Can anyone suggest a good spec for a games machine?

I want some good suggestions for a motherboard - processor - memory bundle that can serve as a base for a PC that can heavy 3D games like Microsoft Flight Simulator X and ArmA 2.

I don't want the leading edge stuff that you pay through nose for, nor do I want stuff that is on its way to being obsolete. Let's say the price would be around $300.

I'd like to know about current Intel sockets and processors, and current AMD stuff.

Also, what kind of hard drive technology are they using these days?

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☠ MASQ ☠Connect With a Mentor Commented:
$300 overall for a games machine?
It will be very hard to avoid the "nor do I want stuff that is on its way to being obsolete" part.

>>what kind of hard drive technology are they using these days?
High RPM SATA - although Solid State Drives (SSD) are starting to make an appearance - particualrly in the portable marketplace.
EirmanConnect With a Mentor Chief Operations ManagerCommented:
This one was $500 in 2008 so it should be cheaper now

$300 is way too low anyway - you could spend that on a top end video card

Your best bet is to buy one secondhand from a gamer who is upgrading or just need the cash - they will tell you what games they running on the system

DooDahConnect With a Mentor Commented:

See what eBay has got...  there might be someone somewhere selling a good machine for cheap or LOW BID...

- Intel Core-2-Duo or AMD-64 1.6GHz or better
- *More MEMORY the better,  2GB, 3GB.
 - BEST Dedicaed Video CARD you can get... with eBay System ( AVOID Integrated VIDEO which shares PHYSICAL MEMORY with CPU - unless you have a lot of PHYSICAL MEMORY >2GB, even then maybe not a good move )

*NOTE:  Games & Progams RUN in PHYSICAL MEMORY ( AVOID use of  VIRTUAL MEMORY, whch is used after PC runs out of PHYSICAL MEMORY )

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I Dont know what you might be able to get together for $300.
A cheaper core 2 duo is good, there are a few that have great OverClocking reviews.
Hard drives low in storage. Try for higher cache. You could partition the virtual memory to increase its performance. Maybe leave yourself an option to upgrade later with a duplicate hard drive setup in raid0.
VGA's can be expensive for best performers. But you could get 2 the same and setup sli.
MOBO's are important. Think ahead about upgradability, sata ports, memory slots, PCI xpress slots etc...
Memory not too expensive, ddr2 probably cheaper. That would have to be compatable with mobo.

I think what I would do is setup something that you could improve on later for minimal costs. Another VGA in sli mode, Another hard drive in raid0 and start with less memory maybe a single 1 or 2gb stick but get a duplicate to add on soon, depending on performance.
I suggest doing lot of research before making hardware choices proffesional review sites are more dependable.
Splurge a little on the mobo and make adjustments in the future. Go cheap on the hard drive and the vga, add duplicates later. I think you can setup a performance foundation for improvement later. This later improvement wont cost nearly as much and might be easier to swallow then.
some research sites:,,, extreme
Games evolve at a fast rate so to stay cost effective with cheaper hardware configuration upgrading regularly at cheaper cost is probably best.
Hope I helped in some way.
Jason210Author Commented:
>$300 overall for a games machine?
No.  $300 for a mobo, processor and memory combo, as I said in my question. Not interested in graphic card info either.
$300 is way too low anyway - you could spend that on a top end video card
Not interested in graphic card info. Ok, lets $500 then for a good motherbaord and processor.


>>Ok, lets $500 then for a good motherbaord and processor.
I Believe you should be able to do that.  GOOD LUCK.

- Intel Core-2-Duo or AMD-64 1.6GHz or better
- *More MEMORY the better,  2GB, 3GB.

*NOTE:  Games & Progams RUN in PHYSICAL MEMORY ( AVOID use of  VIRTUAL MEMORY, whch is used after PC runs out of PHYSICAL MEMORY )
Heres what I'm getting:
AMD Phenom 2 x2 550 Black Edition  $100
Not much L2 cache which affects its performance compared to some core 2 duo's but ability to OC and for $100 I'm sold.
Asus m4a79t deluxe  $200
Expensive but its DDR 3 and wont have to be replaced for awhile. It also has crossfire available for up to 4 VGA's. 2-16x, 3-16x,8x,8x, 4-8x,8x,8x,8x
Crucial Ballistics Tracer 1GB ( adding more of them later)  $40

I am choosing AMD!
They offer more options for differnet cpu's-socket types, backwards compatable.
Those different options become very important when wanting to upgrade without building an entirely new system.
I'm also using a 4770 vga. 1 to start......................
amrishvoraConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I get a lot of this.....
with your budget this is what I do.....

Go for a Core2duo 2.93 Ghz
4GB Ram,
with your budget go for a good ( not very expensive ) Asus Motherboard with good onboard Graphic card.
you will have to make do with a normal sata Hard disk.
Sorry in your budget this is the best you can get

Jason210Author Commented:
This budget is really only for the motherboard and processor. I already have the video card (which is PCIe nVidia GTS 250), so onboard graphics card is not important and is not where I want to put my money. Just a good, solid motherboard. preferably which supports the new type of hard disk.
Hard disks I can buy later. The last thing I knew about disks was SATA 2. Where are we now?
Also, I'm a bit confused by all these Intel sockets. Socket s1136 and Socket s1366, 479, 775 etc.
Is AMD better value then Intel? I usually buy intel.
FlaminFrostbyteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
AMD offers their consumers alot of variable/choices.
Dont want to shake the intel tree, I know they have ruled the market.

What AMD gives you/me the consumer is a more "friendly" approach.
Intel is, and always was, more straight forward. Only allowing exact same VGA's with thier SLI technology for example. OR socket (CPU,MOBO compatiblity) Intel sockets aren't interchangeable.
775 CPU=775 MOBO.

AMD gives its customers more options when new technology comes out. For axample the Phenom 2 x2 550 BE I suggested is backward compatible with older MOBO's.
I'm going with them because of this. In the future when new stuff comes out I can upgrade just the CPU or MOBO allowing me to stay current with many more options for which CPU's go with which MOBO's.
They are more gaming friendly. opinion.

HDD's I've noticed have a new 6Gb/s sata, but this is very new with not alot of availability.

So to answer the question directly?     YES   AMD IS A BETTER VALUE.
Others may have varying thoughts and I respect that!

I wasnt suggesting what I would do with YOUR money and I am still not.

I am doing a new build right now myself, and those parts mentioned above were my own choices.
I gave you what my choices were and some of the reasons for those choices. I dont want to say what YOU should do nor would I.

Onboard graphics slows PCIxpress speed in dual VGA configurations.

Just spreading what I've read in research I've done.
Hope it helps!

Jason210Author Commented:
Thanks. Been reading up on that motherboard, the Asus m4a79t deluxe, sounds good and will probably be my choice.
FlaminFrostbyteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
There is another board i've seen.
Havent read too much about it though you might want to check out because it fits more into what you had described looking for.

Gigabyte x58a-ud7

Its not AMD means you wouldn't have to replace gts250. It has new 6gbps sata support as well as usb 3.0.

As I said I haven't read about it just seen it out there. So, you could check around to some reviews.
Make sure you get dependable information from a reliable source or better if possible a professional review. They do complete testing and will be able to give you a description you can expect when opening you hardware. I wouldn't purchase anything without a professional review and one that felt I could trust.

I hope whatever you decide to get your happy with!
Jason210Author Commented:
A problem with the Asus m4a79t is it only uses DDR2 memory - strange. Also, it is not AM3 compatible.  This one is only slightly more expensive and it has DDR3 and AM3 processors. I read some of the reviews on it and there'll all good:
Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5
FlaminFrostbyteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I have changed my thoughts on getting the Asus m4a79t board myself.

They have four PCIe slots but double slot VGA's won't fit in all of them. Then the ddr2 thing. DDR2 can be moch quicker in the latency offered, but DDR3 is improving and thinking ahead at the $200 range for a mobo. I chose to look more for DDR3 boards.

I believe that the Asus m4a79t board is compatible with AM3 processors and being the 790'FX' chipset means allows you the dragon feature from AMD. There isnt much to that at least for now but AMD says some unlockable features are on the way.

I suggested the Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 board to you because you had asked some questions about latest usb and sata.
I didnt go with this board because of its decrease in speed when using 2 VGA's from 16x to 8x. There is something that I've read about 2 VGA's in crossfire some models not needing more than 8x speed. But I still didnt want to go that way this board.

Your welcome.
skyrider_auConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I would reccomend Intel over AMD at the current time. This is coming from my own personal experience.

I noticed you seemed to like the idea of DDR3 over DDR2 although you will notice little performance gain at the budget level. The real gain in performace (for intel at least) is the QPI on the newer i5 and i7 CPU chipsets. I threw this together from prices on newegg:

CPU - Core 2 Quad Q8300 2.5GHz

RAM - OCZ Gold 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333


The motherboard has a good layout and will support further expansion in the future. 4GB RAM and the quad core will be fine for Flight Sim X and the deciding factor will be your graphics card.

I would reccomend one of the newer ATi 58xx/57xx series cards as they are both cheap and offer great performance.

Hope that helps.
jscornerstoneConnect With a Mentor Commented:
if i had this question earlier in time, i could have helped you out a tremendous amount.  but listen to what skyrider said.  memory isn't cheap nowadays but the rest of the stuff is.  id get ddr3 memory also if your MB supports it.
Jason210Author Commented:
I didn't want to close this question yet, but EE have deemed it abandoned and will not let me ask more questions until I close and allocate points. Despite the fact that I pay for being a member here.
Thanks for the help everyone.
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