But I don't even like Witcher 3
June 16, 2015 4:53 AM   Subscribe

Hello HiveMind please can you help me buy a sweet gaming rig for my awesome daughter.

I usually aim for a £5/600 price point when upgrading the PCs but am looking to go AAA with a system around £1.2K this time in a shameless attempt to buy her affection*.

Have been looking at a pre-built OCUK machine as I'm not interested in building my own any more and they seem to be the best at speccing out a PC without the usual "rubbish PSU syndrome" that a lot of places suffer from. I have a few questions which I'm hoping you can answer plus any anecdata about your experience with PCs around this price point or from this supplier would be shiny. I'm assuming the new AMD cards will cause some fluctuations in price so will be buying in a few weeks but am looking for an Nvidia machine unless someone has a convincing argument against. ( I am not affiliated with OCUK in any way, just narrowed it down to them and can't make the final decision)

So, first off, is i7 worth the extra or will i5 not be a bottleneck in a system with this much GPU?

Is it worth the extra for a 500GB SSD or will a 250GB EVO be fine?
(Both with a secondary spinny drive)

A "Scythe" Twin 2GB GTX 960s in SLI versus a "Tanto" with one 4GB (3.5 lol) GTX970 does the second card hit performance at all?

With all that in mind is it worth speccing out a lower priced "Machete"** with the top options or getting the cheaper version of the "Scythe"** or "Tanto"** for the better motherboard and PSU etc?

I'll need a better monitor, anyone got suggestions or tips?

As lots of people in my situation probably search these threads trawling for advice it would be nice to get some suggestions in a place which is not going to descend into slapfight about AMD vs Nvidia. Although, as this is Metafilter I probably have to clarify that thanks but no, I am not looking for a MacBook Air.

Thanks all.

*This is a joke by the way and yes it really is all for her (although I might borrow it occasionally).
** I would probably also pay extra for a system without a pointlessly macho name, I'm half expecting the thing to ask me If I even lift when I get it out of the sodding box.
posted by fullerine to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: get a 512GB SSD, it fills up fast, a 256 will be very full instantly. If you do go for the evo ssd, make sure the ssd firmware has the latest update, there have been some bug fixes.

I'd go for the 970 over 960 SLI. Partly from SLI bugginess, and 2GB vram isn't a whole lot anymore. the 970 is a pretty good card, and has 1.5GB more memory! :)

psu wise, the 450W super flower seems low, but 750W is overkill. i'd probably go for the mid tier rig myself.

Tanto modifications from default that i suggest:
windows 8.1 64bit, +79.99 (you need an OS, 8.1 is fast, im not a fan of the start screen, but its livable)
16GB ram, +30 (cheap upgrade, and web stuff is ram hungry nowadays, speed doesnt affect real performance).
970 nvidia, +130 (again, SLI issues, and more vram, the 3.5GB issue doesnt affect real world usage).
500GB evo, +96 (primary boot fills up fast with stuff thats a pain to move to a 2nd hd, STEAM, programs, etc).

I'd also suggest changing the case, but thats an aesthetic decision
posted by TheAdamist at 5:08 AM on June 16, 2015

Just chiming in to say the SSD has been sooooooo worth it to me. Those fast startups times alone are incredible, and that speed improvement cascades through all areas of performance. (Though I have a laptop, so the added bonus of "it doesn't mind so much if I bang it around" is probably less important to you.) And 250GB isn't anywhere near enough -- I have a 500GB drive, I am not even a torrenter, avid photographer, or a PC gamer, and I'm having trouble with having to clear out space. If this machine will be used for lots of games, lots of mods, lots of saves... Witcher 3 alone is 40GB, Skyrim is 13GB but mods can easily double that, Dragon Age: Inquisition is 26GB. It goes *fast.*

I'm of the philosophy, though, of buying the very best machine you can and then using it to the ground. So to me, the question isn't "is the i7 worth it?" so much as "how many years will I get out of an i5 machine vs. an i7 machine, and when will I want to replace this computer?"

Wiser heads will weigh in one graphics cards and specific configs. Good luck! And hey, awesome dad, you rock!
posted by Andrhia at 5:10 AM on June 16, 2015

i5 is fine unless she's going to be crunching lots of video or other data in addition to gaming. And if it somehow isn't, you can always swap in an i7 in a year or two; I expect there will be socket 1150 i7's available for several years.

One 970 makes more sense to me than 2 960s.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:43 AM on June 16, 2015

The i7-4790k is currently considered one of the best gaming CPUs out there, even at stock clock speeds, and is a great value. A PC built around that will still be relevant 5+ years from now.
posted by eas98 at 8:22 AM on June 16, 2015

Yeah I didn't believe it either but having a large ssd has been a god send. Get as large as you can there then you can put the games she plays on the most there and load times will be a whole lot shorter. I'd say go 500gb or even 1TB if you can. Short of when I upgraded my graphics card, motherboard and ram at the same time it's been the most notable increase in speed on my end.
posted by Carillon at 8:38 AM on June 16, 2015

Best answer: It's really messy and depends how much you're willing to stick to a price point and whether you're willing to jump up to a next tier.

It's usually a matter of calculus depending of getting as many frames as you can for your budget.

Let me illustrate.

This is a build you can make for a touch under £1100. It's an i5 build with a K series processor and a all in one liquid cooler to give it mild overclocking to bring it up close to the 4790K clock. It also features a 980 instead of a 970 which is a ridiculous amount of extra power.

We kick it up to a 980 Ti and it goes up to £1288.28. It's also a ridiculous amount of power but will get a decent frame rate boost over the stock 980.

Go with a 980 but kick it up to a 4790K and you end up with well, basically the same as the first as far as frame rate goes in 95% of circumstances but you blow an extra 55 quid and the price goes up to £1138.88.

Of course this is all home built prices but goes to show the tradeoffs involved.

See if you can finagle a 980 and a 4690K with a decent PSU. Honest to god just build it if you have before. It's fun, it takes maybe an hour and can be a good experience to have with a family member. Find a local place that will build it for you if you obtain the parts and join in the fun. That's what I used to do for families when I did PC assembly.
posted by Talez at 7:35 PM on June 16, 2015

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