Buying a gaming PC. Give to me recommendations.



  • Probably going to buy through iBuyPower, unless someone has a supplier who just blows them away. Planning on minimal assembly (basically, buying with a tiny/no HD and slipping my existing SSD and spinny-drive in it.) I'm well beyond the age where I enjoy cracking open the case of a computer and cutting myself on those little sticky-up bits.

    However, I don't follow new hardware development very closely. What's the current best bang-for-buck in video cards? How much RAM do you wager I need? (Doing fine on 8 GB now, do I need more?) How about CPU?

    My current machine is here: http://blakeyrat.com/2012/01/since-people-keep-asking-my-new-computer-specs/

    BTW don't recommend anything with a stupid case with neon tubes and glass sides and bullshit dials or LED displays. My case goes under the desk and I never look at it ever unless I need to insert a CD.



  • If that's your current hardware, just upgrade your GPU and you'll be golden. I'm running an old 2500k with a Radeon R9 280X and 8 GB RAM and Arma2 DayZ seems to be the only game my GPU can't max out. My CPU and RAM are NEVER a bottleneck on gaming.


  • :belt_onion:

    I concur, everything looks fine except that terrible cheap video card.

    see:

    Though it doesn't look like the 560 is all that bad either really.



  • Ok, well when I run Skyrim with a decent number of mods, it chugs. That's basically the problem I'm trying to solve, I figure a 2011 game should run silky smooth.

    So what's a good unterrible noncheap video card I should be looking at?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Doing fine on 8 GB now, do I need more?

    RAM is cheap as fuck, I'd buy those 16 gigs now. You might not have much use for it at the moment, but eventually requirements will ramp up.

    Though honestly, the only thing that could use an upgrade is a video card - my 760 can't handle max details on some games, so I'd either buy a 780 (and potentially another one for SLI in the future), or a R9.

    Though it might be that anything with 3 gigs of vRAM on board will do.



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    RAM is cheap as fuck, I'd buy those 16 gigs now. You might not have much use for it at the moment, but eventually requirements will ramp up.

    True. I had 16 GB until I raided half of it for my new ESXi game server because I thought my main PC had too much RAM. There are some cases where I actually hit the pagefile now and my system grinds to a halt for a bit. Has nothing to do with gaming though.



  • BTW because the story's kind of amusing, the money for this upgrade comes from Ford, who sent me a nice letter saying that they lied about the EPA mileage on my car, and cut a check for the estimated 5-year fuel difference. It came to $775.


  • :belt_onion:

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    Though honestly, the only thing that could use an upgrade is a video card - my 760 can't handle max details on some games, so I'd either buy a 780 (and potentially another one for SLI in the future), or a R9.

    My system is an i5 with 8GB RAM and a 760 (or 680 or 770, who the hell knows anymore... it cost ~320 when I bought it is all I remember), which runs pretty much everything smooth (with mid to high settings) that I've tried thus far. But it depends, if you're trying to run Skyrim at 1920x1200 with everything maxed you're probably going to need a 780 to pull it off.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Ok, well when I run Skyrim with a decent number of mods, it chugs. That's basically the problem I'm trying to solve, I figure a 2011 game should run silky smooth.

    What part is chugging? CPU usage, disk I/O, GPU rendering?

    I don't know much about Skyrim but there's a strong chance it's not highly multithreaded either. A CPU upgrade isn't likely to help out much if that's the case.



  • Skyrim's not stressing the CPU or or RAM (like I implied above, this computer has had 8 GB of RAM since new and I've never, ever, seen it swap ever.) The culprit seems to be either the GPU i/o or the amount of memory, which kind of amount to the same thing because with enough memory it doesn't need to i/o as much.

    It's noticeable worse when I'm playing Netflix in another window while also playing Skyrim, which leads me to believe it's having trouble cramming data into the GPU fast enough due to upping texture resolutions.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    It's noticeable worse when I'm playing Netflix in another window while also playing Skyrim, which leads me to believe it's having trouble cramming data into the GPU fast enough due to upping texture resolutions.

    Definitely makes it sound like your GPU and probably lack of VRAM .



  • http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127746&cm_re=780--14-127-746--Product

    Ok, so here's what I got but man $450 is pricey.

    BTW while I'm rooting around in the computar-machine-box, is there anything else I should be refreshing? New fans perhaps? PSU is fine.



  • I bought an I buy power, was pretty decked out with the exception of running an nvidia 770m instead of 780m, my computer regularly gets a gauss effect that looks like a magnet running over the screen. Only work around I've seen is to change screen resolution which forces a refresh that fixes the screen.

    This was after another issue with bad ram causing bsods. I had to pay shipping 3 times since they don't cover it under the additional warranty. I've seen several broadcasters on twitch with similar issues.

    Overall the laptop works, but buyer beware.

    I bought a valkyrie cz-27 32gb ram 120ssd with 1tb 7200rpm secondary drive



  • My experience with them was excellent.

    EDIT: also why the fuck would you do Twitch streaming from a laptop? People who do that are too dumb to buy good hardware.



  • I don't do twitch streaming. The broadcasters bought a desktop model with the 770 instead of 780.

    My laptop is a dev machine.



  • ASUS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121779

    Or MSI: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127746

    Some of the MSI owners reported having to RMA the card. The top ASUS reviewer says, "forever live the PC master race".

    EDIT: Related question, how tough are these suckers to install? Is there any risk it won't fit in my case? I've not installed a video card for a very long time.



  • The cards themselves are extremely easy to install. Typically you just unscrew the placeholder screw in the sheet metal holder thing (technical terms) - slide out the old one and pop in the new one. Maybe 5 minutes of work.

    You should check with your motherboard to verify it's the same slot type, but generally speaking they are all pci express and all work with each other.

    You might want to check for anything that might block those fat fans though, need about 3/4 of an inch extra space.



  • My existing card has pretty fat fans, so I think I'm ok in that department. It's length I'm worried about.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    EDIT: Related question, how tough are these suckers to install? Is there any risk it won't fit in my case? I've not installed a video card for a very long time.

    Well, the specs say:

    • (ASUS) Card Dimensions (L x H) 11.3" x 5.8"
    • (MSI) Card Dimensions (L x H) 10.47" x 5.08"

    The old 560 Ti is (assuming you have the stock design) 10.5" x 4.376" (source).

    If you don't have anything in the PCIe slot below, both cards should be OK. You'll have to check the length, though.

    AFAIK, your old card (560 Ti) used two 6-pin PCIe power connectors. The 780:s want 1x 8-pin PCIe power plus 1x 6-pin. So make sure that you can provide that (the packaging may contain something that makes 2x6-pin into 1x8-pin).

    I've had good luck with several ASUS cards (and their motherboards, FWIW). My current card is an ASUS GTX 780, but with the stock design. No problems so far.



  • I used to be an MSI loyalist, but those "I had to RMA this card" reviews scare me more than the crazy idiot thinking he's a "master race" because he plays PC games.

    Looks like I need to crack opne the case with a ruler and ensure I have that extra inch.



  • Be a typical american consumer, buy it, install it, if it doesn't work take it back? :D



  • That would involve driving to Fry's, or doing an RMA. One of which takes an hour and a half of time, the other of which involves having to swap cards 3 times and wait a week for the RMAed one to arrive.

    I don't know what you think about the US, but physical stores where you can buy video cards are extremely rare. Fry's is the only one in my entire State, as far as I am aware. And for a long time between CompUSA closing and Fry's opening, there were literally none.



  • Some of us live in the suburbs instead of the sticks.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    It's length I'm worried about.

    If the rumors on the stall of the truck stop bathroom are to be believed, I doubt you will have any worry about accommodating the length.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I used to be an MSI loyalist, but those "I had to RMA this card" reviews scare me more than the crazy idiot thinking he's a "master race" because he plays PC games.

    Hmm, yeah. For some reason we ended up buying mostly ASUS cards at my previous work place, and had surprisingly little trouble. (The only card that we had some problems with was an unbranded one sent by NVIDIA... they were kind enough to send us a new one.)

    Personally, I've only ever had trouble with one XFX card that was advertised as factory-overclocked. Worked fine most of the time, but in certain games it would freeze the whole machine. Reduce it to the settings of a non-OC:ed card of the same type, and the problems went away.



  • Also, the R.A.T. series of mice are awesome.

    Just saying.



  • Logitech MX510/518 or death! (Or whatever the current iteration is of this classic, perfect mouse - it gets rebranded every few years and sold as a new mouse, but it's actually the same one with higher dpi support)



  • I like my Razer Naga Hex. I use the thumb buttons to map to all the voice channels in PlanetSide 2 and have one left over for the TeamSpeak channel we use since the in-game voice channels are broken most of the time.



  • Current iteration looks like the G400, I actually have one of those, but it's not the blue cover.

    I actually really dislike the nagas, and most mice that have additional buttons over 4/5, or odd placements/slopes - my hand rests in such a way that on some mice I constantly right click because of the slope, and the extra buttons just get in my way.

    Also, most mice are too thin/light for use, the G400 is perfectly weighted.



  • Fuck yeah.

    Except mine seems to have developed the tendency to "bounce" clicks, i.e. send a double-click when I click once. I thought it was just gummed up with crap, but I cleaned it all out and it's still doing it. Oh well, I have a spare if it becomes intolerable.

    I gave my RAT5 with the matte finish to a friend, because I thought it was broken, and I'd already bought a white glossy one. Worked fine on his machine, and other stuff on that USB hub started failing later, so I gave away a perfectly good one. SIGH!



  • Blakey only shares his toys when he thinks they are broken.


  • :belt_onion:

    @blakeyrat said:

    It's noticeable worse when I'm playing Netflix in another window while also playing Skyrim, which leads me to believe it's having trouble cramming data into the GPU fast enough due to upping texture resolutions.

    what is this i don't even.

    @blakeyrat said:

    EDIT: Related question, how tough are these suckers to install?

    The 760+ line are HUGE cards. They are easy to install, but you must have a mid to full size tower or they are not going to fit without some physical hacking. (EDIT: I mean in length. Height from the board should be the same as any regular card, and thickness is usually not an issue if you have nothing else in the slots below. They are long as hell though, and you have to plug a 2nd power source into the end of them, so you need at least another 1/2" to 1" clearance past the end of the card).



  • Right; Seattle, Washington is "the sticks". Those jets you filthy Europeans are using to fly all over because yours suck? Built in the sticks. The OS on 95% of computers? Obviously that could only come from the sticks. Buy a package from Amazon? Welcome to the sticks.



  • I figured you moved out of washington, because I guarantee there are a lot of places to buy a new gfx card there.



  • Name some. Other than Fry's.



  • Have you tried best buy? You know, just throwing the obvious out first.


  • :belt_onion:

    @Matches said:

    best buy

    Because clearly he wants to pay double what it's worth for it?



  • You don't have to buy it from there, but it also never hurts to call and ask 'Hey, this is the price I see online, can you price match?'

    More often than not it works.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-geforce-gtx-780-graphic-card-889-mhz-core-3-gb-gddr5-sdram-pci-express-3-0/1308990253.p?id=mp1308990253&skuId=1308990253&st=ASUS GTX780&cp=1&lp=2#tab=buyingOptions

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/msi-n770-tf-4gd5-oc-geforce-gtx-770-gaming-graphic-card/1309020928.p?id=mp1309020928&skuId=1309020928&st=MSI Gaming N780 TF&cp=1&lp=1#tab=buyingOptions

    Both are more expensive, first by about $25, second by a fair margin more.



    1. Best Buy has zero selection (maybe 2 cards in the range I'm looking for, if I'm lucky)
    2. For three times the online price
    3. I'd still have to drive 15 miles to get to a Best Buy, possibly longer because I think the one in Everett closed.

    Best Buy's website refers to video cards as "video graphics cards". Would you buy one from them? Would you?

    You liar. You would not.



  • Those links are online only, asshole.



  • So it boils down to:

    1. You don't want to look at your motherboard specs and find a corresponding card (which, btw, typically have supported mobos listed on the card's box)
    2. You can't be assed to google 'computer stores near < my location >'
    3. You don't want to drive 15 minutes to a store

    Yeah, you can figure it out. Good luck.



  • @Matches said:

    1) You don't want to look at your motherboard specs and find a corresponding card (which, btw, typically have supported mobos listed on the card's box)

    Huh? I'm going to physically measure the case as soon as I get home. What the fuck are you talking about?

    @Matches said:

    2) You can't be assed to google 'computer stores near < my location >'

    I already know there aren't any. I challenged you to prove me wrong; you failed.

    @Matches said:

    3) You don't want to drive 15 minutes to a store

    To a store that either doesn't have what I need (most likely), or has it but it's $300 more than online? Correct, I do not want to do that.

    It's so refreshing to find the one person on Earth who hasn't yet been disappointed by trying to attempt to buy computing products at Best Buy. Everybody else already knows it's pointless and you only end up either empty-handed, ripped-off, or disappointed.

    @Matches said:

    Yeah, you can figure it out. Good luck.

    I have it figured out. I'm buying to minimize my chance to need an RMA.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I already know there aren't any. I challenged you to prove me wrong; you failed.

    Tell me your city and I'll give you plenty. But you've already stated seattle is 15 miles from you, so unless you want results wildly off base, I need a closer locale. I buy all my parts off amazon or newegg, I haven't been to a physical store in years. Mainly because I hate stores.



  • @Matches said:

    But you've already stated seattle is 15 miles from you,

    When did I do this?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I'd still have to drive 15 miles to get to a Best Buy

    330 NE Northgate Way
    Seattle, WA 98125



  • I actually specifically said the Best Buy 15 miles from me is in Everett. Goddamned you're a stupid fucker, ain't ya?

    Everett's where they build most of the world's flashy zoomy flying things you might notice if you look upwards out of the window of your padded cell. They're called jet aeroplanes.



  • @darkmatter said:

    They are long as hell though, and you have to plug a 2nd power source into the end of them

    They're so long, they need a second power source plugged into the other end because signals are limited by the speed of light.







  • What's funny is I didn't even hit the quote button, I only used reply to. That was 100% discourse's idea.

    Actually, on second thought, that's not funny. Discourse having a mind of it's own is a terrifying thought.


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