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Build Your Own Intel Core 2 Gaming Rig - A HardwareZone DIY Special
By Kenny Yeo
Category : DIY Guides
Published by Vincent Chang on Tuesday, 25th November, 2008


Welcome Builder!

Most gamers would and should be familiar with the old adage "you get what you pay for". Quality goods command a premium price, and this is certainly true where PC components are concerned. It should come as no surprise then that the most gaming capable rigs are also often the most costly.

Anyone with enough money can put down a few grand for an immensely capable Alienware, Voodoo or Falcon Northwest gaming rig (and they often do), but it takes a true genius to be able to build a similarly capable rig for a fraction of the price.

So how does one go about building a powerful gaming rig for a fraction of the cost? The answer is to D.I.Y. - Do It Yourself.

The chief reason for the popularity of DIY amongst enthusiasts is that compared to branded PCs, it is often easier to build a similar system for less. On top of that, doing it yourself gives you complete freedom and control over the components that go into your system, so you can tailor your rig to your exact specifications and needs. Need a smaller 250GB hard drive instead of a 500GB one? No problem. Don't need an optical drive at all? Sure thing, just don't buy one. Specifically want a certain brand of graphics card? It's your call. These are the kinds of freedom you don't enjoy when buying off the shelf.

Having said that, this guide will show you exactly how you can go about building a powerful Intel-based gaming rig.

But before we begin, there are some things you need to consider. First and foremost, you need to decide whether your system will run using Intel or AMD processors. Different chips require different chipsets and hence different motherboards. Judging from recent reviews we have conducted, it is evident that Intel processors are superior, for now at least, and are therefore more suitable for our gaming rig.

However, that's not to say AMD processors are inferior. On the contrary, if what you are looking for instead is a slightly more budget-oriented and balanced system that is nevertheless powerful enough for gaming, playing HD content like Blu-ray movies, then you might want to consider the AMD route. To repeat a common theme emphasized by GPU manufacturers, it's the graphics card, not the processor that does most of the heavy lifting in today's games.

The next thing you'll need to decide is whether or not you'll want to have multiple graphics card for a gaming boost. This is crucial because NVIDIA's multi-GPU solution, SLI, is only possible on a motherboard utilizing NVIDIA's nForce chipsets. On the other hand, ATI's multi-GPU solution, CrossFireX, is more accessible, as it is supported on both AMD and Intel chipsets. These are the two more important factors to consider. Now, let's look at Intel's offerings.

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