Buying a comp (in Off-topic)

Soxjr July 23 2011 11:04 PM EDT

I have 850 bucks to buy a new comp.. I need the best thing I can get.. I want good graphics, good upgrade potential and overall good gaming experience.. Please help. I am so lost.

I have been looking at the intel i5 and i7 and amd quad core and just have no idea what I should get and which graphics card I should get. Ram is ok at 4 megs as long as it can be upgraded higher at a later time....

So basically I am looking for something 850 or lower that will game good out of the box and I can upgrade as I need to... either better graphics card in a month with more money or more ram.. stuff like that. I would also like a good sized hard drive.. like a 1 TB or 750 meg or something like that...


AdminTal Destra July 24 2011 1:21 AM EDT

Ram is ok at 4 megs as long as it can be upgraded higher at a later time....

hope you meant 4 gigs

Soxjr July 24 2011 2:49 AM EDT

yes 4 gigs. lol oops

Soxjr July 24 2011 5:40 AM EDT

I was asked and should have said this in my first post.. I am looking for a desktop. thanks for any help. :)

Quyen July 24 2011 1:53 PM EDT

desktop = more power for the same price as a laptop <3
a selfbuilt mostly saves the most cash to throw into your PC again.
just a Note :)

QBPit Spawn [Abyssal Specters] July 24 2011 4:10 PM EDT

Do you need a monitor too?

Soxjr July 24 2011 4:39 PM EDT

No I do not need a monitor also. I will use the one I have and buy a new monitor later.

Sickone July 24 2011 5:21 PM EDT

A couple of questions first.

Do you have any preference between INTEL/AMD or NVIDIA/ATI(now also AMD) ?
You seem to not care much about the CPU, but what about the video card ?
For the same price, ATI/AMD cards are better at certain games and math-oriented computations (Bitcoins, for instance), but NVIDIA has PhysX support and are better at other games.

Do you want to bother with SLI/Crossfire mode, or do you prefer a single graphics card ?
Dual GPU configs are usually cheaper at the same total performance***, but not all games can take full advantage of them (some not at all), and the drivers/settings can get a bit iffy.
*** Note : JUST FOR THE CARDS (but needed motherboards/PSUs are more expensive, so initial investment is usually a wash).
Alternatively, do you want to go single graphics card now, but with future SLI/Crossfire support for when you decide to buy a second identical graphics card ?

Would you consider a SSD or do you want to limit yourself to HDDs only ?
SSD advantages are much faster boot times, much more responsive system and (for games/apps installed on them) excellent load time performance. Once you go SSD, it's hard to get used to HDD performance levels again.
SSD disadvantages are far, FAR higher price per GB (so you have to get a much smaller SSD, preferably alongside a larger HDD, not instead of it), and they have a quite limited lifetime (under normal usage conditions, on average, 5 years until they start croaking).
If you go with a very small SSD (just enough for the OS and usual apps plus one or max two games), that could be a decent compromise - but you'll have to be careful what you choose to install on it, least you run out of space fast (also, move the swap file away from it to enhance average lifetime).

Last but not least, what exactly do you mean by "good upgrade potential", other than SLI/Crossfire mode ?
You seldom ever upgrade the CPU (since you usually need a new motherboard for the newer CPUs, and the newer CPUs for the older motherboard are quite poor in terms of price/performance since they know they can charge more, because you don't want to pay to switch the MoBo), and once you do change the MoBo, you'll also probably want to upgrade the RAM (faster speed, more of it), and before you know it, more than half the machine has changed, so you might as well bought a brand new one instead.

Soxjr July 24 2011 5:24 PM EDT

Ok. Sickone. Most of that didn't make any sense at all. I would probably want a set up that is easy to control. So single card and the games I have been playing are League of Legends and I used to play world of warcraft, but my comp can't play WoW anymore it is just too bad and even with setting on LoL turned all the way down I still can sometimes lag and go to 4 fps. I don't care about intel Amd, or what type of brand of graphics card. I pretty much just want the best I can get for 850 or less. :) Thanks for any help.

QBPit Spawn [Abyssal Specters] July 24 2011 5:49 PM EDT

Sickone July 24 2011 6:08 PM EDT

Here's a sampling of what you COULD get...

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
135 USD

ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX
8x/8x PCI-E SLI/Crossfire mode, max 16GB RAM dual channel DDR3 1800(OC)
90 USD

EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
30+A PSU recommended, factory overclock close to a GeForce GTX 480 which costs 300+ USD
235 USD (and a 25 USD mail-in rebate, for 210 USD)

16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series @1333, 7-7-7-21 timing, 1.5V "eco mode"
180 USD

300GB 10000 RPM Western Digital VelociRaptor 16MB Cache, SATA-II
140 USD (for OS/games/apps)
2TB Western Digital Caviar Green 64MB Cache, SATA-II
80 USD (for storage)

OCZ ZX Series 850W Fully-Modular
single 70 Ampere rail, 4 x 6+2-Pin connectors
170 USD

= 865 USD

You can "recycle" your old PC case and optical drive, those are not THAT important. At least not for now.

If it's too expensive, you can "dial back" the memory from 16 to 8 gigabytes - not like you'd need even 8, but, hey, why not.
Alternatively, you can look at ATI video cards, but they won't be much cheaper for similar performance. Although, you do get a wider selection to pick from, so you could pick something cheaper with more memory, but that would only be useful in case you want to play on three or more full high definition monitors at once. If you only have one full high definition monitor, or maybe even two, the 1 GB on the NVIDIA card should be sufficient even at high anti-aliasing modes.

That power source sure does look like overkill, but it should easily handle a second identical video card, in fact, it should handle two stronger video cards, if need be, and should stay with you for a very, very long time.

The "OS" drive also looks like overkill, and costs a lot of cash... but a SSD costs even more, and that's the best rotating platter drive money can buy right now. 300 GB should be more than sufficient for OS + all applications + plenty of games, and some place to spare too.
The second drive, you know, why not. It's dirt cheap space. No point cluttering your fast drive with music and movies and other similar things.

The motherboard is not exactly the greatest, but quite frankly, you don't need more than that.
The processor should be sufficient to not become a bottleneck even if you add a second identical video card in there.

Yes, it is a bit over your listed budget while leaving some things out (the case and the optical drive), but for some components, you just don't want to sacrifice.

Sickone July 24 2011 6:14 PM EDT

Just saw your mention of single video card.
Then you can dial back the power source details.

OCZ ZS Series 550W, Active PFC
38A single rail, 1 x 6-Pin, 1 x 6+2-Pin connectors
80 USD, with 20 USD mail-in rebate for 60 USD total

That should bring you below your target budget.

Soxjr July 24 2011 9:17 PM EDT

Ok. I can build myself, and nothing really can be salvaged.. This comp was bought the day vista came out. It is what 6 years old or 5 years old. It is a pentium 4 duel core. The reason I said what I did, was if I can buy something that is 400 to 500 and can upgrade slowly over time to make it a 800 to 1k machine I would rather do that. I just have to make sure the machine has upgrade potential. Yes for start I just want a machine to play League of Legends at full graphics upgrade and still have great fps and visual. I want upgrade potential to play better games and stuff later, but for starters that is what I am looking for thanks.

Sickone July 24 2011 9:35 PM EDT

After having a tiny chatmail exchange, here's also a "budget" version which should be able to easily play WoW/LoL (i.e. noticeably above recommended specifications for both):

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6790 1GB

AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0GHz

ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard (PCI-E 1x16, 1x4)

1TB 7200 RMP Western Digital Caviar Blue, 32MB Cache

4GB (2 x 2GB) G.SKILL ECO Series DDR3@1333 8-8-8-24-2N timings, 1.35V

550W Active PFC Power Supply

Total = 425 USD or thereabouts.


Add another 45$ or so if you also want to buy a fresh case and optical drive.

That power source has some degree of active power protection and enough power connectors to not need adapters for the video card, plus enough power to run everything with a little bit to spare (but not much).

I have reduced the processor and motherboard, since you're only going to use a single video card.
4 GB for memory should also be quite enough.

The hard disk drive is somewhere in between - it's not a large slow one, nor a small fast one, and to be honest, it's quite a good deal overall. Besides, you didn't ask for more than 1TB anyway.

The video card is not quite as strong as the first I listed, but it's noticeably cheaper and should be far more than needed for either of the games you listed you want to play.

Sickone July 24 2011 9:42 PM EDT

To be honest, there's no point in upgrading much, other than adding more RAM, more HDD space or a second videocard for SLI/Crossfire.

By the time you want to upgrade, all the components are morally old, and you'd be better off getting a brand new machine altogether.
In about 2 years, most components get either 3-4 times cheaper (for same performance/capacity) or 3-4 times faster/larger (for same price).
In 3 years, any motherboard you buy is likely to no longer get better processors in the lineup, and the entry-level new CPU motherboards make a full replace cheaper than an upgrade anyway.

The only things you're likely to keep from build to build would be the case/fans and (if you got a good one) maybe the powersource too.

Soxjr July 24 2011 11:21 PM EDT

Ok. I added a case, dvd player, and the windows 7 operating system, because I don't have any disks.

Total price came up to 633.91 and will get a 10$ mail in rebate. Not bad for everything. Thanks a lot everyone.

Soxjr July 25 2011 2:25 AM EDT

I'm so nervous. I just purchased the comp. Now to wait till it gets here, and then have to put it together. lol

AdminQBVerifex July 25 2011 5:26 AM EDT

Dang, I was going to chime in, but looks like sickone and others have got you taken care of. Good items too. I think Intel I7 cpus are the fastest as of now, who knows what AMD's next chip will be like though.

Sickone July 25 2011 7:16 AM EDT

Fastest, yeah... but you're also running at 300 USD for an i7+mobo, and that's not even the "highest end" of it - you can easily drop over 500$ on a top tier i7 CPU plus corresponding MoBo.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] July 25 2011 9:05 AM EDT

$300, try $1000.

Sickone July 28 2011 11:25 PM EDT

So, it's been almost 4 days, haven't your machine's parts arrived yet ?

Soxjr July 29 2011 8:19 AM EDT

Got everything. Put it together. Been downloading things and I am super happy with everything. Only problem was a few wires from the power supply weren't long enough so bought a couple extenders. I also had to buy a 4 prong to sata power converter thing ... but those 3 parts cost me about 20 bucks and everything is running great.

The first test was on League of Legends. I went from 4 fps lagging, and max of about 15 to 20 on my old system with everything on low to 60 fps with everything on max. It's great. I totally love it. Thanks sickone.

Sickone July 29 2011 2:15 PM EDT

My pleasure ;)

Soxjr July 29 2011 5:14 PM EDT

My only problem right now is a small vibration ... I am not sure if it is from the heat sink fan or the graphics card fan, or the front fan. It is a little noisy.. The fan part, but not terrible, but the vibration makes me nervous. I will take the side panel off after I move and try to find out which part is vibrating to see if I can stop it. Other than that I am super duper happy. :)
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