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  1. #1

    Asking for help in buying a new machine

    I am currently trying to play the current best games out there for PC's on a machine that from the looks of the software install dates in my control panel was probably turned on in my home for the first time July of 2011.

    I currently have:
    an HP with Windows 7, 9 GB of RAM assuming DDR3, but not sure, Intel Core i7 2600 CPU @ 3.40 GHz 3.40 GHz, 64 bit operating system. My video card is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti. My hard drive is about 1.5 TB. My monitor is about a year old (the one that I use mainly anyway), and I use DSL through CenturyLink.

    I noticed some very serious graphical display problems about a week ago when I had restarted Starcraft 2 after hearing about Blizzard offering Heart of the Swarm for $20 USD now, and so wanted to get back into the game.

    Also, I quit WoW in July, and turned my attention more towards Hearthstone and Diablo 3 for the time being, and those three games were playing almost 100% okay on this machine.

    Well, tonight I looked at HP and Dell and was not impressed with HP's gaming machine as compared to Dell's Alienware. But there seem to be problems with Dell's machine too.

    First of all, the machine that had what I think I need for a new machine to be good for another 3 years was roughly $1500. $500 more than I wanted to spend, although I could be okay with $1200. The other problems are that for $1500, you don't even get more than roughly the same hard drive as I have now in terms of space, a 4.0 GHz processor, which makes me wonder if it's even that big of a step up. You also get an Nvidia card that seems a little lame for the price. A GTX 760.

    And for software, I've always thought Office is a little overpriced, but does anyone have any opinions about McAfee vs Norton?

    I have had Norton for years and love their product, and way back when I had McAfee it was a total hog. The salesman told me that McAfee was bought by Intel, which I didn't know, and that it runs like Norton now, where you only notice that you have an antivirus if there's an issue it detects or if you run a scan, which any sensible person does when they're not going to be using the machine anyways.

    Thanks for all the advice you wonderful people will give me.

    Cletusfactor

  2. #2
    Activated Node JimBob's Avatar
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    Your present PC is obviously fine, unless you have cash to burn or offload, and you can find a new home for your current build. Why not wait another two years? I am only upgrading my 2009 PC now with a E8400! (it is slow as hell but the graphics card is a 560ti, so the CPU is a huge bottleneck).

    Most of the big antivirus programs are also fine. If you have Norton, stick with that. McAfee is also.... fine. There are lots of reviews but the differences are not large. However, corporate antivirus programs are generally slimmer and without bling, and I always use whatever is going at work or uni/school if possible

    Office is office. OpenOffice is more than enough for general work. But I write for a living and I only use Office 2010.

    Lastly, don't take advice from sales people at face value, who are looking for commissions. Of course they will say upgrade, and use this instead of that. Forums are better for clear, if somewhat abrupt tips and advice.

    If you really really want to upgrade something as a treat, then an SSD will always make a big difference, like night and day, but you must do a complete reinstall of your OS.

  3. #3
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    I agree almost entirely with JimBob.

    I noticed some very serious graphical display problems
    This seems to be your only complaint with your current machine. Can you describe those problems? Unless it's framerate, a new machine probably isn't necessary. Then either, for that matter. However, it wouldn't be surprising if your video card's fan is starting to fail after about 3 years.

    Re: antivirus: It certainly depends on one's habits, but AV software has pained me more than any malware ever has, and AV is the least effective that it has ever been. I test all questionable downloads with VirusTotal and skip traditional AV. If you download a lot of questionable stuff-- well, I can see how that would become impractical. I also have zero problems with OpenOffice. But it's not like I'm making any PowerPoint presentations.

  4. #4
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    Your current PC is actually still pretty decent, the CPU and RAM are still good, but there are 3 things you could do that would make a world of difference:

    1 - Get an SSD. Look at the Crucial MX100 128GB/256GB for massive bang-to-buck or the more expensive Samsung EVO for a bit more performance.
    2- New GPU, your current one is fairly weak. This mainly depends on how much money you want to spend but I would suggest at least an AMD 270X or Nvidia 760. There are some cracking deals on 280Xs as well. You need to check the length of card you can fit in the case and the power of the PSU before buying though.
    3- Get a good cooler and overclock the CPU. You need to check that you have an unlocked CPU before doing this though, just go into the BIOS and if you can change the BLCK multiplier then you are good to go.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cletusfactor View Post
    First of all, the machine that had what I think I need for a new machine to be good for another 3 years was roughly $1500. $500 more than I wanted to spend, although I could be okay with $1200. The other problems are that for $1500, you don't even get more than roughly the same hard drive as I have now in terms of space, a 4.0 GHz processor, which makes me wonder if it's even that big of a step up. You also get an Nvidia card that seems a little lame for the price. A GTX 760.

    And for software, I've always thought Office is a little overpriced, but does anyone have any opinions about McAfee vs Norton?
    You can't really use the clocks to compare processors, unless they use the exact same architecture. It's like comparing car engines by RPM.

    As for antivirus, McAfee and Norton are both terrible. Kaspersky and Avira are among the better choices. Nowadays a lot of people rely on simply antivirus like Microsoft Security Essentials.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    Re: antivirus: It certainly depends on one's habits, but AV software has pained me more than any malware ever has, and AV is the least effective that it has ever been. I test all questionable downloads with VirusTotal and skip traditional AV. If you download a lot of questionable stuff-- well, I can see how that would become impractical. I also have zero problems with OpenOffice. But it's not like I'm making any PowerPoint presentations.
    These days LibreOffice is a better choice than OpenOffice. Oracle messed up the original OpenOffice project, so most of the people working on it moved to LibreOffice.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by baboonanza View Post
    Your current PC is actually still pretty decent, the CPU and RAM are still good, but there are 3 things you could do that would make a world of difference:

    1 - Get an SSD. Look at the Crucial MX100 128GB/256GB for massive bang-to-buck or the more expensive Samsung EVO for a bit more performance.
    2- New GPU, your current one is fairly weak. This mainly depends on how much money you want to spend but I would suggest at least an AMD 270X or Nvidia 760. There are some cracking deals on 280Xs as well. You need to check the length of card you can fit in the case and the power of the PSU before buying though.
    3- Get a good cooler and overclock the CPU. You need to check that you have an unlocked CPU before doing this though, just go into the BIOS and if you can change the BLCK multiplier then you are good to go.
    Sound advice. I concur. Try to wring out as much as you can out of that CPU and RAM. Then get a new GPU, and if you care about load times, get an SSD. That'd be the most straight forward way to improve your PC's gaming performance, for the games you play.

  8. #8
    Activated Node Samsonite's Avatar
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    I am sure/hope things are different now, but a few years back I bought an HP laptop with Norton pre-installed and the machine ran like turd. I took Norton off and it was fast - the software seemed to kill the HDD - it took me quite a lot of investigation to work out that Norton was the issue. This was quite a while back, but once bitten - twice shy. I also avoid McAfee for similar reasons although they both must be ok now?! I use MS Security Essentials as it seems to work as well with a small footprint. Having tested out the detection capabilities, I found that pretty much all antivirus software detected the same stuff. I also found Avira was one of the better ones.

    Your machine should be more than enough for gaming - you could get a slightly better graphics card to improve performance but your CPU and memory look ample in theory. Your machine is not much different to mine, I just have a slightly better graphics card and 3 SSD drives - all games run at 1080p at max detail, so I would imagine you can get similar with some wise upgrades (e.g. new graphics and some SSD love).

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