Author Topic: I Need Computer Advice  (Read 8697 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Ky'ram Parjai'Kote

  • Disgruntled MMORPG
  • Commander
  • ******
  • Posts: 2356
  • Gender: Male
  • Hates Bioware officially.
I Need Computer Advice
« on: March 16, 2013, 04:44:15 PM »
I'm starting fresh. I want a gaming computer. I don't really care what it costs, I just want a computer that could maaaaybe run Crysis 3 at a decent framerate.

So, what would you guys suggest for graphics cards, cases, motherboards, all that jazz?
Lists of games I play:
-- Star Trek Online
-- KOTOR (1 and 2)
-- SWTOR
-- Terraria
-- TF2
-- Magicka
-- Left 4 Dead 2
-- Garry's Mod
And nearly any other F2P game on this planet.

Talo

  • Captain
  • ****
  • Posts: 497
  • Gender: Male
  • "Walk with doom, brother."
Re: I Need Computer Advice
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2013, 05:32:19 PM »
First things first. Buy a desktop if you want a gaming rig. Those are always better. Anyway.

Buy a card with 1 GB of video memory or more.

About 8 GB of RAM the more the better.

500 GB of storage space, the more the better. You might want to look at solid state hard drives as well; I've heard those are really awesome.

And make sure your cooling system can handle your processor. I would suggest a quad core or better.

I honestly don't know a whole lot, flyboy could get into the nitty gritty with you but those are the basics. Someone correct me if I missed anything.




flyboy424

  • Clone Air Wing
  • Commander
  • ******
  • Posts: 1426
  • Gender: Male
  • Lock S-Foils in attack position.
Re: I Need Computer Advice
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2013, 07:54:16 PM »
I honestly don't know a whole lot, flyboy could get into the nitty gritty with you but those are the basics. Someone correct me if I missed anything.
You did get all the basics covered there.  Just to go into the nitty gritty a bit... ;)

As Talo said, a desktop is the best for gaming.  You can get gaming laptops but they cost a fortune and you can't really upgrade them.  I personally love having a desktop because its very easy to get new components and they have far better performance (no need to balance power with battery life like on a laptop).  I'd also recommend home-building it if you can as you'll get much better components for a better price if you do.

Graphics card, 1 GB of onboard RAM is fine.  You will need to look carefully at what card exactly you need.  From the looks of the minimum specs for Crysis 3, I'd say a mid NVIDIA 400 series card or above looks to be required (not sure about AMD cards as I've only ever used NVIDIA).  Not sure exactly what you'd be looking at, but based on prices over here I'd say anything in the $100 - $150 range will do fine for running it (obviously you'd want something better, like a GeForce 600 series card, for getting decent graphics).  You'll likely want to do research into the exact model numbers for cards you see as they do release cheaper cards in a series that are the same as the others but with some of their processing capabilities reduced.

You could if you really wanted double-up on the graphics card using SLI (NVIDIA) or CrossFire (AMD), and this will improve performance as one graphics card can handle graphics processing whilst the other does physics, however my PC does just fine with one card and honestly I wouldn't recommend it unless you want the absolute best graphics (after all, 2 cards will produce extra noise and heat).  It also limits your choice of motherboards and cases as you need a motherboard with 2 graphics card slots and likely a full size tower-case capable of holding such a long motherboard.

RAM wise, 8GB will do fine.  You could add in more if you wanted, however note that games generally won't use all of it.  What is more important then the amount of RAM is the speed of it.  When you look at RAM you'll see a speed figure which may look like PC3-12800.  The bigger the second part is, the faster the RAM will run, meaning loading times will be shorter.  Also, if you can get a motherboard with as many RAM slots as possible.  The way modern motherboards work is they group RAM sticks together (which is why slots are usually different colours) to treat them as one giant stick, essentially doubling the bandwidth available (short version, mores slots makes the RAM even faster. ;) ).  One other thing to note with RAM is that if you have 4GB or more of RAM then you must get a 64 bit operating system.  32 bit operating systems can't handle more then 4GB of RAM, so anything above that is wasted on them.

Storage, you need to weigh up what you really need.  Hard drives are very cheap now to get large sizes for.  You could probably get 2TB for around $100 if you looked carefully enough.  As Talo mentioned though, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are an alternative.  The basic advantage they provide is faster read and write speeds (therefore faster load times), and as they have no moving parts they are shock proof.  However, SSDs are very expensive and have a much shorter life span.

My advice if getting one is to buy only what you need for Windows and a few programs/games you most commonly use, then get a hard drive for everything else.  You can hack Windows to change the default Program Files directory to a different drive to the installation drive, but that may be a bit beyond you (since I believe it involves going into the registry).  Also, avoid eco-drives as they will shut down during low usage to reduce power usage, meaning you will be left waiting for it to spin back up constantly to access data.

Processor wise, quad-core is a must (Intel core i5 or i7 will be sufficient, as will a recent AMD Athlon or FX).  You probably want 3+ GHz (3.4 GHz should be plenty), and if you go for an Intel processor be sure to get a K series one as they are overclockable in case you feel the need for extra power later on (I've read of quite a few people taking those above 4GHz).  I can't really recommend a motherboard to go with it because there are so many, but as long as it has lots of RAM slots (4+ ideally) and the graphics card looks like it can have room to get air without being blocked by any expansion cards

For a power supply, Id' say 650-750W is more then enough.  Just to be sure though, use this tool when you've selected all the other components to see exactly what you're using (then add a bit more on just to be sure):

http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

With operating systems, obviously Windows is the only real option (Linux may now have Steam, but the games just aren't there yet, nor is the ease of use you get from Windows).  Personally, I'd say go for Windows 7 (Home Premium will be fine), however if you feel you can get on with the Windows 8 'Metro' interface then it'll be just as fine (and not to mention about 1/3 of the price).  We can't really help you with this bit as its more personal choice (since Windows 7 and 8 have more or less the same performance and the same features).

Now, one more thing: cooling.  All those high-end components running processor-intensive tasks will generate a lot of heat.  You will need to invest in after-market cooling supplies.  First thing I'll say is don't bother with water cooling.  Unless you live in the middle of the desert with no air-conditioning in your house, you won't see any real benefit for the extra price (plus, I'm always a bit wary of having liquids inside a PC case, even if they are supposed to be non-conductive...).  For the processor, I have an Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 13 and honestly I couldn't recommend it more, especially for its price.  My PC is stable around 30-40*C (around 80-100*F), and my PC is probably around the specs you're looking at (maybe a bit lower, as its a couple of years old now and a bit more budget ;) ).

Case wise, it shouldn't be hard to get a gaming one with plenty of slots for fans.  Just don't get one with a clear side as it limits fan placement and doesn't insulate sound well (which, by the way, you can get special acoustic foam to help further reduce).  Ultimately, this bit is really up to you.  All you need to keep in mind is that you need to make sure air is flowing in from one side (generally the front) and out the other (generally the back).  Oh, and if a fan has a CFM number, make sure that is high (not sure how high is good though as I've not seen it on any of mine).  Ultimately though, this is easily the best guide I've come across when it comes to setting up PC case fans:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2012/02/10/the-big-cooling-investigation/1




Sorry, if that looks like a big wall of text.  I've simplified it as much as I can, but can elaborate if you wish.  One more thing I want to mention quick is a rough price estimate.  I don't know exactly what prices you're looking at for components as I only know UK prices, but at a guess I'd say you're looking $500 - $700 to get a desktop machine at the specs you want, twice that if you want the equivalent laptop.  And again, you'll get a better deal if you home-build, but you will be able to find pre-build machines with the specs you need if you're not confident enough making your own PC.
Clone Pilot armour project: helmet, chest - pepped.
RC helmet: done.

Ky'ram Parjai'Kote

  • Disgruntled MMORPG
  • Commander
  • ******
  • Posts: 2356
  • Gender: Male
  • Hates Bioware officially.
Re: I Need Computer Advice
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 08:53:55 AM »
I like big walls of text. :D

This was exactly what I was looking for...and I'm sorta relieved to hear a price of $700 thrown around. That's fantastic.

Alright, well I will take a look at those links (when I'm not on my phone lol)!

Also, I had someone mention Alienware when I first started asking around. Needless to say, they suck. :P
Lists of games I play:
-- Star Trek Online
-- KOTOR (1 and 2)
-- SWTOR
-- Terraria
-- TF2
-- Magicka
-- Left 4 Dead 2
-- Garry's Mod
And nearly any other F2P game on this planet.

Talo

  • Captain
  • ****
  • Posts: 497
  • Gender: Male
  • "Walk with doom, brother."
Re: I Need Computer Advice
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 05:25:12 PM »
Alienware has style, I'll give them that.




Amy

  • Clone Marshall Commander
  • ******
  • Posts: 400
  • Gender: Female
Re: I Need Computer Advice
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2013, 09:51:46 AM »
Flyboy pretty much covered it, but I thought I'd put in my $0.05 (Canada got rid of the penny... ;)). I've had gaming desktop computers for more than 10 years now. When I was at the height of gaming, I was on a four year cycle with computers and a two year cycle with video cards. This is not entirely necessary, of course... I just tend to put a lot of money into my computers because I spend so much time on them.

My current desktop computer I bought in January 2010. I just replaced the video card a few months ago. I expect it'll last another 2 years for me, at least. Probably more because I don't necessarily play the latest and greatest games graphically immediately anymore, and graphics technology isn't increasing exponentially the way it used to... and a lot more of that is built into video cards.

Which brings me to: I usually spend about $350 to $450 on a video card. Yes, you can buy a $150 one, as Flyboy suggested, but while it'll run really well now, it will not have much of a lifespan. Video cards are IMO the most important component of a gaming computer, so don't skimp here. And the best thing is, if you buy a whole new computer down the line, you can (almost always) reuse your video card if it's still new/good enough. When I look for a video card, my basic rule of thumb is to get the second-most expensive/newest one. Sometimes they'll come out with a super l33t awesome new model that's like uber expensive, and then shortly after come out with a 'budget' version with most of the features but not quite as a high specs - I'll get the latter. I've used both nVidia and ATI/AMD, and there isn't really any major differences. Right now I have a GeForce GTX 670, and it is amazing. Again, it's your decision, but to me it is worth it to spend a little more on video card.

Re; HDs, I have a 160 GB SSD for my 'C' drive. (This cost me nearly $500 back in 2010, lol. I wanted the 80 GB one but it was on backorder, so for some reason I coughed up the money for the 160 GB, heh.) It stores Windows, my regular programs (browser, Office, etc.), and non-Steam games I play a lot (eg. SWTOR). Everything else goes on my 1.5 TB secondary drive. Programs almost always give you an option where to install them, so what I do is just change the drive letter when installing. Haven't had any problems with this setup. Regular HDs are cheap, so get way more space than you think you'll need.

Re: cooling, I've never used anything more than fans. I have some some heat issues in the past, but my computers tend to reside in cold basements so that helps. :) I find that if they are properly ventilated (ie. not put in those little desktop PC cubby holes in the big fancy office desks), you don't necessarily need extra cooling. They get noisy, sure, but fans are cheap to replace when they break. However, a cooling system is never a bad idea, especially if you live in a warm climate. This is greatly dependent on your case though - if you get a case designed for gaming, it'll have more ventilation built in and you *might* not need anything extra.

Comments on Flyboy's post:

As Talo said, a desktop is the best for gaming.  You can get gaming laptops but they cost a fortune and you can't really upgrade them.  I personally love having a desktop because its very easy to get new components and they have far better performance (no need to balance power with battery life like on a laptop).  I'd also recommend home-building it if you can as you'll get much better components for a better price if you do.
This. You should only consider a gaming laptop if you are away from home a significant period of time, and do a lot of gaming (or want to) when you are.  I got an awesome expensive gaming laptop last summer... but I also have a lot of discretionary income at the moment. ;) And I do spend quite a bit of time away from home, and my husband makes use of my computers for gaming too.

Quote
You could if you really wanted double-up on the graphics card using SLI (NVIDIA) or CrossFire (AMD), and this will improve performance as one graphics card can handle graphics processing whilst the other does physics, however my PC does just fine with one card and honestly I wouldn't recommend it unless you want the absolute best graphics (after all, 2 cards will produce extra noise and heat).  It also limits your choice of motherboards and cases as you need a motherboard with 2 graphics card slots and likely a full size tower-case capable of holding such a long motherboard.
The only person I know who uses dual video cards is my brother, and he does computer graphics research for a living. :) So yeah, IMO not worth it unless you are always buying the best video card out there.

Quote
One other thing to note with RAM is that if you have 4GB or more of RAM then you must get a 64 bit operating system.  32 bit operating systems can't handle more then 4GB of RAM, so anything above that is wasted on them.
I highly highly recommend going with a 64-bit system, for this and other reasons. Almost every reason for sticking with 32-bit (ie. compatibility) is not an issue anymore. The only time you'll come across it is if you try to play REALLY old 16-bit games. (Even then there are workarounds.) 64-bit is new standard, get it. :D

Quote
Personally, I'd say go for Windows 7 (Home Premium will be fine), however if you feel you can get on with the Windows 8 'Metro' interface then it'll be just as fine (and not to mention about 1/3 of the price).  We can't really help you with this bit as its more personal choice (since Windows 7 and 8 have more or less the same performance and the same features).
This.

Quote
One more thing I want to mention quick is a rough price estimate.  I don't know exactly what prices you're looking at for components as I only know UK prices, but at a guess I'd say you're looking $500 - $700 to get a desktop machine at the specs you want, twice that if you want the equivalent laptop.  And again, you'll get a better deal if you home-build, but you will be able to find pre-build machines with the specs you need if you're not confident enough making your own PC.
For comparison, I usually spend between $1500 and $2000 on a new gaming PC (including taxes), but I know things are generally cheaper in the US, and I certainly go all out in certain areas (eg. video cards). And I usually let my brother talk me into getting components that I don't *really* need, haha. The flip side is my computer runs amazingly for years and I don't have to worry about it not running some new game that comes out during that period.

I definitely second building it yourself. That way you get the most say on all the components. A lot of pre-built computers will skimp in certain areas to keep their prices low, but as a result you don't get the performance you could, or it doesn't last as long. That just seems like a colossal waste of money to me. Personally, I buy my computers at NCIX.ca - I can choose all the components separately and they are priced separately, but they will assemble it for me before shipping. There is undoubtedly somewhere similar in the US (NCIX also has a US site, don't know how their prices compare though). Or you can shop around for each component separately and put it together yourself. If you are willing to put in the time, you will likely be able to save quite a bit of money that way. For me, I'm willing to pay for convenience. ;)

As a final note, make sure you invest in a good gaming mouse with extra buttons. In Canada you can get them for $60. It is worth it. I like Logitech mice, personally. Gaming keyboards are nice, but not necessary unless you have extra money lying around. But you can always pick one up later. That's the best thing about desktop PC gaming (as opposed to laptops & consoles). :D

Good luck! Let us know what you go with or if you have more questions.

PS: Alienware definitely has style, but is SO cost-ineffective that I'd never consider them.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 10:03:54 AM by Amy »

Ky'ram Parjai'Kote

  • Disgruntled MMORPG
  • Commander
  • ******
  • Posts: 2356
  • Gender: Male
  • Hates Bioware officially.
Re: I Need Computer Advice
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2013, 05:03:42 PM »
Alright, well, I considered everyone's advice, and managed to cough up about $1700 for the whole shebang, peripherals, monitors, and the big daddy. Or HAL-9001, as I'm dubbing it.

Here's the parts I'm going with (not all of them have shipped yet, so I'll link to the store pages.)

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Mid-Tower Computer Case - ATX, mATX, 4 x 5.25" Drive Bays, 7 x 3.5" Drive Bays, 2 x USB 2.0 Ports, 2 x Audio Ports, Water Cooling outlets

RAM: Corsair CMZ8GX3M1A1600C10 Vengeance Desktop Memory Module - 8GB, PC3-12800, DDR3-1600MHz, 240-pin DIMM, 1.5V, CL10, Intel XMP Ready, Unbuffered ((16gb, 8 x2))

Graphics Card: MSI GeForce GTX 650 Video Card - 2GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 3.0 (x16), 1x Dual-Link DVI-D, 1x D-Sub (VGA), 1x HDMI, DirectX 11, Overclocked, Dual-Slot, Fan, (N650-2GD5/OC)

Mother(of Manda, this is beast)board: Intel BOXDZ77GA-70K Intel Extreme Motherboard - ATX, Socket H2 (LGA1155), Intel Z77 Express, 1600MHz DDR3, SATA III (6Gb/s), RAID, 10-CH Audio, 2x Gigabit LAN, USB 3.0 (BOXDZ77GA70K)

Processor: Intel Core i7-3770K Processor - Quad Core, 8MB L3 Cache, 3.50GHz (3.90GHz Max Turbo), Socket H2 (LGA1155), 77W, Fan, Unlocked, Retail (BX80667i73770K)

Hard Drive for Windows, etc.: Crucial CT256M4SSD2 M4 2.5 Inch Solid State Drive - 256GB, SATAIII 6Gb/s

Power Supply is a Corsair, 600watt thing. Can't find the link for that.

PERIPHERALS:

Mouse: Logitech Gaming Mouse G300

Keyboard: Logitech Gaming Keyboard G510

Headset: Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset (says out of stock on their site, I'll look on Amazon or whatever.)



Soo...yeah. The case, processor, motherboard, and power supply arrived, and I went nuts. The case is BEAST. The motherboard is HUGE, and I'm REALLY excited to get the rest of the stuff in.


Thank you, everyone, for your input! I really appreciate it, and I'll post pictures of the rig when it's assembled!
Lists of games I play:
-- Star Trek Online
-- KOTOR (1 and 2)
-- SWTOR
-- Terraria
-- TF2
-- Magicka
-- Left 4 Dead 2
-- Garry's Mod
And nearly any other F2P game on this planet.

Amy

  • Clone Marshall Commander
  • ******
  • Posts: 400
  • Gender: Female
Re: I Need Computer Advice
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2013, 07:19:00 PM »
That looks awesome! I'm a little jealous. ;D Definitely want to see pics.

Ky'ram Parjai'Kote

  • Disgruntled MMORPG
  • Commander
  • ******
  • Posts: 2356
  • Gender: Male
  • Hates Bioware officially.
Re: I Need Computer Advice
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2013, 09:28:06 AM »
Alright! Everything is shipped in, put together, wired up (haven't booted to BIOS yet...probably should...>_>)!

Picture!

[spoiler][/spoiler]

Yay! So excited!
Lists of games I play:
-- Star Trek Online
-- KOTOR (1 and 2)
-- SWTOR
-- Terraria
-- TF2
-- Magicka
-- Left 4 Dead 2
-- Garry's Mod
And nearly any other F2P game on this planet.

Unit 899

  • Major
  • *****
  • Posts: 869
  • Gender: Male
  • Wassup.
Re: I Need Computer Advice
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2013, 09:49:40 PM »
Congrats man! I recently built my own gaming PC with my brother and we had a fun time doing it.

Quote from: Eparavu
Then out of nowhere you are like I AM THE GODDAMN BRONY BATMAN.
Quote from: N-11
Better to post infrequently and have good things to say, then to post all the time and say a lot of useless crap.