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Building a gaming PC

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PrincessCiri

Max-Tac
#1
Building a gaming PC

Hello everyone, for Christmas I'm planning to buy myself a gaming computer, using this website https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/pcs/ and I was hoping that there would be a few people here willing to give me good advice on what parts would be best to buy. I'm not completely clueless when it comes to computers but I've never bought a PC designed specially for gaming, so any advice on what works and what doesn't would be greatly appreciated.

Ideally I don't want to spend more than £1500.
I'd like to be able to play games (like the Witcher 3) in high settings, if possible, to give you an idea of what kind of performance I'm looking for.

At the moment, the computer specs I've chosen are as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7 six core processor i7-4930K (3.4GHz) 12MB cache
Motherboard: ASUS P9X79 LE: INTEL SOCKET LG2011
Memory (RAM): 16GB Kingston Hyper-X Fury Dual-DDR3 1600MHz (2 x 8GB )
Graphics Card: 4GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 980 - 1 DVI, 1 mHDMI, 3 mDP - 3D Vision Ready
1st Hard Disk (and my only hard disk): 500GB 3.5" SATA-III 6GB/s HDD 7200RPM 16MB CACHE
DVD/BLU-RAY Drive: 8x BLU-RAY ROM DRIVE, 16x DVD ±R/±RW
Memory Card Reader: INTERNAL 52 IN 1 CARD READER (XD, MS, CF, SD, etc) + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT
Power Supply: CORSAIR 650W VS SERIES™ VS-650 POWER SUPPLY
Sound Card: Asus Xonar DG 5.1 SoundCard & Headphone AMP (Award Winner)
OS: Genuine Windows 8.1 64 Bit - inc DVD & Licence
Keyboard & Mouse: CM Storm Devastator Keyboard and Mouse


The cost of this is (with VAT incl) £1619, which is a little over my budget. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for cheaper alternatives or if I've chosen something unnecessarily powerful and so on.

Also, I have no idea whether it's better to have 2 okayish graphics cards or one amazing graphics card... so I picked one that is quite expensive.

Any feedback would be appreciated!!

also i'm sorry if i posted this in the wrong section
 

octavian123

CyberPsycho
#2
The GTX 980 is only marginally more powerful than the 970 so if I were you I'd get a 970.

I have a http://www.pcgarage.ro/placi-video/asus/geforce-gtx-970-strix-oc-4gb-ddr5-256-bit/ and it is a beast of a card. This particular card has a DirectCU II STRiX fan that only activates once the card is above 70 degrees but even then it's really silent and efficient. I've never seen my card go above 73 degrees. This, coupled with the very low power consumption of the Maxwell GPUs give it great overclocking potential BUT don't do that unless you really need to AND unless you really know what you're doing (or someone who does). OCing a card is not so dangerous anymore but you can still fry it if you don't know what you're doing.

Speaking of overclocking, Intel is offering OC warranty for a small sum. I'd get it and when the time comes OC it.

Also, I am not sure you really need 16 GB of ram, maybe in the next couple of years but as of now, 8GB is more than enough for every game out there.

Corsair make excellent PSUs but I don't know anything about that particular one. A surefire way to know how good a PSU is what certificate it has: bronze, silver, gold or platinum. A 650 - 750 Corsair PSU with a Gold certificate would be a good choice I think. MAKE SURE IT'S MODULAR! Modular means that you can plug in as many extra cables as you need in the PSU so that there won't be a nightmarish mess in your PC that will also affect the airflow.

Also, STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS 8!!! 7 is more than good enough.

This setup should be able to play anything you throw at it.

Other than that, you are the first girl I know that has (or rather is going to have :p) a gaming PC :D
 
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sidspyker

Ex-Moderator
#3
First is obviously get a GTX970 not a 980.

Also why two separate Burners? Do you burn a lot of stuff simultaneously? Otherwise I don't know why you need more than the bluray drive, that'll burn everything you need.

Why 16GB RAM? Do you do a lot of video/image editing? Otherwise 8 is fine. If 16 is cheap anyway then go for it
 
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PrincessCiri

Max-Tac
#4
Thanks for the advice guys! I will make changes to that stuff.

As for the bluray thing, a friend told me that if a computer has bluray it means it can play stuff in HD so it's a good idea to have it... I don't know... er I may have picked 2 by accident
 
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sidspyker

Ex-Moderator
#5
Just get 1 bluray writer drive if you need to write discs too, because that will do all Bluray/DVD/CD etc.
 

eskiMoe

Max-Tac
#6
First is obviously get a GTX970 not a 980.

Also why two separate Burners? Do you burn a lot of stuff simultaneously? Otherwise I don't know why you need more than the bluray drive, that'll burn everything you need.

Why 16GB? Do you do a lot of video/image editing? Otherwise 8 is fine.
Also that CPU is a bit overkill.

I'd just get a 4790k/4690K with a decent Z97 mb and save a few hundred.
 

PrincessCiri

Max-Tac
#7
Also that CPU is a bit overkill.

I'd just get a 4790k/4690K with a decent Z97 mb and save a few hundred.
I've had a look but I can't seem to go any lower than a 4820k, although that has saved me more money too! The price is now at £1,115 which is awesome.
 

Luxorek

CyberPsycho
#8
@Princess_Ciri You absolutely don't need 16 GB of RAM and i7 UNLESS you plan to do lots of video editing in the future.

Here is my proposition:

GPU: Asus GeForce GTX 970 Strix DirectCU II 4GB
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K
MoBo: MSI Z97-G43 /intel Z97, LGA 1150/
RAM: 8GB 1600Mhz or 1866Mhz, anything will do really
PSU: Cooler Master G550M 550W [550W is more than enough]
Storage: Seagate 1 TB 7200rpm 64MB cache SATA600 Barracuda
OS: Windows 8.1 gives you a slight boost in modern games. Slight.

and if you intend to overclock in the future and your CPU is basically made with that purpose:

CPU cooler: Thermalright HR-02 Macho Black-White


By the way, ask yourself whether you really need that Blu-ray drive? Cheap Samsung or LG DVD drive will do just fine.
 

octavian123

CyberPsycho
#10
@Princess_Ciri You absolutely don't need 16 GB of RAM and i7 UNLESS you plan to do lots of video editing in the future.

Here is my proposition:

GPU: Asus GeForce GTX 970 Strix DirectCU II 4GB
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K
MoBo: MSI Z97-G43 /intel Z97, LGA 1150/
RAM: 8GB 1600Mhz or 1866Mhz, anything will do really
PSU: Cooler Master G550M 550W [550W is more than enough]
Storage: Seagate 1 TB 7200rpm 64MB cache SATA600 Barracuda
OS: Windows 8.1 gives you a slight boost in modern games. Slight.

and if you intend to overclock in the future and your CPU is basically made with that purpose:

CPU cooler: Thermalright HR-02 Macho Black-White


By the way, ask yourself whether you really need that Blu-ray drive? Cheap Samsung or LG DVD drive will do just fine.

Well, I'd get a 650-750 PSU. Maybe she intends to get another GPU in the future and also OC the CPU?

These RAM are very good btw http://www.pcgarage.ro/memorii/corsair/vengeance-4gb-ddr3-1600mhz-cl9-1/

MAKE SURE YOU GET 4X2 and not one 8GB. If you use 2x4 you can benefit from Dual Channel which gives more performance.
 

octavian123

CyberPsycho
#11
A few case fans to improve the airflow would also be useful while also making your PC cooler (no pun intended).

Are you also planning to get a monitor or do you already have one?

EDIT:

Also, computer cases are more than just looks, better cases have better airflow which means lower temperatures and a longer lifespan for the components.
 
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PrincessCiri

Max-Tac
#12

PrincessCiri

Max-Tac
#14
A few case fans to improve the airflow would also be useful while also making your PC cooler (no pun intended).

Are you also planning to get a monitor or do you already have one?

EDIT:

Also, computer cases are more than just looks, better cases have better airflow which means lower temperatures and a longer lifespan for the components.
I already have a monitor. It's pretty old but it's a good one. I just can't remember what it is >_<
 

volsung

NetWatch
#15
Princess Ciri,

These guys gave you really good recommendations. If you ask an average PC gamer, they'll spew a bunch of myths and rumors about hardware and performance.

When you buy a gaming PC you have to consider first your real budget, and second your real tasks. I hate wasting money and performance. I suppose you're sort of on a student budget, and if so that configuration is overkill. If you also only plan on playing games, and on one 1080 or 1200 monitor, it is also overkill.

Remember the computer is an open platform: you can replace and add components as you wish. My recommendation would be to match your budget for now buying parts that allow for smart upgrades.

For instance, do you really see yourself using SLI or Crossfire within the next 3 years? Cards will only get better on energy efficiency, and if you only play on one monitor I don't see why you'd want more heat and unnecessary power consumption.

About CPUs: Intel has a very good instructions per cycle scheme that AMD tries to match with raw clock frequency, cores and larger cache. Many desktop applications are still single threaded and Intel has an advantage, and they also require less power. The difference between an i7 and an i5 is essentially the ability to run more threads per core, which in practice leads to less L1 cache per thread. Heavily multithreaded applications would benefit from this, but so far most games rely on a few hard coded threads. So like they said, unless you need to do something else such as image processing or scientific computing both i5 and i7 will perform the same.

Similar comment goes for RAM. I could easily fill up 32 or more GB of RAM solving numerical systems, but at home? Unlikely I would even fill my current 8 GB.

Remember many PC gamers spend lots of money on their computers for bragging rights. You don't need a monstrous PC to play games at full settings (unless you want 4K or multi monitor or whatever).

Edit: I would go for an i5, 8 GB RAM and a GTX 970. It should last you for at least 3 years.
 
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PrincessCiri

Max-Tac
#16
Princess Ciri,

These guys gave you really good recommendations. If you ask an average PC gamer, they'll spew a bunch of myths and rumors about hardware and performance.

When you buy a gaming PC you have to consider first your real budget, and second your real tasks. I hate wasting money and performance. I suppose you're sort of on a student budget, and if so that configuration is overkill. If you also only plan on playing games, and on one 1080 or 1200 monitor, it is also overkill.

Remember the computer is an open platform: you can replace and add components as you wish. My recommendation would be to match your budget for now buying parts that allow for smart upgrades.

For instance, do you really see yourself using SLI or Crossfire within the next 3 years? Cards will only get better on energy efficiency, and if you only play on one monitor I don't see why you'd want more heat and unnecessary power consumption.

About CPUs: Intel has a very good instructions per cycle scheme that AMD tries to match with raw clock frequency, cores and larger cache. Many desktop applications are still single threaded and Intel has an advantage, and they also require less power. The difference between an i7 and an i5 is essentially the ability to run more threads per core, which in practice leads to less L1 cache per thread. Heavily multithreaded applications would benefit from this, but so far most games rely on a few hard coded threads. So like they said, unless you need to do something else such as image processing or scientific computing both i5 and i7 will perform the same.

Similar comment goes for RAM. I could easily fill up 32 or more GB of RAM solving numerical systems, but at home? Unlikely I would even fill my current 8 GB.

Remember many PC gamers spend lots of money on their computers for bragging rights. You don't need a monstrous PC to play games at full settings (unless you want 4K or multi monitor or whatever).
Thank you for this. Without everyone's advice here I would have probably ended up spending over £1500 on a PC that didn't need to be so overpowered, so I am super grateful for everyone's input.

I do have one question, what is SLI or Crossfire?

I will go over the advice everyone has given me and post the updated version of the PC I am thinking of buying. Hopefully this one will be better lol
 

Luxorek

CyberPsycho
#17
Lol also you guys are giving me conflicting information. :hmm:
I'm sure @Guy N'wah will be able to clear things up. He seems to be very knowledgable in that area [and in many others as well].

Anyhow. Cormacolindor is right, go for 2x4GB. The other thing is the site you intend to buy your components from. I'm not from UK, but we have people here who are. I'm sure they will recommend you some trustworthy sites.

I found one called Aria. Seems to have good reviews. This is my recommendation and I stand by it - 938.45 Pounds. You can freely swap that 2400Mhz Ram for something at 1600Mhz, if that discount for G.Skill ends. Good case, lots of space, two quiet built-in fans. MoBo that will be more than enough for your needs. CPU cooler that will keep you CPU cool even under pressure. And that Asus Strix GTX970 will serve you for a loooong time. Also potential for OC is there, when you feel ready.
 

Gilrond-i-Virdan

NetWatch
#18
Also, think whether you need a separate sound card. I'm using built in one without any issues. Of course for professional audio processing, having more functional card can be useful.

About RAM, that depends. If you plan to run virtual machines you can always benefit from the bigger size. VMs can be useful in many scenarios. Anyway, I think these days 16 GB RAM is a good default for a desktop computer.
 
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PrincessCiri

Max-Tac
#19
Also, think whether you need a separate sound card. I'm using built in one without any issues. Of course for professional audio processing, having more functional card can be useful.
Yeah I'm not fussed about the sound so much. As long as I can hear the music and it doesn't sound like it's being played through a 90s mobile phone, I think I should be fine with a built-in sound card.
 

volsung

NetWatch
#20
SLI (Nvidia) or Crossfire (AMD) are technologies that allow you to use multiple videocards at the same time, increasing performance and raw data throughput.

Performance doesn't increase linearly though as adding extra hardware adds communication and processing overhead, but graphics usually scale well because they reduce to matrix algebra.

I consider it to be a premium solution to performance, although sometimes it can be cheaper than a premium single card. In any case, this is for scenarios such as 4K resolutions and so on. Single monitor setups at 1440 or less are just fine with one 970.