Need help with buying a new PC!

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SAS_West
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Need help with buying a new PC!

So I'm looking into buying an actual gaming PC to replace the hunk of junk I have now, but I need some help...

1.) Strong gaming laptop OR a strong gaming desktop (coming cheaper than the laptop) + a $500/$600 regular laptop? (for college)

2.) Recommendations for a good graphics card (good price and performance if possible)? I'd like to play newer games (I have ARMA2, BF3, GTA4, and L4D in mind) at least smoothly (don't need to be on max settings)?

3.) Do I go big retail (e.g. Alienware, HP, etc.) or one of those independent online sellers (e.g. Newegg, iBUYPOWER, CyberPower, etc.)? I have done research and lots of people say build your own, but my dad wants to just buy it assembled (he's worried if I have some problems building it or later on, and I won't have any technical support) - so please ignore that option.

Lastly, if you have recommendations for a brand or a specific model, that'd be cool too. Thanks in advance!

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SAS_WIZ
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Well thats a pretty straighforward sitrep.

Ram vs ghz, vs cores vs...erm not alienware, unless you won the lottery

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SAS_Nick
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I have been in that situation before. You should buy a desktop. A laptop is quite nice but a desktop is more powerful for the same price. You always have access to computers at school and when your home, you can use your desktop, so you don't need really a laptop.

The best option when getting a desktop is to build your own, but if you never did it, I wouldn't suggest you that option since you might break some pieces. I never bought a desktop built in and I'm not really aware of the last technologies, but if you do some research on the web to see what are the newest graphics cards and CPUs, that might give you a good idea of the kind of PC you should get. I always suggest to ppl to buy powerful computers, because those things evolve quickly and you'll be out of date fast.

I have built my own PC 5 years ago and it is still a beast. Buying a desktop that is very fast today and might cost a bit more, will save you money at the end because you wont have to add ram or change the graphic card 2 years after. When you will have looked at the computers, you can post here the specs and I can give you some comments on it.

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SAS_West
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How about this one?

Processor: AMD FX-Series FX-6100 3.3 GHz
Processor Main Features: 64-bit Six-Core Processor
Cache Per Processor: 8MB L3 Cache
Memory: 8GB DDR3 1333
Hard Drive: 1TB SATA
Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 560 2GB

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Level
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Sadly, I don't really know much about computers... my brother (older) has bought 2 computers from newegg.com, I think both were Ibuypower, good computers... not sure about the first one, but the 2nd one he bought all the components separate... cost him around 2 - 3k. Like WIZ said, lottery = alienware... all you would really be doing is buying the name.

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Agent007
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The one you posted West is quite nice, it should do the trick!

SAS_Random
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I guess Level watches Southland. Wink

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SAS_Walker
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You listed some expensive stuff there.

You dont need 6 cores, for what?
A stable quad core about 3GHZ will do the job next years. Suggest to give some more bugs for an Intel.
RAM isnt that expensive so 8 is ok but not really needed in my opinion. For a graphic card just have a look at the ranking/tests. Same for the maindboard.
But most important is a good power suppy. Pls dont select the first you see. This one is not bad: http://www.techspot.com/products/power-supplies/be-quiet-dark-power-pro-bqt-p9-pro-550w-550w.7745/

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SAS_Ade
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all i can say is stay away from Dell PCs cause they don't follow the standard ATX or ATX mini structure, that's their way of making sure you only purchase dell products.

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Arctic
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How about this one?

Processor: AMD FX-Series FX-6100 3.3 GHz
Processor Main Features: 64-bit Six-Core Processor
Cache Per Processor: 8MB L3 Cache
Memory: 8GB DDR3 1333
Hard Drive: 1TB SATA
Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 560 2GB

I go thru a lot of laptops. In fact my wife has banned me from buying anymore. However, I have got two right now.

1. Is an Alienware.

2. Is an ASUS G74 I think.

I dont recommend alienware. As far as a gaming laptop I would recommend ASUS but if youre on a tight budget. The one you have posted for will do just fine.

The 560 2GB is the one that is currently in my ASUS and it runs pretty much all the games you mentioned earlier on high to ultra. The processor sounds good too. Honestly FX isnt a bad series as I've had one of those before. Took it to afghan when I went and it held up nicely.

This is my 2 cents.

Military life is having a plan. Then a new plan. Then another plan. Then the first plan. Then a brand new plan only to go back to the 2nd plan. 

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I guess Level watches Southland. Wink

I laughed hard at that part, now whenever I see someone talking about rambos I'll think "Old Crazy Cat Lady".

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SAS_West
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Thanks for the help guys!!

Walker - Found it at a good price (I think). Set the $ range at $550-$1000 on Newegg, the specs I listed is a preassembled iBUYPOWER PC and around the middle of that $ range (but seems to have best gfx card in the entire $ range). As for power supply, all it says in specs is 700W.

Arctic - Thanks for the info, this one is a desktop just fyi.

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SAS_DeCapi
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As already mentioned: A good and powerful PSU is needed.

If your graphics card someday can't perform at the best, it's IMO much cheaper to upgrade with an extra gfx.

I got two Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 Vapor-X 1GB running in CrossFireX. The cards are from 2009 and with these two, I can run BF3 on highest settings.

If you buy a good powerful computer now, it will last for years.

Another point to mention, if your system after a couple of years are getting slow, maybe consider to get yourself a SSD. Windows then boot up in around 45 seconds! A SSD are quite expensive, but damn, those things are fast!

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SAS_WIZ
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West, that sounds pretty nice, if you can afford it. 1 thing i would do though..query the hard drive, some companys offer variations on spec if you call them. I would steer against 1 1tb drive..thats a lot of stuff to lose in 1 failure.. ask about 2x 500gb drives with 32mb cache and 16k spin Wink put your OS on 1 drive and you game installs on the other...you would be surprised how much quicker your games run Wink

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SAS_West
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How does this one look?

Intel Core i5 2.5 GHz
3MB Cache Memory
8GB System Memory DDR3 SDRAM
750GB Serial ATA 5400 RPM HDD
NVIDIA GT GeForce 630M 1GB
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

It's a laptop btw, same needs as the original post. Found two with better graphics cards within my budget but I imagined they would be a serious pain to lug around. The one above is 4.85 lbs. I'm only looking at laptops atm.

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Maxyzzz940
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all laptops it's simple desktop but with 1/2 of power.

SAS_West
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I know but I need it to double for school and gaming.

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Raptor
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Core i5 is a good choice (usually a nice price/performance ratio). 8 GB Ram should be enough. Win7 is imho a good OS for gamers.
I'm not up-to-date concerning graphics cards. Anyway the mobile versions for laptops have always much less performance than the normal desktop versions, simply a matter of space and cooling.
It's usually pretty helpful to ask google for reports and experiences concerning any expensive object you intend to buy Wink