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It's upgrade time


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66 replies to this topic

#1
Monte Carlo

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Hi.

My gaming rig is now four years old. I've been very happy with it --- by spending upfront I've only *just* started to notice it creak performance-wise and I'm also happy with my Alienware desktop (2 years old now, an MX-15).


I'm looking to get a new desktop gaming rig. I want to spend in the region of UK £ 1000. I'm pretty happy with Alienware but will consider anything. I do not have a tame techie to build me one, sadly, so this is off the shelf.

My last rig was from Chillblast --- very good but their stuff is a bit too expensive for me this time around.

Any ideas gratefully appreciated.

Cheers

MC

#2
Gorgon

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Appart from the fact that you can get it wrong and damage something valuable, ask Bokshi, putting it together is not much harder than building a lego castle.

#3
Humodour

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I do really recommend putting it together. You're intelligent Monte, so it would be well within your ability. And it's always nice to be able to add a new skill to the list, right? Plus, it's cheaper.

Alienware is Dell's range of waaaay overpriced PCs. They're NOT worth it. It's like buying Apple.

Still, if you're as lazy as I was last time I got a new PC, the Dell XPS range has worked out really well for me.

For example, for 1000 pounds, you can get this:
Intel® Core™ i7-3770 Processor (3.40GHz, 8MB)
2TB (7,200rpm) SATA Hard Drive + 32GB SSD (Intel SRT)
8 gig of 1600 MHz DDR3
AMD Radeon™ HD 7770 2GB DDR5 Graphics Card

The problem with builds like the above, though, is that so much crap comes with it that you don't need (Windows, Virus scanners, Microsoft Office, keyboards, cloud storage, etc). You're paying for that, and there's no way not to. Building it yourself not only saves on labour and parts, but you're also not subsidising software companies by buying software you don't need. Moreover, by building it yourself, you can choose the most energy efficient parts (especially the power supply, graphics card and CPU), saving on your running costs in terms of your power bill.

Also, despite what I said, it looks like you could get a decent Alienware X51 for below 1000 pounds.

http://www.dell.com/...89~0~196669&p=1

#4
Gorgon

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Too bad they're so ugly. You would think they could have come up with a more muted version for those who don't want a hotrod married to a cylon raider in the living room.

But no, they're pretty much all like that.

Edited by Gorgon, 20 May 2012 - 06:09 PM.

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#5
Gorth

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I just couldn't imagine buying a ready made desktop pc :wacko:

Which reminds me, I really could use a new motherboard some day that supports 32gb of ram :(

#6
Tigranes

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Building is not so hard if you have basic computer knowledge, and especially since you'll have another computer to go online and look for tips. The only potential confusion comes from how you deal with CPU/heatsink and, of course, later when you think you've plugged everything in but it invariably doesn't turn on (tip: usually, you forgot a couple of plugs or something hasn't clicked into the motherboard properly). With a 1k pound budget you could do very well, I think.

#7
Humanoid

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Not really a lot of specifics I can give, but if you do go for the pre-built route, the traps are usually two: one is the typically anaemic video card likely to be shipped with it (advertised with misleading specs like "Amazing 2GB graphics!") and the other is a possibly proprietary spec and/or underpowered power supply that could prevent any reasonable upgrading in future. That and the usually cheap and noisy plasticky styling, but that's more an issue of taste. :p
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#8
Monte Carlo

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Thanks for all the comments, I really am leery of DIY.

Humanoid makes an especially good point about video cards and power supply (been there, been screwed like that) what I'll prolly do is post the specs of any rig that takes my fancy and post it here. Mebbe one of you guys could look at all the options drop-downs on the Dell page for me if I go Alienware.

I genuinely appreciate it.

#9
Monte Carlo

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You would think they could have come up with a more muted version for those who don't want a hotrod married to a cylon raider in the living room.


LOL. I actually like my stupidly styled Alienware laptop but I can put that sucker away anytime I choose.

#10
Pidesco

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I just couldn't imagine buying a ready made desktop pc :wacko:

Which reminds me, I really could use a new motherboard some day that supports 32gb of ram :(


http://www2.hardware...gid=1601&apop=1

?

#11
Gorth

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I just couldn't imagine buying a ready made desktop pc :wacko:

Which reminds me, I really could use a new motherboard some day that supports 32gb of ram :(


http://www2.hardware...gid=1601&apop=1

?

Pretty close. Supports my current CPU and everything else by the look of it. Unfortunately I'm more or less broke until around October, so I'm just daydreaming a bit :(


#12
Bokishi

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32 gigs of RAM? I barely see the benefits of 16 gigs, let alone 8

#13
Gorth

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32 gigs of RAM? I barely see the benefits of 16 gigs, let alone 8

My PC is not primarily a gaming machine (I dabble a bit in 3d landscape creation and animation) :)

#14
mkreku

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Definitely build your own rig. It's like building Lego and you learn a lot in the process. It is not complicated at all.

Two things I would recommend: Ivy Bridge generation Core i7 and the new 680 (or the even newer 670 which is MUCH better value for money and only around 5-10% less performance) from Nvidia. Oh, and a mid-range SSD. That will make your rig lightning fast, no matter what other components you choose. Also, both these parts are surprisingly energy efficient so you don't need to shell out an awful lot of cash for things like PSU's.

I can also recommend the Corsair chassis. Great value for money. Especially the Corsair Carbide 300R, that's cheap and very easy to build. Add a 650W PSU and you're good to go.

Crap, I can't help but recommend a motherboard too. I have been very impressed by the Asus Sabertooth Z77 motherboard. Not very expensive but great for performance and overclocking.

Ok, apparently I have to make a list because I love lists :p

Case: Corsair Carbide 300R, $80
PSU: Corsair TX 650W v2, $90
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge, $320
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth Z77 LGA 1155, $240
RAM: Corsair Vengeance CL9 2x4GB 1600MHz, $50
SSD: Corsair Force Series GT 120GB, $150 (just a suggestion, I am sure there are other SSD's that are equally good)
Hard drive: Samsung EcoGreen F4 2 TB, $120 (just a suggestion too..)
GPU: EVGA Geforce GTX 670 2GB, $400 (or the Gigabyte one for $20 more, personally I prefer Gigabyte)

Total sum: $1450

Let's say $1500 with a DVD burner, or £960.

This is the computer I would build today. Maybe spend a tad more on CL8 RAM (the one in the example is CL9, which means it is a little slower) and maybe buy the 680GTX (because I am stupid, it is $150 dollars more). Otherwise exactly the same.

#15
Pidesco

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I'd change the case and CPU on that build.

The case change is just an aesthetic choice, but I simply find the Corsair Graphite 600t so very, very purdy.

As for the CPU, an I7 just seems like wasted money for almost no real gain. A 3570K is much better value if you must go Ivy Bridge, although a 2500K is even cheaper.

#16
Bokishi

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I know an i7 really shines in 3dmark 11, video encoding, and some heavy work related stuff, but most i7 gamers disable the hyper threading because of the negative performance gains and instead end up with an i5 equivalent. So yea just get an i5 and OC that sucka!

#17
mkreku

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I could definitely go with that. Core i5 and a Geforce GTX 680 instead of the i7 and the 670. Or i5 and 670. You can't really go wrong with these choices.

#18
Humanoid

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CPU and GPU upgrades aren't an either/or. Sticking with both the i5 + 670 is plenty sensible, and either pocket the excess or get a better SSD. :p

Further, I would personally never recommend a Sandforce-based SSD (of which the Force is one) both from personal experience and wider feedback on their questionable reliability. Either go with the Marvell controller based ones for best value (Crucial m4, Corsair Performance, Plextor M3, or the discontinued Intel 510) or with the dearer Samsung 830 as the best of the best.


But yeah, backing the 3570k, or even 2500k if the price difference is more than say, 20 quid. Ivy is only a single-digit percent improvement on Sandy Bridge at the same clocks, and they clock more or less the same due to Ivy having inferior thermal interface. I don't think there's any reason to go for the 680 either, if you need more than what a 670 can offer, then better to save for another 670. :p

I also don't think upgrading the RAM latency is worth anything to this architecture - if there's any difference, it'll be closer to a 0.1% than to a 1% gain. Memory frequency is also a tiny, but slightly bigger gain, in the event of DDR1866 being available for a similar price - again a sub-1% improvement.

#19
Humodour

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****, thanks for that. The SSD I just bought is a Sandforce. :s

And this is why I like things like Google Docs and the Steam cloud!

#20
mkreku

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Don't worry, I have been on a Sandforce for well over a year (two years?) without problems. My cousin bought the Corsair Force GT SSD and it really is superfast. No problems there either, for the first few months at least. As usual on the internet a lot of smoke and little fire.

Although I could easily recommend the Plextor SSD too. It's been getting great reviews in Sweden.

The list I made focused on performance. Sure, the difference between the i7 and the i5 is not big in real world applications (although I would argue it is bigger than you guys imply). The difference between CL8 and CL9 is not big either. Same with going from 1600 to 1866 MHz. Or Marvell vs. Sandforce. But add all these things together and you have a faster computer.




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