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Reccomendations for college gaming PC?


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#1 JimmyKarter

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 12:40 AM

I have an old HP-Pavillion DV6. It's not a bad laptop, it's served me well, but it's not not able to do some things like play Skyrim very well.

 

I'm going to be going to college next year and I'm looking to buy or build a gaming pc that can do me some justice. I don't want to play things like ARMA 3 on the highest graphics, but at least, i'd like a computer that can play Skyrim on medium, or something. Currently I have to play on medium-low.

 

I already have a computer that I'm thinking of upgrading, it's a dell inspiron 500 dollar desktop, but it's hardly better than my laptop. At all.

I'm going to be in San Diego, where the climate is very warm, and I'm concerned about overheating. I'm thinking of getting it watercooled.

 

But what should I do? I basically just want a very decent desktop, not like a 3,000 dollars type but, what are my options?

I could build my own, I could upgrade the cheap inspiron I have, or I could get a gaming laptop, or just buy a gaming desktop, etc etc.


Edited by JimmyKarter, 15 May 2015 - 12:41 AM.


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#2 synergy513

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 01:49 AM

the options are pretty good right now. building a new PC is the most popular, but that gets the budget debate going on. College and mobility PCs go hand in hand, like horses and hay, so there is a definite. you will need the mobility factor. the mobility PCs that have the hardware to play skyrim and the like are pretty expensive, and thermally challenged of course, they get hot quite easily. almost embarassingly. and it is always apparent that excess heat and laptops are bedfellows indeed. the reason heat becomes such a big issue is that laptops are designed to magically shut off spontaneoulsy if the heat gets too high, i have seen it a hundred times or so. this kind of cessation creates angst for the user..

 

I remember a topic a few months back though, the user spotted a laptop with a dual core i5 cpu and a gtx 820m dsicreet video, i urged him to pull the trigger, simply because the thing had the capability to do so many things and looked to be the kind of laptop that would stay cool under duress. kind of like the total package for his uses. maybe the kind of hardware that would serve you well also. i think the budget was around $800 for it ...i can't be certain though. i will look back through my topics to check.

 

the desktop you already have is another option to use as a studio PC, i would vote that if your CPU is good (not a pentium 4 or celeron or anything like those foul items), the upgrade option is lit up. maybe that is the way to go, upgrading an OEM desktop is simple really, but when you factor in the cost of the items, most users ask themselves "why not start fresh with a clean slate?"  i.e. new PC

 

so , without details of your existing desktop, it is kind of difficult to judge.  almost assuredly you will need a nice 600ish watt corsair power supply for around $100, and check to see if your motherboard has the PCIe x16 slot for a video card. if so there is the gtx 750ti for around $120 that is a sweet deal and can pretty much play most games at satisfactory detail levels. the same budget can land you any of the mid-range cards that are quite capable, not the best, but still capable, and budget-friendly. Keep in mind also that you may need to upgrade your RAM (usually in the $50 range), so you need to find out about your motherboard and what RAM modules it can support. so a total upgrade budget for around $300.

 

Or, you can make life somewhat more simple and enjoyable, and get yourself one of those shiny new playstation 4 consoles for around $300 also, that is what i would do if i wanted to play games and such. I am fairly positive that Skyrim has ps4 editions. from everything i have read, the playstations are more powerful than the xbox units.

 

ok, found it,,here is the topic about the beautiful mobility unit ..

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/569036/finding-a-good-engineering-student-laptop/


Edited by synergy513, 15 May 2015 - 02:14 AM.

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#3 JimmyKarter

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 10:09 PM

Hmm

 

So what about the heat? I think I should watercool my computer since I'm going to be in San Diego, but perhaps some of you know better whether it's worth it or not, or the effects of heat damage?



#4 synergy513

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 07:33 AM

heat is normal in a PC until after around 60 degrees centigrade., then it becomes dangerous to components. normal temperature range is 40s and 50s.

 

i can't really advise about watercooling, but i have seen systems rigged up that way, all of my PCs are on air-cooled. schemes. .. mostly watercooling is for users that tweak and boost the clock speed of their cpu.

 

there are a few temperature monitoring utilities available, the most common being speccy or hwmonitor. i use SIW, but it isn't available like it once was.

 

 

San Diego weather may not be a factor, unless you are taking your PC outside to use.

 

the affects of heat accumlation range from simple sluggsiness to component damage.  if the cpu gets too hot, it will power down and then you will get that faithful BIOS message when you boot up again after that  there was a thermal event. basically it is informing you that whatever is cooling your cpu isn't working.

 

ultimately, the OEM PCs such as HP have poor cooling schemes, air doesn't move very efficiently and there is a build-up of heat, sometimes to danger zone.

 

the reason being is the case, or as i like to put it, the enclosure., isn't bringing air in from the front, , the rear case fan is exhausting hot air, but there is a pressure difference that allows some of the heat to stay inside of the enclosure. that is why you see side panels with an array of holes, to offset that pressure difference.  those same holes allow dust to enter, which over time can accumulate and hinder airflow.  i use simple air filter material to cover those holes to block dust from ever getting inside. it isn't pretty, but it is very functional and effective.

 

there is market for custom enclosures, that have been designed to allow the airflow to be in harmony and keep heat from accumulating.   i used a simple rosewill ranger mini-atx in one build a few years back, it wasn't very expensive and offered surprising functionality.

 

 

also, there are aftermarket hatsink/fan (HSF) configurations that the user can install to deliver improved cpu cooling. i like the Zalmans, but there are others that range in price and size.


Edited by synergy513, 17 May 2015 - 07:46 AM.

Moore's Law : 4d Graph in Progress





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