Building a new PC...but I have a few questions.

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Conway Morning, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Conway Morning

    Conway Morning New Member

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    (Erm, I'm new...so I hope I've posted this in the right section...)

    Hello!

    I'm currently building my very first desktop on this website: http://www.cyberpowersystem.co.uk/

    It was all going okay, but I have a few questions...I want my desktop to be 'pretty good' at gaming but I honestly don't know anything about graphics cards (having only had a laptop up until now...which, let's face it, can't run anything better than a chess game...in 2D).

    I don't understand how the numbers next to the names of graphics cards reflect their properties. I don't know the difference between a Nvidia GTX/GTS/GT etc. I have no idea how to compare Nidia cards to ATI cards.

    There's also the option to include a 'Dedicated PhysX' card' - What's that!?

    Also, I imagine that a 1GB graphics card from Nvidia is superior to a 512MB card...but I have no idea why. If you could enlighten me, that'd be great.

    I also have a processor-related question. Namely, is a tri-core that runs at 3GHZ better than a dual-core that runs at 4GHZ? - I'd always believed that the larger the number of cores, the better. - But can that be true if the total GHZ is lower?

    This is all that stands between me and my new pc, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    Oscar.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  2. GandraZz

    GandraZz Master Guru

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    Ok first post your budget.
     
  3. Conway Morning

    Conway Morning New Member

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    My apologies.

    £400
     
  4. lehtv

    lehtv Ancient Guru

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    NVIDIA's newest lineup is the 500 series, while ATI's newest cards are in the 6000 series. Both are improved versions of the 400 and 5000 series, respectively; they're not entierly new designs, simply improved in terms of power consumption, heat production, noise and performance. But since your budget is only £400 for the whole computer, you're better off looking at the older NVIDIA 400 and ATI 5000 series.

    If you want to get an idea of the performance of a card at your price range, your best bet is to simply google a couple of reviews of the card, then take a look at the FPS in various games at your gaming resolution, compared to other cards. Whether that card will suit you will depend on what kind of FPS you're satisfied with now, how long you want the card to be able to run new games with acceptable FPS, and whether your CPU is powerful enough to utilise the GPU fully. Some people require 60 fps at all times, others are fine with 30fps at minimum; this is also game dependent.

    As for ATI vs NVIDIA, ATI tends to offer better performance for the price, while NVIDIA offers more features such as PhysX.

    PhysX is NVIDIA's GPU-accelerated physics engine which is used in only a handful of titles. It's usually not a good idea to spend money on an additional PhysX card as the benefits are very slim for the price.

    A larger amount of graphics memory is relevant only when it is needed by the game. Memory use depends mainly on things such as screen resolution, amount of anti-aliasing, and which game you're playing. Two graphics cards that are equal in every respect except one has 1gb and the other 2gb memory will also perform practically the same if the game uses less than 1gb of the graphics memory. Currently I don't think a 512mb card is a good deal unless you play at a really low resolution. 1gb is enough for 1080p.

    Not all applications use all cores fully. Most games are still optimised for only two cores. But clock speed isn't the only thing that measures CPU performance. In fact, it is a highly inaccurate meter, as often a new processor at a lower clock speed will easily beat an older processor at a higher clock speed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011

  5. Conway Morning

    Conway Morning New Member

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    Thank you! that was very informative.

    ...I was looking at basic store-built desktops from PCworld, specifically this: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/hp-g5210uk-07677506-pdt.html it boasts a "NVIDIA® GeForce® 6150 SE" it also says that it has "up to 1407 MB total available graphics memory" is that a good thing? most of the others I've looked at haven't mentioned their "graphics memory" capacity...
     
  6. Conway Morning

    Conway Morning New Member

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    How do I know if my CPU is powerful enough to utilise the GPU fully?
     
  7. PinguX

    PinguX Master Guru

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  8. deltatux

    deltatux Ancient Guru

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    Generally a Core i5 2500K can easily power a GTX580, so I'd say go for that CPU if possible.

    deltatux
     
  9. Conway Morning

    Conway Morning New Member

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    Damn! When I said "£400" I wasn't expecting you'd be able to get that close!

    Thank you very much!
     
  10. lehtv

    lehtv Ancient Guru

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    That GPU would be absolutely terrible for gaming. The Geforce 6000 series is almost 7 years old.

    You're best off building your own computer from scratch. If you've never done it before, there's plenty of time to read up while waiting for components to arrive. It's really not difficult, there are plenty of easy guides for choosing components, installing components, handling components, setting up the motherboard BIOS for your particular setup, etc. And if you run into problems, just post about it here :). It's also fun. But most importantly, you get much better quality components for the price than if you ordered a ready built computer, especially at that price range.

    The components PinguX put together for you are pretty much spot on for a budget gaming computer. Depending on how much gaming you do and how much you care about image quality / resolution, versus how much you care about your PC's performance outside of gaming, you may want to adjust towards a more powerful processor and less costly graphics. Alternatively you could overclock your processor for some extra juice, but you'll need a custom cooler for it; I'd recommend Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus, it's probably the best performing low price CPU cooler.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2011

  11. Conway Morning

    Conway Morning New Member

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    See, if you hadn't have told me that, I'd never have known. Thank you very much for your help. I'm currently looking at this machine and wondering what I should tweak...if you wouldn't mind, your input would be greatly appreciated. Baring in mind the £400 budget.

    http://www.cyberpowersystem.co.uk/system/AMD_Quad_Core_Configurator/
     
  12. Conway Morning

    Conway Morning New Member

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    Thing is, with that PC I mentioned http://www.cyberpowersystem.co.uk/sy..._Configurator/ People have rated the whole machine as 5star and have stated how good it is for gaming...despite the default graphics card being set to 'none - integrated' ...so surely they must have configured the machine on the site to make it that good (Playing WoW/COD4 on full) , it can't be good with an integrated card, surely

    I admit I'm a little confused.
     
  13. lehtv

    lehtv Ancient Guru

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    Yeah an integrated card isn't for gaming, obviously.

    You could pick the components listed by PinguX but do so at the cyberpowersystem.co.uk site. Pick a decent but cheap CPU cooler too, e.g. Coolermaster Hyper TX3, and switch the reference Radeon 6850 to the HIS ICE-Q version. I checked and it will cost you pretty much the same as in ebuyer.com but they'll build it for you.

    I would still advocate building the computer yourself rather than letting cyberpowersystem do it for you, as it's just good to know how to do that sort of thing in case you want to replace components in your setup. Or if you happen to decide to build a more expensive setup in the future, you'll have the knowhow on how to go about doing that.
     
  14. Conway Morning

    Conway Morning New Member

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    Thanks, Lehtv. Although this is my first time building a pc designed for gaming. I am familiar with the components of a PC, I have upgraded things such as RAM and power-supply's before and did work experience with a local pc firm - I've just never had to understand components in this depth before.

    Thanks to everyone for looking into this for me. I'll be sure to post how it's going.

    Oscar.
     

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