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Advice on gaming pc for racing/shooters

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Eifion Evans, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. I'm thinking of buying/building a PC, mainly for sim racing and some FPS action.

    I don't know much at all about PC components and specifications etc but after doing some research I have a rough list of parts

    OS: Windows 7 64bit
    CPU: i5-2500K 3.30Ghz SandyBridge
    MOBO: Asus P8P67 Intel P67
    GPU: GTX480 1536MB
    RAM: Corsair 4GB 1600Mhz
    PSU: Corsair 600w to 750w should be enough power right?
    HDD: 1TB, can you recommend a good make? (Seagate or Wester Digital?)
    Optical drive: Cheap DVD RW will do.

    Case: Don't want to spend a lot here, can be ugly as sin as long as its spacious and well ventilated. Cooler Master and Antec seem to get good reviews.

    Cooling: Fan/air cooled to keep costs and complexity down but dont know what is best.

    Is this build possible with a £800 (can stretch to £1000 maybe) budget? I have a friend who will help me build it to cut costs.

    Older sims should run very well on this but I do like the more hardware intensive shooters too plus I'm thinking ahead to rFactor2 and F1 2011 with this build.

    Any thoughts and suggestions on the above spec would be much appreciated, thanks in advance.
  2. Specs look ok , may want to consider a radeon video card with the eye finity option if you decide down the road to go with a triple monitor set up which is awesome for racing sims. Unless you want to wait for the new gtx 590 which can run triple monitors by itself, but will cost $700.00!!! better go with a 900 watt or better psu to allow for upgrades, like a second video card etc..
  3. I bought mine from pc specialist (google them) - for just over a grand you could get a pre-built:

    i7-2600 quad core (3.40GHz)
    ASUS P8P67 Pro motherboard
    8GB RAM (2x4GB kit)
    Nvidia GTX560Ti
    1TB HDD (7200RPM)
    24x DVD Drive
    Decent cooling (CPU cooling from Triple Heatpipe heatsink) and 3 case fans
    800W PSU
  4. Well, normally I would put a full build together for you, but seeing as you are across the pond, I will just make some suggestions.

    First off, you picked a great processor. If you are looking for shear performance all around though, I would go with the 2600k. It costs more, but it is 4 cores/ 8 threads. That will tear through any gaming, video encoding, file compression, anything you do. I would overclock this CPU insanely. I plan to do so coming up this month when I build my new system. These things go to 4.5GHz on the stock cooler easily.
    ----As for CPU cooling, I would recommend purchasing a new cooler. Not that the stock Intel one is bad, but the mounting sucks and half the time it is not completely clipped in. In my personal experiences, Xigmatek are nice simple cheap coolers that do a PHENOMENAL job.

    Next, the graphics card. I personally would ditch the 480 and pick up a 6950. Then you can "unlock" the 6950 with a simple bios update and have it be the same specs as a 6970. It is really simple and has an insanely good success rate. Then you can overclock it for even more performance.

    Ram... With the prices of RAM, I would go 8GB in this system. DDR3 1600 is perfect for this build. I know right now for me 2x4GB of G-Skill DDR3 1600 is $100. Occasionally on sale for $75.

    HDD time. Myself, and many people I know have all had very bad experiences recently with Seagate. (Last 2 years I would say) If you watch the HDD market and reviews, it seems the quality fluctuates from company to company. IE: For three years in a row Seagate is the brand to go with, but the next three years Seagate may suck and WD is the brand to buy. As of right now, I would only purchase the Samsung Spinpoint drives, or WD's. I trust SpinPoints for my backups and have had not a single problem.

    As for the PSU... I have done a lot of research lately in this area. It seems, most of the quality PSU companies components are all made in the same factory by one company. SeaSonic is a lesser known name than most others out there. They however make the PSU's which are re-branded by a few companies. Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, and a few other big names all use their PSU's. Do some research in this field and you can find some lesser name PSUs that are actually really high end, at a great price.

    Cases now. This is always a fun subject. Seeing as I am building a new system, I have been looking into what case I am going to buy. I was going to go with a higher end case this time just to make my life easier. My current build is in an Antec 300. It is a great simple case. Good airflow and good build quality. However, with a few higher end features missing, it really makes properly assembling your PC a hassle. To save cash to put toward other components, I have been looking for the cheapest case possible that meets my demands. My demands are:
    -Opening behind CPU socket for easy heatsink mounting
    -Bottom mounted PSU
    -Sideways facing HDD Racks
    -Cable Management cut outs
    -A decent amount of working space
    -Not completely stupid looking

    This is a hefty list. Most cases that fit this criteria are upward of $150. Really the only case I found was this recently released Cooler Master. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119233 It fits all the criteria except it is semi stupid looking.

    Anyway, that is my 2cents. I know I can get all of that for like $950 ish around here. No clue how that translates over there. Best of luck, feel free to ask more.
  5. Thanks for the great advice! I chose the i5 as a cost saver because the i7 isn't really neccessary for gaming apparently.

    The cpu and Mobo will allow me to overclock to over 4.0Ghz at some point. I will probably go for 6 or 8GB of RAM because I do intend do do some photoshoping and HD video editing.

    Whenever possible its best not to crossfire/sli cards right? I mean one powerful card causes less issues. Hmmm Nvidia or ATI . . . the age old problem lol

    People seem to praise the corsair PSU's alot, how much power do you think I need, surely 750w is enough.

    1TB is plenty of storage for me, just deciding on make and model is difficult but the F3 samsung is very good they say. If budget would allow I'd like a SSD for the OS. Whats the minimum SSD size I'd need just to run Windows 7 and maybe a couple of programs . . .40-60GB?

    Case is a tough one because everything needs to fit with plenty of space for ventilation, looks dont worry me too much as I can always cutomize it lol

    Thanks again.
  6. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole

    Weyland, for graphics power from a single card without buying the top end dual GPU cards, your best bet for performance is going to be with nVidia. I hate to say it, but tests and reviews have proven that nVidia is the better single card solution at this point. If you decide to move into the xfire or SLI options, then definitely go with ATI as they are proven to be the better option for multiple GPU's now.

    A single GPU btw will be good for decent graphics running 1680 X 1050 widescreen, but you will have to have some of the graphics turned down in the most recent games. For that screen res and higher if you wish to run with all options turned on, then you are going to be looking at multiple GPU solutions only. I personally only use a single monitor and I don't really pay attention to shadows in game, nor reflections so those are almost always turned off on my games. With that in mind, I can get away with the cheaper graphics solutions.
  7. i7 quad core is the best solution at the moment, as it allows you to overclock safely and runs cooler than a similar speed i5, for relatively little difference in price. 6 cores is the future, but nothing will use it effectively yet (and that won't happen for a good few years, in my opinion) - just look at the games now, only a handful have got a proper handle on quad-core processors!
    As Jim says, go Nvidia. The one thing you shouldn't skimp on is the graphics card - a 560Ti or a 480 are good options for their money at the moment. Anything more is expensive, but if you do go more expensive then hit yourself up with a 580. Otherwise it's not worth going for something in between.
    I also wouldn't go solid state yet, they are just too much money at the moment. Leave yourself open to expand and in a couple years time, a 240GB solid state might be cheaper, but for now they just aren't worth it. At the end of the day all you're buying is quicker access to programs and loading times - at the end of the day, you can wait a few seconds and it won't hit the performance of the actual programs once they've loaded into the RAM. Which brings me to another point - 4GB or 6GB is all you need - just make it high speed and make sure you get a 64 bit OS to actually use it. You would have to do a hell of a lot of stuff all at once to need more than 6GB, and I can't think of a purpose for that extra memory unless you're doing CFD or something! :p

    The other thing is, GET A DECENT MONITOR! No point buying an awseome PC and then only having a 17" 1280x1024 screen to look at. First thing I bought before my new PC was a 32" HDTV (1920x1080) which, considering it's 2 feet from my wheel, is actually HUGE. You can look at 3 non-widescreen monitors but the resolution does kinda require 2 graphics cards, really, because the combined resolution is just too much. Hence why I went for a big single-screen setup. 3 monitors is the way to go for total immersion but I just can't justify the huge expense it requires.
  8. Chris Butcher

    Chris Butcher
    Red Bull Gridsters 2012 Champion

    Don't pretend you know what you are talking about Toby :p
  9. The problem with Nvidia, although they pack more power, they are also more prone to bugs, hence why I went with ATi.
  10. Thanks for your input guys. I really dont know much about pcs and am abit intimidated by the idea of buying parts and assembling a gaming system.

    I have spec'd a machine at overclockers.co.uk for around £1000 after VAT and shipping.

    Windows 7 64bit
    i7 2600k SandyBridge
    ATI HD6950 (xfire another one at a later date for less ££)
    Asus P67
    Corsair 4GB Ram (ideally would like 6GB for photoshop/video)
    Corsair HX 850w
    Samsung F3 1TB HDD
    Sony 24x DVD RW
    Arctic Venom Cooler
    Antec 100 case

    Does this spec look good to you? Do you know of other places I can source the components for less perhaps?

    Im actually thinking of waiting a few months before actually going ahead with this becasue parts will be cheaper or newer better ones will be out in time for the games I really want to play like F1 2011 and BF3.
  11. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole

    Just a note about your thoughts on the 6gigs of ram. I am pretty sure unless you are running an Intel processor, you would want either 4 or 8 gig for best performance. Intel you would want 3 or 6 gig. The designs of them allow Intel to use triple channel where AMD can only use dual channel setups.

    Oh btw, try and make sure you get a motherboard that has the 1155 chipset on it, as that is supposed to be one of the best chipsets for the sandy bridge chips.
  12. Don't listen to the above statement. As rude as it sounds, that post was a load of crap.

    1155 is the only "socket type" you can use for Sandy Bridge. You cannot use 6GB of RAM due to the fact that you can only use dual channel. So you are left with 4,8, or 16GB.

    For that setup, I would really strongly recommend going 8GB of RAM. Trust me, you will want it.
  13. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole

    Thanks for correcting me Evan, didn't realize that I said chipset when referring to the 1155, and thought that there was another socket type that supported the processor as well. As for the ram, I had not realized that Intel changed the way they handled ram to not allow triple channel. Guess I am a little behind the times.
  14. Sorry Jim for sounding rude. I just do not want the OP to be confused in any way. There is a lot going on with new PC stuff so keeping up can be somewhat overwhelming.
  15. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole

    No worries, I would rather he get the correct info as well, I was a bit tired when I posted that and should have done a little more research to be sure of what I posted. :)
  16. A good solution for space and performance are the new hybrid part solid state part spin drives.

    £100 will get you a 500gb, I know a couple of people with them and no complaints yet, only praise.
  17. I would suggest you buy two HDs instead of one. The 1TB for backup and a smaller (say 500GB) drive to put the OS onto + whatever other software you want to run.
    The reason being that all the big drives are still failing at an alarming rate, no matter who you get them from. Technically they may look faster on paper, but in reality they are not. The HDA in the drive has to do more work because of the size of the platters (not the group btw :p ).
    If you were to go down the 2 HD route, then for your main drive would be a Western Digital VelociRaptor; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136557

    As this drive is a good for all software, and the bugger is fast to say the least. As to the backup drive, that's up to you. But I use WD throughout my machines. Just my preference. As they run silently and stay very cool.

    As to power supplies. You need wattage for overall power usage. What I mean is the wattage supplies all your hardware with what it needs with headroom. As to graphic cards, you are looking for 'ampage' on the +12 volt rail. Most PSUs come with 2 rails, but some come with 1 or 3. Anyway, what you need to find out is what ampage does the graphic card need and more importantly as you said you would be using crossfire in the future. Will the new PSU be able to cope with 2 G cards. So as a suggestion, contact the maker of the card and ask them what ampage is needed for single and dual cards. As this will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

    Hope some of that helped.
  18. Wey, don't be intimidated by assy it's easy and fun. In fact if I had the money I'd be buildin pooters alla time.:eek:
  19. Jim Cole

    Jim Cole

    One thing I would mention here. Western Digital has an awesome name, but lately their drive failure rate has been very near 50% out of the box plus the reduced warranty period makes them less than appealing to me. I have recently upgraded my drives with a pair of Seagate Barracuda drives that are 500gig each and put them into a RAID 0 array. This combination takes care of the speed issues and the 2 drives together only cost me $100 US. On top of that, Seagate still warranties their drives for 5 years instead of the 3 years with WD.
  20. @Jim.
    You're right about the failure rate. But these failures, as far as I know are on the TB+ drives and so far none of the manufacturers have solved the problems with platter size/HDA.
    As to Seagate, I would have agreed with you prior to them buying out Maxtor, as their drives were very solid. But since they bought out maxtor and have been using their technology. They have also been having some problems with failures. Not sure why any of these companies are having these problems, considering how much they spend on R&D. But they unfortunately are :(