Help me build and buy a (gaming capable) Shuttle barebones machine in Australia
October 18, 2007 3:27 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to buy a barebones machine for everyday use with a side of gaming. Small case plus huge graphics card cooler/fan don't mix well. Also, Australia seems expensive. Think you can help?

I have been looking at the G2 motherboards with an Asus Nvidia 8600 graphics card, but it is a double-wide card (with a humongous cooler) and doesn't fit! It's also rather dear.

The neighbourhood shop has a passively-cooled Nvidia 8500-based card for Au $160 , but I don't know how well that will hold with the likes of Episode 2 and Bioshock. Where is the reasonable price/performance PCI-E gaming cards that take up only one slot of width? Will mine be ok (not too noisy, not too hot) considering it will be right against the case wall?

Some of you may have a suggestion along the lines of a Shuttle barebones competitor. I am picking barebones because they are small and (reasonably) silent, but if there is another option I will happily consider it.

Also I am new to Australia, rather shocked with the prices (everything seems to be 15% over euro prices), and confused about the online merchants. Which is the online retailer of choice for computing parts? Also, is there a generally-considered-cheapest bricks-and-mortar one? I live in Melbourne, for what it's worth.

I realise there is a lot of "building a gaming PC" talk in AskMeFi, but I haven't seen these questions addressed in the latest 10 posts about the subject.
posted by kandinski to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm afraid I can't offer much in the way of graphics cards experience, however I have been building Shuttle based systems for a number of years. Build quality and reliability is excellent. Interiors are well laid out with excellent cooling. Installation is dead easy and some can be done without tools. I can really recommend Shuttle barebones...
posted by DZ-015 at 4:23 AM on October 18, 2007

Best answer: AusPcMarket is a pretty good online merchant.

In melbourne, you will struggle to find prices cheaper than those at MSY.

The forums at overclockers australia are another excellent place you could seek advice at.
posted by cwhitfcd at 5:00 AM on October 18, 2007

Best answer: I have never had a bad experience shopping at Computers and Parts Land. Their prices are usually very competitive, and their return policy is no-hassles.
posted by flabdablet at 5:03 AM on October 18, 2007

Best answer: Where is the reasonable price/performance PCI-E gaming cards that take up only one slot of width?

7900GS. Its amazing for the price and takes up one slot. Granted its a tight fit, but it should work. This is a full sized card. If your case is half-height then you're out of luck.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:45 AM on October 18, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, you all are being incredibly helpful. What's shocking is the difference in price and availability. The cheapest PCI-E 5900GS at Newegg is $99 US after rebate ($119 AU), while the ones I find in Australia have 512 Mb instead of 256, double-wide coolers, and are over $230 Au.
posted by kandinski at 7:42 AM on October 18, 2007

Look to staticICE for Australian comparison shopping.
posted by Tawita at 12:10 PM on October 18, 2007

Best answer: Yup, use staticice for prices. I've just bought a passively cooled nvidia 8600GT ($153AUD from umart), it plays all the orange box games at 1280x1024 with good framerates and pretty much all the eye-candy turned up (AA and AF, HDR etc), and Bioshock at 1024x768. It runs pretty hot though, so it won't stand up to much overclocking like an actively cooled one would.

I don't see much value in the 8600GTS, just get a GT and overclock it, the next (nvidia) step from there is straight to the 8800 starting at around $350AUD (but for a much, much better card).

A 7900GS is probably a bit quicker than a 8600GT (or a bit slower depending on the game), but they are getting hard to find in Australia.
posted by markr at 3:54 PM on October 18, 2007

Oh, and the 8500 you mention is slow and rubbish.
posted by markr at 3:56 PM on October 18, 2007

Response by poster: Since you helped me so much, I thought I would tell you what I finally got, where and how much (all prices in Aussie Dollars).

Through StaticICE I found Scoprpion Technology, where I am getting a SG31G2 Shuttle Barebone for $350.

In MSY I have bought:

A 256Mb Albatron GeForce 7900GT (24 pixel shaders for the GS's 20) for $115. It was labeled at $379, but the guy building the PCs decided there and then it was about time to cut it down. They also had a number of Albatron 7900 GTXs, GTOs at outrageous $500+ prices, I guess they will be cutting them down soon.

A Pentium E750 for $234
A 400Gb Seagate Sata HD for $135
2 x 1 Gb 800Mhz DDR2 Apacer memory for $99

Both MSY and Scorpion are around the corner from Monash Clayton, where I study, so it was just a matter of an hour. It's also good that they are around the corner from each other: by matching prices you can have a final couple of bucks off your purchase price.

Finally, if you are looking at extending the lease of your present computer, it's worth visiting MSY since they have a pile of older cards at prices ranging from $60 to $90. I saw a bunch of Nvidia 6600's and 6800's (I guess the ATI ones were similar vintage, I don't know much about them), and some 7600's.

After griping about the expensive prices, now I am pretty amazed I could build this system for $933. That's 585 euros for a pretty respectable small-format gaming/developing system.
posted by kandinski at 10:24 AM on October 19, 2007

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