#1 Edited by AlianthaBerries (142 posts) -

I am in the market for a new PC. My HP Pavillion laptop is choking horribly at the moment to the point where playing anything on it is just unbearably chuggy.

My budget is £800 - £1100.

I could build one from scratch but I know next to nothing about what parts are good and "future-proof" it's all a bit much really.

I would like to play BF3 as a benchmark for quality.

#2 Posted by TyCobb (1966 posts) -

Are you looking for a laptop or a desktop? I would assume a desktop, but you mentioned your current PC is a laptop.

A higher end desktop will be future proof in that you only need to swap out video cards for a few years. A laptop will maybe make it a year playing on medium settings unless you fork over 3 times your budget for a crappy Alienware laptop.

I would try and build a desktop with an I-5 or an I-7 CPU (people will say I-5, but I say I-7 because it will help with "future proof"). Now, I am going to tell you that there are a few things that will eat into your budget if you don't already have them. A good monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Since you are on a laptop, I don't know if you actually have these items and you can probably skimp on the mouse, but you will want a good monitor and keyboard. We'll just say that eats up $300-$350 right there. The other item that will sink your budget is the video card. I would recommend nothing lower than a 660 GTX. That's another $300. You can convert the dollar amounts, but I don't know if computer parts in general cost more or less outside of the US.

Also, you may want to see if a mod will move this to the PC forum.

#3 Edited by believer258 (11820 posts) -

@TyCobb said:

Are you looking for a laptop or a desktop? I would assume a desktop, but you mentioned your current PC is a laptop.

A higher end desktop will be future proof in that you only need to swap out video cards for a few years. A laptop will maybe make it a year playing on medium settings unless you fork over 3 times your budget for a crappy Alienware laptop.

I would try and build a desktop with an I-5 or an I-7 CPU (people will say I-5, but I say I-7 because it will help with "future proof"). Now, I am going to tell you that there are a few things that will eat into your budget if you don't already have them. A good monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Since you are on a laptop, I don't know if you actually have these items and you can probably skimp on the mouse, but you will want a good monitor and keyboard. We'll just say that eats up $300-$350 right there. The other item that will sink your budget is the video card. I would recommend nothing lower than a 660 GTX. That's another $300. You can convert the dollar amounts, but I don't know if computer parts in general cost more or less outside of the US.

Also, you may want to see if a mod will move this to the PC forum.

I'd think you could get by for quite a while with something lower than a 660 GTX.

EDIT: Maybe get a really good processor and motherboard, then not spend as much on the other parts. That way, you can easily switch out or add things as you need them instead of letting your bottleneck be something hard to get to.

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#4 Edited by Shivoa (625 posts) -

You have more than enough money for a really nice desktop gaming system.

£178 CPU; £36 8GB RAM; £70 Z77 mobo; £250 GPU with Borderlands 2; £53 600W Corsair PSU; £35 case (spend more if you want looks, this is all the functionality you need); £5 12cm fan for the front of that case (pick based on airflow vs noise + if you want or hate LEDs); £150 256GB SSD; £100-200 (or more) on a monitor of your choice. Use the Windows license for your old laptop that is to be scrapped and save some cash there. Mouse/keyboard of your choice if you don't already have them for you laptop for playing games there.

Computer for about £775 + monitor of your choice. You can buy a cheaper GPU, smaller SSD (and maybe a spinning drive if you've got TBs of data, but if you've got all this data now why not use those HDDs or buy an enclosure for the HDD in your old laptop to use it for external storage for media files and backups), and generally shave a few £s off each component by buying from the cheapest online store (I just used ebuyer to get all the stuff quickly). You may also want a £15 DVD-RW drive, or not (depends how much you're tied to Steam).

Edit: forgot the HDD, silly me.

Edit 2: On the above suggestion of an i7: There are i7s that are just the same i5 I recommended but with hyperthreading switched on. Games do not benefit from this, several actually get worse performance due to the CPU doing its magic to try and parallelise 8 threads of work onto 4 cores for a game that doesn't actually care about using 8 threads. Google will give you a wealth of info on this non-starter. It costs at least £50 to get one of those i7s and it will be no faster (in fact you'd be likely to be better off for gaming by switching the hyperthreading off in the BIOS to avoid it making quite a few games worse and so then you will be paying 30% extra over the i5 for a slightly bigger L2 cache on the chip, spend that money on more GPU if you actually want more gaming capabilities). The premium i7s have a much larger memory bandwidth and 6 core is 6 cores (even if they have to run a bit slower to avoid making way too much heat from having so many of them on one chip), some games can sing with that but you need a more expensive (think double the price) motherboard, 4 RAM sticks to saturate the quad-channel interface, and a SandyBridge-E i7 CPU (four cores starts at £230, 6 cores is £450). I wouldn't call it worth it for gaming when you could use that extra cost to buy a GTX680 or something extreme from AMD for your GPU and that'll make far more difference to the settings you can run games at while hitting 60fps. The i7 can be a great buy for some non-gaming tasks and worth every penny. For gaming then you can't justify them unless money is no object and you just buy the fastest of the fast and pay through the nose for small gains.

#5 Edited by TyCobb (1966 posts) -

@believer258 said:

@TyCobb said:

Are you looking for a laptop or a desktop? I would assume a desktop, but you mentioned your current PC is a laptop.

A higher end desktop will be future proof in that you only need to swap out video cards for a few years. A laptop will maybe make it a year playing on medium settings unless you fork over 3 times your budget for a crappy Alienware laptop.

I would try and build a desktop with an I-5 or an I-7 CPU (people will say I-5, but I say I-7 because it will help with "future proof"). Now, I am going to tell you that there are a few things that will eat into your budget if you don't already have them. A good monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Since you are on a laptop, I don't know if you actually have these items and you can probably skimp on the mouse, but you will want a good monitor and keyboard. We'll just say that eats up $300-$350 right there. The other item that will sink your budget is the video card. I would recommend nothing lower than a 660 GTX. That's another $300. You can convert the dollar amounts, but I don't know if computer parts in general cost more or less outside of the US.

Also, you may want to see if a mod will move this to the PC forum.

I'd think you could get by for quite a while with something lower than a 660 GTX.

I don't think you can unless you want to try and grab an older series card. It's a computer -- you get what you pay for. Spending less on a video card just causes you to bottleneck yourself and increase the rate at which it needs to be replaced considering that's the #1 part when it comes to PC gaming. I spent $450 (maybe $500 - don't remember) on a 480 GTX when it came out and I am still kicking ass with it today. Next year will be when I finally will go ahead and feel I need to upgrade. So that means that because I spent a little bit more money, I will be able to skip 2 full series before upgrading.

But, to each his own. I prefer to spend more money upfront than to spend even more money later down the road.

#6 Posted by AlianthaBerries (142 posts) -

@Shivoa: Wow! Thanks duder! This is the best reply I could have asked for.

Stupid question but aside from the monitor/keyboard is that a full set-up ?

#7 Posted by LethalKi11ler (1406 posts) -

@AlianthaBerries: Could still get a disk drive even though a lot of people are skipping it now but I think why not, Dvd burners are around 20$ and blu-ray ones around 70$ (don't know in pounds sorry).

#8 Posted by Wong_Fei_Hung (642 posts) -

I'd buy Build a PC for dummies as a good reference for future upgrading etc. It's actually a lot easier than you appear to think.