Gaming Rig On A Budget... Any Ideas?

edited March 2007 in General Chat
So, I'm biting the budget bullet and getting a custom prebuilt. Of course, gaming is my number one priority, but I can't spend more than 700 dollars. I've looked around and noticed that it's feasible to have a pretty powerful machine built for around that price... nothing bleeding edge of course, but able to hold it's own with most current releases.

My question is: what sites can I find that have a good reputation and fully customizable rigs? (customizable even after purchase, as well... no welded-shut cases)

My google searches turn up tons of sites I've never heard of, and I want to be sure I'm not going to get ripped off with second rate parts and bad service.


  • edited March 2007
    Theres no reason getting anything less than a Core2Duo now or youll be sorry soon. And youll want a DX10 card, but thats why im holding off on upgrading now. My computer is 5 years old, but I know that if I wait until autumn, the DX10 cards, like the 8800 will be much much cheaper. And hopefully quad processors will start being standard on fast machines, meaning Core2Duo ones will also be much cheaper. And so on. You can always wait when you start thinking the important stuff like applications still work fine. And right now seems like a good point to wait a bit longer if you want a "next gen" system cheap in 6 months.

    Well you wanted budget advise ;)
  • edited March 2007
    I just recently built a complete computer (tower only) with less then $450. It had a 2.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 bit processor, 1GB of Corsair Value memory (good latency, not crappy), a mid range ATI video card (DirectX 10 capable, 128MB ram, PCI Express), a nice motherboard with LAN, SATA support, even a nice black glossy case with side view window and bright blue led lights and temperature sensor. I did reuse an older IDE 133 hard drive though.

    If you know how, which it isn't too hard actually, I highly recommend assembling it yourself. You can find the best deals at, and they are a top notch store. If you need help selecting parts I will help you.

    If you absolutely want it preassembled, DO NOT BUY AN ALIENWARE. I bought an Alienware computer once and it was by far the worst experience I ever had with something I bought in my entire life. They repeatedly screwed me, and it took months for them to fix my computer, give me what I ordered, and I had to keep mailing the computer back and forth many times before it would even work. That company is the single reason I decided to never buy a prebuilt computer ever again, and ever since I have made them myself. I literally went up to the CEO of Alienware before I got a machine that would turn on when I pressed on.
  • edited March 2007
    I checked out newegg first, as that's the site I always advise people to go to, but I couldn't keep the total cost under my budget, even with older parts. Did you build yours from newegg parts? If so, maybe I can replicate your system, and replace the processor and card. (I'm an Nvidia guy, and I have my heart set on a dual-core :P)

    Alienware is FAR out of my price range anyway, so I definitely don't see myself getting a rig from them, good service or bad haha
  • edited March 2007
    Yeah, I shopped on NewEgg. I'll see if I can come up with a setup like you're looking for tonight and see if I can keep it under $700.
  • edited March 2007
    Thanks, much appreciated!
  • edited March 2007
    There is also (I think that is it)

    Not the easiest to navigate, but lets you see a wide range of prices of retail and OEM parts from many different online stores. However, I still prefer newegg...

    Also, if you have anything that you can reuse, reuse it! especially monitors, as one will be 1/4 to 1/3 of your budget itself. Or check garage sales or second hand stores for a used LCD.
  • edited March 2007
    I scoured newegg and managed to slap together a very cheap machine that should be Crysis-ready...

    But I noticed that it would be cheaper to buy Vista Home Basic OEM than any version of XP... is it worth the savings? It doesn't have the memory-sucking Aero interface, and my friend Jeff assures me that Microsoft fixed the backwards compatibility issue. Seeing as how this will be the first time my PC won't be hideously obsolete, I'm not sure whether the gains will outweigh the losses by going Vista.
  • edited March 2007
    I'd rather drink molten lead then buy/install any version of Vista. Sorry I didn't get around to looking up parts. Could you list the parts and prices for each that you plan on buying?
  • edited March 2007
    Honestly, Vista's fine. I'd say go for it.
  • edited March 2007
    AdamG wrote: »
    I'd rather drink molten lead then buy/install any version of Vista. Sorry I didn't get around to looking up parts. Could you list the parts and prices for each that you plan on buying?

    It's no problem, thanks for offering to help though.

    Going by memory, (I have it written down somewhere) I believe the parts were:

    AMD Athlon X2 (I think 3800+) AM2 socket

    1 gig RAM (two 512mb, if I can I'll use the leftover money to get another gig)

    ASUS AM2 mobo, don't remember the exact specs.

    Haven't decided on the case yet, but I'm thinking about a Cooler Master, with at least 500w power supply.

    Radeon x1600 Pro (I wanted a GeForce, but Radeon is so much cheaper, and the x1600 is almost guaranteed to be able to run Crysis, which is my main goal)

    I'm going to use my old sound card and accessories, and I'll have to hit up some discount places for a monitor, since that above setup doesn't leave much room for other expenses.
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