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radiofloyd

Buying a Gaming PC

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I've pretty much reached the stage where I need to buy a gaming PC. My laptop is shagged, I can't play the vast majority of the games I'm buying (once I do buy a PC, there are already enough games in my library to keep me going for years, so I'm not too interested in future proofing). From now on I intend to keep gaming and all other uses of the internet separate. So apart from logging into Steam I don't intend to be browsing the internet or writing essays in Word with this thing...I'll buy the cheapest laptop possible for that.

I've had a browse of the games in my Steam library, and of some other top-tier console style games on Steam, and Elite: Dangerous seems to be a good example of what is at the higher end of recommended specs at the moment:

RECOMMENDED:

OS: Windows 7, Windows 8
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770K Quad Core CPU or better / AMD FX 4350 Quad Core CPU or better
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 770 / AMD Radeon R9 280X
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Hard Drive: 7 GB available space
Additional Notes: Supports Oculus Rift and TrackIR

Now, I know there are probably lots of DIY freaks on here. But it's more than likely that I'm going to buy a pre-built PC rather than piece one together myself, or pay someone else to do it for me.

That being said, I'm all for advice! To get the ball rolling, I hate to mention the word Dell but this Alienware PC seems to meet (and exceed) those requirements for €1,240:

http://www.dell.com/ie/p/alienware-x51-r3/pd?oc=d00ar324&model_id=alienware-x51-r3

Those of you that have gaming PCs, where did you buy them from, what specs do you have, how much did you pay for them etc?

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Honestly, stay well away from Alienware, incredibly overpriced, looking at those specs, you can do better than an R9 390 for the money you have to spend, I'd put in a 970, it's the best card out there, and extremely affordable. You don't need an i7 processor either, an i5 Maxwell will be fine. Make sure you get an SSD as well I'd say, 1 SSD and 1 HDD is the sweet spot, and a hydro cooler too, they're pretty cheap these days and so much more efficient than air coolers.

Something like this may be ideal for you: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/guide/xfmPxr/i5-4460-gtx-960-gaming-pc just swap out the 960 for a 970 GPU, and add a hydro cooler and you should be all set, you should be able to configure a set-up like that at any of the sites mentioned below, but if you have any trouble, tell me, and I'll configure it all for you.

When I was looking to buy mine the three companies I shortlisted were Chillblast (http://chillblast.co.uk), PC Specialist (http://pcspecialist.co.uk) and Scan (http://scan.co.uk), almost bought mine from PC Specialist, but had a last minute change of heart when they tried to charge me a Credit Card transaction fee on top of the £1400 odd I was spending with them, so ultimately bought mine last December from Scan, these are my specs:

Corsair Graphite 230T,
Asus Z97-K, CrossFireX, 6 SATA 6Gbps, 1 PCI-E M.2, SATA RAID, ATX]
Intel Core i7 4790K [Overclocked up to 4.6GHz.]
3XS Customised Corsair H80 hydro cooler,
16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance Pro, 2133MHz RAM,
4GB EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX 2.0,
650W EVGA PSU,
256GB Crucial MX100 SSD,
2TB Seagate Barracuda, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache HDD,
Samsung SH-224DB - 24x DVD Reader & Writer,
Asus PCE-N15, 11n Wireless Internal PCI-E Card - 300Mbps,
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-Bit,
23" IIyama ProLite X2380HS Monitor.
£1459 total.
Also got a 3 Year Warranty and an M65 Corsair mouse included as well, and bought a cheap £5 keyboard from Argos.
Couple of pics of my baby as well:
CeqW8atl.jpg
OPn6S0Xl.jpg
Took about 2 weeks to be built by Scan, ordered on the 10th December and it came on the 23rd I believe, been exceptionally good for the most part, had some problems with it the first couple of months where I kept getting a Black Screen and having to turn it off at the Power Switch when playing games on the highest settings, didn't know what it was, sent it back to Scan and they replaced the PSU with an EVGA 650W and its been pretty might right as reign ever since, no problems whatsoever.

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Use Chillblast. Drop them an email telling them what you're looking at playing and they might be cool enough to suggest a build.

Avoid Alienware stuff. You'll pay over the odds for it because it has a fancy case.

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Thanks for the advice, yeah I like the look of Scan. So I configurated this computer:

http://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/configurator/custom-gaming-pc-uk-3xsgamer20i

It looks like the same base computer as yours but you made some changes, you changed the motherboard (£24), you increased the memory to 16GB (£46), you added CPU coolers (£65), you added an SSD (£117), you increased the HD to 2TB (£15), you added a wireless adapter (£15), you got Windows 8 (the default is now Windows 10), and the monitor you got they don't have anymore. How much was the monitor? I would definitely appreciate any advice as far as monitors go...

I can understand getting 16GB memory and a 2TB HD, why did you make the rest of the changes? What do you use the SSD for?

A wireless adapter is only to strengthen the signal if your PC is far from the router right?

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With an SSD you get super speedy load times for games, also if you get an SSD with your build they'll set up the OS on the SSD so your PC will start up in about 10 seconds, and everything it does will be super speedy, highly recommended.

I ordered a different Monitor with it, an ASUS 23" monitor (£115), but they were out of stock so I got the slightly more expensive (£130) IIyama Monitor instead, as long as its got HDMI ports and outputs in 1080p then that was fine for me, you can get ones with a higher refresh rate and G-Sync as well, but for your price range I'd say those aren't worth looking at, mine's just a 59hz 1080p one.

To be honest, when I got my PC I wasn't sure whether it came with a wireless adapter built in or not, so added it in there just in case, I never use wi-fi truth be told (use a wired connection to my router) but it's a must-have for me just in case I ever need it.

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You could always add the ssd later. Get a decent speed hdd (the higher the rpm the better), you probably aren't going to fill it for a while, then stick an ssd in when you next have money spare.

You don't really need the coolers if you aren't overclocking, I just have a stock one in my pc and it's been fine.

Card wise I agree with the 970. I know you said you aren't fussed about future proofing but you're spending x amount already make sure you get a card with 4gb of vram.

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I've been looking at buying a pc next year, and have narrowed it down to a Scan, Chillblast or Novatech system. Personally, i'm looking at a 5th or 6th gen intel processor, with a 970 or above graphics card and 8gig ram.

Anyone had any experience with Novatech?

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Thanks for the advice Blakey and Ben. Yeah I'm definitely going to get the GTX 970, it's the default in the computer I'm looking at anyway (in the link above).

Blakey can you look at the link and tell me which SSD you bought? I can see two menus, solid state drives and M.2 solid state drives. It looks like you got an M.2 SSD for £120 did you?

So far my computer is coming to £1240, without an SSD. Scan have pretty cool finance options. Their 15% APR 24 month loan isn't bad. Cost of loan £180.

What about sound? I've no interest in setting up surround speakers anytime soon, so I'll definitely be using headphones. Any headphone or sound card recommendations?

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If your going the finance option your best off applying for a new credit card, Post Office have one with 0%APR on purchases for 27 months at the moment!

And as for headset, I hear the best bet is just find a headset you like and add a modmic. Just make sure your audio option has enough oomph to drive the cans you go for.

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Anyone had any experience with Novatech?

I've been a regular purchaser from Novatech for years now. I build and repair PC as a sideline, and used to do it semi-full time. I've got nothing but good things to say about Novatech for both parts, and full systems. I bought a Novatech branded laptop from them a couple of years ago for a friend, and he loved it.

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Not a bad system there RF. What about software? There's nothing about a bundled copy of Windows.

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Not a bad system there RF. What about software? There's nothing about a bundled copy of Windows.

Ah, that's another £80...

For those of you that have dedicated gaming machines, do you have paid anti-virus software on them? Or do you take the prevention is better than the cure approach?

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Thanks for the advice Blakey and Ben. Yeah I'm definitely going to get the GTX 970, it's the default in the computer I'm looking at anyway (in the link above).

Blakey can you look at the link and tell me which SSD you bought? I can see two menus, solid state drives and M.2 solid state drives. It looks like you got an M.2 SSD for £120 did you?

So far my computer is coming to £1240, without an SSD. Scan have pretty cool finance options. Their 15% APR 24 month loan isn't bad. Cost of loan £180.

What about sound? I've no interest in setting up surround speakers anytime soon, so I'll definitely be using headphones. Any headphone or sound card recommendations?

My SSD is a just a standard one (not an M2) 256gb Crucial MX100 for £78.30. Had a search for it on Scan's website though and can't find that exact one, but the 250gb MX200, so I guess the MX100 has been superseded by the 200 I presume.

The Monitor I bought has built in speakers (all works through HDMI) so I just use them when I'm just surfing the web or whatever, got my PlayStation Wireless 2.0 Headset that I use for gaming, just plug in the bluetooth dongle into my PC and away I go, also, don't bother with a Sound Card either, your Z97-P MoBo has audio built in.

For those of you that have dedicated gaming machines, do you have paid anti-virus software on them? Or do you take the prevention is better than the cure approach?

I've got BitDefender Free, SuperAntiSpyware Free and Malwarebytes (some guy on the PCMR Subreddit gave out a universal key to get the full version a while back) on my pc, I bought a Norton Internet Security disk when I got my PC but a guy on another forum said it was a bad idea to install it as it would fuck up my gaming performance and general running so I never installed it.

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Anyone had any experience with Novatech?

I've been a regular purchaser from Novatech for years now. I build and repair PC as a sideline, and used to do it semi-full time. I've got nothing but good things to say about Novatech for both parts, and full systems. I bought a Novatech branded laptop from them a couple of years ago for a friend, and he loved it.

Think i'll go with these guys if and when, this looks pretty much like the spec i've been after:

http://www.novatech.co.uk/pc/range/novatechblacknti160.html

Just got to convince the wife it's for 'work'!

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I think I'm gonna do it. I mean, I don't actually have a job at the moment but I did save up a lot this year, so I can afford it...

And the parts on these computers can be easily swapped out right, if necessary?

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Yeah sure, certain things are easier to swap out than others, a CPU, GPU, a cooler, an HDD, an SSD etc. are much easier to swap out than a PSU or a Mobo.

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PSU isn't that hard to swap out. The mobo is a bit of a piss about though as it's the foundation of everything you've got. You have to do the thermal paste stuff as well. Everything else is just like lego. Very expensive lego.

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Anyone had any experience with Novatech?

I've been a regular purchaser from Novatech for years now. I build and repair PC as a sideline, and used to do it semi-full time. I've got nothing but good things to say about Novatech for both parts, and full systems. I bought a Novatech branded laptop from them a couple of years ago for a friend, and he loved it.

Think i'll go with these guys if and when, this looks pretty much like the spec i've been after:

http://www.novatech.co.uk/pc/range/novatechblacknti160.html

Just got to convince the wife it's for 'work'!

I think I'm gonna go with the system you linked to. Which browser would you go with? I assume Windows 10 Home? I googled the difference between Home and Pro and it doesn't seem relevant to me. From what I've read games that are compatible with Windows 7 and 8 will run fine with Windows 10, so I don't see any reason to get an older version of Windows.

Looking at monitors, what size monitors do you guys play with? To put it another way, how many inches is enough oomph?

I've been looking on Amazon and this is the number one bestseller, it seems to tick all the boxes.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B7ZE0G2/ref=psdc_428652031_t1_B00EZD3KYQ

I notice that is has this as a suggested purchase. Can someone explain to me the difference between DVI and HDMI? DVI is preferable?

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