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AspergersActor8693
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17 Sep 2018, 2:30 pm

Hello there.

As the title suggests, I am in the market for a budget gaming desktop ($500-$600 max) for causal gaming. I have been chugging along with my trusted Lenovo 3000 H210 desktop since 2010. I usually don't play PC games that much, and the ones I have played (Roller Coaster Tycoon 2, Zoo Tycoon, Sim City 4, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, etc) my desktop has been perfectly fine playing them.

Recently though, I have had a newfound interest in gaming, and some of the games I would like to play are a bit more than what my Lenovo can handle. I have already made a few upgrades, and the only upgrade I think it would need is more RAM. However, I am considering getting a system that is solely dedicated to gaming while I use my current system as a workhorse.

I really don't have the time to build one and I don't think it would necessarily be cost effective. I would also like to stay away from custom whitebox systems that someone else built because I have no way of verifying the quality of parts they used. My brother bought such a system a few years ago and has already on his third power supply. So I would prefer to buy a used brand name system. I do not need a fancy case with spiffy lights, a plain jane mundane looking case is all I need.

So here are some questions I have.

1. From what I gather, you need at least 8GB of RAM to have a decent system. True? What amount would you recommend?

2. What kind of processor would you recommend? All of the computers I've ever owned ran Intels, so that is what I am familiar with. From what I gather, one of the i-series would be best. So either an i3, i5, or i7 would be in my budget. I have also heard mixed things about Xeon's being used. Some say they have comparable specs to the i-series and are perfectly fine for gaming, others say stay away from them and stick with an i-series. Thoughts?

3. From what I gather, a solid state drive is the best, though I have heard you can get away with using a 7200rpm SATA. Again, I really don't plan on storing a lot of files or media on this, that job will be for my Lenovo.

4. A couple of examples of systems I am looking at have the following specs. All these systems are used.

- Lenovo Thinkstation S20. 3.06ghz Intel Xeon Quad Core W3550. 24gb RAM. 500GB 7200RPM HDD. Has integrated graphics, but I have a NVIDIA GeForce 710 2GB card in my Lenovo that I could pull and swap in.

- Alienware Aurora. Intel i7-920 2.67 Quad. 8GB RAM. 2TB HDD. Zotac Nvidia Geforce GTX295 896 MB graphics card.

- HP 8200 Elite. Intel Core i7 2600s 3.8ghz. 12GB RAM. 1TB HDD. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

- HP 8200 Elite. Intel Core i5-2400 3.6ghz. 16GB RAM. 120GB SSD + 1TB HDD. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050.

Am I on the right track in terms of specs with these examples? Which of these four do you think is best?



RetroGamer87
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17 Sep 2018, 9:02 pm

That Lenovo workstation would almost certainly have a PCIe slot so you should be able to put your old graphics card in it.


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Enigmatic_Oddity
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18 Sep 2018, 12:09 am

Getting a separate PC to game and one as a 'workhorse' seems like a terrible idea unless you have much more money to spend than you do. Any gaming PC you can get for $600 is going to also be better at productivity tasks than the ancient system you're using now.

You really have two options. You can upgrade the system you have now by increasing your RAM and getting a graphics card. It should have an open slot for a graphics card, but you'll have to inspect yourself how many DIMM slots you have available. You should aim for 8Gb RAM or more. This option will give you the best value and be considerably cheaper, but you'll be hampered by the limitations of a hopelessly outdated CPU and DDR2 memory bandwidth.

The second option is to buy a PC within your stated budget, which means you're either looking at buying an older system or low end current gen parts. With that budget you should definitely consider the Ryzen 3 CPUs or the Ryzen 3/5 APUs, which are really your best option at this price range. These CPUs will be extremely powerful compared to your current setup, good for gaming and with performance that will make you realise you'll have no reason to keep around the other system. There's not much reason to use an Intel processor at this price range, as they're not competitive unless you can get a good deal on them, particularly when you factor in the much greater added costs of a cooler on K parts such as the 8350K that would otherwise pair well.

The Ryzen 3 CPU setup will be able to include a GPU like the 1050 or 1050 Ti, which will be fine for most games on high at 1080p. The Ryzen 3/5 APU setup will be fine for most games at 1080p, but you'll either want to turn down settings for some demanding games or downsample the resolution to maintain framerate. The former will be more powerful (about 90% more GPU power), but you'll have to cheap out in other areas to get under $600. The latter being significantly cheaper means you'll be able to get a system paired out with higher quality parts.

$600 AMD CPU + GPU Build
$600 Intel CPU + GPU Build
$600 AMD APU Build

Example $599 Prebuilt with AMD APU

Out of the second hand builds you link, assuming they're all in the same price range, I'd be getting the HP 8200 Elite with the 1050 Ti. $600 is an okay price for that system. Some of the others you've linked are too ancient that I wouldn't pay half the amount of your budget for them.



Mythos
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18 Sep 2018, 1:00 am

AspergersActor8693 wrote:
Hello there.

As the title suggests, I am in the market for a budget gaming desktop ($500-$600 max) for causal gaming. I have been chugging along with my trusted Lenovo 3000 H210 desktop since 2010. I usually don't play PC games that much, and the ones I have played (Roller Coaster Tycoon 2, Zoo Tycoon, Sim City 4, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, etc) my desktop has been perfectly fine playing them.

Recently though, I have had a newfound interest in gaming, and some of the games I would like to play are a bit more than what my Lenovo can handle. I have already made a few upgrades, and the only upgrade I think it would need is more RAM. However, I am considering getting a system that is solely dedicated to gaming while I use my current system as a workhorse.

I really don't have the time to build one and I don't think it would necessarily be cost effective. I would also like to stay away from custom whitebox systems that someone else built because I have no way of verifying the quality of parts they used. My brother bought such a system a few years ago and has already on his third power supply. So I would prefer to buy a used brand name system. I do not need a fancy case with spiffy lights, a plain jane mundane looking case is all I need.

So here are some questions I have.

1. From what I gather, you need at least 8GB of RAM to have a decent system. True? What amount would you recommend?

2. What kind of processor would you recommend? All of the computers I've ever owned ran Intels, so that is what I am familiar with. From what I gather, one of the i-series would be best. So either an i3, i5, or i7 would be in my budget. I have also heard mixed things about Xeon's being used. Some say they have comparable specs to the i-series and are perfectly fine for gaming, others say stay away from them and stick with an i-series. Thoughts?

3. From what I gather, a solid state drive is the best, though I have heard you can get away with using a 7200rpm SATA. Again, I really don't plan on storing a lot of files or media on this, that job will be for my Lenovo.

4. A couple of examples of systems I am looking at have the following specs. All these systems are used.

- Lenovo Thinkstation S20. 3.06ghz Intel Xeon Quad Core W3550. 24gb RAM. 500GB 7200RPM HDD. Has integrated graphics, but I have a NVIDIA GeForce 710 2GB card in my Lenovo that I could pull and swap in.

- Alienware Aurora. Intel i7-920 2.67 Quad. 8GB RAM. 2TB HDD. Zotac Nvidia Geforce GTX295 896 MB graphics card.

- HP 8200 Elite. Intel Core i7 2600s 3.8ghz. 12GB RAM. 1TB HDD. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

- HP 8200 Elite. Intel Core i5-2400 3.6ghz. 16GB RAM. 120GB SSD + 1TB HDD. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050.

Am I on the right track in terms of specs with these examples? Which of these four do you think is best?
I would suggest buying a basic desktop and then upgrading yourself. As for your questions;

1. 16GB is my recommendation here. It's not necessary, though, if you're not looking for graphically intensive games. 8GB should be fine. Processors are usually the driving force behind computers at any rate. To this end, RAM can sometimes appear superficial or auxiliary. It's still important, of course, but you don't need to go crazy.

2. Intel is the generally popular choice, and for good reason. It's powerful, universal and rarely suffers issues. I would recommend an i5 here, perhaps at ~ 3.0 Ghz or so. You could get away with less if you're playing resource intensive games.

3. A 500Gb SSD would be far faster for downloading and loading games, but SSD's are still at least relatively expensive. An HDD would suit its purpose fine assuming you don't mind the slightly slower rates. I'd recommend between 1TB and 2TB in this case. Though if you only play a handful of games and use it for nothing more, 500Gb would again be fine.

4. Those models do look ideal, but I generally avoid Alienware as you often pay for the brand and not a lot else. But if it's in your price range then it might be good for you. Personally, I would choose one of the HP options, partially because I trust HP as a brand but also because the specs look pretty enticing.

Though it is difficult to decide which of the two, as one has an i7 processor with less RAM and an HDD but the other has only an i5 with more RAM and an HDD plus an SSD.

I would personally choose the first of the two, as processing power is far more important in this case.



Enigmatic_Oddity
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18 Sep 2018, 3:59 am

Getting an Intel i5 would be a bad idea. You would have little money left over for the rest of the build, particularly the GPU. The system will be considerably less powerful for it. It would only be worth it if you can get it in a heavily discounted or second hand build.

Looking at Amazon the best builds I can see under $600 that perform the best are the following.

$566.99 Aspire GX (Ryzen 5 1400, GTX 1050, 8Gb DDR4, 1Tb HDD)

$579 Gaming Desktop (Ryzen 3 1200, GTX 1050, 8Gb DDR4, 1Tb HDD)

$582.60 HP Pavilion (i3 8100, GTX 1050, 8Gb DDR4, 1Tb HDD)

These might be the best prebuilts you can find. I don't think they're necessarily that optimised in terms of how they're made, lots of unnecessary or weird part choices such as peripherals, lighting, and overly large form factors. The Ryzen 5 in the Aspire would be better off being a Ryzen 3, then you could have that money go towards a 1050 Ti, which unfortunately none of these sport. But they aren't bad either. My pick for this price range would be the HP Pavilion, because this sort of hardware really doesn't need to be in a mid tower, and those mid tower designs in the other two are hideous.