What computer should I buy?

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#1 Quin  Icon User is offline

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What computer should I buy?

Posted 10 March 2015 - 03:14 AM

Hi guys

I need help in buying myself a new computer.

I've had my laptop for years now, and it's a decent little machine; still packs a punch.
I got the laptop for Uni (Games Design), and that is still very much a deciding factor, but now that I work full time I barely use my laptop.

So I was thinking of moving back to desktop, for as portability goes, I use my iPad and Windows Phone.

The only thing with that is size, function, and upgradability.

I like the idea of having a mini-computer, but are they functional, as I still need to do some heavy rendering at times (various projects)?

I'm a bit stuck in what I should do.

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#2 depricated  Icon User is online

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 10 March 2015 - 04:40 AM

If you're trying to do graphics rendering on anything less than a mid tower, you're gonna have a bad time.

I'm not sure exactly what info you're looking for. I know I can still top out my system using Unreal 4 with 2x R9 290x and 16gb RAM. I think you'd want at least 1 powerful video card and enough RAM to hold everything in place.
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#3 ArtificialSoldier  Icon User is offline

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 10 March 2015 - 09:28 AM

For the most recent computer I built, I planned this one to have a cheap graphics upgrade when I need a boost. It has good hardware and can run the latest games just fine still, but when it starts to chug I have an extra video card slot on my motherboard. I can buy the same video card I have in there now (which should only be around $200 when I need it), plug it in with my existing card and nearly double the gaming performance just like that.
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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 10 March 2015 - 09:34 AM

Quote

I'm a bit stuck in what I should do.

I am confused on where that post was meandering to. Are you looking to go desktop or laptop? COTS or build your own?
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#5 Quin  Icon User is offline

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 03:57 AM

Ha, I was at work with the boss hovering around me when I posted the thread (ergo, has to be sneaky).

I'm limited for space/like the minimalistic look, hence why I wanted something small, or at least can be tucked away without affecting performance (dust) or having cables everywhere, though I am happy for bigger machines - I'll just need to make the room look pretty.

Basically, mini PC, all-in-one, or full-blown tower.

I currently have a second monitor and TV hooked up to my laptop via VGA (I've used up all my HDMI ports on my TV, so had to settle for VGA, using an adapter in my laptop for HDMI to VGA).

Definitely looking for a desktop, as I'm not as mobile as I once were (I'm usually sat in front of some desk). The machine would only be for home use. I use my iPad and Windows Phone for everything else (even looking into mobile web dev).

Ideally a custom build, since it can be cheaper and I'll know how I can upgrade it. The idea is to barebones it and then upgrade as and when.
It's slightly hipster, but I don't want an "off-the-shelf" machine; I'd like it to be unique to me.

The only problem is I don't know what to really do - I have a habit of spending more money than I should.
For instance, I want to buy a new TV for this machine, a new monitor, and a new sound system (probably a soundbar).

I'll need to hook up a monitor, as well as my TV, so I'll get two of the same video/graphics cards. RAM probably around 8GB to start. Not a clue on the sound card.
Hard drive - maybe SSD just for OS, programs, and small files. I've got plenty of external storage for my projects.
Got to keep it cool - fans and cooler; the room gets really warm. Maybe noise reduction (though not vital).

My main concern is which motherboard, as it affects the case and the things I can plug into it.

This post has been edited by Quin: 11 March 2015 - 04:02 AM

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#6 depricated  Icon User is online

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:39 AM

My next build I'm going to try not skimping on the motherboard. I always do and I always have issues. I'm beginning to suspect it's there.

I'm thinking one of the high end ASUS boards like a Maximus or Rampage.

Make sure you part-match your board for your goal. If you want NVidia, you want an intel socket. If you want Radeon, you want an AMD socket. You can mix and match those, but support for SLI/XFire is lacking for mismatched boards, so if you have an intel socket your board probably isn't wired to handle crossfire. I've seen boards that support both, that's by far not the rule, I'm just saying - be cognizant of your goals before you start laying the foundation.

I would also suggest springing for 16gb of RAM. You mentioned doing graphics rendering - that can be memory intensive. This is one of the few areas you'll actually notice that much RAM making a difference.

Contrariwise, I would advise against opening the gambit with dual video cards. If you're budgeting $800 for video cards, instead of buying 2 $400 cards, buy 1 $700 card now - and when you finally feel like you need another one, the price should be down to around $300. You'll be out a little more over the long run, but your performance will be well above and beyond. If you're budgeting $400, a single $400 card is much better than any 2 $200 cards, also. Not that price is THE deciding factor, but generally speaking it pretty reliably defines different tiers of quality.(R9 270 v R9 295x2)

I would also go for a good processor out the gate. This might just be me, but I'm terrible at upgrading my processor. I have only ever done it once. Not because I don't know how - but because it's such a hassle I'd rather just build a whole new computer. My next build will have a high end motherboard and processor to start. No idea what but something. And soon, I blew up my dad's computer and have to give my him my current one as a hand me down...
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#7 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 06:57 AM

Geeze you are across the board on this whole thing. You want something blazing to chunk out rendering for game design, but you want a mini pc form factor. You want it to connect to multiple things, but do not want wires.

Go to newegg/tigerdirect/amazon and plug in "mini pc" and see what you are doing there. Yes - 8gb of RAM is minimal, and I would probably trust most onboard sound as being way sufficient. A videocard to fit your small needs is probably a larger concern as is any power supply to run it.

Of course you can scrap that mini idea and go for a better work of art.

Spoiler


... aaaaaand moving to the hardware/desktop area.
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#8 depricated  Icon User is online

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 11:02 AM

That's pretty baller. Now I want to do something like that haha.

I hate traditional cases, I've been trying to decide what to do about a case. I really like the idea of setting it up on the wall like that.

Think I'm going to look into the parts to do it. My roommates will probably love to contribute too.
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#9 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 11:08 AM

Those win-d frames are ridiculously expensive.

https://www.google.c...iw=1234&bih=725
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#10 depricated  Icon User is online

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 11:30 AM

oh I'll hand make something, have you seen my previous cases? One I made out of wood and plexiglass, another was built into a plastic shelving unit...

I've already thought it out. I'll use a lian li motherboard tray on plexiglass and dremel out slots for everything.
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#11 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 11:41 AM

No I haven't seen your old cases.

For me - while they sure look pretty I am not really interested in fancifying my case. I use a nice Antec 300 that contains all I need and sits unobtrusively under my desk.
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#12 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 11:52 AM

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#13 depricated  Icon User is online

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 12:02 PM

ok I'll have to dig up and upload a picture of my old case, no idea where I have pictures left of it online. It was pretty nice. I still have the desk I built to go with it, and the worklog is up at Overclock.net without any of the pictures still alive.

Case 2:
Posted Image

I like this idea, this could be fun.
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#14 depricated  Icon User is online

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:43 PM

and the old wooden one

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#15 Quin  Icon User is offline

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Re: What computer should I buy?

Posted 12 March 2015 - 04:19 AM

I was once tempted to build my PC into a work-top, using the cupboard of a previous desk, but I don't have that desk anymore.

The mini-pc thing was just aesthetic - I just didn't want a tower drawing attention away from the rest of the room, but luckily I've found one that looks nice, looks a bit different (more square than rectangular) and it will fit somewhere where it won't draw attention.
This is why I want to avoid wires :)

I have to agree with the upgrading processor and motherboard issue - just too much hassle. So I'll go for a good processor and motherboard from the start.

Regarding upgrading (RAM) - it's mainly to reduce the initial cost (not that money is an issue). I'll get odd looks off people who wouldn't understand why I am spending so much out-right.
With the graphic cards - I'll need two for my monitor and TV. Again, I'll probably just buy two high-end ones that work and match, but I can settle for the lower specs just to get the machine (name reasoning as the RAM).
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