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Computer Build Recommendations

Taak Farst

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The time has come, where my PC is getting old. The poor girl cries every night, screaming about her glory days (and i literally mean scream, this fan is so damn loud) and wishing it would all end. I will grant her wish, come December.


I have a £2000 budget, and I would like a PC that can run anything I currently throw at it on a 1920x1080p resolution, on ultra settings. I'm talking Skyrim on Ultra, Crysis, Sleeping Dogs, and still be able to sustain itself against future releases.


Any build recommendations? Feel free to recommend peripherals, but not necessary. And obviously doesn't HAVE to be £2000, could be under.

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I don't know what the prices are where you live, but I can tell you what my configuration is:


Processor: Intel i5 2400 3.1GHz

RAM: 8GB DDR3 Kingston

Graphics: Asus Radeon HD 7850 2GB

Motherboard: Asus P8H67


Everything you see above is around two years old, with the exception of the graphics card, which I bought this July (before that I had an Asus Radeon 5670 1GB card). All the games I have currently installed run smoothly on max settings. They ran pretty well before the GPU upgrade to 7850, but now they all run with zero performance issues. One example would be L.A. Noire, which had some performance issues that prevented me from running it on max settings, but now it runs smoothly with everything maxed out. Another example would be Batman Arkham City, which had significant performance issues with DX11 turned on (which means I played with those options turned off), but now it runs smoothly with DX11. Some other more recent games that I can use as examples would be Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Saints Row IV and Bioshock Infinite.


So yeah, I'd recommend getting something similar to what I have and you'll surely be set for the next 3-5 years, though these days you can probably get even better hardware for that same price (which was around 500 euros). In any case, go for a motherboard with at least a 1155 socket (assuming you're going for an Intel processor), or newer ones like 1150, or 2011, then build your configuration around that.


Regarding hard disk drives, I still use the old ones, as I find SSDs to still be seriously overpriced, considering what you get for that price. I'd advise thinking about what you need and getting that (if you even need a new HDD).

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You should be able to build a very decent rig for the money you're looking to spend.


I can't speak to most of the games that you listed, however I can tell you that Skyrim will run on Ultra (with occational issues) with a card with 1GB of GDDR. You'll want at least 2GB if you plan on running the HD texture packs. My card has 3GB (EVGA GeForce 660) and doesn't even break a sweat with HD Skyrim on Ultra.


If you're looking for a gaming rig, pick your video card first and then base everything else off of that (i.e. games don't utilize hyperthreading so don't bother buying a proc that supports it, etc).


Similarly, if the games that you tend to play don't fair very well with SLI, then you can save a few bucks on your mobo too (this doesn't mean buy a cheap one, it means don't buy one with bells and whistles that you'll never use).


RAM is dirt cheap right now, but remember that 2 sticks are better than 4, so resist the urge to lose your mind with a 16GB kit. 8 is going to be overkill (but morally justifiable overkill) unless you do a lot of video editing, etc (in which case forget what I said about the proc above).


Aside from your graphics card, the best investment you can make is an SSD. Do your homework on SSD controllers before you buy though and don't buy an SSD if it has a crappy controller. I have an SSD for my OS and apps and a traditional hard drive for files (mods, docs, music, etc). Having an SSD is like having a race car; don't waste it taking it to the corner market to pick up milk.


If Q happens to see your thread, I'm sure that he'll have lots of awesome advice as well. He's never steered me wrong.

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A SSD is a solid state drive. It uses memory chips for storage, as opposed to a traditional mechanical HDD that uses magnetic coated platters. Think of it as a glorified SD card or USB stick. It functions exactly as a traditional HDD in terms of how it is connected to the system and how it is seen by the OS, it's just faster and makes no noise (having no moving parts). The current crop are all SATA3 (unless you buy a highend one that comes as a PCI-E expansion card).


You'll see a benefit running games off a SSD whenever there is a lot of streaming going on (so games like Skyrim for example), or for games that do a big preload of a large level/area (MMOs for example). But unless you were running games off a 5400RPM HDD previously though, you probably aren't going to make huge gains. Using a SSD as the Windows drive is the most common option.


My suggestion would be a Samsung - one of the 840 series (including the new EVO refresh).

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Keep in mind the potential a PC game has for modded and enhanced textures, meshes, etc. My rig is plenty capable of playing Skyrim at Ultra settings without an issue. But once I get a few 4K or even 2K modded texture packs and the like, I eat up its resources pretty quick and do end up with the occasional CTD.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm building my own PC as well.


First you have to consider your purposes...which it sounds like you have.


Next your mobo. The consideration is what CPU you'd like to go with. You want one also with dual GPU compatibility with both Radeon and nVidia. Options are good.


CPU? AMD or Intel. While Intel's benchmarks show it the better performing option at higher level units...your consideration here is whether you want a rig you'll just be using strictly for gaming (intel) or for all-around purposes (AMD) as well.


Consider the slot type. To start with, get a lower end, then get a better one over time as your budget permits.


I will say though that price to performance, the best bang for the buck/deal for money is either

intel core i5 3570K, though a i7 3770K is merely a 3570K plus hyperthreading


AMD 8150, because it runs pretty much neck and neck with i5 3570K in tests.



The comparison I've learned is this:



More efficient processing,

Benchmarks in its favor at higher end

runs cooler


more expensive side of things for a multi slot mobo

(personal observation) less derp proof and shorter lived because of it

nVidia GPUs only work with others of same make and model




Faster clock speed to compensate for its less efficient processing

Cheaper to get started

upgrades are cheaper

Radeon GPUS are not picky and will work together regardless of make and model.

For general uses seem to be able to withstand derps and survive better

Cheaper side of things come time to upgrade


Hotter running (voltage set too high by default, about 1V+, which can be rectified by taking it down a bit)

less efficient processing as mentioned above


I'm really not in favor of either one. If you're a fan of one, that's your prerogative.




GPU: While I'd say less is more on a machine, frankly I can see why some people stack multiple units. I'm going to be buying incrimentally. Yeah I'd like to get it all at once but that's just not happening with my varying budget.


My particular case? Gaming, video editing, audio, microchip programming...

Aaaand 3D rendering for artistic purposes. Yep...that's right.





I digress. Higher end always seem toe-to-toe performance wise. Top reigning processor has gone back and forth between nVidia and Radeon. If the performance you're after is achieved with two cards, but the next one up provides comparable results and is about $50-$100, go with the single card.


Personally? Probably going to use a GTX780 4GB when I can get one. Though I did just win a GTX580 1.5GB brand new for a steal price. I was about to get a GTX660 for a startup, but when a 580 is better at a render program called Octane (albeit limited to single objects with its 1.5GB GPU RAM)...I think you can understand.


Though I did just discover Blender 3D rendering as well as knew of LuxRender, so a pair of Sapphire Radeon 7950s are looking sexier than hell right now.


As far as all that's concerned:

I have 6 slots on my mobo (nVidia and Radeon compatible).

4* 16X

1* 4X

1* 2X


I know that the more full I cram it, the bigger PSU I will need.


Speaking of...A consideration for PSU:

Higher ratings mean more idle efficiency. A platinum may cost considerably more but it would pay for itself in about a year with power savings. A 550W-600W PSU platinum has a pretty low idle power consumption.


An additional sound card doesn't hurt. you can go with soundblaster's lower options like audigy

...or even their USB soundcard (at the cost of a couple mid range sound channels).

Their upper options are sweet. They all use an X2 slot unless otherwise specified.


Casing...NZXT phantom is a sweet spot right now. Quality with little to complain about in terms of flaws.


Cooling...air is best unless you're O.C.-ing and you know what you're doing with fluid. I have test run power electronics which were liquid cooled. I'm still here as best I can tell so 10KV at 35 milliamps never made contact with any fluid and simultaneously touched me...


The advice given in this thread, already, is pretty good.

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