Gaming Systems February 2003

February 13, 2003
This month I'll be coming up with my reccomendations for a budget, middle, and high-end gaming system.
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Page 1: The Budget System

For something a little new to ASE Labs we have monthly system setups. I'll be covering the gaming systems for this month. I have three setups: your budget system that costs 800 or less, a middle level system that costs around 1200, and the Top of the Line system for $2000.Let's get into the budget system.

<b>Budget System</b>
We'll start with the case and work our way towards the heart of the system. Since this is a budget system, I picked a cheap Antec Mid tower case. The case even has 2 front usb ports that will be good to plug your gaming controllers into. The case w/ power supply included is only $48, not bad.

I'm gonna group the accesories into one paragraph because there really not that vital to our system. The keyboard and mouse I picked was a Microsoft 114 key Internet Keyboard, and a Microsoft Intelli-Mouse Optical Mouse. For speakers I chose Altec Lansing 4.1 Gaming Speaker System. They only cost $33, and give out really good sound for their price. The money we save here can be spent on a better processor and video card later on.

Now we come to the motherboard, while your system's stability depends on a lot of things, the motherboard is one of the biggies. I picked the MSI KT4VL motherboard. It includes onboard audio, and onboard lan, which are perfect for a budget system. IT comes with support for up to 3GB of PC3200 DDR Memory if you wish to upgrade later. I personally have this motherboard in my budget system I built, and it has run perfect for me.
Price: $76.00

Even though this is a budget system, that doesn't mean that you have to skimp on everything. Today's games are using not only the video card, but some are also using more CPU power then older games did. I picked the Athlon XP 2100 to match up with our Socket A Motherboard. This should provide more then enough power for your budget system.
Price: $102 Source:

For memory I got one stick of Crucial's 256MB PC2700 DDR memory. Nothing special really, Crucial makes good products, and 256MB should be enough for your games.

While I really would have loved to slap in a 80, 120, or even 200 gig system for all your gaming needs, the price restriction of this budget system just wouldn't let me.DOH! Luckily, while looking through the Office Max circular, they have a Western Digital 40GB Harddrive for only 59.99 after a $30 mail in rebate. 40GB should be plenty to get you started, until you upgrade to more space.
Price:$89.99-$30 MIR=$59.99 Source:Office Max

When looking through the Office Max circular, I also came across another deal that I couldn't turn down for this budget system. For the CD drive in the budget system I chose the CenDyne 48x12x48x CDRW.It's a fast cd burner, and theres nothing much else I can say about it.
Price:$79.99-$30 Instant Rebate- $30MIR = $19.99 Source: Office Max

For the monitor of the system I found a LOGISYS 17" CRT from Office Max as well. While it might not be the best monitor, it'll do for this system.
Price:$169.99-$40 Instant Rebate-$40MIR= $89.99

<b>Video Card</b>
Now what you've been waiting for, the all important videocard for the system. My pick for this one is the 128 MB version of MSI's Geforce 4 TI 4200. The 128MB of memory is better than its 64MB companion to start because as games use more textures, the video card itself will be able to store more, saving your regular RAM for other tasks. This card comes with DVI, Tv out, and a pretty nice software bundle. You can't beat this card for the performance/price ratio.
Price: $145

So let's see, here's a look at my Budget Gaming System for February.
Athlon XP 2100+
Crucial 256MB PC2700 DDR Memory
MSI 128MB Geforce 4 TI4200
Microsoft 114 Key keyboard
Microsoft Optical Mouse
Altec Lansing 4.1 Speakers
Western Digital 40GB Harddrive
48x Cendyne CDRW
17" Logisys Monitor
*Grand Total:$824.00

*Yes, I know 824 dollars is more then the stated 800 dollar limit, however for everything that is in this system, that price is pretty good.So, if your 24 dollars short, go open up a lemonade stand on the corner and maybe in a couple days you'll make that money :oP


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