With all the new games coming out this fall, some might be inclined to upgrade their present gaming machine to support the new games coming out. The graphically rich environments in games like BioShock need to be seen in high quality DirectX 10 viewing pleasure to be truly enjoyed. Of course, I find the gameplay itself to be enough of an attraction without all the graphical goodies, so I’m likely not going to upgrade just to play that particular game.

Nonetheless, I did the research to see what it would cost to make a machine up to date for gaming action. I came up with the following items:

That’s all you really need to play games. Sure, you could add a Creative X-Fi sound card if you want EAX environmental audio. I would probably continue to run Windows XP, but Vista is an option if you want DirectX 10 compatible gaming. Maybe a dual-boot option would be a good way to split up the hard drive.

You can get into this for just under $1000 if you play your cards right. Reuse some old hardware (case, DVD-drive, I recommend trashing everything else) and you can save $100 or more. With most games being designed for multi-core CPU’s (XBOX 360, PS3) you can expected multithreaded games to scale nicely on the CPU, plus you have extra cores for TeamSpeak, FRAPS, whatever else you want to run at the same time.

Personally, I can’t afford the upgrade for myself. My 6800 Ultra continues to handle the games at lower resolutions and reduced detail levels. But I can’t justify a dedicated gaming box either. The 8600 GT in the MacBook Pro will have to fulfill my graphical needs for the next couple of years…