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Oreyn

What should I look for in a PC?

14 posts in this topic

I'm wanting to look into getting a new PC to play games and such but I really don't have much of a clue as how to go about it. I wanted to take advantage of the holiday sales and such, but when I look at those computer specs I just blank out. Trying to keep it low price, I'd like to keep it around $300-500 if at all possible.

I was advised by friend to get things like "Quad Core Processing", "3GB Graphics card" and 3-4 TDR RAM. Sadly, I hardly know what any of that really means. At minimum, I'd like to be able to play Civilization 5. Maybe stick to PC games until the console prices drop some so hopefully whatever I get will last longer than a handful of months.

So, I guess tell me what I should look or aim for. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

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Best recommendation is if you are on that kind of budget spend most of the money on one core components ie Video card,motherboard etc. Than upgrade over time. Just as an example of a 3 or 4 GB (gigabyte) graphics card would be something like a AMD Radeon 7850 or a Nvidia 760 gtx. The thing is those cards can essentially run most of your 300 to 500 dollar budget. The two cards i just named run between 250 and 300 by themselves. 

 

You also have to remember to factor in things like motherboards, RAM, Hard Drives, Case, Power Supply etc. If you are going for the basic quadcore processor AMD is usually best bang for the buck. You can get a AMD FX quadcore processor for under $100. Honestly I would probably say if you are going by the recommendations of your friend 300 to 500 probably isnt realistic budget. But if you have a game to base your system requirements around (in this case Civ 5) try and make the build at least hit the recommended requirements and use that as your blueprint.

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INTRO VIDEOS

Picking your parts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPIXAtNGGCw
Assembling the PC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_56kyib-Ls
Installing OS and Drivers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxaVBsXEiok

Practice ground: http://pcpartpicker.com/parts/partlist/

 

Use the website to just build PCs, and get to know the components. Some general rules:

  1. Graphics Card (GPU): For gaming, the more powerful (aka expensive) = play graphically superior games
  2. CPU: Heart/brain of the computer. Does all the calculations.
  3. RAM: If you get 16gb of it, you will never have any problems with games. Frankly, you can stick with 8gb for nearly all gaming needs.
  4. Power Supply (PSU): If your system burns through 400W, get a PSU that provides more than that. No need to overkill though.

Begin your journey to become a PC builder, young one. It is your destiny!

Lhotse5 likes this

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Simple?

 

Your computer needs to be fast.  The primary component to determine that is the CPU.  Buy an Intel - and make sure it's at least an i5, although an i7 is better and preferred.

 

Okay - next you need the graphics to look good, and for the frame rate to be great.  For that you need a good gaming video card.  I have an Nvidia 560 - which is quite old.  However, I have yet to find a game it can't handle at 1080p.  Video cards can cost a lot.  I wouldn't go any farther back than an Nvidea 500 series.  The replacements were the 600 series, and the 700's are out too.  For your price, try to get something in the 500 range.

 

Then you need to make sure the computer has enough memory in which to store everything.  Memory is cheap.  Don't settle for less than 8Gb, but really there's no reason not to have 16Gb.

 

Storage (hard disk) is important so you can install things, but external drives can be gotten at any time.  Look for a Terabyte.

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Not to be a complete dick but for that price point to play games I would just recommend keep saving up..... If you cant do that just get a Console Either PS4 or Xbox one that's down to you. Not the most exciting reply ever but I think this will benefit you more than just getting a old PC, I mean $500 is £305.40  my 1 graphics card cost that alone not trying to brag, But here in the UK I would find it really hard to fit a PC together and play games on it, Dont take me wrong It can be done but why would you want to put yourself through the pain....


I would definitely recommend getting a Console. 

Maybe later down the line when you have saved up at least 850-1k you should start getting involved with PC Gaming. 

Why spend like $400 on a PC which will play games on low settings plus with crappy FPS, and you could buy a console and have a much more enjoyable experience ???

Also you have you even got a - 

  1. Mouse and Keyboard? 
  2. Monitor?
  3. Also A windows 7/8 disc that will cost like $100 so you will have like 400 to spend which really isnt that much



But Im guessing because of the low price you dont have a job or your just like 12 or something but even then I would say get a console youll have fun with it.

vanhoe likes this

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Maybe I could just upgrade what I have then? The bulk of it is in decent condition still, I feel like I have plenty of memory as is but I can probably get more easily enough. Only things that would really need to change are the processor and maybe the graphics card?

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Well - my system was £450.  I bought it secondhand. 

 

The OP needs to look at the secondhand market too.  I have 16Gb of RAM, a 560, and an i7.....

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Multicore procesor, a big enough board (size wise) that you can fit two video cards linked together, 4 RAM slots or more, a case that has adequate venting, but that isn't TOO open to let a lot of dust inside.

 

Also if you're using it for heavy gaming I would suggest buying an extrenal fan that you can set next to it to blow heat away from the back.

 

This is what I use, doesn't have to be massive, but not tiny either

http://www.walmart.com/ip/10980207?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=3&adid=22222222227009829313&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=40585772710&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=39991138630&veh=sem

 

I set it next to the case blowing sidelong at the back of the tower towards my window/door. In the summer my room can get pretty toasty, to th epoint where i have to sit in my underwear like some wierd old man.

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I would also recommend getting a console. You can't game on that type of budget, and if money is that tight then PC gaming is not a hobby you should be getting into yet. You are going to need more money to build a PC (which most of the time is the cheapest way), but you may be lucky and cruise the cyber Monday deals. However, as mentioned earlier bare bone PC's typically need Windows OS and a peripherals. I would say a doable price range would need to bee about 600-800. You want have amazing performance but will be able to play games. I had to game on non-gaming PC's for a very long time which forced me to play only games I could run and then play the ones I couldn't on console.

So go on websites such as newegg and look at all the PC components. Then google them to see what it is that they do. 

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I'm wanting to look into getting a new PC to play games and such but I really don't have much of a clue as how to go about it. I wanted to take advantage of the holiday sales and such, but when I look at those computer specs I just blank out. Trying to keep it low price, I'd like to keep it around $300-500 if at all possible.

I was advised by friend to get things like "Quad Core Processing", "3GB Graphics card" and 3-4 TDR RAM. Sadly, I hardly know what any of that really means. At minimum, I'd like to be able to play Civilization 5. Maybe stick to PC games until the console prices drop some so hopefully whatever I get will last longer than a handful of months.

So, I guess tell me what I should look or aim for. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

To get a PC that can run newer games without exploding will cost at least 1000, and thats just the tower and that computer would probably last a year before games take another big step in terms of graphical complexity and you need to start changing out video cards and stuff.

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tl;dr at the bottom.

 

You don't need quad core, most games still don't utilize multiple cores and the ones that do usually don't use them effectively. You can probably get away with a dual core processor or even single core BUT, I don't even think they really make them anymore. Multiple cores are good for multi tasking if you want to do a lot of that. 3gb graphics card is overkill and would take pretty much all of your money. You can get a decent 1-2gb card for 100-200 dollars. As for ram, I don't think you need more than 8gb. I always advise people to start low and build up from there... Having 32gb of ram will NOT help you if you only ever use 4gb for example. That extra ram does absolutely nothing for your performance, so don't buy more than you need.

 

When you choose your parts you have to pay attention to your motherboard. Is the new cpu supported by the socket type of your current motherboard? Does your motherboard support the amount of ram you want to put in? Or video card.

 

You might be able to upgrade with 300-500 and get good performance for several more years but you might be better off just buying a console. I recently purchased some new parts for my PC and it was about 500 dollars.

 

My current PC can run MOST things perfectly fine. Granted it's not at 1080p and max settings but I personally don't need it to be. I usually turn off most of the bullshit in the options anyway that takes huge performance hits (depth of field, motion blur, BLOOM (GROSS), ambient occlusion sometimes, and a few other nonsense things). And with all that turned off there has only been one or two games I couldn't run smooth enough to enjoy, one of them is Firefall. I was able to play Metro Last Light and 2033, and Witcher 2 perfectly fine for the most part.

 

Here's my current PC:

Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.67GHz

3.00GB Triple-Channel DDR3 @ 533MHz

Radeon HD 6770 IceQ (1gb)

 

Yes, that's 3gb of ram, most games don't use it up even if I'm multi tasking. Firefall like I mentioned I think is the only one that maxes it out and sometimes crashes because of it. If I had just 1gb more I could probably play it fine mostly.

 

Here's what I purchased:

RAM: 8gb G Skill Ripjaws - 50 dollars

Mobo: Asus m5a97 AMD 970 - 85 dollars

CPU: AMD FX-8320 - 143 dollars (with tax and shipping)

 

Those are my main upgrades. I did buy a new case (Rosewill Thor, 90 dollars), a fan for the cpu (cooler master hyper 212 EVO, 35 dollars), an SSD (Samsung 840 EVO, 85 dollars), and some thermal paste for the cpu (arctic silver, 10 dollars). I'm confident I'll be able to run pretty much anything with just the three things listed above (roughly 200-300 dollars total, 500ish with everything listed here below, SSD is unnecessary imo though). Right now I think my video card is the weakest thing I have but I just bought that last year and I'll see how it performs until I decide if I want to get another one.

 

Read reviews and take all of them with a grain of salt. Also, a higher cpu speed does not necessarily mean it will run better or faster than one with a lower speed (ex, 4.1GHz vs 3.5GHz, doesn't mean 4.1 will be better, it's sort of case by case. The 4.1 can have other issues or optimization problems), that's where reviews come in. How stable is each cpu, how much heat do they produce, etc... all important factors.

 

tl;dr on what you should look for or be aware of:

- CPU, make sure it matches the motherboard slot (ex: a cpu with a FM2 socket type needs a motherboard that supports that type of socket)

- RAM, make sure this also matches what the motherboard supports (don't get triple channel ram, or DDR3 ram if the board does not support triple channel and DDR3. Same with the speed, don't get ram with 1866 speed if the board only supports 1600 max)

- Video card, again, make sure the motherboard supports the video cards interface (ex: PCI Express 2.0, PCI Express 3.0, make sure whatever card you get is supported by the board)

- Motherboard, make sure it has enough slots for what you want, this usually shouldn't be an issue since most boards these days give you plenty of extra slots for video cards and ram. If you want to put in 8 sticks of ram (for whatever reason) but the board only has room for 4, that's an issue.

Power supply, make sure it's powerful enough to support all of your components. Do not get a PSU that supports EXACTLY how much power your components take up, get around 50-100 more watts to account for stress on the system or for future expansions. There are some calculators online to help you with this but most video cards and cpus should list things like how much power they take. http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/

 

You can probably ignore most of the other specs, these are just the very basic things you need to check.

If I'm wrong on anything feel free to correct me.

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I'm wanting to look into getting a new PC to play games and such but I really don't have much of a clue as how to go about it. I wanted to take advantage of the holiday sales and such, but when I look at those computer specs I just blank out. Trying to keep it low price, I'd like to keep it around $300-500 if at all possible.

I was advised by friend to get things like "Quad Core Processing", "3GB Graphics card" and 3-4 TDR RAM. Sadly, I hardly know what any of that really means. At minimum, I'd like to be able to play Civilization 5. Maybe stick to PC games until the console prices drop some so hopefully whatever I get will last longer than a handful of months.

So, I guess tell me what I should look or aim for. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

My advice ?

Put the $500.00 in the bank and keep saving. In all seriousness, 3-500 is just wasting money, as what ever you spend it on is probably not going to make you happy in the long run.

Price breakdown for a decent rig (approximately) :

 

Case: Here you can save some money by just gutting your old one and replacing the components. A case is a box. Some modders have used everything from a plexi-glass box to an office desk, as their cases. If you don't, $100.00 will buy you a wide variety of very good cases on the market today.

 

Motherboard: a good one (don't be a cheapskate here) is about $175.00 + shipping

 

CPU : a decent i7 is about $300.00

 

RAM : You can get 8Gb's of Corsair Vengeance for about $100.00

 

PSU : A decent 750 W unit is about $120.00

 

Optical Drive : $30-50.00 Nothing fancy needed.

 

HDD : There is only ONE I will ever recommend. The Western Digital Caviar Black (7200 RPM ) 1 TB.  $86.83 (free shipping) End of.

http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-WD1002FAEX-Internal-Desktop/dp/B0036Q7MV0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385875470&sr=8-1&keywords=western+digital+caviar+black+1tb

 

Graphics card : Right now, as far as 'Bang for the buck' is concerned, the EVGA GTX 760 Superclocked, is hard to beat ! For $250.00 (free shipping) you would be hard pressed to find a better value for the money.

http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-SuperClocked-Dual-Link-Graphics-02G-P4-2765-KR/dp/B00DHW4HXY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1385875622&sr=8-2&keywords=evga+gtx+760

 

So, as it stands, you're looking at about $1100.00 for a decent rig that won't be needing to be re-fit for at least 4 yrs. maybe more and you're initial $500.00 will be better invested in something more long term.

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- Video card, again, make sure it matches the "interface" the motherboard supporst (ex: PCI Express 3.0 card wont work on a motherboard that only supports PCI Express 2.0)

- Motherboard, make sure it has enough slots for what you want, this usually shouldn't be an issue. If you want to put in 8 sticks of ram but the board only has room for 4, that's an issue.

PCI3.0 is backward compatible with 2.0 so you can stick a 3.0 card into a 2.0 slot. Also 2 RAM slots are more than enough, just get 2x 4gb sticks and you'll be fine.
Lhotse5 likes this

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PCI3.0 is backward compatible with 2.0 so you can stick a 3.0 card into a 2.0 slot. Also 2 RAM slots are more than enough, just get 2x 4gb sticks and you'll be fine.

Cool, had no idea they are backwards compatible. But you can't stick a PCI 2.0 in 3.0 right? Or would that work too?

 

And yeah the thing about ram is likely a non-issue since I don't even know any boards that have that few slots, but it's still something to check for.

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