Saturday, November 15, 2008

$1000 dollar gaming system revisited

In summer of 2007 I posted a sub-thousand dollar gaming build. Things have changed a lot in the last year and a half, and I decided to see what such a build would look like today. Would you believe twice the RAM, twice the processor power, and twice the storage??? If I have peaked your interest, please read on...

Last time I chose a case from Antec, but this time around I went with a Coolermaster case. Both companies make excellent cases, but right now the Coolermaster case is a better deal. You can buy it at Newegg for 49.99 with a ten dollar instant rebate:

Coolermaster Elite RC-330 case with 350W power supply --49.99

Like last time, I again chose a Biostar T-force motherboard for this build. These boards have lots of nice features and are simply rock solid:

Biostar Tforce TF8200 AM2+ motherboard -- $89.99

Because prices have dropped so much on some components, we can spend more on the processor. I chose the Phenom x4 'Black Edition' processor which has an unlocked multiplier, making it an excellent choice for its overclocking potential:

AMD Phenom 9850 Black Edition Processor -- $169

Next is the RAM - because prices on DDR2-800 RAM have dropped so much, we can actually get twice as much RAM as before at less than half the cost. 4 GB for under $60 - thats less than $15 per GB! It was not too many years ago that SDRAM was selling for more than a dollar per MB, and if you had RDRAM in your machine you were REALLY hurting, paying $500 or more for a pair of 128MB modules.

4 GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS2 PC26400 RAM -- $54.99

Hard drive prices have dropped significantly as well - for the same amount of money last year, we can buy twice as much drive space - 500 GB for 69 dollars. For the CDROM drive I chose an LG 22x DVD burner

Seagate 500GB SATA 3.0GB hard drive -- $69.99

LG 22x DVD Burner -- $23.99

Next comes the Video card. It was a hard choice because the market has moved so fast and performance is simply amazing on these new cards. I finally selected the ATI Radeon HD4850. more than twice the performance of the GeForce 7900 GS used in last years build, at about the same cost - less if you find one in an open box special:

Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 512 MB PCI Express 2.0 -- $159.99

OK, thats everything that goes in the case, and we've barely broke 6 bills - total so far is $617.84 without shipping. Next comes the peripherals - monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers. Again I went with the Microsoft comfort curve keyboard with mouse included. Same price as last year. LCD prices again favor us this time around as the drop in pricing allows us to get a significantly larger screen for the same amount of money. Hanns-G has a nice 22 inch model for $159 with free shipping (I love those free shipping deals):

Hanns-G 22 WS monitor -- $159.99

Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 keyboard and mouse -- $21.99

And lastly, because onboard sound on most motherboards STILL sucks, I'm including a sound card - the Diamond ExtremeSound 5.1 PCI soundcard. My old favorite from Chaintech used in last years build is no longer available.

Diamond ExtremeSound XS51 PCI Soundcard -- $19.99

We're still well below our limit of $1000, so I decided to add a 2.1 speaker system from Altec Lansing:

Altec Lansing 2.1 speaker system -- $29.99

That puts our raw total at $849.90 - and since many of our items have free shipping, the total shipping cost for this build is only $40.89, making the total cost of this build $890.79 - about 20 bucks cheaper than last years build.

Well, thats my story and I'm stickin' to it!