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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Advice on buying a new PC

    Well, I think my old desktop has finally died. It seems like the last Windows update corrupted something in the OS... It might be fixable but I've been trying all day and I can't get it to boot up. I suspect bits of it have been dying for years anyway - the PSU has always been a bit dodgy.

    So I'm thinking I'll need to start looking at a new machine, assuming I can get one delivered through the lockdown. It looks like amazon is still open to orders at least...

    My questions for the forum are: what's a good brand nowadays? How much should I expect to spend for a reasonably high end gaming PC? I've been hearing good things about the 9th gen Intel chips, but how do the Ryzen ones compare? How do I decide on a graphics card?

    The main thing I want is a PC that will last - something that will still be able to run new games in 10 years' time. Thoughts?
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    Well, I think my old desktop has finally died. It seems like the last Windows update corrupted something in the OS... It might be fixable but I've been trying all day and I can't get it to boot up. I suspect bits of it have been dying for years anyway - the PSU has always been a bit dodgy.

    So I'm thinking I'll need to start looking at a new machine, assuming I can get one delivered through the lockdown. It looks like amazon is still open to orders at least...

    My questions for the forum are: what's a good brand nowadays? How much should I expect to spend for a reasonably high end gaming PC? I've been hearing good things about the 9th gen Intel chips, but how do the Ryzen ones compare? How do I decide on a graphics card?

    The main thing I want is a PC that will last - something that will still be able to run new games in 10 years' time. Thoughts?
    There is no way that you will get a PC now that will still be able to run new AAA games in ten year's time. The rest I'm going to be interested to read about, because I've been out of contact myself, but I'm sure the ten year bit is out of the question, I've never had a PC last ten years in top level gaming.
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Oh, I'm not meaning to stay at top level in 10 years... I mean more like 'can still run new games on the minimum settings' in 10 years. That's roughly what I got out of the last machine: I'm just now starting to encounter games it can't run at all.

    The fact that it can't boot up notwithstanding.
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2020-03-29 at 05:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    With regard to the Intel/Ryzen thing, Ryzen chips are still a few percent short of Intel on per-core per-clock performance, but they're a lot closer than they used to be, and you get a lot more cores for your buck. With games gradually making more use of CPU cores that will definitely help future performance.

    As to the other questions I don't really have answers for you, because I've always built my own from separate components.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Have a look at https://www.logicalincrements.com/ it is decent for seeing what you can get in a specific budget. (Btw personally I would get a pci express ssd, now the insane speed doesn't help much but who knows what will actually make use of it now that it is available and the ps5 will use one.)

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Alright, good advice guys, thank you. That logical increments website was really helpful.

    The one I'm looking at right now is this - any final words of advice before I pull the trigger?
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Final thoughts - I know you asked about just buying one, but building is cheaper and usually more powerful, so that's always a route to consider.

    ETA: For example instead of a 1tb HDD, you could have an SSD or even an M.2 drive as your main drive! My wife just built her first computer, has a 4tb SSD and boots from a 500gb M.2.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-03-30 at 09:35 AM.
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    It's definitely an option, and I do have a master's degree in electronic engineering. Though in practice all that means is that I know how to make things not work in really interesting ways...

    I just know it wouldn't end well if I tried to build one myself.
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    It's definitely an option, and I do have a master's degree in electronic engineering. Though in practice all that means is that I know how to make things not work in really interesting ways...

    I just know it wouldn't end well if I tried to build one myself.
    I understand the reticence. If you have the better part of an hour to spare, Linus Sebastian did, among other build videos, a first-person view vid on how to build, so you can see exactly what it entails from your own POV, and see if you really would be uncomfortable or if it might be something you think you can tackle.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-03-30 at 11:39 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Your bread looks like a rotary phone.
    This right here, is some prime quality culinary critique.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Absolutely do not buy anything with an actual rust HDD in it. Anyone trying to sell that is cheating you IMO. Quite honestly that's arather powerful rig so I can't understand why they are strangling it with a tiny ssd and slow HDD. Seems fishy. Ye gods they are even selling one with an even smaller ssd and much larger HDDs? They are nuts I tell you, nuts! I'll not claim to be a massive expert but IMO they have slapped the "gamer" tag on and some led lights and are upcharging you for that. They should well know a game like ARK (they mentione it specifically) easts almost 200gb of space by now and will be slow loading off a hdd since they are trying to sell it as "gaming".

    You get slow SSDs for much the same price and they are miles faster than an HDD. One of my continual annoyances currently is the old 1TB HDD that's has to kick in and spin itself up, loudly. At least in comparison to the SSds. I even unplugged my dvd station because it did the same at even slower pace and more noticeable sound.

    I understand the recticence at assembling a computer, my current rig I brought over to a friend for assembly. He does it as a job.


    I'm not sure one really needs an i7 over an i5 for gaming. Got an i5 9700 myself now.

    Oh! I almost forgot. I was considering upgrading my gtx970 some months ago and was told by someone that there is a rumoured 3000 series for the rtx in the wings. Because AMD is really putting the heat on the rtx 2000s both performance and price wise. The 3000 series would be more powerful and also cheaper than current lien up (yes sounds abit like having cake and eating it).
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2020-03-31 at 03:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    It's definitely an option, and I do have a master's degree in electronic engineering. Though in practice all that means is that I know how to make things not work in really interesting ways...

    I just know it wouldn't end well if I tried to build one myself.
    I have made two computers "by myself". The first one I did some of the basic work by myself (mostly attaching all the essential components to the case and seating the CPU), had a friend who had never done any computer assembly visit my place for unrelated reasons, and she amused herself wiring all the remaining bits into place. The next one I similarly did all the boring work, and held my eight year old niece's hand while she "made a computer".

    You'll want to watch a few videos and be careful in certain steps. As hinted at above, the CPU is delicate and you'll want to be careful connecting it. But everything else is pretty rugged and is more like building a model than any sort of finicky, delicate operation.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    Alright, good advice guys, thank you. That logical increments website was really helpful.

    The one I'm looking at right now is this - any final words of advice before I pull the trigger?
    That looks surprisingly cheap -- it's only about 70 more than the cost of buying similar parts and building a machine yourself (from what I can tell, this isn't far from what you've linked), but I don't think it's a good purchase - it sounds like it's basically a good graphics card, a way overpowered CPU, and cheap everything else. Something closer to this might be a better balance.

    If you're really determined not to build a machine yourself, you can also try companies like Novatech, PC Specialist, and Chillblast, who will build a custom PC for you. However, that will cost more than self-build, and may take a long time.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2020-04-01 at 02:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Absolutely do not buy anything with an actual rust HDD in it. Anyone trying to sell that is cheating you IMO. Quite honestly that's arather powerful rig so I can't understand why they are strangling it with a tiny ssd and slow HDD. Seems fishy. Ye gods they are even selling one with an even smaller ssd and much larger HDDs? They are nuts I tell you, nuts! I'll not claim to be a massive expert but IMO they have slapped the "gamer" tag on and some led lights and are upcharging you for that. They should well know a game like ARK (they mentione it specifically) easts almost 200gb of space by now and will be slow loading off a hdd since they are trying to sell it as "gaming".
    Seconded (and thirded by my husband). SSD or bust. Especially for gaming.

    If you really need massive amounts of backup storage, get a separate external for that. Honestly, I can barely run Microsoft office on an HDD anymore. Go straight for an internal SSD large enough for all software (including games) you'd want to run.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by SerenaRaeyld View Post
    If you really need massive amounts of backup storage, get a separate external for that.
    When I upgraded my PC last year I put in a 1Tb SSD as the primary drive, but I also put a pair of 2Tb spinning rust I had available and combined them into a single 4Tb volume, which I use for bulk storage. I don't use an external drive for that because my 4Tb external drive is used for backups of the stuff on the internal storage!

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    I'm going to be contrary, and insist that PURE SSD is a really dumb idea. The vast and growing size of games means that unless you only want to play a handful of games ever, or are counting on constantly deleting and redownloading - which will take up a big chunk of the time you're trying to save by switching to an SSD- you're going to need a lot of capacity. SSDs are much, much more expensive on a per-unit basis, and there's plenty of games where you'll never know the difference. Get a 1TB SSD, a big spinny drive, and put the ones with lots of loading on the SSD.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    There was an older thread that had a link to a build-your-own site. Anyone know where it's at?

    My son is looking to build/buy a gaming PC, and he'd like to have some options other than Dell Alienware.
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
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    This right here, is some prime quality culinary critique.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    That's the one. Thanks!
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    If this is the general "new computer" thread, does anyone have a favorite vendor for pre-built Linux systems? I probably want to run Debian, and I don't mind installing a few parts myself here or there, but I'm feeling lazy and don't want to research which things do or don't work with Linux, install my own motherboard in a case, or seat a CPU myself right now.

    I can figure out the specs I need fine myself, I just want to know if anyone has a vendor they've had a good minimum-hassle experience with. (I can speak Ancient Bearded C Programmer if I have to, so if there's no better option I'm willing to deal with jargon or gatekeeper based hassle from a vendor as long as their products are solid, but I am not interested in places that try to tell me broken stuff is supposed to work that way, don't actually test their builds to make sure it all works well under Linux as well as Windows, ship something different than they said they would, or drop off the face of the earth when you email them with an issue.)

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    I've been thinking of getting a new computer too. (Currently have an 11+ year old laptop that was high-spec when I got it, but now obviously isn't).

    Can someone explain to the the practical differences between i3 / i5 / i7 / i9 processors?

    In particular, how would a modern i3 or i5 compare to my current old i7 (2670QM, 2.2GHz)? Would being modern and faster mean it is better despite only being an i3/i5, or are there certain things that only an i7 (or better) can do or do well regardless of speed?

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    I've been thinking of getting a new computer too. (Currently have an 11+ year old laptop that was high-spec when I got it, but now obviously isn't).

    Can someone explain to the the practical differences between i3 / i5 / i7 / i9 processors?

    In particular, how would a modern i3 or i5 compare to my current old i7 (2670QM, 2.2GHz)? Would being modern and faster mean it is better despite only being an i3/i5, or are there certain things that only an i7 (or better) can do or do well regardless of speed?
    They are brands. They mean as much or as little as Intel wants them to mean. Ten years from now there will probably be new i3s, i5s etc. but they won't be the same as the current ones.

    It mainly depends on what software you intend to run. If it is the same software you used to run, then your old processor or something current with similar performance would do, but if you want new software to run, you'll probably need to think of getting the same name you originally got or better.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2020-04-23 at 10:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    They are brands. They mean as much or as little as Intel wants them to mean. Ten years from now there will probably be new i3s, i5s etc. but they won't be the same as the current ones.
    Aye, this one of the reasons why I like AMD better. Their processor names are long and clunky, but that's because their names tell you the specs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Your bread looks like a rotary phone.
    This right here, is some prime quality culinary critique.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    In particular, how would a modern i3 or i5 compare to my current old i7 (2670QM, 2.2GHz)? Would being modern and faster mean it is better despite only being an i3/i5, or are there certain things that only an i7 (or better) can do or do well regardless of speed?
    Easiest thing to do is to go here:

    https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/

    Click the "Compare" button, select your CPU on one side (note: you can type part of the name to narrow down the list, makes it easier) and whatever CPU you're interested in on the other, and it'll give you a direct speed comparison between the two. I just did that with your 2670QM and compared it my Ryzen 2600, which turns out to be 67% faster per core and *way* faster overall due to also having more cores/threads. If you want to stick with Intel then a modern i3-9100 also walks all over your old i7. Not sure what the current state of the art is in laptop processors, though--my cheap HP laptop has a Pentium N3710 in it, which is not very quick at all!

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    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    They are brands. They mean as much or as little as Intel wants them to mean. Ten years from now there will probably be new i3s, i5s etc. but they won't be the same as the current ones.
    That's true of anyting, but they do carry vital information.

    i3 is the entry level processor which lacks many features of the more expensive ones, think "slow powersaver"
    i5 is the compromise processor, used to be the gamers favourite as it had everything you needed for serious gaming without the cost of having all bells and whistles
    i7 was the "it got everything" level and the "I'm buying this rig with other people's money" option, basically the bleeding edge of this generation of processor, now it's more the "corporate performance" option
    i9 is taking the P however, it now also includes the kitchensink. It's the now you're just showing off model.

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    It mainly depends on what software you intend to run. If it is the same software you used to run, then your old processor or something current with similar performance would do, but if you want new software to run, you'll probably need to think of getting the same name you originally got or better.
    Well, as you say, it means whatever it means now. The features of a current i7 isn't the same as an old i7. Especially since they moved the goalposts with the i9. It was easier when the same 3 major variants were roughly the same over generations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Aye, this one of the reasons why I like AMD better. Their processor names are long and clunky, but that's because their names tell you the specs.
    AMD used to be exactly the same. I could write a 10 page essay about the inanity of the Radeon family of gfx cards and their naming scheme. They almsot screwed me with the 9600 once but it was broken at delivery so I had to replace it and could only go 9700 which saved my ass as the 9600 was wastly inferior due to being effectively old architecture compared to the comparable ones. Heck, AMD are the ones who started with the concept that a cpu name didn't tell you it's specs.


    Personally I'd avoid the i3 or worse (Pentium N-family) for anyone attempting to actually use a coputer for seriosu tasks. I settles on an i5 again as my heaviest task is usually games. Mind when I was testing a 3D scanning rig at home and trying 3D photogrammetry an i7 probably wouldn't have hurt. On the other hand those are tasks you probably want to spewicfically spec a computer to do if going to attempt it seriously. None of these are tasks you should be attempting on a laptop anyway.

    All real world machines in them I've tried that's had something less than an i5 has felt sluggish to me. But I'll add, it's trickier on a laptop since limited buildavailability means you might have to move up a lvl in CPU to get other features you might want since I find laptop manufacturers often skimp in several ways on cheaper builds.
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2020-04-24 at 03:09 AM.

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    I've been thinking of getting a new computer too. (Currently have an 11+ year old laptop that was high-spec when I got it, but now obviously isn't).

    Can someone explain to the the practical differences between i3 / i5 / i7 / i9 processors?

    In particular, how would a modern i3 or i5 compare to my current old i7 (2670QM, 2.2GHz)? Would being modern and faster mean it is better despite only being an i3/i5, or are there certain things that only an i7 (or better) can do or do well regardless of speed?
    i3/i5/i7/i9 correspond to different target price points. AMD use a pretty similar system -- Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, Ryzen 9. Higher tiers might have higher clock speeds, higher core counts, and/or SMT but there's no hard and fast rule about what each tier has to mean (and it changes from generation to generation).

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    Default Re: Advice on buying a new PC

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    That's true of anyting, but they do carry vital information.

    i3 is the entry level processor which lacks many features of the more expensive ones, think "slow powersaver"
    This is wrong, there were Celeron and Pentium processors below the i3s, with Atom processors below the Celerons, now the Celerons and Pentiums sometimes are Atoms. The original i3s had 2 cores running 4 threads.

    i5 is the compromise processor, used to be the gamers favourite as it had everything you needed for serious gaming without the cost of having all bells and whistles
    There were two different sets of i5, desktop i5s used to have 4 cores running 4 threads, whereas laptop i5s used to have 2 cores running 4 threads.

    i7 was the "it got everything" level and the "I'm buying this rig with other people's money" option, basically the bleeding edge of this generation of processor, now it's more the "corporate performance" option
    The desktop i7s had 4 cores and 8 threads (which made the desktop i5s potentially faster if all the threads were active on the i7s), the laptop i7s also had 4 cores, I think they also ran 8 threads, but I'm not 100% sure that was always the case.

    i9 is taking the P however, it now also includes the kitchensink. It's the now you're just showing off model.
    The i9 series is new. More cores, more threads, more speed. If you need this, you probably know you need this.

    These days you need to check how many cores and threads any processor has, as well as the speed, there are lots of processors with 6 cores running 12 threads out there, and more cores than that if you spend more (which tends to make for a hot noisy computer).
    Last edited by halfeye; 2020-04-24 at 09:25 AM.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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