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Looking for some info about what makes a good PC.

CorileannaCorileanna Member UncommonPosts: 93
Okay, so I'm really not very knowledgeable about what makes computers run games well. Granted I've been using computers since age 16, but I never delved into the geeky side of it and can't build my own rig. I currently have a Toshiba laptop I payed $1100 for that seemed decent at the time but the graphics card is it's weakest point I think. Just an Intergrated intel chip. My budget couldn't be too big and I doubt I can upgrade the Tosiba because it's already making strange sounds plus don't know where I'd start. It doesn't run games too well.. I'm really looking for some help learning about what I need to run more advanced games on a computer that isn't really expensive ($1700+) and what to look for specifically in regards to parts. I know this is a vague post and I'm sorry, but any suggestions would be appreciated. 

So, from what I know, would an i7 processor, sdd storage, 8-16 ram, be good if I chose a newer graphics card? Thanks. 
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Comments

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    Well, basically there are 4 important factors for gamers: Good GFX card, good CPU, SSD and enough ram of acceptable speed. And yeah, forget about upgrading the laptop besides possible changing up the harddrive to a modern SSD.

    You need a good GFX card for any game, it is the most important thing to spend your money on. You will at least need an Nvidia 1060 (or AMD of equal performance, check the charts at Toms hardware) but a 1070 wwould be to prefer.

    The CPU is important for certain MMOs (like GW2 and BDO to mention 2), they are often far CPU heavier then ordinary games. I7 does just mean it was Intels premium CPUs when they were made, don't see them as a single type with different clock speed. the newer are the best CPUs you can find at the moment but they are also rather costly. A new I5 can outperform an old I7. CPUs are also important when you compile data, but that is rarely important if you just game on the computer.

    As for SSD you have a few options. Myself I just have a system SSD with Windows and prioritized games on while having a few slower 3 TB regular SATA drives to store media and games I don't play so much. The alternative is to go full SSD, it depends on how much storage space you feel you need. If 500 gig is more then enough go full SSD, if you need a lot more, just go for the system SSD. If you for some reason need loads of space, go for a media SSD and 3 media drives raided with raid 5.

    For memory you have to choices: DDR3 or DDR4. Currently the difference is not huge and it is only worth DDR4 if the price difference isn't too large.

    Anyways, put most money into the GFX card followed by the CPU + motherboard. that is my advice for a gamer.
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 16,615
    edited February 2017
    A really good way to know "if they are still doing it" is to look for the windows rating which all pc's did show at one time.

    Ok yes i did a quick google search and it is there as well with a guide for systems that do not have it.

    It is called WEI Windows Experience Index.It is a pretty good way to know because you will notice that cost to buy PC's pretty much follows that rating,so the old saying "you get what you pay for".

    So you could walk up to a PC in a store and check it or google the guide to check it.I found in the past a good number to aim for was 7-8 because anything higher the cost would jump up very fast.

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • laseritlaserit Member LegendaryPosts: 6,166
    Right now $1700 will build you a good 7600k Z270 system with a GTX-1070 

    Give it a couple weeks and we should know all the goods on Ryzen.

    "Be water my friend" - Bruce Lee

  • CorileannaCorileanna Member UncommonPosts: 93
    Thank you all, I'll do some research now on what I can get. And post if I find something promising that I'm not sure about. But very helpful. :)
  • CorileannaCorileanna Member UncommonPosts: 93
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01K1INYD0#Ask

    Seems to meet the criteria.. 
  • PyndaPynda Member UncommonPosts: 855
    edited February 2017
    For a complete newcomer to building PCs, I'd suggest looking at some of the 'PC' 'Build' articles out there (google those two words). You'll find directions on actual PC assembly, but also some suggested sample builds in different price ranges. I'd also do some reading on one or two tech oriented forums. Just as an example, here's a few links for you.

    Sample Build Articles:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-pc-builds,4390.html#p2
    http://www.pcgamer.com/best-gaming-pc/

    Tech Sites w/Good Forums:
    http://www.anandtech.com/
    http://www.tomshardware.com
  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 6,855
    edited February 2017
    Here's my checklist, and roughly the order I put things into my shopping cart.

    1) Pick your CPU

    2) Pick out your case (mostly aesthetic here, I recommend starting with a Mid-Tower ATX size, it's the most common and easy to work with)

    2) Pick a Motherboard that supports CPU and fits in your case (you can put a smaller motherboard (mATX or the like) in a larger case, but you can't go the other way around). Don't have to go bonkers on the motherboard, but don't go super cheap either. Brands like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, AsRock are standard choices and fairly safe bets.

    3) Select RAM that supports Motherboard

    4) Pick your GPU. Make sure it has the correct output to match your monitor (or get the appropriate converter)

    5) Get an Aftermarket CPU cooler, make sure it will fit in your case (don't need to go bonkers, the CoolerMaster 212 is a good baseline to start with, fits nearly every ATX and most mATX cases)

    6) Storage (SSD, SSD+ HDD, it's easy to add more space later on, but start with the SSD to install Windows)

    7) Windows license

    8) Optical drive (totally optional these days, most everything is USB thumb drive or digital download anymore)
     
    9) PSU - I save this for last. A general rule of thumb is 600-650W is going to be overkill for 99% of all PCs out, and a safe choice without digging down into the math. Make sure it's high quality - Seasonic is a safe choice, most Corsairs are good, past that it starts to get really hit or miss and you really have to get into some good reviews.

    10) Any other peripherals you want (WiFi card, monitors, keyboards, mice, headphones, etc)
  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 6,855
    Now, what makes a good PC.

    That is an easy question to answer: If your happy with it, it's a good PC.

    That being said, here's what I look for in a PC, in roughly this order

    - Doesn't crash often (the quality of your components greatly affect this, believe it or not). Nothing is more frustrating or disrupting that a PC that just BSODs, reboots, or shuts down randomly.

    - Is responsive (SSDs and having sufficient RAM help a lot with this) - I hate it when I hit Start and the mouse just sits there for 30 seconds, or the computer takes 5+ minutes to boot up.

    - Is relatively quiet and fits inside my workspace. I've had my share of "Power Gamer" rigs that were huge and required their own spot on the floor, sounded like a vacuum cleaner, and worked better than a space heater. The games looked great, I was miserable playing them though.

    - Runs games that I want to play. This is a pretty easy requirement to meet for the most part, I've gamed on Intel IGP before, it wasn't pretty, but it worked. So long as you build a sensible computer, it will probably at least play every game out there to some degree.

    - Runs those games with sufficient fidelity that it looks good to me. This is my last priority actually. I don't need to MAX MAX for the sake of doing so (although it is fun to have the capability to do so, I admit). Having a game look great does make it more fun to play. This is largely going to be a function of the GPU you pick, but the other components are all going to influence it more or less as well. 

    - Don't worry about future proofing, or what new hardware is around the corner. Any time I've ever "future proofed", by the time I actually needed the future proofing that I paid for up front, something else came around that made me want to upgrade anyway. For example: the video card that I spent $700 on to future proof, then a couple of years later DX11 rolls out. The 4G of DDR-333 RAM that I spent a fortune on, only to have DDR2 come out a couple years later. The WD Raptor HDDs that I spent a fortune on, then SSDs come out at affordable prices, etc. Just get something sensible and within your budget today, and when you find out that it's no longer meeting your need, re-evaluate then with a particular emphasis on the reason why your current machine is no longer doing what you want.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,261
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01K1INYD0#Ask

    Seems to meet the criteria.. 
    Why are you even looking at laptops rather than desktops?  If portability is a major concern, you need to explain the use case.  There's a huge difference between something that you're going to carry around every day, something that only gets moved once a week or so, and something that will stay in one spot for as long as you own it.
  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,086
    Looks good for a Laptop.
    What makes a good PC is the most balance within a given budget. You can always spend $10k and get a PC that is overkill for your needs. Or you can spend $1k and get about the same use out of it.
  • CorileannaCorileanna Member UncommonPosts: 93
    Well, I'm physically disabled and usually play games while propped up in bed on a laptop. A Desktop PC would be more powerful and easier I know but it'll be more uncomfortable to sit at. I don't really need portability, it's just I have such a messed up spine that sitting up perfectly straight for hours will be difficult. I am going to look into a desktop anyways though and just get an ergonomic chair I guess. Laptops seem to have less value for the money. 

    And thanks everyone for answering. 
  • laseritlaserit Member LegendaryPosts: 6,166
    Desktop might work well for you with a wireless mouse, keyboard and controller. You will definitely get a lot more computer for your money with a desktop.

    "Be water my friend" - Bruce Lee

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,261
    edited February 2017
    It sounds like you should definitely get a desktop.  I once tried to help someone in basically your situation who thought he needed a gaming laptop.  I convinced him to get a desktop and he ended up being really happy with it.

    Even if you get a desktop, you don't necessarily have to sit at a desk.  You can get a monitor arm to put the monitor wherever you want.  You can also put a keyboard or mouse or gamepad or whatever you use wherever you want, completely independent of the monitor.

    Gaming laptops tend to release a lot of heat when playing games.  If you try doing that with the laptop actually sitting on your lap, you're liable to burn yourself.  The keyboard can get hot enough to be awkward to use, too.  A desktop doesn't have those problems.

    If you're going to use a keyboard or mouse, then for the sake of ergonomics, you want them on a stable surface.  That's not a concern if you're using a gamepad, which is what I'd recommend doing if you can, though some games basically aren't playable that way.  Even if you need a keyboard and mouse, where you place them doesn't have to be meaningfully different from what you'd have done with a gaming laptop, but they'll be a lot lighter weight and won't get hot, both of which help.

    The monitor arm and a good place to mount it will be very important for you.  You don't touch a monitor while gaming, so it's fine if pushing on it makes it move.  Indeed, you might want that, if you need to push it out of the way while you get into position for gaming, then move it back into position so you can see it clearly.

    If you go that approach, you can get a desktop and put the case by the side of your bed or whatever, and get whatever you want in a desktop.  That gets you more performance for a lower price tag.  Desktops also offer better reliability, both because proper cooling is much easier and because desktops tend not to get dropped.  Options to upgrade rather than replace in the future might save you a ton of money, too.  Options to repair what breaks in a desktop rather than the entire laptop being dead can also be a big deal.

    For hardware, I'd recommend waiting until AMD Ryzen launches to see what it offers, as that's probably next week, unless you urgently need something now.  I'm not saying that you should definitely get Ryzen, but purported leaks (which should be taken with the requisite amount of salt) make it look like a compelling value, and it might force Intel to slash prices on the CPUs you could buy today.

    For a video card, on a large budget, you probably want a GeForce GTX 1070 or GTX 1080.  AMD Vega is probably a few months away, and you likely don't want to wait that long.

    You should definitely get a good SSD.  Even half a TB isn't that expensive anymore, and fits your budget easily.
  • filmoretfilmoret Member EpicPosts: 4,906
    edited February 2017
    That is one nice laptop for sure.  You can hook any desktop to a television nowadays.  Problem is with your situation it would have to be right next to you or a really big screen.  Like someone mentioned wireless keyboard and mouse can work.  Just a thought.  I know if the screen is offset to the right or left it will begin to hurt your neck after a while.  Unless you got a way to shift it over every few hours or so.
    Are you onto something or just on something?
  • CorileannaCorileanna Member UncommonPosts: 93
    You guys are great, didn't expect such detailed and helpful responses.. :)
    And hmm, yes I think I could do fine if I skipped the desk/chair and put the tower near the bed with wireless mouse/keyboard, but I have never heard of a monitor arm? Is it like a mount for the monitor that lets it extend from the wall? That would be cool, then I could be all set as far as comfort. And would a Xbox One controller work for most games? I use to be interested in that New-ish Steam controller but I'm not sure how compatible it is with regular games..

    Thanks!


  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,261
    To make sure I'm clear here, whatever posture you had planned for a laptop, you can do the same thing with a gaming desktop.  If you're using a keyboard and mouse, you put them in the same place with a desktop that you would with a laptop--that is, a desktop keyboard wherever the laptop's keyboard half would have gone.  You get a monitor arm and mount it to put the monitor wherever you want.  You could theoretically put it up against the keyboard like you would with a laptop, but that's usually a terrible idea, as it's usually better to have it higher and further back.

    You put the desktop case next to the bed.  This might be on the floor, on a table, on cabinet shelf, or whatever, depending on your situation.  You will need to run a monitor table to the monitor, but you can tie that to the monitor arm or whatever to keep it out of the way.  You could get a wired keyboard and mouse, or you could get wireless ones.  Wireless tends to be less reliable, so I try to avoid it, but having cords getting pulled around on your lap could be really awkward, depending on how you set it up.
  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,866
    Ridelynn said:
    Now, what makes a good PC.

    That is an easy question to answer: If your happy with it, it's a good PC.

    That being said, here's what I look for in a PC, in roughly this order

    - Doesn't crash often (the quality of your components greatly affect this, believe it or not). Nothing is more frustrating or disrupting that a PC that just BSODs, reboots, or shuts down randomly.

    - Is responsive (SSDs and having sufficient RAM help a lot with this) - I hate it when I hit Start and the mouse just sits there for 30 seconds, or the computer takes 5+ minutes to boot up.

    - Is relatively quiet and fits inside my workspace. I've had my share of "Power Gamer" rigs that were huge and required their own spot on the floor, sounded like a vacuum cleaner, and worked better than a space heater. The games looked great, I was miserable playing them though.

    - Runs games that I want to play. This is a pretty easy requirement to meet for the most part, I've gamed on Intel IGP before, it wasn't pretty, but it worked. So long as you build a sensible computer, it will probably at least play every game out there to some degree.

    - Runs those games with sufficient fidelity that it looks good to me. This is my last priority actually. I don't need to MAX MAX for the sake of doing so (although it is fun to have the capability to do so, I admit). Having a game look great does make it more fun to play. This is largely going to be a function of the GPU you pick, but the other components are all going to influence it more or less as well. 

    - Don't worry about future proofing, or what new hardware is around the corner. Any time I've ever "future proofed", by the time I actually needed the future proofing that I paid for up front, something else came around that made me want to upgrade anyway. For example: the video card that I spent $700 on to future proof, then a couple of years later DX11 rolls out. The 4G of DDR-333 RAM that I spent a fortune on, only to have DDR2 come out a couple years later. The WD Raptor HDDs that I spent a fortune on, then SSDs come out at affordable prices, etc. Just get something sensible and within your budget today, and when you find out that it's no longer meeting your need, re-evaluate then with a particular emphasis on the reason why your current machine is no longer doing what you want.
    Great points especially the first one. I have a hard reboot issue that is triggered by some games. It drives me crazy and there isn't an easy cheap way out to even troubleshoot it. Quality parts are important.

    I sum it up as 'balance and bottlenecks'. Do buy quality parts that work well together, don't overpower each other, and don't cause bottlenecks. It doesn't typically do much good to have the super fast part if the rest of the components are junk and slow the overall performance down.
    Fedora - A modern, free, and open source Operating System. https://getfedora.org/

    traveller, interloper, anomaly, iteration


  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,261
    edited February 2017
    You guys are great, didn't expect such detailed and helpful responses.. :)
    And hmm, yes I think I could do fine if I skipped the desk/chair and put the tower near the bed with wireless mouse/keyboard, but I have never heard of a monitor arm? Is it like a mount for the monitor that lets it extend from the wall? That would be cool, then I could be all set as far as comfort. And would a Xbox One controller work for most games? I use to be interested in that New-ish Steam controller but I'm not sure how compatible it is with regular games..

    Thanks!


    Here you go, monitor arms:

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100160978 600029519&IsNodeId=1&Description=monitor arm&name=Monitor Accessories&isdeptsrh=1

    You don't necessarily need to buy from New Egg, but they've often got good prices.  They also give good pictures that are helpful even if you live elsewhere in the world and can't buy from them.

    My dad has a monitor arm that is mounted to a desk.  It's also possible to mount it to a wall.  You need to make sure that it's mounted to something strong and sturdy, as monitors can be heavy.

    I hate Xbox-style controllers, but I expect that it would work with a lot of games.  I use a Logitech controller for most games that I play.  It's hit and miss as gaming goes, ranging from completely unplayable to more comfortable than keyboard and mouse.  Built-in controller support pretty much never works right out of the box, so I've gotten accustomed to completely ignoring it.  So long as you've got a program to map keyboard keys to controller buttons, any game is theoretically playable, but some aren't terribly practical.

    Needing precise analog movement is the big killer.  Click to move is pretty much out, but WASD movement works fine.  Needing to both strafe and turn at the same time is a big problem; it's much easier if a game is built to have you face in whatever direction you're running.  A flexible control scheme also helps a ton, and some games are much better about this than others.  If a game has a lot of skills, you'll need to map some of them to various combinations of buttons.

    Some games like Tree of Savior, Elsword, or Spiral Knights are naturally controller friendly due to the nature of gameplay and really just need to not do something stupid to screw it up.  Some game developers clearly made being controller-friendly into a priority; FFXIV deserves credit here.  At the other extreme, TERA nominally has controller support, but it's botched so badly that one wonders if the developer who created it ever tried actually playing the game that way.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,261
    The person I previously talked to who was in a similar situation to yours sat in a recliner to play games.  Your physical condition might not be the same as yours, so I don't know if that would be possible for you.  But a recliner does necessarily mean that a monitor arm doesn't have to be very long.  A bed might need a longer monitor arm.

    You can get a monitor arm that is as long as you need.  For example:

    https://www.ergoprise.com/heavy-duty-73-long-reach-lcd-monitor-arm-holds-up-to-26-4-lbs/

    But it's a whole lot cheaper if you don't need 6 feet of horizontal extension.
  • CorileannaCorileanna Member UncommonPosts: 93
    Oh.. I see so very many choices. I think a regular length one would be fine, but unless I find one for around $100, then it'll be tricky because I'm on a fixed income and of course have bills to pay as well, but maybe my fiancee will pitch in as that would be great because then I could finally be comfortable on a PC. 

    Having had back surgery that was unsuccessful, I have a lot of chronic pain so if I could improve that while gaming I would be much happier about spending time online. And again thanks so much for the suggestions on the PC itself and now the Monitor Arm, very helpful.. but maybe you'd know this too?
    Would my medical insurance maybe pay for the installation of this? I was once in an Electric Wheel chair before I started doing better, and they offered to custom make mine to allow for a fold-able computer desk on it.. 
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,261
    Look at my New Egg link.  There are a lot of monitor arms for under $100.  Often, they can only handle relatively lighter monitors or can only extend out a foot or two, which makes them a lot cheaper to build.

    I have no clue what medical insurance would pay for.  But if you were looking at spending $1600 on a gaming laptop, that leaves plenty of space in the budget for a gaming desktop plus a monitor arm.  You can get a respectable gaming desktop for $1000 including peripherals, though obviously you can get something nicer on a larger budget.
  • CorileannaCorileanna Member UncommonPosts: 93
    Okay sounds good, I think you're right, would just need to budget it all and would likely be fine. :pleased:
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,261
    edited February 2017
    I believe in respecting the budget; it's up to you to choose how much you're willing to spend.  If two people come in asking for a gaming desktop with basically identical needs, except that one isn't willing to spend a dime over $500 and the other has no problem with spending $2000, I'll recommend very different parts for them and fit both budgets.  The $2000 computer will be much nicer than the $500 one, of course.

    If you need all new everything and a monitor arm, the cheapest you could get a functional gaming desktop is around $700 or so--and that likely gets you integrated graphics.  Above that, more gets you something better up to about $3000 or so--with a large chunk of that top end budget spent on monitors.  So you could decide that you're willing to spend $1000 and get a decent gaming desktop, or $1500 and get a pretty nice one, or whatever.  What you're willing to spend is up to you.

    If you've already got peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.), that cuts what you need by about $200 toward the lower end of the price range.
  • CorileannaCorileanna Member UncommonPosts: 93
    Hmm, yeah I only have a mouse so far, but I bet if I calculated out the best price for the PC and accessories, then worked in the Monitor Arm, I could spend most of the price on good parts for the PC plus monitor and then decent Keyboard and such with some money left for a suitable Monitor Arm as well. I'm good at figuring stuff like that out so shouldn't be too tough, I was just unaware what made a smart computer build and how to go about it.
  • Asm0deusAsm0deus Member EpicPosts: 3,026
    edited February 2017
    Ridelynn said:
    Here's my checklist, and roughly the order I put things into my shopping cart.

    1) Pick your CPU

    2) Pick out your case (mostly aesthetic here, I recommend starting with a Mid-Tower ATX size, it's the most common and easy to work with)

    2) Pick a Motherboard that supports CPU and fits in your case (you can put a smaller motherboard (mATX or the like) in a larger case, but you can't go the other way around). Don't have to go bonkers on the motherboard, but don't go super cheap either. Brands like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, AsRock are standard choices and fairly safe bets.

    3) Select RAM that supports Motherboard

    4) Pick your GPU. Make sure it has the correct output to match your monitor (or get the appropriate converter)

    5) Get an Aftermarket CPU cooler, make sure it will fit in your case (don't need to go bonkers, the CoolerMaster 212 is a good baseline to start with, fits nearly every ATX and most mATX cases)

    6) Storage (SSD, SSD+ HDD, it's easy to add more space later on, but start with the SSD to install Windows)

    7) Windows license

    8) Optical drive (totally optional these days, most everything is USB thumb drive or digital download anymore)
     
    9) PSU - I save this for last. A general rule of thumb is 600-650W is going to be overkill for 99% of all PCs out, and a safe choice without digging down into the math. Make sure it's high quality - Seasonic is a safe choice, most Corsairs are good, past that it starts to get really hit or miss and you really have to get into some good reviews.

    10) Any other peripherals you want (WiFi card, monitors, keyboards, mice, headphones, etc)
    Agreed witht he exception that I think the PSU should be higher up in the list like equal to motherboard. I mean really unless your overclocking the MB isn't going to be that expensive and you wont see a huge difference tween a 300$ one and 150$ one.

    A  psu can make or break stuff and people tend to put this far to low on the list, quality doesn't necessarily go with watts.

    Ridelynn mentions this but just wanted to point out I think it should be like # 5 IMO.

    Brenics ~ Just to point out I do believe Chris Roberts is going down as the man who cheated backers and took down crowdfunding for gaming.

    case: Coolermaster HAF932
    PSU: Antec EA 750watt
    RAM: 4x2g G-SKILL DDR3-1600mhz 9-9-9-24
    Mb:Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P
    CPU: i5-750 @4ghz
    GPU: gtx msi N760 TF 2GD5/OC
    cooling: Noctua NH-D14
    storage: seagate 600 240GB SSD, samsung evo 860 500gb SSD, 500GB x7200rpm HDD


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