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Author Topic: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested  (Read 960 times)

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Online HairyHereticTopic starter

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Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« on: May 09, 2020, 12:07:07 pm »
So, I've been thinking of late that a new PC might be worth looking into, but given that I haven't looked at any tech in years, I'm well out of the loop on what's decent these days and what isn't.

Ideally I'd prefer something I can configure via a webstore, rather than an off the shelf build (though I'm not totally averse to an off the shelf if it does what I need), and preferably from somewhere I can pay it off over time rather than purchase as a one-off. I'm in Ireland, so probably looking at UK or Irish sites / stores (possibly mainland Europe, depending on shipping and such).

The sort of stuff I play is mainly strategy games. My Steam library has things like BloodBowl, XCOM, Stellaris, Battlefleet Gothic and some of the Total War series, though I also do play some FPS, Planetside 2 being my game of choice. It'd be nice to have something I wouldn't need to worry about upgrading for a few years and should be capable of playing current games at least at a minimum spec (though preferably a bit better than that).

As I said though, I'm well out of the loop so looking for suggested builds or advice. What kind of price do you need to invest these days to get something reasonable? I think the last PC I bought I spent about a grand on it, but that was probably 8 or 10 years ago.

SSD vs regular hard drive?

Watercooling vs traditional fans?

What is worth looking at, and what is better avoided?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 01:51:11 pm by HairyHeretic »

Online HairyHereticTopic starter

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2020, 06:23:45 pm »
A lot of the prebuilt configurations I'm seeing have a smaller SSD and a larger non SSD hard drive. This seems to be the most common configuration these days. I'm guessing SSD for the operating system and maybe a game or two, the regular drive for everything else.

AIOs and air coolers I'm not familiar with. Water cooling I've heard of, but never looked into. I'm not sure it was even a thing the last time I put a machine together :) How does the air cooling differ from regular fans?

Online HairyHereticTopic starter

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2020, 06:45:54 pm »
Ah, OK, I think I know what you mean.

Offline Tsenta

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2020, 08:32:22 pm »
SSD is usually for boot/OS drive and maybe a few games/important files, yeah. 

You can use PCpartpicker to put together an average build, it all depends on what you're looking for when it comes to "power"/capabilities and of course, budget.  A mid/high tier i5 is ok for basic gaming, but with newer beefier games coming out, an i7 MAY be worth looking at.

One of the 10X0 models is usually a decent "budget" GPU, I'm running an older 980 on my older PC and still able to run stuff on med/high. 

Online HairyHereticTopic starter

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2020, 05:05:22 pm »
What would be considered a mid / high tier i5?

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2020, 02:04:37 pm »
What is your budget? I can recommend the PC my husband purchased less than a month ago and plays the games you play and is able to up the graphic settings on it with no issue (Total War, Stellaris, and many different strategy games. He can also run World of Tanks which is graphic intensive and he does it on high settings). I would recommend an i7 for those as his previous i5 struggled with the games. It cost about 1400 (US) though and I'm not sure if that's within your price range. I'm also unsure of international delivery, but it is HP which I believe would be available internationally?

Sorry if I sound ridiculous, just trying to help!

I set my region to Ireland, but I'm actually unsure it helped, but this is the one I'm talking about: https://www8.hp.com/ie/en/desktops/product-details/29191285

You can switch out parts I believe on the HP website. I really hope this was helpful :)
« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 02:13:49 pm by Amaris »

Online HairyHereticTopic starter

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2020, 03:15:22 pm »
Thanks, I'll have a look at it later when I have a bit of time.

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2020, 02:28:49 pm »
I like XOTIC PC personally.

https://xoticpc.com/collections/g3-avenger/products/g3-avenger-z390?conf=99176

This is a pretty solid machine on a $1,500 budget, though you can cut it down by a few hundred.

The parts I upgraded that are most important for the long term are the NVME drive (it's a fee upgrade to 500GB) and the motherboard (else you'll be stuck with only two DIMM slots). If you're looking at doing self upgrades in the future but are a bit nervous, consider upgrading the power supply to the 850 watt model.

The most important things for gaming performance on this machine is going to be RAM. Upgrading the board memory to 16GB is fine, as is getting an 8GB AMD video card, but more than that you can do better buying on your own and installing it yourself.

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2020, 05:06:17 pm »
I was also thinking I will point out what I did to save seven hundred dollars on my computer. I looked for a scratch and dent. Now with a computer obviously the screen being scratched is not what you want, but I got a laptop with a scuff on the cover. It works perfectly fine, it does all the gaming, but dealing with that little scuff saved me big money.

Online HairyHereticTopic starter

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2020, 08:39:15 am »
I like XOTIC PC personally.

https://xoticpc.com/collections/g3-avenger/products/g3-avenger-z390?conf=99176

This is a pretty solid machine on a $1,500 budget, though you can cut it down by a few hundred.

The parts I upgraded that are most important for the long term are the NVME drive (it's a fee upgrade to 500GB) and the motherboard (else you'll be stuck with only two DIMM slots). If you're looking at doing self upgrades in the future but are a bit nervous, consider upgrading the power supply to the 850 watt model.

The most important things for gaming performance on this machine is going to be RAM. Upgrading the board memory to 16GB is fine, as is getting an 8GB AMD video card, but more than that you can do better buying on your own and installing it yourself.

I've never heard of Xotic, but I'll take a look at them.

I'd like to hope 16 gb of ram would do me for the next while. As I said, I don't tend to play games that really look for high end graphics.

What's your opinion on water cooling? Is it better than air / fans, and worth going for?

I was also thinking I will point out what I did to save seven hundred dollars on my computer. I looked for a scratch and dent. Now with a computer obviously the screen being scratched is not what you want, but I got a laptop with a scuff on the cover. It works perfectly fine, it does all the gaming, but dealing with that little scuff saved me big money.

I hadn't thought about that, but yeah, that could certainly be something to look into as well.

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2020, 04:57:33 pm »
My laptop has 32GB and my desktop has 128GB, but the latter is because I do some rather crazy memory intensive stuff on occasion. I think 32GB is probably the good range, these days, but it's an easy upgrade.

I've never used water cooling, personally. My desktop is silent 99% of the time. A good heat sink goes a long way. I need to clean and reseat my laptop's hardware, however, which can be tricky.

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Re: Thinking about a new PC - advice requested
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2020, 03:24:46 pm »
SSD vs regular hard drive?

Watercooling vs traditional fans?

So a bit of personal experience.  I'm running a garage system (only ever bought one complete computer...in about 94 or so......every thing else has been upgrades), where the motherboard/CPU/memory are 5 years old (i5-4460, an ASUS ROG board, and 16GB of RAM...I planned ahead).  A few months ago, I moved from a no-name SATA SSD (that never really felt faster than a HD) to an NVMe SSD (1TB WD Black, SN750 model).  Had a few speed bumps (I imaged the existing Windows install instead of clean setup), but now it feels like a whole new machine in everyday use.  Chrome, Word, other aps, websites just load faster...the system feels snappy now.  And that's running the SSD at 2 Gen-2 PCIe lanes...not the full four lanes of Gen-3.

Mind you, I have most of my games installed on a spinning hard drive, because SSDs only affect loading times in games, and even not that much.  So I would whole-heartedly say get a modern, NVMe SSD (m.2) drive for your OS, and big phat mechanical hard drive for storage and games.

Also, just a month or so ago, I upgarded my 9 year old GTX-550Ti to a GTX-1650.  It's the lowest spec of the current generation cards, but I can play Skyrim Special Edition, Halo Master Chief Collection, and Tomb Raider/Rise of the Tomb Raider at 1080p with max settings at 60 fps.

(I'm contemplating dropping the $$$ for a i7-4790K, but that's another story)

Water cooling isn't any more effective in the long run that an air cooler; the only thing it can offer is that it can make less sound, but cost more.   Unless you plan on overclocking your processor/GPU, the stocking cooling solutions are perfectly adequate, and not too noisy as long as you set fan curves properly..

Oh...and if you're getting a new monitor...don't ever skimp on the monitor.   It's the part you stare out all the time.

Just my thoughts.