Help me build my PC 2017 Catch All

Here's a total n00b situation: a friend wants to help me build a gaming PC...our kids are friends and they can be involved; it's a learning experience for everybody. Yay!

So 1) is the best time to buy parts Black Friday or Cyber Monday in November? and 2) what do you do about tech support if you don't buy a pre-made computer? Thanks! This will be really new for me.

FiveIron wrote:

So i recently tried some VR at a mall arcade type thing and was blown away by how far the technology has come. Can somone help me figure out how to build a good VR machine as cheap as possible? is it better to go the PS4 route? i see a lot of people say i need a GTX 1070 at the minimum, does anyone have a bare bones rig that i could buy a video card for? unfortunately all i have is a razer laptop with GTX 970M so i can't upgrade very easily to do this.

Thanks in advance!

The PS4 route is certainly one of the cheaper routes into VR, the other being Oculus Quest. To a certain extent, you get what you pay for. Neither is going to offer the graphical grunt and flexibility of a PC-based headset. But the price savings are potentially huge.

I've been running a Vive Pro with a GTX 1070 since launch, and it just about manages it - that should be bare minimum for your GPU, but you're going to need a reasonable CPU and a good amount of memory to pair with it. It gets expensive quick, particularly when you toss the headset, controllers and sensors in.

Take this with a grain of salt, but here's my list of headset technologies from highest quality and price to lowest.

  • Valve Index / Pimax 5K/8K
  • HTC Vive Pro / Vive Cosmos
  • HTC Vive / Oculus Rift
  • PSVR
  • Oculus Quest
  • Oculus Go
  • Everything else

Other thoughts:

  • The open-grip Index controllers are lovely, and are compatible with non-Index headsets that use SteamVR
  • Don't underestimate the freedom of a wireless headset - Vive is the only high-end one (I think?) that can be converted to wireless (but expect to pay another 300 bones for the add-on)
  • PC-based VR is still very much an enthusiast space. It can be finicky and needs some troubleshooting skills.
Natus wrote:

Here's a total n00b situation: a friend wants to help me build a gaming PC...our kids are friends and they can be involved; it's a learning experience for everybody. Yay!

So 1) is the best time to buy parts Black Friday or Cyber Monday in November? and 2) what do you do about tech support if you don't buy a pre-made computer? Thanks! This will be really new for me.

1) Yes. Sales are often kind of ridiculous at that time. A friend and I threw together a new PC for another buddy of ours last November. I bought a 2600X for $110. It still costs more than that when it goes on sale now even after AMD's 3000 series chips have been out for a few months.

2)Mostly we google things and skate by on the backs of all the other people who actually know things posting how they fixed stuff online.

wow, thanks for all the advice on the VR stuff! now i just have to find a way to justify spending 1500 ish to get it all....

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/7E3eECz.jpg)

Upgrades for my old Hackintosh. Figured out that the issue I have been having the past few years when I try to upgrade the OS are because they no longer support the old 9800 GT I have been using for graphics. Decided to go ahead and upgrade the SSD and add in a USB 3 card as well. Eventually I will need to get a new motherboard/CPU/RAM, but for now this should get it running the current macOS and when I do upgrade the rest these parts will still be useful (hopefully).

FiveIron wrote:

wow, thanks for all the advice on the VR stuff! now i just have to find a way to justify spending 1500 ish to get it all....

Unless that's relatively easy for you to pay, I'd suggest something like the Quest does get you a lot of the way there for not so much. Not all, but a lot of the games you buy on the Quest are cross-buy with Rift headsets as well, so if you decide to go the PC route in the future you won't have to give up all the games you've purchased.

And as someone who's had Windows Mixed reality headsets as well as an Oculus Rift, the Quest is an amazing bang for buck, $400 isn't cheap but it gets you a lot of the same games on PC and they all work really well. Games like Beat Saber and Job Simulator you're really not giving up much of anything playing on the Quest, and playing without a wire is pretty awesome.

Thanks for the suggestion!

maybe it's just enough to satisfy my VR craving without spending so much.

Am I losing anything by plugging everything into a USB hub instead of individual USB ports?

Jonman wrote:

Take this with a grain of salt, but here's my list of headset technologies from highest quality and price to lowest.

  • Valve Index / Pimax 5K/8K
  • HTC Vive Pro / Vive Cosmos
  • HTC Vive / Oculus Rift
  • PSVR
  • Oculus Quest
  • Oculus Go
  • Everything else

[*]PC-based VR is still very much an enthusiast space. It can be finicky and needs some troubleshooting skills.
[/list]

I'd add the Rift S and then Windows Mixed Reality headsets in there just above the PSVR with the caveat that they have their own finickyness.

EverythingsTentative wrote:

Am I losing anything by plugging everything into a USB hub instead of individual USB ports?

Device bandwidth. USB ports on your motherboard are usually split between a few separate controllers so that they don't all share the same bandwidth. By plugging everything into a single port that is being shared through a hub you are connecting everything to the same controller and thus sharing bandwidth. Depending on the bandwidth needs of the device this may or may not have any noticeable effect. Stuff like mice, keyboards, headphones, even webcams all sharing the same bandwidth is generally not a big deal. Multiple external hard drives (especially if they are SSDs) would see a performance hit though.

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