New PC, advice please.

Terminator

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It's been a long while since i've done any gaming but i feel the time is right to get back into it, ARMA 2 has caught my interest, i was into OFP in a big way.

I built a top of the range computer for half life 2 (3800+, X800XTPE, 2gig ram or something) but i gave that to my brother and reverted to a 2800+, radeon 9600, 512mb ram comp so it's pretty obvious i havn't played games since half life 2 era (portal was the last game i completed)

Since then i've lost touch of what is 'needed', top of the range PC's certainly seem to cost more now than they did 4 years ago. (my 'super computer' for half life 2 was just over a grand, it seems like you can spend £4 or 5k on a top range computer now)

Basically i'm looking for a new gaming rig, i'm still considering if i should build my own or not, i could do it but it's the whole lack of worry/ easiness of getting a pre built that makes it worthwhile, i'm not particularly worried about saving £100 or something.

I want a PC that provides a good power to price ratio, i've always known that it's best to buy at 90% performance because that extra 10% performance costs you twice as much.
I just don't know what's really needed these days?

I COULD spend up to £2500-3000 or so on the box but i basically want to spend as little as possible.

I've seen this computer on ebuyer http://www.ebuyer.com/product/165370

To me coming in from a few year break of computing 12gig of ram just seems crazy, the graphics card has 16x the graphics memory of my current card and i've never owned a multicore chip.

Do i need to spend this £2200, is that computer a good deal? ....any better retailers? i've looked on OcUK but it dosn't provide excellent value.

Any help appreciated.
 

OmegaX

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That's just too much to spend on a PC in my opinion. Getting the very best isn't usually worth it. A step down from the top parts is usually the best way to go.

Obviously, building your own would be the cheapest way to go. But if you want pre-built, something like this would be a much better deal, and nearly the same performance. The price would be much better as well, roughly £1,000.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883227150

Newegg is one of the best computer websites out there. You can check out the other systems and parts they have as well. I've been a customer there for years. Not sure if they deal with people outside of the US and Canada, however.
 

Rico

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I can't advise you on UK prices as I live in the US. However, some things:

1) You don't need 16GB of RAM. 4GB is good, 8GB is already close to overkill. I am playing top of the line games at max GFX at my monitor's native resolution of 1440x900 and they play butter smooth. I haven't played ArmA so I can't say on that particular game.

2) The knowledge to put together a system right now vs back then hasn't changed much. PCI-Express is just another slot like AGP was. Honestly, you could probably buy a great machine that could play anything for around $1000 if you needed a monitor to go with it as well.

There's really no worry, it's the same as before. Just spend a bit of time familiarizing yourself with the new technologies and component prices, and you can save thousands of dollars.
 

OmegaX

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RAM is relatively cheap, so I don't think you could go wrong with getting 8GB or 12GB. I put 4GB is my PC about 2 years ago and I thought that was overkill. But today, it seems to be the minimum. With technology and hardware evolving so fast it won't be long until 8GB is the norm.
 

Rico

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True, but the thing is, 16GB now costs more than 16GB in the future. RAM drops in price as time goes on. 4GB of ram used to cost over 100 bucks 2 years ago. Now you can buy 4GB of DDR2 Dual channel memory for less than 50 dollars.

And since apps aren't using close to 16GB right now anyways, there's no point in future proofing when you can just add a chip later when you see it on sale.
 

ailevation

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the 965 is about to be phased out and be replaced with the 975 for roughly the same price with better performance. Really though price-performance would be a huge waste, just stick with a 920. But intel's roadmap is so messed up these days, the 920 is going to be phased out soon and be replaced by the 950 which is like 300 bucks more. You have decided to build a PC in a really confusing time as far as intel goes because i7 just came into play like 3-4 months ago, core 2 are officially last gen and will eventually be phased out. Come within the few months are the mid and low range i5 and i3. i5's top is predicted to be on par will i7's low while also being cheaper(supposedly). Also keep in mind i7 is socket 1366 and i5 is socket 1156. Basically intel is keeping enthusiast high end, mid range and low end into really specific separate categories.

My advice, build your own PC, do research and you should probably wait before you actually pull the trigger on a new system because i5 benchmarks which should show up over the summer.

but with 2500 - 3000 pounds, that's what like $4000 - $5000 american? you can easily build a high end system.

here's my take if you want to spend a little less roughly with just 2500 american so like 1000 somethin BP.

you can snatch yourself an EVGA classified which can do tri sli with phyx card, 920, 6 gigs of ram,hard drives, sli 285.

this is off the top of my head though.

im in the same position as you though I blindly updated to a core 2 setup recently and now the PC mod bug has hit me and i too am looking to build a new pc by the end of summer. So im waiting to see the i5's performance, but still considering the i7's new line-up. Because by that time I know the i920's will be hard to find and marked up too.
 

Rico

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You're going to be paying the price if you decide to buy the new i5 or i7 this year though. LGA 775 may be being phased out, but that doesn't mean it's a great time to buy the new series either. It's kind of one of those transitional periods where you have to make a judgement call.

Personally, I would go for a cheap-ish LGA 775 system that will satisfy your gaming needs (which can be had for around 800 bucks or less) or you can go to the new technology, but pay much higher amounts than you would had you waited. It's a tough call.
 

ailevation

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Of course he's going to be paying a higher price, it's whole new platform that's not even one year-old yet. But, the performance is undeniable. Even the lowest in the i7 platform have already proven that it substantially performs better than the highest end 775 build which can be had for a couple hundred dollar difference and since it's a whole new platform, this is intel's latest, so it's going to be around for awhile. I mean he already said it himself he is willing to spend that much dough on a new system anyways but prefer to spend less if he can.

Its plain and simple, clear as day. There's no gray area... with new hardware comes more money and more performance. And this new platform proves that for the dollar, the performance cannot be denied. I wouldn't look back at an older platform at all. No upgrade path whatsoever, and we do not know how much more/less an i5 system will be compared to the older 775 and the newer 1366 as far as price goes. But surely, just by looking at i7 benchmarks this new platform performs very well, so I wouldn't expect no less from i5.
 

Rico

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Well I'm not denying the performance gains at all, obviously newer technology is usually better. My argument is that perhaps it may not be worth the price yet. Games aren't exactly keeping up with the increasing power of CPUs these days, they've only recently started using multicore systems. I'm saying that the performance gains to be had in this particular area, may not be enough to justify the expenditure. He could probably buy a cheaper system now, then upgrade to the new tech when it's cheaper/better put to use.

I'm just saying, it might be like buying a Ferrari and then driving it on roads where the speed limit is 35 MPH :)
 

Ennui

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No way do you need to spend 2000-3000 pounds, you can get a kickass system for probably $1200-$1500 USD. I'd go with one of the newer GTX series Nvidia cards, a quad core Phenom, 8gb of ddr3 and you're pretty much set. Don't go super top of the line because you're just wasting money and your PC's value will depreciate quickly - in six months the same system will cost half the price you'd pay now.
 

ailevation

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Of course games don't depend on just CPU processing power alone. You have to factor in graphics and ram as well. I'm not saying all games are either strictly GPU or CPU dependent, but the general consensus is, that higher resolutions usually depend on higher GPU power as well. Now, sure most games don't take advantage of multi-core but it's clear that if you load up let's say Left4Dead, turn off muti core rendering, turn the graphics down so there is no dependency on the GPU and now compare the performance between a Q9650 and an i7 920. The game will be utilizing the CPU more(source games also use CPU processes more as default as well) also, the game will be utilizing single core operations more since multicore rendering is turned and still the 920 will outperform the Q9650. Why? Because the architecture itself is better. So in reality, the price IS worth it if you want performance, and the price to get into the new platform is not significantly higher than you would from a high end 775.

More and more games are coming out as well. He mentioned ARMA II, this is a game with a recommended spec of quad-core cpu. Q6600's are so rare and phased out that brings it to as much as you could get a 9550 for 200 bucks, but wait... you can buy an 920 for about 200 bucks if you look at the right places, i know newegg has em for like 279, but they're also not the cheapest place to buy hardware either.

and that car anology just doesnt work, there is no limit to how much performance you can get from playing a game. It's relative really. Would if he wants to also play CSS @ 1920 x 1200 with max quality, AA and AF and obtain 300 FPS. Seems like overkill to you yes, but certainly there is no limit of performance gains. Crysis, farcry 2, arma 2, cryostasis at high reso's still give the new platform a run for it's money. There will always be games like that out there, and there will be a lot that don't. Again, with the amount of money he is willing to put out, even with half he is willing to put out he can get a very good system that could last him up until the end of the platform's life.
 

Terminator

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Thanks for the good advice guys.

I think i'm going to cap what i spend on the PC for now to £1000 (1635 USD), The CPU market isn't as simple as it used to be when people largely went by the megahurtz!
It seems like i'm going to have to do some heavy research, ARMA 2 is out in a week but i may delay playing this to find a really good deal.

I'll prob focus more of my money into getting a very good monitor/headphone/keyboard/mouse combo, something that can stick around for future upgrades.

I will be wanting to play everything on full graphics 1900x1200 as i expect to get a relatively large monitor, prob 24 inch.

As far as GPU's i'm guessing nvidia are still ahead of the game? (i got a ATI when half life 2 came out as they were better at the time)
 

ailevation

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Sweet, you can still do good with that amount, even for ArmA 2, with decent settings.

To give you and idea... right now I am running an e8400 oc'd @ 4.0 ghz, with a 1:1 ratio with 4 gigs of gskill ram rated with a stock fsb of 1066, but running it at 445, so 900 mhz, a gigabyte ep45 ud3p, and a gtx 295, all with a 24" monitor.

Now, ArmA 2 is just as intensive if not more than Crysis per say. I can run Crysis @ 2nd to the highest quality with no AA and no AF @ 1920 x 1200 with an avg of 40 FPS.

I don't know what this means to you, but it's an idea of what you're getting into with a mid-high range build with the 775 platform and heavy games like crysis and ArmA. Don't even bother to look at x38 and x48 775's those are higher end enthusiast mobo's and their prices are going down with them to the grave and with the prices they are at, that's entry level i7 mobo prices too.

a general rule of thumb... the higher resolution you're going to be mainly gaming at pretty much requires a higher videocard. Because the cpu is most often is the bottleneck here when it comes to high res.
 
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Pretty much, you pegged the Lian-Li case, although my dream machine would involve a more expensive brand of RAM (although Geil really has done well for me as budget ram), an NVIDIA card, a higher watt PSU and liquid cooling.
I'm ordering that Monday. :3
 

Terminator

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Ok guys i really didn't want the stress of building so i spotted this system:

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=FS-030-OE&tool=5

With the antec 900 case, vista premium 64bit and a GTX 285 card it comes to £1055 ($1697) not bad!
To me that appears a pretty 'sensible' and decent system, good reliable parts etc, am i right?

The last bit of advice....the graphics card, pros and cons of the GTX 285 compared to RADEON 4870 X2 ?
Does the GTX 285 give good 'bang for buck' factor?

Cheers.
 

Tyguy

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if i may, is it sensible to upgrade my Q6600 at the moment; or for that matter my graphics card (8800GT)?

My Arma 2 diagnostic showed 21 FPS on high settings which didn't make me too happy :(
 

Terminator

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From what i've read you're prob best getting a new processor and graphics card if you want to run arma 2 at higher settings.

It's been badly optimized.

The system i'm looking at i'm not expecting anymore than 50fps at high settings.
 

Dinnesch

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If you want a good 'bang for buck', get a GTX 260 or 275(or HD4870 if you prefer ATi).
Next year the GTX 285 will be likely worse than the GTX 350(or whatever the next gen cards will be called), reducing it to a very expensive piece of sh*t if you want to run the newest games on high settings.
It's much cheaper to buy a new mid-range card every year rather than buying the most expensive current-gen one.
 

Terminator

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The gtx 260 runs arma 2 at 38fps, the gtx 285 at 48fps on a benchmark with comparable hardware to the spec above.

The difference in price is £79 from the vendor i'm buying from.

The GTX 260 would also be an expensive piece of sh*t next year but a year or two gaming at 48fps compared to 38fps, it's gotta be worth £79?

I'd agree that the 295 would be very unwise economically as you'd get another 5fps for an extra £109 compared to the 285.
 

Terminator

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I've ordered it with the GTX 285 now.

Hopefully i won't regret that choice over the radeon 4870 X2.
 

Nibwoddle

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*Points to signature*

Oh, but I suppose a better GPU would be needed.
 
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don't forget to get a HDD with at lest 16mb cache! just get one with 32mb i say
 
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