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Sharky Extreme : Monthly Value Gaming System Buyer's Guide April 26, 2011
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Monthly Value Gaming System Buyer's Guide

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August Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide

By Vince Freeman :  August 31, 2007

Mouse: Logitech MX310

Current Cost: $23
Consecutive Guides: 8
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 our budget is a definite consideration, and although both Logitech and Microsoft offer cordless and/or laser units that would match perfectly with any value 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: $14
Consecutive Guides: New
Price Change: N/A

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. We have upgraded our default choice to the Microsoft Digital Media Pro Keyboard, which offers an exceptional value for under $15, and is one of the better entry-level keyboards out there. It has all the basics, along with some extras like multimedia keys, launch buttons, and even a zoom slider for desktop work. But at this price, just be glad it's a name brand keyboard that looks good.

Operating system: Windows XP Home or Windows Vista Home Basic

Current Cost: $76
Consecutive Guides: 2
Price Change: $0

Windows Vista might be newer, but a growing number of gamers refuse to upgrade and are sticking with Windows XP. We fully understand, as upgrading our test systems to Vista felt like one of the Trials of Hercules - right up there with slaying the Hydra. Choosing the right operating system is a very difficult decision, and probably one best left to the end user. So we're essentially offering up Windows XP Home SP2 and Windows Vista Home Basic, both of which might lack the bells and whistles of their big brothers, but are the only ones that fit 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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