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Gaming PC - reasonably priced and built to last?

(56 Posts)
Spinstar Sun 22-Nov-15 17:33:41

DS wants a desktop gaming PC for Xmas. He's spent months looking at specifications on PC Specialist, a web site recommended to me here but the one he's 'customised' online costs almost £1000! I'm hoping to get something in the region of £600 or so but not sure if he can still get what he wants at that price range.

He doesn't actually play computer games and only wants it for occasional games on a website his friends use called Steam. However, he also wants something a lot faster than his 6 yr old desktop PC and one that has better graphics, as he does lots of CGI design for fun.

I'm wary of ordering a 'customised' PC from a website and would rather get one 'off the shelf' where I can take it back if it doesn't work - but don't trust our local PC World. We'd also probably need someone to come in and set it up which they can do at PC Specialist but again it does cost a lot.

I'm also wary of getting something that is so 'high spec', it isn't as reliable as an old 'solid work horse' of a PC.

I want this one to last him at least 4 to 5 years and want a desktop not a laptop as I like it set up near where I am, rather than taken off to his bedroom.

Any ideas anyone?

WMittens Sun 22-Nov-15 18:15:42

He's spent months looking at specifications on PC Specialist, a web site recommended to me here but the one he's 'customised' online costs almost £1000! I'm hoping to get something in the region of £600 or so but not sure if he can still get what he wants at that price range.

It all depends on the requirements of the games he wants to play - if they're graphics-intensive then a faster PC is going to be beneficial (if not essential). £600 should be possible for reasonable performance - I guestimate it should be passable for most of the latest releases (on low-med graphics settings). I've recently bought a gaming PC for about £1300, which is almost top spec (before going absolutely mad on water cooling, overclocking and very expensive multiple graphics cards).

He doesn't actually play computer games and only wants it for occasional games on a website his friends use called Steam.

Steam is a community and retail website - you can buy and download the latest games (and a large library of older games, as well as applications for photo editing, illustration, animation, music production etc.) from there; it's not a web-based-only flash games like Farmville on Facebook, a lot (if not most) are proper, full price games (Call of Duty series, The Witcher 3, Fallout 4, Project Cars, Grand Theft Auto V).

I'm wary of ordering a 'customised' PC from a website and would rather get one 'off the shelf' where I can take it back if it doesn't work

Understandable, but you're going to get a worse deal - I've used Overclockers for my last couple of PCs and they've worked out best on price/spec - you can buy extended full return-to-base warranties (which applies for most online retailers) if you're concerned, but so far I've not had any problems.

I'm also wary of getting something that is so 'high spec', it isn't as reliable as an old 'solid work horse' of a PC.

Not likely until you start spending several thousands on complicated setups. If anything, a slower PC is going to be less reliable due to poor performance.

cdtaylornats Sun 22-Nov-15 18:41:24

I would suggest looking at Alienware, copying the spec and going to your local independent PC shop

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 22-Nov-15 18:43:47

If you want built to last, make sure its "standard" PC so that you can upgrade components as you go (if anyone still does.that?)

BertieBotts Sun 22-Nov-15 19:02:00

Yes definitely people still upgrade components. So a standard sized case is a good call. But you normally get these on a gaming PC anyway.

OP I agree you will get a much better deal on a site where you can build your own. But you definitely don't need to spend £1000.

This looks good: www.overclockers.co.uk/ocuk-tech-labs-amd-apu-micro-atx-gaming-pc-configurator-fs-011-tl.html

1. Swap the case out for something cheaper, unless you like the flashy case. Case isn't majorly important. (At the top of the selection, you can switch pages)

2. I would leave the RAM at 8GB for now. He can upgrade this later if he needs to. 8GB is fine currently.

3. Add an optical drive (DVD or Blu Ray drive) if you want one.

4. Add a graphics card. Go for a mid to high range one. You don't want the cheapest but you might not need the most expensive. Maybe ask him if he knows what he wants. Remember he can always upgrade this later. Don't stick with the onboard one!

5. No reason to add keyboard, mouse and monitor if you already have those.

6. Consider adding some kind of extra cooling - either a case or power supply with fans/cooling built in or one of the coolers you can add separately. You can add more later, but if he wants to run high intensity applications then built in cooling will be beneficial.

7. Add a wireless card if he wants to connect to wi-fi (wired internet is faster). That's under sound/network.

That's about it - should end up around £600-650 from that base. Probably there's a cheaper base to start from, but it seemed to fit the bill the easiest.

MrsDiesel Sun 22-Nov-15 19:26:28

I have been driving myself mad with this lately, it's what ds is having for Christmas. He wanted an elgatu to record mine craft.
I have found a package on amazon for 350 that seems to meet the specs needed, maybe have a look on there. www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00OGI5RX2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A17AS5ETPMZ9A1
I am so far from an expert though it is laughable and have no clue what I am talking about.

BertieBotts Sun 22-Nov-15 20:07:19

MrsDiesel, the most important thing is to get it with a standalone graphics card. If it says "onboard graphics", that won't do for what you want no matter how flashy the onboard card sounds.

I can't see the specs of that because it's only showing in the mobile site.

WMittens Sun 22-Nov-15 21:52:55

Add a graphics card. Go for a mid to high range one. You don't want the cheapest but you might not need the most expensive.

Seeing as the most expensive is over the OP's budget, I'm guessing they won't need that wink

BertieBotts Sun 22-Nov-15 22:03:01

Ha! I meant in that list, not out of all graphics cards in the world smile

Whensmyturn Sun 22-Nov-15 22:32:36

Marking a place. I need to get my head round this too.

MrsDiesel Mon 23-Nov-15 16:24:02

Thanks Bertie, I assumed because it is a 'gaming' PC the graphics would be fit for purpose... I am going back to have another look before I order tomorrow.

MrsDiesel Mon 23-Nov-15 16:26:58

www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0161M4I3K?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_sfl_title_4&smid=A3A9J89OE6W3SD

If you have a spare moment would you have a quick look at this please Bertie and see if it is suitable for a 10year old to play and record minecraft, with an Elgatu.

Thanks grin

WMittens Mon 23-Nov-15 17:40:21

I dread to think where corners have been cut to get it down to that price, especially as it includes a monitor, mouse and keyboard.

Looking at the AMD website, it looks like the GPU listed in the specs is actually on the CPU, so it's going to be very slow for games, compared to getting something with a separate graphics card.

Here are the benchmark scores:
A4-6300: www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+A4-6300+APU
Long list of comparisons: www.cpubenchmark.net/mid_range_cpus.html

Radeon HD 8370D: www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Radeon+HD+8370D
Long list of comparisons: www.videocardbenchmark.net/mid_range_gpus.html

BertieBotts Mon 23-Nov-15 19:34:40

Yep. It has onboard graphics. Graphics is the most expensive bit so that's why it's cheap. You'd be looking at paying an extra £150-200 on graphics. You could buy a cheaper computer and then add the graphics card separately, but it might be that it's not really worth it.

If he wants to play AND record minecraft, he needs something which can support a decent frame rate.

IME a computer calling itself "gaming" just seems to mean that it has a flashy case. It's no guarantee of quality, especially from amazon.

You can actually go down a fair bit with RAM and hard drive space, as you want processor and GPU to be better.

I am far from an expert, though.

From some googling, someone has a build here for £625 - pcpartpicker.com/forums/topic/120247-is-this-build-good-for-minecraft-recording-and-shaders

BertieBotts Mon 23-Nov-15 19:42:28

OK having just found out what an Elgato is grin

Cost wise, you'd be far better off getting a PS4 or XBox One for that, than trying to build a computer which is good enough to support gaming and recording. Consoles look to be around £250-300 currently.

There are programs you can get which will record straight to your computer, if you want a computer. Thereby saving the ~£150 on the recording device. Fraps, for example, which costs about £25 for the full version.

Even buying the recorder and the console will be about £400 - you won't get a PC which will do what you want for that price, unless you're very savvy about parts and hunt things down second hand. If you want something which comes and is put together and works, you're looking around the £5-600 mark, likely more towards the higher end than the lower.

HairySubject Wed 25-Nov-15 19:28:04

Thanks for all of your help Bertie I have spoken to exh and we are going to go halves on a better model so I have put it into his hands now and will just pay over my half of the money. It is all a lot to take in.

Needaglassofwinedotcom Sat 28-Nov-15 14:47:55

Marking my place, I'm in the same situation so will need your help Bertie, just waiting on a specialist shop to give me a spec.

For info, My ds uses frap to record minecraft, it works fine smile

BertieBotts Sat 28-Nov-15 14:58:03

It is a lot to take in. It's a shame that some of the companies take advantage of this to hike up the prices on the ready built models!

Needaglassofwinedotcom Sun 29-Nov-15 10:42:42

Bertie - can you do a guide of what I need to be looking for, ie, Processor, RAM, hard drive, graphics card

TwatTheNinja Sun 29-Nov-15 11:08:32

Ooo glad I found this thread, my ds is looking for a gaming pc, he plays and records minecraft, TF2 and would like to play Skyrim on it. He also creates his own animations, so wants doby after effects, some kind of dreamweaver and 3d modelling, all though he's being pointed in the direction of lots of other software for what he does, like coding. I haven't clue about any of the above. All I know is his £70 reconditioned pc and our very shit broardband is driving him nuts.

He says he's sourced a computer for about £600 and has been saving pocket money and birthday money to go towards the it. I have no idea if the one he's found is any good,

Please help me in what he needs, I don't want to just get him the one he's seen incase later he finds it doesn't do all the other stuff confused

We will be sorting the broardband out too.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sun 29-Nov-15 11:48:55

PC specalist have a forum where your can tell them your budget and they will spec a computer form you. They got the prices downs a lot on my I ideas.

www.pcspecialist.co.uk/view/Vortex-500-gaming-pc/

Looks good.

TwatTheNinja Sun 29-Nov-15 13:30:35

Ok this is the pc Ds says he wants, if anyone fancies taking a look at and giving me an opinion on it, I'd really appreciate it.

www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/computing/desktop-pcs/desktop-pcs/lenovo-h50-desktop-pc-10137516-pdt.html

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sun 29-Nov-15 13:39:36

The pcworld one looks ok. However if you follow the link to the pc specialist one I put earlier, you can tweak it to the i7 processor the same and up the memory to 8gb the same. The graphics card on the pc specialist one is better than the PC world one and it would only be £7 more.

I also feel that having a computer built to your spec by a smalle company which specialises in building computers is better build quality than an off the shelf pc world one.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sun 29-Nov-15 13:41:40

Though the PC world one has a mouse and keyboard included which the PC specialist one doesn't. So you'd need to add the cost of those on.

TwatTheNinja Sun 29-Nov-15 13:42:02

I found this in the reviews what does superfish debacle mean?

A disgraceful package. Filled with spyware (superfish debacle) and poorly constructed hardware. Cordless mouse and keyboard will not work

All the other reviews are fine.

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