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PC The £300ish gaming PC Project

jonnywombat

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I can't game with a mouse but I have this massive urge to want to build a PC as people say you can build one for ultra graphics cheaper than buying one :O
I just knocked one up cheap for my kids. Was given a Dell dimension e520. Expanded ram to 4gb, £5, quad core processor @2.4ghz £40 and hd 6000 series 2gb graphics card again about 40 quid. Not bleeding edge, but runs games of steam ok, minecraft @ 100fps, on far render distance, all for 85 quid.


Actually was less than that coz I sold old processor for 11 quid after, so 74 quid.
 

ColSonders

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Building a PC is pretty easy to be honest, it seems like a bloody minefield when you first start looking but there's a few easy ways to break things down.

CPU's - Intel processors hands down outperform AMD's for single threaded processing, so older stuff will always run better on Intel. AMD settle for 'good enough' on single threaded processing but almost match Intel for multicore processing, giving AMD far better bang for buck at the budget end for future games that make use of multicores.

Graphics Cards - Intel onboard graphics suck...really badly. AMD's higher end on board graphics are actually fairly capable and you can run a lot of modern games using them, albeit at pretty much lowest settings. Once you get into dedicated GPU's AMD majorly walk all over NVidia at the lower end of the market with their HD7750/HD7770/HD7790, but once you get into the mid ranges (upwards of about £120) AMD struggle to compare well against similarly priced NVidia cards GTX650ti/GTX660/GTX660ti which are all very capable cards.

RAM - DDR3 in pairs of sticks is the order of the day...you NEED pairs of sticks to allow the high bandwidths required for gaming as both sticks are used in parallel. If using Intel CPU's there's no need to get faster than 1300mhz memory as the processors don't utilise the extra speed, AMD CPU's on the other hand are better at utilising faster memory speeds, partly how they make up the gap in performance against the Intel CPU's.

Motherboard - it doesn't really make much difference to be honest. Find one with features you like that supports the CPU you want. Things to watch for are Sata type and ram speeds supported. Sata III isn't going to make any difference unless you're using Solid State Drives, except for when transferring large sets of data.

Hard Drive - If you're running Windows it will benefit from the hugely overpriced SSD drives, if you want cheap just grab a 7200rpm sata drive, if you want the extra performance of an SSD but can't afford a 250gb SSD or don't have the computer skills to constantly juggle data between a small SSD drive for your OS and a normal HDD for your data then consider a hybrid drive...this will be my next purchase, they learn the files you use most and write those to an 8gb SSD part of the hard drive and read/write everything else to the HDD part, meaning you can have a 1TB drive with up to SSD like speeds on your most used apps/games for the cost of a 120GB SSD.

PSU - use an online calculator to see what power usage your system will max at....mine with the power hungry CPU I have and the GTX660 I plan on buying shortly will use as much 380watts, meaning I'd need to get a fairly highly powered PSU if I went for a cheap one (cheap PSU's tend to be rated much higher than they actually are, which is why for gaming you'll find the advice is always to stick to well known brands and 80+ certification) or going for a good quality one that caters for 380watts with a bit of headroom for additional peripherals and any overclocking aspirations.

Overclocking - is totally not worth the hassle. It might sound like a good idea, but the complications it brings with it due to the instabilities with extra heat that you need to deal with and the extra noise generated by your cooling solutions, or indeed the cost of higher end cooling solutions basically mean it's not worth it....with that said my 3.8GHz processor has software to automatically overclock it to 4.2GHz as required and clock it down as low as 1.4GHz to save power when not needed....but I did need to invest in a quieter cooling solution as the stock one was loud as ****.

You don't need an optical drive.
You don't need a monitor (I use a TV)
You do need a keyboard and mouse and case.

If you want any advice on particular components I can pass on the info that i've taken in whilst investigating parts for my machine.
 

ColSonders

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I'm waiting for you to work it out so I can copy what you do Col.
@Acegadgets I've got it sorted, the issues I was having where I would try to turn fast and it would kind of wobble after a short movement were actually just because my DPI was so high and my mouse sensitivity AND TURN SPEED were set so low....so I was trying to turn way faster than my turn speed would allow for.

I'm using about 1600 dpi for my main setting on my mouse and have my sensitivity fairly low in game and in BF3 I've got to have my soldier turn speed at around half way along the bar.


So for gaming i've got the gaming mouse with extra buttons doing most of the work and use a Nav controller to replace the keyboard using MotionInJoy.

Using MotionInJoy I have a profile set for "Other" where I have most of the buttons mapped to keyboard inputs, X/O face buttons are Q/E, PS button is ESC, D-Pad is mapped to arrow buttons, L3 is SPACE (jump), L1 is G (grenade) and L2 is L.Shift (Run). I use the mouse for aim/fire/reload/crouching/melee and add other functions as required.

In games I set the controller to movement where you can manually map controls on gamepads...sometimes you have to unmap other movement so it does try to look as well as move off the one analogue stick.

In games without an option to manually map gamepad controls I use xPadder to change the stick movements into WASD.....DON'T use motioninjoy for that as you need the xPadder diagonals method otherwise you'll strafe fully left whilst walking forward if your stick isn't perfectly centred.

All told it's a lot more fannying about than i'd prefer, but it works and I get a nice clean input method with the best of both worlds and i'm seeing glimpses of what the next generation of gaming has in store graphics wise (which I think a lot of people are underestimating quite badly).
 
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Acegadgets

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@ColSonders. glad its starting to work out for you. Thabks for the heads up. I have my dpi set really high, didnr realise you could change this setting in game. I also have a nunchuck thing, i'll try and configure it when I get a bit of time on wednesday. Otherwise it'll have to wait till next week when I have a weeks holiday.
 
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ColSonders

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So I'm about ready to give up on PC gaming now.

Tried Planetside 2 and struggled to get playable framerates even on 1600x900 resolution and all low settings with my APU. As soon as it gets into a busy area it's down to 20-25 frames per second at best. Just not playable on a PC with it's constantly shifting frame rates.

So I decided to buy a decent graphics card (after selling all my other toys) and ordered an HD7870 Taihiti Edition. A very highly regarded card that is basically on par with the HD7950 cards, which are considered high end.

Anyway the card arrived and whilst it can run things at 1080p 60+fps the thing runs so hot that I have to have my case open just to keep the thing cool enough so that it doesn't burn itself out, and the noise from the GPU fan is crazy loud....reminds me of the original 360's when the fans locked on at 100% and drowned out the TV. I just don't think high end PC gaming and small form factor can really go together, certainly not without a lot of noise.

Anyway that GPU is getting sent back.....not sure i'll bother with another GPU or just resign the PC to cheap offline gaming.

Also had issues with Metro Last Light, which that GPU should handle with ease....it was pulsating between 60fps and 20fps, with a few seconds on each before alternating....that was whilst stationary.

And there was me thinking that PC gaming might actually live up to the hype that all these PC elitist wankers make out. Total bull, nothing but issues.
 

Jkrohn1

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Col I'm assuming you had the latest AMD catalyst software installed along with the latest drivers. Sound very suspicious running loud and hot was it new? Mine is a 7770 HD and I run everything on top and the temperature is fine my Mobo has heat monitors on it and there all around recommend or just a little over. I did get the case from jackfrags video and the front fan does the job. Was gonna upgrade it to a really silent and good one but don't see the point currently.

You tried Warframe? Me and ace are loving it, although there's lots to explore and do menu wise.

Just a quick note The War Z is only £3 on steam with 75% off this weekend.
 

ColSonders

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Yeah I was on the latest drivers, it's a considerably different beast to the HD7770's. It was a brand new card, which is why I can just send the fecking thing back.

Warframe runs alright on my APU anyway so I'll get around to playing some more of that...though I'm unlikely to ever get on when Ace is online as he plays early and I play late.

My case is about the same dimensions as the one Jackfrags had on that video, I bought a 120mm fan that I installed on the front..but on the inside of the case rather than between the case and the front fascia which gives it more airflow. I prefer not having to use a case fan though as they're very loud, hence getting a 120mm fan rather than 80mm, a bit quieter.

I may pick up an HD7770 as it's a bit better than my built in graphics, but more than likely i'll just save that £80 and put it towards a PS4.
 

Acegadgets

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I love my PC,
I followed the jackfraggs recomendations and and it plays everything really well.
My only gripe was the control system, (cant really do mouse and keyboard) but now I have my dual shock set up, its excellent. Its given games that i've given up on such as Crysis 3 far cry 3 and Deadspace 3 a new lease of life. I might even try hitman and sleeping dogs which I got for free and havent bothered with. Warframe plays well on it, which is what I am into at the moment.
Racing game wise, Grid 2 looks and plays really well. And theres all those sim games to play ,if only i had the time to play them.
Wont be rushing out to get a PS4 (although i will probably get one at some stage) as this does everything I want.
 

Jkrohn1

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Well a year on and I've decided I need a new CPU, mine works fine but it's just not getting what I need. I'm looking at the i5 3570k it's £150 but should double my current performance. I'm also looking at a new GPU maybe an R9 270x but will wait until after I get my CPU, I feel the CPU is bottlenecking my GPU as people I play on the PC with have a worse GPU but get better performance then me (an extra 30fps)
 

jonnywombat

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Overclocking - is totally not worth the hassle. It might sound like a good idea, but the complications it brings with it due to the instabis with extra heat that you need to deal with and the extra noise generated by your cooling solutions, or indeed the cost of higher end cooling solutions basically mean it's not worth it....with that said my 3.8GHz processor has software to automatically overclock it to 4.2GHz as required and clock it down as low as 1.4GHz to save power when not needed....but I did need to invest in a quieter cooling solution as the stock one was loud as ****.
Just a sidebar to this, I would normally agree with this 100%, but there is a big exception, which is anything with the Llano family of APU's... dead simple to overclock and can be pushed hard on the clock and undervolted by a fair lump, all on stock cooling.

My laptop came out the factory at 1.6ghz, (2.2ghz turbo) but runs at 3ghz, without turbo mode, all day long on stock cooling and when processor drops back to lower p states then it is undervolted by a lump, so battery life is improved too!! If i had better cooling then it would go faster still (I have seen same processor pushed to 4ghz) but then I'd have to spend money...lol
 

Acegadgets

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I don't find the need for greater speed with my pc. Its my internet speed that lets my whole expierance down when gaming.
 
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