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What should I by for a gaming computer?

By on February 6, 2014 6:33:10 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

ZTT1997

Join Date 12/2013
+1

Ok, I am in the market for a new PC but truly I am clueless as to buy sins there is so much out there. So I thought I would ask you guys.

Price Range: $1000-$1500

With that i mind I would like to be able to play the latest games and even try out the Star Swarm Demo.

I don't care if you give me a link to an all ready built machine or list the parts so that I may build my own. All I am asking is for some guidance on this. I would like to add that I will upgrade as time goes on. Thanks for taking your time and helping me if you end up posting.

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February 6, 2014 7:53:22 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I think you'll need more money if you want to have a computer with which you can play the latest games at highest settings.

That said, for an RTS I think you should pay for a *good* CPU and lots of memory. Otherwise you'll regret your buy.

But if you want to play a FPS, then you should pay for a good graphics card and you can suffice with a lesser CPU.

If you want to play both, then you'll have to get the best of both. But I think then you'll need more money.

Also invest in a big cooler with a large fan, to minimize noise.

And that requires a big case.

 

But I wonder if you should buy such a machine already. Maybe it's better to wait half a year or so, so that there are games that can make optimal use of a killer CPU.

 

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February 6, 2014 8:21:41 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

A vowel.   hehe

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February 6, 2014 8:48:37 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting IROKONESS,
A vowel. hehe

A "u" .... Spell checker ...

 

It all depends on what sort of games...and how 'flexible' the budget.  I spent the best part of a grand on a Graphic card alone....

If you had specific preferences for components...then D.I.Y. is the way to go... but when unsure/inexperienced at building you still can find reasonable priced ready-builts.

First rule of the 'new computer purchase' is....RESEARCH - one of the things the Net is good at/for ....

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February 6, 2014 10:22:10 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

When the hardware requirements for Skyrim were announced in the summer of 2011, I realized that my current laptop would not handle it. I need to be mobile, so a desktop system was out of the question. I finally settled on the MSi GT780DXR which comes with an i7-2630QM CPU, 16GB RAM, 2@750GB HDD (raid0) and an NVIDIA GTX570M GPU with 1.5GB GDDR5. Cost: US$1900

Today's graphics oriented games not only require a high performance GPU, but also a CPU, RAM and HDD that can keep the GPU memory filled with the required graphics definitions. Since I had 16GB of RAM of which I was only using at most 25%, I locked the system and drivers in memory and disabled paging. This keeps the OS from unnecessarily paging things out to the HDD, freeing the game engine to move graphics files from memory buffers to the GPU or fetching them from the HDD with minimal delay. Keep the HDD defragmented as a large graphics file that is scattered all over the disk takes much longer to load.

I keep an eye on the Skyrim forums and the single biggest complaint is stuttering which is usually caused by delays in loading the needed graphics as the dynamics of the game change. Moving or changing direction force the game engine to unload/load graphics definitions in the GPU. The game logic is handled by the CPU and in my case amounts to less than 30% of the total CPU capacity.

You can probably get more for your money with a desktop platform than a laptop.

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February 6, 2014 10:37:32 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting IROKONESS,

A vowel.   hehe

 

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February 6, 2014 6:13:21 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting kku,
I keep an eye on the Skyrim forums and the single biggest complaint is stuttering which is usually caused by delays in loading the needed graphics as the dynamics of the game change. Moving or changing direction force the game engine to unload/load graphics definitions in the GPU. The game logic is handled by the CPU and in my case amounts to less than 30% of the total CPU capacity.

Yes...that's my issue too.  I need to relocate 120gig of FSX onto the SSD rather than have it still residing on a platter.  That was the reason/excuse for spending several hundreds 'just' on a 240gig SSD.....

The ram is 12gig of triple channel [six sticks]....could be maxed out to 6x4=24...at more cost.....[mobo limit].....

 

When everything is taken into account to get a fast gaming machine....a budget can go right out the window...

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February 6, 2014 8:34:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Couple of things.

With that budget, an integrated GPU is well below what what your budget will allow.  APU systems (the ones that just use the GPU on the procssor) are nice for 'every day' machines, but for serious gaming you'll be going the dGPU route (separate graphics card) to begin with.

With myself being an unabashed AMD fanboy, I'll still recommend an Intel i5 or i7 system.  It looks like new Intel processors are scheduled for release in Q2 2014, along with the new Z-97 chipsets, so if you want to stay 'ahead of the curve' you'd likely want to pick up one of those chipsets.  You can always upgrade the CPU later if you decide to with a lower end model.  That being said, Intel i5 and i7 processors do command a bit of a premium, due to the marked advantage they have against current AMD standalone CPUs.  You could probably make do very well with a low end i5 if you think you will have more money to upgrade to an i7 later.  Just keep in mind that Intel will go to a new processor socket at some point, so you will eventually get left behind.

As for graphics, that can change quarter to quarter, or even month to month, as to which graphics card is the best buy.  Really you can't go wrong with either NVidia or AMD, but the latest higher end AMD R7 and R9 GPUs using the GCN 1.1 architecture will often (depending on the model) include TrueAudio as part of the package.  TrueAudio is brand spankin' new technology that supposedly is a welcome improvement r.e. sound positioning technology, but so far no games support it.  Thief, which is scheduled for release later this month, will be the first official title to use TrueAudio technology.

AMD GCN 1.1 GPUs are also Mantle Ready.  Mantle is the latest innovation from AMD, which bypasses DirectX to a large degree to allow for more CPU overhead.  That being said, with the processor that your budget SHOULD allow you to get, you probably won't be running into many CPU limited situations, at least not currently.  Future games may require a lot more CPU power if this 'close to metal' thing takes off.  Microsoft announced that they are looking at implementing their own 'close to metal' solution for DirectX just a few days ago.

Again, really you can't go wrong either way, and there are rabid fans of both Nvidia and AMD.  I'd say go with the best deal on current gen GPUs that fit in your budget.  If you are planning on playing any games using the Nitrous engine (from that new company Frogboy is part of), you'll probably want to look hard at a R9 290 or R9 290x... Oxide is all about supporting Mantle at the moment!  Otherwise, look at the benchmarks of the games you'll be expecting to be playing regularly and see which card is in your price range, that does the best in the FPS and quality categories.  See links below for a place to start r.e. reviews on the various cards.

As for memory, these days 8 GB minimum, 16 GB is happier.  Faster memory with lower timings is helpful, but not absolutely essential - the gains to be had here are small percentage point bumps in performance, so more memory is better than lesser but faster memory.  While you can buy two larger sticks now and two larger sticks later if you are looking to upgrade, keep in mind that mixing different models/brands of memory sticks is not good practice, and can cause stability issues.  If you are looking to double your memory at some point in the future, I'd recommend making that sooner rather than later, otherwise you may end up tossing your old memory sticks and buying new ones to go with your new pair...

So, in short, if you don't need a new computer immediately (i.e. can hold off until spring/early summer), I'd recommend doing some research between now and then.  Check out the reviews on the various tech sites r.e. how well the hardware you are thinking about does in benchmarks and such.  Two sites I read daily are:

www.anandtech.com

www.tomshardware.com

www.guru3d.com is also a good site to check.  You can see what THEIR experience with various setups is, to help you arrive at your own decision.

Finally, a good strong power supply is essential.  Don't scrimp here or you may regret it later.  Overkill isn't necessary unless you have money burning into your pocket, but pay close attention to the recommendations you see in their 'build recommendations' articles.  Various review/tech sites will usually put together a buyer's guide/laundry list of stuff at various price ranges.  Here's a link to a $1325 system that Toms recently put together for one of their guides:

http://www.tomshardware.com/system-configuration-recommendation-57.html

Something to keep in mind if you are looking for a 'deal' is that you may see some price drops on the Z87 boards when the new Z97 boards become mainstream this spring/summer.  So if you don't mind being just a little behind the curve you can still get some killer performance with the current generation of Intel boards.  You will get left behind eventually though, so consider how long you want to stay with the current system.  Just keep in mind that the motherboard socket determines which processor you can use, so the socket and processor you buy now may be obsolete soon, as both AMD and Intel like to migrate to new CPU sockets every couple of years it seems.

The Z97's have some newer features, though, so take a look at those to see if don't mind doing without them before going the 'closeout bargain' route.

DDR4 memory support for consumer/enthusiast level boards is supposed to be coming soon.  DDR4 should be faster than DDR3 of course, but to be honest, a good high end GPU will give you MUCH more performance in gaming than faster system memory.  I wouldn't hold out for DDR4 unless you don't mind waiting for a while, as DDR4 will be more expensive to buy.  Intel is looking at Q3 2014 for DDR4 support, based on some recent articles.  You'll need a DDR4 mobo to use DDR4 memory.

Oh, if you go the Win 8.1 route (likely), make sure you get Start8 from Stardock! (unabashed plug).

Finally, as mentioned above by others, a good SSD drive is essential for high end performance.  That being said, a 128 GB should be plenty for starters, with a 1 TB HDD (preferably 7200 RPM) to go along with it.  You can always upgrade to a larger SSD later, when the prices are lower, at least that's been the trend year on year so far -SSDs getting cheaper every year.  Or you install a second SSD instead of just replacing your current one...

 

One other note...

'Ready Built' machines often include some useful software, such as Microsoft Office and such.  If you build your own machine, you WILL need to buy Windows and these add ons separately.  That being said, there are some boutique builders that make enthusiast level machines, such as CyberpowerPC, Xoticpc.com, etc..  They won't have as much bloatware as say your average HP machine, but they do have 'Microsoft Office' packages they can bundle with your system, for a fee of course!

Buying off the shelf at BestBuy, WalMart, or wherever will get you a 'canned' system, that will likely be a bit behind the curve.  You will have a warranty, though... personally I get more enjoyment out of building systems, or at least I did until I went the laptop only route...

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February 6, 2014 10:02:50 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

What tjashen said ....

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February 7, 2014 5:24:54 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106.html

A quad-core i5 seems ok for most game.

An octo-core AMD looks also interesting to me.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/cpu-charts-2013/-20-Crysis-II,3175.html

the difference in performance between the best AMD and the best Intel doesn't seem that great (for the Crisis II benchmark).

 

The peak power for such CPUs is pretty high, almost 200W.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/cpu-charts-2013/-38-System-Peak-Power,3178.html

 

I don't know if the electricity bill is an issue for you?

If you compare a few "slower" to a few "faster" CPU's, you'll see a big difference in both idle power (45W to 92W doing nothing...) and in peak power (between 100W and 200W).

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/cpu-charts-2013/compare,3178.html?prod%5B6000%5D=on&prod%5B6662%5D=on&prod%5B5755%5D=on&prod%5B5877%5D=on&prod%5B5949%5D=on

 

That said, I've got an older quad-core AMD CPU. It comes with a program to let the CPU enter a more economical mode: everything is slower and it's not good to play games in that mode, but the fan goes slower (less noise) and for browsing or watching a movie it's ok.

 

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February 7, 2014 7:32:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I was able to get an 8-core with AMD R7 not building it yourself for 1400 two months ago.

 

That said, what you should spend comparatively more on depends on what type of gamer you are- I wanted something that would play next-gen strategy games and PC fighting games well, so I skimped a little bit on the graphics card and hard drive.  (and PC fighting games generally can run on toasters, so no real issues there)

 

 

 

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February 7, 2014 7:37:45 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

i7 4770 or 4770k

some kind of Asus or Gigabyte mobo for cca 200 USD

16-32 GB DDR3, depending on the price

SSD at least 120GB, ideally 240GB, but i dont know the price  - 120GB is cca 80 EUROs over here though

2 or 3TB HDD, western digital caviar black for example 

GPU - ideally GTX780Ti or Radeon290X, but if they wont fit into the budget, then 780 vanilla or 290 vanilla should be ok, hell you would be just fine with 770 or 280x in majority of todays games, including the likes of Battlefield 4

PSU - something from Seasonic, ideally at least 750W, in case of second GPU in the future

case - Fractal Design R4 

 

i would start with CPU, mobo and (the best) GPU and only then look into the rest of the components. If the machine wont fit the budget even with lower end choices (only 16GB of RAM, only 120GB SSD, only 2TB disk), only then look into cheaper CPUs or GPUs.

 

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February 7, 2014 8:53:50 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Timmaigh,
PSU - something from Seasonic, ideally at least 750W, in case of second GPU in the future


All that amazing hardware and then you post that [e digicons]:'([/e]



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February 7, 2014 9:35:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The Tech Report has a pretty good build guide; this is from Christmas, so some of the variables (e.g. AMD GPU pricing) have changed, but otherwise it's a good start:

http://techreport.com/review/25743/tr-christmas-2013-system-guide/4

 

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February 7, 2014 10:42:57 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Here's a site that offers several builds in your price range, no frills and they are all customizable, with choices in operating systems.

http://pc.ncix.com/ncixpc_new/ncixpclist.cfm?categoryid=1011

Also remember to add in the cost for shipping and tax.........

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February 7, 2014 10:44:20 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting benmanns,


Quoting Timmaigh, reply 11PSU - something from Seasonic, ideally at least 750W, in case of second GPU in the future

All that amazing hardware and then you post that [e digicons]:'([/e]



 

Wut? Seasonic is the best PSU manufacturer and 750W is enough for that rig. Maybe, just maybe, as the insurance for the future, lets bump it to 850W, but i dont think you need more, not even for 780ti SLI. 

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