Recommendations on Buying a PC

#1 Edited by FoxMulder (1570 posts) -

I've recently gotten some intrest in coming back to PC, well atleast getting a PC for gaming. When I started school for my graphics design major, the school required I get a Mac Book Pro. This was 4 years ago and I have since then switched my majors multiple times. I had a PC before then...mutiple actually that always got destroyed due to viruses and malware and shit. Let's just say I probably shouldn't have been downloading some of the stuff I was!

Don't get me wrong, I love my Mac. It's almost 5 years old now and is starting to show. But as we all know Macs are still super behind in terms of being gaming systems. I still have 10 or so PC games I never finished and have wanted to do so for a pretty long time now, as well as many more Steam sale purchaces I got with plans to get a PC in the future. While most of those are from the 90's to mid 2000's my old computer could handle them no problem with a pretty outdated card. But I would like to probably be able to play stuff like Skyrim on the higher graphics quality. I came to this board thinking there would be people coming here with the same questions and I could just look at those threads. Well aparrently building PC's are the big thing around here. I'm not a tech savvy guy at all and I have no ideas on how to build computers in the least.

So I was just wondering if I could fare well with just buying a pre-made PC from somewhere for $500 or less. I know I'd need to get graphics cards probably, but I was wondering if anyone here could reccomend a PC I could buy pre-made that could play something modern like Skyrim and still have it look pretty good. I'm not looking to play anything like Crisis 2 on high or any of those other graphics power houses. I got quite a bit from my tax return and I was debating between an 360 or a PC, but I think I'll hold off on the 360 until the next Xbox comes out and 360's are cheap. Like I said my range is around $500 or so. I'm also open to laptops, but I'm not sure how powerful those things can be especially since all my fans run always when just watching GB videos! Thanks to the replies and sorry the read was longer than I intended!

EDIT: Seeing as the concensus is $500 will not get me anywhere, I'm up for any suggestions...though probably not over $1000!

#2 Posted by believer258 (11066 posts) -
Like I said my range is around $500 or so.

Nope.

#3 Posted by FoxMulder (1570 posts) -

@believer258 said:

Like I said my range is around $500 or so.

Nope.

Alrighty then...what would the price be more like?

#4 Posted by believer258 (11066 posts) -

@FoxMulder said:

@believer258 said:

Like I said my range is around $500 or so.

Nope.

Alrighty then...what would the price be more like?

All right, looking around the internet says that people have successfully built "gaming computers" for $500 or so. But they almost always have to cut some deep corners.

Personally? I'd say to get together one with a 600W power supply, an Intel i3, 4GB RAM, and a GTX 460. As a ballpark estimate, that's 700-800 dollars. Skyrim isn't as demanding as Battlefield 3 or Crysis 2 but it still requires something to make it go. A GTX 460 is a good bit over that. If you keep saving, you can get a hold of something much better than what you could get for $500.

#5 Posted by FoxMulder (1570 posts) -

@believer258: Thanks for the recommendation. I can definately do that range as well, I was just kind of trying to only spend my return money. But I can still afford $200 or so over than. Thanks again!

#6 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -

Sorry dude I'm really sleepy and not in the right head to talk PCs but my only advice right now (a vital one, mind you) is that you take MULTIPLE opinions before you make your decision. Don't just listen to a guy or two, see what the general consensus is.

#7 Posted by believer258 (11066 posts) -

@FoxMulder said:

@believer258: Thanks for the recommendation. I can definately do that range as well, I was just kind of trying to only spend my return money. But I can still afford $200 or so over than. Thanks again!

You're welcome. However, AhmadMetallic has some good advice here:

@AhmadMetallic said:

Sorry dude I'm really sleepy and not in the right head to talk PCs but my only advice right now (a vital one, mind you) is that you take MULTIPLE opinions before you make your decision. Don't just listen to a guy or two, see what the general consensus is.

Someone might come up and have a build for you, I'm just telling you what I know off the top of my head. Seek other advice before making a decision. For a good starting point try Tom's Hardware, their forums seem to have a lot of this sort of thing.

#8 Posted by stenchlord (219 posts) -

Where are you located? $500USD might get you more than $500AUD.

#9 Posted by MC_Hify (305 posts) -

For $500 you probably shouldn't be looking at Intel or Nvidia products. Look at your options with AMD CPUs and GPUs, which I really don't know anything about other than that they are a cheaper option for an equivalent amount of power. For $500 you are building this yourself unless you have a buddy help you and laptops won't be an option. That $500 won't include: Monitor, mouse, keyboard, or OS. That's all I can really think of other than make sure the cheap video card is actually a gaming card.

#10 Edited by FoxMulder (1570 posts) -

Okay...well the budget can be adjusted. I only said $500 because that was my return from this year and I was looking to only spend that. I'm perfectly fine with adding $200-$300 more to that from money I already had!

Also could someone explain how the Nvidia naming/numbering works? Most of the sites only list GTX cards 520 or more. I'm guessing a 520 is better than a 460 and can run anything that is less? The Skyrim recommendations say GTX 260 for the card.

#12 Posted by FoxMulder (1570 posts) -

@Grilledcheez said:

Premade computers won't get you far, if you managed to build one you could get a great computer for $700.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130604

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233144

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131656

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371044

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136770

Would that be hard to put together? I know pretty much only the very basic stuff about PC's, let along pretty much nothing about making them.

I did find this site that lets you choose parts and stuff and they build it for you. Any idea if sites like this are good? Here is one I built with most of the good stuff I read here and elsewhere.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1E4X9E

#13 Posted by Grilledcheez (3919 posts) -

@FoxMulder: I almost did something like that myself, but read some reviews about those sites that made me shy away. I just went ahead and ordered the parts and there was a useful video on tested that I watched that walked my through the process. Ultimately pretty painless and much easier than we're made to believe! The 520 that you're referring to is a really weak card, I would recommend at least a 460gtx (my current card)

#14 Posted by FoxMulder (1570 posts) -

@Grilledcheez: Yeah, I'm not digging the confusing layout of the sites and tons of ads and recommended parts being highlighted and stuff. Thanks for the input!

#15 Posted by A_Deep_Mushroom (85 posts) -

@FoxMulder: This is ironic, I just did a blog on a $500 Dollar PC. Highlights include a 1 TB SATA III drive and a Radeon HD 6850. No corners cut sir, only the best bang for your buck. The only corners I cut are the fat (read: obnoxious overpriced case, overpriced ram), and maybe the OS.... So, $612 with os. If you want to build to $800 including OS, switch out the i3 with the Intel Core i5-2400 3.10 GHz, which takes out 70 bones of your upgraded budget. With the Extra 130, i'd shove it all into your Gpu and get a Radeon HD 7850 . Don't forget to include the extra $20 needed for a 500 watt power supply to power that new beast. So, slightly overbudget, but way more powerful.

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