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Sharky Extreme : Monthly Value Gaming System Buyer's Guide July 3, 2009

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    May Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide
    By Vince Freeman :  May 18, 2007

    Mouse: Logitech MX310

    Current Cost: $23
    Consecutive Guides: 7
    Price Change: $0

    There are several very enticing high-end optical, laser and wireless mouse controllers on the market, many of which would find a good home in our value gaming guide. But price is a definite consideration for a value system, and although both Logitech and Microsoft offer cordless and/or laser units that would match perfectly with any gaming system, we need to go stick with a low-cost, wired optical model. The Logitech MX310 fits the bill perfectly on both counts, and represents a top-end mouse from a previous generation - which is usually a good deal for bargain hunters. The MX310 is a value-priced corded model with both USB and PS/2 support, and it features the very capable Logitech MX Optical Engine.

    The Logitech MX310 was once the flagship of the Logitech gaming mouse line, and it continues to stack up extremely well at this price range. The MX310 design offers a silver-black outer shell, utilizing the standard 3-button + scroll wheel design, with extra Back/Forward buttons on either side of the mouse. This model also features an application switch button on the top of the mouse, which emulates the Alt-Tab function. This translates into six programmable buttons, all in a format that is perfect for either right or left-handed gamers. The specifications are also nice, with image processing of 4.7 megapixels/sec. and a scanning resolution of 800 dpi, which is almost on par with a Logitech MX510 mouse.

    * The type of mousing surface is the only real point to keep in mind, as some surfaces (such as clear glass) may cause the mouse's optical eye to "jump" if moved quickly.

    Microsoft Multimedia Keyboard

    Current Cost: $15
    Consecutive Guides: 7
    Price Change: $0

    A keyboard is a very personal item, especially for gaming use, and we can only offer a very basic recommendation to get you started. It is best to test a few models out at a local store, and then decide which model is the right fit for you. Our choice again this month is the Microsoft Multimedia Keyboard, and more specifically, the newer model upgraded in terms of aesthetics, features and outer shell. In spite of the improvements and killer looks, this keyboard is still a superb value, and continues to be one of the more impressive entry-level keyboards we've used. This model includes a full complement of multimedia buttons all in a quality design, and for the price, you really can't go wrong.

    Operating system: Windows XP Home or Windows Vista Home Basic

    Current Cost: $76
    Consecutive Guides: New
    Price Change: N/A

    This month represents our first real quandary regarding the operating system. We're divided on Windows Vista, especially as a primary gaming platform, but we can't disregard that newer games will be tuned for this OS. It's a very difficult decision, and probably one best left to the end user. So we're essentially sticking with Windows XP Home SP2, while leaving the door open for those who want to shift to Windows Vista Home Basic. This version lacks a few of the bells and whistles, but is the only Vista flavor that fits our budget.

    The approximate $76 street price represents the cost of a licensed OEM Windows CD or DVD, and not the boxed retail version. This means that in order to get the lower-priced OEM deal, you'll have to buy the Windows CD with your new system or get it bundled together with one of the individual hardware purchases. If you forget, remember that the retail version will cost significantly more, so don't blame us when you have to pay your local Best Buy quite a bit more than the OEM CD price.

    Name Brand Floppy

    Current Cost: $0

    We've taken our reader's advice and scrapped the floppy from our main guide. This not only embraces the future of PC design, but also saves us a few bucks into the bargain.

    Of course, this is a guideline only, and for those who will feel more comfortable with a floppy drive, just slap down $8 and buy a basic name brand (Panasonic, Sony, TEAC, etc.) and be done with it.

    Page 1 Introduction and Case
    Page 2 Processors and Cooling
    Page 3 Motherboards
    Page 4 Memory, Hard Drive and DVD Writer
    Page 5 Video Card and LCD Display
    Page 6 Soundcard, Speakers and LAN
  • Page 7 Input Devices and Operating System
    Page 8 Price Roundup and Closing Remarks

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