Assuming I have a reasonably flexible budget of around £700, and assuming I don't need to buy any peripherals at all, what is the best gaming PC that I can build for my money? Including the OS, since I doubt I can use the Win7x64 key from my old Packard Bell.
NERDS! Start your geeking!(27 posts) (7 voices)
So you can't use something that you have paid for?
Between what is happening to you and Kodie I am oh so very happy that I left MSland years ago. oO
Yup, I don't do videogames anymore, and I'm not sure it's a bad thing... I live on very shitty, old and cheap computers and am quite outdated.
Unless you buy parts and assemble them and then pirate the OS, there are not many options not to include the OS price.
What you could do is identify offers around your budget and google the video card chipset against some big videogame name, eg "NVIDIA XXX YYY Skyrim" and see how many problems it gives.
You can also tweak the search so that number of hits reflects the issues of that card as gaming support.
Otherwise I don't think the difference between most options is really worth your time.
If there are any, you won't notice.
£700 is pushing it a bit but for slightly more you could get one of these:
If you're thinking of putting it all together yourself then http://www.tomshardware.com is a good resource as it has a 'BUILD YOUR OWN' section for PCs to give you some idea of what to get.
As for the OS, if you've got an OEM license that was pre-installed then I don't think you can reuse it (don't quote me on that as the advice is conflicting and you may be able to do it by speaking to MS over the phone) but if you have a retail version then there shouldn't be a problem. Saying that, whatever route you go down I would suggest going with Windows 7 and you should be able to pick up a copy for £70 or so.
Once last thing ... when you say a gaming PC what games exactly as you'd be surprised how much you can get away with if the games aren't that intensive for the GPU?
Edit: ... and another thing, if you're building it from scratch it's unlikely to be cheaper than a pre-built system - assuming that you can find one that suits you. I do upgrade mine (GPU+CPU+mobo+memory) every few years but that's because I re-use the case, power-suppply etc. I would have used my old DVD writer but my new mobo doesn't support IDE.
Just re-read the OP and you already have Win7 but the same OEM/retail advice applies ... doooh!
@Custy: Jabster's link offers quite a range of prices.
I would suggest you to just buy the most standard you find in your price range, possibly comparing prices with a few different vendors.
Whatever you buy, it will be gamewise outdated in two years or so, so I wouldn't damn myself too much.
(Man, it has been too long since I bought a computer... It seems that quad core is all the rage now...)
"I would suggest you to just buy the most standard you find in your price range, possibly comparing prices with a few different vendors."
It's not always the best advice as if you want it to play new games at high resolutions with all the options maxed out then you need a rig that can do that; if you just want something for e-mail and surfing then you can end up spending far too much money. As a general rule decide what you want to use it for and get a computer to match.
"Whatever you buy, it will be gamewise outdated in two years or so, so I wouldn't damn myself too much."
Again not that true any more as the increased performance curve for games has become less steep in the last few years. Yes there are games that push it even higher but it's no where near as bad as it used to be. Even after two years a refresh of the graphics card can make all the difference.
Alright, I'm by no means a computer expert, but I just did a whole bunch of research into my own new pc purchase, so I feel slightly qualified. I can tell you that the best gaming CPU for your money is the Intel i5 2500k. Out of the box, it's something like 3.3 GHz, but it's designed for super-simple over-clocking, which will boost it to 4.7 GHz, which is comparable to the very high-end chips you can get right now. It's also very cheap. The i7, which is a big cost upgrade, gives you nothing additionally useful for games, because of technical details I don't know about.
If you don't want to screw around with overclocking, the i3 2100 processors will also do 3.3 GHz out of the box.
For graphics cards you want either the GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores (nvidia), or the Radeon HD 6950 (AMD). I confess, I didn't get either of these, but may upgrade later, if I decide to play a lot of games.
Jabster's right about the performance curve for games. That's why Intel isn't doing anything more than ever-so-slightly improving its chips. They just don't need to. From this same set of advice articles, the guy says he expects the i5 to future-proof you for five years, which is a hell of a long time.
My lappy is an i5 (slightly older make than the one JonJon mentioned), and it handles gaming beautifully; runs Skyrim and Mass Effect 3 smoothly. The general rule is that the equivalent desktop would do better, so there's a good solid choice. Most programs (including, so far as I know, all games so far) aren't optimized to make use of the specialized hyperthreading that theoretically makes the i7 better than the i5, and so they aren't really worth the extra money right now.
The whole ATI Radeon vs. NVIDIA choice used to matter, but these days both companies put out pretty good specific support per program when they (inevitably) choke on some quirk or other of a game's programming. Any mid-range card with 1gb+ of video memory will give you decent performance without killing your budget. The rest of the budget should cover 6GB of main system memory and a decent fast-access hard drive big enough that you'll never fill, and you've got yourself a gaming box that will serve for a good long while.
I've also heard that you want a video card with 1gb of memory, not 2 or more. Apparently it ends up taking the card too long to go through all that memory. That said, some games apparently need that kind of memory.
"Apparently it ends up taking the card too long to go through all that memory."
Now I'm intrigued ... where did you get that from?
The main thing that constrains video cards is the power supply; you need a pretty beefy one (180+ watts) to effectively and stably handle a high end card. It used to be an issue of what the front end of the bus was (AGP vs. PCI express) but PCI-E is pretty standard now.
"... you need a pretty beefy one (180+ watts) to effectively and stably handle a high end card."
Your PC won't even start with a high-end graphics card if you have a PSU of only 180w - if you could but one that is :-)
Cards lately are more energy efficient than high end cards in the past. I had power problems with my last desktop running with a 200W supply (on a box built about four and a half years ago), but my brother's computer does just fine with a 180W.
EDIT: Oh, I'm an idiot. Looking back, somehow I remembered the power draws wrong. Make that 300W+ and 280W.
I just saw the 180w figure and thought WTF :-)
Oh and gaming on a Laptop ... not my thing at all as I'm fortunate that we have enough space in the house to have a dedicated computer room. This means I've got a full sized tower case which is about 10 years old or so. The only original thing left in it is the floppy disk drive!
Floppy disk - I've heard some of the oldies at work talk about them. Not sure I should believe all they say. Good to hear someone is keeping their memory alive though.
5 1/2 inch, right?
5 1/2 inch you say ... erm, can't say I've used those. Now 8, 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 ...
The thing I remember most fondly about 5 1/4s was that a piece of electrical tape was your best write-protect solution. They also got quite warm if they'd been in the drive for a while, making you feel like your computer was working really hard.
Double sided 5 1/4s were high tech shit.
My first computer used a cassette tape! This was around the late '70's or early '80's. I don't remember the brand or model.
Just hook it to a TV, enter some DOS code, and you could create lines and boxes or make a ball bounce around the screen. Black and white only, of course.
We sure have come a long way.
The thing I remember most was opening a window in our office on the forth floor only to see a gust of wind take my floppy disk out of the window into the street below. Causes you to panic a bit when there's sensitive information on it.
That was very much standard for home computers up until the introduction of the likes of the Atari ST and Amiga. Oh the joy of tape errors ...
Well, it's how they get people to pay money for cheap cards; people who don't know better see more gigs and feel better about their discount-y purchase. But nowadays, you can put a crap ton of memory in something for very, very cheap. So a manufacturer might get a really cheap card, put a whole bunch of memory on it (like 3 or 4 gigs) and what happens is that it's actually *worse* than it was before, because now it is basically swamped with stuff it has to page through. At least this is what I'm told. There is no game on the planet at this time which needs more than 2 gigs, even in HD.
I'm not expert on GPUs but what you've been told sounds like complete rubbish. I agree that 2GB is enough but to say it has worse performance than 1GB because it's swamped - nope don't buy it. I could understand that if the instruction set supports relative jumps in a single op code there may be a difference on average execution time but I'm pretty sure this will be dwarfed by any game the is required to swap textures in and out of slower system RAM than the faster GPU RAM.
If that's want you want it for then I'd wait until the system specs are released before you make you choice.
I can't imagine that you'll need a top end card but high resolution textures and large open areas will put a strain on the GPU.
Mate, we're talking about a graphic intense MMOFPS that allows up to a thousand players per map, in tanks, in planes, on foot... It needs the best graphics card I can afford.
I think we may have a different idea of high end GPUs. I count them as £300-£400 cards using SLI. That's blown you budget before you've even started!
At a guess I would imagine that any card around the £300 range would be more than enough and once you start adding everything else in you should be around your target budget but probably over.
Edit: As long as your culling a few bits from you old PC otherwise maybe £900 or so.
Eh, could be. I know less about computers than I even like to think about. Although I do remember floppies...
Not a problem ... I think a lot of it is down to almost everybody has a computer but only a small minority really understand them. What happens is you get a group of people who don't really know what they're talking about being utterly confident in telling other people what they know. I'm no expert when it comes to PCs (I work in software but we build our own hardware and use OSes that most people have never heard of) but some of the whoppers people come out with cause me to do a double face palm!
As an aside, I like these threads as it makes me for more useful than when the philosophy bods start up and I keep having to look up words to see what they mean :-)
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