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New Computer Needed; Please advise

AmyKareenaAmyKareena Member Posts: 2

Hello; when I bought my current computer I wasn't a gamer and so didnt look for those kind of specs. I've now become an avid player of DDO. Now that I've gotten to the higher-end level things I am experiencing horrible lag and frame rates. (Mainly in the 12 person Raids) I posted my info on there and was told my video card sucks. I dont know much about computer hardware and recently came into some money that will allow me to purchase a new computer. And I want it to be good for gaming.

Budget Max: $1000 - perfer less.

Current Computer Specs:

Memory (RAM) 3.00 GB 4.5

Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 8200M G 3.2

Gaming graphics 1407 MB Total available graphics memory 3.9

Primary hard disk 79GB Free (139GB Total) 5.3

Windows Vista (TM) Home Basic



System

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Manufacturer Hewlett-Packard

Model Compaq Presario CQ60 Notebook PC

Total amount of system memory 3.00 GB RAM

System type 32-bit operating system

Number of processor cores 1

64-bit capable Yes



Storage

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Total size of hard disk(s) 149 GB

Disk partition (C: ) 79 GB Free (139 GB Total)

Disk partition (D: ) 2 GB Free (10 GB Total)

Media drive (E: ) CD/DVD



Graphics

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Display adapter type NVIDIA GeForce 8200M G

Total available graphics memory 1407 MB

Dedicated graphics memory 256 MB

Dedicated system memory 0 MB

Shared system memory 1151 MB

Display adapter driver version 8.15.11.8644

Primary monitor resolution 1280x768

DirectX version DirectX 10

 

Link on DDOforums where we were discussing this computer - and the recommendation to come here and ask lol

 

Computer I was thinking of buying: http://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-CyberpowerPC-GXI200/15773569

Or this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883227291

 

So does my current laptop suck? Would the desktop I picked out at Walmart.com be a decent enough one to game on? Shopping around what should be the kind of graphics card I should look for? 

 

As a side note hubby is getting a computer too; perfers a laptop and he doesnt game much on MMO's- he mainly does facebook-type games and such.  Does this laptop look ok? http://www.walmart.com/ip/Dell-i17R-1408PBL/15627203 

if not; whats wrong with it?

 

Thanks!

Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,226

    The Wal-Mart computer that you're looking at uses Intel integrated graphics.  You don't want to play games on that.  If you did, it would be cheaper to just keep your current laptop.  The one on New Egg is somewhat more appropriate to gaming, as the video card it offers somewhere around 10-20 times the graphical performance of the Intel integrated graphics.

    One problem with buying a pre-built computer is that they'll cut corners in all sorts of ways.  For example, for the Wal-Mart computer, the processor is the only part that they tell you what they use.  They tell you the memory capacity, but not the clock speed, number of modules, voltage, or latency timings.  They tell you the capacity of the hard drive, but nothing more, and not even the rotational speed.  They don't tell you what case it is, though you might be able to deduce that from the picture.  They don't tell you what motherboard it is, and while they do give some details on what it has, what they say is entirely consistent with it being an H61 motherboard from a cheap junk brand.  About all that I can deduce from the motherboard specs is that it uses the Micro ATX form factor and doesn't have a P67 chipset (which is the one you'd want for a gaming system).  They don't mention the power supply at all.  All of that matters.

    They do list lots of redundant information, to try to create the illusion that they're telling you what they're giving you.  Just saying that it's a Core i3 2100 processor tells you the L3 cache, clock speed, and integrated graphics, so listing those separately is redundant.  If they would say what motherboard they used, that would specify a lot of the remaining things that they list.

    Why do you think they don't tell you the specs?  Do you think it's because they're super awesome and they want to surprise you?  Or do you think it's because they used the cheapest, slowest, lowest quality parts they could find that technically meet their claimed specs?

    If you want a nice computer, you basically have two options.  One is to build your own.  If you're the sort of person who would consider buying a computer from Wal-Mart, then that likely sounds intimidating to you.  But it's not as hard as you might think.

    Suppose that you buy a pre-built computer and have it shipped to you.  Presumably you'd have to plug in the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and power cords, among other things, before you can use it.  But if you can plug cables into USB, ethernet, and DVI ports on the back of the case, then you can plug things into memory slots, PCI Express slots, and SATA ports inside the case, too.  The latter isn't any harder than the former.  Everything is shaped differently, so you can't accidentally plug something into the wrong spot because it won't physically fit.  The motherboard and case will come with very detailed instructions that explain what to do.

    That still leaves the question of what parts to get.  But you can get help with that here.  If you're trying to put together a decent gaming computer on a relatively tight budget, then you could check this thread, for example:

    http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/316804/Help-needed.html

    Check posts #13 and #16 for a $671 build (excluding peripherals), before $30 in rebates, and excluding peripherals.  Comparing that build to the prebuilt computer that you linked on New Egg, it offers a processor that is nearly as good, an equivalent video card, a motherboard that is probably slightly better, likely equivalent memory, an equivalent optical drive, and the same operating system.  Sounds like a net wash so far, right?

    The build your own option also offers a considerably faster hard drive, so that when you want the computer to do something, you don't have to sit there and wait as along.  It offers a vastly superior power supply, so that your computer will be far more likely to just work, rather than crashing or dying outright.  It offers a nicer case, with more room for whatever you might want to do in the future.  It's cheaper, too.  That makes it, on net, a much nicer computer.

    The build your own option also offers a future upgrade path, so if a couple of years from now, you decide you need a better processor or video card or more memory or whatever, you'll be able to drop in new parts that don't yet exist and get a big performance boost without having to replace the whole system outright.  That's in sharp contrast to your situation today, where a $70 video card would probably get you the performance you're after, but you can't stick that in a laptop.  If you get something that is pretty nice when it's new, it's also far less likely that you'll decide that you need to upgrade it later.

    If you're scared of trying to build your own computer, then another option is to find an OEM that will tell you exactly what parts they use.  That lets you avoid the cut corners that most prebuilt computers offer.  At an absolute minimum, I'd say, don't buy from an OEM that won't tell you exactly what power supply they use.  Just saying the nominal wattage doesn't tell you the power supply.  You need to see the exact brand name and model.  "500 W" does not specify the power supply; saying "Seasonic S12II 520 W" or "Corsair TX V2 650 W" specifies the power supply.

    Having to hire someone else to build it for you can easily add $200 to the price tag.  In the United States, AVA Direct seems to offer the most customizability, to get exactly what you want.  But paying a little more for a nice computer at least beats buying a lemon.

    -----

    New computers typically mean, excluding peripherals.  If you've already got a keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor, and surge protector that you like, then keep them.  If you don't have peripherals, you'll have to buy them.  A monitor can be expensive, but you can get something decently nice for each of the other parts for around $20.

    -----

    For the laptop, it really depends on what you want to do with it.  If your husband doesn't need much performance, you might try giving him your laptop rather than buying a new one.  What does he have now, and why does he want to replace it?

  • AmyKareenaAmyKareena Member Posts: 2

    Thanks; I appreciate the thoughtful answer. I don't want to build my own, so I will probably get the one off New-egg then. Seems like you think the video card is vastly superior to the wal mart one. Thanks!

  • jpnolejpnole Member UncommonPosts: 1,696
    I second the vote for the newegg one!
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,226

    Even if you want to pay someone else to build a computer for you, you're better off getting one built to order.  For example, go here:

    http://www.avadirect.com/desktop-pc-configurator.asp?PRID=14248

    Set the following options:

    Case:  Antec Three Hundred

    Power supply:  Antec EarthWatts EA 650 Green

    Motherboard:  Microstar 870S-G54

    Memory:  Crucial 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) PC10600 

    Video card:  Sapphire Radeon HD 5830

    Hard drive:  Western Digital 500 GB Caviar Black

    Operating system:  Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

    And leave everything else at the default option, which for most things, is "none".

    That comes to $751.75, or only slightly more than the one from New Egg.

    But it gets you a better case, so that you'll have room for whatever upgrades you may decide you want in the future.  It gets you a much better power supply, so that the computer is less likely to crash or die entirely.  It gets you a significantly better motherboard.  It likely gets you equivalent memory, or perhaps slightly better.  It gets you a significantly faster video card.  It gets you a much faster hard drive.

    And it also gets you a future upgrade path.  If you discover two or three years from now that the computer you get today isn't quite good enough, because you need one part to be better, for this computer, you'll be able to upgrade it.  You'd be able to upgrade just the processor, or just the video card, or just the memory, without having to also replace the motherboard, power supply, or case.

    If you buy the one on New Egg and need to upgrade it in the future, a newer processor would probably require a new motherboard.  The power supply is probably rather bad, of the sort that you might want to consider replacing as soon as you get it, if reliability matters much to you.  Adding more memory would require scrapping what it comes with, rather than being able to merely keep what it comes with and also add more.

    You might think, oh, but I won't upgrade it in the future.  But if you could spend $100 to upgrade your laptop to get the performance you want today, you wouldn't be looking at spending several times that on a new computer, would you?

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