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Old 04-25-2006   #1
NovasLogic
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Gaming Computers for idiots

Since it seems that people are rather confused about computers for gaming and what you need for one, I felt maybe it was time to create an FAQ that helped to enlighten people on what they need for a decent gaming computer. Hardware for gaming is extremely important. Nowadays most games for decent performance require you not only have a decent video card but a decent processor, ram, and motherboard. If one thing is lagging it can bottle neck the entire system; an example is if you have a good video card and a fast processor but only have 512mb of ram, this can cut down your system performance, vastly cutting down on what your other components can do- even if you have a great video card. The same goes for the rest. Just because you have the best of two, cutting down on the third will always screw you. Also, cooling and power must be addressed because if you don’t cool down your awesome system or provide proper power, you will soon have a dead gaming computer. Very dead; think road kill possum in Alabama.

Motherboards: first, you need a good motherboard. A motherboard can determine a few factors. Whether or not you can do dual video cards such as SLI (NVIDIA) or Crossfire(ATI), or use AMD or Intel is reliant on motherboard. Before determining which cpu type you want you should make sure the motherboard supports the latest cpu just in case you decide to upgrade in the future to a better processor. You want a motherboard that supports the latest video cards with a video slot known as Pci-express 16x or Pci-e 16x. All newer video cards have transitioned over to that format. Don’t be fooled by its name, this is not regular pci. This has a bandwidth of over 4000mb a second. That’s almost twice as fast as the now dated AGP doing 2100mb a second.

Processor: You need a good processor for gaming. Once game programmers finally realized that they could ease the work of the video card by transferring some of the work to the cpu, programmers switched to taking advantage of this format faster than Britney went from teen ho to loving mother. Now my personal preference is AMD due to price, but both companies (AMD and Intel) do make good processors. You don’t have to buy the most expensive processor to have a decent computer but if you buy the cheapest it’s highly likely your performance will be hindered. It’s always good to go mid-range or higher. For AMD, mid-range is the FX4350 which has an impressive 4 cores but the best bang for your buck is definitely the AMD FX9590 processor with a whopping 8cores! Even the cheapest one of those will get you excellent performance. The Intel i5 processor and beyond is a good choice, but once again go for a i7 processor if you want the big bad cpu.

Memory: Memory is cheap, nowadays. 4gb(4x2gb) will only cost around $50, and that is for a decent stick. A moderate gaming rig will have at least 4gb but 8gig of ram will really see results. Ram has an operating frequency just like cpu’s. The higher the better, plus you want the latency to be low. 8 latency with ram running at 1600 MHz is usually a safe bet. What do you look for on the ram? Its usually labeled something like double data rate 3 1600 (DDR3 1600). AMD FX and Intel i5/7 have gone over to DDR3. Which ever the highest memory frequency your motherboard will support is usually what you want to buy; however there is usually a catch to this. A motherboard may support DDR 1800 but it may only support up to 4gb of ram while slower memory like DDR 1333 will be able to get to 16gb. It’s really up to you what you want, but just remember that DDR3 1600 8gb is always a safe bet, especially if you're trying to play Battlefield or Call of Duty. Now for brands I strongly suggest Kingston, Corsair, Crucial, Gskill, Patriot, Mushkin, and OCZ.

Videocards: Now this is honestly where you will probably spend a good chunk of your money. I’m talking, say goodbye to that benz if you want a good video card. It’s worth it. A good videocard will cost you about $200 for something in the latest and greatest category. Now we have the two big names in the business, AMD and Nvidia. Both companies have their strong points but to put each one into prospective Nvidia is like American muscle cars while AMD is the Japanese sports car. Nvidia is more expensive, gives you less choices, but usually offers you the high performance while AMD is cheaper and offers a bit more variety, giving you different levels of performance depending on how much you want to spend. You want to look for three things. You want the video memory (vram) to have at least 1gb(1.5gb is even better and beyond) using GDDR5, you want your memory interface to be 128-bit (preferably 256-bit) and you want to make sure that it has at least 16 pixel pipelines. Just like memory on a computer, the memory on a videocard needs to be a minimum of 1gb. Without the proper amount of memory when the game is trying to store the graphical data, the game will lag, forcing you to lower your settings. You’re a gamer, you really don’t want to do that, because then you’ll get made fun of. The memory interface is the detail in the graphic data. Higher end videocards will have 256bit memory interface. Pixel pipelines are like water pipes, the more you have, the more data can flow down them. High-end videocards have 24 and they’re only getting more in the future. Once you look for all these things, its time to pick out a videocard. Now both companies have off-brand manufactures. For AMD, the best off-brand manufacturers are Sapphire, Powercolor, Asus, Msi, and Gigabyte. For Nvidia the best off-brands are Evga, XFX, and Albatron. The off-brands offer good performance for a cheaper price point usually. If you’re worried about the off-brands, sticking with the main brands is always a safe bet but tend to cost a little more. For mid-brand models of AMD and Nvidia; AMD mid-brands are R9 270s or even better for higher end R9 290s. Those go for about $180 to $600 which, for a videocard, is good. For Nvidia I would suggest either a gtx 760 or 780gtx. Those go for $200-$700

Cooling: So you buy all these nice new components for your computer. Great! Remember, however, that insufficient cooling will make all your nice new high-powered hardware break. Or melt. Think Gollum in Mount Doom melt. Haha, that was so damned funny. Now then, three essential things to look out for when cooling are: A case with proper airflow, a proper heatsink for your processor, and other little things from location in the house to thermal paste (which actually is more than one thing, but hey I’m writing the FAQ, not you, so stop arguing). I always choose a proper case now. A case can be the difference from an ice box to a toaster oven. Personally I miss my old computer; it cooked bagels really well. When you select a case you want at least three fans, but the more the merrier. The locations of the fans are also important. A case should have one fan on the front sucking air in, one on the back sucking air out, and one on the side sucking air onto the processor. The proper airflow keeps your high-powered components nice and cool, keeping that “spring time smell” rolling around. Actually, it just keeps fresh air in the case. If you can, try to select a case with at least two fans sized 80mm on the back or a 120mm on the back because you want the hot air out as quick as possible. A good case is great, crucial even, but you also need a decent heat sink for your processor (with proper thermal paste on it). Good companies for heat sinks are ThermalTake, Aerocool, Titan, Scythe, and Gigabyte. You can stick with the stock heat sinks that come with the processor because they’re actually pretty good, but for maximum efficiency a third-party heat sink is a safe bet. For thermal paste which transfer the heat from the cpu to the heatsink to cool it down, I cannot suggest any other paste other then Artic Silver 5. It is the best thermal paste on the market without a single doubt in my experience. I have seen the results myself and it has taken processors that normally run hot and dropped it as much as 15c(59f). You want to keep your processor under 60c(140f), but honestly 40c(104f) is the safe spot. Also, location of your case is an important thing. If you place your case inside a small space like the ones some desks have, then you cannot get proper airflow. Also try to keep away from vents, especially during the winter.

Power: Now you’ve got awesome hardware, a great case, plenty of fans for cooling and even a good location in the house, but what about the power supply? The one with case may say 400watts, but in reality most stock power supply (psu) are garbage and will commonly die on you within the first year. It’s a lot like marriage. I strongly suggest ripping the original out and replacing it will a new higher quality one that sucks the air out of the case as well. Good companies for psu are Thermaltake, Aerocool, Antec, Masscool, Enermax, Kingwin, Rosewill, Cooler Master, and OCZ. All these companies have plenty of plugs for all your components, will give you constant power with little to no fluctuations, and can help you cool your case supplying their own fans.

Now build your computer and start gaming. You know you want to. Oh, you don’t? So why are you reading this? GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

GO JOE!
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Old 04-25-2006   #2
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Good Stuff

I agree. All of these things are highly essential when building a PC designed for gaming. Knowing how to balance out your system is also a factor, as well as making sure all of your components are compatible with each other(oh, have I had my issues with compatibility).
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Old 04-25-2006   #3
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i am Fly and i endorse this article..purely because i wa sfar too lazy to do it myself so it saves me a lot of time even attempting it ^_^
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Old 04-25-2006   #4
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If I ever am about to buy a new computer (soon) I'll look at this.
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Old 04-25-2006   #5
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In a few years, when I take apart my old PC, and it's time to make a new one, I might use this. Or I'll just do my own thing for making my PC.
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Old 04-25-2006   #6
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When I first read the title I thought it said "Gaming Computers are for idiots" and prepared to launch a full scale attack, then I saw the message and was like 'oh'.

This is the same advice I would give if I was advising anyone on upgrading or building a new computer for the latest games. (read: Oblivion)

Personally though, I would advise against nvidia's latest cards unless you have a really up to date motherboard, because the lasttime I tried, the old mobo (Which should have supported it but didn't for some odd reason, which turned out to be some really weird backwards compatability issue) pretty much fried itself.
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Old 04-25-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magical Princess
i am Fly and i endorse this article..purely because i wa sfar too lazy to do it myself so it saves me a lot of time even attempting it ^_^
I am Bush and I support this message.
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Old 04-25-2006   #8
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heheh, bush.

Yup, I didn't read the whole thing, as I get what you're saying, and I know what you're going for. Right now I need to upgrade my video card. I have an AMD XP 3000+ and whatever 512+256 ram is. Right now I need to get rid of that damn 9200 for an X700 or somethin, don't have too much cash.

Plus my pops promised to fund an upgrade to 1 gig for all our machines, not to mention that he doesn't know about my 256... I wonder if it'll accept 512 512 and 256.
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Old 04-25-2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanning Halfrican
heheh, bush.

Yup, I didn't read the whole thing, as I get what you're saying, and I know what you're going for. Right now I need to upgrade my video card. I have an AMD XP 3000+ and whatever 512+256 ram is. Right now I need to get rid of that damn 9200 for an X700 or somethin, don't have too much cash.

Plus my pops promised to fund an upgrade to 1 gig for all our machines, not to mention that he doesn't know about my 256... I wonder if it'll accept 512 512 and 256.
Its just for the asshole mod and I to go "see stickied thread about building gaming computers" so we can be lazy and not have to explain crap to people.
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Old 04-25-2006   #10
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I know, just thought I'd post to show off that I can tell a comp from my ass. I'm flawed, what can I say?
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