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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
01-13-2010, 01:03 AM
Quite frankly I think there is no real need anymore to build your own PC unless you want to learn it (but then be prepared to damage things and have frustrating moments), have a very very specific configuration or both.

I used to built the computers I own myself. However, as I grew older I realised that it is not really necessary (at least for me) to built one from scratch.
I still do it, of some sort, but I go with a barebone. A barebone is a chassis with mainboard. You "only" need a CPU, RAM, Harddisk, CD/DVD-ROM. Very likely the graphiccard is onboard, but those are not meant to be used for playing. So you have to make sure the barebone and its power supply is able to fit in a better graphiccards.

Sorry, I have no idea about the prices in the US (I assume you are, as you said 800$, sorry if you turn out to be canadian, australian or kiwi), but with 800 $ I think you should get a decent PC.
After all, you have to do the same as if you built one on your own....check the components.
For (occasional and not top notch) gaming you surely have to make sure you have a good graphic card (I am a nvidia person myself), a recent CPU and at least 2 GB RAM (if you take more, good....but make sure you have a 64bit OS).

Well, lets summarize:
Go ahead if you are interested in builting your own computer, but prepare for some draw backs, frustrating moments and a looooot to read and check about before starting. It is a hobby which can be fun, but for sure is time and money consuming (especially if something goes wrong).
I personally dont see the reason anymore, because all the time you need to check your compontens makes you learn a lot alraedy and there are quite some pre-built PCs out there worth considering (even for gaming) for a reasonable amount of money.

Good luck
scouty