questionschallenge - trying to find a dirt cheap gaming…

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Personally, I don't think those two phrases go together. Dirt cheap? Easy. Gaming desktop? Also easy. When you say dirt cheap, I hope you are understanding that gaming implies some number greater than $999.00 (even if you are willing to consider refurbished, which no serious gamer would).

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I don't know too much about gaming but Yugster has a private offer today (you have to be a member to see it) that seems like a pretty awesome deal for a dual core, 7gb RAM, 1tb hd HP desktop:
http://www.yugster.com/dspPriv.aspx?cid=3427

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How cheap is dirt cheap?

I would recommend building you own. Since you want it for gaming, you'll likely have some knowledge of computers (enough to put one together), so you can customize the pieces to best fit you need.

You can probably put together a decent rig for ~$600, depending on what you already have (monitor, cheap or expensive keyboard/mouse?).
Check out newegg or tigetdirect for some pieces, there's a lot of sites with information on how to build them and what gfxcard/mobo/whatever you need

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I think the big question that needs to be asked is, what do you plan to play?

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@erinaine - Thanks, I actually posted that deal here, :).

@brad3326 - I'm trying to stay around 200 bucks and avoid putting it together. I realize my guidance is pretty crappy (sorry, not trying to be ambiguous) but the goal is to get something that's "good enough".

Tom's Hardware posted an article about using an AMD X3 cpu in gaming. It was "good enough" to play the newer games, albeit at lower resolutions.

I have an old Micro ATX chassis with a questionable power supply. I have considered trying to buy an AMD setup for it (Board, uP, RAM, gfx Card), but it always ends up being more than $200.

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@catbertthegreat: Please don't laugh when I, with a perfectly straight face, write - Tales of Monkey Island series...

It was $4.95 as a deal that was posted here. Yes, yes I am trying to buy $200 worth of hardware for a $5 game...

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hahahahahaaha

no offense, but you're not getting anything modern or close to modern that will run modern or close to modern games for $200. you cant even get something modern for $200 to run email and a browser.

idk how old the tales of monkey island game is, but my opinion is either the computer you're posting from can run it, or you're out of luck if you only want to drop 2 bills

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@glandes: here are the system requirements straight from tales of monkey island website:

Operating system: Windows XP / Vista
Processor: 2.0 GHz + (3 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent rec.)
Memory: 512MB (1GB rec.) Sound: DirectX 8.1 sound device
Video: 64MB DirectX 8.1-compliant video card (128MB rec.)
DirectX™: Version 9.0c or better

http://www.telltalegames.com/monkeyisland/platforms

very low requirements, you could get away with one of the desktops that woot! sells from time to time.

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I'd hit up a surplus or clearance center and look for an old Dell or HP that meets those requirements that "imtheotherguy" just posted.

Then you can upgrade the video card if necessary.

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And here I thought I was just going to lurk on your question to get the answers I need for my son's gaming computer but he requires a REAL gaming computer:

OS - WIN 7 32 bit/64 bit
Processor - i7 2.66g or faster
Memory - 4G (min)
Video - NVIDIA Geforce GTX480 w/468 MB VRAM or better

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@theoneill555: I'm guessing your budget isn't $200?

If there is a Microcenter near you they sell the Core i7-930 for $200. Best deal on the planet.

I have an ASROCK X58 Extreme motherboard and I love it - they're on the third generation of the board, but if you don't care about USB 3.0 or SATA 6GB then the older one can be had for $170.

I'd suggest using all three memory channels (3 X 2GB for 6GB), kits usually sell for ~$120. I have OCZ Platinum, it works and it met my budget.

I'd also suggest a pair of 30 or 40GB SSDs set up in RAID-0 for the boot disk. I run the OCZ Vertex drives and they've been very reliable and fast.

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@durkzilla: Thanks! and yes my budget is higher that the OP's by at least another zero.

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Hah! All the budget questions are very well taken. I sorta threw a number out there before I left work.

Secretly I was hoping to find a refurb or scratch n dent desktop with an AMD X3 or something close for cheap with a PCIe x16 slot that I could buy a $150 - $200 video card.

I've gone through Newegg and added a bunch of on-sale stuff to my cart, but I just couldn't pull the trigger. Something about trying to make $800 worth of stuff work together that gave me the heebie jeebies. Call me a sissy (go ahead, I deserve it) but I think my wife would've hurt me.

As I said before, I'm not really looking at doing a bleeding edge computer, just something that could run things at decent resolution without chugging.

Here's the Tom's Article I referenced:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3-440-gaming-performance,2619.html

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@glandes: Pacificgeek .com has a ton of refurbs for 200 or less. But I have no expierence with them.

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@wadekind: Pacific Geek specializes in servers, and server-class hardware. These machines are normally underpowered in graphics, and would be the very opposite of the gaming platform hoped for by the OP. Many of them are rack-mountable servers pulled out of service when the original owner is upgrading to something more powerful. They usually have redundant power supplies and other important items for servers.

I've used them before, in past years, when looking for a quick insert in a rack, but surely would not consider them for a gaming platform. In addition, servers tend to be VERY noisy. They have multiple fans (all those CPUs and power supplies run hot), and can sound rather like a jet engine in the distance. I used to keep a bowel of ear protectors by the server room door, and insisted that system administrators use them.

As I'd said originally, cheap and gaming just don't go together.

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@shrdlu: I was thinking more along the lines of meeting the system requirements for the Monkey Island game the OP wants to play and the $200 limit rather than a gaming system. I agree that Pacific Geeks desktop selection is limited.