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Gaming PC - Advice Needed

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It's been a while since I last upgraded my PC, but I think it is definitely due an upgrade. The problem is that technology has changed so much since I have done it i'm not completely abreast of the PC Gaming do's/dont's. So I have a few questions.

 

1. Intel or AMD?

 

I know this will spark respective fan debate, but what am I best going for? It seems that the I5/I7 route is what I am going for but AMD are doing similar specs at much lesser price. Is there a distinct advantage of going CI5/CI7?

 

2. GFX Card

 

I don't want to be shelling out hundreds of pounds on a GFX card, but something that can run upto date games (Skyrim, BF3, New CS) fairly well. Again, in the past I was always in favour of the Nvidia cards, but are there any good cards from Radeon that are around £150 you'd recommend? I also want to be able to watch Hi Def movies from my PC (installing a Blu-Ray drive down the line) so also need to factor HD output in.

 

3. SSD

 

Is running an SSD for applications/OS and an old SATA2 for storage good practice? Are there any hidden specs I should be wary of when choosing an SSD (aside from capacity)?

 

4. Motherboard

 

Again, what detailed specs should I look out for in a Mobo that I want to run decent graphics?

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I did an upgrade earlier in the year and went for:-

 

i5 2500K CPU

Geforce 560Ti video card

128Mb SSD and 1Tb Hard disk

 

Things have move on a little since then but this system runs Skyrim with no problems and the new CS:GO doesn't need a state of the art graphics card. Don't know about BF3 though.

 

The SSD holds the OS and applications, the HD has games and data on it. The main thing about the SSD is boot up times which are way faster than a HD. Look for an SATA 3 Drive and motherboard for best performance.

 

The Intel processors (at the time i bought) had two versions, locked and unlocked (overclockable) this was denoted by the K at the end of 2500K.

 

Some people will recomend 16Gb RAM but 8Gb will run everything fine.

 

As for a motherboard, stick to the main players, Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI etc.. Keep away from the really cheap boards.

 

Buy a decent branded PSU.

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Intel or AMD?

 

I still go for AMD because of cost and that they do games fine. I cant really comment on Intel much but most new Intel chips also have hyper threading which effectively doubles the core count. A lot of gamers still recommend the i5.

 

AMD 4 core = 4 cores

Intel i5 4 core = 4 cores + 4 logical cores

 

As most modern games now use multi-cores the more cores the better.

 

GFX

 

If nVidia then something like a gtx460 or higher with 1GB or more ram on board, more the better. All have HDMI so you can run it through that to the TV or monitor.

 

SSD

 

Make sure its a Sata III 6gbs

 

You could get a decent Sata III 240GB SSD for around £130 or less and with a modern Sata III motherboard it will vastly outperform a normal HD but wont have the same capacity. However you could get a 500-1T normal HD and then get a SSD cache drive that will work in tandem with it. That then acts like a hybrid drive but with a much larger cache dependent on the SSD size. Dedicated OEM software comes with the drive but it must be a SSD cache drive.

 

Not tried it myself but the reports seem to show it speeds up the system quite a lot.

 

RAM

 

2x4GB that way its easier to add another lot if needed.

 

Motherboard.

 

What gillybear said but make sure it Sata III.

 

PSU

 

The more efficient and quieter the better.

 

I would recommend something like this PSU as you can also use it silently with the fan off, a bit expensive though..

 

http://www.quietpc.com/nes-xzero-psus

 

Hope that helps.

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