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Buying new gaming PC - need some advice


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#1
mark2512

mark2512

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Hey,
Ok, so I have said 'screw you' to both the recession and my technophob girlfriend and have decided to buy a 'specialist' gaming PC. I'm currently using a laptop, which is fast becoming obsolete. I have around £600-£700 and ideally would like something that is going to last me a good few years before it needs upgrading. I have had a bit of a shop around and have looked at a couple of rigs, the specs of which I have pasted below - however I am no expert and I just really want to know if this is the best I can buy for my money:

The first PC I have been looking at is a pre-fabricated gaming PC on Ebuyer.co.uk, which costs £600:

Zoostorm Advanced Gaming Desktop PC, Core 2 Quad Q8300, 6GB DDR2, 640GB SATA HDD, DVDRW, 512MB DDR3 HD4850 Graphics Card, Vista Home Premium

Processor
* Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 Quad Core Processor 2.50Ghz,
* 4MB Cache

Memory
* 6GB DDR2 800Mhz
* 4 x DIMM slot

Hard Drive
* 640GB (1 x 640GB) SATA Hard Drive

Optical Drive
* DVDRW Super multi

Software
* Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium

Display
* Monitor Not Included

Graphics
* ATI Radeon HD4850
* Up to 512MB DDR3

Audio
* 1 set 5.1 channel Audio jacks (3 jacks)

Networking
* Network Interface: 10/100/1000 LAN, Realtek® RTL8111B

Power Supply
* 500W PSU

Dimensions
* Width 202mm
* Depth 500mm
* Height 435mm

Interfaces
* 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
* 1 x PS/2 mouse port
* 1 x Parallel port
* 1 x Serial port
* 6 x USB 2.0 ports
* 1 x RJ45 LAN port
* 2 x DVI port

Expansion
* Card Reader


I have also been on a custom PC website, PCSpecialist.co.uk and set the specs out for my own rig, again what I'd like to know if this the best value for money. I have set the specs for one which would cost £617. The specs are as follows, I am particuarly concerned about the power supply, the website only suggested I need a 350W power supply - however I don't want to be bit in the arse with power problems when playing demanding games. I have also added an advanced cooling system, which I am not sure is necessary:

Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™2 Quad Q9400 (2.66GHz) 1333MHz FSB/6MB Cache

Memory (RAM)
8GB CORSAIR XMS2 800MHz - LIFETIME WARRANTY! (4x2GB)

Motherboard
ASUS® P5Q TURBO: DDR2, SATAII, PCI-e x16, 2 x PCI, 3 x PCI-e x1

Operating System
Genuine Windows Vista™ Home Premium 64-bit + Windows 7 Upgrade Voucher (£86)

USB Options
8 x USB 2.0 PORTS (6 REAR + 2 FRONT) AS STANDARD

Memory - 1st Hard Disk
640GB SERIAL ATA 3-Gb/s HARD DRIVE WITH 16MB CACHE (7,200rpm)

2nd Hard Disk
NONE

1st CD/DVD Drive
22x DUAL LAYER DVD WRITER ±R/±RW/RAM

2nd CD/DVD Drive
NONE

Graphics Card
1GB NVIDIA GEFORCE 9500GT PCI EXPRESS

2nd Graphics Card
NONE

Sound Card
ONBOARD 8 CHANNEL (7.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)

Modem
NONE, I WILL BE USING BROADBAND

Network Facilities
ONBOARD 10/100/1000 GIGABIT LAN PORT

Floppy Disk Drive
NONE

Memory Card Reader
INTERNAL 52 IN 1 CARD READER (READS XD, MS, CF, SD, etc)

Case
STYLISH PIANO BLACK FUSION CASE inc. 2 FRONT USB

Power Supply & Case Cooling
450W Quiet Dual Rail PSU + 120mm Case Fan (£25)

Processor Cooling
ARCTIC COOLING FREEZER 7 PRO QUIET INTEL CPU COOLER (£19)

Firewire & Video Editing
NONE

TV Card
NONE

Monitor
NONE

2nd Monitor
NONE

GeForce 3D Vision
NONE

DVI Cable
NONE

Keyboard & Mouse
NONE

Mouse
NONE

Speakers
NONE

Webcam
NONE

Headsets (VOIP)
NONE

Surge Protection
NONE

Printer
NONE

Anti-Virus
NONE

Office Software
NONE

External Hard Drive
NONE

Home Installation
NONE

Warranty
1 Year Return-to-Base incl 1st Month Free Collect & Return

Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)

Build Time
Standard Build - Approximately 10 to 12 working days


Thanks in advance for any advice you can give.

Cheers,

Mark

Edited by mark2512, 11 August 2009 - 11:45 AM.

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#2
fenzodahl512

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Ok, first whenever you want to buy a pc, budget is always comes first

1. A quad core processor is not essential (it is very nice though).. If you just into gaming, a dual-core processor would be just fine.. If you're into something like graphic rendering/architecture designing/video editing, a quad core processor will give you loads of advantage

2. If the purpose is strictly gaming, a hi-end video card may be a necessity.. I personally recommend ATi 4850 or above (or Nvidia GTXS250 or above).. A good video card is crucial for gaming satisfaction..

3. Hi-end vga card needs more power.. Thus you'll need a very good Power Supply Unit (PSU).. I recommend any good brand PSU of 600watt or above (if you're going to use quad-core processor along with hi-end vga card), or 500watt (if you stick to dual-core processor, with mid-range vga card).. You can consider any ATi 4870 or above (Nvidia GTX260 or above) as hi-end, and anything below as mid-range.. Here's some reading for PSU choices..

http://www.xtremesys...amp;postcount=2

4. RAM.. General rule of thumbs, more RAM capacity = better.. RAM is quite cheap nowadays.. Just go and buy 3gb of RAM straight.. You don't really need what it called "High Performance RAM".. Its actually useless unless you do overclocking.. "High Performance RAM" is just as good as normal RAM when you run at stock speed..

5. Third-party CPU cooler.. Highly recommend.. In my personal point of view, stock cooling that comes with processor is not good enough.. But do not throw it away! Keep it for warranty purpose.. You void the warranty if you missing your stock heatsink.. All you have to do is to buy a good third party CPU cooler and fix it to your processor.. Here's some links for ideas which CPU cooler to choose.. Just keep an eye to your pocket and not buy everything expensive.. We have a budget, remember? :)

http://www.frostytec...p5heatsinks.cfm
http://www.frostytec...?...2383&page=5

6. Monitor.. For best gaming satisfaction, get an LCD 22-inch (wide screen) or above.. I personally recommend ASUS, LG, Samsung brands but do ask around.. My sister use BenQ and she said its great!.. Anyhow, any good brand should do..

7. Other components..

- Motherboard: Just choose any good motherboard that will match with your processor.. An Intel-based motherboard for Intel processor of couse, and AMD-based motherboard for AMD processor.. Keep an eye on the compatibility.. You can ask your vendor about it..

- Hard Disk: Just pick any SATA2 hard disk with your preferred capacity.. Normal user won't need 500gb of hard disk, but some may need 1TB!..

- DVD-writer.. Get a good one.. such as Sony, LG, Samsung, Lite-On, ASUS brands.. Do ask your vendor about their availability..

- Casing.. This one is your choice.. Do ask about their air-ventilation, maximum capacity of hard-disk and optical drives that can be fit into the casing..

-------------------------

Given for choices between your specs, I much preferred the first one..

Graphics
* ATI Radeon HD4850


is A LOT better than

Graphics Card
1GB NVIDIA GEFORCE 9500GT PCI EXPRESS


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#3
SalomonXM

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Hi mark2512,

As fenzodahl512 stated, the first Computer system from ebuyer.co.uk is better in regards to performance for Gaming. I would suggest seeing if there is a similar setup that utilizes a "Intel Core 2 Duo Processor" and uses a better Video Card then the Radeon 4850. The Radeon 4850 is a good card; however, to protect your investment from the near future. See if you can get a better card to last you a few more years instead of having to dish out more money later to upgrade.

Also, is a 640GB Hard Drive sufficient for you? You may want to find a computer package that has a bigger hard drive as well unless you will be purchasing a hard drive from a store and installing it yourself.
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