Buying a PC. And I need You! (in Off-topic)


Godpanda July 1 2010 5:57 PM EDT

So, as the title says, I'm looking to buy a PC. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about them. So I've been asking for help.

So, here is what I'm looking for:

Price: $600 - $1000.

Anything cheaper than 600 is probably just too low. I mean, I won't REFUSE to go lower. But I wouldn't want people looking that low unless something happened to do everything I wanted and be real cheap XD. I won't spend over 1k for the entire package (AKA The Computer + tax + Shipping.)

Obviously, the cheaper the better, though.

My Laptop has about 250 gigs of harddrive space. And I have about 40 left. I would rather not have less than that. So, just for the sake of a number, anything less than 250g is a no go.

All I really do with my computer is play games, surf the net and listen to music. I'd like this PC to handle the gaming rather well, ideally, but the kind of games I'd be playing are World of Warcraft and some of the older RTS/RPGs (Age of Empires, The Elder Scrolls, and some even older ones my laptop can handle just fine, so won't matter on a PC)

The system requirements I need to run WoW well (And this is my biggest concern) are here: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/faq.xml

Near the bottom. Let's at least shoot for recommended or better <.<

As far as other features go...:

Win7 would be a plus

I need either a monitor or a cord to hook my PC up to my TV (Both options are fine, really)

A keyboard?... Kinda duh, I would think.

At least a 1 year warranty. Some sites offer building custom PC services, but they don't all come with a warranty. I want that warranty!

Any actual bonus features on the PC are just that, bonus. As long as it plays WoW reasonably well and doesn't try to crash on me everytime I, you know, touch it, I'll be happy.

Just for starts (and to give an idea the kind of thing I'm looking at) this computer was recommended by Novice and seems to be ideal: http://3btech.net/3btecocosptq1.html

I'd have gotten it now, but I'd prefer more feedback on it (Because I'm paranoid about large purchases.) and I'd rather wait a week. Ideally, I'll be buying the computer next Friday (Or ordering it, as the case may be.)

PS:

I will NOT be building myself a PC. I've thought about it, talked about it with at least 5 different people, and the reality is I don't want my first PC to be a constant hassle, to be a series of battles of doing without my PC for a week straight while I figure out how I broke it by tapping on the side with my headset, and I don't want to lose 600 bucks of equipment because I accidentally attached the wrong thing to the very wrong thing....


Thanks for any and all help in advance! And thank you especially to those who've put up with me up to this point. (Yeah. Get that. This thread is AFTER I've learned a whole bunch about what I need/want in a computer. HA!)

Demigod July 1 2010 7:59 PM EDT

Assuming you want a desktop, that link isn't bad. It's an HTPC, meaning it's built as a home theater pc. It comes with a TV tuner, which you won't really need if you're going to hook it up to a TV in the first place, but it also comes with a BluRay drive.

Here's what I was looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883229194

It lacks the TV tuner and BluRay drive, but it packs a better video card. At over $200 cheaper (free shipping), it's worth noting. The video card does have HDMI to connect to your TV.

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] July 1 2010 8:08 PM EDT

That's a very nice machine...

{WW]Nayab [Cult of the Valaraukar] July 1 2010 9:52 PM EDT

Why not keep the computer you have at the moment and get an external hard drive so you have more space?

Demigod July 1 2010 10:07 PM EDT

The one I linked to is strikingly similar to the one "Its Nic" just bought.

Sickone July 1 2010 10:44 PM EDT


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883229196

Processor Intel Core i5 655k (3.20GHz) - 64 bit Dual Core Processor
Memory 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333
Hard Drive 1TB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 7200RPM HDD
Optical Drive 1 24X DVDᄆR/ᄆRW Dual Layer Drive
Graphics ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB PCI-Express Graphics Card
Power Supply 600W

Keyboard Xtreme Gear USB Keyboard
Mouse Xtreme Gear USB Mouse
CoolerMaster Elite 310 Gaming Case
Asetek 120mm Liquid Cooling System

Sound card - Integrated
Ethernet Gigabit LAN
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Manufacturer Warranty
Parts 1 year limited
Labor 1 year limited

899 + 25 shipping + ??? tax = under 950 almost certainly

Not quite the top of the line, but very solid overall performance for sure, should play almost anything out on the market at decently high settings quite smoothly. I doubt it would even blink if you set WoW on highest everything, while also doing a lot of other things in the background at the same time.
Should last a good 3 to maybe even 4 years before you'll really like a better replacement, and might manage to not become completely obsolete performance-wise for up to 5-6 years if you're not really planning to use it for the latest games.

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] July 1 2010 10:46 PM EDT

Best yet by far...

Sickone July 1 2010 10:53 PM EDT

P.S.

That's an affordable yet strong DX11 capable video card on there. Not that there are any DX11 games out there yet, but it never hurts to have it at least "capable" of it. WoW I think only uses DX9 anyway (or maybe just DX8? not really sure), so that might be only of very limited relevance to you.
While I normally went with NVidia cards almost exclusively in the past, ATI started becoming more and more attractive lately, and if you don't really want all those extra features (that you might not even know about and never use) that the newer NVidia cards offer, you'd better just go with a cheaper and slightly better (raw performance-wise) ATI instead.

And not to directly diss AMD, as they do offer quite a damn decent performance/price ratio, but I'd rather go with Intel out of personal historic preference reasons : almost every AMD processor I had ended up with some occasional oddities, but not a single Intel processor I had ever gave me any problems whatsoever.
I admit, I'm quite biased there and not for entirely realistic reasons, but there you go.

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] July 1 2010 11:06 PM EDT

Almost beats my DIY build. Almost.

Womp July 1 2010 11:18 PM EDT

Ditto Gun

Godpanda July 2 2010 10:27 AM EDT

Thanks for all the feedback!

Firstly, to answer the question of why I'm getting a PC instead of upgrading my current one is that my "Current PC" is a laptop. While I like my laptop, it's filled with frustrating things that I would rather just avoid now. And not being able to play a lot of games I'd like to on it... Well, it just makes me sad XD

Also, question about Liquid Cooling on Sickone's link... What kind of maintenance is involved with that? Or would I have to actually buy a solution for use in it?

I also have a worry that Sickone's PC may be a bit... More than I need, so to speak? Because if I have to buy a monitor (Or even just a cord to use my TV with it) and have to buy whatever it is that will allow me to connect to a wireless network (What exactly will I need for that, btw? Laptops spoiled me in this regard.) I am quickly looking at something over 1k.

Also, if what is the big difference between the three graphics card? Will someone just playing WoW and older games really see a difference?

ATI Radeon HD4200 video with VGA, HDMI, and DVI video
ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB PCI-Express Graphics Card
ATI Radeon HD 5450 1GB PCI Express Graphics

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] July 2 2010 10:33 AM EDT

You're over thinking it GW

Sickone July 2 2010 11:16 AM EDT

Let's quote various reviews...

...


* Asetek 120mm Liquid Cooling System

"The Asetek Low Cost Liquid Cooling (LCLC) System may resemble other water cooling setups but it provides many features that set it apart from the pack. Asetek has attempted to address nearly all of the traditional disadvantages of water cooling compared to air cooling. It is a completely sealed system, which means it comes completely pre-assembled. This eliminates issues of assembly error and makes installation simpler. A non-toxic, non-flammable liquid and plastic tubing is used in lieu of silicone to eliminate evaporation issues, which means the system will not require refilling, reducing maintenance. This also makes a reservoir unnecessary, which makes the system simpler. To further simplify the system, the pump and cold plate (a.k.a. water block) have been integrated together into a single unit."
___

* ATI Radeon HD 4200 video with VGA, HDMI, and DVI video : cheap as chips, because that's what it is, an INTEGRATED video card

"Fundamentally the architecture of the graphics core itself is pretty similar to the GPU found in the Radeon 3200 [...]the chip now fully supports DirectX 10.1, which is a pretty small incremental improvement over DirectX 10 though, and considering that IGPs [INTEGRATED Graphic Processors] don't have the graphics processing horsepower to run DX10 titles anyway it's probably more of a check mark feature for OEMs than anything else.
The gamer in us though is a bit disappointed in the evolutionary nature side of the 3D graphics engine. The 3D core of the IGP now supports DX10.1, but lets be honest, the Radeon HD 4200 graphics core isn't up to the task of running a DX10 game like Far Cry 2 or Crysis in DX10. For both of these games you're going to need to run the game in DX9 mode at 800x600 or 1024x768 with low detail graphics settings to get acceptable frame rates."
___

* ATI Radeon HD 5450 1GB PCI Express Graphics : around 50$, pretty darn cheap, and you get what you pay for it... but it's still better than an integrated card, if only for the fact it has its own dedicated memory so you don't eat up system memory

"Now that we've seen what the new Radeon HD 5450 can do, we can say that it's certainly the least awe-inspiring Radeon HD 5000-series card we've seen. But this utilitarian model was never designed to inspire. It was designed to work, to offer better-than-integrated graphics performance, to enable Eyefinity for the masses, and to give the HTPC enthusiasts bitstreaming from a passive card. And it does these things on a $50 budget.
The Radeon HD 5450 can offer passable performance in challenging titles at medium to low settings at 1280x1024. At this point, the low-budget gamer has to make a choice: do you opt for the faster card or a slower card that delivers triple-monitor gaming? Is the panoramic desktop experience worth dropping the details in your games? Certainly, games that are easy on the graphics subsystem (World of Warcraft, for example) could work on ATI's Radeon HD 5450 in triple-monitor Eyefinity mode. You don't want to play any graphically-intensive titles with this setup, though."
___

* ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB PCI-Express Graphics Card : around 160$, quite good overall performance and... well, let's see what other people say

"So, whatメs the verdict? Is the Radeon HD 5770 worth paying $160 for amongst $145 Radeon HD 4870s? Is the 1GB Radeon HD 5750 worth its $129 price tag in comparison to the $120 Radeon HD 4770 (with 512MB) or even Nvidiaメs GeForce GTS 250 at a similar price?
In "Crysis" gameplay at 1680x1050 with 4xAA and on high detail settings, the ATI 5770 we are talking about here gets around 35 FPS on average, while the possible competitors look like this : ATI 4870 gets around 38 FPS ; ATI 4770 - 21 FPS ; Nvidia 250 - 28 FPS ; NVidia 260 - 34 FPS.
At idle, the Radeon HD 5770 is rated at just 18W (down from the 5850メs 27W and the 4870メs ravenous 90W). Under load, the Radeon HD 5770 uses just 108W (versus the 5850メs 151W). Granted, the 5770 is a double-slot, full-height card, and it wonメt fit in small HTPC enclosures.
Of course, thereメs an X factor in play: ATIメs value-adds. Eyefinityラthe ability to run three concurrent display outputsラis completely unique at the high-end still. Likewise, the ability to bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA are capabilities previously available through $200+ sound cards. Now you can get that functionality from a DirectX 11 graphics card. Both extras are compelling enough on their own.
With slightly better raw performance than the 5770, ATIメs Radeon HD 4870 remains a decent buy. But paying an extra $15 for Eyefinity (link up to 3 monitors on a single graphics card), bitstreaming, and the promise of DirectX 11 should really be a no-brainer in favor of the 5770."

Sickone July 2 2010 11:28 AM EDT

So if you never ever want to play anything more demanding than WoW (which is by all standards a pretty damn low demands game) and at relatively modest details and resolutions, you could make due even with the integrated 4200.
If you want to be able to play any of the current games smoothly at good detail and resolutions, and to be able to at least try out some of the games that will come out in the next few years (at modest detail and resolutions), I'd strongly recommend the 5770.
If you're hooking up your TV to it, since you'll be limited at a modest resolution (most common one is 1366x768), you'll still want the 5770 for the 4xAA picture quality improvement while maintaining fluid gameplay.

Sickone July 2 2010 11:36 AM EDT

P.P.S. You'll only need a wireless ethernet card for that, and it should cost anywhere between 20$ to 35$, depending on which you pick and where you buy it from.
I would STRONGLY recommend to use a hard-line though for your desktop, for many different reasons, but mostly reliability.
Besides, it's not like you'll be moving the desktop around the house often (or AT ALL), so I don't really see the point in getting a wireless card. Your wireless router should have at least one hardline port anyway, and you have a regular card onboard already. Just set the router on the desktop case or very close by and use a short, dirt-cheap cable.

As for the TV... are you sure it didn't come with the necessary cable already ? Search the old box, you probably just never got it out of it. One should cost under 5$ anyway.

Godpanda July 2 2010 11:38 AM EDT

Well, that was great! Not to say I understand all the finer points, but at least I know what I'm buying. For me, the big thing was being able to play the games I do have at the highest possible graphics/speeds without framerate issues. And it looks like the expensive card is, by far, the best bet for that.

So I'll be going with the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883229196.

I appreciate the help from anyone! I do have two more questions, but they should be simpler:

1) Do I need to buy anything special for THAT PC to connect to an in home Wireless Network?

2) If I do buy a monitor, is there a particularly good brand or something I should be looking for? And is this something even a Best Buy employee could help me with in-store? I'll be okay without any tips here, but I thought I should go ahead and ask.


Thanks again for all the help ^_^ Can't wait to order it next Friday XD

Godpanda July 2 2010 11:40 AM EDT

Ahh.

The router for the house is not even on the same floor as my PC will be on. I'll be moving out soon, so I'm not going to worry about setting up a second hardline. The wireless card will simply be a temporary thing.

As for the TV thing... I don't even know. Maybe? I'll go see if I can find the box!

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] July 2 2010 11:46 AM EDT

I'm with Sick in that buying a 50' cat 5 cable is likely worth the trouble, but if you're dead set against it then buying a USB Wireless adapter is your best option.

I like Samsung's 22" monitor myself, it's certainly worth paying an extra $20-50 for a well branded flat screen.

Sickone July 2 2010 11:57 AM EDT

Talking about ethernet cables...



...welcome to my humble cable hell :)

Godpanda July 9 2010 11:28 AM EDT

Great. The computer got removed the day I go to place the order. Justtttt great.

Demigod July 9 2010 11:56 AM EDT

It's not a big deal. They cycle through similar systems, so you should be able to find one that's quite similar. The one I linked to was very similar to the one Nic bought a few weeks back.
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