#1 Posted by The_Drizzle (624 posts) -

After close to five years of use, my dell studio XPS laptop is on its last leg. Failing multiple hard-drive diagnostics tests and spending the majority of the day running a chkdsk scan, I feel my poor friend is running on borrowed time. I have used my laptop to mainly play dota 2 over the years while dabbling in any game that it could run. Soon i will have to get a new PC gaming rig and here is where I pose my question. If i'm looking to spend roughly $1,000, what would be my best option?

  • I know that building your own PC is the way to go for any kind of gaming. However, it seems like such a daunting task. There are sites like PCpartpicker that will guarantee compatibility, but I feel like Murphy's law will come into play whenever i do start trying to assemble anything.
  • Do i go the x51 route? Alienware has seemed to provide a decent alternative to gamer's wanting to enter the field with a pretty decent rig already assembled.
  • Do i go and buy another semi-competent gaming laptop?

All three options have their pros and cons and decided to post to see if i could get some solid advice. Games i could see myself playing (don't have to play them on ultra maxed out settings, 60FPS, etc) Battlefield 4, Rome Total War II, and Witcher 2.

Thanks duders!

#2 Posted by Korwin (2813 posts) -

Buy a real PC, not a gaming laptop (you'll never get the grunt your looking for there). You should be able to put together something that will best out the PS4 for around $1000 depending on what you need (if you need a monitor or anything that will cut into the budget).

#3 Posted by Solidsnak (119 posts) -

just buy a cheap pre-built system and toss a $200-300 video card in it and you should be fine. If later down the line you feel like you need more power, you'll already have a baseline to compare new parts to.

#4 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4328 posts) -

Build one dude, I was clueless like you before and made the transition to a proper gaming PC by going from a gaming laptop to an X51 and then wising up and building my own PC. As someone who used a laptop and an X51, I can say that that stuff will only make you more hungry for more power because those things will only give you just enough power to get a taste of what you could really have if you just built a PC yourself and the worst thing is you can't do shit with a laptop or the X51 because one can't be modified and the other has an extremely limited upgrade path.

Ask people here on the PC forums for part suggestions because there are a number of people here who will be happy to help.

#5 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

Don't use a Laptop for gaming, use a Laptop for portable computer things.

If you want to game on PC buy a PC. Gaming on Laptops are extremely stressful to the machines and you'll end up back where you are now.

#6 Edited by ViciousBearMauling (861 posts) -

Okay, if your scared of building it. I reccomend this amazing site

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com

You can select a configuration, change the power supply and the GPU. It will tell you how well it will perform with demanding games.

I just spent 5 minutes there and made a PC that is 900 dollars and can run anything over 60 fps.


Edit: I wanna say that it's much cheaper to just build it, but that site is convenient as hell!

#7 Edited by audioBusting (1461 posts) -

It really depends on your use cases. I move my PC around a lot so a gaming laptop is perfect for me, but I know that's not the case with most people. Picking a good laptop is a bit tougher because if you don't pay attention to the right things it will break a lot faster, and it's definitely more expensive than a desktop would cost (for the sake of portability).

#8 Posted by The_Drizzle (624 posts) -

@colourful_hippie: I frequent toms hardware alot and came across this Q4 community $1,000 PC build.

ComponentModelAverage price
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4670K (Haswell) Quad-Core CPU @ 3.4 GHz$225
MotherboardASRock Z87 Pro3$95
RAMG.Skill RipjawX Series 8 GB DDR3-2133 Kit (2 x 4 GB)$80
Graphics CardGigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB GDDR3$330
Hard Drive and SSDWestern Digital Caviar Blue 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD$90
Power SupplyXFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze$75
CaseRosewill REDBONE U3 Mid-Tower$60
DVD BurnerLG 24x DVD Burner$30
TOTAL : $985

What do you duders think? I'm not sure why i would need the dvd burner nor a 1TB hard drive? What all could this setup run if you were to ballpark it? Are there any parts that are missing from this list (other than the OS)? To be honest i would just like the PC to be solid, I couldn't care less if the damn thing is ugly as long as it can handle most games.

#9 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4328 posts) -

Okay, if your scared of building it. I reccomend this amazing site

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com

You can select a configuration, change the power supply and the GPU. It will tell you how well it will perform with demanding games.

I just spent 5 minutes there and made a PC that is 900 dollars and can run anything over 60 fps.

I highly doubt that, unless your idea of "anything" are games that are not next gen. I bet that PC will age crazy fast.

#10 Posted by Andorski (5173 posts) -

If you want to game on PC, build your own rig. Even if you need a laptop to do computing work away from your desk, I would recommend getting a cheap laptop (or even a Chromebook depending on what type of work you need to do) along side a PC before I would recommend a gaming laptop.

Building a PC looks daunting, but it isn't. All modern parts are standardized and each component has its own unique type of connection. You aren't going to confuse the cable that suppose to plug into the motherboard for the cable that is suppose to plug into your hard drive.

Since you know about PCPartPicker I would recommend using that to choose your components. Feel free to come back to the forum if you have any questions on which part you should get. Also, I would recommend coming back here once you chose all your parts just so you can have other people do one other look through of your parts list to see if there are any problems/improvements that can be pointed out.

#11 Edited by Andorski (5173 posts) -

@the_drizzle: Get cheaper RAM. You can probably save up to $30 for DDR3 1600 speed RAM. The difference in speed won't be noticeable to you when gaming.

[edit] Also a lot of those parts have prices that aren't accurate anymore. For example, the PSU that is listed as being $75 is over $120 according to the link.

#12 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4328 posts) -

@the_drizzle: Most of that looks great, but get a better PSU and mobo. Never skimp on PSU or motherboards.

Here's a better mobo and this is the PSU I have in my own rig.

Oh and you might want to look at 2 TB drives, you won't think so now, but that shit will fill up if you don't pay attention. Also this is 2013, unless you have oddly specific needs, you don't need a DVD drive.

#13 Posted by ViciousBearMauling (861 posts) -

@viciousbearmauling said:

Okay, if your scared of building it. I reccomend this amazing site

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com

You can select a configuration, change the power supply and the GPU. It will tell you how well it will perform with demanding games.

I just spent 5 minutes there and made a PC that is 900 dollars and can run anything over 60 fps.

I highly doubt that, unless your idea of "anything" are games that are not next gen. I bet that PC will age crazy fast.

I meant anything right now. Your right, I'm just not used to the whole "Next-Gen" thing. It would be a bit more pricey if you want to run the next gen.

#14 Edited by Brendan (7666 posts) -

I would like to put up a belayed headstone for my laptop that died in February, my Dell XPS M150. 2008-2013. I played a lot of Mass Effect and Witcher, as well as a bunch of older games from my Steam library on it. It took me through the entire P4 Endurance Run and all of University. Its motherboard fried after living 3 lifetimes of use. Good night, sweet prince.

#15 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (2955 posts) -

#16 Edited by The_Drizzle (624 posts) -

I'm looking to build the best PC i can within a $1,000 budget. The only caveat i have is i would like the processor to be intel. Looking at the pcpicker is extremely overwhelming as I'm completely ignorant on which part is better than the other and why.

#17 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4328 posts) -
#18 Posted by Andorski (5173 posts) -

Here you go.

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87MX-D3H Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($334.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($74.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($86.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ OutletPC)

Total: $999.88

Went with an Intel CPU just like you asked. Chose the CM CPU cooler because it is a great performance per dollar deal. With the motherboard I usually go with either Gigabyte or Asus. The Gigabyte mobo is great for the price. Also, I chose an mATX board over and ATX board because I'm a sucker for smaller PC rigs. ATX boards offer more PCI-e slots but I rarely find people who use more than 2 (which is how many mATX boards have). RAM is from a good brand and is cheap. Didn't go with an SSD (budget didn't allow for it), so I went with a 1TB HDD from a manufacturer that has some of the most reliable drives. The GPU is from a reputable brand, is factory overclocked, and is the cheapest GTX 770 card according to PCPartPicker. I chose the case because the brand is known for making quality constructed cases and has a nice, clean look to it. The PSU is made by the most reliable brand and will have more than enough power to handle all your components. Lastly, the ODD I chose was cheap.

#19 Edited by The_Drizzle (624 posts) -

@andorski: Wow, thanks a lot duder! If you were to ballpark, how could it run games like BF4, Rome total war II etc?

Edit* Also would this allow for an SSD in the future?

#20 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4328 posts) -

@the_drizzle: You could max out BF 4 at 60 fps at 1080p with that and Rome should run well too but not perfectly because it's a demanding game. It's still too early to definitively say if you would need an i7 over an i5 to make that PC last for the whole next gen but that PC build above is a good start. You probably will only have to swap the video card once during the new gen.

#21 Posted by Andorski (5173 posts) -

@andorski: Wow, thanks a lot duder! If you were to ballpark, how could it run games like BF4, Rome total war II etc?

It should be able to run both those games at high settings. You might have to turn down a few graphical options and not max out everything in order to get it to run at high fps; good news with nVidia cards is that their program GeForce Experience will automatically change your settings to ensure you get the great performance/visuals on your hardware.

#22 Posted by The_Drizzle (624 posts) -

@andorski: Are there any challenges building a PC in a mini ATX case as opposed to a full size one? Also, will the two fans that come with the case be sufficient enough to keep it cool?

#23 Posted by crithon (3052 posts) -

laptops have terrible lifespans, but are nice for portability.

You know, I'd recommend a gaming laptop with an HDMI port, and then just use Steam Big Picture mode when you want to show off something to friends.

#24 Edited by Vuud (1943 posts) -

Always build a PC, it's so freaking easy. I was building PCs when I was 10 years old and it's even easier now.

#25 Edited by Andorski (5173 posts) -

@the_drizzle: I've only built in mATX cases and have had no issues at all. The mATX case I chose is decently sized to fit large GPUs and CPU heatsinks and there is space at the back of the motherboard to route your cables properly.

Two 120mm fans should be okay. You're probably not going to overclock and nVidia GPUs run relatively cool. A trick I would advise on doing is to orient your PSU with the fan facing upward. You can either have the PSU right-side-up or up-side-down; having it right-side-up would allow for your PSU to act somewhat like an exhaust fan. It won't be pulling in cool air like it would with the fan being up-side-down, but the bottom of your case shouldn't be too hot since hot air rises.

#26 Posted by Zelyre (1104 posts) -

If it's just the hard drive dying, why not just replace it? Get a Western Digital Black, clone your current drive, and keep on going.

Unless you're looking for a reason to upgrade, if your laptop still works outside of a failing hard drive, and the performance is all right, why spend 1k if $100 will do the job?

#27 Posted by Jams (2959 posts) -

@the_drizzle: replace the drive and wait for the Steam Machines to come out. They're pretty much made for people who don't want to futz with building a PC themselves.

#28 Edited by CaptainThunderpants (74 posts) -

Honestly, building a PC isn't as difficult as it seems.

This is part of a 3-part series and I use it for my builds. Follow them and you'll be fine.

#29 Posted by ripelivejam (3464 posts) -

*hijacks* i currently have an HD 6850 and a (quite) aging core2duo OC'd to 3.4ghz. was thinking of getting either a GTX 770 or an R9 280X. would i see any benefit dropping in a new video card now, or would it be wiser to wait to upgrade the proc and everything else along with it? would my current card benefit from a proc upgrade?

#30 Posted by Andorski (5173 posts) -

@ripelivejam: You're better off upgrading your CPU/motherboard now and upgrading your GPU later. There isn't much improvement going on with Intel's CPU line other than better iGP performance (which is irrelevant) and power:performance ratio. Meanwhile, it's expected that nVidia's GPUs will get a huge boost in performance once Maxwell/GTX 800 series comes out.

#31 Posted by The_Drizzle (624 posts) -

@zelyre: I have been wanting to fully get into PC gaming since i was in high school. My current laptop was able to meet my needs (mainly dota 2) through university and now that i have a real career I feel like i can finally afford to do PC gaming right.

#32 Posted by crusader8463 (14411 posts) -

Seriously, if you want the most for your money build it yourself. I too was terrified I would burn the house down and start a nuclear reaction by inserting the wrong thing in the wrong place but I did it and my PC has been purring like a kitten for almost a year now. Back when tested was still around Jeff and them did a build a PC thing with Will and Norm and I just followed along with that as I built my new machine. It really is just one of those kids games where you need to put the square peg in the square hole and the circle in the circle etc.

The high and feeling of accomplishment is like no other. If you are dead set against it however, I can't add anything to the conversation as I don't follow prebuilts and what's good at the moment. Just wanted to be one more voice adding to the build it camp.

#33 Posted by GaspoweR (2752 posts) -

@colourful_hippie: I frequent toms hardware alot and came across this Q4 community $1,000 PC build.

ComponentModelAverage price
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4670K (Haswell) Quad-Core CPU @ 3.4 GHz$225
MotherboardASRock Z87 Pro3$95
RAMG.Skill RipjawX Series 8 GB DDR3-2133 Kit (2 x 4 GB)$80
Graphics CardGigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB GDDR3$330
Hard Drive and SSDWestern Digital Caviar Blue 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD$90
Power SupplyXFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze$75
CaseRosewill REDBONE U3 Mid-Tower$60
DVD BurnerLG 24x DVD Burner$30
TOTAL : $985

What do you duders think? I'm not sure why i would need the dvd burner nor a 1TB hard drive? What all could this setup run if you were to ballpark it? Are there any parts that are missing from this list (other than the OS)? To be honest i would just like the PC to be solid, I couldn't care less if the damn thing is ugly as long as it can handle most games.

That build is great though it doesn't include the OS in the price so it'll probably go over 1K but that is pretty fucking solid. Also I remember the 1TB Hybrid drive being on sale during Black Friday. That would have been a great steal as well though personally I'd swap out the XFX PSU for a Seasonic 620W PSU.

#34 Edited by GaspoweR (2752 posts) -

@the_drizzle: The stock fans should be fine. The only time that wouldn't be the case is if you are planning to overclock your parts.