A Reader Needs Our Help – He Wants To Buy A New Gaming Box

Reader Brandon has a question for us that I thought I would post. He asks the following questions:

I am looking to buy a new desktop. I have known very little about computers, hardware and such but I have done a lot of searching online to better inform myself of the components inside of computers so I can better decide which is best.

I have read some of the reviews for HP desktops and a lot of people say they work great, except there are problems starting them up and other things.

I am lost; I am not sure what I should get as far as desktops go. I want to use it for gaming, and I want it to last; I don’t want to have to replace it in the near future. I have compared desktops, mostly dell and HP, and for the same things HP is cheaper than dell. Their components seem to be the same exact things: processors, RAM, hard drives, graphics cards, you’re just paying a higher price for Dell.

With these things in mind, the question is: what’s the difference, then? If both have the same parts, shouldn’t both work about the same? I really need help on this. Any information on why one would work better than the other is helpful. Do the cases matter? I know Dell can have some cool looking computers but aside from the processor, graphics card, RAM, and hard drive, does anything else really matter? If so, why, and in what way will it effect things?

I do have one question though for any who KNOW — please, no novices. I want knowledge that is reliable. Does the hard drive make a huge difference? The hard drives that are offered when customizing the computers are all 7,200 RPM and to upgrade to like RADEON 1 or something like that is about 200 bucks from either of the companies. So, what will the RPM in hard drives amount to, and will it make a difference in gaming? Also, why does one cost so much more than the other? It mentions somewhere that the RADEON 1 (if that’s even right) offers backup or reliability of some sort I’m not sure but if anyone knows what I’m talking about, please expand and let me know.

Your input is greatly appreciated. Oh, and one other thing. When should I expect the computers or their parts to reduce in price? I know they just recently have since the OS Windows 7 came out, and I would like to know if anyone knows if I should expect them to drop in price again soon like in the next couple months or if it is going to be a long time (six months or more)?

Here are my thoughts. I personally have never owned either an HP or Dell desktop computer. I have had the luxury of being able to assemble my own systems. My last gaming + testing rig was built back in April or so and it works very well. I am using the 7200 SATAs by Seagate without issues.  I installed an NVidia card for my gaming needs. With that being said, here is my opinion.

How much you have to spend is always the first consideration. To me, HP or Dell are very similar. It usually comes down to price or customer preference. There are some die-hard HP or Dell users who won’t switch brands. For a gaming box you want a fast processor — dual core or better — 4 GB of RAM or more, and the best video card you can afford. I would also make sure that the power supply is large enough to handle any feature upgrades or additions.

As an example, here is what appears to be a hot Gateway desktop over at NewEgg, with a quad processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1 GB NVidia card — yet the system comes with a puny 300 watt power supply. I’m surprised it evens starts! (LOL!) Gateway system here.

Another option is to get a custom system built to your specifications.

Commentsm please. Give Brandon some help with selecting a good gaming machine. TIA.