#1 Posted by ozzdog12 (937 posts) -

So now that the dust has settled off of E3( and the Steam Summer Sale) i have been doing a lot of thinking about my next console purchase. First and foremost, I play/buy gaming consoles for GAMES. All other features are simply a Bonus. So with that being said, There are really no game for either the PS4 or the XBone that scream MUST HAVE (to me at least) I've always fancied myself as a 360 user primarily as I buy MOST multiplatform games on the 360. I have always preferred Sony's exclusives over Microsoft. I love everything Naughty Dog does. Gears was a fine franchise, but I really dont care about Halo anymore and I dont do racing games for Forza is out of the picture. There are very few games that have been announced so far that even interest me, Dead Rising 3 and Watch Dogs( which so happens that I can play on current gen) Most "Microsoft exclusives" are also on PC, so that has me thinking that my better investment is probably a PC. I will eventually get one if not both later on down the road but not this year.

I have over 60 games on Steam and 45 or so that I've never even played( some I cant because my laptop can't run them)

So after a long hoopla of an intro, my question is what are some good pre-built PC for a decent price( looking at $500-$600) range.

One of my friend suggested a rig along the lines of this (RIG) but another friend said that specific one needed a better graphics card, but that will run me another $200 roughly

So, people of PC-land, point me in the right direction and educate me

#2 Posted by JJWeatherman (14791 posts) -

A more realistic price range for a good gaming PC is ~$800, and that's if you save a bit by building it yourself. Prebuilt stuff will cost more for the same level of performance.

Maybe just stick to a console for now. Building a PC on too tight a budget just leads to a disappointing machine that'll need to be replaced much too soon--it's a waste.

#3 Posted by WasabiCurry (430 posts) -

I never liked pre-built gaming PCs because they tend to cheap out on parts that are absolutely critical. For example, the power supply. It is only a 350 w PSU and even if decided to upgrade that particular computer. You will have to upgrade the PSU. I mean that Nvidia card is used for low efficiency costs.

Another issue I have with this particular build is the graphics card itself. I cannot remember whether Linus or Logan did a test comparison, but 1 GB of GDDR5 is simply not enough for 1900 x 1080p gaming (provided if you were going to use those resolutions).

Other issues is that they do not name the Ram, Motherboard, Power Supply, or Aftermarket cooler (typically stock). You want a name behind these parts because using generic pieces will only land you in a world of hurt.

TL;DR Don't buy pre-built machines, build your own.

#4 Edited by ozzdog12 (937 posts) -

Well I was just using that particular PC as a starting point. I mean cost isn't really an issue. I'd much rather put more money into it to get a better system rather than have it be a P.O.S

So basically build my own seems to be the general consensus. suggestions on where to start?

#5 Posted by Dalai (7762 posts) -

You're better off building your own and getting better parts than the rig you mentioned.

Like @jjweatherman said, $800 is the suggested sweet spot for most people, but if money is an issue and you really want to make the jump you can go with something that would still be fine for newer games.

There are plenty of sites that are experts on these matters so go shop around. I will recommend pcpartpicker.com for assistance on compatibility and pricing, but that's just one of many.

#6 Posted by Zelyre (1364 posts) -

http://www.tested.com/tech/pcs/454052-small-quiet-fast-building-modern-gaming-pc/

They build a PC from start to finish here. Video's a few months old, so those prices should only be cheaper.

#7 Edited by JJWeatherman (14791 posts) -

@ozzdog12 said:

Well I was just using that particular PC as a starting point. I mean cost isn't really an issue. I'd much rather put more money into it to get a better system rather than have it be a P.O.S

So basically build my own seems to be the general consensus. suggestions on where to start?

  1. Do you have an upper limit for your budget? ~$1,500 will get you something pretty incredible, but ~$1,000 is a pretty good budget as well. Again, I wouldn't go lower than $800 or so.
  2. Will you be needing a keyboard, mouse, and monitor? And will you need a copy of Windows?

I was working on trying to put together the best $600 build I could, but if I can suggest something better, I will. It wasn't exactly working out anyway, ha. I was already over $600 without a PSU.

#8 Edited by believer258 (12674 posts) -
@ozzdog12 said:

Well I was just using that particular PC as a starting point. I mean cost isn't really an issue. I'd much rather put more money into it to get a better system rather than have it be a P.O.S

So basically build my own seems to be the general consensus. suggestions on where to start?

A good place to start would be here, just so you know what you're getting into. It might take some time to do, but it's not hard:

Loading Video...

If you're scared off by this (trust me, don't be, playing games on a computer that you built is awesome and feels really good), then there are still pre-built computers that are just fine. I still don't think this is the best route to go because you're still going to need some computer know-how in order to troubleshoot it. Plus, you're going to need some idea of what each part is anyway to make sure you're not getting screwed. PC gaming is a learning experience at first, anyway - don't expect it to be completely effortless.

After that, figure out a good budget. $500-$600 will get you a gaming PC that will run most (not all, most) things at 720p, low-medium settings, around 30 - 60 frames. Next year, though, you'll be knocking resolutions down and suffering frame rate drops, and I doubt that things like The Witcher 3 will even be playable. If you're going to build one yourself, think a cost of more like $800. That's the cost of my machine and I'm happy with it, but there's room for improvement. Around $1000-$1200 is my guesstimate for something of a "sweet spot" for getting as much power as you can without overspending. You can go nuts and go over that, but you start to get diminishing returns after a certain point (for example, you don't need the latest and greatest i7, you don't need an Nvidia Titan, and you don't need 32GB of RAM.)

And then start thinking about parts. Here is a good resource to start at for explaining things, and really just a good resource to keep bookmarked for anything.

A graphics card is going to be the most important part of your computer, so choose well. There are two major graphics card companies, AMD and Nvidia. Nvidia's cards are the ones with GT before them. Their naming convention goes like this: GTX (generation) (model). So, a GTX 670 is a 6th generation card, also happens to be the latest until the 7 series comes out this year. If you're going Nvidia, you shouldn't go any lower than GTX 660. You'll come across GTX 660 TI's - the ones with a TI are more powerful than regular ones. A 660 TI will probably also get you the most bang for your buck, but go for a 670 if you can.

EDIT: Forgot that the GTX 700 series has already released. You should go 760 or 770 if you can. 780 is the best of them, of course, but I don't know if the gain you would get from it would be worth the cost.

AMD cards are cheaper but have spottier driver support. I have an AMD card and have had driver issues before. Some, however, swear by AMD and don't have any issues whatsoever. Their naming convention is very similar - HD (generation) (model). So, the AMD card that I have is an HD7870, and it cost me $230. It can run everything I throw at it at 1080p, and almost always at High settings. I rarely get framerate problems with it. But again, I've had driver issues. I'm going Nvidia next time, no doubt about that, and that's the route I would point you toward. Confusingly enough, AMD is skipping the 8000 generation and heading straight for HD 9000

Processors are a little easier to talk about, in part because I'm going to suggest that only go Intel. AMD also makes processors and when I built my computer, I was constantly pushed away from them. They can get the job done, and for cheaper, but they're not great processors. Go Intel. Actually, just get an Intel i5 3570k unless you plan on doing photo/video editing or working with game engines like Unity; in that case, go a bit higher with an i7.

Because I feel like everything else is a little easier to get around to, and because other people can explain everything else, and because this is a long post and I'm tired, I'm going to finish with power supplies. Power supplies are often skimmed over when talking about parts, probably because they're not the part that makes your games look prettier or your computer run faster. But they are very important. You're going to want at least 650 watts, maybe higher depending on the graphics card you get and how many hard drives you get. You'll need a good, dependable brand - Corsair is one - and you'll need to make sure it's 12V and 80+ Gold Certified, all that fancy stuff. This would be a good choice.

And that should be a really good start for you. It's certainly not all the information you'll need, but hopefully it will get you started. Don't be scared, it's a lot of information to take in but it's not as hard to understand and implement as it seems.

#9 Posted by endoworks (326 posts) -

Another website I highly recommend when building a new PC is pcper.com they have a hardware leaderboard that they keep rather up to date that details parts the recommend for Dream, High End, Mid, and Low end gaming PCs.

#10 Posted by JJWeatherman (14791 posts) -

I've put together a very tentative ~$800 build. This is the direction I'd head in given that particular budget. If you can answer my above questions I'll rework some things.

Nice info, @believer258. Although I'd probably recommend against an older 600 series Nvidia GPU at this point.

#11 Edited by Clockwk (67 posts) -

Ars Technica just did a new system guide that gives you three different system load-outs for a budget box, a mid-range, and a high-end machine. It was published just this past Sunday on the 21st so it should be pretty up-to-date. For your price range I might start at the budget box and then replace some of the more critical parts like GPU and CPU with something a little bit pricier, maybe the parts from the mid-range. Anyways it might be a good place to start, they give some pretty in-depth explanation on why they went with the parts they did and provide some alternatives.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/07/ars-technica-system-guide-july-2013/

#12 Edited by OurSin_360 (992 posts) -

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883258007

Dunno about that brand and how good they put together stuff, but search for something in that range. You won't get a high end gaming pc for the price you want, but with something like a 7770 (or the nvidia equivalent) and AMD instead of intel, you should be able to get a decent mid range gaming rig for pretty cheap. As long as your fine with around 30fps and medium/high settings.

Best bet is to build it yourself though, you'll feel like you accomplished something when your finished too. And you can always upgrade later. I started with a hd5770 about 2 years ago, and now have a 7950.

#13 Edited by believer258 (12674 posts) -

@jjweatherman said:

I've put together a very tentative ~$800 build. This is the direction I'd head in given that particular budget. If you can answer my above questions I'll rework some things.

Nice info, @believer258. Although I'd probably recommend against an older 600 series Nvidia GPU at this point.

Thanks! Also, I didn't know the 700's had already released.

#14 Posted by ozzdog12 (937 posts) -

@jjweatherman: Budget isn't an issue, My first initial budget was $800-$900 range to begin with. Once I found "Gaming" rigs about $300 cheaper I started thinking that route. I can easily(relatively) drop $800 ish on a rig. As far as a mouse and keyboard? Obviously I will need one, but I mostly use my wired 360 controller on the games I [play on my laptop anyways. And I'll need a copy of windows for sure.

I know its a whole different world when it comes to building a rig, so patience is key.