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Old 07-26-2008, 03:03 AM
 
193 posts, read 727,815 times
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Why are gaming computers so freaking expensive? Is it the processor? The graphics card? All this and more?

I'd really like a better performing computer for games (3d, MMORPGs, second-life-esque, and the like), but geez $2000 and up??!! How much on average would it cost for a person to just build their own, is it close to the same price range?

Any advice would be appreciated, Thanks!
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:23 AM
 
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It's a little bit of all of the above. In general all around higher quality parts result in gaming machines being more expensive. Video cards are the biggest cost as high end ones can reach $500+ If you are on a budget, don't look at the high end parts, just look at getting parts that are good enough to run the games you want. I built a decent gaming system back in 2006 for a little over $1000. Still using it today, but newer games are starting to give my video card trouble(nvidia geforce 7600gt), I'll probably need to upgrade that soon.

Sharky Extreme
This is a good site for price guides and reviews on PC hardware. They also have budget PC byers guide to get you a decent gaming PC in the $1000 range.
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:23 AM
 
Location: United Kingdom
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You could build a medium rage one in the UK for £400 (~$800USD), but a top of the line one may cost you £800 (~$1600). This price includes a screen, which can be about £150 (~$300) on it's own.

And, yes, the most expensive parts of a computer are the (highest price first) Graphics card, Operating system, Processor.

If you decide to build your own, then look into OEM software. This is what all the small-scale system builders use. It is basically a software disc, and a thin instruction manual wrapped in cellophane instead of a large box containing a disc, thick manual, and assorted notes. The OEM software is about a third of the price of the retail boxed software. When I bought XP OEM it cost me £75 (~$150) instead of £200 (~$400).

The only problem with OEM software is that it is now linked to the hardware you first install it on, specifically to the serial numbers of said hardware. However, as long as the hardware is kept the same, you get unlimited reinstalls.
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Old 07-26-2008, 12:45 PM
 
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Thanks for the tips. I saw computer for about $1000 on Alienware's website, it seems good but I will have to do more research to find out which graphic cards provide best service for various games, perhaps this $1000 one does not have the best card. I should also find out how good a processor I really need.
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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A hypothetical system, not bleeding edge but definitely higher end:
  • Intel Quad-Core Processor (2.66 GHz, 12MB L2 Cache, 1300MHz FSB) - $329
  • High End Motherboard (LGA socket, 1300MHz FSB, PCI-X 2.0 x 2, 8GB memory max) - $200
  • 4 GB Memory (DDR3 1333) - $200
  • Hard Drive (300GB, 10,000 RPM, SATA 3.0, 16MB Cache) - $290
  • DVD Reader - $25
  • Video Card x 2 (ATI Radeon HD4870 in Crossfire Config) - $580
  • Aftermarket Cooling System for Overclocking - $200
  • Power Supply (1000 Watt, 80% Efficiency, Modular Cabling) - $300
  • Mid-Tower ATX Case - $100
  • Microsoft Vista Ultimate w/ SP1 (Full version, 64 bit, not OEM) - $278
That's $2,500...and doesn't include a monitor or keyboard/mouse.

It is possible to go much higher in price than this, but you'll reach a point of diminishing returns.

It is possible to go lower in price, but you'll have to downgrade.

The first place to look for savings is the Video card setup. Go with one cheaper single video card, that'll knock about $350 or $400 off the price and you'll almost never tell the difference, except the few times that you do.

If you go with an Intel Duo Core at 2.6GHz, you'll save another $150

Going with lesser video and processor means that you can cut down on the power supply, a lower power one would save you maybe $150.

Next saving item is the cooling system. If you're not overclocking, save $100 or $150 and get just an aftermarket CPU fan, or save the entire $200 and use the stock fan that came with the processor.

You can also whittle down the other components in either speed or quantity or quality...you'll eventually get it down to about $800 or $1000. By then, you'll have a PC that's more mainstream than gaming, but definitely better than off-the-shelf stuff.
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:05 PM
 
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Thanks for the breakdown djmilf.
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:07 PM
 
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You could totally build a gaming PC for $1000 bucks. Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more! AMD Phenom for around $200. Asus mo-bo for about $120. 4GB ram for about $160. Get 2 x 320gb Hard drives and raid 0 them for faster performance. Thats about $120. Then get a killer graphics card for around $200. and thats about it.....
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:06 AM
 
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punkrocker27ka has a good point. At the top end Intel's Core 2 Duo and Quad Core are the fastest processors available for gaming PCs. I've never walked on the AMD side, but at the middle/low end you may find more bang for your buck with those processors.

punkrocker27ka's parts list comes out to $800, so $100 for a power supply and $100 for a case gets you to $1000. The Windows O/S will cost $190 or $280, depending on what you pick, so your up to about $1200 to $1300. Of course, if you can scavenge any of these parts for free from an existing system, you'll be ahead of the game.

A quick note about raid 0: Microsoft Windows XP Pro did software RAID and did it very easily from the control panel. Microsoft Vista doesn't do software raid. You can try hardware raid, but I've read that there may be issues with that. If you can get XP Pro (and hurry, supplies are limited), go for the RAID 0; if you can only get Vista, just buy one 320GB drive.

One thing that I didn't think about is sound. The motherboard you pick may or may not have integrated sound on it, so you may or may not need a separate sound card. You will want a set of speakers. For gaming, the bare minimum is a 3 piece system with a sub-woofer (this is what I use). This will cost between $50 and $100.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 22,742,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightwishfan View Post
Why are gaming computers so freaking expensive? Is it the processor? The graphics card? All this and more?
My current gaming box cost me less than $300. Then again, I'm not a "serious" gamer. I don't believe in spending $450 on just a video card like my little brother and his fancy 8800GTX.

$199 for the basic box (Compaq SR5010NX) - Celeron D 360, 512MB RAM (mommyboard will take an E4400 CPU as a future upgrade)
$35 for a used EVGA 7600GT video card on eBay (fits in 16x PCI-E slot).
$50 for 2 x 1GB DIMMs (the 512MB DIMM I put in my wife's PC).

I also bought a new ATX power supply for $45 at Newegg, but it appears I don't need it.

Ubuntu Linux dropped right in. So far it plays the UT2004 demo, Spring (though it's a bit slow with dynamic water enabled), Enemy Territory, Nexuiz, Alien Arena, Warsow, and various other games seem to work well.

On the Windows side, Windows 2000 dropped right in but didn't see the video, built-in network card, or integrated sound. An hour or so of hunting on Google solved that problem. 3DMark is around 12500 or so. Not cutting edge, but it will play most of the games I've seen so far as fast as I want. Madden 2007 works fine, UT2000 works fine, Spring, and the dozens of other games I currenty own. Older games like Quake 3 Arena and the classic UT GOTY edition are insanely fast. Homeworld. NFS 3/4. Etc.

I don't think a cutting edge PC is worth it. Even if it has a triple-8800GTX SLI setup like some of the custom boxes I've seen have.

Last edited by rcsteiner; 07-28-2008 at 05:26 PM..
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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Yeah, but the original poster asked why new gaming pc's cost so much.

rcsteiner, the best PC is the one that you're happy with. If you have more fun playing the games that you listed, great!

I was assuming that nightwishfan was looking for a PC that would play current and future releases.

And your little brother's $450 Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX? Please tell me he bought that a while ago...the ATI Radeon HD 4850 matches it in performance and sells for $175.
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