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How to buy a gaming rig

I used the Diablo III Open Beta to see how my 7 year old computer will be able to handle it. Well, it is not really 7 years old. 5 years ago I upgraded the CPU from a single core 2GHz to a dual core 1.8GHz. This year I upgraded the graphics card to GF 460GT and added a second gig of RAM. But you could say that except the graphics card, everything else is quite old in that “rig”. The motherboard supports only PCI Express 1.0, which is twice as slow as the 2.0 standard supported by this graphics card.

I tried the beta on a MacBook Pro with Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.66GHz (above the recommended spec for this game) and GF 9600M GT (the bottom of the minimum spec). It plays horribly with the minimum resolution (800×600) and all settings set to low. Barely playable.

Then I tried the beta on the dual-core Opteron 1.8GHz (much below the minimum spec, which is 2.2GHz) and GF 460GT (above the recommended spec, but PCI Express 1.0 only). It plays smoothly at 1920×1080 with all settings set to high. The beta is supposedly not optimized, the final game will probably play even smoother.

The bottom line: if you’re buying or beefing up a gaming rig, buy as cheap a CPU as you can find, then spend the saved money on a graphics card.

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