I'm seeing a gaming PC in my future

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Smullster

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Hi All,

Just finished listening to the latest Bombcast and was intrigued by the thought that while we all wait for the Xbox One or PS4 it may be better to purchase games that are published cross platform on Steam. I occasionally purchase games off of Steam (some that unfortunately won't play on my laptop), but think that the Bombcast's opinion is spot on.

So my question is how much should I expect to pay for a decent game PC? Do you think I can go into a Best Buy and pick one up or do I need to have one specially built on the Internet.

NOTE: I work with computers and hardware all day in a business setting, so I know how to make your Excel Spreadsheets or your x-ray PACs images run smoking fast, but don't have much of an idea on what I'm going to need to get Bioshock Infinite or Grid II looking good. Plus it is much easier spec'ing out a computer when you're not playing with your own money. :P

Thanks in advance,

Allan

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QuistisTrepe

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If you're look at purchasing a gaming desktop, you can get an IBuyPower brand for around $1000 or $1200 and change for a laptop with a 2GB DDR5 video card. I'd agree that now is as good as a time as any to back away from console gaming.

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Justin258

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#3  Edited By Justin258

I definitely wouldn't recommend going into a Best Buy and picking one up. You'll pay far more for far less. If you must have someone else build it, there are better avenues. Unfortunately, I can't advise you on that route because I stick to building my own stuff.

Do you know anything about hardware? More specifically, anything about which graphics cards are more powerful than others? What kind of motherboard to get? What kind of power supply you might need? That sort of thing.

Also, what do you mean by decent? Does that mean you want everything to run at 1080p, 60 frames per second, at High settings, or does decent just mean equal to consoles (720p, 30FPS, low-medium)? Including my new graphics card, my current PC was about $830 and it does the former. That price does not include Windows, which will cost you a further $100. For the latter, though, you could probably build something for $600, but bear in mind that with new consoles will probably come a requirements bump, so this year's high settings may well be next year's low settings or worse.

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colourful_hippie

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I suggest building but you'll want to figure out your price range and the settings quality of the games you plan on playing first.

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ch3burashka

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#5  Edited By ch3burashka

Can someone link to a "definitive" build-a-PC article? Geno's article is about a year old (since the update). I'm interested in building too, but creating a separate article for everyone looking to get a PC is slightly ridiculous - I'm guilty of making one for myself as well, and it's just not smart or efficient.

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NachoBizNas

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@ch3burashka: There's a great video over at Tested where they go through the whole building process with Jeff. There's also Tom's Hardware build guide for price levels for today's hardware and prices.

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Zelyre

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#7  Edited By Zelyre

Tested: Small, Quiet, Fast: Building a Modern Gaming PC

This is from March, so the build isn't too old. However, his builds are a bit pricey, the one they put together on camera has a Titan in it. The cheapest is a little over a grand. By now, that build is probably under a grand, though.

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Andorski

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Can someone link to a "definitive" build-a-PC article? Geno's article is about a year old (since the update). I'm interested in building too, but creating a separate article for everyone looking to get a PC is slightly ridiculous - I'm guilty of making one for myself as well, and it's just not smart or efficient.

Logical Increments is a decent place to start. You get a good starting point for you to configure based on your needs.

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To OP's question, I would only recommend building your own PC. Pre-built gaming PCs are always overpriced for the components you get in them. When building your own computer the best thing to do first is to set your budget. Figure out the price point in which you say "This is way too expensive, no matter what type of performance I'm getting." IMO, a $1000 can get you a really solid gaming PC. If you know absolutely nothing about PC components, just ask in the thread for help.

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WasabiCurry

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#9  Edited By WasabiCurry

A good question that I would ask, what do you want your gaming PC to do? Do you want 60 fps and 1080p or higher?

Also, a budget would be nice. :3

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Cameron

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@ch3burashka:

I'm not sure how definitive they are, but I like the builds Maximum PC puts together. They don't have a really cheap build, but the cheapest one is still pretty good. http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/build_pc_recommended_builds_may_2013

I also like their best bang for your buck build, though it is a little outdated at this point. http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/best_bang_buck_PC_2012

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PillClinton

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#11  Edited By PillClinton

@ch3burashka: It definitely isn't and makes a bit of a mess on the forums. Keeping it all to one "I need PC help" thread would be great, but newcomers (understandably) probably wouldn't know such a thread existed and just make one anyway. The Tested forums had this exact problem when they were more active.

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Dalai

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#12  Edited By Dalai

I made the "mistake" of buying a laptop last time around. It's not like my purchase was a bad one and my laptop has served me well the past 4 years, but after a while, I noticed all the limitations and seeing it become more and more obsolete everyday.

I just bought the first few parts of the PC I'll be building and I kinda regret not doing this before I splurged on my current pre-build.

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CommanderGermanShepard

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I would build it yourself, it's a fun weekend project that will take a few hours, it's no harder than your basic lego set really. And it really makes the computer feel more personal (corny I know) than buying it pre made.

I dunno how much you expect to spend on it but heres a decent video to show you at least how to put them together, minus the crazy case ofcourse.

Loading Video...
Loading Video...

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Jackhole

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#14  Edited By Jackhole

Definitely build it yourself. If your not sure how, the Tested videos that are linked in this thread are good, as well as Newegg's guide:

Loading Video...

If you need help choosing parts, I'll second the Logical Increments recommendation.

If you want a build that can run the newest games at 1080p with the highest settings @60 FPS, I just threw this together, it costs about $1300, but there are places where you could tone it down a bit (No SSD, 7950 instead of a 7970, non-modular PSU, no Optical Drive, cheaper case.) But if you're looking for a build as I just described, this would be a good starting point. Here's the link.

CPU: Intel i5-3570k

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo

Motherobard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB)

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB

SSD: Samsung 840 series 120GB

GPU: Sapphire 7970 Dual-X 3GB

PSU: Corsair CX600M 80 Plus Bronze

Optical Drive: Lite-On DVD/CD Writer

OS: Microsoft Windows 8 OEM 64 Bit

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl

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Andorski

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#15  Edited By Andorski

It's also worth noting that Intel's Haswell chips are coming in June. You should wait until then to either:

  1. Get the newest CPU and motherboard on the market.
  2. Get last generations hardware (which is still perfectly good) for a lower price.

[edit] Also, the nVidia's GTX 770 is coming out at the end of this month. Depending on the price and performance, you can wait for that to come out and either buy it or get the GTX 680 for a possibly lower price.

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Jackhole

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@andorski: It comes out tomorrow. It is the end of the month.

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tourgen

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#17  Edited By tourgen

I built my last one - there are a whole bunch of "buy lists" out on the internet to build up an awesome gaming PC for $700 or so.

Before that I bought a refurbished Dell boxes and swapped in a video card and some more memory. It was a cheap way to get a gaming system without having to mess with much.

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TheManWithNoPlan

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#18  Edited By TheManWithNoPlan

I plan to build a new one next january when I've got the creds.

No Caption Provided

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OurSin_360

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You can get or build a "decent" game machine for 600-800 maybe less if you reuse some stuff from your old pc if you have one(like i did).

However "decent" for a pc rig is pretty much 3 times as powerful as the best current gen game lol. If you get the right parts you can always upgrade later though which is what i did. I spent like 600 at first, then a year or so later spent 300 on a high end GPU, then a year after that i ended up spending 400 on a new processor and motherboard(could have been avoided if i had built smarter but it was my first build lol).

If you don't want to build, new egg has a bunch of pre built machines by companies of varying quality, about the same price but maybe skimp on a part here or there that maybe you wouldn't, which is why it's just better to DIY. But they would probably be fine

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PillClinton

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@andorski said:

It's also worth noting that Intel's Haswell chips are coming in June. You should wait until then to either:

  1. Get the newest CPU and motherboard on the market.
  2. Get last generations hardware (which is still perfectly good) for a lower price.

[edit] Also, the nVidia's GTX 770 is coming out at the end of this month. Depending on the price and performance, you can wait for that to come out and either buy it or get the GTX 680 for a possibly lower price.

Yup, and with the 770 out now, the 670 is already selling for around $30-60 less than it was just a couple days ago. I wouldn't be surprised if one could snag a 670 for as low as even $300 in the coming weeks. That would be a pretty sweet deal.

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djhicks1

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@smullster The more you spend on a system the better your experience will be. I've built a few on YouTube with varying degrees of badass-ness. If I post my stuff here it'll likely be deleted by a moderator because of self-promotion. If you want to see a few different build tutorials ranging from $700 to $3000, my username is "djhicks2" and they're in the Hardware playlist.

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rorie

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GaspoweR

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#23  Edited By GaspoweR

@smullster

If you can maybe wait a month or so or if you are planning to buy a card then maybe get a Nvidia GTX 770 if your budget allows. Loyd Case on Tested.com did reviews on both the new GTX 780 ($650) and GTX 770 ($399) cards and Anand Tech also did a pretty thorough review of the 770 as well. Lots of sites agree that the 770 is the best bang for your buck graphics card in terms of price to performance ratio in the market right now with the AMD Radeon 7970 is not far behind but is more expensive by about $50 ($449). The GTX 770 would more or less ensure that you can play games at very good frame rates and settings. Ofcourse, there are cheaper alternatives being offered by the other users too though which are actually great alternatives and not at all bad. If you want a rig that can probably play any of the current and upcoming games at an acceptable-very good frame rate with variable settings (depending on the game) expect to spend about $1000 but you can probably make some concessions and perhaps get some parts on sale in the coming months and probably drop it to about $800 and maybe add some more parts later on.

I also found the Bitfenix Prodigy guide that Tested.com did (which another user has already posted) to be super useful! That's what I used as my guide for my first gaming rig :)

Also just wait for the Intel Haswell announcement as well. From what I've read they don't actually add anything substantial perfomance-wise in gaming but this can lead to prices dropping in their current line of hardware in the coming months. Also@jackhole's build is pretty great as well. You can use that build and probably and mix and match with the Tested build. I personally went with the Tested build primarily because of the case cause it just looks really nice plus it super modular too and it's design is great for LAN parties. The only downside I would guess is that it can only house a mini-ITX motherboard which is somewhat limited compared to an ATX mobo and lacks the ability to add another graphics card due to only having one PCIe slot (though personally I'd rather get just a single card instead of adding another card).

You can also use Logical Increments as a guide along with PCPartPicker in order to make and then save part lists. Here's an example of one of my own saved part lists and the completed build.