Gaming PC Off the Shelf
Brad asked me about a gaming machine. As usual, there is an incredible range of prices for a gaming machine. I will tell you the new games require an incredible amount of horsepower. The main places not to skimp are in order: a) video card, b) memory, c) processor and d) hard drive.
If you have to buy a machine, then Dell of the default choice, the only issue being reliability and support. Personally I?d spend just a little more and to with a speciality vendor who knows the gamer. Folks would include:
h3. “1. Falcon NW”:http://www.falcon-nw.com/
They are are probably the best compromise and they are local. The “Talon”:http://www.falcon-nw.com/talon.asp seems like a good “value” solution. See the component recommendations below, but the good things are a huge 600 watt power supply. You want a big one, stability is the main reason. Also it has large 120mm fans that are quiet. Gaming PCs can be very loud. The system is infinitely configurable, but a decent configuration today would be following the recommendations listed in detail below but with an Athlon 64 3800+ or an Athlon XP 3800+ (dual core) if you are feeling exotic, 1GB memory, Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300GB drive and nVidia 7800GT would run you about $2,400. You can scale down from there, the first thing to do being take down the hard drive size or drop to the slower 6800GT.
For portability, but less than full gaming, the “Fragbox”:http://www.falcon-nw.com/fragbox.asp seems like a good bet, but only has an integrated graphics card, so portable but a little slow.
“John”:http://www.theludwigs.com has both a Falcon and an Alien and likes the Falcon better. They have a premium product so don?t know how much you want to spend. It isn?t Dell, so takes 2-3 weeks to get it.
h3. “2. Alienware”:http://alienware.com
This is the vendor that started the whole gamepc craze. They are expensive, but high quality. They have the highest customer satisfaction from a PC Magazine “reader survey”:http://alienware.com/standalone_pages/pcmagazine_award.aspx.
Some models to look at are the “Aurora 5500”:http://alienware.com/product_detail_pages/Aurora/aurora_features.aspx?SysCode=PC-AURORA-5500&SubCode=SKU-DEFAULT. It is about $2100 with an Athlon 64 3800+, 1GB memory, nVidia 6800 Ultra, 10K rpm 74GB system and 160GB data hard drive, so not a bad deal really. You can downgrade as needed with the disk.
There are also exotic units that have liquid cooling and so forth and the cases are just incredibly cool! Love how they look.
h3. “3. Voodoopc”:http://voodoopc.com
Another speciality PC vendor that I?ve heard of. They are Canadian and they are quite a bit more expensive than Alienware or Falcon, but their machines look good.