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10-02-10, 08:51 AM   #1
Haleth
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New computer for Cataclysm

Hi all.

I'm looking to buy a new computer for Cataclysm. I love my iMac, but for graphics it just doesn't do the job. The bad graphics card (ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT) and the fact that Windows still has better gaming performance over Mac - not to mention that a good Windows is way cheaper than a good Mac - made me decide that.

I'm clueless about computer hardware though. Where does one buy a good computer, cheap? I hear about people using $800 computers and getting amazing gaming performance. Do they assemble the parts by themselves or is there simply a good brand for gaming?

I'd like to play Cataclysm on Ultra - this means liquid detail, shadows, sunshafts etc all maxed out.

I don't have a specific budget in mind but the cheaper, the better of course (provided there is still quality).

Does anyone have any recommendations about specs, or where I should buy one?

I live in Belgium if that's of any help.
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10-02-10, 04:57 PM   #2
Coote
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MaximumPC did a few gaming builds recently that should be able to kick Cataclysm's rear end.

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/fea..._gaming_pc_647
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/fea...g_pc_step_step

Obviously, the prices for everything is in USD, since it's an American magazine, but the cost difference shouldn't be a whole lot different from what an old friend used to tell me (he's also from Belgium =P).
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10-02-10, 05:12 PM   #3
Haleth
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Thanks for the two links, they're very helpful.

There's a huge difference in price between the two though. Are you sure the cheaper one can handle Cataclysm on Ultra? Currently it doesn't take that much to handle WoW but with Liquid detail and Sunshafts those requirements are a lot higher.
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10-02-10, 05:22 PM   #4
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I'm not sure if the cheaper one can handle it at full Ultra settings, since the processor is a bit anemic. If you were to, say, drop the AMD CPU/Mobo, and pick up, say, the cheapest I7 on the 1366 socket, and one of the more inexpensive boards for it, while using an HD5770 (or GTS450 if you prefer Nvidia, same price and performance pretty much), you should be able to max the game out, and play at higher than Ultra settings.


With the cheaper one, if you're willing to sacrifice a few things, such as completely disabling shadows, and maybe a few other little tricks, it should be fine with the rest on Ultra without much of a difference in eye candy. Personally, I prefer shadows completely disabled, since they're fairly ugly, but that's just me.
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10-02-10, 05:38 PM   #5
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Hmm, I see. I can live with anti aliasing on minimum (turning it any higher ruins the 1-pixel border in my UI anyways) but I quite like shadows, though I guess they don't have to be on ultra per se.

Thanks for the advice so far.
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10-02-10, 06:11 PM   #6
Shannara80
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If you are looking to build a computer on the cheap side of things, and you already have a monitor (I know you said you have a mac, but monitors are very cheap now so you can get one from pretty much anywhere) this is what I would suggest (mind you this doesn't come with any case fans so you will have to tac on about ~20 bucks extra for those):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.500536 181.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811146059 39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227582 75.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130572 129.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817153106 119.99

Now the thing that TMcMahon51 said about the cheap comp from the link, is true, that that AMD processor is pretty anemic, but you have to be very careful about the i7 in the 1366 socket form, as they can get much more expensive than a comparable AMD processor. As far as performance they are about the same, but the intel chips are much more compatible software wise (drivers and such with windows). Just thought that I would put my 2 coppers in on this.

Last edited by Shannara80 : 10-02-10 at 06:13 PM.
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10-02-10, 08:13 PM   #7
brotherhobbes
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If you're going to build your own, I find that techreport.com often has good information. Their system guide breaks down the cost of multiple types of computers.

The one they put out one on Sep 7th -> http://www.techreport.com/articles.x/19560
prices range from $540 to over 3 grand (not including keyboard, mouse, monitor, and software).

It's worthwhile to just look it over to get a general idea about things.
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10-03-10, 02:30 AM   #8
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Right, I've been doing some comparing and reading reviews and this is what I came up with.

Graphics: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130572 - $130 - Cheaper than the Sapphire Radeon HD 5770, but would there be a notable performance difference? It's got a 5/5 average rating.
Power: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-028-_-Product - $35 - seems to be quite the bang for the buck
CPU & Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.500536 - $182 - Motherboard is quite a bit pricier, but I don't trust the cheaper one. Think it's worth the money?
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811146059 - $40 - Cheaper one seems a bit too basic.
Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-227-_-Product - $90 - The OCZ one has very bad reviews.
Storage: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...Spinpoint%20F3 - $75 - cheaper ones seem to have quite a high failure rate.
Optical drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...ung%20SH-S223C - &20 - seems to do the job although rather high failure rates. The only thing I'll probably ever use it for is installing WoW expansions, lol. Anyone have any better recommendations or will this do the job?
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium OEM - $105 - Don't like Windows but it's not like I've got much choice!
Display: ???
Keyboard: ???

Total: $677 + display + keyboard

Not sure if I'll need an audio card. Not sure about which display and keyboard to go with either - I doubt an iMac can be used as an external screen, and the Apple keyboard won't play nice with Windows 7 either.

Thoughts/ideas?

Last edited by Haleth : 10-03-10 at 02:51 AM.
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10-03-10, 03:00 AM   #9
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The motherboard only supports DDR3 RAM, but the RAM you linked is DDR2. It's a good mobo, Asus and Gigabyte have the best boards I've ever worked with since DFI went under.

I recommend a set of G.SKILL Ripjaws.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231276
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231277
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231303

The last one is the exact RAM I have in my system right now. I used to swear by Crucial Ballistix, but ever since a few sticks died on me, I've been using G.SKILL, and can vouch for the quality.

The GTS450 and the HD5770 both typically cost the exact same, and trade off performance depending on the games/benchmarks. They're both about equal to each other, and should take on any game out right now at max settings. Good price on it right now, so I might just pick one up myself to replace my HD4650. =D

The optical drive should be fine, but if you're worried about the quality, check out Lite-On. Their drives are fairly dependable.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106334

This is the same drive I own on 3 systems. Never once had a problem with it.

The case should be fine, though you may want to invest in a couple fans for it. For the price of the fans, you could probably swap out to a case with the fans, as well as better cooling.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811196034
^ Same price as your current choice
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811196035
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811103021


I can't really comment on the hard drive, or power supply, as I've never done business with Samsung, and the only Cooler Master products I've ever used were their heatsinks, and cases, both of which are great.

If you haven't considered doing so, you would be much better off getting a heatsink, since the one AMD supplies is quite awful. They're just a solid block of aluminum with fins and a very small 5 or 6 cm fan attached on top. If I knew where my digital camera was, I'd snap a photo of it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835103064
^ Sadly, the price went up since I got mine. Was $15 last November-December. It keeps my Phenom II X4 B50 running at around 40C at 3.6ghz while gaming.

EDIT: Found a pic of the stock heatsink.

http://www.goldfries.com/hardware-re...cessor-review/
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Last edited by Coote : 10-03-10 at 03:10 AM.
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10-03-10, 04:30 AM   #10
Haleth
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Right, made some adjustments based on what you said. Only a very minor price increase for what seems to be a fairly good quality upgrade on some parts. This is what I'm thinking of now:

Graphics: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130572 - $130
Power: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-028-_-Product - $35
CPU & Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.500536 - $182
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...tem=11-146-059 - $40 - This one seems the best all round at that price.
Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231303 - $95 - 5/5 reviews and it's the one you recommended as well.
Storage: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...Spinpoint%20F3 - $75
Optical drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106334 - $22 - Seems a lot better quality for only $2 extra.
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium OEM - $105
Display: ???
Keyboard: ???

Total: $684 + display + keyboard

I'm wondering what I should do with speakers. I got Bose Companion 3 on my iMac, they're pretty good for music. I guess I could simply plug them in to the PC when I'm not using my Mac, and transfer my iTunes purchases to the PC for when I want to listen to music while playing WoW.

Are you sure I'll need a new heatsink? I haven't noticed any complaints about the default one.
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10-03-10, 05:01 AM   #11
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I would spend a few extra bucks and get a bigger power supply. That way when you want to expand you will not have any problems. The last thing you want is to push your ps to the limit. If the voltage drops that is when you start having problems with Harddrives and such.

That looks like a great case, I would go and put some more fans in it now, easier to do at the start than later. Fans are so cheap, (skip the lights) and really make a difference on keeping things cool. If you get the heat out of the case it makes up for other heat sinks and such. A fan on the top really helps, and most cases that have a bottom mount ps have a space for one, (like yours).

I just finished putting my new system together, still moving/setting up the software, (takes forever).

Good luck on the new system...

You might want to watch, Staples, OfficeMax, and OfficeDepot for a display. They have clearences and good deals sometimes. I just got an Acer 23" DVI/VGA 1980x1020 for $149.

Last edited by ricks322 : 10-03-10 at 05:03 AM.
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10-03-10, 05:05 AM   #12
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I live in Belgium if that's of any help.
You do?
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10-03-10, 07:13 AM   #13
Haleth
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Originally Posted by ricks322 View Post
I would spend a few extra bucks and get a bigger power supply. That way when you want to expand you will not have any problems. The last thing you want is to push your ps to the limit. If the voltage drops that is when you start having problems with Harddrives and such.

That looks like a great case, I would go and put some more fans in it now, easier to do at the start than later. Fans are so cheap, (skip the lights) and really make a difference on keeping things cool. If you get the heat out of the case it makes up for other heat sinks and such. A fan on the top really helps, and most cases that have a bottom mount ps have a space for one, (like yours).

I just finished putting my new system together, still moving/setting up the software, (takes forever).

Good luck on the new system...

You might want to watch, Staples, OfficeMax, and OfficeDepot for a display. They have clearences and good deals sometimes. I just got an Acer 23" DVI/VGA 1980x1020 for $149.
Right I'll consider that but I'm not sure if I'll really need it, the power supply seems to handle everything fine judging from reviews. An extra fan shouldn't cost too much.

Originally Posted by Led ++ View Post
You do?
Yup.

--

Right so I went looking for prices and I ended at about 705 (no display and keyboard), assuming UK->Belgium shipping costs are about 40 (buying from Overclockers).

However, I came across this:

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showpr...odid=FS-210-OK

This with the Radeon HD 5770, I'm guessing it's about 10 cheaper than what I ended up with now (not that 10 matters), but it's very similar in performance and it's pre-built so I won't run into any troubles with actually assembling it.

What do you think?
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10-03-10, 07:26 AM   #14
Motig
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Instead of ordering from the UK try getting your parts from www.tweakers.net/pricewatch. That may be alot cheaper!
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10-03-10, 08:42 AM   #15
Haleth
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http://tweakers.net/gallery/378175?i...tab:inventaris

With a keyboard and display that boils down to about €975. Though I could go for a cheaper keyboard ofc.
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10-03-10, 09:04 AM   #16
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Hehe, I'm from belgium too.
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10-03-10, 10:08 AM   #17
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While I to prefer AMD over Intel, I would also recommend getting a separate heatsink. The "Boxed" CPU heatsink sucks. As TMcMahon51, it's really just a block with a really tiny tiny tiny cooler on top of it. It also gets quite loud on mediocre cpu load.

In your last link you are using Vista, not Win7?

Btw, I don't think one needs a G15 keyboard ... expansive and just for e-peen, imho.
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10-03-10, 10:26 AM   #18
Haleth
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Oops, I included Vista by accident, switched it to 7 now. And removed the keyboard as well, I can use my Apple keyboard (should work fine, maybe an extra driver for additional keys). It's now at about 876.

Which cooler should I go with? I've looked at some cheap Cooler Master ones but they're all too noisy according to reviews.
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10-03-10, 01:04 PM   #19
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<-- from holland here...

i bought my PC at alternate.nl(also has a .be) and i must say, im very satisfied so you might wanna check there site to.
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10-03-10, 05:46 PM   #20
Petrah
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Originally Posted by Haleth View Post

Which cooler should I go with? I've looked at some cheap Cooler Master ones but they're all too noisy according to reviews.

Go with one that suites your needs. Low noise, or better cooling. Back in the day when I bought everything for mine, it was the Core Contact Freezer. After two years, it's still going strong. There's better ones now, I'm sure.

http://www.frostytech.com is the best place to get info on cpu coolers.

This is also an awesome place to go for DIY gaming rig builds. http://www.extremetech.com;)

I think after some research you will find that you definitely don't need top of the line parts to play Cata. My two year old system runs beta like cake.
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