I want a new gaming PC

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Sam
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I want a new gaming PC

Postby Sam » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:27 pm

Hey guys, after reading Rob's thread on RTS games, I'm up for this and may even persuade me to get my broadband connected at home...but first, I need a new PC if some of the newer games are played. My PC is an athlon 3200 iirc with some graphics card which i can't remember. It plays BF2 ok, but not supreme commander.

I'm really out of touch with the current state of PCs, buy how much would a PC cost that would be 'reasonable' and does anyone have any recommended builds? And no, I'm not buying from overclockers.co.uk...
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby Davetoast » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:41 pm

Depends what you mean by reasonable. If you want something that will play Crysis at reasonable frame rates, you'll need to spend upwards of £1300, more like £1600 to do it properly. If you want a dx10 machine that'll play most things, you can probably do it for less than a grand. COH is quite demanding graphically, IIRC.

Tell me what you want it to do and I'll give you a spec.
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby JamesHBeard » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:45 pm

PC ZONE Specced up a PC capable of playing Crysis on mid level settings for £300.. I was impressed..

So.. as always.. what is the budget you have?
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby Davetoast » Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:21 pm

There's no point in playing Crysis on mid settings unless you have to. The whole idea is that it THE benchmark for gaming machines at the moment, obviously maxxed out.

I'm in the process of doing it myself Jimbo and have been for months. If you want something in the low-end cutting edge category, that'll play Crysis maxxed out at about 45 FPS, you'll need to spend at least £1500 for a dual 3870x2 set up, as I'm doing.

Of course if cutting edge doesn't matter to you then you can spend whatever the hell you like on a PC. But if you want it dx10 compliant and capable of high resolutions, look to be spending up to a grand.
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby Robert Swift » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:06 pm

Come back Saaaaaam!
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby Tripod » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:17 am

Davetoast wrote:There's no point in playing Crysis on mid settings unless you have to. The whole idea is that it THE benchmark for gaming machines at the moment, obviously maxxed out.


That's the whole idea behind Crysis? I thought it was just a computer game while in fact, there are even benchmark programs around if you really need such a thing. And I don't get why all the details need to be maxxed out, either. I haven't see the game in action but I'm told it looks great at medium settings. Sorry, but I really see no reason to spend so much money just on a computer, even if you want to play the latest games - you can get the previous generation (high-end PC 12 months ago) for a fraction of the price and it'd run most games at the highest settings and if not, then you just scale them down a bit. Plus Sam wasn't talking about Crysis anyway, all he wrote was...

after reading Rob's thread on RTS games, I'm up for this and may even persuade me to get my broadband connected at home...but first, I need a new PC if some of the newer games are played.


Anyway, Sam.

My PC is an athlon 3200 iirc with some graphics card which i can't remember. It plays BF2 ok, but not supreme commander.


Would be good if you remember your gfx card. Maybe you don't even need to upgrade at all or maybe just double your Ram. Because Supreme Commander is an unfortunate pick. Again, I have never played it, but I did read it has silly hardware requirements, maybe it's just sloppily programmed. Read this about it, for example:

http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=620

I'd get broadband first, you'll love it, but it obviously doesn't require a high-end PC. If you still want to buy a new PC, I can make some recommendations. But I have written about it before, I put together a nice low/medium budget gaming PC a year ago costing less than 500 Pounds and it plays games like Company of Heroes (or Bioshock) at max settings just fine.
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby alkis21 » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:30 am

Tripod wrote:
Davetoast wrote:There's no point in playing Crysis on mid settings unless you have to. The whole idea is that it THE benchmark for gaming machines at the moment, obviously maxxed out.


That's the whole idea behind Crysis? I thought it was just a computer game while in fact, there are even benchmark programs around if you really need such a thing. And I don't get why all the details need to be maxxed out, either.


I could be wrong as this kind of game is not my cup of tea, but I think what Mark is trying to say is that Crysis, when you get down to it, is nothing more than just another FPS in terms of playability. The only reason one would buy it would be to admire its breath taking graphics in full detail.
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby Tripod » Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:14 am

I just don't think it's worth spending that much money to do so. And I'll even admit I get a kick out of state-of-the-art game graphics, but I can spend the extra 1000 Pounds we're talking about in many better ways. Plus you can still go and buy and enjoy Crysis once you have a PC to run it, only if you buy it a year later it'll cost you a third of the price. And from the screenshots I've seen when the detail settings of Crysis were discussed it does look awesome even on medium settings, having them maxed out only adds a small extra eyecandy. There seems to be an unjustified obsession with these max details. On my previous PC I couldn't run Company of Heroes on max settings and a lower resolution - I went back to play it with my new/current PC to do so, but it doesn't add much. Ok, it's an RTS, in an FPS the differences become more noticable, because you're right there in the action and get to see everything close up. But it's not stunning enough to spend 1000 Pounds on it, you can buy a great video collection or go on holiday with that kind of money.
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby Davetoast » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:00 pm

Thankyou Alkis, that's pretty much exactly what I meant. I wouldn't necessarily say that Crysis is just any old FPS but it is an exercise in the cutting edge of home computing graphics and AI, as such, is best experienced in its all singing, all dancing incarnation. That's kind of the point of all the development on it with the new features available in dx10. Of course it's still going to be a great game at lower graphics settings or resolutions but that wouldn't be getting the best out of it, all those bells and whistles that make the title so exciting.

Alex, when it comes to spending fair amounts of money, I'm just as prudent as the next man, more so in all probablility. When I get a new machine, I want it to be as future proof as possible. Now, obviously, future proof can mean different things to different people (depending on what they want that future to be), and there is truth in the common adage that there's no such thing as future proofing in home computing as it moves on so quickly. But it's not totally true. One can future proof to a certain extent by knowing what's to come over the next years and how what's available today will fit into that picture. So, for instance, I could build the rig I want on a fairly cheap mobo that has all the features I need at the moment to make it do what I want it to do. But if I spend a little or even a lot more on a cutting edge mobo, it would offer me so much more in the way of future expansion, which is obviously cheaper than buying a new rig. Then there's the whole situation where there's always something new to wait a while for before you build, and when that comes along there's another thing on the horizon that might be worth waiting for. So the idea is you've just got to jump in and do it. But really, some technologies are more worth waiting for then others - a particular die shrink, chipset or the likes of the dual GPUs out now and soon to come. So future proofing, to a certain extent, is a matter of timing and expandability.

The initial performance of the machine you buy is not the only measure of it's value, bang for buck wise. I like a machine that I know will last me at least 3 years at a high level. Sure enough, every 3 years or so, such a machine will cost roughly £12-1500 (I'm pushing that a bit this time though). Now I could spend far less on a machine that'll do almost everything the dearer one would at the moment. But as the future becomes the present, the dearer machine comes into it's own and in the long run, can actually work out cheaper than buying initially cheaper rigs more often.

I also want something that will run Crysis right now at good frame rates with details, AA and AF maxxed out, at a resolution of at least 1900x1200 (true HD). At the moment, even an Nvidia 8800GTX Ultra machine will not do that, only returning frame rates of perhaps 15-20. However the new dual GPU 3870x2 form AMD/ATI can be Crossfired up to effectively give you 4 GPUs and such a machine will return frame rates of more like 40-45. Now Nvidia have their dual GPU offering coming in a month or so and you would expect that it will outperform the x2 significantly, being as the equivalent single GPU offering does. So that might be worth waiting for. But it looks like this card will cost as much, if not more than, an Ultra - a lot more than an x2. And SLI just doesn't scale anywhere near as well as Crossfire does, so where an x2 can perform up to twice as fast as a single 3870, the dual GPU from Nvidia (9800GX2) will only perform perhaps 1.5 times as fast as a single 8800GT (2 of which make up the GX2). With the 3870x2 performing roughly at the level of an Ultra, yet at a much cheaper price, the ATI route seems the best bang for buck option available in the present and for the future.

Here's my probable spec anyway:

Mobo - Asus Maximus Extreme (x38 chipset, PCI-e 2.0) - £175
CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale - £165
Mem - 4GB of low contention DDR2 PC8500 at 1066Mhz, probably Corsair, Crucial or Geil - £150
GPU - (2x) ATI 3870x2 - £550
HDD - (2x) Western Digital Raptor X 10,000 spin 150Gig, Raid stripe 0 - £265
PSU - Something modular above 900w - roughly £150
Case - Antec Nine Hundred - £70
Optical drive, aftermarket CPU air cooling and cable management - roughly £70

Total - £1595

Then there's a 2ms, 24" monitor to get for roughly £275.

Obvioulsy there's a fair bit of indulgence there as well as prudence. The Raptors for instance are a very dear option for not that much performance gain but that gain just so happens to be crucial to loading times in FPS so it's worth it for me. Obviously this is a pure gaming machine and it won't be used for anything else. If you wanted an all rounder, the spec would be entirely different and probably a fair bit dearer for the equivalent performance.

And in the end it's down to your interests too. You say you could get a video collection with the money you save and that would obviously suit your interests. I'd rather not have that collection and instead have a Ferrari every time I get a new PC.
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby JamesHBeard » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:34 pm

Not considering a Core-2-Quad then Dave ?
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby Davetoast » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:11 pm

Not for gaming Jimbo. The advantages of quad cores are only just in their infancy in apps and it'll be a long while before their use in gaming will be so utilised as to create a CPU bottleneck with dual cores. For the moment and the foreseeable future, the higher clock speeds and larger overclocking overheads available with dual core make them by far the best choice for a pure gaming machine.

Of course if you plan on doing a lot of video editing and the like, a quad core is the better choice and it will do gaming too, just not as fast as a dual core will.
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby Sam » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:19 pm

I was thinking of less than £1000, but would like to include a monitor and speakers in that too...lol

Whilst Crysis sounds great, I'm guessing it's the type of game that only a few hardcore gamers can actually afford to play at high res, much like SC was/is and I guess like Farcry was when DX9 was first released. I would be happy playing it on medium settings if it is that type of game that deliberately pushes the boundaries of hardware.
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Re: I want a new gaming PC

Postby Davetoast » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:27 pm

What size monitor?
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