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PC Spec Help
#1
My son is after a PC for his 11th birthday, and I was wondering of anyone could help me look at the specs to buy...?
Clearly he's wanting it for a bit of gaming, whilst my wife and I are looking the fact that he'll be heading to secondary school next year, and the laptop we've had since Win7 came out is a little long in the tooth.
We've budgeted around £450 for the machine, with me locating a monitor elsewhere, and I've come up with a few options...

PC World [spits] has this for £430.  Yes, the graphics card is a PoS, but we could upgrade that later, though I am concerned about the 280W PSU.  Outside of that, it's an i5 machine for £430.

Looking elsewhere, the best I've come across is pcspecialist.co.uk, where I can go with either Intel or AMD... an i5-4590 processor system at £459, or AMD A10-7870K system for £430.

Clearly, I've cut some corners with the bespoke systems - but both systems have 8GB RAM, 1TB 7200rpm HDD, 350W PSU, WiFi card... and no DVD drive, card reader or --most importantly-- no dedicated graphics card, opting to utilise integrated graphics.  Now, I know that's going to horrify people, particularly for the Intel processor, but is it really a lot worse than taking the Lenovo and it's GT 705?  With the AMD, I could add a Radeon R7 240 card (dual graphics?), and still only be up to £459 (the same price as the Intel), but I don't really want to be going above that, and I suspect I'd probably be better off taking the integrated option at the moment and potentially looking to get him a better card at Christmas, just like I could with the Intel.

Of course, if anyone can suggest another site with good prices, I'd happily look at it.

I should add that my son has an X1, as well as my old 360, so most 'premium' games would likely be bought on console rather than PC, at least for the moment.  Gaming on this machine at present will probably be Minecraft (because he likes the mods), browser games, and the odd cheap thing from Steam.

Any advice gratefully appreciated.
 
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#2
I really wouldn't advise getting the budget machine from Pissy World. You'd definitely have to upgrade the PSU if you wanted to fit any kind of gaming-capable GPU, and your warranty probably wouldn't be honoured if you opened the case. Budget PCs tend to have crappy motherboards that will seriously bottleneck any kind of gaming performance, as I learned with my HP machine a few years back.

I got my gaming PC from scan.co.uk who build their 3XS PCs to whatever spec you like. They have a range of systems with full customisation options. Of course, the reason I used them is that I live pretty close by and saved about £30 by picking it up when it was ready. There are other sites that build PCs with custom specs, like chillblast.com or even Dell. I'm sure you could tinker with some of the options and find a balance between power and price.
GameFAQs users are 80% trolls and 19% stupid. - hyjinx17
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#3
Thanks for the advice - pretty much what I'd expected regarding the PC World one regarding PSU. I also knew the OEM components were often pretty poor, though I hadn't realised that this extended to the motherboard... should have thought about it, but missed that one. Definite fail.

Looked at Scan and Chillblast last night, but it looks like pcspecialist have them beat with regard to customisation, and final price (Scan, for example, insist on a graphics card and DVD-RW, and I don't seem to be able to make an i5 system for under £600).
I think I'll probably end up taking the i5 version of the machine I spec'd above - i5-4590 using integrated GFX initially, 1x8GB RAM, standard Asus H81M-Plus MoBo (but presumably better than the OEM Lenovo one), 1TB Sata-III HDD, Add WiFi, remove DVD drive and card reader, and I've increased the PSU to a 450W, all for £471, inc O/s.

Thanks again.
Matt
 
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#4
Do you only need the pc for minecraft and browser games? Or do you need it for some PC exclusive games too (assuming you buy the multiplats on xbox). That might help to cut costs down if the former, as you don't need anything too intensive, but the latter - PC games are just now going to the next stage, it's as if they've been quite happy requirements wise, and either due to poor optimisation or just mega reqs, both Warner Bros games Arkham Knight (which is obvs borked anyway) and Mad Max have insane requirements.

Just to piggy back this thread - I have a 8GB, GTX660, i5-3450 - based on the mad max requirements... will I be able to run it or what? Think I'm just below minimum, but my PC runs everything else perfectly and it's £13 on cd keys and I dont know whether to risk it or not. Does minimum mean I can't do 720p? or is minimum saying this is what you need for 1080/60?
...and if you tell that to the kids of today, they wont believe you!

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#5
Hey Bezza. Realistically, I think it's mostly Minecraft and browser games at present, but I can see him trying to move on to bigger and better things at a later stage. How much later is TBC...
The way I see it, I can either start him off with a processor that will last him in the mid-term, knowing that he can add a half-decent GPU easily, or I can take a lower processor and entry-level GPU, where they'll both require replacing before too long. Or I could take the AMD with better integrated graphics but, as I understand it, if we do introduce dedicated GPU, you don't see quite as much benefit as you do with the Intel?
i5+Dedicated GPU > AMD A10+Dedicated > AMD A10+Integrated > i5+Integrated ???

Can't help with your query, btw... As you can see, I try to do my research, but am somewhat of a newb at PC gaming :/
 
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#6
I was going for top of the line for my gaming PC, so I didn't realise Scan were so rigid.

The integrated GPU on the Intel CPUs is surprisingly good. My cheapo laptop has a mobile i3 with Intel's HD 4400 graphics that performs pretty well. I'd say it would even extend to a lot of the indies on Steam. For a few months it should be fine. If you're going with a 450W PSU, then you'll be well set for a GTX 960 or even a 970 at a push depending on budget.

I'm not that into AMD, so I don't know how their recent stuff is. My old laptop was AMD and my shitty HP desktop's only saving grace was the half-decent quad-core Athlon II. I was determined to go Intel/nVidia after bad experiences with both of those.

Bezza, you should just scrape minimum specs for Mad Max. I'm pretty sure the 660 you got in your Dell was a slightly beefed-up OEM version that was more like a cut-down 670 because they hadn't finalised the 660 at the time. I don't know if that'll end up being similar to the performance of the 660ti, but you could give it a go. It's a shame there's no demos any more, you could've just seen how well that ran before paying out.
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#7
My plan is to play it in 720p, as long as I get around 30/smooth I'm not fussed. I can run arkham knight at max at 720 fine for 60% of the time, but there's obvious problems with that anyway.
...and if you tell that to the kids of today, they wont believe you!

https://mitchdavisblog.wordpress.com/
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#8
I know nothing about PC gaming, but I need a new comp soon - there's only really two (modern) PC games I'm bothered about playing and thats WoWS and Armoured Warfare. Now I was looking at laptops as Warships only requires 2.5 processor thingy but AW requires 3.3 or so (and GeForce GTX 275 or equivalent card thingy) - which kinda locks me out of any affordable (<£600 laptop choices).

Considering a buget (£500 or so) gaming tower - is this wise lol. I like portability of laptops, but then games xD
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#9
Gaming laptops are super expensive compared to desktops, you'll always be better off buying a tower and a decent monitor. The recently released GTX 950 is being heavily targeted to MOBA and F2P gamers as a good low mid-range card.

Here's a PC with a GTX 950: http://www.chillblast.com/Fusion-Yogsbla...st-PC.html

It's slightly over your budget, but you could save on a monitor by using HDMI to connect it to your TV. It looks small enough to fit under your TV too - at 47x23x55cm. The processor sounds a bit cack to me, but the benchmarks show some half-decent performance in 2013 AAA games on high settings at 1080p.
GameFAQs users are 80% trolls and 19% stupid. - hyjinx17
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#10
so far my main research has just been PC world, cause I'm a mainstreamist who likes what I know lol.

These ones seem potentially decent to my ignorant eyes, things I'd like at least are a dvd drive and wireless connection.
http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/computing/...2-pdt.html
http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/computing/...6-pdt.html*
http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/computing/...7-pdt.html

*This one seems to have by far the better graphics card, as if I want to play Warships it needs to have passmark thing of at least 719

They have a few gaming ones too however they dont have wireless
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