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A computer for your review

edited December 2005 in Technology
Ok, so I talked up how you only needed a cheap computer. I'm surprised nobody ever challenged me to show them this computer. I mean, I could have been lying the whole time and what I thought was $500 would actually be $2000. So I challenged myself to make the computer. I went to Newegg and selected parts to create the best cheap computer I could. Granted, it can be improved slightly. I only spent maybe 10 minutes browsing for parts.

So the results? I must report that my previous estimation of how powerful a $500 computer would be was not accurate. In fact, a $500 computer is MORE powerful than I previously estimated! Vertical sync in Half-Life 2 at normal quality should be a piece of cake for this baby.

Behold this amazing computer!

This computer is hella powerful. The case is quiet with a big fan. The motherboard is flawless Abit. The video card is a steal at $92. It has a 64 bit processor that has a power to price ratio like no other. An entire gigabyte of RAM just because I could fit it in. And of course the awesome 80 gigabyte Seagate SATA drive with the $40 DVD burner. This should run Windows just fine and run Linux at insane speeds.

Final cost? $534.98

Tomorrow I'm going to spec out a $1000 computer. I have a feeling it's going to get a little nutty in here.


  • I'm going to make a $200 and a $3000 computer as well, for reference.

    The price/speed scale isn't what it used to be. The industry has changed a lot. $500-600 will net you an absolutely awesome PC. $1000 will fetch something ludicrous. $3000 is beyond what ANY of you could seriously claim to utilize. -I- would have a hard time fully utilizing a $3000 computer outside of enterprise-class servering.

    The computer Scott built is plenty fast to handle just about any game on the market today and many to come.
  • I have now designed a $1000 computer.


    I decided when making it to see if I could get the GeForce 7800 GTX, which AFAIK, is the best graphics chip available. Keep in mind the following things about this computer.

    The graphics card is $450. That is how much the rest of the entire computer costs.

    I opted to avoid SLI (two video card in paralell) because that would immediately make the computer $1500. Also, it has been shown in many cases to actually make performance decrease. And it has never been shown to make performance double. Double the money for less than double the performance? Not worth it ever.

    I also point out that if you were to get a different video card, say a Geforce 6800 that you could get double the RAM and double the hard drive while staying at $1000. The motherboard will let you do SATA RAID, and these are the double power SATA drives. That's hella fast.

    I contend that this computer for $1000 is more than anyone needs for gaming. Not only will it play every game out just fine, but it will play them with so many hundreds of fps that it's insane. You will also be able to play games for years to come just fine. But if you're getting the computer for future games that's rather silly. Since by the time those games come out this computer will be $500.

    I can't wait to see what kind of enterprise server Rym builds.
  • Man, that $1000 computer really is silly. The GeForce 7800 GTX can run the newest, newest game at full graphic quality, pixel shaded awesome, and 8x AA while still maintaining a crazy framerate. It's really unnecessary in every conceivable fashion.

    I can't possibly imagine what a $1500 computer would have, let alone a damn $3000 computer.
  • edited December 2005
    I did one more just for fun. I picked the best Abit motherboard available on Newegg. Then I filled it with the most it can handle. The most video card, the most ram, the most cpu and the most hard drive that you can possibly put into it. No dvd burner, but they are 50 bucks, do the math.

    When looking at this PC make sure you pay attention to the quantities of the items.

    See for yourself

    Ok, I'm done now :)
    Post edited by Apreche on
  • So on the 1000 dollar computer if you just went for a lower end card.. and maybe even a slightly lower processor you could get that model to the same price of the sempron model you picked out.

    Does the Sempron compete with the Celeron? (I know I could look this up easly but figured I'd bring it up for conversation)
  • On Scott's ludicrous computer: I noticed before that you mentioned SLI has been shown in many cases to cause a performance decrease, so instead of running the two GeForce 7800's, why not cut one out, saving 450 bucks, and slap in 4 of these:

    I mean, if you're looking to max it, why not go all the way? :p

    Cremlian: Well, really, the $1000 computer is excessive. The $500 configuration is more than enough to do many many things.
  • It's generally a good idea when making a computer to avoid bottlenecks. If the whole computer is fast except for the video card then that can really hurt you. You basically wont be using the rest of the hardware to its fullest ability because the slow video card is holding everything up. You could have a crazy fast video card and if your CPU is poop then you wont be able to use the full abilities of the video card because the CPU can't send it instructions fast enough. So dropping the video card on the $1000 computer will probably hurt you since you wont get the full power from the other parts of the PC. Min/Maxing is bad in pcs, gotta do everything evenly. I made the best PCs I could make for the money and 10 minutes on newegg.

    Intel and AMD change the names they put on their cpus to label them as "value" "normal" "awesome" and "server". Sure, there are differences. But there is almost nothing that you do that is crazy CPU intensive. You need a fast CPU if you are going to be working with video editing. You need a fast CPU if you are going to be developing software. Don't be fooled because Semprons are the value line of AMD processors. Sure, they aren't generally as fast as the normal AMD64 chips, but if you divide performance by dollars they can't be beat. And the Sempron is more than enough for 90% of purposes. The Sempron I picked is actually one of the newer faster 64bit ones. You could pay the same for a slower normal Athlon 64.

    As for throwing out a video card from the SLI and getting even larger drives. Not such a good idea. The motherboard only supports RAID 0/1/0+1 and large drives like that are more prone to failure. You're actually better off with the 120 gig drives and a 0+1 RAID. Performance and safety. The SLI really only hurts performance when you play games that don't push it. Kind of like a Ferarri being worse than a Toyota if you need to drive 40mph.

    Oh, also, I stuck with name brands I trust on everything. If you want you can go for the nameless asian brands, but your mileage may vary. Sometimes you get something just as good as name brand that saves money. Sometimes you get something that doesn't work.
  • Regarding hard drives and storage:

    Aside from space for the operating system, applications, and a modest local media library, storage should be either offloaded to another PC or handled through a dedicated RAID.

    Buying four 300GB drives is a very bad idea. It basically gives you this list of mediocre options:

    JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks): You'll have four separate 300GB drives, and you'll have to organize your files per drive instead of per filesystem. You lose all of the data on one if it fails. No speed benefits.

    Raid 0: You'll get 1200GB of very fast storage on a single "drive." If any one drive fails, however, you lose EVERYTHING.

    Raid 1: You'll get 600GB of fast, redundant storage on a single "drive." You can survive most drive failure scenarios with no data loss. You lose, however, a full 50% of the space you just bought.

    None of those are acceptable. If you really want or need a large amount of storage space, you MUST buy a RAID card and do it properly. RAID-5 is really the only way to safely store a large amount of data. Just buying a bunch of giant disks will only get you into trouble.
  • Bumped 5 years later for lulz.
    Fixed links:
    Behold this amazing computer!
    See for yourself
  • wow none of those parts are in stock.....
  • Anybody wanna do this again and see how it holds up now?
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