What's a decent gaming PC cost these days?

drbretto

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Apr 10, 2009
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I'm trying to figure out whether or not to justify picking up a new PC. I really don't want to spend a whole lot of money on it, but if it's a good time to buy it may make sense.

What would it cost to run something along these lines at 60+ FPS:


Can I do that for $500? $800? Would it require a $2000 beast?

I'm thinking desktop, connected straight to a TV, so pricing would not need to include a monitor or peripherals. Or windows, if I can avoid paying for it (I haven't pirated anything in a long time, but I think if it saves me $100 to download a copy of windows 7, I'll sleep just fine).

I am technically inclined enough to put the parts together, but not enough to look at specs and know wtf I'm seeing.
 

AMcGhie

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Apr 11, 2006
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www.pcpartpicker.com is the place to go. They allow you to comparison shop parts against dozens of retailers as well as ensure compatability between the devices you buy. They also have build guides for a wide range of prices/configurations.
You can put GAMING and >$500 and <$800 into their guide searcher, and there are currently over a hundred examples.
 

drbretto

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That looks like a great site, and I'll definitely use it, but the problem I'm having is knowing what those numbers will translate to. I can search all kinds of sites for gaming pc's between that price. I'm looking for how much my budget should be to produce what's in that video smoothly. What are the specs I'm looking for?
 

The Napkin

wise ass al kaprielian
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Jul 13, 2002
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Computer Stats:
Intel core i7 4970 3.6ghz
8gb ram
GTX 760
SSD 256GB
Minecraft Version:
Minecraft 1.7.2
Forge10.12.2.1147
Mods:
ItemPhysic Full 0.8.1 mc1.7.2
ShadersModCore-v2.3.12-mc1.7.2-f1040...
Shaderpack:
SEUS-v10.1-Ultra-Motion-Blur
 

drbretto

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I saw that on the youtube page. Do I need to have all of that, or is that just what that guy happened to be running it on? It sounds expensive, lol.

Edit: That site has some good looking bargains.... That will get me started in a huge way.
 

drbretto

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When they list Ghz these days, is that per core? Does it really matter if it's an i5 or an i7 or is it ultimately really just about the Ghz?
 

Hoodie Sleeves

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The vast majority of games have almost no support for multithreading (which is ridiculous) - so there's not a whole lot of incentive to run an i7 for a pure gaming machine - you should be focusing on single core performance. The graphics card is the most important criteria- it is most often going to be your bottleneck.

My gaming PC is a couple years old now, and is running a 2nd gen i3-2120 (3.3ghz) and I still haven't run into any games where I'm CPU constrained - its always the graphics card. ( I don't play minecraft though, so you may want to do some research into whether it supports multithreading if its important to you)

The GTX 950 is currently on sale at Newegg for $139 - which is a pretty smoking deal. The Radeon R9 380x and GTX 960 are about a 20% improvement at $200, and anything faster than them is $350+
 

drbretto

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Awesome info, thank you! I think that might be a key to really narrow things down. I'm reading about graphics card model numbers and what they represent, too. This may be doable for cheaper than I thought...
 

AMcGhie

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http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404674,00.asp Good explanation of i5 vs i7.

If you're running minecraft, you only need ~8GB of ram or so. I'd recommend getting 4GB sticks and putting them in parallel rather than 1 8GB stick, but it doesn't make a huge difference.

Drive wise, get a small Solid State Drive (SSD) and install your OS/games on there. Turn a larger, rotating disk drive into your media/other store. The SSD saves and loads quickly, but is generally much smaller than the other drive. I have a 250GB SSD with Windows and Steam on it, and a 3 TB traditional disk drive that I keep all my music/movies/media on.


I built https://pcpartpicker.com/user/acedwhengrim/saved/Cy4scf two years ago, and it still runs most stuff in HD(1920x1080) at ultra settings. If I wanted to go up to 4k resolution, I'd need to upgrade, but it doesn't look like you need that.
 

natpastime162

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I saw that on the youtube page. Do I need to have all of that, or is that just what that guy happened to be running it on? It sounds expensive, lol.

Edit: That site has some good looking bargains.... That will get me started in a huge way.
I always go to this thread (or the newest version of it) when suggesting and recommending a starting point for builds. That youtube video was posted in July 2014, so the rig he was doing that on is now well over 1 1/2 years old.

I have little doubt you can build a PC. This is probably what you will need:

Motherboard
CPU
CPU Cooler
RAM
GPU
SSD
HDD*
Case
Power Supply
Optical Drive*
OS*

* = optional/unknown if needed
 

Couperin47

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For pure gaming you're rarely cpu bound and a high end i5 quad cpu generally does as well as the i7, especially if you use an unlocked "K" cpu and overclock intelligently. Be aware that even a really high end video card cannot overcome the lag and other limitations of many/most TVs which are not designed to optimally respond for gaming, which is why high end multiple computer monitor setups exist. Overclocking and intensive gaming generally require at least a midlevel quality motherboard and a serious quality power supply from a quality company. Finally, if you acquire the major components over a period of 4-6 weeks as Newegg, Amazon and Rakuten have sales, you can save hundreds. There is no site that beats the prices at those 3 and their return policies are consistent and liberal enough to warrant avoiding the headaches of others. Be aware the partspicker site is fairly biased towards Ncix and some other smaller retailers who are clearly paying for representation. Sales on prebuilt gaming boxes are rare and comparatively trivial.

Tech Report also intelligently suggest builds at all price points: http://techreport.com/review/29453/system-guide-current

Win 7 or 8.1 can both be easily found at no cost and installed in a manner that will allow full updating as 'genuine'. PM if you really have no idea where to look for this.

Yes cpu speeds are 'per core' and most processors have both a 'base' speed and top 'turbo speeds'. Serious gamers, of course, could not care less about throttling speed and saving energy (trivial in any case) and setup their rigs to turn off all speed throttling. In general, ultimate frame rates obtainable tend to depend on the video card, not the cpu.
 

The Napkin

wise ass al kaprielian
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I saw that on the youtube page. Do I need to have all of that, or is that just what that guy happened to be running it on? It sounds expensive, lol.
yeah, I don't know. I answered the question I was capable of answering. :)

One thing I think I would recommend before doing this is buying a PC copy of the vanilla game and playing it for a bit to see if you like it on PC as much as you do on PS4. It's prettier and has awesome mods but it's a different experience than on console esp with respect to crafting. And there's little chance vanilla wouldn't run just fine on whatever you're currently using. So just in case you find you're not enjoying the experience you've spent $20 or whatever for an account (which you'd be doing anyway) instead of $750 or so for a new pc to find that out.
That's a terrible paragraph but I think you get the point.
 

drbretto

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I do get the point, haha. I did notice that the crafting in particular is different on the PS4, and frankly, that's not something I want to go back on, but more than the graphics, just mods in general seem like something that I'm not sure how long I can really go without. Reading about other people being able to hatch rideable end dragons from the egg it leaves behind, instead of it just sitting there for everyone else, along with the shaders and whatnot, long term, it seems like it'll end up being PC. It's for more than minecraft, too. That's just the shiny toy that's sparking the interest at the moment.

I went through that last link from changer591 and did a basic gist of a build that looked like it would be what I'm looking for and it added up to $745, so this looks promising. The question comes down to whether or not to pull the trigger. It's not that I don't HAVE the money, but it's about whether or not I want to dip into savings and how badly i "need" something like this. I don't think that's a decision you guys can help me with, lol.
 

drbretto

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Apr 10, 2009
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ugh... just when I had resigned myself to "buying a new PC right now is stupid", that build looks a little beefier than the one I had set up and all the work is done for me ><

(edit: work as in choices, I get that I have to piece it together, but that part doesn't scare me any)
 

BigJimEd

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Jan 4, 2002
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I haven't pirated anything in a long time, but I think if it saves me $100 to download a copy of windows 7, I'll sleep just fine).
Win 7 or 8.1 can both be easily found at no cost and installed in a manner that will allow full updating as 'genuine'. PM if you really have no idea where to look for this.
Maybe we should help to steal a video card or motherboard. Maybe get the whole pc "free". As long as drbetto can sleep at night.
 

BigJimEd

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So it's ok to steal as long as the company is big enough? Gotcha.
I'll drop it after this. I know a lot of people (normally honest people) pirate software, movies etc. But obviously I don't agree with it and I certainly don't think people should be using this forum to help them steal things. But I'm not a mod or dope or anything so I will drop it now.

Good luck with your new pc.
 

Joe Sixpack

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I have a totally legit/legal product key for win7 ultimate x64 edition that I'll give you free of charge if you'll make a donation (any amount) to Jessie's playground fund.

Edit: since it's a fully licensed version it would also be eligible for the free Windows 10 upgrade offer from Microsoft.
 

Couperin47

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Vista was clumsy and annoying, 8 managed to far exceed it for wrongheadedness, but nothing will ever match WinME for provoking violence as there was no way to keep that unstable POS from crashing within 5 hours of any boot up. After 2 weeks of that hell I reverted all my boxes to 98SE.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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I bought from Digital Storm just before MGS V came out. I couldn't be happier with the machine. I bought their Vanquish Level 4 machine, which at the time was the same price and configuration as their current Level 3 machine, but it had a GTX 980. (So in short, the current Level 4 looks like a bad value).

I live near a MicroCenter. I spec'd out builds on PCPartPicker, and read a lot of r/BuildaPC and r/BuildaPCSales. In the end, I ended up paying ~$400 extra for someone else to do the assembly, testing, shipping and warranty, It was worth it to me.

Their install of Windows 8.1 was superb. There's no crap in it, and the machine boots up instantly and runs great. It's ran every game I've thrown at it (including MGS V) on Ultra settings. I even dicked around with the 4K Texture pack for Shadow of Mordor.
 

drbretto

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Apr 10, 2009
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I have a totally legit/legal product key for win7 ultimate x64 edition that I'll give you free of charge if you'll make a donation (any amount) to Jessie's playground fund.

Edit: since it's a fully licensed version it would also be eligible for the free Windows 10 upgrade offer from Microsoft.
Deal. I'm not pulling any triggers until my tax check gets deposited, but I will let you know when I do. This actually ends up working nicely. I like it.
 

drbretto

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Apr 10, 2009
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Concord, NH
I bought from Digital Storm just before MGS V came out. I couldn't be happier with the machine. I bought their Vanquish Level 4 machine, which at the time was the same price and configuration as their current Level 3 machine, but it had a GTX 980. (So in short, the current Level 4 looks like a bad value).

I live near a MicroCenter. I spec'd out builds on PCPartPicker, and read a lot of r/BuildaPC and r/BuildaPCSales. In the end, I ended up paying ~$400 extra for someone else to do the assembly, testing, shipping and warranty, It was worth it to me.

Their install of Windows 8.1 was superb. There's no crap in it, and the machine boots up instantly and runs great. It's ran every game I've thrown at it (including MGS V) on Ultra settings. I even dicked around with the 4K Texture pack for Shadow of Mordor.
I appreciate it, but my main goal here is to save that $400 for something I can handle on my own. I used to fix PC's for a living, so I've taken them apart and put them back together again a million times. I've just never ordered everything from scratch, so I was concerned I'd forget a key component or get something incompatible, but some of the tools posted in here take those fears away for free. If the end results is a $1200 PC for $800, then I've done good, I think.

I'm pumped about it now. I haven't had an up to date PC in a looooong time.
 

drbretto

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Apr 10, 2009
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Today's the day!

I'm gonna do this:

From PCPP: http://pcpartpicker.com/guide/7MMnTW/i5-4460-radeon-r9-390-gaming-pc

Its a build by one of their staff members (they do a few a month at different price points). It has a youtube video of the staff member actually building that machine. If you've never put a computer together before they're great first-steps.
Right down the line. If anyone has any objections (or thinks I'm about to make a fatal mistake of some kind), speak now or forever hold your peace! :p

Personally, to me, that seems like a beast. 8GB video card? I didn't even know they had those.

Edit: Well, shit, half this stuff is out of stock. I'll have to improvise.
 
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drbretto

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Apr 10, 2009
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Concord, NH
How does this compare to the graphics card they picked?


8GB video memory sounds beefy and all, but it also sounds like overkill. This looks like a better sale, according to dollars saved anyway, but is it better? worse?

It's not showing up, so it's
EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB SC GAMING ACX 2.0
 

drbretto

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The graphics card is available at close enough prices on other sites, but the motherboard is sold out everywhere. I have everything else though.

How much does the motherboard matter? From what I've read on the links posted here, it's not that big of a deal, but there are some wide ranges in pricing for what doesn't matter too much. I read somewhere that some of them come with bluetooth, btw, but I've yet to run into one that even mentions it. I will need bluetooth for the controllers, so should I be looking for something built in or will I be better off with an adapter?

Everything else, I think is all set. I found a decent deal on 16 GB of ram instead of 8, but looks like the same speed and only about $25 more, which I can offest in my budget with this here $25 amazon gift card, lol. Everything else is what's on the build. Just need to decide on the graphics card and motherboard.

Edit: Everything I'm seeing has the 390 as the superior and more future proof card.
 
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Couperin47

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1. The suggested build used the Crucial BX100 SSD, which in the list is replaced by the SanDisk, because the BX100 has been 'replaced' by the BX200. Unfortunately the 200 uses a newer much cheaper form of memory and in all tests has been a slug. The San Disk is a slightly faster slug. Since you're buying all at once and thereby avoiding almost all sales, do the Samsung EVO 850 which is generally the fastest in this area right now.

2. 16 Gig of ram over 8 is something you won't regret, especially at today's prices.

3. The video card is square in the 'best bang for the buck' category currently, it's not a mistake today, but if you're price insensitive and want the most powerful currently available, you already know it's not that.

4. The H97M Pro4 LGA version of the ASRock board is $5 more, has better reviews and available everywhere. As far as I can tell they just stopped shipping the slightly cheaper version because everyone was buying the Pro4 version anyway.
 
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drbretto

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I ended up with this:
for the motherboard. From everything I can tell, it's squarely good enough, and it's a little bit cheaper. Let me know if that one is a mistake, I flew blind on it.

Everything is ordered. Including peripherals and shipping, it Ends up right around $960 which is $160 over the budget, but I was epxecting that and the real budget was $1000. That leaves me $20 for Minecraft and a $20 donation to Jessie's playground. I wanted to do more, but this whole thing is a lot of money to spend for me and I really, really don't want to go any higher.

Edit: Not sure if it's just my browser, but I can't tell if the auto-amazon media thing is working. I just get blank space. Here's a copy/paste:

MSI Computer Corp. H81M-E34 Motherboards
by MSI
57 customer reviews
| 62 answered questions


List Price: $129.60
Price: $56.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
You Save: $72.61 (56%)


In Stock.

Want it tomorrow, Feb. 4? Order within 2 hrs 35 mins and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout.Details

Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.







  • CPU: LGA1150
  • Supports 4th Generation Intel Core i7/ i5/ i3/ Pentium/ Celeron Processors
  • Chipset: Intel H81 Express
  • Memory: 2x DDR3-1600/ 1333/ 1066 DIMM Slots, Dual Channel, Non-ECC, Buffered, Max Capacity of 16GB
  • Slots: 1x PCI-Express 2.0 x16 Slot, 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Slots
  • SATA: 2x SATA3 Ports, 2x SATA2 Ports
  • Audio: Realtek ALC887 Audio CODEC
  • Ports: 6x USB 3.0 Ports (4 rear, 2 via header), 6x USB 2.0 Ports (2 rear, 4 via headers), 1x PS/2 Keyboard Port, 1x PS/2 Mouse Port, 1x VGA Port, 1x DVI-D Port, 1x HDMI Port, 1x RJ45 LAN Port, Audio I/O Jacks
 

drbretto

guidence counselor
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Apr 10, 2009
9,527
Concord, NH
I have a totally legit/legal product key for win7 ultimate x64 edition that I'll give you free of charge if you'll make a donation (any amount) to Jessie's playground fund.

Edit: since it's a fully licensed version it would also be eligible for the free Windows 10 upgrade offer from Microsoft.
Done.

That';s everything but minecraft, lol.
 

Couperin47

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You went for a much cheaper mb using a very basic last generation chipset , the reviews elsewhere are not encouraging... early failures, USB 3.0 ports being flakey and I suspect it's already discontinued as "out of stock' most places. I'm not biased against MSI (the build I'm using here is an MSI mb) but this ain't the chipset or model I'd ever have chosen. The H81 chipset exists for building cheapo boxes that Walmart stocks, at least it's not a B85 chipset...that's bottom of the barrel.
 

drbretto

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You went for a much cheaper mb using a very basic last generation chipset , the reviews elsewhere are not encouraging... early failures, USB 3.0 ports being flakey and I suspect it's already discontinued as "out of stock' most places. I'm not biased against MSI (the build I'm using here is an MSI mb) but this ain't the chipset or model I'd ever have chosen. The H81 chipset exists for building cheapo boxes that Walmart stocks, at least it's not a B85 chipset...that's bottom of the barrel.
Ok, MoBo cancelled sucdcessfully. Replaced with http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157512&cm_re=H97M_Pro4_LGA-_-13-157-512-_-Product
 

natpastime162

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Let me know if that one is a mistake, I flew blind on it.

Everything is ordered. Including peripherals and shipping, it Ends up right around $960 which is $160 over the budget, but I was epxecting that and the real budget was $1000. That leaves me $20 for Minecraft and a $20 donation to Jessie's playground. I wanted to do more, but this whole thing is a lot of money to spend for me and I really, really don't want to go any higher.
Outside of Couperin47's recommendation for a higher quality motherboard:

√ - Prioritized Video Card
√ - Went over initial projected budget
√ - Went over planned budget
√ - Overkill for intended use

Yep, looks good to me :)
 

drbretto

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Outside of Couperin47's recommendation for a higher quality motherboard:

√ - Prioritized Video Card
√ - Went over initial projected budget
√ - Went over planned budget
√ - Overkill for intended use

Yep, looks good to me :)
Yep, lol. I was expecting to go over budget though. I set the $800 line to keep myself in check. I could easily gone overboard and spent 2k, but I don't want to murder my savings, it's there for a reason.
 

natpastime162

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Yep, lol. I was expecting to go over budget though. I set the $800 line to keep myself in check. I could easily gone overboard and spent 2k, but I don't want to murder my savings, it's there for a reason.
I built one as a graduation gift to myself in 2011. Heard $500, $800, etc. I needed everything (monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc.) and set a budget of $1000. $1600 later Vector Sigma was born.
 

drbretto

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Sweet. I'm calling mine the Biggie GameStation 5000 (Biggie being one of my many nicknames).

Going over budget included a mouse and keyboard as well. And I needed a hard mouse pad because I do my gaming on the world's greatest memory foam filled mega bean bag chairs (essentially 5-foot cushions full of chopped up foam). No monitor, I have a year old 50 inch 240hz TV to plug it into.
 

Couperin47

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Well it's impossible when building for a gamer: Once you work up some discipline regarding a case (and resolve to ignore the beauty of Lian Li stuff), it's pretty easy to do 'best bang for the buck' and stay within a budget...until you get to video. Everyone wants to future proof, to have a box that's still relevant in 30 months, but it really can't be done. You do the 'best bang' current card and you KNOW how behind you'll be. OR, you go for current 'close to top of line' and there goes the budget...hopefully you have the self control to avoid true leading edge which is stupidly expensive. In fact, dr. has a decent way to future proof this: in a year or so he doubles up on this video card and goes SLI. By then this card should be around 1/3 cheaper and the result will be very competitive with what's then 'high end'.
 

Joe Sixpack

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Done.

That';s everything but minecraft, lol.
Awesome - thanks!
Shoot me a PM with a screen grab or copy of the receipt and I'll send you the product key.

Assuming you don't already have a copy of the .iso, I should be able to get that onto a file share later tonight so you can download it.
 

drbretto

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To be honest, I just went with the graphics card the guy recommended for that build. When it was initially not available at the price/site they listed, I looked for something that was around the same price. But when I looked at the comparison between the two closes models, that R9 390 was like 30% better at everything.

All-in-all, I'm happy with it all though. I'd have rather spent $500 but that's life.
 

drbretto

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Awesome - thanks!
Shoot me a PM with a screen grab or copy of the receipt and I'll send you the product key.

Assuming you don't already have a copy of the .iso, I should be able to get that onto a file share later tonight so you can download it.
Will do. I'm not sure if it's cleared yet, but I did it via membership, so you can see it in my silver supported tag. I have a week and a half or so before I'll get all my parts, so it's no rush. I can get you something more formal to confirm. I can get the ISO, that won't be a problem at all. I might even have one laying around already burned.

This was a great alternative to piracy, btw. Everyone wins. Thank you.
 

Joe Sixpack

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Perfect. I'll forward it on later this evening (I have my product keys stored in google docs which is blocked when I'm at work).
 

drbretto

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Last of the parts coming in tonight. Who's excited?? This fucking guy, that's who.

But, I forgot I'm a vagrant and I don't have any screwdrivers and whatnot. Anyone got a recommendation on where to get a nice, cheap basic PC toolkit? You get those at hardware stores? Or can I find something like that at WalMart on my way home?
 

drbretto

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Thanks. I realized shortly after posting that it was probably a relatively dumb question. Just go buy a damn screwdriver kit, but you never know these days if there's some sweet spot perfect kit to use, so I figured what the hell.