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Questions from a Computer Noob

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Before I begin, I would like to say that by no means am I a computer-savvy individual.  I know most basic and intermediate things related to using computers, but I am still uneducated on the more technical details related to parts and programming.

 

Anyway, I plan on getting a new computer for myself for school next year.  I looked into building my own computer, but have since settled on finding a prebuilt retail one.  It is my intention to go for something that is geared towards schoolwork and moderate-level gaming and fits a budget of around $500 (excluding items such as keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc.) I have spent a bit of time researching and looking for something that will fit my needs and at the moment have two particular computers in mind (will include links later.)  However, there are several areas that I have further questions for:

                                                    

Operating System (Windows 7 vs 8.1):

I've seen and read plenty about this topic already.  There was no real interest in getting anything with 8 or 8.1 at first in my computer search.  When school starts up for me though, I will also have a tablet.  This tablet will be running (I assume) 8.1. My question here, beside your all's opinions on one over the other, is if there would be any benefit to get 8.1 for alongside the tablet, or if there would be any benefit at all.  Also, would it be better to get 8.1 just so I have a newer system?

 

CPU:

Really just would like some pointers on the relation between speed and core numbers.

 

Graphics card:

All but one of the computers I have looked at have cards that seem rather low in performance.  I would like something that can run a good number of games above minimum settings.  It was my thought to be a card as separate as an upgrade.  My budget for this is loosely around $150 (preferably below that.)  My questions here are recommendations on particular graphics cards that may fit this desire, as well as how one would know if the card will work/fit in the computer.

 

I may include other questions if I think of them.

 

I realize that a lot of this is basic stuff that can be found anywhere (such as Wotlabs.)  While I have gone through a good bit of it, I feel that a direct response to my personal questions will better affect my thinking on this subject.  All supporting replies are appreciated, and I am more than happy to further explain my questions and thinking.

 
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You will get no benefit from using a Windows 8 PC and Tablet. My WP 8.1 Phone is recognized just fine by Windows 7 automatically. For touch screen devices Windows 8/8.1 is very good, but on a desktop it has too many useless features (Not a bad OS, but for me less comfortable then Windows 7).

 

For WoT you want an Intel CPU, ideally i3 or above (Core i3 4330 for example). Such a processor will also be plenty for media/work and decent for gaming. Generally CPUs with seemingly similar specs can be very different, its the architecture that defines them. Thats why a 3.5GHz CPU might be slower then a 3.0GHz one. Imagine two car engines, they can be the same size, but vary greatly in power.

 

A good GPU upgrade for a pre-build PC is the GTX 750 Ti since you wont need to change the PSU. You might want to link some of th systems you have looked at.

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I've been out of the building game for a bit but one of the cautions to pass along when buying a full system is those systems are many times not "upgrade" compatible.  Make sure you have the expansion slots for a video card (PCI Express x16).

 

Video changes constantly, so check up on one of the sites for recommendations in your price range.  Also for Video cards make sure the CPU has the proper connections.

 

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/04/ars-technica-system-guide-bargain-box-april-2014/ (CPU help)

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/budget-gaming-pc,3854.html (System help, bit out dated, but a place to start).

 

Don't be afraid to build.

 

Video card in second link is exactly $150: MSI R7 265 2GD5 OC 2 GB.  Look for that or something similar.

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OS: Win7 is tried and proven, Win8.1 received a harsh reputation of being clunky and redundant.

CPU: Everything revolves around instructions per clock (IPC). For an easy comparison look up some benchmarks: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/1033

GPU: ditto, go read some benchmarks: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU14/815

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First you might want to read this:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/how-to-build-a-gaming-pc,2601.html

Furthermore with only 500$ you wont get that far - OS alone will cost ~100$. I would advise to safe up at least 650$.

Prebuild especially in the lower price regions ... its often just sloppy. They have to cut corners to make even a small profit in that region. Generally not a fan of prebuild and in the budget sector they tend to sell you "junk" in the area of PSU, case, motherbord. You really are better of building it yourself.

 

You will get no benefit from using a Windows 8 PC and Tablet. My WP 8.1 Phone is recognized just fine by Windows 7 automatically. For touch screen devices Windows 8/8.1 is very good, but on a desktop it has too many useless features (Not a bad OS, but for me less comfortable then Windows 7).


agree
 

For WoT you want an Intel CPU, ideally i3 or above (Core i3 4330 for example). Such a processor will also be plenty for media/work and decent for gaming. Generally CPUs with seemingly similar specs can be very different, its the architecture that defines them. Thats why a 3.5GHz CPU might be slower then a 3.0GHz one. Imagine two car engines, they can be the same size, but vary greatly in power.


disagree here

For gamers on a budget, that are otherwise doing just basic stuff like office, surfing the web and consuming media there is a new king in town:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pentium-g3258-overclocking-performance,3849.html

That CPU is unlocked, should safely overclock to around 4.2 - 4.4 GHz without much problems. Just add a CPU cooler for around 25$ and you are good to go. Add a basic Z97 motherboard for ~110$ and you can rock.
 

A good GPU upgrade for a pre-build PC is the GTX 750 Ti since you wont need to change the PSU. You might want to link some of th systems you have looked at.


The best GPU performance wise you ll get for ~150$ is the AMD R7 265. Though that 750ti Viktor mentioned here isnt bad either especially when it comes to power consumption and related things like heat + noise. Overall you d lose aorund ~15% preformance compared to the R7 265.

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Unfortunately I have no data on the new Pentium when it comes to WoT. I can say the G3220 isnt very impressive, but Im not sure how much the OC will help and I feel 2 cores is pushing it nowadays. You also need some basic knowledge and willingness to OC (Which I doubt since the OP is going for a pre-build).

 

I mentioned the GTX 750 Ti because I guess the PSU of the given machine will be most likely crap. Also for WoT its closer to the R9 270.

 

http--www.gamegpu.ru-images-stories-Test

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http--www.gamegpu.ru-images-stories-Test

 

Damn, this just shows I need a new GPU....

 

*rocking an EVGA 560ti 1GB FTW OC*

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Hello,

I would like to keep this simple.

1 for the os the difference I would say is preference, but remember windows 7 was for pcs and windows 8 is for tablet computing so the layout is different. However the speed of boot up on windows 8 is awesome.

2 for the cpu everything depends. Now that is not an answer you wanted but it is true. Mainly the speed of the cores aka amount of cycles(Hz) is very important. However the cores are important too. But, the core number(or thread number) is not everything that matters. Games have limitations on how many they can use. For example our amazing game world of tanks can only use one core. However this is unusual. Many games nowadays run on about 4 cores. More cores will help with other applications but not a lot with your games.

3 For the gpu again and more so it depends. Each games reacts different. Card fps depends on the game but here is a link to a chart on power http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

really the way that the two big companies are imo are nvidia makes cards that are refined more(less power consumption and heat output) but amd has better power to price. If i was buying a card I would get a gtx 750ti but that is my personal opinion.

Good luck with your build,2127Fearthereaper

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I should probably say that I have a total budget of $800 something, with some being used for accessories and some hopefully being leftover. 

 

Okay, here were a few that I was looking at:

http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products/Desktops/HP-Pavilion/F9A61AV;pgid=jpxA9KYA6SZSRpsx_SC1l9MP0000zDelxbW1;sid=jgemanLIowyLaiF6iYHy6qvHvqia_kJnspN60ym-CYvsqxJYyc6m4jcy?HP-Pavilion-500-205t-Desktop-PC-with-Windows-7

 

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-essentio-desktop-amd-a10-series-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive/3026531.p?id=1219086171062&skuId=3026531&st=categoryid$abcat0501000&cp=1&lp=1

 

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8686175&CatId=2627

 

Trying to stick with 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB for hard drive.  CPU speed 3.4 GHz or more, not sure if quad core would be necessary (I don't do too hard of multitasking that often.)

 

Some of the more current games that I play/will be playing include the Wargame Series, Metro 2033, XCOM Enemy Unknown, and a few other things.

 

The GeForce GTX 750 ti and the AMD R7 265 seem to be what I am looking for, so I'm putting them on my list for latter.

 

Thank you all for the help so far.

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If you decide to build, I came up with this.

 

MoBo - ASRock Z97 Pro4 LGA

CPU - Intel Core i3-4330

RAM - G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)

GPU- EVGA GTX 760 SuperClocked

PSU - SeaSonic S12G-450 450W

Case - Fractal Design Core 3000

OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

 

Price - 822$

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If you decide to build, I came up with this.

 

MoBo - ASRock Z97 Pro4 LGA

CPU - Intel Core i3-4330

RAM - G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)

GPU- EVGA GTX 760 SuperClocked

PSU - SeaSonic S12G-450 450W

Case - Fractal Design Core 3000

OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

 

Price - 822$

 

CPU - Upgrade to i5 4690K, or downgrade to G3258.  Either product is a better value than an i3-4330, and the 3258 can overclock easily.

RAM - I prefer 1x8GB, for the sake of easier upgrades in the future.  Doesn't matter much.

OS - At this point, Windows 8.1 is the better investment going forward.  Contrary to prev comments, I assert it is neither redundant nor clunky.

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8.1 is such a bad OS that its replacement is being fast tracked. windows 9 has a predicted RTM of april 2015. 

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CPU - Upgrade to i5 4690K, or downgrade to G3258.  Either product is a better value than an i3-4330, and the 3258 can overclock easily.

RAM - I prefer 1x8GB, for the sake of easier upgrades in the future.  Doesn't matter much.

OS - At this point, Windows 8.1 is the better investment going forward.  Contrary to prev comments, I assert it is neither redundant nor clunky.

 

The CPU is debatable, I doubt the OP can/wants to OC. For WoT and most games the i3 is fine, maybe if there is a deal for the i5, otherwise it goes over budget.

 

I literally own every variation of Windows 8.1 (Phone/Tablet/PC). Its only good on phones and kind of good tablets, for desktops it offers nothing over (Well, very little) over Windows 7. Its not even new nowadays.

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The benefactor for this purchase of mine has said that I need make a decision soon.  So, at this point, I'm thinking that I will probably go with the third choice that I had listed above.

 

 

Any final thoughts on this one?  It should give me what I need and still allow me to spend some money on other peripherals (any specific items you all would recommend?)  It is my intention also to see if I can't upgrade the graphics card to that AMD R7 265*.

 

*Edit:

Would the GTX 750 ti be compatible with the AMD processor?

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Specs:

Processor / Chipset
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  CPU:  AMD A series A6-6400K
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Number of Cores:  Dual-Core
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  CPU Qty:  1
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Max CPU Qty:  1
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Chipset Type:  AMD A55

RAM
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Installed Size:  8 GB / 16 GB (max)
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Technology:  DDR3 SDRAM
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Memory Speed:  1600 MHz
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Configuration Features:  1 x 8 GB

Hard Drive
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Type:  HDD
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Capacity:  1 x 1 TB
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Interface Type:  SATA 6Gb/s
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Spindle Speed:  7200 rpm

Storage Controller
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Type:  1 x SATA - integrated
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Controller Interface Type:  SATA 3Gb/s
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Channel Qty:  6

Optical Storage
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Type:  DVD-Writer

Card Reader
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Type:  6 in 1 card reader
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Supported Flash Memory Cards:  Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, xD-Picture Card, SDHC Memory Card


Graphics Controller
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Type:  Integrated
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Graphics Processor:  AMD Radeon HD 8470D
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Video Interfaces:  VGA, DVI, HDMI
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Max Monitors Supported:  2

Audio Output
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Type:  Integrated
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Sound Output Mode:  7.1 channel surround
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Compliant Standards:  High Definition Audio

Networking
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Type:  Integrated
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Data Link Protocol:  Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet

Expansion / Connectivity
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Bays:  1 (total) / 0 (free) x external 5.25" ¦ 2 3.5"
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Slots:  1 (total) / 0 (free) x CPU ¦ 1 (total) / 1 (free) x PCIe x16 ¦ 1 (total) / 1 (free) x PCIe x1 ¦ 1 (total) / 1 (free) x PCI ¦ 1 (total) / 1 (free) x PCIe x16 ( x4 mode ) ¦ 4 (total) / 3 (free) x DIMM 240-pin
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Interfaces:  2 x microphone - mini-jack ( 1 front, 1 rear ) ¦ 1 x headphones - mini-jack ( 1 in front ) ¦ 6 x USB 2.0 ( 2 front, 4 rear ) ¦ 2 x USB 3.0 ¦ 1 x PS/2 keyboard / mouse ¦ 1 x DVI ¦ 1 x HDMI ¦ 1 x VGA ¦ 1 x LAN (Gigabit Ethernet) ¦ 1 x audio line-out - mini-jack ¦ 1 x audio line-in - mini-jack ¦ 1 x audio line-out (side surround) - mini-jack ¦ 1 x aud

Miscellaneous
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Features:  ASUS SonicMaster

Power
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Device Type:  Power supply
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Power Provided:  300 Watt

Operating System / Software
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  OS Provided:  Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Software:  ASUS MyLogo2, Adobe Reader, Skype, Microsoft Office (Trial), ASUS@Vibe, ASUS AI Manager, ASUS Update, ASUS WebStorage, ASUS AI Suite II, ASUS Q-Fan, ASUS Music Maker, Fresh Paint, MaxxAudio, ASUS AI Charger+

Dimensions & Weight
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Width:  6.8 in
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Depth:  15.8 in
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Height:  14.2 in
 gfx-blkbullet.jpg  Weight:  17.4 lbs

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Nooo, please don't buy pre-builts, they're a nightmare to work with down the road.

With a budget of $800 something, I put this together which kinda pushes the budget limit but it should keep you covered for a LONG time:

 

 
Motherboard: MSI H81M-P33 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($49.99 @ Mwave) 
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 280X 3GB WINDFORCE Video Card  ($287.98 @ SuperBiiz) 
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case  ($59.99 @ Amazon) 
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)  ($84.99 @ NCIX US) 
Total: $860.90
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
 
 
If you're feeling a bit adventurous, you can bring the whole thing below $800 by buying a Windows license here.
Sounds risky but there are a lot of great and verified sellers there.
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Windows 8.1 is a superior OS from a security and code organization view point. Unless you have been coding in the Win8 API for the last 2 years like I have, your opinion on this matter is ignorant. (IB4 someone says that Win8 hasn't been out for 2 years. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader)

 

Windows 7 however, has a usable Desktop Interface.

 

Win7 desktop connects fine to Win8 devices, you will never notice.

 

 

 

All that being said, I run Android for a reason. :)

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Windows 8.1 is a superior OS from a security and code organization view point. Unless you have been coding in the Win8 API for the last 2 years like I have, your opinion on this matter is ignorant. (IB4 someone says that Win8 hasn't been out for 2 years. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader)

 

Windows 7 however, has a usable Desktop Interface.

Win7 desktop connects fine to Win8 devices, you will never notice.

All that being said, I run Android for a reason. :)

8.1 coding capabilities are far from the point.  dont sperge. 

the UI is a wreck. its being mostly rolled back on PCs. 

 

Windows Threshold (aka win9):

windows_9_menu_bar.jpg

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Hurk,

 

Your reading comprehension is poor. I already stated that the Metro UI is atrocious for a Desktop.

 

From a security standpoint, 8.1 >7.0.

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you are on a forum for game play. no one gives a shit about its codebase or security. the first thing many do is disable UAC and most of its security. and as a systems analyst, they made the same fucking mistake they made with vista, the security gets in the way of normal use and maintenance. have you tried something simple like swapping a AHCI based computer to RAID? a relatively common thing when a motherboard dies. its fucking retarded in 8. 

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Nooo, please don't buy pre-builts, they're a nightmare to work with down the road.

With a budget of $800 something, I put this together which kinda pushes the budget limit but it should keep you covered for a LONG time:

 

 
Motherboard: MSI H81M-P33 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($49.99 @ Mwave) 
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 280X 3GB WINDFORCE Video Card  ($287.98 @ SuperBiiz) 
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case  ($59.99 @ Amazon) 
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)  ($84.99 @ NCIX US) 
Total: $860.90
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
 
 
If you're feeling a bit adventurous, you can bring the whole thing below $800 by buying a Windows license here.
Sounds risky but there are a lot of great and verified sellers there.

 

My birthday is coming soon this month, which is part of the reason why I need to make a choice in a timely manner (the computer was not intended to be a birthday present), so I suppose I could get some support from that.  However, the price is still a bit higher than I'd like.  The graphics card in particular seems to be more than I am wanting/needing.  If one or both are compatible with the setup, I would prefer either the Radeon R7 265 or the GTX 750 Ti.

 

The biggest problem I had with building a computer was finding all the parts that would fit my need and budget.  With your all's help now, I think I can move past that fairly easily.  The other issue for me though is actually putting the pieces together, as I have never done something of the like before.

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You can go a bit lower with a GTX 760 or even more with a R9 270X since you will be buying a good PSU anyway (The GTX 750 Ti is a great upgrade for pre-build PCs).

 

Here's a quick guide:

 

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With an R9 270X (slightly lower performance than a GTX 760, but significantly lower price):


 
Motherboard: MSI H81M-P33 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($49.99 @ Mwave) 
Video Card: XFX Radeon R9 270X 2GB Double Dissipation Video Card  ($173.99 @ SuperBiiz) 
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case  ($59.99 @ Newegg) 
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)  ($84.99 @ NCIX US) 
Total: $746.91
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available

 

 

 
With a GTX 750 Ti:

 
Motherboard: MSI H81M-P33 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($49.99 @ Mwave) 
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB TWIN FROZR Video Card  ($119.99 @ Newegg) 
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case  ($59.99 @ Newegg) 
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)  ($84.99 @ NCIX US) 
Total: $692.91
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available

 

 

 
Again I recommend getting the Windows key on /r/softwareswap to bring the whole cost down by 60$ or so.
 
Personally I'd still recommend going with the higher end option even if it costs more. The 750 Ti is a very entry level card, so the 270X will last you longer without the need to upgrade further.
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