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Advice for a new PC

Distorted

Active Member
Hello guys,

I came here hoping to find some advice on what kind of PC to purchase next. My laptop is getting pretty old and it can't handle the games I want to play anymore (World of Warcraft to be specific).

I had been looking around for PC's with graphics cards decent enough to handle gaming, but they are rather expensive and excessive (2 TB hard drive? Wut?). I just want something that I can watch anime and play my mmorpgs on. I found some customizable PC's here and there, and though I'm technologically challenged I'm willing to learn how to tweak some things.

Could you recommend any desktops or laptops that would be good for gaming and videos and the like?

Edit: Also my current laptop is a Toshiba Satellite. I got it as a gift for college, but being my first real PC I hadn't taken much care of it. Or didn't know how to for that matter. :(
 
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Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
I usually find building your own PC is fine. Or you can specify what parts you want and have someone build it for you.

Prebuilt PCs often have the problem of cheap parts and having to have a warranty on the whole unit, whereas building your own, separate warranties for each part.

It can be daunting at first because of how things are listed on various websites. But there are guides out there for prebuilt or learning to build your own. http://www.newegg.com/product/CategoryIntelligenceArticle.aspx?articleId=197

Laptops, my general rule is never pay 500 for a laptop. Most of the components are not swappable and ones that are usually come at a price not comparable to desktop parts due to supply and demand.

Depending on the games you play you want a good processor, RAM/memory/ and decent video card and a fairly decent monitor - hard drive space is a consideration on what games you play and how large the files are.

Whereas illustration and art, CPU is less important, graphics card is semi important depending on the program, hard drive space is rather important due to swapfile usage, and monitor is also important due to color shifting and calibration.

General web surfing and watching videos other than a decent monitor and storage (f you are keeping videos on your hard drive) a lot of stuff is not that important.
 

Runefox

Kitsune of the PC Master Race
I agree with what Arshes has to say here. If you're not technically savvy enough to build your own PC, try and find someone who is, or find a local computer shop who will put it together for you for a fee. That way, you know what parts are going into it, what their warranties are, and you know that the components aren't cheaped out on.

Depending on what kinds of games you're playing, your computer will have different needs (you say MMO's, so I'd imagine midrange would be fine). Laptops as a general rule aren't well-suited for gaming compared to desktops, but if you need a more versatile machine, you'll probably want a laptop. Since MMO's aren't all that intensive on system resources (they're designed to gather a wide audience), you can probably get a laptop that would do the job. However, expect to pay around the $1000 mark for something that's got both the specs you need and the cooling system to handle it. Also keep in mind that such laptops are usually going to be bulkier, especially if they're specifically marketed as a gaming laptop.

For a laptop, I'd recommend checking out ASUS or Samsung. Both are generally reliable companies, and in both cases, they tend to manufacture many of the parts inside their computers themselves (Samsung, especially, manufactures practically everything in their computers themselves). That leads to a generally better quality control, and that's been my experience with them as well. Of course, the sub-$500 laptops are all more or less equally unreliable regardless of manufacturer. Do expect to pay more for a gaming laptop than a gaming desktop.

For a desktop... Well, the sky's the limit here. You're not bound to a specific manufacturer. I would recommend an Intel processor, preferably a Core i5 3470, over AMD, though AMD provides lower-cost parts if that's a concern (they're also much slower). If you did want to go AMD for cost reasons, I'd recommend the FX-6200, since it's a good value, though you'd only be saving $50 versus the i5. For RAM, it's extremely cheap by comparison to practically every other part, so there's really no reason not to get 8GB at least. Similarly, the price difference between a 1TB hard drive and a 2TB is also very low ($20 or so), which is why a lot of higher end pre-built computers come with them. For a video card, I would recommend NVidia right now - A GTX 660 should do whatever you need it to do. If you did want to go with AMD/ATI, the Radeon 7870 is about on par. Below that, you'll probably have to modify your graphics settings to reduce quality/detail in order to keep things smooth. Also important are the motherboard and power supply; Motherboard manufacturers I'd suggest are ASUS and Gigabyte, while I find Corsair power supplies to generally be a good value in terms of both quality and price. The case is less important for a non-hardcore PC as long as it has airflow and fits the computer. The Antec Three Hundred is a good place to start, since it's cheap and well-built, but you can look around for quieter cases or cases with more bling if you prefer.

Here's a compilation of what I would build based on what you've said so far - Parts can be swapped out as needed for cost or performance concerns, but this should satisfy your needs (I'm also assuming you live in the USA) (PART->MODEL->WARRANTY->PRICE):



Total: $1077

The video card is the most expensive component here, and you can save $90 by choosing the non-Ti version, which should still suffice, but will be less future-proof. The CPU can be scaled back to an i3-2105 to save another $85 (at a major performance cost, however). The power supply can be scaled back to a Corsair CX600 to save another $40, at the expense of future expansion ability. The hard drive can be reduced to a 500GB to save another $50. The motherboard can be dropped down to the ASUS P8H77-V LE for another $40 savings, which will perform the same functions but has fewer features and slightly slower performance.

Altogether, the cost-reduced version of the above using those alternative parts would total $772. I would recommend, however, keeping the CPU and hard drive as they are in the list, which would total $907. Feel free to mix and match, and definitely do some research for yourself. If you need a monitor, too, that would also factor into the cost.
 
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Distorted

Active Member
Whoa...

That was very informing. Thank you both for your insight. I think I got a general idea of how to go about it now.
 

dietrc70

Active Member
I thought Runefox's advice is excellent.

I disagree about the video card rec, though. Distorted says he mostly plays MMRPG's, and the card you suggested seems enormous overkill. I'd suggest not getting a video card to start with, and seeing if the onboard i5 Intel video is enough. You save $300, and if you need more power, you can add a video card at any time. You might want to consider an upgrade to the i5-3570K, which is close in price and has more powerful onboard video.

Crummy cases are a real pain to work with, so don't go too cheap there. I think the Antec Three Hundred is a good starting range. The Nine Hundred is a really nice case, as well.

Corsair PSU's are excellent, but that system shouldn't need more than a ~550W PSU. Either of the models you mentioned should be fine. I have 13 hard drives, hardware RAID, a Nvidia 560Ti, 16GB, an ~i7 equivalent Xeon, and can barely break 400W if I run Furmark and CPU burn simultaneously.
 
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Runefox

Kitsune of the PC Master Race
The 660 is enough to play pretty much any MMORPG at medium or higher quality at 1080p, which is plenty. The Intel integrated HD graphics aren't as bad as they used to be, but they still don't pack enough of a punch to run most games properly. Most MMO's will run with them, but only with the settings turned down to the minimum, and that leaves no room for the future. The 660 is a middle of the road card, and future MMO's are going to be more and more graphically complex. Final Fantasy XIV's recommended card, for example, is a GeForce 460, which for a 3 year old MMORPG is high.

The OP could go with a lower tier card like the GeForce 640, but for any kind of gaming, I would recommend a discrete card rather than the onboard GPU. Even Minecraft struggles on integrated graphics.
 

dietrc70

Active Member
After reviewing the benchmarks, I agree with you. I didn't know the Intel onboard was so weak for 3D. I use it for my secondary monitor and laptop and have been very impressed with its performance in graphics applications, but I had forgotten how much more demanding modern games are. What I particularly like about the Intel socket 1155 video is that one can take one's time shopping around for a video card while still having a very usable computer. I still think that $300 + 2GB might be overkill, though. For Crysis-type stuff I'd say yes, for MMORPG's it might be better to look at the $180 price point and upgrade in two or three years. I think the main point I want to make is that if one has to cut corners somewhere, the video card is a better place to do it that the other parts, which will likely be in service longer and are much more of a pain and expense to upgrade later.
 

Runefox

Kitsune of the PC Master Race
Yeah, the Ti edition is a more powerful card - Further down, I mention that the OP could easily save $90 by going with the standard GeForce 660, which is probably the most economically sound cost reduction for the overall build. Still, like I said, the more powerful card gives a bit more wiggle room with regard to future games, and not having to shell out another $200 later on down the road for something that will run the latest MMO in 2015.
 
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