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  1. #1
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    Please help me buy a new PC!

    Hello,

    I have finally made my decision to buy a new desktop PC and would appreciate any suggestions as I have not bought a new system for many years and have no idea what to get!

    My budget is approximately £900.00 although I could go slightly higher for the right system. I have a good monitor so for that price I'd be looking to buy a base unit, mouse and keyboard. I want to use my PC for gaming and, in particular, playing strategy and simulation games which are not available on console. I have a PS3 which I use all the time but I miss my Civilization, Crusader Kings etc and I would really like to benefit from the generally higher quality graphics that the PC provides for multi-platform games. Having said that I don't really care for the latest FPS games so I'm not needing a computer which is absolutely cutting edge. I would like the ability to upgrade in the future rather than being stuck with a unit which I would have to replace wholesale as the years roll by.

    I appreciate that this may increase the price but I would only buy from either an established online retailer like Amazon or a well known chain store, preferably the latter so that I can see my system before I buy it. I live in the UK and should be able to locate all of the major shops in a fairly short distance to me.

    Also, and this is very much an optional extra, I would like a PC which is easy to move and connect. I have a nice TV downstairs and it would be great to be able to easily move my PC from upstairs and connect it to the TV for those evenings when the girlfriend is out for a few hours and I can really settle in for a gaming session! I'd appreciate any advice as to cabling I'd need to buy for this purpose. My TV is an LG 42LM602t if that helps.

    So, please make your recommendations. I will of course be happy to answer any queries that may help to narrow things down.

    Thanks,

    P.S. Windows 8, thoughts?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    Two neat links to get you started.
    Graphic cards
    Cpus.

    With a 900 pound budget, you actually can build a computer that is fairly cutting edge. Just get yourself a 670 and a i5, 8 GB DDR3 ram, and you are basically settled for a long time.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the links. I think my post was perhaps not as clear as it could have been; I'm looking to buy a complete system rather than build my own. Thanks again though.

  4. #4
    Network Hub The Tupper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asokn View Post
    Thanks for the links. I think my post was perhaps not as clear as it could have been; I'm looking to buy a complete system rather than build my own. Thanks again though.
    Where do you live? I know a pretty good independent shop in Glasgow if that's any use.

  5. #5
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    I'm in the Coventry/Birmingham area so a bit of a trek I'm afraid! Thanks though.

    If there are any good deals online or at major retailers I'd be grateful.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Well if you're really hot on this portability thing you could get a mini-ITX build like this Titan Mini 750 from PC Specialist. I'd swap the case to a BitFenix Prodigy (nice handles for carrying it around and it looks sweet), and grab a Geforce GTX 660 (or Radeon HD 7870). The games you mention really wouldn't require more graphics performance than that.
    I'd also swap to the Core i5-3450S and 8 GB Kingston memory.
    That takes the build to around £830, leaving a bit of money for keyboard and mouse.

    As for Windows 8, it doesn't really make any difference for gaming. Get 8 or 7 based on what UI you prefer, basically.

  7. #7
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    That's really helpful, thank you very much. I'll have a play with the options and probably come back with a load of questions! Has anyone used that site before? Any thoughts?

  8. #8
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    Now that I've had a chance to try out a few of the options I have got a few questions:

    1) Are all of the hardware choices on the site compatible or do I have to ensure each chosen component will in fact work with everything else?

    2) Sakkura has suggested the i5 3045s processor, how does this compare to the i5 3570t and 3470t also available? Is it worth paying the extra for an i7 processor?

    3) Is there any difference between the 8gb Samsung RAM and the 8gb Kingston RAM?

    EDIT: I'm also looking at a standard desktop PC rather than a mini PC. There are more options but, when it comes to the CPU, what does Ivy bridge and Sandy bridge mean?
    Last edited by Asokn; 07-01-2013 at 09:02 PM.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    1) Are all of the hardware choices on the site compatible or do I have to ensure each chosen component will in fact work with everything else?
    They do appear to be compatible with each other.

    2) Sakkura has suggested the i5 3045s processor, how does this compare to the i5 3570t and 3470t also available? Is it worth paying the extra for an i7 processor?
    You will most likely never need the i7 for just about any game - the i5s are already faster then any AMD processor so far - as a result, the i7s are waaay overpriced for what they do. As for which processor to pick: The 3470 appears to be a dual core processor - you want a quad core with that budget.
    The S variant of the Core series processors are "Low Power" variants. Less speed, but less power and heat.
    The T Variants are "Ultra low power" variants. Even less speed, also less power and heat.
    There is also a K-variant, which allows for overclocking. If you do not plan to overclock, I suggest that you do not buy this variant.
    I'd say that, if you want to choose, simply go with the i5 quad core (Vital!) variant with the highest clock frequencies, as the processors are identical in every other way.

    3) Is there any difference between the 8gb Samsung RAM and the 8gb Kingston RAM?
    On that website, the Kingstom RAM is the faster variant. Kingston is also quite reliable - I do not know anything about the reliability of Samsung ram. Never used it.

    EDIT: I'm also looking at a standard desktop PC rather than a mini PC. There are more options but, when it comes to the CPU, what does Ivy bridge and Sandy bridge mean?
    Ivy bridge is the upgraded variant of the Sandy Bridge processors. They are identical or slightly faster. They use 22 nanometer transistors, as opposed to the 40nm in the Sandy Bridge. Which means that Ivy Bridge processors are much more power effeciŽnt. They do appear to run slightly warmer, though. I'd pick an Ivy Bridge over a Sandy Bridge because it saves you in the long run.
    Last edited by Grizzly; 08-01-2013 at 10:17 AM.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    For Intel processors, S is for Slow, T is for Terrible. :p

    In a mini-ITX build, a power-saving processor may be a good idea, but no need to go all the way down to the T models. Even a regular processor without the S should be fine. Overclocking, though, is pretty limited due to cooling issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    Ivy bridge is the upgraded variant of the Sandy Bridge processors. They are identical or slightly faster. They use 22 nanometer transistors, as opposed to the 40nm in the Sandy Bridge. Which means that Ivy Bridge processors are much more power effeciŽnt. They do appear to run slightly warmer, though. I'd pick an Ivy Bridge over a Sandy Bridge because it saves you in the long run.
    Yeah, that only matters for serious overclocking though. Ivy Bridge is better in small form factor PCs (as well as laptops) because less cooling is required compared to the performance offered.

    PS: I should mention that you do get somewhat less performance for your money with a small form factor PC like the one I linked. Still much better than a laptop though, and upgradeable (though a little more finicky than a full-size PC).

  11. #11
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    EDIT: I've now had a look at the full sized PC options and have come up with this idea (as an aside is there any way to link to the specific set up I chose rather than having to type out the whole thing?):


    Corsair 200R Gaming Case

    Processor: AMD FX 8350 Eight Core CPU [I have no real idea if this is a good CPU or not, advice please!)

    Motherboard: Asus M5878L-M

    RAM: Kingston 8GB Hyper X Genesis Dual DDR-3

    Graphics Card: 2GB AMD Radeon HD7870

    2TB Hard disk

    24x DVD writer

    450W Quiet 80 PLUS Power supply

    Superquiet AMD CPU Cooler with 2 case fans

    Firewire port, 6 USB ports

    Windows 8

    Logitech MK260 wireless mouse and keyboard combo




    That all comes to exactly £800.00 inclusive of VAT. I was thinking of taking 16GB of RAM as its only £30.00 extra, but would I notice any difference? Could I upgrade later?

    The processor is a bit of a departure from what I was looking at earlier so I would really appreciate any thoughts on it. I'm still unsure as to the best graphics card as well as there are so many options! As per my original post, I have a budget of approximately £900.00 so I'm happy to increase the cost a bit from this initial build but I'm very happy with this price at the moment!

    Finally, does anyone know of a cheap or free alternative to Microsoft Office? I would need to spend nearly £100.00 to get a copy of Office 2010 which I would need to add into my overall price. I will need to use my computer for work which will require being able to read, edit and create Word and Excel documents but I vaguely remember some free alternative (Open Office or something rings a bell) which allows you to do just that. Any ideas?

    Thanks as ever!
    Last edited by Asokn; 08-01-2013 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Found a build!

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    The AMD FX 8350 is a good processor, but only for particular tasks. It has a lot of cores (8) and doesn't cost too much. However, each of its cores is relatively slow, and the processor sucks up a lot of power. Even more so if you overclock it.

    For gaming, you don't really need a lot of cores. 2 is okay, 4 is basically as much as you'll benefit from in most games. You do want those cores to be as fast as possible though.

    So the FX 8350 doesn't really fit the needs of gaming all that well. It's still going to do alright, but a similarly priced Intel processor would be better (= Core i5-3570k, Core i5-3470 etc).
    The motherboard is an older version, so it may not support the newer FX 8350 out of the box. If you buy it in a prebuilt computer the shop would have upgraded the motherboard with a newer BIOS to support the FX 8350 though. Being an older board, it doesn't have the newest and fastest port for hard drives, SATA3. That means the performance of an SSD in that system would be held back a bit.

    8 GB RAM is plenty for gaming. You would not notice any difference with 16 GB. In a full-size desktop it's easy to upgrade later. Or at least replace (adding another 8 GB to it would usually work, but there are no guarantees if the two sets of memory aren't exactly identical).

    A 450W power supply is a bit on the low side for that system.

    As for Office, you can try LibreOffice, a free alternative to MS Office. It's the spiritual successor to Open Office, which was dead for a while but has now been revived under new management, so to speak.

  13. #13
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    The new amd cpus are worthless for gaming.
    Cfr : http://techreport.com/review/23246/i...h-today-cpus/3

    Average framerates don't mean squat when many of the seperate frames take much longer ... you'll get a reading of 60 pfs in fraps but it'll look and feel like 25 fps because of the stutter.

    Seriously, avoid at all costs.
    The old amd phenom II's fare better in gaming than these new abominations.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finicky View Post
    The new amd cpus are worthless for gaming.
    Cfr : http://techreport.com/review/23246/i...h-today-cpus/3

    Average framerates don't mean squat when many of the seperate frames take much longer ... you'll get a reading of 60 pfs in fraps but it'll look and feel like 25 fps because of the stutter.

    Seriously, avoid at all costs.
    The old amd phenom II's fare better in gaming than these new abominations.
    Please stop with the misinformation. That story is from before the FX 8350 was even launched. That's what's really worthless here.
    Last edited by Sakkura; 08-01-2013 at 03:53 PM.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    Basically, the FX8350 is from the new line of "Piledriver" processors which are designed to fix the flaws of the old "Bulldozer" CPUs, which did have quite a few gaming problems.
    However, those problems are now gone, and the FX8350 is atleast a worthy contender.

    But still, I would go for the i5s, for the reasons Sakkura mentioned.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the replies. I was on Amazon earlier and saw this:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lenovo-K410-...cp_computers_0

    I appreciate that it's a much more modest system but it does come with a more modest price. I've been thinking that for the sort of games I'm intending to play, Civilization, Crusader Kings 2, The Sims 3, The Witcher 2 etc, a cheaper system with the capacity to upgrade may be a better idea. Any thoughts?

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with the general idea of going a little cheaper and potentially upgrading later, but that system looks like a poor deal. The graphics card is a step or two lower than what I would consider entry-level gaming hardware. The CPU, RAM, and hard disk are alright, but there's no info on the motherboard or power supply. So you can't really tell how upgradeable the system actually is.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for all the replies. I've decided to put this purchase on ice as I'm finding it impossible to settle on a suitable system.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asokn View Post
    Thanks for all the replies. I've decided to put this purchase on ice as I'm finding it impossible to settle on a suitable system.
    Assuming you didn't just ask the question to send the PC nerds into adulation over the relative merits of components - I think you might find your problem is that you're coming at the problem from the wrong angle.

    If you spend time worrying about getting the absolute best possible system in every possible detail, you will never buy a PC.

    If you start with a budget and try to ram as much into it as possible, you will never buy a PC either.

    Here's how it works - decide what you want your PC to do (if it's play games, which ones - if it's design, what software and so on). What monitor(s) do you have/want to use?? Do you want a fancy sound system or will you play with a headset?? Would you consider part/total self-build or do you want an off-the-shelf system (more expensive, obviously)?

    Once you've established that, people can point you at a system which will achieve that AND which has potential for upgrade in the future.

    You then see if it fits your budget - if it does, whoopee - if it's over, we cut a few corners - if there's cash left to add some gravy.

    THAT is how it works.

    You have to have a solid and objective aim with this stuff - don't just aim at 'tech', you'll get lost...

  20. #20
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    Thanks. I actually think my first post covered those points (except audio but that's hardly why I'm having difficulty!). I appreciate people give their time here freely to help and I hope to read up more and maybe resurrect this thread at a later date.

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