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Help building a desktop


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#1 SambieStrumpet

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 10:10 PM

Recently I decided to sell my laptop in order to buy a better computer. And to make the switch to a desktop. I don't know much about computers or really what I need to make it do the things I'd like. So I am hoping I can get some advice on it. I looked up a few different "builds" and found some that are close to my price range. But I want to make sure before I buy the parts that it'll do what I want it to.

 

My main concerns are playing up-to-date games at a good frame rate and all that jazz. I don't need the game to have max settings. I just want it to look good and run well. The computer I have now is the Alienware M14x R2. And for me it's pretty much done everything I've needed it to. But I want what I buy next to be an upgrade. Which I'm sure it will be, since this computer is now almost 2 years old. 

 

I also want to be able to play Minecraft well on it, and use the Shaders mod. As well as record whilst playing. That is my main want currently. I don't want to lag heavily while playing. It doesn't really do that now, but I'm sure using that mod won't help it. I do know I'll need at least 8gb of RAM for the mod. Although I'd eventually like to have more than 8gb.

 

I'll be getting about $550 for the computer so with that money I'd like to buy the computer. I would prefer not spending much more since I'll eventually have to buy a new monitor, and definitely a new keyboard. So I want to stay as close as I can to that range. 

 

The builds I found are these:

 

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/s7ryQ7

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Fm7PYJ

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/8wpwpg

 

I also would like to know about how installing Windows works. Is the only way using the Disc Drive? Or is it possible by USB? I have a Windows disc from the Alienware, and if I have to I'm prepared to buy a external DVD. 



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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 06:50 AM

I would suggest holding off on the new PC until you get a little more money.  None of those builds are very good.  A dual core CPU is not going to cut it with newer or upcoming.games.  Microsoft changed the licensing around with Windows 8, so you may need to get a new copy.  Installing Windows is easy, you can even do it with a USB key.  For disc-based installs, just put it in the drive and turn on the computer.  Here's an article on how to do it from a USB drive.


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#3 SambieStrumpet

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 07:52 AM

How much more would you think I would need? If I have to I could use some of my money I'm getting back from taxes. I just really didn't want to have to lol. But thanks for the reply! :D



#4 SambieStrumpet

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 08:55 AM

A friend also had suggested this, not sure if this is better than the other ones. The only thing I changed on it was the case and got rid of the optical drive. Is the case on this list compatible? 

 

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/sambie/saved/t7k8TW <- The case I'd like

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/Axios/saved/pH62FT <- The case he chose

 

 

Thanks again.



#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 12:12 PM

Don't forget to factor in the cost of Windows.  A System Builder/OEM version of Windows is tied to the motherboard and you cannot reuse the copy on your Alienware PC.  Both of those builds are good, I would suggest the newly released GTX 960 for a graphics card.  The 960 is about $10 or so more expensive, but uses a newer architecture and gets good results. 

 

I would consider a cheap optical drive just in case you have old disc-based games you want to install.  They are inexpensive at $19 or so for OEM models.

 

To save a little money you could get the Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 RAM.  This is a single stick of 8GB DDR3 RAM and is slightly less expensive, plus, since it is one stick, you can install four of these later on for 32GB of RAM.

 

As an alternate to your CPU and motherboard combination, you can consider the Intel Core i5-4440 Haswell Quad-Core 3.1GHz CPU and the GIGABYTE GA-H97-D3H LGA 1150 Intel H97 motherboard.  This build will be slightly more expensive, but the i5 will either equal or exceed the FX in some applications and do so while using less power.

 

As far as cases go, that is more of a style choice.  Some are easier to work in than others and with some brands, you get what you pay for.  Corsair generally makes good products. 


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#6 SambieStrumpet

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 03:05 PM

How's something like this? http://pcpartpicker.com/user/sambie/saved/PBNWGX



#7 DJBPace07

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:32 PM

That's a downgrade with the Athlon X4.  You also probably have no need for a liquid cooled PC, those are aimed more at enthusiasts who severely overclock components.  Those two builds from earlier are good, the changes I made are more for maximizing your options and value.  It is extremely difficult to get a $550 PC that can play most current games without lag and not become obsolete quickly.  A $550 home office PC is doable, but factor in gaming and the price goes up fast.

 

Here's an idea

 

CPU: Intel Core i5-4440 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($174.99 @ NCIX US)

This is the previously mentioned processor.  This comes with a CPU cooler.

 

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($93.99 @ Directron)
This is the previously mentioned motherboard.

 

Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory  ($69.99 @ Newegg)

This is the previously mentioned RAM.
 

Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 960 2GB Video Card  ($199.99 @ NCIX US)

This is the previously mentioned GPU.

 

Case: Antec SONATA III 500 ATX Mid Tower Case w/500W Power Supply  ($100.99 @ SuperBiiz)

This includes a power supply and is aimed at quiet operation.

 

Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24F1ST DVD/CD Writer  ($17.88 @ OutletPC)

This is an inexpensive optical drive.

 

Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($44.99 @ Amazon)
This was in your build.

 

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit)  ($87.75 @ OutletPC)

You can also buy this at the Microsoft Store and get a downloadable version you can load onto a USB, but the cost exceeds that of buying the OEM disc and optical drive.

 

Grand Total: $783.58
 


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#8 YeahBleeping

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 05:54 PM

Just to add my two cents here I totally Agree with DJB here... you simply cannot build a ' good ' gaming rig for less than around 800 bucks and then your pushing it.  Unless you do not need an OS Hard drive and Ram from a previous rig.  Theres no way I'd build a rig for a friend for gaming for less than 800ish.  You simply cant skimp on the video card as if your gaming .. just my 2pennies



#9 SambieStrumpet

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 07:38 PM

Hm. Well maybe I'll just bit my tongue and go with this build. My major concern was selling my computer and getting something better. I don't want to downgrade. I want a upgrade. I just didn't want to have to spend so much of my own money on it because I pretty much still need a monitor along with a keyboard. In the mean time I will probably end up using my old crap monitor or my tv. 

 

But as for this build, it should be able to do what I want right? I mean I'll pay it if I know it'll do what I want. Lol. 

 

And do I have to buy a new Windows disc? I can't use the one I have? (It's Win7)



#10 shanepearce

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 09:00 PM

MY 2 CENTS
you could look at getting a Athlon II X3, Phenom II X2 and Phenom II X3.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AMD_Phenom_microprocessors#.22Regor.22_.2845_nm.2C_Dual-core.29
look for quad-core design with two cores disabled.

#11 shanepearce

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 09:10 PM

And do I have to buy a new Windows disc? I can't use the one I have? (It's Win7)

if it is OEM you will need to buy a new copy if it is retail you should be able to phone activate
you could all ways give windows 10 a try (up to 6 months trial depending on what build you use )

#12 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 06:41 AM

With processors for a gaming PC, you want to stay current when you buy.  On Intel, I'd go with a Haswell processor (Which the Intel build has) or a Vishera CPU for AMD builds (Which you also have on your FX-based builds).  To expand a bit on what shanepierce has said, AMD bins processors based on quality.  For the old Phenom II's, if for whatever reason, the quad-core versions did not meet quality checks or one or two cores did not work, AMD would lock the faulty cores, brand the CPU as X3 or X2, and sell it at a lower price.  Some motherboards allowed for core unlocking, but it was always a gamble as to whether or not the unlocked cores would work, or if they did, remain stable.  The Phenom II CPU's are quite old nowadays and the Athlon's were aimed more at value than performance. 

 

Your Alienware laptop's Windows 7 disc will probably not be a full, boxed retail edition, but rather an OEM/System Builder copy whose license is tied to the motherboard of the laptop and cannot be moved.  You could give the Windows 10 technical preview a try, but you will only be deferring the cost of the operating system and using software that isn't final.  The Technical Preview will also expire and you may need to do a complete reinstall of the full OS once Windows 10 is released.  If you get Windows 8, it does allow for a free upgrade to Windows 10, as does Windows 7.

 

The Intel build should handle what you are wanting to do.  You can even upgrade the RAM and GPU later or swap out the CPU for another LGA 1150 model at a later date.  Gaming PC's get expensive quickly.  If you're looking for monitors, the ASUS VS24AH-P Black 24" is a solid choice for an IPS monitor.  You may be able to find it for a lower price if you shop around.


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#13 SambieStrumpet

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:07 PM

I have been looking around for an alternative case. It sounds silly, but I want a nice looking case I wouldn't mind staring at. So I switch out the one you suggested for the one I like. I had to add in a power supply, but I kept it at 500w. Hopefully it is still doable. I really like this case/build. Also will this handle Dying Light? I would like to get it when I buy the new computer, if it can't handle it I can always just buy it for console, but I am hoping it can.

 

Here's the build now that I switched the case/power supply: http://pcpartpicker.com/user/sambie/saved/mJM2FT

 

Is this still okay? Also thanks for all the help! I really appreciate it.



#14 shanepearce

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 06:19 PM

are you forgetting something dvd/blu-ray drive-writer ?



#15 SambieStrumpet

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 07:46 PM

Yeah. lol. I am getting one just forgot to put it on the list, 






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