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$900-1200 Gaming PC with Longevity!

PurutzilPurutzil Member UncommonPosts: 3,048

Living at home with my parents (I know, get a damn job, I'm trying!) I'm a bit in a dilema. The issue is my computer died and I need something that can not only work for gaming for years to come, but also can last a good deal of time so that my parents could use the system after.  Basically looking for a system that has strength now to game while being reliable enough that its unlikely to need any replacements over the year, specially components that might be much more costly to handle. The system itself can either be a company system or hand built. I have made my own PC in the past so putting another together shouldn't be a big problem, of course shying away from liquiding cooling.

Gaming wise, I'd ideally want it to be able to handle a game like Skyrim on higher settings, though it doesn't need to be ultra strong, so long as in 3 or so years its still able to run newer games without to much trouble (of course being possible to upgrade memory or graphics, though at that point it shouldn't really be needed). While my dad does occasionally play command and conquer games, I don't see him being to adament of it being so sparkly and running on max settings or anything of the sort later on.

 

TLDR: Gaming computer that will be able to play new games in the future on moderate settings, being reliable that it can last some amount of time. Through a company or built part by part.  Thanks in advanced for input.

Comments

  • QuesaQuesa Member UncommonPosts: 1,432

    You could probably find a computer that will run any game, for under $1000 but you wouldn't  be able to describe it as one with "Longevity". 

    With that being said.  I generally buy relatively inexpensive hardware that will run everything and just upgrade once or twice every two years as the "new hardware" gets to be a bit older and drops substantially in price.  The biggest investment I need to make in my computers (every 2-3 years) is a mobo, cpu and ram since generally they need to be purchased toggether.  

    Recently purchased some upgrades a few days ago.

    Star Citizen Referral Code: STAR-DPBM-Z2P4
  • XthosXthos Member UncommonPosts: 2,738

    I haven't been shopping for a new computer in a while, but it seems that motherboard is one of the biggest things...You have chip sets that fit them, so its better to get something that is for the newest chip sets, even if you are getting the lowest processor or a lower processor....That way the motherboard will still work down the road, when the sparkly super expensive chip now is cheap and a big upgrade for a low price....If you get something that is about to be replaced or near the end....You often will be limited on where you can go, or have to replace the motherboard which is a pain and often not cheap....So I would say thats the biggest thing to look at.....look at future plans for AMD and INTEL and see what the sweet spot is for chipsets and motherboards.

     

    I think everything else kind of falls into place after that.  I would give suggestions, but its been 2 years since I really did some serious looking into this very thing...So my info is old.

     

  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,375

    This also requires us to predict the future.

    The best you can do is build the best unit you can with the budget you have. Anything that happens in the future, well, it happens in the future.

    There's no way you can, or should, build a PC today for games 3 years from now. Anything could change: DX12/13 could come out. Consoles could continue to dominate and we see total stagnation (which has been the case for the past few years). APU's could burst onto the scene more or less making video cards obsolete. Maybe Cloud/Remote/IP gaming finally matures enough to where it's actually viable (OnLive, for instance). Maybe someone comes out with some new co-processor that totally kicks the pants off anything released today (PhysX could have very well taken off had it not been made totally proprietary). Maybe the apocalypse comes and we are all gaming in hell on original pea-colored Gameboys. Maybe in the future the government will declare computers a necessity and provide subsidies for underprivileged families to be able to afford gaming machines.

    I can say, that so far, any computer I build generally lasts me about 4 years (with an upgrade or two in the middle). Then, after I'm done with it, they generally will last my parents until I pass them down another (they don't do a lot other than sit on Facebook and trade email chain letters) - if it weren't for the fact that I keep handing them down a new computer every 4 or so years they probably wouldn't ever really see the need to upgrade at all. My father could still be using an old 486 and wouldn't really know the difference, so long as it connected to his online poker game. I think my sister is still using a G3 Bondi Blue iMac and is perfectly happy with it (although she hasn't updated any software in probably 8 years).

  • PurutzilPurutzil Member UncommonPosts: 3,048

    Obviously it won't be very easy to tell if it will last for the future, in that regard a motherboard tends to be the best bet. What I mean for longevity is simply that it can function and if anything can run things half decently. Its always possible to swap out a graphics card for a better one, though what I'm thinking if the ability to have it run and upgrade it if possible.

    Basically I'm looking for quality, something that is known to have some lasting strength behind it where its not prone to failing after so many years, so in a few years time it can switch from being a gaming pc to sitting as more of a casual computer that can run some games but without expecting it to be running anything crazy.

  • NeverdyneNeverdyne Member Posts: 167

    If you want it to have longevity and be cheap you should consider building it yourself. The reason for this is that you can replace specific parts down the road with ease, and you usually get more horsepower from a self-built pc compared to a same priced brand pc. For example, if you later want to upgrade the system, you can just upgrade the processor or just the video card and not need to change the whole system, or deal with OEM parts. 

     

    There's a Tom's Hardware article that might help you:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-a-pc-value-overclock,3033.html

    EDIT: Also, as a side note, you probably should go with an intel platform. The LGA1155 socket won't be changed with next year's processor upgrade (Ivy Bridge) so if you buy a motherboard for Sandy Bridge Core i5 processors now, you can replace the processor in a couple of years if you need to and not have to replace the motherboard. 

     

    Regarding quality, you need to pick parts with a good brand. Intel for processors, Asus or EVGA for motherboards, Corsair for power supplies, etc., and you'll be pretty much set. 

  • PurutzilPurutzil Member UncommonPosts: 3,048

    Thank you sir for your input. I was looking at iBuyPower as a possible source to get it should I go through a company and it had some similiar aspects but for more with some downgrades. If anyone can contest to them it would be helpful, I do want an option of a 'brand' just in case since I won't be working on a pc on just my funding alone. While I have no issue putting it together myself (having it done before) but I don't know how comfortable my dad will be with it, considering not only is he forking money over, but it will be the system he will be using as well likely after I part ways from home (hopefully) when I do finish college and get a job likely further away.

  • MinscMinsc Member UncommonPosts: 1,353

    I'd trust the systems I build myself anyday over prebuilt ones. Generally most name brand pc's use many lower quality components in their builds. With a self-build YOU have complete control over the components.

  • PurutzilPurutzil Member UncommonPosts: 3,048

    Originally posted by Minsc

    I'd trust the systems I build myself anyday over prebuilt ones. Generally most name brand pc's use many lower quality components in their builds. With a self-build YOU have complete control over the components.

    I agree, its a lot easier to ensure the quality of components when you do it yourself, over having it done by a company. I'd likely build it myself if it was designed just for me, though unfortunately it isn't so I'm just trying to create as many possible options as possible. 

  • KalferKalfer Member Posts: 779

    OP you're in luck. Hines you told us the Skyrim spec today:

     

    Minimum PC Specs:



    Operating System: Win XP/Vista/Win7

    CPU: Dual Core 2GHz

    Memory: 2GB RAM

    Video Card: DX9c with 512MB RAM





    Recommended PC Specs:



    Operating System: Win XP/7

    CPU: Quad-Core CPU

    Memory: 4GB RAM,

    6GB Hard Drive Space

    Video Card: DirectX9 video card with 1GB Memory

    (GTX 260/Radeon 4890 or higher)

     

     

    Recommended will let you play on high settings. You need better specs if you want Ultra. 

    Remember that Skyrim will be heavily modded with crazy graphical improvement packs, so you might want to be able to go beyond what this game can bolster.

     

     

     

    I think if 1200 is your max, I would probably stick to single GPU setup. if you SLI/Crossfire, suddenly everything goes up in price - mobo, PSU and so on.

    What monitor do you have, do you have anything from old computer you can use? you can save money if you dont need to buy dvd drive or extra harddrives and such. 

     

    if you need a good monitor(and you should.. watch the point of good graphics if your watching it out of a bad screen? - take a look at Dell's IPS displays. They got good prices on their 23'' .  IPS technology gives good colors, and I personally have not noticed ghosting or any of that sort with refresh rate. 

     

    as for case, go with something that will really keep it cool, and something big you can build it right. get something with dust filters. the better cooled and dust protected it is, the longer it should last you. 

  • PurutzilPurutzil Member UncommonPosts: 3,048

    Monitor wise its an HD monitor, so theres no problem with that. As far as parts go, the only real parts I can probably salvage might be a few fans. The HP computer that died is rather lack luster in its components to salvage and my own system by far is 5 years about about so actually getting parts from there won't likely be very useful. All the accessories are taken care of and the monitor should work well for the system and support high quality graphics. Outside of salvaging wires and those components (card reader is possible or a dvd drive, but its really not that expensive to begin with) there just isn't to much I can take in.

    Single GPU is by far what I'm thinking as its easier to replace and much cheaper. I like quality graphics now just for the sake it can last longer in the future then one that would be a bit iffier today.

    As a side note, thanks for mentioning dust protection for a case. I totally neglected thinking about that aspect, and my home is a dust magnet.

  • KalferKalfer Member Posts: 779

    Originally posted by Purutzil

    Monitor wise its an HD monitor, so theres no problem with that. As far as parts go, the only real parts I can probably salvage might be a few fans. The HP computer that died is rather lack luster in its components to salvage and my own system by far is 5 years about about so actually getting parts from there won't likely be very useful. All the accessories are taken care of and the monitor should work well for the system and support high quality graphics. Outside of salvaging wires and those components (card reader is possible or a dvd drive, but its really not that expensive to begin with) there just isn't to much I can take in.

    Single GPU is by far what I'm thinking as its easier to replace and much cheaper. I like quality graphics now just for the sake it can last longer in the future then one that would be a bit iffier today.

    Ok. When do you plan to buy/build?

     

    Some people are raging on about Ivy Bridge, but I am not sure if it will be as much worth it for desktop as it is for laptops. For laptops it's a big deal because they promise less watt usage, running cooler(less heat) and vastly improved integrated graphics. 

     

     

    There is also to consider the new pci standard, but I haven't read much about this. 

     

     

    But then again, it's easy to fall into this trap of waiting for the latest and greatest. IMO you get most from your money by getting the good deals now. It's rarely worth it to go full out crazy by buying the most crazy components. 

    so dont use everything on a crazy graphics card, and then have the lowest of the low CPU! :)

  • MinscMinsc Member UncommonPosts: 1,353

    Originally posted by Purutzil

    Monitor wise its an HD monitor, so theres no problem with that. As far as parts go, the only real parts I can probably salvage might be a few fans. The HP computer that died is rather lack luster in its components to salvage and my own system by far is 5 years about about so actually getting parts from there won't likely be very useful. All the accessories are taken care of and the monitor should work well for the system and support high quality graphics. Outside of salvaging wires and those components (card reader is possible or a dvd drive, but its really not that expensive to begin with) there just isn't to much I can take in.

    Single GPU is by far what I'm thinking as its easier to replace and much cheaper. I like quality graphics now just for the sake it can last longer in the future then one that would be a bit iffier today.

    As a side note, thanks for mentioning dust protection for a case. I totally neglected thinking about that aspect, and my home is a dust magnet.

    Do you by any chance know the native resolution of the monitor, as this will have a drastic effect on which video card you should buy. If it runs at less than 1920x1080 you can easily pick up a sub $200 card that should last you for a long time.

  • PurutzilPurutzil Member UncommonPosts: 3,048

    Yeah I don't want something to crazy, I'm looking just for something that would last some time. While graphics are nice for me, I'm not needing something all that insane, just able to play games today on rather high settings for good games, just for the saek that it should work later down the road. If a better card is needed its always possible to be bought further down the road. I'm mostly considered about the processor and motherboard being longer lasting. While the processor of course can be replaced, the motherboard is the all encompassing piece that could crush the entire set up being a rather troublesome part should it fail.

    The monitor itself goes up to I believ 1900 widescreen. Exactly ratio I can't remember, I'm pretty sure its viewsonic though I'm not currently near them monitor to give exact specifications of it.

    I'm looking really for quality of quantity of sorts, stuff that, while being not to expensive, are likely to last some time. I don't want anything like raid setup or a dual graphics card, having a single set up should work just fine for me. If it can run battlefield 3 (which honestly I won't play, just seems like a good benchmark) on relatively high settings I think I'd be well off with it.

    Also, keep in mind if anyone isn't particularly sure about parts, good companies that make systems (customizable helps) its good to bring those up, just as another option in case I can't go about convincing my father to let me build the system, since it will be in part his as well. I do like to see part wise as well for being built by myself so don't feel cause I mention that to not bother giving parts or components you feel would be good.

  • AntariousAntarious Member UncommonPosts: 2,831

    I was reading through and trying to keep in mind various thoughts you had.   Such as your dad being comfortable with the system etc

     

     

    I'm mostly a fan of building it myself.   Tho in some cases maybe its better to go with a pre-built.   I would say that's going to depend on warranty and if you want someone else to fix it (if something goes wrong) that will be additional cost.   Of course building it yourself means dealing with rma's to whatever company and turn around time as well.

     

     

    You mentioned ibuypower so just to give a relative reply to that thought.

     

    In my opinion probably the best *bang for the buck* right now is the I2500k.   You can make arguements for various amd builds and in fact I have a few amd builds.   Anyway...

     

    If you go to the ibuypower site and go to the desktop config -> z68 etc   They have a system called:

     

    Gamer Paladin D817

     

     

    Its base subtotal is $704

     

    There are quite a few things one could add that would be optional so I'll ignore those.

     

    The two weak points to that system are its video and its power supply.

     

    They have some decent options for each.. Personally I'd go for at least one of the name brand 750 watt power supplies and the upgrade adds around 119 depending.

     

    For the video well that depends but personally I'd pick between the amd 6950 or the nvidia 570.

     

    They have the 6950 for $221 or the 570 for $283 as basic options.   I'd personally say if for example you went with the 570 to keep it basic.   I've had issue with superclocked nvidia cards in the past.

     

     

    So if you added something like the 750w corsair that's $119 your subtotal would be up to:  $823

     

    Then depending on the video option taken you'd be between:  $1044 and $1106

     

    You could pick a cheaper video card but I would say the two options I mention will give you some legs on how long the system runs games on medium settings (which you made mention of)

     

    So its very possible to get a system pre-built for the price you want to spend.   The issue beyond that is shipping cost and what any kind of warranty you feel comfortable with costs.

     

    You can build it for less and you generally are going to have a lot of people tell you that.   What you will run into if anything fails is dealing with the RMA department of whatever company made that part.   Personally I haven't had to do any RMA's since a paticular series of overclocked nvidia cards I bought and that was years ago.   However, it really doesn't matter what someone elses failure rate on hardware is... if you have one.

     

    Anyway I was just trying to show a system from the website you mentioned that I think could have a decent build with some legs to last a while.  

  • XthosXthos Member UncommonPosts: 2,738

    Originally posted by Purutzil

    Thank you sir for your input. I was looking at iBuyPower as a possible source to get it should I go through a company and it had some similiar aspects but for more with some downgrades. If anyone can contest to them it would be helpful, I do want an option of a 'brand' just in case since I won't be working on a pc on just my funding alone. While I have no issue putting it together myself (having it done before) but I don't know how comfortable my dad will be with it, considering not only is he forking money over, but it will be the system he will be using as well likely after I part ways from home (hopefully) when I do finish college and get a job likely further away.

     I have 2 of them, the parts are as they say, the cases are very large, atleast mine was.  They are as valid a builder as anyone else imo.

     

    As for the you need to read the future someone said, well AMD and INTEL do kind of tell you their business model for a little of the future, so you can tell if they are done with a chipset, if something new will use a certain chipset etc...I was just suggesting to use the information that is available to the best of your ability....I always tried to get in at the start of a chipset (with a economical choice of course), instead of the end.

     

     

  • PurutzilPurutzil Member UncommonPosts: 3,048

    Well when I say long lasting, I'm meaning its lifetime. Truthfully I don't mind if parts become a bit dated. Later on the system will probably be more for casual use then anything, so having a older system wouldn't be such a big deal if its possible I could actually get parts for it without to much trouble should I need it, though I'd hope I wouldn't have to worry about it, or at the very least it could be something I had some good chance of replacing or maybe upgrading.

    Again thanks to anyone who did mention anything in this thread. Its helpful figuring out my own grounds. I don't really check to much into computers, and truthfully I was worried a decent computer that could last a while might be costing around $1,500 to $2,000 but it seems prices have gone down the point that its more affordable.

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