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Old 12-28-2009, 10:04 AM   #1
Prime
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Prime must have a new computer!

OK, my current PC is way too old and doesn't even come close to playing any of the new or even recent games, and chugs along playing HD videos. Now that I have some extra funds in my pocket I want to get a nice new machine, with the idea that it will play the vidya and the latest and greatest as well as older games.

I figure Windows 7 is the way to go for that, but I'm pretty out of date with my hardware knowledge as I haven't really had a need to stay current until now. So, I'm hoping to get some insight or starting points from you big brains into what to look for and what to avoid, and any suggestions for components.

Help!

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Old 12-28-2009, 10:43 AM   #2
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Don't buy it off the shelf. Look up some vids on a DIY project on Youtube (for starters, I'm sure there may be other sources, but there are a # of vids instructing you on how to put your own together). These links might be of use to you. Also, look at Newegg.com for pricing of parts (if nothing else).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwCAeygp8uo

http://www.pcworld.com/article/55674...ur_own_pc.html


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Old 12-28-2009, 10:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
Don't buy it off the shelf.
I was going to say the exact opposite

With the nightmare I had on my last "DIY".. I'll buy a Dell next time (PC wise). I don't have the time, patience or enough ibuprofen to go through that headache again. However, I digress..

What budget and time devotion can you dedicate Prime? Spec-wise, for what you're wanting shouldn't be very daunting. Many capable machines (or parts) are out there and it doesn't look like you want a box geared towards animation, editing or heavy folding/rendering projects. Still, just a few minor guidelines you can give would help without making you build a beast like I made last year.. hehe.


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Old 12-28-2009, 11:00 AM   #4
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Was thinking more along the lines of more(stuff) for less(money). However, Chainz, your last comment is very true. Might help to know if he's looking for off-the-shelf to modify or a from-the-ground-up "monster" like what you made (or just something in-between).


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 12-28-2009, 11:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
Was thinking more along the lines of more(stuff) for less(money).
Very true point as far as DIY. I definitely see your point there


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Old 12-28-2009, 11:36 AM   #6
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as much as i prefer custom builds, you can still go for a pre-built system. some of them can be had for a great price, and there's a good bet that you can find one that will fit your needs.

since you're looking at a gaming computer, i would look for something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16883229157

that computer has some pretty high end stuff, and it still has the essentials: quad-core CPU, a DX 11 video card, Win 7 x64, and a massive hard drive. even if you did buy all the parts separate and then put it together yourself, it probably wouldn't save you all that much money to begin with.

hope that helps.


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Old 12-28-2009, 12:14 PM   #7
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Yeah, I should have been a bit more specific up front. Since my spare time is fairly limited, I'm not very inclined to be spending effort putting things together and installing/troubleshooting myself. Money is less of an issue so I'm ok with paying a bit of a premium to get someone to assemble it for me. I had originally intended to select the parts I want (there is a local magazine where most independent shops have their catalog and pricing) and then get an outfit that will put it together for me. But I guess if a place like Dell has more or less what I want anyway then that is an option too.

Overall I guess I've been thinking about dropping $1000-$1500. But I'd be interested to know if going a little bit higher or lower will make a difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stingerhs View Post
that computer has some pretty high end stuff, and it still has the essentials: quad-core CPU, a DX 11 video card, Win 7 x64, and a massive hard drive.
Something to aim for.

Also, I'm interested in playing some older games like the KOTOR and JO series. Anything I need to consider for those? My understanding is that with Windows 7 the compatibility is pretty good overall?

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Old 12-28-2009, 02:20 PM   #8
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some folks are still reporting KOTOR issues in W7, I think this is a combination of causes including some graphic card incompatibility, and issues with digital copies

Whilst I havent tried them in W7, JO/A worked fabulously in Vista, so I dont see this being marred in W7.

Im not sure what the prices pan out to be like but if I wasnt too worried about cash and wanted a gaming centric rig, Id probably go for an alienware rig - ontop of them knowing what gaming rigs are all about - they look pretty nice.

Of course, fondness for small form factor pcs makes it pretty hard for me to go past shuttle barebones - especially my current GTX295 toting SX58H7. Fits under your arm. Kicks a$$, blows wallet into chunks

good luck Primeski

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Old 12-28-2009, 04:21 PM   #9
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I think that you'd save money and end up with a better machine in the long run if you built your own. Gaming systems are where the OEMs really stick it to you. What they charge for stuff like extra RAM and a gaming video card is practically criminal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime View Post
I had originally intended to select the parts I want (there is a local magazine where most independent shops have their catalog and pricing) and then get an outfit that will put it together for me.
But in lieu of building it yourself, I think that the above is the best option. D3 does something similar, I think. I'd definitely look into that instead of going with an OEM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime
Overall I guess I've been thinking about dropping $1000-$1500. But I'd be interested to know if going a little bit higher or lower will make a difference.
You'd be able to build an awesome box for a grand. $1500 would allow you to include a nice monitor with an IPS panel if you need one.


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:48 AM   #10
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But in lieu of building it yourself, I think that the above is the best option. D3 does something similar, I think. I'd definitely look into that instead of going with an OEM.
^ i agree with Q on this. In my last build, the graphics card was faulty. Now i have to go through the pain of sending it halfway across the country and exchanging it. If you pay a little extra to get it built for you, you can shove any problems like that into the shop's face and make them deal with it while you go get a soda.

Quote:
You'd be able to build an awesome box for a grand. $1500 would allow you to include a nice monitor with an IPS panel if you need one.
damn, thats cheap. ;_;



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Old 01-04-2010, 04:11 AM   #11
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Not sure how cheap parts are in Canada, but I doubt that he needs a Core i7.

As a matter of fact, after browsing for parts I was hard-pressed to piece together a Core i5 system as cheap as the one that stingerhs linked to. I'm pretty sure that those CyberpowerPC systems use ASUS motherboards, too.


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker

Last edited by Q; 01-06-2010 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:39 PM   #12
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I'm using Cyberpower (an online PC building company, with an insane amount of custom features for your build) for my next build on which I will spend £500 ($750USD) roughly (not including monitor), that will buy me these specs:

# CASE: CoolerMaster Elite 310 Mid Tower Gaming Case with see-thru side panel
# Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Maximum Case Cooling Fans for your selected case, and match the colour of the fans already in the case
# Power Supply Upgrade: 500 Watts Power Supplies (CoolerMaster RealPower 500W PSU)
# CPU: AMD Athlon™ II X4 620 Quad-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology *** XXX overclocking ***
# Cooling Fan : AMD ATHLON64 CERTIFIED CPU FAN & HEATSINK
# MOTHERBOARD: ASUS M2N68-AM SE2 NF630A AM2 DDR2/1066 SATA PCI-Express MBoard w/GbLAN, USB2.0, &7.1Audio
# MEMORY: (Req.DDR2 MainBoard)4GB (2x2GB) PC6400 DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory (Corsair XMS2 w/Heat Spreader ***Overclockable S&S***)
# VIDEO CARD: ATI Radeon HD 4850 PCI-E x16 1GB Video Card
# Hard Drive: Single Hard Drive (500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache HDD)
# Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc 22X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (Black Color)
# SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
# Network: ONBOARD 10/1000 NETWORK CARD
# Keyboard: Logitec Deluxe 250 PS/2 Keyboard (Black)
# Mouse: Logitech Optical PS2 Mouse (Black)
# Cable Wiring: Professional Wiring for All WIRINGs Inside The System Chasis with High Performance Thermal Compound on CPU
# USB Port: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
# Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit Edition)
# WARRANTY SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT


If you want to spend about $1500, you'd get something like this:

* Case: Apevia X-SniperG Mid-Tower Case (Black Color)
* Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Default Case Fan
* Power Supply Upgrade: 700 Watts Power Supplies (SLI / CrossFire Ready Quad Rail Power Supply *** Not Recommended for Overclocking***)
* CPU: (Quad-Core)Intel® Core™ i7 960 @ 3.20GHz 8 MB cache LGA1366 ***Overclockable XXX***
* Cooling Fan: Cyberpower Advanced WaterCooling Medium Kit (Including 120m Radiator, 750res Pump/Reservoir, Delta CPU Block, 2 High CMF Fans, Tubing, and Coolant) ***Overclockable XXX***
* Motherboard: (3-Way SLI Support) MSI X58 Pro-e Intel X58 Chipset CrossFire DDR3 Mainboard
* Memory: 6GB (3x2GB) PC10666 DDR3/1333mhz Triple Channel Memory (Corsair XMS3 w/Heat Spreader ***Overclockable XXX***)
* Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX285 1GB 16X PCI Express (Major Brand Power by NVIDIA)
* Hard Drive: Single Hard Drive (1.5TB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 32M Cache Hard Drive)
* Optical Drive: Lite-On IHOS104-37 4X Blu-Ray Player
* Optical Drive 2: Sony Optiarc 22X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (Black Color)
* Sound: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
* Network: ONBOARD 10/100 NETWORK CARD
* USB Port: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
* Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit Edition)
* WARRANTY SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT


All in all, I think they are very fair prices for the components you get and including some kind of warranty at least, you can obviously pay more for extended warranties too if you want. But I love the fact you can choose from hundreds of different builds you can fully customize to your own needs.



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Last edited by Negative Sun; 01-10-2010 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:57 PM   #13
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Thanks for the extra info! I'm not up to date with the latest CPU and video card wars. Does InVidia work better with Intel, and so on? Or is it more or less a preference thing?

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Old 01-13-2010, 05:17 PM   #14
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As far as i know, nVidia trumps ATI, and all the cool people have nVidia cards. :P

I don't know if they work better with intels or AMDs, but AMD owns ATI, so i'm guessing they wouldve done something to make their cards work nicely with their cpus? Not sure.



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Old 01-14-2010, 03:48 AM   #15
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Actually, they trade shots hardware-wise. Where nVidia trumps ATI is with the drivers, though, from what I've heard, ATI's drivers have improved dramatically since they were acquired by AMD. People still bitch about the CCC being a PITA, but there are ways of getting around having to use or even install it. NVidia cards are also at least twice as fast with F@H because of CUDA and F@H's ability to take advantage of it. NVidia's GPUs are usually big, bad, complex and expensive while ATI's are leaner and more cost-effective. I also think that it's worth pointing out that ATI has had their next-gen DX11 GPU on the market since late September while nVidia's won't be launched until sometime in March, putting them close to 6 months behind ATI. At present, ATI has the fastest single-GPU card on the market, though that could change come March.
Quote:
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I'm using Cyberpower (an online PC building company, with an insane amount of custom features for your build) for my next build
Yeah, that PC from Newegg that stingerhs linked to was also a Cyberpower build. After browsing their site, I saw that they offer good name-brand components and, if you're careful, you can piece together a powerful build for not a whole lot more scratch than what it would cost for you to build it yourself. The three-year warranty is also nice.

Just a couple of basic hardware recommendations:

CPU:
Intel has had a substantial lead over AMD in IPC performance since mid-2006. Right now, the latest Intel CPUs (Core i7, i5, i3) are (rule of thumb) >25% faster than a comparable AMD CPU (Phenom II) at the same clockspeed. A Core i5 750 @2.66GHz is roughly equivalent to (and in most areas is faster than) a Phenom II 965 BE @3.4GHz. Games are becoming more and more multi-threaded (utilizing more than 2 cores) and anyone building a gaming PC nowadays should have a quad-core CPU. The newest Intel dual-cores have hyperthreading and can simulate a quad-core, but testing has already shown that there really is no substitute for actual, physical cores. So, of the Intel quad-cores, the most bang for the buck is the Core i5 750. The only thing that it lacks when compared to its Core i7 brethren is hyperthreading, which allows Core i7 to run 8 simultaneous threads. Do you need to run 8 simultaneous threads? My guess would be "no", so you don't need a Core i7. The Core i5 750 has everything you need and nothing you don't.

Motherboard:
It's usually a toss-up between ASUS and Gigabyte. One is just as good as the other, and there are just a couple of recommendations that I would add. You'll be needing a P55 chipset, and I'll point out that the higher-end P55 boards can support both SLI and Crossfire, so you won't have to commit to a single brand of video card if you want to go multi-GPU. This is important, as at times you can find the mid- to lower-end video cards for ridiculously cheap and 2 of them can be as powerful as a single higher-end card for a fraction of the cost. For example, my 2 9600GSO 768MB cards were $40.00 apiece, so I ended up with the GPU power of a GTX 260 for half the cost. The only other thing that I'll point out is that some of the Gigabyte motherboards are now featuring a couple of SATA 3.0 and USB 3.0 ports for a little extra future-proofing.


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:55 AM   #16
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Awesome stuff, Evil Q. I'm starting to narrow my search down a bit.

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Old 01-16-2010, 06:11 AM   #17
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I will (reluctantly) add that, over the (many) years, I've had better experience with nVidia cards and drivers.

I say this begrudgingly, because I despise their unscrupulous business practices, most recently with Batman Arkham Asylum antialiasing. I've had no trouble from their products, though, which is why I've stuck with them. I can't honestly say the same thing about ATI, which is why I always end up with nVidia under the hood. KotOR is a good example.


Here's my ultimate advice: if you want to buy a PC now, get it with the crappiest video you can get, and wait until March to make your final decision on what GPU you want. You can then use the crap video card for a backup.


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker
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Old 01-18-2010, 02:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I say this begrudgingly, because I despise their unscrupulous business practices
I used to say the same thing about Intel yet I still shelled out for a corei7, simply because its a superior product.

At the end of the day.. if we really wanted to get political about the products we buy, our homes would be sparsely furnished hand built log cabins in the woods! Only then could we assure its not polluted by the results of corporate endeavour+greed....(though watch what forest you build that cabin in!)

Pretty much every major nation or corporation involved in international trade has some ruthless indiscretion in their history. If big business was unicorns and pink fairy floss, maybe we could make purchase decisions on conscience and business ethics, but the capitalist model makes that hard. This is particularly the case for markets that have only a couple of major players.

Besides, I suck at building log cabins

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what Prime ends up with. Fermi should be worth waiting for, even if its just to bring AMDs prices down a smidge

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Old 01-18-2010, 05:17 AM   #19
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Hey, I admitted that I've almost always bought nVidia because I've had less trouble with them, didn't I? I know that ATI is hardly blameless when it comes to dirty marketing. It's a cutthroat industry, after all.

I agree that Fermi (or GT300 or whatever) is worth waiting for. It's only a couple of months away. I'm curious to see how it compares to R8xx. I have a feeling that, once again, nVidia underestimated ATI's next GPU and had to quickly go back to the drawing board and come up with something better, hence the near-six-month delay, but that's just a hunch.


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
-Toker
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:07 PM   #20
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As usual, AMD is treading water in a lull of releases from nvidia. They do pretty much the same thing in the CPU game too. AMD fanboys (past or present) like to look back in awe at the days of Athlon's dominance and wonder what happened... the truth is that AMD didn't as much as trump Intel but more so that Intel made a bad decision with NetBurst at the time.

AMD promised to knock our socks off with Phenom... they didnt.

Anyway, nvidia has the money to do it, and GT4xx will get JHH back in the lead of the eternal pi$$ing context that is the GPU market, even if the margin isn't astronomical.

I'm not sure why AMD s so proud of their DX11 dominance...there are <5 DX11 games on the market atm ...... 6 months ago, this was even less meaningful!

That all being said, If you game at up to 1080p, an AMD card will give you plenty of bang for your buck.

@Q - what alternatives are there to the CCC?? I have a HTPC stuck on an AMD card. I'd sincerely love to not see those horrid red themed loading screens again

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