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Best Bang for The Buck Gaming Computer of 2008?

For those of you want more out of your computer than e-mail and Internet, but don’t have the money to dish out for a $3,000 rig that will get outdated in a week, look no further. I have compiled a list of the various components to let you get the most for your money for 2008. You want to play Crysis on high set on 1280 X 768 resolution with flawless performance? Done. You don’t want to wait longer than 8 seconds when starting up your computer? Done. You want to have all the Internet tabs open as you want? Done. Incredible graphics on a 22” screen? Ability to download and watch HD movies at the same time? Option to immerse yourself in a MMORPG game with your own surround sound system? Done, done, and done. For a computer with this type of performance, you would probably pay $3000+ for a retail version. I’ll show you how to do it for a little over $2,000. 

Motherboard: ASRock NVIDIA 650i SLI ATX

Picture 1This high-end motherboard supports two graphics cards running in SLI mode. Also features 4 ram slots at DDR2 800 with dual channel support, support for LAN and wireless, with onboard audio. Great for graphics.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad QX6600 2.66GHz

Picture 2 With four processing cores you will be able to do all the multitasking you want. Reasonably well priced, good compatibility, and cheaper than some of the dual core processors.

Memory: Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (4 X 1GB) DDR2 800

Picture 3 You can’t go wrong with this RAM. You will experience faster speeds and loading times for applications and programs. Even games will run faster with the improved CAS latency.

Video Card: 2X ZOTAC 8800GT 512MB AMP Edition in SLI

Picture 4 One of the fastest 8800GT cards out there. Beats the 8800GTS 320MB and 640MB versions, and keeps within 1-3 fps of the 8800GTX priced almost twice as much. Pre-over clocked to 700MHz stock, 2GHz memory, and 1760Mhz shader, this thing is definitely AMP’ed up. 2 of these in SLI mode will allow you to play even the most intense games at an incredible level with stunning graphics and phenomenal frame-rate for the price. Will probably be able to handle anything you throw at it for a solid couple years.

Case: NZXT HUSH ATX mid-tower

Picture 5 Has two extremely quiet fans to keep your rig nice and quiet even when you pull late night gaming sessions. Also has many expansion slots, HDD drives, and optical drive slots on the outside. Plenty of room to expand.

Hard Drive: 2X Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10,000RPM in RAID 0

Picture 6 If you thought 7200RPM was fast, think again. This hard drive comes with a speed of 10,000RPM; almost double the old 5400RPM version. 2 of these in RAID 0 will yield even more impressive speed with a total of 300GB for storage. Great combination of speed and storage.        

Optical Drive: 2 X Samsung DVD+/-R/W Combo burner with Lightscribe

Picture 7 The standard for running and burning DVD’s and CD’s. Includes Lightscribe technology for disc writing abilities. Incredible reading and writing speeds. With two you will be able to simultaneously burn a CD or DVD while watching a movie or playing a game on the other.

Monitor: Sceptre 22” Widescreen 2ms

Picture 8 Super fast response time, 1680 X 1050 for great gaming and video picture. Contrast Ratio is 2000:1, so your blacks and whites will be easily told apart.

Keyboard: Logitech G15

Picture 9 Only the best use this keyboard. Has over 100 programmable buttons to make RTS and MMORPG games a breeze. LCD screen provides critical information from the current game you are playing and also monitors your CPU and memory load. Different backlight brightness allows for overall one of the best customizable keyboard ever.

Mouse: Logitech G9

Picture 10 You will need a good mouse to keep up with this computer. This mouse will have no trouble at all. Can be optimized to up to 3200dpi for super fast response when caught up in intense battles, while able to be adjusted lower for the recon sniper roles. Comes with alternate cover and adjustable weights.

Speakers: Logitech 5.1 surround sound system

Picture 11 Immerse yourself into the game with this sound system from Logitech. With this setup you will be able to hear (and feel) a grenade explosion like it was meant to be. 

Power System: Hiper ATX 880watt quad 12V rails

Picture 12 To run two graphics cards and a quad core processor, it will take a lot of juice. This power system is up to the task with 880 total watts of raw power, coming from 4 12V rails, two of which set at 30 amps compared to the average 18-22. Great for over-clocking.

Cooling: Zalman 2 ball CPU cooler

Picture 13 If you want the best out of your money, you are going to want to over-clock your processor. Swap this out with the cheap one they send with the processor packaging and you will notice significant temperature drops, allowing for you to easily attain 3.0GHz or more on all four cores stable.

Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium

Picture 14 If you want to play DX10 games, vista is the way to go. It may be a tad slower performance than XP and a bit buggy, but new updates are coming out almost every day fixing the problems and improving the overall vista performance.

Price Listings from Newegg

Motherboard $104.99
Processor $259.99
Memory $103.99
Graphics Card    X2 $519.98($419.98 with rebates)
Case $89.99
Hard Drive $174.99
Optical Drives $29.99
Monitor $249.99($229.99 with rebates)
Keyboard $71.99
Mouse $69.99
Speakers $68.99
Power $159.99
Cooling $41.99
Operating System $99.99
Grand Total $2211.84 + rebates = $2091.84


So for a little over $2000 you can get a high-quality gaming computer that provides the performance of a high-budget enthusiast but without the price of one. For example on Alienware the same specs would cost $3,479.87! And that doesn’t count that this setup has factory over-clocked graphics cards, a quality CPU cooler for over-clockability, and 5.1 surround sound speakers. Sure $2000 for a computer may seem steep, but each and every component will feel like they were worth it, from the dual graphics setup to the mouse. No buyer’s remorse and no need to sell your car. You can go to the store and no longer worry about the minimum requirements on the back of those brand new shiny games. You don’t have to leave the computer for 10-60 minutes anymore when it’s downloading something. The more you use this computer, the more you’ll realize what a great buy it is for the price, which is why it is one of the best bang for the buck gaming computers of 2008.

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30 thoughts on “Best Bang for The Buck Gaming Computer of 2008?”

Shay Prasad says:
This system seems to be a little out of date. Do you mind updating it?
Roland dean says:
Wow. I’m certainly going for that 400 bucks 8800 GT . Thanks for the suggestion sir.
Addicted2watch says:
great. but a bit pricey
Google Sniper System says:
If i was to get a good gaming CPU right now, id get the Core 2 duo E8400. …. best bang for the buck board
Dyno says:
The 70 dollar mouse is a load of bs, I have a logitech mouse with 4 extra buttons not counting the scroll wheel 40 bucks
Ryan says:
CASE:AZZA Solano 1000 Black/Black Japanese SECC Steel/Metal mesh in front ATX Full Tower Computer Case -$79.99 after mail in rebate
MOBO:Foxconn BloodRage LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard – $249.99
CPU:Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor – $279.99
MEMORY:OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory – $114.99
PSU:KINGWIN Mach 1 ABT-1000MA1S 1000W ATX / BTX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply – $183.99
GPUs:ASUS EAH4890/HTDI/1GD5 Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card X2 – $189.99 X 2 after mail in rebate
HARD DRIVES:SAMSUNG F1 RAID Class HE103UJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Hard Drive X2 – $149.99 X 2
CPU COOLER:ZALMAN CNPS9900LED 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler – $59.98
CD/DVD READER/WRITER:LG Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner – $129.99
SOUND CARD:Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card – $81.99
MEMORY CARD READER:AFT XM-35U BLACK USB 2.0 Kiosk Card Reader (3.5″) – $34.99

TOTAL:$1895.86 + tax and shipping and handling.

Thats a very powerful computer for under 2K.

Memory Card readers optional, and if you arent going to Overclock, the CPU cooler isnt really necessary but helpful. YOu can get much cheaper CD/DVD drives so it is possible to drop this down in price a little bit. Keep in mind that this is just the machine though. Monitor, Speakers, Keyboard, and Mouse not included.

And thats pretty up to date ;)

Robert Bennett says:
What have you got for 2009 year half over?
Cristi says:
Hi, can you do a new one of these for 2009 with the i7 cpu and whatever else is updated please? Thanks.
Dan says:
i can get that still nice but without about half the price because you honestly dont need a 22 inch you can get nice dell for 119 19 inch beaut, and not as aexpensive keyboard( they all do the same job)
Justin says:
Anybody figured out yet how you get 300 gb of storage out of two 150 Gb raptors in Raid 0, or am I the only one who sees a few things wrong with this article. Besides the fact that it is outdated by now anyway and irrelevant, it does provide some insight to how perspective drives the decision for a best-bang-for-your-buck system. My idea of best bang for your buck…P6T, i7 920, Corsair XMS3 3×2048 TWINX DHX 1600C7D, 1 x (one only) WD 300Gb Velociraptor, Radeon 4870×2, Vista Ultimate 64 bit and powered by your choice of 1000W and cooled by a TR Ultra-120. And NO I didn’t just buy it, just specced it out. Enjoy.
Daniel says:
If you would like to read more about 32 v.s. 64 bit operating systems, you can check out:

The information about RAM amount and access is found under the “32-bit or 64-bit” title.

Tim says:
I am looking for a mid range gaming computer, not really good at building hardware. Could anyone here give me an opinion on if you think one of these 2 Gateway computers would be decent and which you might say is best. 1st FX540S or FX541S. Any replies appreciated. Tim
Daniel says:
Howdy, just did a search and found this. It was good reading the article as well as all the insight in the respones.

I do have a few suggestions though. In my recent search for articles/websites on getting the best “bang for your buck” I came across “”. I’d highly recommend it. It has articles, similar to this one, which tell you how to build great computers anywhere from a $500 to $1200 price range. You can then click on a link, and it will automatically order the required parts from NewEgg–very helpful.

Also, though it is a very minor issue, I couldn’t help noticing the 4GB of RAM and perkster’s warning up at the top about the necessity of getting a 64-bit OS to utilize it. In theory, a 32-bit version can access that much. However, in practice, it can’t. In reality, your computer will only be able to make use of a little over 3GB. So, if you’re wanting to make full use of all that RAM, go with a 64-bit OS.

Nate says:
CPU: E8500-blazing fast for only $180
MOBO: EVGA 750i FTW-Lots of O/C options, almost identical to 780i minus third pci slot and extra gigabit ethernet port
VGA: Single GTX 260 core 216-packs a serious punch with 896MB of Vram, also has incredible physics processing power
RAM: Patriot 4GB(2 X 2GB)-same thing as in artciel except it gives you two extra Ram slots in case you want to add later
HDD: 2 X Seagate Barracuda 500GB w/ 32MB cache in RAID 0- 1TB of storage in RAID is about as good as it gets for only $150
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 630 watt PSU-Has three 12v rails with enough Amps for verything here and more

Everything else is relatively te same, but personally I would upgrade to an Acer 24″ LCD Monitor w/ HDMI, only about $330 on newegg

Total Cost will be around $1500

Fred says:
Nathan, would you be kind enough to update this list, for those of us about to purchase a new gaming PC and definitely want the “best bang for the buck” (according to an expert).

Thank you so much — I’m sure everyone greatly appreciates it!

P.S. If you could create some sort of wish list on New Egg for this PC (all of the recommended parts), I’m sure countless gamers, etc. would order that system — I would!

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Deck says:
I have a question, although this may be much later than the article was written. What is the point of core 2 extreme processors, many of which are $1000+? You all never even mention them, so I assume that even though they say they are intended for gaming they are in fact way too much processor for any game in existence. Please say so if this is not the case.
shahadin says:
Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers.
Gbird says:
anyone know where i can go to order these parts
and i can buy only one graphics card and use a nvidia one i have
Clay says:
btw the build is lower that 2000 now

It’s a great rig and I hope someone posts a new build in 2009 because I am always looking for new low cost builds.

Nate says:
probably change out the Q6600 for a Q6700 or E8400
switch out the 650i motherboard for a 750i motherboard
change the hard drive to a 500GB 7200RPM with 3.0GB/s bandwith
video card could be dual 9600GT’s or a single 9800GX2
OS would be vista ultimate
everything else can stay the same
Fred says:

What would you upgrade now, nearing November 2008?

…for those of us about to purchase our gaming PCs.

Bill says:
Also curious how this stacks up now, Anything else that you’d switch out? I need to know rather quickly so if you happen to come across this message, please reply.
Paul says:
Nathan, its been a few months… How would you modify/upgrade your system on current pricing?
Nathan N says:
yea it’s USD
JokerCandy says:
Thanks for the info and one last thing… this is all USD right? probably
JokerCandy says:
Thanks for the info and last thing, is this American Currency?
Nathan N says:
yes these all must be assembled by hand, but it’s not just available for U.S. though I don;t know of any online hardware stores in Australia i.e. in the U.S. a lot of people use
JokerCandy says:
Excuse me for being a “noob” but I have a few questions such as do we have to install all the hardware ourselfs? Is this U.S. only? (I live in Australia) and do you have a hotmail or yahoo or email that I could use so we could talk about this? Thank you and I will check this website everyday for a possible answer

Thanks in Advnace

krisia2006 says:
For that resolution (22″ LCD), a single 8800GT would suffice in most games, no? (does for me) The Q6600 sounds nice. I make do with a E8400. ;)
Al says:
whats the difference between vista basic and vista premium
Stephan says:
vista basic has less features and is good for basic pc use I like vista premium and ultimate
Marc says:
Vista Home? Vista is the new Windows ME and pure garbage. If you want a rockin’ box there is only one choice: Windows XP Pro x64 Edition.
Jason says:
Windows Vista doesn’t cripple all that much anymore. The performance has become roughly on par with Windows XP over the last few months, and as the drivers and other applications mature the performance will be even better.

In addition, you can now find Windows Vista starting to surpass Windows XP in performance in games, and in some cases by a good amount. It had it’s rough start, but it’s gotten past most of the rough now.

However, there are still some applications out there that still have issues with Windows Vista, but you typically don’t find most of them on home computers — as most of them are expensive 3D Editing tools.

Eric says:
You build a dream machine like that and then cripple it with Vista Home Premium? I wouldn’t even consider it. Get Ultimate at least, or if you don’t want to waste half of that hardware just running the OS, install XP Pro x64 and take advantage of the full computing power of that computer.

Also, I’d prefer 2 Maxtor SATA 500gb drives for plenty of economical storage space.


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Mar 4, 2008

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