB+ ram can just be generic, as for the vista thing, don't bother unless you get the £300 ultermate version, the rest are rubbish from what i hear. DVD rewriters arn't 2 much and SATA HDD about 200GB's or more, could be a bit expensive, and processor, AMD's tend to be faster, but also, less reliable than intels, so for my money its intel

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  • 1 decade ago

    I just built a gaming system for my kid

    1. AMD It's cheaper then intel and just as good

    what i bought:AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ Socket

    what i bought:Asus M2N-SLI-DELUXE Socket AM2 Motherboard with SLI north bridge

    2.Nvidia is recommended for BF2 7800GT is good!

    what i bought:GeForce 7300 GT 512MB PCIe

    3. I use XP, never used vista

    4. you want 2GIG of memory for BF2. Band and type depends on your mobo

    Powersupply: 500w or better

    DVD: LiteOn 16xDVD Burner

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    AMD is faster. Go with AMD

    I use ATI. Much Cheaper

    Windows XP.

    1GB minimum.

    Use Awesome prices

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  • there is a great computer company called alienware.. they have great computers that don't cost that much for what you get. the main reason i don't like to mix and match components is that they don't work 100 percent with each other and a good computer company will have worked most of the bugs out.. belive me i know. good luck kiddo p.s. i'm a gamer too

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  • 1 decade ago

    no entender soy spanish

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