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The $1500 Challenge?? :: Archived
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JG300-Stoopy
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 10:52 pm
Post subject: The $1500 Challenge??

Here's an idea, since we're all lookin' to upgrade at one time or another and occasionally get members looking for an emergency replacement system.....what's the best current deal going on out there for an average PC system price?

In other words, what's the best system you can identify, staying within a given price range?

There could be essentialy two categories.....buy an off-the-shelf system (for the members who prefer not to wrench on their own system) or buy the components (case, mobo, RAM, vid card, etc) for those who like to build 'em themselves.

In another life when I worked for a very long time in association with the private industry retail channels, I always noticed that the average minimum full system purchase was about $1500 US, and that has also been mirrored in some price ranges I remember coming up in the recent past here. My own past purchases reflected this as a goal also, whether I chose to build a system or bought an over-the-counter one, even though you save on non-essentials and get more hi-performance parts...it just always seemed to come out that way.

So that's it. What's the best simming and general-purpose rig you can put together in either category, staying within the price range? And of course you get some leeway.....as we all know from dealing with our better halves, $1500 really means anything up to $1599.99!

Basically by "simming/general purpose rig" I'm thinking the minimums of 3.0Ghz CPU, 1Gig of fast RAM, decent vid card (PCI 128 or 256M) and vast storage (160Gig HD or higher). Monitor would be optional since we're talking upgrade scenarios.

Here's a sample entry in the "Over the Counter" category:

Gateway® DX310X



Spec'ed with optional items:

Microsoft® Windows® XP Home (SP2) w/ XP Home Backup CD [ +US$0.00]
Microsoft® Office Basic Edition 2003 (Includes Word, Excel and Outlook) w/ Microsoft® Home Collection [ +US$139.99]
Intel® Pentium® D Processor 940 featuring two processing cores (3.20GHz, 800MHz FSB, 2x2MB cache, non-HT EM64T) [ +US$250.00]
1GB (1024MB) 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM PC4200 (2-512MB modules) [ +US$99.00]
Desktop Value Plus Service Plan -- 3 year parts/labor/on-site/3 year toll technical support [ +US$119.99]
NVIDIA GeForce 6600 with 128MB, DVI, VGA & TV-Out [ +US$110.00]
Monitor not selected [ -US$50.00]
McAfee® Internet Security Suite with VirusScan, Personal Firewall Plus, SpamKiller & Privacy Service, 36-months [ +US$119.99]

Base Price $799.99
Additional Items +$788.97

Total $1,588.96

The "Customize" feature didn't make it available but seperately (form the same source - important!) Gateway lists this vid card, which would be a better bang for the buck and require abotu 10 minutes of effort to install:

ATI RADEON® 9250 256MB PCI
API Supported OpenGL, DirectX
Compliant Standards DDC-1, DDC-2B, VESA DPMS, DDC-2B+
Graphics Processor / Vendor ATI Radeon 9250
Manufacturer Warranty 3 years warranty
RAMDAC Clock Speed 400 MHz
Video Memory Installed ( Max ) 256 MB - DDR SDRAM
Video Output 2048 x 1536 / 85 Hz - 24-bit (16.7 million colors)


Price $104.99
Mail-In Rebate $30.00
After Rebate $74.99

...comes out to about $1550 if my math is right.

This was a quick throw-together as an example and should be easy to beat. Any takers on another entry?

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XcalibeR
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Posts: 358

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 12:30 am
Post subject: Re: The $1500 Challenge??

I'll take up that challenge, but not right now. Give me a week or so. Smile

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Shadow_Bshwackr
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Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Posts: 6989
Location: Central Illinois, USA
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 10:28 am
Post subject: Re: The $1500 Challenge??

Buying over the counter PC's is a good bet if...

1) You're not very savvy on technical assembly

2) You need a company who you can call for tech support

3) A warranty for the system/componants itself

4) You don't have the time to research parts you'll need to build your own

Building your own is a good bet if...

1) You like to select or hand pick your componants

2) Can troubleshoot your own problems

3) Don't like the hassle of 'taking in your new unit and waiting for tech support to 'fix it' '.

Even if you opt for the 'Buy the System' option, there are alternative cheaper/better/free options such as Open Office instead of M$ Office, AVG or Avast for Anti-virus, Zone Alarm or use the built in Firewall in XP for the firewall or if you can get by without Windows, Linux in almost any flavor is free as on operating system. In the quick toss together scenario you posted Stoopy, you can quickly save $260.00 off the purchased PC... Wink

But to get to the actual question posed, for my personal use, I like to build all my own PC's although it's not cheaper than buying one over the counter in the general sense of common computing, but the gamer or the games he/she plays demands better/more hardware.

Most OTC (Over the counter) pc's have Main Boards with all the features built in the board such as Sound, LAN, Video, Firewire and USB. This is great for the mass PC makers as the hard work of installing additional hardware and drivers are taken out of the production costs. For Gamers, the LAN, Firewire and USB are good built in options but Sound and Video are not.

I've looked into buying those OTC machines and upgrading the parts needed to make it into a reasonable gaming rig and it can be done reasonable if the company building the PC offers those options.

Other things to consider is buying last years "HOT" items for upgrading. We all know in the computing world as soon as the "NEW AND HOT" items are released, last years models drop in price by as much as 50% which is a good deal if you don't have to be on the bleeding edge of technology. If you can get by on 2 year old hardware, the prices are more attractive. Beyond the 3 year mark older hardware won't work for most games or gamers rigs today with any reasonable amount of FPS.

I know I didn't post up any prices or quotes from PC makers and I'll let the other posters do that, I just wanted to toss in some "FYI" for others to consider in their quest for information for posting...
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Shades
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Posts: 6453
Location: 3rd Branch up, 'Ye Olde Oak', Green Wood.
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 10:34 am
Post subject: Re: The $1500 Challenge??

THIS could help your cpu budget (only for the brave and foolhardy ;)).

www.BuildYourOwn.org.uk/forums will help you build your own (although I didn't find it until after I'd built mine).
I didn't know anything more than how to re-wire a plug before I started.
Now I am more than confident enough to do it again and am able to fix any problems. Although I haven't had any, because I built it myself and didn't buy it from Dell etc. so I know exactly what went into it and not what they want me to think went into it.


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CPU > Intel i9-9900k (o/c 4.9GHz); COOLING > BeQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 4;
MOBO > ASUS PRIME Z390-A; RAM > 2x32GB Corsair LPX 2666MHz;
GPU > Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX650Ti PCI-e 3.0 2Gb GDDR5;
AUDIO > Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music (plus - Universal Audio UAD2 Quad Custom accelerator);
HDD > 3x1TB+ M.2. SSDs; LCD > DELL - S2419HGF (1920x1080);
PSU > 650W be quiet Straight Power 11 - 80+ Gold;
CASE > BeQuiet! SILENT BASE 601; OS > Windows 10 Home Advanced (64-bit).
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JG300-Stoopy
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Posts: 5840
Location: Group W bench
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 2:43 pm
Post subject: Re: The $1500 Challenge??

- Shadow_Bshwackr

Even if you opt for the 'Buy the System' option, there are alternative cheaper/better/free options such as Open Office instead of M$ Office, AVG or Avast for Anti-virus, Zone Alarm or use the built in Firewall in XP for the firewall or if you can get by without Windows, Linux in almost any flavor is free as on operating system. In the quick toss together scenario you posted Stoopy, you can quickly save $260.00 off the purchased PC... Wink


Yep! In my example though, I equipped it that way intentionally, Microsoft Office was included to provide some working capability when needed (thinking that many of us still have real-world stuff to do when not simming, and to make it even more useful and cost-justified overall) and the O/S choice of Microsoft XP was chosen because I'm simply not aware of how to get sims such as FS9, IL2, CFS1/2/3 to run on a straight Linux platform (never having needed to look into that)...plus I figured the same type of person that would go for the over-the-counter solution (no fuss no muss as you point out, take it home and plug it in) would also not want to get involved in other O/S besides what is considered "mainstream" for those applications. I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of CC visitors are running a Microsoft O/S....not saying that one is better than the other however. Same thoughts applied to the on-site warranty costs and commercial anti-virus and firewall.

So, yep, taking those into consderation it should be easy to beat. And like I said, the net result of some comparisons and maybe an ongoing challenge would be that when our next member is in dire need, they might be able to look here and get some immediate sources and prices on which of the two paths suits them best....if it keeps rolling.

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Shadow_Bshwackr
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Joined: Jan 21, 2005
Posts: 6989
Location: Central Illinois, USA
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 6:36 pm
Post subject: Re: The $1500 Challenge??

Yep, like most 'puter users, the machine has two or more purposes and/or users and needs to be 'fully equiped' to handle all of those purposes. MS Office was and is a great software, but Open Office will run MS Office apps including PowerPoint and it's FREE ...:wink: What MS Office has over any other app is Front Page. FP is a great piece of software and I know it can be bought seperate from Office as a stand alone app...(BIG Smile)

As far as OS' go, XP is out front by a wide margin and for Gamers such as CC gamers, MS is the only real choice. I put in the Linux scenario for those that aren't gamers...

As far as getting CFS or FS9 to work on Linux, I've heard rumors that Caldega, a layer app, can run CFS and CFS2, but haven't seen it in action to prove if it will or not. I haven't seen any mention of CFS3 or FS9 so who knows.

This I do know. If MS keeps jackin' up their prices for OS and making life general harder for their constituents, an alternative OS may get a chance to grab a larger share of the market and with Apple/Mac running on Intel hardware now, who knows what the outcome for Mac will be. I currently have a version of Apple running on XP in a virtual desktop that I'm messing with to see how things work. At the present time, I can triple boot XP Pro, XP MAC and Linux.

Back to the original post, I agree. It'll be good to see how many 'out of the box' configs there are out there...:wink:
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Shades
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Posts: 6453
Location: 3rd Branch up, 'Ye Olde Oak', Green Wood.
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 6:43 am
Post subject: Re: The $1500 Challenge??

FrontPage is being eliminated soon (possibly this year).
I'll try and find the stuff I been reading on that and post in the Software section.

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Skwerl's place.

Com-Central's cutest, fluffiest, twitchiest, tail.
CPU > Intel i9-9900k (o/c 4.9GHz); COOLING > BeQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 4;
MOBO > ASUS PRIME Z390-A; RAM > 2x32GB Corsair LPX 2666MHz;
GPU > Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX650Ti PCI-e 3.0 2Gb GDDR5;
AUDIO > Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music (plus - Universal Audio UAD2 Quad Custom accelerator);
HDD > 3x1TB+ M.2. SSDs; LCD > DELL - S2419HGF (1920x1080);
PSU > 650W be quiet Straight Power 11 - 80+ Gold;
CASE > BeQuiet! SILENT BASE 601; OS > Windows 10 Home Advanced (64-bit).
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Shadow_Bshwackr
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Location: Central Illinois, USA
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 12:05 pm
Post subject: Re: The $1500 Challenge??

Extreme Tech has released an article about this very subject called "Build an $800.00 Gaming PC".

This may shed some new light on your decision to build or buy... Wink

May 16, 2006
Build It: $800 Gaming PC
By Jason Cross


It's a commonly held misconception that playing modern PC games is an expensive proposition, full of $500 video cards and $900 dual-core processors. Sure, you can have an amazing gaming experience if you want to blow thousands of dollars putting together our Killer Gaming Rig, but it doesn't have to be that way. You can enjoy the latest PC games with a sub-$1000 PC.

As you'll see, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the "good stuff," either. You don't need to turn all the detail levels down, or play at a resolution of 640x480. With the PC we built for around $800, we're able to play even demanding games at HD resolutions (1280x1024) quite well. Granted, that's without anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering, but it's still a great gaming experience. So if your computer is getting too old to play all the hot games, or if you're looking to build a second computer on the cheap, our suggestions for an $800 gaming PC may be a good place to start.


To read the whole article: Click HERE!

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FF_StepChild
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Joined: Jul 12, 2005
Posts: 174
Location: Hampton Va. US
PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 8:59 am
Post subject: Re: The $1500 Challenge??

Abit AN8 32X motherboard
AMD Athlon X2 3800+
XFX Ge-Force 7800GTX OC 256MB maybe another later...
2 GB Corsair DDR400 RAM

MB $145 zipzoomfly
CPU $327 zipzoomfly
Vid $185 ebay
RAM $140 ebay
Total Upgrade $797
All parts bought through online stores and ebay
Keeping my dual 80G hard drives, case, fans, and power supply to save a little dough. I should have all the pieces and parts by Thursday 6-15-06, and put it together that weekend.

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