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  1. #1
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    Looking For a New Desktop

    So, my current rig is 6 years old, and I haven't upgraded it once in that time. As such, it's starting to show its age, and it seems like most upcoming ("next-gen") titles won't even support my (terrible) graphics card. I figure, then, that it's probably time for me to upgrade. Unfortunately I'm not even remotely tech-savvy, so I've come to you wonderful people looking for some advice.

    Now, I'm looking for a set-up that'll last me for a while. I don't expect it to run new games on max 5 years from now, but if I could potentially ride out this next console generation that'd be great. The main points of confusion that I have are with the CPU and the RAM. I've seen a lot of people say to go for an Intel i5 on the CPU front, as the i7 is more expensive without giving you much extra capability. That being said, I've also read in some places that the i7's multithreading capabilities will probably start to come in handy in the next few years, so it may be a good investment. Of course, there's always AMD's stuff, but I figure that it should be fairly easy to compare one brand to the other once I actually know what level of CPU I'm looking for.

    When it comes to RAM, I know that I'm looking at either 8GB or 16GB. Most people have told me that 8 should be fine, but with the new consoles having much more RAM available to them than the previous generation I worry that it may not be enough in the long term.

    And then, of course, there's the GPU, probably the most important part of the system. In all honesty, I figured I'd just get the best one that could fit into my price bracket, but is there any differences between brands/particular things that I should be looking for?

    I should also note that whatever PC I decide to get, it'll be prebuilt. Yes, building it yourself is better. I know. But I don't have the know-how, patience, or time to do that, and I'll pay the extra for the convenience of having something that will, hopefully, just work out of the box. I'm not sure if that actually effects anything (I'm not looking for specific recommendations for computers, just roughly what specs I should be looking for), but I figured I'd throw it in anyway. As for a budget, I'm looking at around the $1500 (Canadian) range, preferably lower. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I was just going to come in and make a recommendation for a computer table. I'm really out of the loop for hardware atm. 8gb and an SSD will be fine for most Console ports, but if you are install 300 Skyrim mods get 32gb
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  3. #3
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    I think I'll stick to the 8-16gb range; I don't do a ton of modding (at least, not intensive modding) and I generally don't keep a lot of processes going at once.

    In doing some more research it seems that most gaming PCs now are using AMD FX series CPUs instead of Intel's. Is there any reason to go with one over the other, or should I go with whichever presents the better deal?

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    The AMD models are attractive mainly because of price, 8 core pieces are very well priced around $160, and you can go even cheaper for little performance loss in typical applications with the 6 core versions. For gaming, the 6 core and 8 core versions are pretty much comparable.

    The gaming performance is lesser, lose maybe 10 to 20 fps max, depending on the game, compared to the Intel counterparts, in other games there is much lesser framerate loss. Typically doesn't even matter especially if the game is already running well above 60 FPS though.

    The AMD models draw more power in general, about 125 W compared to 90 W on the Intel chips generally. The price savings may, over time, be negligible due to power consumption, especially if you are like me and run the computer 24/7.

    As far as RAM, I think it's best to stick with 2 sticks. So if you are planning to get 16 GB at some point, might as well get it right away unless price is prohibitive. Just get the two sticks and make sure you plug it in dual channel.

    I have 8 GB with a 8320 AMD, works plenty fine for me.
    Last edited by rockman29; 31-03-2014 at 08:28 PM.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Track View Post
    In doing some more research it seems that most gaming PCs now are using AMD FX series CPUs instead of Intel's. Is there any reason to go with one over the other, or should I go with whichever presents the better deal?
    It's usually the other way around, because Intel's processors are quite a bit better for gaming use.

  6. #6
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    That's good to know. Has there been any word on whether games will start recommending 16GB of RAM in the near future? That seems to significantly drive up the price of a computer. Though I suppose it wouldn't be too difficult to just install some more in the future if need be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Track View Post
    That's good to know. Has there been any word on whether games will start recommending 16GB of RAM in the near future? That seems to significantly drive up the price of a computer. Though I suppose it wouldn't be too difficult to just install some more in the future if need be.
    That's what I would suggest you do. Buying more RAM in the future is likely going to be cheaper than buying it now (there are some crazy fluctuations in the price but this will generally be true). Also the advent of consumer DDR4 over the next couple of years will most likely result in the second hand price plumeting.

    Get an i5 and the best GPU you can fit into your budget. I wouldn't recommend spending the extra for a 290X or a 780ti over the normal versions but I don't think you'll be able to fit those in your budget anyway. An i7 will cost too much extra for little benefit and the money would be better spent on the GPU.

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    Would something like this: http://www.futureshop.ca/en-ca/produ...eb2f4b454fen02 be a good investment? The GPU seems to be pretty high end, and the i5 is, I believe, the most capable model in the series. My only worry is that games will start to utilize i7s as a standard, but I'm not sure how likely that is.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Track View Post
    Would something like this: http://www.futureshop.ca/en-ca/produ...eb2f4b454fen02 be a good investment? The GPU seems to be pretty high end, and the i5 is, I believe, the most capable model in the series. My only worry is that games will start to utilize i7s as a standard, but I'm not sure how likely that is.
    • The GPU is ok but not great, it's a last gen model and roughly equivalent, maybe slightly faster than a 760. I woudl be aiming for an NVIDIA 770 or a AMD 280X personally. Anything faster than that might be outside your price range.
    • The PC has 16GB of fairly slow RAM, which is pants. You really want 8GB of 1600Mhz+.
    • No SSD. I would only consider not having an SSD if it means getting a much better GPU and even then I'd be adding one as soon as possible. An SSD is essential in a modern PC IMO.


    I really wouldn't worry about the i5 vs. the i7. There is very little benefit to hyperthreading in games and the only people who can use the extra power are those running multiple GPUs. Also, while the consoles have more cores each core is much slower so a quad-core i5 will have no problem keeping up IMO.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baboonanza View Post
    • The GPU is ok but not great, it's a last gen model
    It's a current-gen model in reality. It uses Kepler and GK104, the same architecture and GPU that you find in the GTX 770 and 760.

    The GTX 760 has a 1152:96:32 configuration, 192 GB/s memory bandwidth, and stock GPU clocks of 980-1033 MHz.
    The GTX 670 has a 1344:112:32 configuration, 192 GB/s memory bandwidth, and stock GPU clocks of 915-980 MHz.

    The memory is a bit slow, which is unfortunate but not really a major problem. More problematic is the unknown power supply. Sure it says 800W, but it's certainly not unheard of for noname 800W power supplies to blow up when you try to draw 400W.

  11. #11
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    I might look at a more "specialty" online retailer like, say, Newegg then. I was worried that a PC might be likely to break during transit, but it seems like the overall quality is much better than what you'd get in a major retail chain.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    Since you are in Canada, I highly recommend TigerDirect.ca or Canadacomputers. More TigerDirect.ca (they also have a few stores in select places). Canada computers I have not been to much though.

    I can also guarantee you for that 1400 CAD price, you are not getting enough bang for your buck with that pre-built machine. I would definitely recommend against that. CAD is my primary currency.

    Go to TigerDirect.ca and Newegg.ca and do some comparison shopping on individual components, also check Amazon.ca.

    Ebates.ca may offer some cash back rewards as well.

    Do NOT forget to check Redflagdeals.com for the best deals. That is truly one of the greatest and most helpful sites for making purchases.

    Would something like this: http://www.futureshop.ca/en-ca/produ...eb2f4b454fen02 be a good investment? The GPU seems to be pretty high end, and the i5 is, I believe, the most capable model in the series. My only worry is that games will start to utilize i7s as a standard, but I'm not sure how likely that is.
    IMO very unlikely. Games aside from ARMA 3 and other choice games hardly make CPUs faint. The consoles are not pushing any boundaries here either, and as we go forward more and more games are multiplatform PC and console releases or indie titles basically... really a good CPU with a strong GPU is the way to go right now IMO.

    I wouldn't be worried at all by going for the i5 over an i7. Gaming performance is essentially comparable between these series except again for games like ARMA 3, or video/music editing and so on. i7 is a work horse for other types of applications that most people, like myself, just don't need.
    Last edited by rockman29; 01-04-2014 at 07:08 PM.

  13. #13
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    Okay, so I'm looking at an i5 now, since the cost savings seems to be worth it for the slight decrease in performance. Right now the two best bets seem to be these two towers from newegg:

    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883227504
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...82E16883229473

    Anyone have any opinions on them?

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Looks like you linked the same system twice?

    Anyway, again the memory is unnecessarily slow. But more importantly, a no-name power supply that could lead to trouble. With a system costing more than $1000 they really shouldn't be cutting corners like that.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    Losing quite a bit of money there simply by buying pre-built still.

    I have the same GPU and 250 GB SSD in my rig, and I bought for 920 USD. Same prices in Canada should be just only slightly more than that.

    The GPU costs ~250 CAD. The CPU ~210 CAD. The rest of the rig together should not put the machine over $1000 CAD.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkura View Post
    Looks like you linked the same system twice?

    Anyway, again the memory is unnecessarily slow. But more importantly, a no-name power supply that could lead to trouble. With a system costing more than $1000 they really shouldn't be cutting corners like that.
    My apologies. The other option was:

    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...82E16883227504

    My issue with building it myself is that I have absolutely zero technological know-how and generally am terrible at putting things together. I've heard that PCs have gotten easier to assemble over the last few years, but it still seems like a lot could go wrong that I wouldn't have any way to deal with.

    EDIT: Adding another wrinkle to the process, I've noticed websites like Newegg offer DIY kits; more expensive then building it yourself from scratch, but less than buying pre-built. Would this maybe provide a good middle ground, or are they not worth it?
    Last edited by Track; 02-04-2014 at 09:53 PM.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus rockman29's Avatar
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    I would bite the bullet and try to build yourself.

    I taught myself from my last desktop, before this one I have now, the second I made.

    There are so many YT guides and help and instructions online or in the official manuals in the products themselves to help you out there is really no excuse not to as long as you are willing to try and be careful the first time.

    The really only singular scary thing the first time is putting the CPU on the mobo, and the fan on that. And once you do that you feel like a boss and the rest is easy, and it only gets better.

    You'll also probably find it's pretty fun DIY too.

    I've advanced from that to fixing my own laptop, an older model. Problem was simply a crappy power jack inside the laptop I found.

    Fixed that myself temporarily (and learned how to take apart my entire laptop in the process) as well and saved myself $120 and $150 crazy people were asking me to do such a simple job. Some even wanted $35 just to LOOK at the laptop XD

    As long as you are careful you will have a bit of headache, but it will turn out well and be fun and you'll save money now and later maybe too :)

    And this is telling you from someone with no formal computer engineering or hardware or computer science background. Takes time but it's worth it in the end.
    Last edited by rockman29; 03-04-2014 at 05:45 AM.

  18. #18
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    Computers are really easy to build nowadays.

    Most, if not all components got markers or wedges on them so you can't place 'em wrong way, and wires quite often follow a complicated procedure of: "6-socket wire end goes to 6-socket slot, 8 goes to 8. I'm a fukken genious!"

    Case, power (you can even buy those 2 bundled really if you want, just check a few reviews or customer feedbacks), Motherboard to build it on, CPU with same socket type (to be fair, also the fan for CPU needs installing), GPU, Memory stick or 2 and a Hard drive. That's an 8 part puzzle to solve.

    If you're really worried, check a few youtube videos or ask a friend who've done it for a cup of coffee and help, it's fast and easy (just don't ask him to then do it all and install all your shit as well =).

    You don't really need to change jumpers anymore on drives or motherboard nor worry about your drives being master or slave.

  19. #19
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    Here are some mid-range desktop under $500 for you, have a look if need

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    I'm thinking I will add my piece here - built a custom desktop a year ago similar in specs to what you consider. Which kind of matches the performance of next gen consoles. I also play on 42' plasma HDTV (1920x1080 res). No game has come close to utilize any of components to its limits. I set up custom component fan control through 'speedfan' to keep it quiet so I know when heat/load goes up through noise level.
    Cost 820 EUR (w/o monitor, external keyboard, headset, joystick) in local market which is more expensive than what you can get in bigger countries (I live in Slovakia).

    Concerning i5 or i7 - I decided to go for i5-3570k. You can overclock if needed, but I wouldn't expect that will be needed. just buy a custom cooler, the one they pack in is loudy. I do think i7 is not necessary - many reviews recommend AMD CPUs for budget gaming which don't come close to i7 performance.

    RAM - 8gb is safe for next couple of years. I think there is only one (or few couple) of games that utilize 8gb, ie have it as recommended specs. And as what rightly said - you can buy it cheaper later if needed. Just pick motherboard with 4 RAM slots and stick 4GB into two of them (faster performance than 1x8GB) and you will have further 2 slots empty. Very easy to add in the future.

    GPU - I have AMD myself (7870) and can't complain a bit. They rebranded it. I think it's the exact of what is in XBoxOne. The most important thing is - what resolution are you going to use in games? 1920x1080 is perfectly doable with this card. if you want to go above that, consider stronger GPU for future proof.

    Building yourself - I am on the same boat - was afraid to build it myself as I have never done it before. Asked a friend who works with computers a bit and did it together. It's not difficult to do that's for sure, however if you come to a problem it will take you time to find the solution (it's not the most intuitive thing to do). Google is your friend as mentioned before. I expect it would take me 4-5 hours on my own as a complete noob.

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