The Battlefield 3 Hardware Post

By Jim Rossignol on October 23rd, 2011 at 2:46 pm.

I AM PLAYING WITH MY TANK.
A few people have been asking about rebuilding PCs for Battlefield 3, so I’ve posted an incredibly basic guide below.

IMPORTANT: If you have never built a PC then this is probably not the time. If you want to try (and it is actually fairly easy) then there’s a guide here.

For most people, however, I would definitely suggest getting a custom desktop PC build from somewhere like here in the UK or here in the US. (I am really not sure where to recommend for North America, so I am just going on recommendations from internet chums.) For PC Specialist in the UK I know stacks of people who have made purchases and been quite happy, so I am comfortable recommending that. Basically look at the specs below and order your PC accordingly.

Here are the recommend tech specs for the game:

OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
RAM: 4GB
Graphics card: DirectX 11 Nvidia or AMD ATI card, Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 or ATI Radeon 6950.
Graphics card memory: 1 GB
Sound card: DirectX compatibl sound card
Hard drive: 15 GB for disc version or 10 GB for digital version

1. The most important thing is probably your graphics card.

The one I am going to recommend is Nvidia’s 560 Ti. We just seem to be getting less issues than with ATi cards, and the Ti version of the 560 is pretty hefty in all regards, which will mean that the real sweet spot for clever graphical features is more obtainable. They’re about $220 or £170, I think.

2. The other performance bottleneck is likely to be your CPU. This is a more complicated issue, because upgrading a CPU will probably mean you need a new motherboard and memory.

Basically the CPU to go for is the Intel i5 2500k. It’s relatively cheap at just over $200, and can be rapidly overclocked in the bios for a bit of extra kick. The issue is, of course, that you will need a socket 1155 motherboard. If you aren’t already on an i5 or better than chances are you won’t have a motherboard that supports it, and that’s a whole other kettle of upgrades. I am not going to go into that here, suffice to say that I am extremely pleased with my full system upgrade based on these sorts of specs, and Battlefield 3 looks pretty good on it.

3. All this is moot if you monitor is nob, like mine.

I am probably going to upgrade to an Iiyama like this one.

4. If you have money to spare then getting an SSD is essential.

I cannot stress how useful making your C: an SSD with Windows and some important apps on it is. You will still need a big fat normal HD to store everything else on, but no single upgrade will improve your general computer-using experience more than this. Not relevant to Battlefield, perhaps, but worth stating.

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178 Comments »

  1. Kebab says:

    Or, jump in the forums and ask me a question. I’ll be glad to help :-) I will try to get in more often from this week.

    Rich @ ASUS.

    I would suggest you need more cost options: budget, optimal and pimped-out. ;-)

    • xavdeman says:

      Finally and article that doesn’t jump on the bandwagon of upgrading CPU’s every few years.
      For gaming this is definitely true: “1. The most important thing is probably your graphics card.”
      I upgraded from an AMD Phenom II X3 720 with 4GB DDR2 to an Intel Core i7 2600K with 8GB DDR3. Difference in games: 0fps.
      I then upgraded from an Geforce GTX280 to a GTX580. Difference in games: BF3 beta at low/medium @ 1920×1200 with competitive fps vs BF3 at ULTRA @ 1920×1200 with competitive FPS.
      The only cases I have seen where the CPU is the bottleneck is when it’s throttling. One of my friends upgraded to a GTX 560 Ti and his FPS was higher, but still pretty low. So I checked with OCCT, and his CPU was throttling because the Intel Stock cooler is a POS with bad mounting mechanisms. Throttling means: back to 800mHz, at which point the CPU DOES become a bottleneck.
      TL;DR: upgrade your GPU first before you even think about any other upgrades. You want better graphics? Get a better graphics card.

    • Kryopsis says:

      I upgraded from an AMD HD6850 to an ASUS GTX 560 DC II OC. My performance in The Witcher 2 went from barely 30 FPS on Medium to 40+ FPS on Ultra. I can actually play Crysis 2 on Ultra and DX11 now, whereas I had to set it to medium settings before and it still wasn’t good enough.

      It is very important to take a look at your power supply before upgrading, though. If you have a stock power supply that came with your case or computer, it may not be powerful enough to run the latest GeForce or Radeon. Just to give you an idea, the ASUS GTX 560 requires at least a 550W PSU with 38A on the 12V. If you are using a stock PSU, you are likely to have 22A or something close to it. Fortunately, you can get a 80 Plus-compliant power supply for under $50.

    • eselinks says:

      Why do they have to make it Quad core the previous games were dual core.
      Im soooo angry.

      http://www.newlyreleasedgamesreview.com

    • Specials4uc3 says:

      True about needing more options, most guides only seem to cover the budget options but I suppose if you really want to invest you can do your own research. As to having a problem with the game requesting a quad core I would say this is probably a little overdue, quad core pc’s have been common for a couple years now and due to the market leading on console we haven’t been able to take advantage of them until now.

    • Kryopsis says:

      It’s not about having more options, though. Say you go on a spending spree and get yourself an SLI or a Crossfire setup. You insert the cards into your computer and damage your hardware because you were running a 350W power supply that came with your Gateway or Dell. You then write angry letters to Jim Rossignol and blame him for giving you bad advice whereas you had no idea that powerful hardware requires better power supplies. I believe that most stores don’t even publish the exact system requirements for video cards.

    • cyb.tachyon says:

      Then again I upgraded my CPU from an Athlon 64 x2 at 3.4 ghz to a core-i5 2500k at 4.0ghz and noticed at least an extra 10FPS on most modern games. It really depends on how old your CPU is, heh. I’d say if you have a Core2Duo or Athlon64x2 or older, it’s about time to upgrade.

  2. Inglourious Badger says:

    Argh, wish everyone would stop reminding me I need a new PC! I’m just going to close my eyes and put my hands over my ears and pretend everything set to ‘low’ is the way Battlefield 3 is meant to be played. Unfortunately my PC’s in a place where no one upgrade will improve things, just shift the bottleneck to another part of the system. If I get an end of year bonus = new PC. That’s a big if in the current financial climate though :(

    On a related note though: If/When I do go new has anyone had experience with DinoPC? My last PC was from PC Specialist who I can also vouch for as awesomes, but DinoPC seem to be even cheaper. Maybe too cheap…?

    • Specials4uc3 says:

      Have you considered building it yourself? It’s pretty fun and it feels really good seeing what kind of performance you can get out of your own home project. I also sell off whatever parts of value I can find in the old hardware to help offset the cost of new upgrades. When I went to my 570s I managed to ship the 260s I was replacing and it payed for one of the cards outright. In fact I sold pretty much everything except HDDs and MB. It’s worth a look on eBay to see what kind of value you can bring in for old stuff, like a rebate on your new stuff.

  3. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    Good advice and true. I would stress that it’s probably worth trying the game out on your current system first – even if you don’t hit the minimum specs, just to see how it runs. If it’s acceptable then you’ve time to save/wait for new hardware releases before springing a not insignificant amount of money.

    As far as targeted upgrades go the GPU is a a winner though, CPU (esp. Intel) upgrades can quickly snowball into an entirely new system.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Clavus says:

    Although a SSD is nice overall upgrade, it won’t improve your gaming experience much. Your load times might drop a bit, that’s about it. Still deserves its place as the 4th recommendation though.

    • Kebab says:

      Maybe not but if you’re buying a new PC you’ll want it extremely nippy, right? I’ve even added an SSD to my work laptop because I couldn’t stand waiting for stuff to load; I would never go back on any of my systems.

      And if you’re playing MP (which everyone probably is) getting into the map first has its benefits. ;-)

    • steviesteveo says:

      The SSD is absolutely something to do after you have upgraded your graphics card but it’s really surprising how nice not waiting so much for loads can be.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Is it better to keep games on the SSD or not?

    • Orija says:

      @hexagon aye, much better loading times.

    • Leelad says:

      If you can afford a few to RAID together then yes. I just did my system drive to a 120gig SSD which is no where near enough to store my nearly full steam drive which clocks in at 320 gig..

      SSD’d have come down lots but they’re still heavy on the “£/$ : GB” ratio.

    • Jake says:

      My SSD (120gig) has just caused me so much bother – at first I tried to keep my latest games on it but it can’t hold very many and splitting Steam games across HDDs or moving them when you don’t play them any more becomes a hassle quickly. In theory it is great but in practise it’s just a nuisance. Now I just have Windows and my apps on it and games on a separate drive, it still seems to get full all the time but it does certainly make apps load faster. I really think I have wasted more time moving files around than it has saved me by cutting down load times though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      I’m always amazed that people don’t have the patience to wait for the at most 20 second load times that the most demanding of games take to load from a hard drive. The vast majority of games don’t even take much more than 5 seconds.

    • dsi1 says:

      Having an SSD seems to be one of those things where you can’t see why you ever liked the old way, like Win7 vs XP.

    • Jake says:

      I just don’t understand how you are supposed to use one for gaming when they can only hold a few games at a time. My Steam folder is about 400gig and not all my games are installed. I would much rather have my games installed on a slow drive than have to either swap them between drives when I want to install a new one or only have a handful installed at once.

    • Premium User Badge

      samsharp99 says:

      I use an SSD for my OS and Steam install and I have a couple of 1Tb drives for all my storage. I install games to the SSD and then when I don’t play them as often I move them to the 1Tb drive and use junctions in Windows 7 to link them back to my steam folder. Only takes a handful of mouse clicks using something like ‘Link Shell Extension’ or ‘Junction Link Magic’.

      Get the games you play most often to load quickest, but still have them available to play if you need to free up space on the SSD.

    • cyb.tachyon says:

      Try steammover, I use it to move the one or two Steam games I’m playing from the storage drive to the SSD: http://www.traynier.com/software/steammover

      Just remember to move stuff back over if there’s a patch that requires running a process to apply, as some commercial patcher apps don’t like junctions.

    • utzel says:

      Most games probably don’t benefit much from the SSD, as long as you’re not bothered by a few seconds more loading. But when the game is constantly streaming new stuff it helps, e.g. in Arma 2: I don’t think there really is a measurable difference in fps, but overall it’s smoother without tiny lockups and the LODs load faster if the rest of the system is up to speed.

  5. nirs says:

    i have played on ultra settings during the beta with 560TI, and amd x4 3,5GHz.

    • Premium User Badge

      Clavus says:

      The Beta was locked on medium settings, so going to high or ultra didn’t make a difference. Your computer will still bleed if you go ultra on the retail version.

    • Doesn'tmeananything says:

      The beta actually lacked just some of the shinier ultra settings, with most of the stuff that will be available in the release version already there. Still, systems that even surpass a bit the recommended settings had some trouble running the game absolutely smoothly. And everything to the max would definitely require a second graphics card.

    • eselinks says:

      Why do they have to make it Quad core the previous games were dual core.

      http://www.newlyreleasedgamesreview.com

    • nirs says:

      oh .. tho i must say i was more than pleased with how it looked and worked during the beta, so i assume i will be happy on th erelease copy aswell.

    • Hellrz6666 says:

      u should know that graphics settings are lowered in bf3 multiplayer, so u wont see any big difference between beta graphics and the full game

      singleplayer is another story and will most likely need 2 gtx 580 to run at Max settings @ dx11 @ 1080p

    • cavalier says:

      I use a quad core AMD too. AMD Phenom 955. Coupled with my 560 I am able to run the game on Ultra at a good FPS (can’t remember exactly what it is i am at work right now but it was over 40 easily) This is on the retail release on single player. will have to wait and see how it is in MP.

      It is true that it is not as good as the i5, but if you are on a budget you can get one for half the price of an i5.

  6. Trans says:

    I just bought the MSI 560ti Frozr, and it’s ok. But I have had a couple of stability issues and game crashes, particularly since updating the drivers to the nVidia BF3 Beta driver.

    For the monitor I got a Dell with 2048×1156 with an IPS panel and it is absolutely fantastic.

    And I completely agree with the SSD, though again I know someone who has been plagued with problems with the Vertex 3, so maybe go for the cheaper 2E instead. If you go for the Vertex 3 remember to flash the firmware as this solved most of my friends issues.

    One more thing that made a difference to the gaming “experience” was buying a decent soundcard and 5.1 speaker set. I was surprised by how much more realistic the gunfire sounds… and being able to hear people creep up on you is handy in BC2 ;)

  7. Orija says:

    I would highly recommend the Dell U2311H for the monitor.

    • Ravenger says:

      This is a very good recommendation for a very important reason – that monitor uses an IPS panel which has much, much more accurate colour than the cheap TN panels used in the majority of PC monitors, and has a very wide viewing angles.

      After changing to an IPS panel monitor some time ago, I could never go back. What particually irritates me about TN panels is the way the entire screen changes brightess when you lean back. The main reason I’ve not gone 3D on my PC is all the 3D monitors I’ve experienced are TN panels with poor viewing angles, and terrible colour accuracy.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Absolutely. Great colours and lighting, regardless of what angle you’re looking at it from. Also worthwhile if you do any photo editing

    • Premium User Badge

      hexapodium says:

      I have been using a 2209WA (also Dell, also IPS) for a couple of years now, and also cannot recommend it highly enough. The response time on their Ultrasharp panels is fine these days (I think it’s about 5-8ms real-world, rather than the 3-6ms on a TN panel), and they look so much better in every other regard. Nice when you want to get some work done, too.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      When shopping for a new flat monitor, remember to look at the refresh rates! If these are high, it means the screen might lag for graphics intensive tasks.

      My current monitor, a Benq G2222HDL, has a refresh rate of 5 ms, which is okay. My last one, a Samsung 940BF, had 2 ms…

    • Inph says:

      While I would recommend the Dell U2311H, it’s not an IPS panel, it’s an ‘e-IPS’ panel. It has only 6bit per colour rather than 8bit per colour, so it’s similar to TN panels in that respect. However, viewing angles are pretty good, and the colour accuracy is still pretty good considering it’s not a true colour panel.

      See this review for more info: http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2311h.htm

    • Kadayi says:

      Yeah go for that one instead Jim. The U range Dells are rocking it at the moment. Get the 2311 or the 2410 (if you’re a 16:10 fan). Iiyama are decent, but the U Dells are tasty.

    • Ravenger says:

      Even though it’s not true 8-bit colour, the actual colour accuracy is miles ahead of any TN panel. I’ve got the 2209WA, the first E-IPS panel monitor that Dell produced, and the image quality and vlewing angles have to be seen to be believed. Get one and you won’t be able to tolerate a TN panel screen again.

      Another very important factor – which is of direct relevance to gaming – is the very low input lag. This can be pretty high on some monitors, but these dell E-IPS panel screens have very low input lag, making them ideal for multiplayer gaming.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      The U2311H is pretty hard to get hands on in the UK now (aside from some silver ones left at amazon). I bought a U2312HM (this year’s model) and it’s awesome :). Input lag measured on the two reviews I’ve read at a tiny 0.5ms!!!

    • Muzman says:

      roryok says:
      I’m seeing 24″ monitors for around €160 in PC world that seem ok (good contrast ratio, 2ms response time). However, they also have a pretty sweet 27″ Samsung LED TV for €300 (max 1080p) and a few lesser 32″ models.

      Someone explained it to me once, and I forget exactly why, but you don’t really need a response time faster than 5ms. Just on raw numbers it is loads for a 60hz unit (not sure about 120hz). Plus there’s a tendency to think that number tells you whether or not the thing ghosts or twitches among other problems, which isn’t true. There were even reasons to think that below 4hz is actually too fast and libel to make things worse in certain situations, but I forget why. It’s not much of an indicator of quality is the thing though.

  8. bit_crusherrr says:

    I wish I could find a decent new Core 2 Quad to replace my E8400. Really can’t afford a new mobo and RAM and I’m starting to feel I need a quad core.

    Anyone know of a good Core 2 Quad they still make thats better than a E8400?

    • Starky says:

      Honestly just pick up a second hand Q6600 (Must be a G0 stepping one!) on ebay or something – you’ll be able to get one for 30-40 quid, and if you add a decent cooler (£20 coolermaster – which should carry over to your next build too) you can easily over clock it to 3Ghz (they can go much higher, but 3ghz is easy for almost anyone).

      Which is all you need for gaming because your graphics card will be the bottleneck unless you a really high end SLI setup.

      Disclaimer though, for many older games it won’t be any faster (as they won’t use the extra cores) – hell your E8400 would actually be faster overclocked to say 3.6 Ghz than a q6600 – but for general computing and games that properly support quad core the difference is huge.

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      I know it wont be better for older games but to be honest 3ghz would be more than enough for most older ones. I don’t like the idea of buying stuff second hand though that’s my only barrier.

    • Tyrmot says:

      I had a E8500 so was looking at this same question for a while (just upgraded whole thing instead though – went with 2500K as above, it is unbelievable how easily that thing overclocks) – but anyway, if you really want to just drop in a replacement CPU then the Q9650 is the top-end for the 775 socket so you’d be looking at one of those, or possibly a Q9550. As above, buy a nice CPU cooler to go with an apply an OC to it too. I don’t think you’ll have much luck without buying second-hand though – the new ones go for so much these days you may as well just replace everything instead.

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      I think I might just save and get an i5 etc. Everything in PC ran the BF3 beta looking pretty so It should do till I can scratch together some dosh.

  9. westyfield says:

    Upgrade for BF3? Pah! I shall wait until next year, and upgrade for ArmA3!

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      +1 to this. I was turned off BF3 the moment I heard you needed to set it up with an Origin account. I’m not going to capitulate to EA’s idiocy on this one.

      ArmA3 will probably need heftier hardware anyway, especially if I try to run it at my LCD’s native 2560×1440 resolution. If BF3′s adequately on sale by then, well …

    • westyfield says:

      Oh, I’ll be playing BF3 as well. I just don’t see the point (nor do I have the money) of upgrading now when I’d need to upgrade next year anyway. Might as well wait and either save some money or get better components.

    • utzel says:

      I am waiting, too. Hopefully it will be next year. Maybe I will still upgrade when the new generation of graphics cards is out though, 200% resolution here I come :D

  10. CaspianRoach says:

    Why would you want a 24″ monitor I have no idea. You’ll have to turn you head to see the other end of it and your computer will run the games slower at these monstrous resolutions.

    • Kebab says:

      Maybe a 30 but not a 24. It’s a lovely res! You quickly get used to having it fill your vision. :D

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Bigger than 24″ is definitely too big, but 24″ is big enough.

    • Trans says:

      Mine was a tad more expensive but has the same aspect ratio at 2048×1156 but on a 23″ screen. Here. I think any bigger and it might feel a bit wrong.

    • Paul says:

      Nonsense, even 30″ is nice and can be used to. I am using 24″ NEC (utterly fantastic) for about 2 years, and it feels small to me. In fact, PC connected to 50″ TV = win. :)

    • CaspianRoach says:

      Why not just hook it to the plasma TV then?

      Youth these days with their big flat screens… In my days we had round 13″ CRT with a darkening ‘protective’ thingie over the screen AND WE LIKED IT

    • Trans says:

      @ Caspian – your lucky, in my day we had a microwave that Mum stuck a pretty picture to, and changed once every few days :D

    • westyfield says:

      Surely it depends on how close to the screen you sit. At home I was very close to my monitor, whereas here (uni accommodation) the shape of the desk means it’s twice as far away, and consequently my 17″ monitor seems a bit small.

    • The Tupper says:

      @ Trans

      Microwaves? Luxury.

      In my day we had to have v-synched images scratched onto our eyes with a rusty nail.

    • The Tupper says:

      Mrs The Tupper has just told me that 24 inches should be enough for anyone.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      Also, 640K of memory should be enough for anyone.

    • Manac0r says:

      I have to disgree. 30inch monitors are awesome if you have the work space. Do you tilt and crain your head when playing on a big T.V? Of course not, and niether will you on a big monitor. The only real problem is running games at native res (2560 x 1600) requires a bit of horse power. SLI/Crossfire is essential when gaming on such a big monitor/s. Once you get use to a bigger screen smaller monitors seem a little ‘off’.

    • The Tupper says:

      Doubly so for Mrs The Tupper. Her ability to recall past indiscretions is troubling.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      @Manac0r
      I do if I sit close enough. Here’s the question though: if you have to sit at a distance where it isn’t needed to tilt your head anyway isn’t it a financially superior decision to just buy a smaller screen and place it a tad closer to you?

    • Muzman says:

      “Enough” is a fairly hard thing to pin down. I do know that my 27″ screen is frikkin awesome. I wonder how I did without it. You really want to play these body aware FP games on something like that if you can, oho yes.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      What kind of ridiculous post is this? Why would you want a bigger screen? I don’t know. Because there’s better resolution on them, like mine, a 27″ 2560×1440 monitor, that is like 2 monitors in one. It’s useful for so many things. Games look great, and it runs faster than for instance the linked monitor.

      24″ was just too small, with too small a resolution. If you can’t figure out how to look at such a monitor, you are sitting too close to the one you have.

    • Trans says:

      @ Tupper – lmao, I’m not even going to try beating that. I simply don’t have the imagination!

    • Premium User Badge

      Christian says:

      For work, I’d go with anything >30″ anytime. But for gaming, 24″ is definitely exactly right. Remember though, a normal person does have quite some peripheral vision..so I wouldn’t mind going larger that 24″.

      Just take care to get one with 16:10..as you missing quite some vertical space with 16:9 (I never quite understood this 16:9 nonsense for monitors other than to the panel-manufacturer’s advantage..)..

    • zind says:

      I’m running on a 27.5″ monitor at 1920×1200 resolution, and if you say that that’s too big then I regret to inform you that you are objectively incorrect. :p

    • Zyrxil says:

      If you’re upgrading your system for gaming I don’t see why you would be buying a non-120hz 3d monitor. You don’t have to be using it for 3d for the 120hz refresh rate to have an impact. Upgrading from a non 1080p monitor to a 1080p monitor seems like a waste of cash. It’d be like upgrading form a GTX560 to a GTX580.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      I recently (earlier this year) jumped from a 19″ CRT at my preferred resolution of 1280×960, to a 27″ IPS LED-backlit LCD at 2560×1440. Ohhhh boyyyy was that a nice upgrade.

      Honestly, the only reason not to go bigger (no matter what you have) is because it requires beefier video cards to power that many pixels. No matter what, you’ll still have better pixel resolution and everything will look shaper and more awesome. If it’s too big for your field of view, you just move it back. (If your desk was designed to hold a CRT, you’ll have lots of room to move an LCD further back.)

      I played Mass Effect 1 on my new rig (extremely late), and even with its lack of anti-aliasing, everything looked snazzy because I’ve just got so many pixels packed in to the screen that it doesn’t much matter.

    • The Tupper says:

      @Trans

      For what it’s worth me and the good Mrs The Tupper had a chuckle at your original post. I doff my overpriced virtual hat in your direction.

    • Muzman says:

      Wisq says:
      Honestly, the only reason not to go bigger (no matter what you have) is because it requires beefier video cards to power that many pixels.

      Wellll and the fact they can cost quite a bit more for a good one.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I play on my 32 inch TV whenever I can. Although it’s only at 1080p, I find it more than acceptable. In fact I’m finding I have to play games at 720p mostly to keep an acceptable framerate. Just bought a 6870 which will hopefully fix that issue though.

      If I turn down the resolution on my monitor to get better performance it looks terrible. But if I turn down the resolution on my TV it looks ok for some reason.

      In response to above as well, there is also the issue of space. For my desktop I wouldn’t be able to fit anything bigger than a 24 inch in my house, for my tv 32 inch is the biggest I could fit.

    • Derppy says:

      2560×1440 is amazing, been using it a couple of months now. Wouldn’t go back to 1920×1200 I had before this.

      I’d rather have 2560×1600, because I think 16:10 is slighly better aspect ratio, but price difference between cheapest 1440p and 1600p monitors is huge. Got Hazro HZ27WC for £440 (IPS-panel with 6ms response time) and 1600p monitors cost double the price at that point.

      I think the height in 1440p and 1600p monitors is pretty optimal and width is certainly not too big. I’d go for 7680×1440 eyefinity-setup, but it would probably take like 4k to build a rig that could run games smoothly at that resolution and some silly quadfire-solutions with overclocking would only cause problems.

      All I hope is that 2500K/2x HD6950 is enought to run BF3 at 1440p on even nearly the advertised quality at 60FPS.

    • roryok says:

      exactly the issue I was wondering about. I’m currently using a 19″ monitor that maxes out at 1440×900 so I’m looking at upgrading.

      I’m seeing 24″ monitors for around €160 in PC world that seem ok (good contrast ratio, 2ms response time). However, they also have a pretty sweet 27″ Samsung LED TV for €300 (max 1080p) and a few lesser 32″ models.

      The monitor does higher resolutions, but my graphics card will choke if I push it higher than 1080p, and honestly why would I want to? I’ll hardly see the difference… but 24″ is quite big, and half the price.

      Bit of a dilemma…

    • Fatrat says:

      I have a 22″ monitor and a 37″ TV. The jump to the big screen as my main one took a week or two to get used to, but it’s fine now. Everything looks great. I think 32″ would be the sweet spot for me though, overall. My desk is fairly deep so i’m sat back about 4-5 feet from it..

    • Zyrxil says:

      @ DrGonzo

      If I turn down the resolution on my monitor to get better performance it looks terrible. But if I turn down the resolution on my TV it looks ok for some reason.

      Are you using your GPU’s scalar? Look it up; your monitor will be seeing a native resolution output, though your video card will be doing upscaling before the signal gets to the monitor.

  11. Orija says:

    What is you guys’ opinion on the Sapphire 6950 Toxic, apparently these ones can be unlocked to 6970 settings by flipping the BIOS switch?

    I would get the gtx570 in a heartbeat but the low vram (1GB) bothers me, given the fact that I’ll be gaming at HD.

    • Starky says:

      1GB is enough Vram for any single monitor resolution in any game for the foreseeable future – so short of a triple display setup using 30 inch monitors you’ll be fine.

      It will certainly be enough for any game you want to play in the viable lifetime of that card anyway.

  12. Paul says:

    Good guide. Guess what PC components I bought 8 months ago?

    Core i5 2500K (overclocked it to 4ghz)
    MSI GTX560Ti TwinFrozr2
    4gigs 1600mhz RAM
    Gigabyte P67 GD65 mobo

    Serves me extremely well. 100% stable, all games incl. Rage work without issues…
    So, post seconded.

    • JellyD says:

      Almost the same here. Upgraded about 1 month ago now.
      Core i5 2500k oced to 4,5ghz
      same MSI twinfrozr2 oc
      8gb of corsair vengence ram
      and a gigabyte z68 board

      But also works like a dream.

  13. The Tupper says:

    Jim: it’s Sunday and you should not be working. Stack your pipe and put your feet up;.

  14. Premium User Badge

    LarsBR says:

    Memory is ridiculously cheap, get 8 GB with your 64-bit winders while you’re at it.

    Also, saying building your own PC is easy is slightly disingenuous. It’s easy to put the bits together, but oh boy, if something is wrong it can be quite a task to locate and fix it.

    My latest box was badly unstable – I booted up a memtest86 CD and it found bad memory – then I had to locate which of the four sticks was bad. This fixed, my box was still unstable (BSODs, freezes). Let’s just say that updating the firmware on the SSD was not my first idea… Been rock-solid since.

    • Premium User Badge

      Christian says:

      Lars..that’s a thing I don’t really get. While I agree “bigger is better” in most cases..for gaming anything >4GB seems wasted.

      You need some spare memory (maybe 1,5 GB?) for Windows to run, sure. But you’re playing only 1 game at a time and most games these days are still 32bit so won’t use more than 2GB anyway..and multi-threading doesn’t seem at a stage where games spawn more than 1 thread yet..

      So I’m really curious if that makes any kind of difference except for the bragging rights?

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      One, memory is faster than hard drives. Yes, even SSDs (though it’s a smaller gap there). Your computer automatically uses any spare memory to cache the files you’ve recently accessed on the disk. You know how most games these days are about 5 gigs because that’s the size of a DVD? Well, if the game itself plus the OS is only taking up about 3 or 4 gigs to run, that leaves you with 4 or 5 — which means you can pretty much have the entire game cached in memory once the assets have been loaded once.

      Two, avoiding swap. Windows is particularly bad about managing memory, and will tend to put stuff into swap (paging) a lot sooner than a more reasonable OS would. This starts to slow down loading because it’s using the hard drive when it doesn’t need to be. With 8 GB, you can very reasonably just turn off swap completely — something I would recommend against on a sensibly-managed OS like Linux, but Windows just isn’t good if you give it any swap space.

      Three, memory leaks. Where a game starts to expand as you play it and never really levels out. I’ve seen this most with games like Oblivion, but also a little with Dragon Age too. The longer you play it, the more memory it takes, and 8 GB will buy you more time between restarts.

      Four, it’s way cheaper than an SSD and gives you a lot of the same benefits (per above). We’re talking as low as $50 for the whole set if you find a good deal. It won’t help with first-time load time (still has to go to disk), but it helps avoid loading again, and avoiding the OS trying to page stuff to disk.

      Five, it’s almost always best to overspec your RAM, again for all the above reasons — cheap, highly beneficial. I was using 4 GB when the norm was 1 or 2 GB, and loving it. Now I’m using 8 GB when the norm is 4 GB for gaming, and again loving it. Everything is just smoother with 8 GB, and I’m always among the first handful of people to load that next map in multiplayer, etc.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Both of you are correct though. If you are on a tight budget, there isn’t any point in going over 6gb I think. But at the same time, RAM is really cheap so if you aren’t you may as well stick 16gigs in there.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      The other reason is that dropping an extra 4 gigs in later is quite often a pain in the arse if a year or two has passed, as getting matching sticks at that point is not always easy, and if you can’t you will be buying larger sticks and chucking out 2 perfectly good smaller ones. In my mind it’s always best to get as much as is sensibly affordable from day one, or buy the second kit as soon after as you can afford it.

    • Jake says:

      I would suggest getting more than 4gig RAM as well. I bought 4 myself when I got my machine a year or so ago as I had heard that it was more than enough. It’s not. It’s noticeable with heavy Windows use, especially with memory leaks (ESPECIALLY in Firefox) and using lots of apps, but recently I also found it a problem running huge maps in Company of Heroes – the map would take so long to load that the game timed out and kicked me. I’m upgrading to 16gig now.

  15. Alexander Norris says:

    Jim: could you please link to a guide on how to overclock the 2500k? :(

    • JellyD says:

      If you do a little google search im sure you´ll find something.
      But oc´ing the sandy bridges is really easy. What you want to do is go to the bios and increase multiplier. Thats it. When you´re done with that check if it boots into windows and stresstest. Keep an eye on the temps that they don´t go above 70C for a nice 24/7 oc. If it fails the stability test you can try increasing the cpu voltage. That can increase stability. But do keep an eye on temps as raising the voltage increases temps a lot.

  16. Inigo says:

    I bought an ATI since the drivers actually let you play games more than 8 years old.
    And also because I couldn’t care less about BF3.

  17. aircool says:

    Spent decades building PC’s, but these days, the cost of a custom build (I got mine from Scan) where you can have total peace of mind with regards to reliability is worth it. We’re talking about as little as 5-10% more than the individual parts in many cases.

    • DrGonzo says:

      If you look at their daily offers for pick up only you can get them even cheaper. Obviously that’s a bit inconvenient though.

  18. Jimbo says:

    Why is it probably not the time to build a PC if you haven’t before?

    And getting an SSD is absolutely not essential.

    • Outright Villainy says:

      Yeah, I was wondering that too. I built my first pc just last month and it was… fine. As long as you read up on enough guides, and don’t put the processor on backwards or something it’s pretty difficult to go wrong. It is risky if something is DOA, since diagnosing from a new system is a bitch, but it’s a small enough risk.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      1. Because if you fuck it up and your PC is broken when you want to play Battlefield 3, you will be seriously pissed off.

      2. Yes it is.

    • Jimbo says:

      I can’t think of any scenario where the lack of an SSD will prevent you doing whatever it is you’re trying to do. I have one, and it’s nice to have, but it’s quite blatantly a luxury component.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I completely agree. If you have the money for one they are great. But if you are trying to keep costs as low as possible an SSD won’t allow you to play anything you couldn’t before, or turn on any extra wizzy features.

      I just upgraded my processor for less than an SSD, some of us are working on teeny tiny budgets.

    • Shortwave says:

      I get right annoyed when my power-house computer is waiting for my 7200rpm drive, the end.

      I ordered a 200 dollar 128gb Sata III Crutial the other day and I won’t be looking back.
      : )

      PS.
      I broke my back for two days to get it. : P

  19. sparna says:

    Crap it, posted in the wrong thread first…..iBuyPower has had a LOT of problems with customer service, shoddy build quality, completely wrong parts, etc in the past. The one to use for custom builds in NA seems to be this – http://www.ecollegepc.com/

  20. Mctittles says:

    SSD…
    I just went and bought 4 HDD drives and put them in a RAID 0. Much faster read AND write times at a fraction of the cost with tons more storage :)

    • Premium User Badge

      LarsBR says:

      With the added benefit being four times as likely to lose four times as much data.

      (And it’s not faster than an SSD.)

    • Mctittles says:

      (And it’s not faster than an SSD.)
      You have supporting data for this or just going off hype?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Have you used a good SSD? RAID0 gives you decent throughput, but not access time.

      Check any benchmarks you like. Spinning platters are inherently slow.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      You won’t have tons more performance. You will however have tons more heat, noise and powerusage.
      A SSD has near 0 seektime. It can handle hundreds of times more I/O operation pr. second compared to a mechanical drive. and it handles simultaneous read/write far better as well. No, you bought the cat in the bag with that setup…

    • Premium User Badge

      Christian says:

      Yeah…I agree on the warnings concerning data-loss after having lost all of my data using a RAID0 with 2HDD a few years back.
      So make sure you have backups of everything.

    • killmachine says:

      my opinion about ssd is that they are not worth the money. how long does it take programs to start with a hdd and what benefit does a ssd give you? maybe 2 seconds? not worth it imho. i would take the cash and spend it on hdd’s and put them in a raid for extra speed or i put it into a new graphics card.

      i spent like 200 euros for a 120gig ssd. sure, windows boots in less than a minute, but what do i care? i should have used the money for a gtx 560ti that costs just as much. or save it and buy a high end card like a 570 or even 580.

      if i could travel back in time i would not buy a ssd. just my opinion.

    • mad monkey says:

      I’ve recently bit the bullet and bought an SSD. 96GB of somewhat mediocre (at least for a SSD) performance for a rather reasonable (at least for a SSD) price. It’s such an extreme difference — I really don’t want to go back anymore. I’ve got it in a laptop and things just open more or less instantly. It’s quite an improvement for work flow and just general joy of using the laptop!

      (it cost me slightly more than a 100 Euro — but that’s also about as much as i’d pay. 150-300 Euro for 120gb is really not good value, i think)

    • Mctittles says:

      I see. All I know is that at the time I built my pc I did tons of research on SSD and HDD drives and at the time SSD offered only a slight advantage in speed but also consistently showed slower WRITE speed than a single HDD. This could have very well changed since then if they improved on the SSD tech.

      The most important computer part for me is the motherboard, which I made sure to get one that has good performance in RAID and low latency. I know notoriously slow loading programs like photoshop boot up in seconds for me and I can run games better with a lesser graphics card than friends with better cards without my setup. I’m happy with the results but perhaps SSD has gone a long ways since the couple years ago I built my pc.

      And yes, I have a fifth larger HDD for backup up my RAID.

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      Seeing as how the best SSDs you can get have sequential read/write speeds of over 800mb/sec, you’re going to need rather a lot of drives to get anywhere near that. Compared to even the best and most expensive mechanical drives a semi cheap SSD soars upwards with its read/write performance, immediately, after the tiny file sizes. So, sure, you can get decent write and read performance with a huge raid array, but you increase dataloss and failure chance, have way more heat and a high latency compared to the single SSD. 120gb for regular usage is like 150 euro these days. Combine with a modern 2TB storage drive and you’re good to go with a smooth sailing experience that’s just not anywhere near what you get with mechanical drives.

    • vagabond says:

      I had an SSD, and I got sick of my OS becoming corrupt and needing repairs/reinstall; so I replaced it with 3 x 2Tb WD Caviar Blacks in a striped RAID array.
      Sure, it’s not as fast as the SSD, but the load times are still pretty fast, and I have 6 Tb of disk that fast for less than the cost of a single 200Gb SSD.

      It hasn’t failed me once so far. I only have 3 times the risk of failure if you assume that platter based disks are just as likely to have issues as SSDs which in my experience is simply not the case. Besides, if you’re that concerned about keeping your hard disk alive, you should be running a mirror pair or RAID 5 anyway.

    • Zyrxil says:

      What does an SSD have to do with not needing OS reinstalls? You’ve got a problem other than your hard drive if your stuff keeps getting corrupted. I have never ever had to reinstall an OS due to data corruption.

    • NateN34 says:

      Oh, your 4 hard drives can read at speeds of 515 MB/s like my SSD?

      Would take your 5 or 6 hard drives to even reach my SINGLE SSD read speeds bro.

  21. Cruyelo says:

    1) Nvidia had more problems than Ati in the beta. A lot more. (Even tho they should do better, “the way its meant to be played and all”)
    This is probably gonna be fine with new drivers, but the ones they made for the Beta were quite simple horrible.
    2) If you have extra cash I would easily go for a stronger GPU instead of a SSD.
    A 560ti is strong, but with just a little bit more power you could go with either higher resolutions (if your monitor support it) or anti-aliasing.
    Battlefield 3 uses a serious amount of vram on higher settings, getting a card with 2gb wouldn’t be a waste.
    A slightly better Nvidia card or a 6950 radeon would be great.

  22. phenom_x8 says:

    I just didnt know why my old Athlon X2 processor dying yesterday! Its make me so sad!
    But then I realise that Battlefield 3 is waiting on the horizon!
    Sudddenly, I say thanks to God for giving me a reason to upgrade my old compatriot so that it will be able to play Battlefield 3 ! Ha.. ha.. Hardware hunting time!!!

  23. Manac0r says:

    The beta did run at a constant 60 even with 3 x 580′s in the system. I’m hoping that was optimization issues. For an FPS 60fps is crucial for me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Christian says:

      Hmmm..that sounds disappointing. Wouldn’t you have expected something more along the line of >100 fps with that kind of overkill?

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      Vsync is a horrible optimization issue :p

    • exenter says:

      Vertical sync without tripple buffering enabled does that. Try disabling VSync.

    • MattM says:

      I have a suspicion he meant to write didn’t instead of did. Also, 3x 580s have got to put out a huge amount of heat.

    • exenter says:

      Then I guess he has to wait for proper drivers that optimizes SLI for BF3.

  24. alilsneaky says:

    Really, an SSD recommendation for video games? It has zero use once you start up the game.

    Also you recommend people upgrade to a 2500k, with no extra information?
    How about mentioning that many of the ‘cheaper’ intel 1155 mobos won’t allow you to actually OC that 2500k? And telling them which models they should get?

    How about mentioning that anyone who already has a decent quad core or any phenom II tri or quad core is already more than set on the CPU side for this game?

    What a poorly thought out article.

    Oh yeah and while the 560TI is a fine card performance/price wise (considering the poor value ALL cards give right now), its 1GB vram will bottleneck it to uselessness in future games.
    It already does in a few games if you play in 1920×1200 or higher or like to use fanmade texture packs.

    I made the mistake of buying a 512MB hd4870 3 years ago when people were also ignoring the vram bottleneck thanks to all the console ports. It’s sad to see nvidia putting out 1GB versions of their current low-mid range cards to pinch a few pennies.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      You right, I should have mentioned somewhere that it was a basic article, or that selecting the right motherboard wasn’t something I was getting into here.

      Also there are a bunch of 2gb 560Ti models on the market.

    • Outright Villainy says:

      The 2gig really is overkill for a single card though. A recent article on Tom’s hardware did a comparison of the 2 gig reference 6950 vs the 1 gig models, and in every case, the 1 gig models did better, due to being clocked higher or whatever.
      http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6950-1gb-benchmark,3041.html

      Keep in mind the 6950 actually benches higher than the 560Ti.

      The memory didn’t even come close to being a bottleneck, even on giant resolutions. So if you’re looking for a single card, then 1 gig is plenty.

      That said, using Crossfire or SLI down the road, it will be a bottleneck in future games, though it’s debateable whether it’d even be that bad, and whether that’d do you until it’s time to upgrade to a good single card again.

  25. The Tupper says:

    I had a Iiyama 19 inch CRT monitor that I used for nine years before it gave up the ghost. I still miss it – best bit of kit I’ve ever owned.

    • Navagon says:

      Visionmaster Pro 454? I had one of those. Bloody brilliant.

    • The Tupper says:

      Can’t recall the model precisely but it was awesome. There’s a natural analogue smoothing of images on CRT displays that I’ve never found on any modern screen.

      Perhaps it’s just my poor eyesight through rose-tinted spectacles, but I don’t think so.

  26. JimmyJazz says:

    man, I just installed a GTX 550 Ti, I mean its not as good but its almost as good.

    What luck.

  27. Scroll says:

    I found the 560ti ran the beta rather well at 1920 x 1200 all within the Medium/high range but I think my Q660 probably held me back a bit.

    Overall it runs very nicely. I’d love to know how Sword of the stars 2 will run next week on my system but I’m sure it won’t be quite as demanding as this.

  28. Tiax says:

    Hehe, that’s *exactly* my configuration, 560Ti, 2500K, 24′ iiyama, SSD.

    Great minds think alike, I’d say. <3

  29. Fwiffo says:

    The 560 ti twin frozr is a great little card. It’s being snatched up by the bucketload with good reason, it’s great value and overclocks well.

  30. WhatKateDoes says:

    I have a 4 yr old quadcore intel thingmabob 2.4ghz@3.2 w/ 4gb ram, and an asus p5 motherboard (the only bit I can properly remember lol) – and it runs everything just fine, tho I just bought a Radeon 6870, partially for BF3, but mainly for eyefinity, which I love – flying choppas in Bad Company 2 got a whole lot more joyous (see myself as Meg Ryans character in “courage under fire” !) – tho I have no such misconceptions about running BF3 across 3 screens @ 5040×1050 !

  31. Bishop99999999 says:

    Gah! I hate these articles. I want to build a mothership when I get back from deployment, but I seriously can’t friggen tell where to start. Are techniques for building computers changing drastically, or is it just the shiny bits and pieces that I plug in?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Just the parts. It’s the same old Lego if you know what goes where.

    • suibhne says:

      I’ve been building my own Windows gaming rigs for about 10 years, and the process hasn’t really changed at all.

      Well, scratch that – the software side has changed a fair bit. You’ll have to get used to installing Windows 7 and futzing around with a current BIOS. But the physical act of assembling the components isn’t any different. If you’ve done it before, it’s just a matter of following slightly different directions now.

    • MattM says:

      I think building and overclocking have gotten simpler than they were10 years ago. Power requirements are higher (esp. for GPU), but heatsink and fan technology have gotten better. When I was building my system the most helpful thing was reading through the system builder marathon series on Tom’s Hardware as it gave me a starting point for picking components. When it was time to assemble, sites like toms and guru3d had pretty good guides.

  32. Premium User Badge

    Sinomatic says:

    I’ve used pcspecialist in the past and they were great, but my last pc (bought in January) was from chillblast.com. Been really pleased with it, particularly as it came with a 2 year warranty included in the price (though they’ve changed the website since and it makes no mention of the warranty, so you’d have to ask them if it’s still in place I suppose). There *was* a strange issue with my rig after I bought it, but they whisked it back in to take a look, no questions asked, so I can certainly say the service was good in my experience.

    Anyway, just thought I’d mention it as another option if you’re in the UK/EU.

  33. Arclight says:

    There should really be mention of cases and cooling. All the fancy bits in the world won’t do you any good if the thing shuts down from overheating every 15mins.

    I’d really recommend getting an after-market cooler for the CPU, investing in a proper case and preferably a graphics card with a custom cooler.

  34. Premium User Badge

    Sinomatic says:

    Testing testing (think my comments keep disappearing).

    Also, are SSDs really worth the money for what you get in terms of space? For the sake of waiting a handful of seconds for something to load, it seems a bit frivolous (then again I’m poor and it wasn’t even an option for me)

    • Premium User Badge

      PoulWrist says:

      It’s not so much waiting as it is everything just being way more smooth. Best upgrade I made on the hardware level in a long time.

  35. mad monkey says:

    I haven’t had a proper desktop in ages, but would still like to play addictive shiny new games (skyrim, i’m looking at you). I like small (13.3-14), powerful systems with long battery times and these things have mostly been abysmally expensive thus far, but the new ultrabooks are shaking the market up a bit — except that they won’t have dedicated graphic cards. The Asus timelinex laptops seem to have similar specs + a graphics card? It’s a GT540 with 2gb of vram. Is that any good for gaming? Is it sustainable? Are there any alternatives in the sub-15” market available or coming?

  36. Premium User Badge

    Chaz says:

    Personally I’d swap the VA flat panel you linked to for an IPS one such as this http://www.ebuyer.com/261362-lg-ips231p-bn-tft-lcd-led-23-dvi-d-monitor-ips231p-bn

    • Premium User Badge

      jaheira says:

      I just bought this exact monitor. It’s beautiful and cheap. Recommended.

  37. Hensler says:

    I ran the alpha and beta decently for Battlefield 3. Think I’m going to put off updating until ARMA III ships, we should see some decent hardware jumps between then and now. Likely go with one of the new Nvidia 3d setups then, too.

  38. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    I already have a pretty nice computer, but I’m thinking of overclocking for some extra oomph, any advice for how I do that, and if I need to get extra cooling?

    I have an AMD Phenom II X4 955 3,2GHz and a Gigabyte Radeon HD6850 OC 1GB.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Some motherboards offer an auto overclock feature. You can ask it to give you 10% or whatever. You should always go for better cooling if you want to overclock however, but adequate cooling is always going to be cheaper than upgrading.

    • GODZiGGA says:

      You should be able to get your x4 955 up to 3.7 GHz – 3.9 GHz on stock cooling. Obviously each individual processor is different but 3.7 GHz would be a good place to start and ratchet it up from there to find your max.

  39. dejoh says:

    If I can run Rage with no problems,(stuning graphics) do you think I’m good to go with BF3?

    • DrGonzo says:

      What are your specs? As a rough estimate a quad core and a fairly recent gpu, for example an AMD 5850 or an Nvidia 460 upwards, should do the trick.

  40. DrGonzo says:

    I wouldn’t recommend a 560ti at 220 quid when I just picked up a 6870 for 130, the performance difference is fairly negligible considering the price difference.

    Also, the i5s are fantastic. But if you are on a budget, the AMDs give you equivalent performance at lower cost with the option to upgrade without changing motherboards in the future, just make sure you pick up an AM3+.

    Ultimately, you should find the best performing kit at your price range rather than being loyal to a brand I feel. Still, I like having hardware advice on here especially in your more casual style free of graphs, keep up the good work!

  41. buzzmong says:

    I’m just waiting on ASUS to finalise a new bios update (they’ve got a beta set out) and add the new AMD chips that launched last week to the roster.

    Once I can upgrade my CPU I’ll be in an acceptable position for Skyriming and Battlefielding.

  42. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    Both the processor and CPU are almost one year old.

    I want to upgrade but I have the feeling that I’d already be running a generation behind.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      If you want a new processor you could get the new AMD Bulldozer, but seeing as it’s not as good as the year old i5 2500K, and nothing else new is out this year your point is moot.

      Sure, if you have the money a 570/580/590 is going to be better that the 560, but for 4 times the cost for a 590, the money really is the issue there.

  43. Jabberslops says:

    During the Beta I was running in windowed mode with my desktop set to 1920×1080 with all settings maxed available in beta and was getting 40-50fps and on lowest settings I was getting 50-70fps (which honestly looked better than bad company 2 on low). The beta ran very well on my Q6600 OC’ed to 3Ghz and MSI Cyclone GTX 460 1GB.

    I always play at 1920×1080 and only use max settings in singleplayer. I see no reason to have super awesome graphics when playing multiplayer as it only distracts me with the annoying washed out lighting and other graphics effects that add noting to the “fun” in Bad company 2 and many other games. Only exception is having shadows on high setting if I can get 50-60fps.

  44. Syra says:

    digital foundry did a full on article about this this week..

  45. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    The monitor linked is really slow. It could suffer from ghosting and other problems with moving pictures.

    As for BF3 beta performance, it’s important to note that the visual options were pretty truncated. There were a lot of the really expensive features that were completely disabled; like parallax/normalmapping/tesselation, none of that was in that client.

    • Shortwave says:

      This. ^

      7ms response time is TERRIBLE for gaming.
      5ms is do-able but pretty hard on my eyes I find these days.
      You really want a nice 2-5ms response time more or less.
      Just trying to help.

  46. Fatrat says:

    This might give people an idea of good builds for different budgets. This link is the mainstream one, but they also have ‘budget’ and ‘high-end’ sections if you mouse over the “Do It Yourself” menu section.

    http://www.hardware-revolution.com/mainstream-gaming-pc-august-2011/

    A couple of months out of date, but a good starting point.

  47. Bfox says:

    The SSD is a nice upgrade for non gaming activities on the PC so far from what I’ve used, really not as important as a good CPU/GPU for gaming.

    But if you are getting an SSD stay the fuck away from the OCZ Vertex 2 drives, I’ve had to get this drive replaced three times after dying :/

    Actually I’d stay away from OCZ in general, returning the drives hasn’t been cheap as they wanted me to mail a tracked package to the Netherlands each time!!

    • Shortwave says:

      Yea’ I read a billion reviews on various SSDs and they were shite.

      I think so far what seems to be the most reliable is Crucial.
      Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5″ 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
      With a 5 egg rating on newegg.ca with 145 reviews.
      Very few failure reports and most bad ratings are likely user error.
      Just ordered it!
      /me fingers crossed

    • suibhne says:

      SSDs using the newest SandForce controller have been having lots of BSOD and other issues. SandForce and OCZ claim there’s a fixed firmware, as of a few days ago, but only OCZ has released it so far (due to their close relationship with SF) and I’ve seen a few mixed reports about results.

      Crucial’s M4 drives don’t suffer from this problem, and they’re relatively inexpensive. The most reliable SSDs still seem to be Intel’s drives, but they’re LOTS of money. Crucial’s a perfectly good consumer-level choice, but keep an eye out – they make M4 drives as well as SandForce drives, so you have to choose carefully.

  48. Shooop says:

    nVidia has a whole website’s worth of game settings tweaks/explanations/hardware recommendations.

    http://www.geforce.com/Optimize/Guides/battlefield-3-beta-performance-guide
    Ultra settings are not recommend if you have anything less than a GTX 580.

    They also cover The Witcher 2, Rage, and more.

  49. Meathead says:

    Nice article, your reccomendations almost mirror my new system, except I went with a 1GB 6950 instead of the nvidia card.

    As others have mentioned you should have put some info about motherboards so you can actually benefit from buying the 2500k processor, even if it’s a simple one liner about “make sure you buy a z68 motherboard with this chip”.

    To all the people hating on SSDs for gaming, you are foolish! My SSD meant I loaded into the BF3 beta before everyone else and always got to steal the jet/tank! Hopefully they’ll add longer game start timers so all you ghetto people with mechanical drives still have a chance.

  50. nafe says:

    For people wanting a nice and easy way to put together a PC and get some decent prices:

    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/

    Discovered it a few days ago and it’s really jolly handy. Makes putting a machine together very straight forward and finding out what’s available is a piece of cake.