Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

It all depends on how much you have installed, but I find 120gb ok, not great. On my main laptop with Win7 x64, along with Office and the Adobe suites installed, I don't have a whole lot of space left. I actually just cleared out my downloads folder to an external drive, and I think I have 20 or 30 gb's free. If you have less installed, then you can probably fit a few games. But that's probably about it.

I have games installed on my mechanical HDD though, and I don't mind that. But yes, I would suggest at least 120gb, as space gets sucked up quick and you will become much more aware of how you handle your HDD space.

My computer is really starting to show it's age and frames are averaging around 30-40 FPS on most games. I have a Q6600@ 3.4 and a 560ti with 8gb DDR2 of ram.

I am starting to think that my good ol' Q6600 is finally starting to bottleneck my whole system and I may just get a 2500k along with the a mobo and RAM. If I upgrade the 560ti to a 600 series will I see a difference or will my @6600 continue to bottleneck me?

I really want to wait for Haswell to come out but not sure my PC will perform well long enough for that.

TempestBlayze wrote:

My computer is really starting to show it's age and frames are averaging around 30-40 FPS on most games. I have a Q6600@ 3.4 and a 560ti with 8gb DDR2 of ram.

I am starting to think that my good ol' Q6600 is finally starting to bottleneck my whole system and I may just get a 2500k along with the a mobo and RAM. If I upgrade the 560ti to a 600 series will I see a difference or will my @6600 continue to bottleneck me?

I really want to wait for Haswell to come out but not sure my PC will perform well long enough for that.

What resolution do you game at?

Tempest, I'd say the 560Ti has more legs in it than the CPU. It's pretty similar in performance to my 6950, and on my 2600K, I've had very few games with any performance issues.

MannishBoy wrote:

Tempest, I'd say the 560Ti has more legs in it than the CPU. It's pretty similar in performance to my 6950, and on my 2600K, I've had very few games with any performance issues.

I'd say it depends.. at 1080P max details on certain games the 560Ti will struggle to maintain 60FPS.. Throw in a High Res Texture pack and its even more of a struggle for the 560Ti.

TheGameguru wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

Tempest, I'd say the 560Ti has more legs in it than the CPU. It's pretty similar in performance to my 6950, and on my 2600K, I've had very few games with any performance issues.

I'd say it depends.. at 1080P max details on certain games the 560Ti will struggle to maintain 60FPS.. Throw in a High Res Texture pack and its even more of a struggle for the 560Ti.

Very few games have been a problem with max settings, but on the few that have, generally a setting or two can get me in line for 1920x1200.

I'm just saying that of the two systems, his CPU is behind more than his GPU.

Again, not the exact card, but I'd think it would be a similar experience with a 560Ti.

My computer is really starting to show it's age and frames are averaging around 30-40 FPS on most games. I have a Q6600@ 3.4 and a 560ti with 8gb DDR2 of ram.

What resolution, and what games? And what speed is your Q6600 running at?

A 560Ti will usually do 50ish FPS in the tougher games at 1920x1200. It's a little weak at that resolution, but workable.

edit to add:

I may just get a 2500k

Great chips. But to get full value out of them, you need to overclock them, typically to 4.4Ghz. The newer 3570K is a little more expensive, and out of the box is about halfway in between a stock 2500K and an OCed one. You can OC them a little, but not as much, up to about the same overall speed as a 2500K.

If you don't want to mess with OCing, a 3570K is probably better. If you don't mind taking the time to tweak and tune, they're about the same.

I have my Q6600 Overclocked to 3.4 up from its original 2.3. So if I get the 2500k you know im going to over clock the hell out of it. I game at 1920x1200.

So at that resolution will upping the gen on my video card increase FPS or will my Q6600 just hold it back?

Hmm. At 3.4Ghz, I'm not sure the CPU is your problem. Even Blizzard games should be comfortable at that speed. The Core2 was a great chip. The i-series is a little better, and one of the things it improved noticeably was running 32-bit code in a 64-bit OS, so you would probably see some improvement there, but I'm still suspicious that you're bottlenecking on the card again.

I remember you as being pretty pleased with it when you got it, so I'm wondering what specific titles you're having trouble with?

I have been pretty happy with it but yeah, the games that I have been having some trouble with are in beta so I should definitely take that into account. Good call.

I will see how Xcom runs.

TempestBlayze wrote:

I have been pretty happy with it but yeah, the games that I have been having some trouble with are in beta so I should definitely take that into account. Good call.

I will see how Xcom runs.

If it's Planetside 2, I think that game still has quite a bit of optimization room.

You seem to really prefer super high speed reaction from the computer, Tempest -- you could consider going up to a 670, which is pretty close to the speed of a 680, for a lot less money. It's overkill at that resolution for the vast majority of titles, but at that point, if you start bottlenecking, you can be pretty much dead certain it's the CPU.

I think you've probably got at least another year in that Q6600. I doubt you'll see all THAT much visible difference if you go to a 2500K or a 3570K. It's not like it'll hurt, and if you use virtualization at all, the i-series chips are a lot better, but for just pure gaming, a Core 2 at 3.4Ghz is still damn fast.

I am a twitch gamer for sure. Thanks for the tips again Malor. I will think about the 670.

Twice!

Damn phone

I've heard a bit from folks about the Fractal Design cases. I just read in CPU a review on the Core 3000. For $75, it seems like a great setup. Anyone have any experience with these? Not buying now, but this will be on my list next year when I'm building.

After a little silliness with a bit of dirty power and an OS that decided to try to run Startup Repair things have stabilized a bit. I have all the important bits backed up, so if my HD does crap out no big deal really. Honestly, prolly time for a clean install anyway.

What I'd like to do is get a new HD, but the near $100 price tag on traditional disks has given me pause. I am seeing a lot of sales on SSDs, and expect to see more through the holidays. What size SSD should I be looking for? What model or brand are you guys familiar with? And what is life like with an SSD? Will I constantly be shuffling one game to and from the drive to get the performance boost for a while as I pllay it? Or do I just take the faster boot times and move on with my day, leaving all the programs on the slower disk?

TheWanderer wrote:

After a little silliness with a bit of dirty power and an OS that decided to try to run Startup Repair things have stabilized a bit. I have all the important bits backed up, so if my HD does crap out no big deal really. Honestly, prolly time for a clean install anyway.

What I'd like to do is get a new HD, but the near $100 price tag on traditional disks has given me pause. I am seeing a lot of sales on SSDs, and expect to see more through the holidays. What size SSD should I be looking for? What model or brand are you guys familiar with? And what is life like with an SSD? Will I constantly be shuffling one game to and from the drive to get the performance boost for a while as I pllay it? Or do I just take the faster boot times and move on with my day, leaving all the programs on the slower disk?

Citizen86 wrote:

It all depends on how much you have installed, but I find 120gb ok, not great. On my main laptop with Win7 x64, along with Office and the Adobe suites installed, I don't have a whole lot of space left. I actually just cleared out my downloads folder to an external drive, and I think I have 20 or 30 gb's free. If you have less installed, then you can probably fit a few games. But that's probably about it.

I have games installed on my mechanical HDD though, and I don't mind that. But yes, I would suggest at least 120gb, as space gets sucked up quick and you will become much more aware of how you handle your HDD space.

120GB is fine if your only looking to install the main OS, and perhaps a productivity app or two.. games will suck up the 120GB fast as will photos and mp3's. In terms of raw gaming performance boost.. its not really going to improve your Frame Rate or allow extra details.. and in fact unless the game is an MMOG or something will lots of loading of levels you wont really notice any improvement and even then the improvement is marginal.

Idle curiosity satisfied. Back to the traditional HD hunt.

TheGameguru wrote:

120GB is fine if your only looking to install the main OS, and perhaps a productivity app or two.. games will suck up the 120GB fast as will photos and mp3's. In terms of raw gaming performance boost.. its not really going to improve your Frame Rate or allow extra details.. and in fact unless the game is an MMOG or something will lots of loading of levels you wont really notice any improvement and even then the improvement is marginal.

I disagree to some extent. In single player games I don't think it makes a difference. I find it makes a big difference with online games where levels load and you start playing as soon as your level has loaded. I bought one specifically because I was one of the last people to load a level in TF2. A new graphics card makes virtually no difference for me in that game but the SSD made a huge difference (and in COD as well). I went from joining after everyone else had started to being one of the first to begin playing. Sometimes that makes the difference between winning the round and losing. I used a program (steamtool, iirc) recommended by Brainz to manage my steam games and which drive they are installed on. I will say my old drive was really old (250gb drive) so a new drive may not have made as much of a difference.

I don't know why you would store MP3 or your photo collection on your SSD anyways. Unless you are on a laptop and have absolutely no way of having a second hard drive with it, but those types of files have no reason to be stored on a SSD.

ANd like I said, 120gb is workable, but I would suggest that being the absolute minimum. The more the better.

I recently upgraded my desktop to using a pair of SSDs, and I'm very happy with the result. Once I get past the BIOS screen, it's maybe 20-25 seconds before I can log in. It's short enough that after a Windows Update finishes and needs to reboot, I can't get to the fridge and back with a fresh, cold, tasty beverage before the system is ready to go again.

I would agree that 120/128GB is the absolute minimum. Even that is likely to get annoying depending on what you normally install. If you are faithful doing Windows Updates and such, you'll notice the size of the Windows folder creeping up. (Windows 7 seems to be more frugal with disk space than the older OSes in that regard.) If you use Microsoft Office as well, that sucks up a decent amount. Some emails with video of your <enter small, cute, relative here>, a bunch of saved game files at 9-10 MB each (Fallout 3 anyone?), and 120GB just disappears. I'm using 78GB of the 256GB drive I got on an installation that's only a two months old. I have a 2nd SSD that is pretty much just my games. I kept a pair of WD Caviar Black 1TB drives. One I'm using for things like pictures, video, music, older games, game patches. The other one I'm using to backup key files from the other drives.

If you haven't checked into SSDs lately, take another look. The prices are dropping so fast, it makes me wince. The Samsung 830 256GB drive I got is $40 cheaper than a couple months ago. It's still cheaper to get two 256GB drives than one 512GB one. I expect that will change.

Friend of a friend is looking for a laptop that he can game on for about 1000 USD. The laptop part is apparently a must as he likes to play games when travelling. Any recommendations?

avggeek wrote:

Friend of a friend is looking for a laptop that he can game on for about 1000 USD. The laptop part is apparently a must as he likes to play games when travelling. Any recommendations?

If he doesn't need to be bleeding edge, the stock m14x is exactly $999:
http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-m...

Here's a cute 3-part piece about building a PC for the first time.

My favorite quote is from the 2nd part.

PCs truly are like babies. You bring them into the world, and immediately they require all of your time, attention, and money. They can fill you with joy and pride, but not without sleepless nights and a messy house.
Tanglebones wrote:
avggeek wrote:

Friend of a friend is looking for a laptop that he can game on for about 1000 USD. The laptop part is apparently a must as he likes to play games when travelling. Any recommendations?

If he doesn't need to be bleeding edge, the stock m14x is exactly $999:
http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-m...

Yeah, that would be a decent choice. Plus, if you have to get a laptop to game on, Alienware's build quality exceeds the rest. I just turn all the lights to white on my M11x to keep things on the tame side.

He/she could also get an Asus gaming laptop which would offer more oomf but less power. Is it a secondary computer or a primary? It's much easier to go with less power when you have a gaming PC at home.

avggeek wrote:

Friend of a friend is looking for a laptop that he can game on for about 1000 USD. The laptop part is apparently a must as he likes to play games when travelling. Any recommendations?

My friend and I just built this one. Same graphics card I believe as the m14x, although a little larger. Starts at around $800 though, so you have a little room to make upgrades as you'd like. Also comes standard with a quad-core i7. Also if resolution is important, it has a stock 1080p screen, which I love on my 15" work laptop.

Actually the graphics might be a little faster on the m14x, it has 1gb DDR5 while the Compal has 2gb DDR3. I'd have to look at some comparisons.

Also, and I can't rag on Alienware as I've never owned one, but... I appreciate my laptop not looking like a spaceship. My current laptop is a Clevo, but it has absolutely no markings on it at all. No lights, no logos, just matte black. It's awesome.

But I would suggest taking a look at XoticPC, Malibal, and some other custom type laptop makers. They have great laptops for good prices, and you can customize them as you like, or buy the bare-bones ones and add parts as needed.

cheesycrouton wrote:

My favorite quote is from the 2nd part.

PCs truly are like babies. You bring them into the world, and immediately they require all of your time, attention, and money. They can fill you with joy and pride, but not without sleepless nights and a messy house.

Yeah, but that part lasts days, not years.

EvilHomer3k wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

120GB is fine if your only looking to install the main OS, and perhaps a productivity app or two.. games will suck up the 120GB fast as will photos and mp3's. In terms of raw gaming performance boost.. its not really going to improve your Frame Rate or allow extra details.. and in fact unless the game is an MMOG or something will lots of loading of levels you wont really notice any improvement and even then the improvement is marginal.

I disagree to some extent. In single player games I don't think it makes a difference. I find it makes a big difference with online games where levels load and you start playing as soon as your level has loaded. I bought one specifically because I was one of the last people to load a level in TF2. A new graphics card makes virtually no difference for me in that game but the SSD made a huge difference (and in COD as well). I went from joining after everyone else had started to being one of the first to begin playing. Sometimes that makes the difference between winning the round and losing. I used a program (steamtool, iirc) recommended by Brainz to manage my steam games and which drive they are installed on. I will say my old drive was really old (250gb drive) so a new drive may not have made as much of a difference.

Homer, how big is your SSD? The thread has been recommending ~120 gigs, but I was curious as a pro-SSD user how it felt size wise. My current HDD is a 500 gig which would likely get relegated to a data drive, so having a raw amount of space isn't really an issue.

I'm looking to upgrade my gaming box (only productivity app is chrome...). It's about 4.5 years old now and starting to struggle with TF2, and hectic scenes in BL2 and D3. Currently my HDD is at about 140 gigs, which I can get down to probably 100 easily.