TI Game 1500
Great gaming PC for under $1800
If it's a gaming system you're after and your budget is less than $2000, consider this offering from TI Computers, which is equipped with plenty of processing and 3-D power.
- Powerful graphics card and CPU, great for gaming
- No FireWire, no memory card reader
This machine is very well suited for gaming as well as other multimedia activities. It lacks a few key features, such as FireWire and a memory card reader, and its case isn't very solid, but it is relatively affordable.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
It runs a Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3 motherboard, which is similar to the GA-EP35C-DS3R, except that it doesn't have DDR3 memory slots. Instead, it can only run DDR2 memory, and TI has equipped it with 2GB of 800MHz RAM. It's an Intel-based motherboard with an Intel P35 Express chipset, and its LGA775 CPU socket is home to an Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 CPU. This CPU is based on Intel's latest 45nm technology, and it runs a 3GHz clock speed.
It produced a great score of 125 in our WorldBench 6 benchmark, which shows that it's suitable for pretty much anything you throw its way: office applications, Web browsing, even 3-D rendering will be easily accomplished with this system, not to mention multitasking. In the iTunes test, the CPU took 48sec to encode 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files, which is a fine result.
However, this machine's reason for being is gaming, and to this end it sports a graphics card with a GeForce 9800GTX graphics chip. This card is huge! The 9800GTX chip is currently the fastest in NVIDIA's line up and you can read about it here. It's a DirectX 10-based card, and it's definitely one of the best cards on the market for gaming, as its score of 13,992 in 3DMark06 indicates. The card provides two DVI ports and one HDMI port for this PC, so it's capable of running a dual-monitor set-up or using a big-screen TV as a display.
For storage, the machine has two 500GB Western Digital hard drives, which have been configured to run in a RAID 0 array using the motherboard's built-in RAID controller. This no doubt helped with the machine's fast WorldBench 6 score. However, for peace of mind, be sure to add either another internal hard drive or an external drive to store all your data; if one of the drives in the RAID 0 array fails, your data will be lost. You could also back up your data using the supplied LG DVD burner, which is standard equipment for any modern PC. You definitely won't get a Blu-ray-capable drive for this PC's $1799 price tag.
The machine ships with a 22in ASUS VW222 widescreen monitor, which has DVI and D-Sub connections. It's HDCP-capable, so you'll be able to upgrade to and watch Blu-ray movies on it in the future. However, its native resolution is 1680x1050, so you won't get true high definition out of it. It's a decent screen for motion graphics, thanks to a low response time of 2ms. Fast-paced games should pose no problems — we certainly couldn't notice any blurring.
With a CPU fan, a graphics card fan and two case fans (one front and one side-mounted) to aid airflow, the machine isn't at all quiet, so if it's to reside in your bedroom, and if you plan on leaving it on all night to complete your downloads, you probably will be unable to sleep. Thankfully, it doesn't have too many LEDs — just one to indicate that it's switched on.
On the inside, the most striking aspect of the machine is its huge graphics card, which renders two hard drive (3.5in) bays useless. The good news is that there are still four usable hard drive bays and three optical-drive sized bays (5.25in). The motherboard could use some more PCI Express slots; as it stands there are only two usable PCI Express x1 slots, along with three older PCI slots.
All up, this is a capable machine for gamers that comes in at a good price. Its case isn't the best quality we've seen, but it's the guts that count, and it has got plenty.
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