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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Requirements Analysis | PC Use Profiles ]

Gamer PC

Description: A PC used primarily for games, especially 3D action games. This is one of the easiest systems to design, because if you get a system that is good for games, it will provide enough performance for almost anything else. The tradeoff usually is cost, and sometimes other features. Many gamers are also PC hobbyists, and this section assumes that to some extent. (See also the "Hobbyist PC".) Note that any decent machine will play most games, but not necessarily as well as a system designed for the purpose.

Typical Applications Used: Games, Internet connectivity, other entertainment software, multimedia (music and video). Also see the applications under "Student PC" since many gamers are also students. :^)

More Important Requirements Factors: Performance, expandability, upgradeability, ergonomics and usability.

Less Important Requirements Factors: Cost, reliability, availability, service.

Performance Priorities: Top performance is very important for cutting-edge games; they "push the envelope" of hardware requirements more than any other applications used by the average person. The most important components are the CPU, video card, motherboard and system memory, roughly in that order. Sound is also important, and especially for some types of games. Input devices such as joysticks and game pads can make a difference in the playability of many games.

Recommended PC Types: Home-built PC, build-to-order PC, configure-to-order PC.

Recommended Sources: One of the best ways to get a good gaming rig that has performance tailored to the types of games to be played, and is expandable and upgradeable, is to build your own. If that's not desirable for one reason or another, a PC configured to order and built to order from a local PC shop is a good idea, as is a high-end machine from a better online mail-order vendor. Computer shows can also work well if you shop carefully.

Budget: For a top-of-the-line gaming PC, expect to pay in the neighborhood of $2000-$3000. You can get good gaming performance paying quite a bit less than $2000 if you shop around and make a few compromises.

Next: "Hobbyist" PC

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