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Author Topic: New Comp Help - Capable of running Half-Life 2  (Read 4372 times)
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Scoop20906
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« on: October 19, 2004, 07:54:38 PM »

I just saw some of the early reviews. They are really talking this game up.

To get this or any really recent games to run, I need to buy a new computer.

Heres my question to my fellow CGers.

Can I buy a computer that will running Half-Life 2 well for under $1000? If so, links to companies would be appreciated. No Monitor needed, and I am not adverse to buying my own graphics card and installing myself.

I have never built my own computer so I am a little leery of doing that but I'm willing to try. Just nervous about installing a motherboard and operating system on my own.

Thanks in advance!
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gameoverman
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2004, 08:34:03 PM »

Offhand I'd say yes, you could do it for under $1000 since you don't need to spend anything on a monitor. But it would help to know what you consider acceptable performance- for example, what resolution do you expect to run, what framerate are you used to?
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Jeff
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2004, 08:44:11 PM »

Monarch Computers has an extremely high rating at ResellerRatings.com, a nifty 9.49 of 10.

Now here's a nice rig, an AMD 64 system with 512 mb memory, and 80 GB HD, for $549

Link

Now that has crappy on-board video, so you disable that and buy this:

Gigabyte 5900XT for $178 at Newegg.com

or this:

9800 Pro for $198 at Newegg. Do NOT get the video upgrade at Monarch, they are charging $299 for the same card.

you're still under $800. Add another 512 mb of DDR ram, for $80 or so, and now you've got a really nice gaming rig, for under your price point.

Btw, I have an ATI 9800 that I'll likely be selling soon, that can save you $100 at least, if you're interested. I might be upgrading to a 6800.
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Scoop20906
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2004, 08:47:26 PM »

Quote from: "gameoverman"
But it would help to know what you consider acceptable performance- for example, what resolution do you expect to run, what framerate are you used to?


Well, I'm not a bleeding edge graphics type of person. I would just like the game to run smoothly on an acceptable resolution.

I have never had a problem with 1024x768 but I guess 1600x1200 would look good. As far as framerate, I just don't want to see any stuttering that would affect gameplay performance. I hope that helps gameoverman.
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Jeff
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2004, 08:49:39 PM »

Quote from: "Scoop20906"
Quote from: "gameoverman"
But it would help to know what you consider acceptable performance- for example, what resolution do you expect to run, what framerate are you used to?


Well, I'm not a bleeding edge graphics type of person. I would just like the game to run smoothly on an acceptable resolution.

I have never had a problem with 1024x768 but I guess 1600x1200 would look good. As far as framerate, I just don't want to see any stuttering that would affect gameplay performance. I hope that helps gameoverman.


On that monarch rig i listed, a 9800 would easily run HL2 at 1024. I run mine on a very similar rig, and it handles Far Cry and Doom3 with ease.
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Scoop20906
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2004, 09:04:04 PM »

Quote from: "Jeff Jones"
Btw, I have an ATI 9800 that I'll likely be selling soon, that can save you $100 at least, if you're interested. I might be upgrading to a 6800.


WOW! Thanks Jeff. Let me review this system as half this of this stuff I don't understand. I haven't bought a new computer in like 5 years. I might also take you up on buying your ATI 9800. I will get back to you.
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Jeff
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2004, 09:12:13 PM »

Quote from: "Scoop20906"
Quote from: "Jeff Jones"
Btw, I have an ATI 9800 that I'll likely be selling soon, that can save you $100 at least, if you're interested. I might be upgrading to a 6800.


WOW! Thanks Jeff. Let me review this system as half this of this stuff I don't understand. I haven't bought a new computer in like 5 years. I might also take you up on buying your ATI 9800. I will get back to you.


If you have any questions on the specs of that Monarch system, feel free to ask. IMO, it's actually a pretty damn nice rig for the money, once you add better video and some ram.

If you want my card, cool. I'll make the price right for ya, trust me. I'm not looking for top dollar, I'm just looking to take some of the sting out of purchasing the 6800.
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Thin_J
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2004, 09:56:22 PM »

It's good that he's getting a hold of the 9800. The FX series cards don't do all that well at all with HL2 even in some of the lower resolutions.

That and they force the game to run in the directx 8.01 codepath so you don't get all the visual bells and whistles.

The 9800 is a far better card for HL2 than the FX.
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Jeff
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2004, 10:14:26 PM »

Quote from: "Thin_J"
It's good that he's getting a hold of the 9800. The FX series cards don't do all that well at all with HL2 even in some of the lower resolutions.

That and they force the game to run in the directx 8.01 codepath so you don't get all the visual bells and whistles.

The 9800 is a far better card for HL2 than the FX.


Man, don't tell me that frown that's one of the reasons I wanted to get the 6800. Does your statement apply for the new high end FX cards too?
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Hamsterball_Z
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2004, 01:28:50 AM »

The 6x00 series is fine, in fact they perform very well with Half Life 2.  There are tons of benchmarks on the harware sites for the Source Engine video stress test and Counterstrike:Source.  That should give you a good idea of where HL2 will be at.

NVidia really blew it with the FX series, at least on DirectX.  But they've more than made up for it on the new boards.
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Jeff
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2004, 01:33:23 AM »

Quote from: "Hamsterball_Z"
The 6x00 series is fine, in fact they perform very well with Half Life 2.  There are tons of benchmarks on the harware sites for the Source Engine video stress test and Counterstrike:Source.  That should give you a good idea of where HL2 will be at.

NVidia really blew it with the FX series, at least on DirectX.  But they've more than made up for it on the new boards.


awesome, thanks Hamster! I may order that Evga board on Friday.
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Scoop20906
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2004, 02:30:51 AM »

Jeff:

Ok, I have a few questions.

You said I should add another 516 mb of memory. Should I have it added through monarch for $116 more or where should I order it from?

The system charges $89 for WinXP home to be installed. Do you suggest getting XP through Monarch or is there a cheap site I can get the OS from?

Also, as far as the on-board video that comes with the system, you say I should disable it. Is that difficult to do?

I am full of questions, but this system does look pretty doable and alot cheaper than getting something like this through Dell. I only plan on using it for gaming only and use my current computer for web surfing and other computer duties.

Thanks in advance,

Eric
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egrudzin
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2004, 02:50:20 AM »

I don't want to burst Jeff or anyone else's bubble but I would also recommend you check out Dell.  They run some great deals and they also offer decent video card options on some of their systems.  They have a pretty easy configuration system that lets you add and subtract options and see what it costs.  Give it a shot just for comparison if nothing else.
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Scoop20906
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2004, 02:53:10 AM »

Quote from: "egrudzin"
 Give it a shot just for comparison if nothing else.


Thanks egrudzin. Thats exactly what I have been doing but I have to say I am having a hard time understanding the processor speed differences between intel and amd.
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egrudzin
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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2004, 03:06:17 AM »

Since you know what your budget is, decide what video card and other options are that you want on the system and how much that will cost.  Then put whatever money you have left into getting a faster processor or more memory.

In terms of processor brand or speed I wouldn't worry about it that much.  They will all perform great and you'd probably be hard pressed to tell the difference between them.  I would say you should get something close to 3 GHz.  Right now I think I would lean toward Intel since they still seem to be a bit more reliable and stable than the AMD alternative.
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Jeff
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« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2004, 03:45:12 AM »

Quote from: "Scoop20906"
Jeff:

Ok, I have a few questions.

You said I should add another 516 mb of memory. Should I have it added through monarch for $116 more or where should I order it from?

The system charges $89 for WinXP home to be installed. Do you suggest getting XP through Monarch or is there a cheap site I can get the OS from?

Also, as far as the on-board video that comes with the system, you say I should disable it. Is that difficult to do?

I am full of questions, but this system does look pretty doable and alot cheaper than getting something like this through Dell. I only plan on using it for gaming only and use my current computer for web surfing and other computer duties.

Thanks in advance,

Eric


Their ram is OCZ Premeire with heatspreader, which is extremely good quality, so it might not be a bad idea to get it from them, but ... you can get very good ram from newegg.com, 512 mb will run you around $80. so you'd save $36 there.

Doh, didn't notice that rig had no opererating system. For $89, just let them install it for you. You won't beat that price elsewhere.

On-board video is very easy to turn off, and likely will turn off automatically when you install your own video card.

Per, egrudzin's suggestion, I'll have a look at Dell rigs and see how they compare. The problem with Dell these days, is the service after the sale. Monarch will probably be easier to deal with. With Dell, you'll be talking to some very thick accents from India.
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Scoop20906
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« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2004, 09:27:43 PM »

Hey guys:

Did some checking on dell and here is what I found. Someone please tell me if this is a good system or not. Does this beat the monarch system above? Remember the goal is to run Half-Life 2 smoothly.  :lol:

If I get this system, I am still planning on purchasing Jeff's ATI 9800 Vid Card from him is its still ok with him.

Thanks for the comments in advance.

--------------------

Dell Dimension 4600 Series
E-Value Code: 6W300 - 3d46h12a
From $999
Now from $759

Mail- In Rebate:
$150 Mail In Rebate

Total Price: $609
(not counting taxes)

Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor w/ HT Technology (3GHz, 800 FSB)

Operating System:
Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition

Memory:
1GB Dual Channel DDR SDRAM at 400MHz (2x512M)

Hard Drive:
80GB Ultra ATA/100 Hard Drive (7200 RPM)

CD or DVD Drive:
Single Drive: 8x DVD+RW Drive

Video Card:
Integrated Intel® Extreme Graphics 2
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Thin_J
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« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2004, 09:59:50 PM »

Scoop: That dell system you've listed will rock HL2. I know becaue I own almost the exact same thing. Dell 4600, 3ghz P4 with HT, 1gb DDR400, etc.

The only differences are that you opted for a larger hard drive, which I wish I had done, and you went with a DVDRW drive while I went with a regular DVD drive and a CDRW.

If I had one issue with the system so far it's that dell installs a lot of useless crap from the factory that slows down the system. I reformatted it and reinstalled XP the second week I had the system. Haven't looked back since.

Quote from: "Hamsterball_Z"
NVidia really blew it with the FX series, at least on DirectX.  But they've more than made up for it on the new boards.


Yes.

I meant the FX 5... series, the new series are just the Geforce 6 series cards. No FX. They're excellent cards.

I have a 6800 GT and I love it to death.
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Jeff
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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2004, 10:02:15 PM »

Quote
Does this beat the monarch system above?



Yep, that looks pretty good too. 3.0 ghz CPU and the 9800 is actually more juice than I have now, as I have a 2.8 ghz P4, and 1 GB ram. With the 9800, you'd be good to go.

And yep, it's still available to you if you want it. I'm going to order the 6800 tomorrow smile
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Scoop20906
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2004, 11:12:55 PM »

Quote from: "Jeff Jones"
Quote
And yep, it's still available to you if you want it. I'm going to order the 6800 tomorrow smile


Thanks Jeff. I do want it. Please email me at [email protected] about the particulars. The offer on the Dell expires tonight so I am going to give them a call.

Thanks to all the CGers for your help.
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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2004, 11:27:58 PM »

Scoop, you've got mail.
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egrudzin
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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2004, 11:57:35 PM »

Make sure that Dell system you spec'ed has an AGP slot for a video card.  I see that it has the integrated option and some of them don't have an AGP slot at all meaning you're stuck with the onboard video.
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Thin_J
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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2004, 12:01:04 AM »

It has an AGP slot, I have the same PC. They offer options to upgrade to other video cards for that PC, they're just not very good options.
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Scoop20906
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« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2004, 05:07:08 PM »

Tragedy!!!  :\

The Dell 4600 I decided on, well, the deal they had ran out yesterday. I went to stay with a friend last night and by the time I was ready to purchase my computer, their internet connection went down and I couldn't get it back up. It didn't go back up until this morning. I tried calling dell last night but their sales offices were already closed so the deal I wanted is gone now too.
 
I guess my quest will continue but I can wait for a similar deal. At least now I know what specs I am looking for thanks to everyone's advice.

I really appreciate the helpful advice the CG forum provides.    smile
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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2004, 03:19:12 AM »

go to www.slickdeals.net and www.techbargains.com, they list the times that dell has computer specials, and how to configure it to get a minimum price. You should be able to put decent together on the cheap that won't be the fastest system ever, but definitely will get the job done.

I got a special about 2 years ago-where the price of a motherboard and processor from newegg or whatever, was about the same than a complete system from dell. I have had no issues with this machine. The Dells are very good from my experience at my work place too.


DO NOT buy ram from dell though, get the mimimum possible. Dell is a rip off for memory. Video cards are a bit pricy but not a gouge like RAM.

You can always check www.newegg.com for current RAM and video card prices. I don't know if you are getting something other than the onboard sound cards that dell provides.
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