Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

A Better Gaming PC for Under $1000

Posted in Computers & Technology,Hardware by Elliott Back on December 20th, 2011.

Today in The Verge’s How-to: Build a killer gaming PC for under $1,000 they suggest putting together the following components:

Processor Intel Core i5-2500K $209.99
Motherboard Asus P8P67 Pro Rev 3.1 $144.99
Graphics Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti OC 900MHz 1GB $214.99
Memory 8GB Corsair Vengeance CL9 DDR3-1600 RAM $44.99
Boot drive Samsung 64GB SSD 830 $94.99
Storage drive WD Caviar Blue 500GB 7200RPM HDD $99.99
Power supply Corsair Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX $59.99
Case Fractal Design Core 3000 $64.99
Optical drive Samsung SH-B123 12x BD-ROM $59.99
    Total: $994.91

I feel that it does a few things wrong, emphasizing an nVidia graphics card that trails ATI’s mid-range offering, lacks significant RAM, and splurges on unneeded components like a DVD drive and spinning-disk hard drive. If I were to build an off the shelf gaming PC with the ample budget of $1000, using the same tricks (no peripherals, no OS, no LCD/LED monitor) as The Verge, here is what I’d buy:

Processor / Mobo Intel Core i5-2500K / MSI P67A-C43 combo $314.98 11% cheaper
Graphics XFX HD-695X-CNFC Radeon HD 6950 2GB $229.99 7% more
Memory CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 1600 $77.99 73% more
Drive Samsung 128GB SSD 830 $209.99 8% more
Power Supply CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W $39.99 33% cheaper
Case Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel $69.99 8% more
    Total: $942.93 (5% cheaper)

The motherboard/CPU are virtually identical here and they are great picks–I also don’t care much about which case to use. However, I think this build is significantly stronger in the graphics/memory/drive arenas, and benefits from a cheaper 500W power supply. When you buy the ATI 6950 over the suggested nVidia 560 Ti, you get:

  • Twice as much graphics RAM (2GB vs 1GB)
  • 30 – 50W loaded less power consumption
  • Similar performance

8 GB of RAM is OK, but when you have a 64 bit OS that can handle it all, why not put 16 GB into the system for $30 more? It’s a cheap easy win. And last, and possibly more controversially, I don’t see the need for an optical drive–everything is downloadable these days. I’d also rather have twice the SSD space than a slow spinning drive to load applications off.

Readers, what do you think? I’m sure my ATI preference will upset you…

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 at 8:57 pm and is tagged with . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback.

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