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PC for Skyrim


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#1 Banjo09

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 04:02 PM

I have a Dell Dimension E 510, Pentium 4 CPU 3GHz, Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT 256 RAM that doesn't meet the requirements to play Skyrim when it comes out...

Recommended specs for t he game are:
Windows 7/Vista/XP PC (32 or 64 bit)
Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
4GB System RAM
6GB free HDD space
DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with 1GB of RAM (Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 or higher; ATI Radeon 4890 or higher).

I'm looking for ideas to either buy or build a PC that will do the job.
Budget is a bigger factor than having the latest/greatest components.

What CPU or Video card should I be considering?
Thanks

 Dell Inspiron 3847, i5-4440, 16 GB RAM, 64 bit Win7 Pro


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#2 killerx525

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 04:21 PM

You should build your PC, by doing that, you have far more options to choose from. I would say a AMD quad core and maybe a 6850 or 6870 depending on your budget.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#3 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 05:14 PM

You need a new CPU, which also means a new motherboard and RAM since that system does not currently use DDR3, you will also need a better graphics card, and possibly a new copy of Windows since you are most likely using a copy provided by Dell. Also, most Dell systems don't have a good enough power supply to power the components of a higher end graphics card. Since you didn't list a budget, that is going to make things a bit more difficult.

Case: NZXT ZERO 2 Crafted Series CS-NT-ZERO-2 - This is a full ATX tower case, plenty of room to work in and keep things cool. If you go for the higher end graphics cards, you will need a big case like this to fit the card in to. $99

Motherboard: ASUS M5A97 AM3+ AMD 970 - This is a good, basic motherboard using AMD's newer 900 series chipset. If you believe you may later on use more than one graphics card, the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX AM3+ would be worth considering. $99

CPU: AMD FX-6100 Zambezi 3.3GHz - This part of AMD's new "FX" Bulldozer line. This is also a six core CPU that will automatically overclock cores if needed, it also allows for the user to do so manually since it is unlocked. $189

Graphics Card: SAPPHIRE 100312-3SR Radeon HD 6950 Dirt3 Edition 2GB - This goes well beyond what Skyrim needs, but that gives you plenty of headroom later on so you won't need to upgrade soon. If you are more accustomed to Nvidia's cards, the 6950 is about at the GTX 570 in terms of performance. $264 (Before $20 mail-in rebate)

Power Supply: ENERMAX NAXN 80+ ENP600AWT 600W - This will easily power a single Radeon 6950, if you later choose to get an additional card, you would need about a 750W power supply. $79 (Before $30 mail-in rebate)

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - This is a single 4GB stick of DDR3-1333 RAM, plenty for most users. Skyrim is not going to be 64-bit optimized so you don't need much more than this for that game. However, some games are optimized for more than 4GB, as are certain tasks like video editing, which will benefit from having more than 4GB. The motherboards I chose above have four available slots for RAM and you need a 64-bit operating system to use 4GB or more of RAM. $24

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500413AS 500GB - For what you are doing, this is enough. $89

Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner, Bulk Package Black SATA Model AD-7280S-0B - You may be able to use the one from your Dell PC, if not, there's this. $20

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - You need this. $99

Grand Total: $970 (Before taxes, shipping, and rebates)

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#4 Banjo09

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 05:41 PM

I feel comfortable that I would have the skills to put the parts together, but not really to know all the parts needed. How comprehensive is the above list? Who are some of the vendors you prefer? I bet my 12 yr old would love to help with this project!
Thanks

 Dell Inspiron 3847, i5-4440, 16 GB RAM, 64 bit Win7 Pro


#5 Banjo09

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 05:56 PM

Is the AMD Phenom or Intel Core 2 Quad too old of technology or not enough fire power?
Would it shave off a few hundred $ somehow?
Thanks

 Dell Inspiron 3847, i5-4440, 16 GB RAM, 64 bit Win7 Pro


#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 10:57 PM

The above PC is indeed a high-end model as I wasn't sure of your price point. Below are some ideas.

You could scale down one more step to the XFX HD-687A-ZHFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB. This card is an upper midrange one, so it will still offer quite good performance. This card will also shave about $100 on the price. Scaling down other components will not get you quite as large of a price drop. With the CPU, the "FX" line of processors are brand new, the AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz is a quad core CPU that will handle games well. This CPU, although new, is only about $10 more than a similar Phenom II X4. Core 2 or Phenom (Notice that I didn't add a II after Phenom here) are quite old technologies and it is best to avoid them if possible. Phenom II's are nearing their EOL (End of Life) at AMD and are going to be replaced by the FX line. The LIAN LI Lancool PC-K58 is a smaller and less expensive case that should be considered IF you are going to be getting a Radeon 6870 or lower card. This should shave some money off the price.

As for vendors, I suggest the one I link to in my posts, Newegg. There is also TigerDirect, but it can be a bit more difficult shopping at TigerDirect's website as some items are drop shipped from third parties. The parts list above includes everything you need to get up and running.

By the way, have you pre-ordered Skyrim? I think the collector's edition is a bit overpriced, but I'm a sucker for them.

Edited by DJBPace07, 28 October 2011 - 10:57 PM.

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#7 Banjo09

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 11:44 PM

Any problems with being an early adopter on the Bulldozer technology?
How comprehensive is the above list?
Thanks

 Dell Inspiron 3847, i5-4440, 16 GB RAM, 64 bit Win7 Pro


#8 Nicholas Basso

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 02:36 PM

While I cannot offer immediate suggestions on how to drop the price, I would say that if you intend on doing intense gaming, an investment of roughly $30 in a 3rd party CPU Cooler may be worthwhile.
The CPU picked out does include a stock CPU Cooler, which will cool your CPU, but stock CPU Coolers can suffer from various maladies, such as a loud fan, inefficient or insufficient cooling (which, due to the design of new CPUs, means the CPU will naturally scale back its power to avoid overheat, thus rendering your super-new CPU a little less powerful while playing games), poor heat transfer, etc.
Some better CPU Coolers can offer significant (up to 10 degrees celsius) temperature differences over stock heatsink/fan combinations included with boxed processors, as well as being applied with proper thermal paste, they can provide better heat transfer, and in some cases a much quieter, and/or stronger fan (in some cases both quieter and stronger).

Even if overheating does not become a problem, higher heat leads to shorter component life, as well as more heat output from your PC, and in summer this can be annoying at the least.

As to your questions, there haven't yet been mass reports on the consequences of early adoption, but I would keep an eye on Reviews' sites for information on potential issues.
The list given above, with the exception of any extra CPU cooler, is pretty comprehensive. It does not include a keyboard or mouse, but your existing ones should work fine.

One side note:
Using the power supply calculator at:
http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp
I input all the "high-end" components selected in the original list. I set the CPU TDP to 100% (assuming that the CPU is taxed 100% load and running at its full heat/electrical output, a very unlikely scenario but just for the point of ensuring system expandability), system load to 100% (all components pulling their full power load, unlikely again but for the point of expandability), capacitor aging at 50% (a factor which accounts for how much the PSU will be used over a long period of time, 50% being the longest lifespan of the PSU before its power output is diminished too far to be functional any longer, usually roughly 5-6 years), and included, for the point of expanding out your usage, 3 USB devices plugged in simultaneously drawing power from the system.

The results indicated a minimum PSU wattage of roughly 570, and a recommended PSU wattage of 620 Watts. While the 600 watt power supply would suffice for this machine, this is without any memory expansions, additional hard drives, replacement of the DVD burner with a blu-ray player or even burner (which, I expect, will be a common thing to upgrade in the next 1-2 years, given the dropping prices of blu-ray drives), and with 3 USB devices plugged in. While 3 USB devices may be a lot, when I recommend a power supply, I usually try to account for expansion, to the point where the user may NEVER need to replace the power supply until such time as the entire computer can be considered old enough that new technology (and needs) far surpass it.

I would, in that aspect, recommend a 650 Watt Power Supply, which may show a small price increase, but the added stability may be well worth it.

BTW, taking into account the idea of a second AMD 6950 video card, as in the original suggestion, with NO other expansions and using the same TDP, Aging, and Load figures as mentioned above, without the USB devices, the minimum power supply wattage is 754. If you are considering two video cards any time in the near future, I would recommend a minimum 800-850 Watt power supply. To be honest, unless you intend to be doing some very extreme gaming, I cannot imagine such a need in the next 5 years (most video cards have a lifespan of roughly 4 years worth of games before they are pushed to the point of needing graphics settings set to "Low" or being unable to play new games).

Just my 2 cents.

Good luck!

(EDIT: removed some unnecessary thoughts that didn't go anywhere, sorry, stream of consciousness typer here)

Edited by Nicholas Basso, 29 October 2011 - 02:37 PM.


#9 DJBPace07

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 05:59 PM

I completely agree with the idea of an aftermarket cooler. I use an AMD FX-8150 CPU and the stock cooler, though capable, is quite loud. I got the XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 to quiet things down and provide better cooling, however, I also have a full ATX case so it can easily fit. If the noise becomes bothersome, consider a different heatsink and fan. The CPU and motherboard chipset, the AMD 900 series, are new, but there haven't been any issues involving either, unlike the infamous Intel 6-series chipset recall. So far, I've been running my Asus Sabertooth 990FX with the 8150 CPU with no issues at all.

When it comes to computer power supplies, I typically go by the wattage suggested by the graphics card manufacturers. Those suggestions also tend to be a bit more conservative and use quality power supplies. My experience with PSU calculators is that they can sometimes be inaccurate. I put my old gaming rig into that calculator and can safely say that the wattage it came up with would have been vastly insufficient.

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#10 killerx525

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 11:43 PM

To backup DJ's claim, the 900 series chipset is basically fully stable as i have not encounter any issues with it.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#11 Nicholas Basso

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 12:19 AM

@DJ:
While I would agree that it's possible the calculators can be inaccurate, I've found that when I set the specs as I mentioned, I have a good "bare minimum" I can see. I generally go about a hundred higher than that regardless, just because the extra $5-$15 can be worth the saved hassle. And I always pick good quality power supplies. Brand is somewhat important, but reviews, like those on Newegg, help out a lot more.

#12 DJBPace07

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 01:01 AM

I did go to that website in your post and put in my old gaming rig, Core 2 Q9450, 4 sticks of DDR2, 2 GTX 9800+ cards in SLI, 2 high RPM SATA drives, 1 DVD-RW drive, 1 floppy drive, 1 SoundBlaster, 1 92mm fan, and 2 120mm fans. The calculator gave me 463W which can barely handle a single 9800 GTX+ card let alone two. Newegg's calculator gave me 715W. I'm not entirely sure if I'm doing the test at your site right, but Newegg's does seem more in the range I was expecting. I do agree with buying a bit more of a PSU than you need and from a good company with a decent reputation. I usually stick with Corsair, SeaSonic, Silverstone, Enermax, and PC Power PSU's.

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#13 killerx525

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 01:42 AM

I also did that and i got 935W but i am using a Corsair 750W which is perfectly working fine. I just did the newegg one and got 841W. I don't use PC Power as i am not familiar with them but i also use XFX and Coolermaster.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#14 Nicholas Basso

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:15 PM

@DJBPace07:
I got the same result, but only when I didn't change TDP, Utilization, and Cap Aging. If you never set Cap Aging it assumes 0% which is the core base to run those components, according to its specs. If I set Cap Aging to 50, it sits at 710 or so.

That said, I've looked up online, and according to most reviews I can find, a 9800 GTX+ card is spec'd to pull 150 W at max.
Two of them is 300 + or - a few for SLI.
The C2Q is a 95 W max TDP part.
That's just under 400.
After that, wattage for the other parts? Going to be somewhat minimal. In fact, your rig, if you wanted to have the BARE minimum to run it, the PSU calculator at Extreme actually is 100% accurate. It will run, for a very short time.
That's what the Capacitor Aging is supposed to factor, if you wnat it to run for liek 4+ years you need 50% aging set in the factor. It actually comes to a number HIGHER than Newegg's. Newegg's is simplified, it assumes max TDP for everything and max load at all times for max aging of caps.

If you set your cap aging to 50%, your TDP 100%, and the load 100%, that's your max power supply you will actually need for roughly 24/7 x 4 year operation at full power.

#15 Banjo09

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 03:51 PM

Great discussion! It proves how many minds can tackle all sides of a problem.
What about the pros and cons of some of the different CPUs to use?
For instance:
The above mentioned Zambezi,
Phenom II x6 1090T
Phenom II x4 820
i5 2500 3.3GHz
any others?
Thanks

 Dell Inspiron 3847, i5-4440, 16 GB RAM, 64 bit Win7 Pro





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