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Looking at upgrading my PC in light of my 4-year-old laptop's demise. I want a decent gaming rig, but I also want to keep some mobility.

I've never been one who much cares about running stuff on "extreme" graphics. As long as it plays smooth I'm usually okay. I've been paying tanks on the lowest possible settings for 4-5 years, for instance. I also don't have games I want enough to custom-build to, so general gaming performance is the main priority. WoT, WoWS, and maybe AW are the only ones i know I'm likely to play.  My planned budget was around $1000, but that's mostly a flexible guesstimate. I don't know enough to know what the price points are.

I also don't know whether real gaming laptops have become possible or not. Am I going to be better off putting my whole budget into a higher grade laptop?Or should I get a cheap laptop for my mobile non-gaming needs and then put the rest into a desktop? Are there any particular hardware or places I should look at to start off on either front? 

TIA.

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The only "gaming laptops" that are worth a damn for running games good enough are well over $3000.

$1000 should get you a decent desktop. There were some pretty good deals on newegg/amazon and online stores during blackfriday but unfortunately those are over now. However there still might be some deals right before christmas. I don't know your situation but considering you said you were using a laptop previously, you will need a monitor and keyboard as well if you didn't factor that in yet.

If you end up deciding getting a desktop and a laptop for mobility as well, the cheapest HP Stream 11 is a shitty laptop that can do browsing and stuff, but it comes with a free year of office 365 and 1tb of cloud storage for $200. I thought I recalled it being cheaper in the past but if you have use for office and cloud  storage, it boils down to the laptop being $100 and office and cloud storage being $100 so not too bad considering value.

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http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2472500,00.asp

 

Razor thin gaming laptop that looks sexy and plays just as well.  I run WOT at maxed out settings at 40 to 50 fps.  The convenience of a laptop completely outweighs the power of a desktop for me.

 

EDIT:  I only payed $900 for it.  Shop around for it, you can get it even cheaper.  But you will NEED an SSD for it.

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7 hours ago, Folterknecht said:

Keyboard, mouse and TFT also included into 1000$?

 

edit:

somewhat portable gaming rig for 1000$

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/F0lterknecht/saved/vVrbt6

Ideally yeah, but like I said that's not a hard number. 

As for the mobility, if I go desktop I don't care if you could anchor a battleship with it. The portable option is mostly for running a trivia/music show, so even a compact desktop isn't going to cut it.  I'd thought about a tablet for that stuff instead, but I detest tablets. 

I'll take a look at that build when I get home. Should give me a good benchmark to start with, thanks. 

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You could build pretty easily for under $1k.  I just built my daughter a pc, for about $600 total but I did already have a monitor and the gpu.  

The list that Folterknecht listed is solid but what I did was ran an AMD cpu saving a little more over the Intel and then went with a larger SSD avoiding the need for an HD at all.  Price comes out pretty much the same with one less moving part and a quicker system due to the SSD (from what I've found). 500gb should be plenty to hold windows and a ton of games.  Beauty is, you can always add another SSD if you need to.  I also use an external CD/DVD so I can USB it to my pc, my wife's laptop or daughter's pc.  Way more handy than an internal CD/DVD drive IMHO.

 

500gb Samsung evo for $150 - love mine and the evo is by far the best SSD line out there

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147373

 

AMD fx8350 for $169 - I have this cpu and it is a beast

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113284

 

 

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@Folterknecht (or anybody else knowledgeable)

Okay, tell me everything wrong with this build: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FVBbmG

Where can I shave some cost without hurting myself? Where can I shave cost while only hurting myself a little?

And what's the practical difference between that and something like this: http://pcpartpicker.com/guide/DjNnTW/the-1080p-standard-650-700

Thanks

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4 hours ago, BoilerBandsman said:

@Folterknecht (or anybody else knowledgeable)

Okay, tell me everything wrong with this build: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FVBbmG

Where can I shave some cost without hurting myself? Where can I shave cost while only hurting myself a little?

And what's the practical difference between that and something like this: http://pcpartpicker.com/guide/DjNnTW/the-1080p-standard-650-700

Thanks

First, use the forums at pcpartpicker for opinions on this build list.  Be sure to provide what you'll be using it for now and potentially in near term.

Also - use slickdeals.net for pricing.  While pcpartpicker is really good, they don't show fry's or tigerdirect or jet.com (all places where I got sick deals last month on components, e.g., 2x4GB Crucial Ballistix Sport XT for $29.99; 5TB external drive for $88; 4690K for $159; etc.

CPU - low clock speed, but, being skylake, prolly more efficient.  Low clock speed might hurt Wot performance.  I bought an i5-4690k with a base 3.6 clock and can be overclocked to 4.something.  Got it for $159 after BF sales, though it's usually $200+.  That 3.2 clock, though...eek, but I'm unfamiliar with the skylakes.

Mobo - solid choice. I also have an Asrock board.

RAM - good brand, compatible.

SSD - why this brand?  The Samsung EVO 850 series seems to be top-of-the-heap (avoid 840 series) and Newegg has had the 250GB Samsung 850 for $79; Fry's has, too...

GPU - nice card - 4GB on board.  I have a R9 280X 1000mhz clock and 3GB RAM and I max out WoT and AW at max settings.  970 appears to keep pace.  Is the 970 overkill for 1080p gaming?

Case - I used a thermaltake v31 core case a few weeks ago for my first build.  Really liked that it had a modular hdd cage and the sdd trays were on the right side of the case and not inside the main area.  Space for three fans across the top, two in front, one in rear and two along the bottom.  Fine case, though I wish they had grommeted all the cable routing holes. 

PSU - see where your xfx falls on this list - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-2547993/psu-tier-list.html, although I don't see it on there.  Not familiar with XFX, though if this is a re-branded Seasonic then you might be good to go.  That Folk dude will let you know.  But use the list at Toms and shoot for nothing less than tier 2 units.  Also, notice the reviews at pcpartpicker - does what it is supposed t, but, users wished they had gone modular.  Me, too.  I got a semi-modular and still wish I had gone modular (mainly because I wanna sleeve my cables).  But cable management will be fa easier with at least a semi-modular psu, something to think about.

BluRay writer?  What for?  Though, for $29.99, wth, right?

Overall, just minor quibbles.  Here's my final build from last month - http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Dkkdyc 

 

Hope you find this helpful.

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12 hours ago, BoilerBandsman said:

@Folterknecht (or anybody else knowledgeable)

Okay, tell me everything wrong with this build: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FVBbmG

Where can I shave some cost without hurting myself? Where can I shave cost while only hurting myself a little?

Adjusted the list with a little more bang for your bucks:

- semi modular PSU

- decent CPU cooler. Trust me, the Intel stock cooler is just terrible during summer when you stress your CPU - high pitched noise.

- switched from BluRay Writer to DVD-BluRay Combi (write DVD + read BluRay)

 

There isn't much room without cutting down on performance or value. You could

- save 30 $ with a 120GB SSD (absolutly not worth it  imo)

- 70-100$ downgrading your GPU to GTX960 4GB or better 380X. The R9 390 and GTX970 are 1440p capable cards with much performance to spare at 1080p. You ll will probably be "safe" the next ~2 years.

Anything slower (lower price) and you have 1080p cards that perform well atm with modern games but dont have much muscle in reserve.

The R9 290 in that other link for ~230$ is unusable (a reference design)

and will even throttle with 50% fan speed under full gaming load.. The only 290(X) cards that are bearable (imo) are the TriX or VaporX designs from Sapphire - you wont find them for that price.

- CPU wise you re going with Intel (because of WoT) and have to pay the price. I personally wouldn't go below 3GHz baseclock and 4 Cores on a desktop.

 

 

8 hours ago, JMak97008 said:

 

 

SSD - why this brand?  The Samsung EVO 850 series seems to be top-of-the-heap (avoid 840 series) and Newegg has had the 250GB Samsung 850 for $79; Fry's has, too...

Crucial and Samsung both produce great SSDs - vertical integrated: Flash, Controller, PCB and Firmware produced in house. No 3rd party nonsense - the BX100 also uses MLC Nand and offers good performance. Furthermore Crucial has a spotless track record in the last years ... .

GPU - nice card - 4GB on board.  I have a R9 280X 1000mhz clock and 3GB RAM and I max out WoT and AW at max settings.  970 appears to keep pace.  Is the 970 overkill for 1080p gaming?

Nothing nice there - I d go beserk if I had to endure this leave blower, see video above.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Folterknecht said:

@BigDaddyTankster

 

AMD CPUs suck a WoT.

I've never had a problem running anything at all with my AMD CPU.  Not sure if you've had a bad experience with them but I have not.  My 8350 will run anything I throw at it and then some.  I'd be interested in hearing your reasoning though, maybe for my next build.

 

Regarding XFX products...AVOID them like the plague.  I had an XFX graphics card several years ago and the thing took a shit after 6 months.  I contacted customer service and they told me to send it back to them.  After I did, they told me that it would not be covered under warranty because I was not using it as intended.  WTF is that?  I was playing Battlefield 4 in a pc on medium settings with plenty of fans and with a standard rig, no overclock, no high temps or anything else.  Fought them for quite some time and eventually gave up because they wouldn't do anything for me.  Just my opinion but go with a more reputable company who will support their products.

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13 minutes ago, Folterknecht said:

20140425062303a0drp61hrdqu.jpg

Ok, I stand corrected.  Although I haven't experienced any problems on my end with WOT or any other game.  I still stand by my recommendation for more of a budget build.  Ultimately, everyone would love a Xeon e5 but that much on a CPU is simply unobtainable for most.  Based on value, performance + price, the AMD's still offer quite a bit IMO.

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2 hours ago, Folterknecht said:

Adjusted the list with a little more bang for your bucks:

- semi modular PSU

- decent CPU cooler. Trust me, the Intel stock cooler is just terrible during summer when you stress your CPU - high pitched noise.

- switched from BluRay Writer to DVD-BluRay Combi (write DVD + read BluRay)

The optical I had was mostly thrown on as a "what the hell it's 30 bucks" choice. I was considering forgoing bluray (I already have a player for movies, so i only need a PC one if there's actual PC-related need for it) or even forgoing optical altogether. Any potential problems you foresee with either option? 

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13 minutes ago, BoilerBandsman said:

The optical I had was mostly thrown on as a "what the hell it's 30 bucks" choice. I was considering forgoing bluray (I already have a player for movies, so i only need a PC one if there's actual PC-related need for it) or even forgoing optical altogether. Any potential problems you foresee with either option? 

I also thought of foregoing the cd/dvd and glad I chose to include one.  You could do your first install via thumb/flash drive, but after reading how to do it and considering I'm a noob on this pc stuff, I got the cd/dvd.  It also came in handy when reinstalling the OS multiple times and having the component discs with the drivers handy...made the set up that much easier.  I'd recommend getting the cd/dvd writer.

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I can't tell what is best for you in regards to optical drives. But if you have a stand alone BluRay Player already, than you can probably live without one in your PC. You have to know for youself whether you can live without an ODD or not, many people can.

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I just saw that screen is IPS, holy fuck that's cheap for an IPS panel, however, if you don't mind dropping a couple more bucks on the 24" version, I'd recommend doing that.

I went from 22" to 24" to 2x24" and I will never go back.

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Adjusted the list with a little more bang for your bucks:

- semi modular PSU

- decent CPU cooler. Trust me, the Intel stock cooler is just terrible during summer when you stress your CPU - high pitched noise.

- switched from BluRay Writer to DVD-BluRay Combi (write DVD + read BluRay)

 

There isn't much room without cutting down on performance or value. You could

- save 30 $ with a 120GB SSD (absolutly not worth it  imo)

- 70-100$ downgrading your GPU to GTX960 4GB or better 380X. The R9 390 and GTX970 are 1440p capable cards with much performance to spare at 1080p. You ll will probably be "safe" the next ~2 years.

Anything slower (lower price) and you have 1080p cards that perform well atm with modern games but dont have much muscle in reserve.

The R9 290 in that other link for ~230$ is unusable (a reference design)

and will even throttle with 50% fan speed under full gaming load.. The only 290(X) cards that are bearable (imo) are the TriX or VaporX designs from Sapphire - you wont find them for that price.

- CPU wise you re going with Intel (because of WoT) and have to pay the price. I personally wouldn't go below 3GHz baseclock and 4 Cores on a desktop.

 

 

 

 

omfg dat gpu fan

Seriously, what the hell?  Did they not bother buying high-quality ball bearings for the thing?  Do they not have some sort of permanent lubricant built into the thing?  That's insanely loud.

That said, I have been wondering recently why case fans aren't larger diameter, to allow higher CFM at lower RPM.  Somebody should build a case that instead of a window on the side, it has a big-ass 10 inch diameter fan built into it, moving mass quantities of air through it at a nice, quiet, low RPM.

As for the original question: since my late-2010 18" Toshiba Qosmio died a heat death in December 2014, I am firmly in the "screw laptops" camp.  Some people need laptops for business purposes, and that's fine, but I'm largely of the opinion that most consumer home-use needs can be filled most effectively and cost-efficiently by tablets and desktop computers.  Need something portable?  Get a tablet.  Need horsepower?  Get a desktop.  If you absolutely must have power and portability, a laptop is the only thing that'll do...but do you really need both features in the same machine?  Really need it?

Desktops will give you more horsepower for the same money or a cheaper price tag for the same performance.  You can upgrade them incrementally as components need to be replaced on an individual basis, and it's easier to do.  I can tell you from personal experience fiddling (just a little) with the guts of my laptop, it's a pain just to get the top off the thing.  Removing the drives is actually easily done, which is nice, but to remove the surface of the thing you have to remove a zillion screws of varying size.  After doing it maybe twice the novelty factor wore off, and I despised opening the thing up trying to figure out what was wrong.

So build a desktop for WoT and most other games.  If you need to travel and want some portable entertainment, get a tablet.  There are a lot of small game apps that are plenty entertaining.  My first laptop was one I bought on a FOB in Iraq in the summer of 2007, so yeah, I did need portability then, but the only time I ever moved my second laptop (the 2010 Qosmio) was to take it on the family beach trip once a year.  It never left the desk otherwise.  I have an old tablet my brother in law wasn't using, and I have my iPhone.  That's all the portability I need.  Serious gaming horsepower is gonna be a desktop from now on.

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That said, I have been wondering recently why case fans aren't larger diameter, to allow higher CFM at lower RPM.  Somebody should build a case that instead of a window on the side, it has a big-ass 10 inch diameter fan built into it, moving mass quantities of air through it at a nice, quiet, low RPM.

There is a niche for "non-standard" (larger than 120mm) case fans, Antec used to put 140mm or larger fans on the top/bottom/both in nearly everything for a period of time and one of my old cases had a pair of 210mm fans that basically made up the entire side, and 60% of the vertical side, of the case. I think, but I'd have to double check, the rear exhaust in my current case can support a 140mm fan and is the only one that does. 

Also, AMD GPU reference designs, going all the way back to when it was ATI, have always had the worst damned reference coolers in captivity.

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