Most important choices are: CPU and Video Card. These two components have most influence on your gaming experience.
CPU - If you want to spend less than one thousand dollars than you should look at AMD Athlon II and Intel Dual Core processors, they have good value in lower segment, cheaper ones are AMD Athlon II X2 and X4 or Intel E6500 or i3 530 that will give up to 50% more performance closer to $1K, If you want to spend around $1K - look at Phenom X3 or X4 or similar, Intel i5, all can be overclocked over 3.0Ghz without sweat if you have good CPU cooler, and at that frequency it “kicks some ass” for the money it costs. For budgets over $1000-$1500 check out Intel i5 Quad - excellent Quad Core that can be also overclocked over 3.0Ghz with good cooler, more and more games are optimized for quads, so you will see the difference! New Intel Core i7 might be expensive but they offer the best performance on the market right now!
Video Card - be careful there, serious gamers do not look at GeForce 210 or ATI 4650 cards - they are good for low budget, but you will see HUGE performance increase if you get at least ATI 5670 or 9800GT. If you want high resolution then check out more expensive video cards – GTS 250 and ATI 5750 and 5770! For higher end better pick ATI 5850 or 5870, these two will let you set HIGH settings in all games! For most demanding gamers – CrossFire and SLI systems to play like a pro!
CPU Cooler - do not underestimate it!!!!! If you select stock cooler you will get high temperatures, lots of noise and no overclock (Free speed boost). Do you think that spending extra $30 on a good cooler is too much to drop temps about 15’C for more stable operation, not hear any noise and jump-start your CPU to 3.6Ghz instead of stock 2.8Ghz? That is way too much value to not to upgrade CPU cooler. Money you spend here give the most feedback for every 1$.
Power Supply - Very important if you planning on upgrading video card or any other components. PSU that are selected by default with all our models are sufficient for them with default options. If you upgrade video card you should select better power supply to accommodate increased power requirements. For example GT 240 or Radeon 5670 will work with standard PSU, but adding second card in SLI or CrossFire will require at least 600W SLI ready PSU. Please refer to the PSU help page link next to the PSU options. You will not make mistake by getting better power supply, your computer will always benefit from more reliable and consistent power it needs inder heavy loads when you play games!
Memory - important component that goes right after CPU and Cooler and Video Card. Basically, as long as you get at least 4Gb DDR2-800 you are good to go. You will see incremental performance increases if you upgrade to DDR3 memory. Newer DDR3 memory with frequencies from 1333Mhz to 1800Mhz will help on high end machines and will not be a bottleneck. 6Gb RAM is a standard for i7 / X58 systems.
Motherboard - pretty simple, more money you spend here more features you are going to get as well as some speed bump. For example AMD 790x will have FireWire but AMD 770 might not. Intel X58 have 3 PCi-e slots for video cards, but H55 will have only one or 2 PCI-e 16x/8x for videocards. Some motherboards come with integrated video, while others are designed for discrete videocards only.
Hard Drive - most gamers do not need more than 500Gb or 640Gb SATA2 HDD. Some will even be good with just 320Gb. But if you want significant storage - get 750Gb or more.
WD Raptor and VelociRaptors have faster spinning speed (10000RPM vs regular 7200RPM) and therefore work 25% or more faster. SSD technology is still in the developments phase and does not offer much benefit over VelociRaptor drives and they tend to be overly expensive.
Fans, Cooling & Fans - Heat is the worst computer’s enemy and all these upgrades help reduce heat by moving air more effectively inside of case and out of it, cooling important components like CPU, Video Card, Motherboard and memory. Cheap upgrades that can make huge difference. Plus better cabling will look cool if you have clear side window!
Case - if you care only about it’s look, then get what ever you like. If you are concerned with cooling capabilities, then select Antec 300, Antec 900, Thermaltake, CM Scout. If you don’t want to hear any noise from your PC check these cases: Antec P180/P183, Antec 300, Cooler Master Centurion, Thermaltake Element. When you spend more on the case you get more features, better quality and better cooling.
Windows 7 - most expected operating system of the past considering its poor performance, Windows 7 is everything that everybody wants - fast, reliable, easy to use, compatible with most of the old software and hardware. It is actually the only OS available on our website at the moment as all others had been phased out really fast with Windows 7 introduction. Sorry we don’t carry Windows Xp any more, it came to “the end of life” along with Vista.
All other components are optional and you can always click links on the left from each one of them to read more!