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Welcome to the Machine

how to build an awesome gaming computer

For a lot of people new to the LAN concept, the most difficult part of computer gaming isn’t switching from a joypad to a mouse or trying to decide whether Half-Life is better than Counterstrike; it’s figuring out exactly what kind of machine you need and, more importantly, what it’s going to cost you. 

The good news, according to Greg Deustchlander, former co-owner of Chaos Internet Gaming, is that building a good gaming computer is really more about looking at what you’re buying rather than throwing around a ton of money. 

“If you’re going as cheap as you can possibly get,” says Greg, “knowing what you’re buying will get you better performance than if you’re just spending as much money as you have.” So it’s important that before you just go and buy the most expensive item you see that you research your options. You might be able to get something remarkably similar for a heck of a lot cheaper.

... knowing what you're buying will get you better performance than if you're just spending as much money as you have ...

For more experienced computer buyers, Greg recommends the website NewEgg.com, because they have fantastic deals and promo codes that can get you top-notch items for low prices. For those who are looking at building a computer for the first time, however, it might be better if you head to one of Eau Claire’s three local computer stores, Computer Wizards (1401 Birch St.), TC Teks (127 N Barstow St.), or RAM Technologies (2828 London Road). The people there will walk you through exactly what you need to create the machine you want. A mid-range gaming PC from Computer Wizards, complete with Windows 7, is going to run you about $650, which isn’t too bad when you consider that you can use your computer for more than gaming and it’s completely upgradable later on, unlike a console system like a PS3. 

One major way to save some money on this whole experience, though, and to meet some helpful people who will welcome you to the world of computer gaming, is to hit up the AWOL LAN or PONG LAN forums. People there are always selling computer parts for decent prices, and they’re usually willing to help you install them as well. 

“The forums really are a great place to not only just connect with people, but to go to find parts or build specifications or get help with troubleshooting,” says Bill Schmidt, the president of UW-Stout’s PONG computer gaming group. “There’s already a lot of info and so much you can find out from just asking questions on there.”