Might be getting a new PC soon, what should I look for?

Created by Emandudeguyperson on March 15, 2012, 6:47 p.m.
  • I want a PC that can play games from, eh... a year or two ago... pretty well. And I also want to make sure it doesn't crash all the time like my piece of shit PC I'm using now, that's all really. It will probably need to be less than $1000
     
    I'm probably at the wrong place for this, but any suggestions?
  • Ars Technica does a great semi-regular feature where they recommend parts for people looking to build a new computer. Here's their latest recommended build for the budget box, which sounds like what you're after.
  • This isn't the wrong place at all, as far as I know. 
     
    Are you building it yourself?
  • If you only want to play games already out; then you shouldn't have to spend anywhere near $1000.  My $650 laptop i got at christmas plays pretty much anything out at acceptable frame rates.
  • Let's not forget that our very own Will Smith did a $647 budget build for Maximum PC a few months ago.
  • Are you building it yourself or buying it from a manufacturer?  If you want something that only plays game a year or two old, you can probably get by with a laptop just as well as a desktop, so if you want the portability, you should consider a laptop as well.  You won't really be able to build it yourself if you're getting a laptop, but generally paying somebody else to make the PC for me is worth the time I save to begin with.  I assume you're looking for something running Windows too, unless you had some specific games in mind that are available on Linux and OSX as well (which is more than you may think)
  • @lane said:

    " Let's not forget that our very own Will Smith did a $647 budget build for Maximum PC a few months ago. "

    I'm all over that as soon as I have an income.
  • @Jayge said:
    " This isn't the wrong place at all, as far as I know.  Are you building it yourself? "
    Probably not.
  • Good processor, hell of RAM, a graphics card that isn't built in.
  • @Emandudeguyperson said:
    " @Jayge said:
    " This isn't the wrong place at all, as far as I know.  Are you building it yourself? "
    Probably not. "
    Then it's not very likely you'll be able to get anything pre-built that'll fit your needs for under a grand. Well, anything that won't be worthless by next year anyway. Is there some reason why you aren't?
  • @Jayge:  
     
    That's not really so true. It'd be easy to find a solid OEM machine and drop a decent GPU in it for under a grand. It's just that dollar for dollar you'll almost always do better building yourself at any price point.
  • @lane said:
    " @Jayge:  
     
    That's not really so true. It'd be easy to find a solid OEM machine and drop a decent GPU in it for under a grand. It's just that
    dollar
    dollar for dollar you'll almost always do better building yourself at any price point. "
    Probably, but dollar-for-dollar he could get so much more bang for his buck that I couldn't even fathom doing that if you have the resources to go for the alternative.
  • Also, if you're really not into geeking out about specs and just want something solid, then walk into Best Buy, get whatever HP mid tower they're selling in the $500-$600 price range, then go over to the video card aisle and get whatever ATI card they've got for 200 bucks. It might not be the absolute best you could do with that budget, but it's going to be respectable, and it couldn't be simpler.
  • @Jayge:  
     
    I know, but some people just aren't into building, and that's fine. Hell, Apple's entire business model is pretty much based on the idea that some people will pay a premium for convenient computing. If that works better for them, more power to 'em.
  •    
    Yeah, if you aren't gonna build your own machine, which is totally okay, I'd recommend a mid-range tower model.  For games a year or two old, you really can sneak by with just about anything.  You can probably get a laptop sub-1k and still be able to play most older games just fine. 
     
    @lane:
     I'm relatively tech savvy and I prefer the apple business model as well, so it works for some of us.  I'd rather pay people to make it for me while I do other things, I don't exceptionally enjoy the process of building electronics.
  • that 647 pc makes me salvate... i wish i had enough money
  • we'll be posting a pc build-it guide/video in the coming weeks. but the thing i always tell people is to think about their usage model. what you will use the PC for will determine how you pick out your parts, no matter what your budget is.
  • @Addfwyn: I find it exhillerating. It's a hobby! You get your new parts and you light up like a kid on christmas morning. The next part of the fun is to open up the ole' case and throw the parts in. Yeah, it's a bit of work, but it's somehow enjoyable. 
     
    ...more enjoyable than pulling an entire unit out of the box, setting it on a desk, plugging it in and saying 'job well done', dust off my hands, and carry on. I suppose building your PC gives you a fair bit of geekcred, and you feel like the computer is more 'yours'. Yeah, I could *pay* someone to assemble the parts and put their logo on the machine, or I can take an hour and do it myself rather then opening up the case of an OEM machine, voiding the warranty.
  • @norman said:
    " we'll be posting a pc build-it guide/video in the coming weeks. but the thing i always tell people is to think about their usage model. what you will use the PC for will determine how you pick out your parts, no matter what your budget is. "
    Oh man, that's right up my alley. I can't wait to build my next PC. So many mistakes I've made and learned from, now it's time to take matters into my own hands. Looking forward to that.
  • I hear RAM is important when it comes to computers but processor speed is even more important because that fuels the thinky part of your computer...or at least that's what I think is true...
  • @MAGZine:  
    Oh, I can appreciate the hobbyist aspect of it, it's just never been my thing.  The only thing I ever really 'build myself' are food.  Give me a nice home-cooked pasta or pizza over a delivery place any day.  I'm willing to dish out for someone else to do all the work of making it for me, and making it far more aesthetically pleasing than I probably could myself. 
     
    Also, even though I have both a desktop and laptop now, I'm much more a laptop person.  Building your own laptop isn't quite as feasible really.
  • http://techreport.com/articles.x/18510/2  
     
    this is a pretty good parts list. look over the lists, and read the text and then you can scope out something similar from an OEM. 
  • I would say get the 6 core cpu unit, but that may be too extreme.
  • @Berserk: Considering that the Desktop units just debuted today, and are only for the higher-end LGA 1366 mobo configuration, yes, it would be far too extreme for under 1k 
     
    Full Size 
    It's a list for components I threw together for 1k. Includes everything that you'd need if you wanted to build a PC from scratch, and this woul play every game yesterday and today, and do a bang up job of it, too. 
     
    Highlights: 
    Core i5 2.66 GHz proc 
    1TB 
    22" screen 
    4GB of RAM 
    Windows 7 Home Premium 
    Also included an ATI card that isn't overly powerful, but will still get the job done.
  • The one thing I always tell anyone who asks me this question: As much RAM as possible.

  • GET A SONY