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Purchasing gaming desktop; advice needed

Crazy Jamie Avatar
2y, 3m agoPosted 2 years, 3 months ago
As the title suggests I'm looking to buy a decent spec desktop. Whilst I put the word 'gaming' in the title, it will be used day to day as a work desktop involving document editing and such, so by no means heavy use. However, we do want it to be fast and reliable, and I would like to use it for gaming when I have the time, so something that can at least, say, play current games on high settings would be nice. As a price range I was thinking around the £500-£700 mark, though if I'm going to get significantly increased performance for a little more money I would consider that. I've been looking around a lot of different sites that sell ready made gaming desktops, both tower only and with monitor/keyboard/mouse included, and the choice is overwhelming, so I'm looking for some guidance to narrow down the choice. My questions are basically as follows:

1) Is it even possible to get a decent gaming desktop with monitor etc for the £500-£700 price mark?

2) Should I be looking at buying the tower by itself and picking up the other bits separately (I have noticed some decent monitor deals on HUKD recently) or go for a package that has everything?

3) What are best sites to buy from?

4) What's the minimum spec I should be looking out for and/or are there any particular needs or pitfalls to look out for when picking processors, graphics cards etc?

I realise this is probably basic information for a lot of people on here, but any and all help is greatly appreciated.
Crazy Jamie Avatar
2y, 3m agoPosted 2 years, 3 months ago
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#1
I bought mine, albeit a couple years back, from PCSpecialist. What I like is that you can configure just about every component, so make it as cheap or as expensive as you want.

If you're not in a hurry, check out Dell's Outlet page for desktops every now and again (think they update their inventory weekdays about 3-3:15pm). I noticed a couple weeks back they had a gaming Aurora R4 which I nearly purchased myself to replace my PCS build for under £700 delivered. It wasn't a crazy spec but remember it being i7-4820, GPU being a 270, 16GB Ram, 1TB HDD. They are easily upgraded and come with a full 1-year NBD onsite warranty which is always useful.

There are many 'gaming' desktops on eBay but for your budget, most will have cheapish components and warranty may only be return to base so could be worth spedning an extra fe £'s for a more premium build.

There is of course the option to build one yourself. These days, thanks to Youtube, there's plenty of guidance and it's not really that difficult. I built a gaming tower with my brother a year back and it was surprisingly simple as long as you take your time and be careful with the components (wear anti-static gloves for instance). Again, you can build it with the components YOU want, and you'd easily be able to spec up a really nice machine with a budget of £700 and then perhaps an extra £200ish on a screen. For gaming, an i5 Haswell will do the job fine, and there's some good deals on mobo's and GPU's. If you pay a little extra for something like a 780 (about £360), that should last a good couple of years, otherwise a 770 should do fine (about £230).

Hope it helps and let us know what you decide upon.
#2
Cheers for the response; I'm going to have a look at the Dell Outlet page and see what I can come across. Having spoken to the other half I think we're actually happy to spend up to around £1,000 if we can get value for money from it.

Looking through different sites the main thing that is puzzling me at the moment is graphics cards; it's all just numbers to me, and short of looking up reviews of every card I'm a little lost. Is there any particular brand or minimum standard I should be looking for there?
#3
I find pc specialist quite expensive for what you get, there are some other alternative places. If its a gaming rig you want and you cannot build your own then get a pre built one...

Dino PC I've found superb,

for your budget you can get this:
http://www.dinopc.com/shop/pc/configurePrd.asp?idproduct=1829 you get a Nvidia 770, but spend another £72 and you get a nvidia 780 which is a really good card. and that will cost you £1015 - and your guaranteed to have a PC that's going to last you a good few years.

at PC specialist your paying more for the same...

if you need any more specific help just PM me.
#4
That's a nice spec Lucifer and decently priced. I also recommend spending the extra £72 so you've got a quality gaming rig.

Jamie, if you can reach out and afford, the Nvidia 780 is probably your best bet. It's one of the best cards on the market, came out about a year ago but is still a performance king. There are cards which outperform it, but it's the best bang for your hard-earned buck currently. If you can't stomach the extra cost, I'd recommend going for the card just below the 780, the 770, which is also a very decent card and will play all of today's games nicely - you may just need to upgrade a little sooner next year if you want to play games on ultra/very high settings.
#5
Thanks guys; those two post are incredibly helpful. I did a bit of research on graphics cards last night and thought that the 770 would be a good minimum level, but it's good to hear that the upgrade to the 780 is worth the extra money. I'll have a think about that. I just need to figure out now whether we can push to the £1,200 including monitor, or whether we'd prefer £1,000 all in. Tough choice as getting a gaming rig has been a bit of a pipe dream for me for the past few years and I genuinely don't know how much I'll use it.

Stupid question; the above configuration from Dino PC doesn't have a wireless internet card selected by default, so presumably I need to add one of those to have wireless internet?
#6
Not sure on the above question but I would recommend not going wireless at all if you intend on doing online gaming at anywhere near the level your spec requirements suggest. Even the very best wireless routers are prone to interruptions and disconnects at critical moments. I'd go wired all the way and maybe get yourself a good powerline adapter if running the cable is a problem.
#7
Most desktops don't have wireless mate. You can easily add a card later or a dongle if you really need wireless. I have never gone wireless on my desktops, if it is a bit out the way and you can't run a cable to it just use powerline adapters.
#8
NEtech
Most desktops don't have wireless mate. You can easily add a card later or a dongle if you really need wireless. I have never gone wireless on my desktops, if it is a bit out the way and you can't run a cable to it just use powerline adapters.
Thanks for that; goes to show how long its been since I've used a desktop.
#9
For your purposes, you really are best off buying the parts separately, and assembling them yourself. You'll be lucky to get something like this spec for less than £1000 if you buy prefab.
#10
dxx
For your purposes, you really are best off buying the parts separately, and assembling them yourself. You'll be lucky to get something like this spec for less than £1000 if you buy prefab.
I appreciate that I'd save money assembling everything myself, but I have no experience with that and am just not confident with it. So it's not really an option, even though I appreciate I am paying something of a premium as a result.
#11
Best to try here as it compares prices at different places
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/parts/

This is one i put together in a couple of minutes
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/8fjTzy

Edited By: Agaeti on Jun 29, 2014 14:05: Added information
#12
Guys, thanks for all of your help so far. It really has been useful. Given that this is going to be predominantly my other half's PC I've decided not to spend the extra money to turn it into a true gaming rig as I'm not convinced I'll get enough time to spend on it. I'm going to book mark this thread though so that I can revisit this advice when I come round to upgrading my machine, possibly later in the year.

For now I've opted to go for something around the £700 mark not including monitor, and am looking for something that can give half decent gaming performance when needed, but which otherwise just needs to be powerful and reliable day to day. I've started with this build from Dino PC, and have tweaked it to the following spec;

Intel Core i5 4590
8GB Corsair 2133mhz Vengeance
Crucial 128GB MX100 SSD
2TB S-ATAIII 6.0Gb/s
AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB
550W Corsair VS

Which comes to £706.39, and is therefore pretty much within the original budget. Is that a decent enough value build for the money, or are there any obvious things that should be removed or added? Once again your input is greatly appreciated.
#13
Crazy Jamie
Guys, thanks for all of your help so far. It really has been useful. Given that this is going to be predominantly my other half's PC I've decided not to spend the extra money to turn it into a true gaming rig as I'm not convinced I'll get enough time to spend on it. I'm going to book mark this thread though so that I can revisit this advice when I come round to upgrading my machine, possibly later in the year.

For now I've opted to go for something around the £700 mark not including monitor, and am looking for something that can give half decent gaming performance when needed, but which otherwise just needs to be powerful and reliable day to day. I've started with this build from Dino PC, and have tweaked it to the following spec;

Intel Core i5 4590
8GB Corsair 2133mhz Vengeance
Crucial 128GB MX100 SSD
2TB S-ATAIII 6.0Gb/s
AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB
550W Corsair VS

Which comes to £706.39, and is therefore pretty much within the original budget. Is that a decent enough value build for the money, or are there any obvious things that should be removed or added? Once again your input is greatly appreciated.


Processor has a max memory frequency of 1600Mhz
http://ark.intel.com/products/80815/Intel-Core-i5-4590-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_70-GHz

So maybe go for a lower frequency ram with a lower CAS Latency to make up for it.

Also are you going to buy it made or put it together. If putting together you can save a bit of money.

This is £630 not inc montior and case http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/sgXDkL


Edited By: Agaeti on Jun 29, 2014 21:53: Fixed Mistake
#14
Agaeti
Crazy Jamie
Guys, thanks for all of your help so far. It really has been useful. Given that this is going to be predominantly my other half's PC I've decided not to spend the extra money to turn it into a true gaming rig as I'm not convinced I'll get enough time to spend on it. I'm going to book mark this thread though so that I can revisit this advice when I come round to upgrading my machine, possibly later in the year.

For now I've opted to go for something around the £700 mark not including monitor, and am looking for something that can give half decent gaming performance when needed, but which otherwise just needs to be powerful and reliable day to day. I've started with this build from Dino PC, and have tweaked it to the following spec;

Intel Core i5 4590
8GB Corsair 2133mhz Vengeance
Crucial 128GB MX100 SSD
2TB S-ATAIII 6.0Gb/s
AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB
550W Corsair VS

Which comes to £706.39, and is therefore pretty much within the original budget. Is that a decent enough value build for the money, or are there any obvious things that should be removed or added? Once again your input is greatly appreciated.


Processor has a max memory frequency of 1600Mhz
http://ark.intel.com/products/80815/Intel-Core-i5-4590-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_70-GHz

So maybe go for a lower frequency ram with a lower CAS Latency to make up for it.

Also are you going to buy it made or put it together. If putting together you can save a bit of money.

This is £630 not inc montior http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/sgXDkL
See, that's the reason I ask for advice. Thanks for that; I've downgraded the RAM to the 1600Mhz version. I'm going to buy it already put together; I appreciate I could save money doing it myself but I have no clue how to do it, and would rather the peace of mind of someone else doing it.
#15
Crazy Jamie
Agaeti
Crazy Jamie
Guys, thanks for all of your help so far. It really has been useful. Given that this is going to be predominantly my other half's PC I've decided not to spend the extra money to turn it into a true gaming rig as I'm not convinced I'll get enough time to spend on it. I'm going to book mark this thread though so that I can revisit this advice when I come round to upgrading my machine, possibly later in the year.

For now I've opted to go for something around the £700 mark not including monitor, and am looking for something that can give half decent gaming performance when needed, but which otherwise just needs to be powerful and reliable day to day. I've started with this build from Dino PC, and have tweaked it to the following spec;

Intel Core i5 4590
8GB Corsair 2133mhz Vengeance
Crucial 128GB MX100 SSD
2TB S-ATAIII 6.0Gb/s
AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB
550W Corsair VS

Which comes to £706.39, and is therefore pretty much within the original budget. Is that a decent enough value build for the money, or are there any obvious things that should be removed or added? Once again your input is greatly appreciated.


Processor has a max memory frequency of 1600Mhz
http://ark.intel.com/products/80815/Intel-Core-i5-4590-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_70-GHz

So maybe go for a lower frequency ram with a lower CAS Latency to make up for it.

Also are you going to buy it made or put it together. If putting together you can save a bit of money.

This is £630 not inc montior http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/sgXDkL
See, that's the reason I ask for advice. Thanks for that; I've downgraded the RAM to the 1600Mhz version. I'm going to buy it already put together; I appreciate I could save money doing it myself but I have no clue how to do it, and would rather the peace of mind of someone else doing it.

Hmm, do you perhaps know someone who could do it?
or even watch some videos on youtube. If you know how to use a screwdriver its not hard. its a case of screw in the motherboard and slot in everything else.
#16
Agaeti
Crazy Jamie
Agaeti
Crazy Jamie
Guys, thanks for all of your help so far. It really has been useful. Given that this is going to be predominantly my other half's PC I've decided not to spend the extra money to turn it into a true gaming rig as I'm not convinced I'll get enough time to spend on it. I'm going to book mark this thread though so that I can revisit this advice when I come round to upgrading my machine, possibly later in the year.

For now I've opted to go for something around the £700 mark not including monitor, and am looking for something that can give half decent gaming performance when needed, but which otherwise just needs to be powerful and reliable day to day. I've started with this build from Dino PC, and have tweaked it to the following spec;

Intel Core i5 4590
8GB Corsair 2133mhz Vengeance
Crucial 128GB MX100 SSD
2TB S-ATAIII 6.0Gb/s
AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB
550W Corsair VS

Which comes to £706.39, and is therefore pretty much within the original budget. Is that a decent enough value build for the money, or are there any obvious things that should be removed or added? Once again your input is greatly appreciated.


Processor has a max memory frequency of 1600Mhz
http://ark.intel.com/products/80815/Intel-Core-i5-4590-Processor-6M-Cache-up-to-3_70-GHz

So maybe go for a lower frequency ram with a lower CAS Latency to make up for it.

Also are you going to buy it made or put it together. If putting together you can save a bit of money.

This is £630 not inc montior http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/sgXDkL
See, that's the reason I ask for advice. Thanks for that; I've downgraded the RAM to the 1600Mhz version. I'm going to buy it already put together; I appreciate I could save money doing it myself but I have no clue how to do it, and would rather the peace of mind of someone else doing it.

Hmm, do you perhaps know someone who could do it?
or even watch some videos on youtube. If you know how to use a screwdriver its not hard. its a case of screw in the motherboard and slot in everything else.
I appreciate what you're saying but I really would just prefer to pay that bit extra and have someone else do it; I absolutely do not trust myself to do it right, as simple as it may be.

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