An adequate gaming machine: Hardware?

What kind of hardware should an adequate gaming machine for 2005 have? I’m not asking for the rock bottom, nor for the high end, but for the sweet spot in price/performance.

Thanks in advance.

It’s all about videocard. The core components–2.8-3GHz P4, Athlon 64 3400-ish, 1GB RAM–are pretty locked in and relatively inexpensive. You arguably don’t need that much CPU, so if you’re in the 2GHz range, you’re probably okay.

But video… if you want to be really good, go for something like a 6800GT.

If you’re really going for adequate, go for the usual $200 videocards. Everyone has a favorite in that range, from last year’s 9800s to X600s and such.

Seems like in both of my big upgrades, to a GeForce 2 GTS back in late 2000 and to a Radeon 9700 Pro in Spring of 2003, the “sweet spot” for power and price was in the $275-300 range. Is there anything comparable now?

Both NVidia and ATI cut the memory bandwith in their consumer lines down to 128 bit. They upped the memory bandwith a bit by higher mem clock speeds, but anything below the X800 and the 6800 GT line is crap, because its not really a step ahead of the 9800 PRO/XT bunch.

If you play with a maximum 1280ish resolution you´ll be still OK with a 9800 PRO card nowadays. The only recommendable “budget” card is the Nviadia 6600GT, all IMHO.

Tests I’ve seen put the Geforce 6600GT so close to the regular 6800
that it’s no point getting anything but 6600GT (budget) or 6800 Ultra
(stupidly rich pricks).

I’d probably have a 6600GT already if I hadn’t already spent a ridiculous
amount of money on other sorts of hardware/tools/source code :)

So basically, get the best video card you can stomache, 1 gb of ram or more, and a somewhat recent processor? Any other big issues?

Any big games on the pipeline to warrent a hearty upgrade? That’s my main issue.

A fast hard drive makes a big difference. If you can swing a 10,000 RPM WD Raptor, you should pop one in there.

How will a Raptor help you in games regarding Framerates?

It won’t, but levels might load slightly faster.

Yippeee… Raptor 10k + GeForce 5200 ;)

Not direct framerates, but the game won’t stutter as much on loading
(not all games load all data before beginning a level - ‘streaming’ games
of the Half-Life type would benefit)