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Poll #639434 new machine
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 11

Which should I buy?

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$1400 up to date gaming machine.
8 (72.7%)

~$200 prebuilt machine.
3 (27.3%)

Current plans for the $1400 machine: http://www.chaosreigns.com/dancer/ ($1467 with an x2 3800+)

My home computer, dancer, cooked itself to death over the summer. I built dancer in 2001, and upgraded its video card to the latest and greatest in 2002. So perhaps I was due for an upgrade anyway.

I have been terribly indecisive. While being too frustrated to deal with the problem for months, I have beem using [info]nchanter's old busted laptop which requires me to sit in terribly uncomfortable positions in order to keep the (nolonger attached) display upright.

Finally I've started to seriously research the possibility of building a new machine (my third, the first was oblivion). I remain indecisive. Honestly the only thing I've missed lately is a comfortable sitting position and an entirely functional keyboard. But I can totally afford an up to date gaming machine. I've enjoyed these games some in the past. Would my life be better having them back? The latest FPS, F.E.A.R., looks amusing.

And again, I can afford it. Hell, computers are my living, should I not have nice hardware at home? But do I need it? Is it worth $1400 to me?
  • My opinion is somewhere between the two extremes: build a reasonable machine for a few hundred dollars. Drop the video card down to something in the $150-200 range. If I could afford to do so, I wouldn't mind building myself something else, but my system is doing everything for me that I'm asking of it (except being quiet). I'm thinking that I can probably even do most of what I want with the Ultra 5 I just got.
  • I think you should get the $1400 machine simply because you can hold on it replacing it for quite a bit longer than you could the ~$200 machine. this way, if you see a game you have to have in 6 or 8 months, you rmachine should be able to handle it without a problem. (Whereas the prebuilt may not. Though you didn't show specs for it, so I dunno for sure.)

    Speaking of which, it's probably time for me to upgrade my machine as well. (It was an above average machine when I built it in 2002, but now it's well below average.)
    • Right, the key variable is "how often do you replace your machine?" If you're one of the "ooh shiney" types who buys new machines often, then it makes sense to spend as little as possible to get just the features you want.
      If you're one of those who replaces only when forced then it makes sense to get the best machine you can afford, so that it'll stay viable longest.
    • A $200 machine wouldn't be able to play anything.
  • Hm, I'd say about two thirds of that would be plenty

    Speaking as another person who works with computers and likes computer games, $1400 sounds excessive. My home machine is a 2.7ghz P4, 1gb ram, and a geforce4 ti 4200 and I'm still mostly happy with it, despite it being of older vintage than the machine you mentioned. It's not cpu bound on anything I play (C&C Generals, B1942, and WoW being the newest), and maybe $200 on a new graphics card would extend it's life a couple more years. The key phrase there being "anything I play"; my two cents worth is to take a close look at what you think you'll be playing and work backward from there. For example, you don't need a Geforce 7800 GT Dual to play F.E.A.R., or Far Cry, or Half-Life2, unless you're trying to win tournaments with all the graphics options turned all the way up. So, while a $200 prebuilt is probably not what you want as it helps to have some control over the design where FSB, video bus, and memory speed are concerned, but if you recycle a case, power supply, and basic peripherals, $400 for the system and maybe as high as another $400 for the video card would certainly give you a pc that would deal gracefully with everything out for the next few years.

    Take this as a data point from something of an old fogey where pc games are concerned; heck, I was just talking this evening with [info]frotz and [info]starheptagon about maybe hosting a retro lan party, where the games focused on would be xpilot, bzflag, bolo, usw.
    • Re: Hm, I'd say about two thirds of that would be plenty

      Wow, I was wondering if you could sli 2 dual GPU 7800GTs when I read that (the post voodoo2 incarnation of) sli could be more than 2 GPUs, but figured you couldn't when I noticed they didn't have the sli bridge connectors. Interesting that sli doesn't actually require the bridge, I wonder what the performance difference is.

      I would really like to hear how your current machine runs the fear and maybe battlefield 2 demos. Both what you think of them at whatever settings work best, but more at maxed out eye candy. I had a geforce 4 ti 4600 in dancer.

      I may have played xpilot a couple times, I believe bzflag and bolo looked interesting, but I can't even expand usw.
      • Re: Hm, I'd say about two thirds of that would be plenty

        *grin* Those cards are a pretty good example of overkill, aren't they?

        I'll give those demos a try and let you know, but I suspect single-digit frame rates with everything cranked up, possibly not even working at all; I vaguely recall B2 requiring a minimum of a Geforce FX series. On the HalfLife2 demo I had about 20fps with the settings turned all the way down, 10fps midrange, and unplayably slow with the settings cranked up.

        Um, my bad; 'usw' expands to 'und so weiter'; it's just another way of saying etc or et cetera.
  • If you have the money, spend it. If you don't have the money you're going to bleed it out in incremental upgrades. YOu don't buy hardware to play games on the market today. You buy video hardware to play next years titles.
  • I'd go with the high end system. $1400 isn't all that bad to spend on a nice little pee cee...

    I never sit at my desk so my PC never gets used. I'm always on the laptop.
    I was thinking aboot setting up a Media Center PC for myself with a pretty descent video card, so I can play on my projector.
    • Yeah one of the things I failed to mention is that I'm hoping to use it as a dvd player etc.. The reason I didn't with my old machine is it was too loud. I have the long DVI cable, just need to get the coax spdif to hook it to my reciever.

      FPSes on an 8 foot screen hooked up to a surround sound sterio are... silly. With UT2004 you can set the aspect ratio correctly in the config file.
  • Regarding the ram, the purple that you link to is simply the heat spreader. These are literally $2 in a rainbow of colors (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=578367&CatId=496)

    That said, for non-rambus ram they actually don't do anything useful (rambus ram will frequently use one chip more than the others and so needs a heat spreader. normal ram spreads the activity out for both speed & heat reasons). Well, maybe if they're very well attached, a little bit of heat sinking, but really, no. And if they're not well attached they actually insulate the ram (which doesn't seem to be a problem...)...
    • Very nice. I figured somebody probably sold them like that, thanks. I'll probably just keep the ones that come with my corsair's. Purple's awful nice though.
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