Buying a desktop... need help finding more bang for the buck

Hello community!

I’m saving up for a desktop for the use of modding games, Blender, and all other things CG. I have a budget of $800(u.s.) or, of course, less; but if I have to, I’ll go over that by a hundred or so. I was going to build one for customization sake, but it’ll be cheaper for me to just buy one.

The Specs I’m looking for are:

OS: Window 7
Processor: 3.0ghz or more, quad-core or more
RAM: 6gb or more
Gpu: Nvidia (I’m not really educated on graphics cards, but I do want to do game modding and possibly rendering.)
HDMI output
wireless internet connection if possible

I saw this gateway at bestbuy.com. It looks like a strong computer except for the graphics card. Like I have said, I don’t know too much about graphics cards but if I’m correct, an Intel HD Graphics 2000 is fair… just… fair… So I was wondering if I did buy this computer, what graphics card would be compatible with it? (I see it reasonable to pay $160 for it.)

I hope you can put up with my questions! :slight_smile:

Jacob Holt

Never get anything with an Intel HD graphics card. I tried playing portal on an Intel card and its very laggy.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+Essentio+Desktop+-+8GB+Memory+-+750GB+Hard+Drive/4602964.p?id=1218496160271&skuId=4602964

2nd Gen Intel® Core™ i7-2600 3.4GHz processor speed with Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz.
8GB DDR3 memory
NVIDIA GT 520 graphics 2GB
750GB Serial ATA hard drive (7200 rpm)

So I was wondering if I did buy this computer, what graphics card would be compatible with it? (I see it reasonable to pay $160 for it.)

I think it depends on what kind of motherboard it has

Thanks, Idh1109, for the info. My brother said the intel card was mostly for general use. I saw that Asus in the bestbuy’s paper today. It looks like it will do me just fine. A problem I have with picking many desktops is the cooling, but why would they put that much stuff in that case if they knew that it might overheat? They must know what they’re doing.

Can anyone tell me about the Nvidia GT 520 Graphics Card?

I did a quick search and from what I read its not an amazing graphics card but its decent.

A problem I have with picking many desktops is the cooling, but why would they put that much stuff in that case if they knew that it might overheat?

True but some cases will allow you to add more fans
Fans are very cheap

I actually have one of those new GT520s :yes: I’ve finally been able to play Lost: Via Domus and Age of Empires III, and I’d say that with two screens (one of which being a 23" LED) plus running those games, it holds up fairly well :yes: However, why does ldh1109’s link say 2GB VRAM? Mine’s only a 1GB and as far as I know the GT520 only comes as a 1GB… unless it has two?
Anyway, my own “new”-ish (as in two-month-old) Gateway is very similar to the one you linked - only differences are the GPU, HDD space and RAM quantity (I have 6GB RAM and a 1.5TB HDD)

I can’t say that I know much about GPUs either, but I know for a fact that this GeForce GT520’s over 9000 times better than my three-year-old laptop’s card (an Intel 965 Express Chipset - really slow when rendering even the lowest-quality settings on Age of Empires III)

EDIT - I second ldh1109’s comment; from what I’ve read the GT520 isn’t the best out there, but it’s pretty good :smiley:

If I do buy the Asus, I might just go in and switch the graphics card with something better.

By the way, when bestbuy says that a cpu is “8-way”, are they meaning cores?

It actually has four physical cores but with hyperthreading it creates an extra four virtual cores
Hyperthreading doesn’t actually double your processing power but it does boost performance significantly

I’d wait.

Whilst, it’s possible to wait forever as there is always something new coming out; there are two things to consider. NVidia release a new card in a month or so; in addition, the cycles update for ati cards should have hit by then too.

So if you can hold off, I think it would be worth it.

Writer’s Block, That’s my plan, I just want to find something and have a little more information before I spend a few of my paychecks on something like this. But thanks for the advice!

I’m still wondering if it would be cheaper for me to build my own. Companies buy items in mass quantities, so they get it cheaper than I would if I bought the same items in the quantity of one. Would it not be the same for computers? But then again, if I bought a computer, it might come with something that, to me, would be quite useless.Any thoughts?

You will get way better bang for your buck when you build your own computer!

Check out newegg for US prices, you will be able to choose all your parts that you want specifically.

Build your own. Often can be cheaper, one major plus of building your own is the knowledge of how it works, and the quality of all components going into it; of course, you also accept the risks inherrent with having to do your own repairs and trouble-shooting.

Still worth it imo.

After researching it, It seems that you will only save money by buying a computer over building it if the computer is for general use. It seems, from what I have read, that since I want a high preformance computer it would be cheaper for me to build it. Now that this fact is outhere… I need to find some parts that will fit my use without burning too much of a hole in my wallet. I guess I’ll make a list of what I need/want in a few days and post it here to get some feedback. Since, I do want to be informed about the pros and cons of the hardware.

After researching it, It seems that you will only save money by buying a computer over building it if the computer is for general use. It seems, from what I have read, that since I want a high performance computer it would be cheaper for me to build it. Now that this fact is outhere… I need to find some parts that will fit my use without burning too much of a hole in my wallet. I guess I’ll make a list of what I need/want in a few days and post it here to get some feedback. Since, I do want to be informed about the pros and cons of the hardware.

DDD, Thanks for the reply. I looked at your build. That’s quite nice! But I do have a budget that is stretching as it is. I do plan though to land some freelance jobs in a few years, and when that time come, I would like to build another computer that is a quite bit stronger! But thanks for sharing.

I found this article on NVidia’s website. The “Mid-Range Monster” goes a bit more beyond my expectations. I am looking at this direction. The NVidia’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti seem (correct me if I’m wrong) like a very nice gpu.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a Micro Center nearby, (closest is in Missouri… or Georgia), but I have Bestbuy, Computer Universe, and the World Wide Web! So I’ll buy most of the parts, if not all, online.

Well, I have the GTX550 Ti, and I can report that I am very happy indeed. Of course, the good thing about Nvidia is that their cards are supported by Cycles, so if, any time, you want to render in Cycles with the GPU, it would be possible.

–Ross

yeah 560 is just one step down from the 570 (the 590 is on the top, but costs like half a 1000 if not more).

I do most of my tech shopping online, you get much better deals online than stores most of the time.

And yeah my costs a bit, but I am gunna save up :slight_smile: … not easy with tuition hanging over you.

Also consider, is your current monitor fine, or do you need to upgrade? Keyboard, mouse and monitor have a direct impact on your health if not good enough. More important than anything else.

Here’s some (non-technical) advice…

Don’t get in a hurry if you can do without for awhile. Take your time, research research, and save more money so you can get what you really want/need and be satisfied for a few years.

I’ve bought most of my gear through http://www.tigerdirect.com

If building your own check out barebones kits. Be careful 'cos like any store you have to know that “great deals” often mean a compromise. Like… great price great mobo lots of memory… but a crappy power supply. Know your stuff before jumping on a deal. Know your needs, your future upgrade needs, know where you can compromise.

If going Intel get a K series processor. Easy to overclock. Get a nice cooling tower too. I’m running an i5 at 4GB 24/7. It really makes things snap. Great for rendering in the BI. No heat probs at all (I bought a huge fin cooling tower w/ variable high-speed fan).

Stay away from refurbished stuff… great prices on that stuff but very short or no warranty, and you never know if it has a fatal flaw hiding in it somewhere.

As Writer’s Block mentioned, you should also plan to make an investment in monitors if you are serious about CG work. I’ve put almost as much money in monitors as I have in the rest of my rig. Two 24in 16x10 HP monitors on swivel stands and let me tell you it is absolute heaven. I jumped on a great deal with free shipping at Tiger a couple years ago. They came with a 3 year warranty.

Take your time and have fun with a smart investment.

-LP

DDD, if I am correct, the 590 costs $750 or so. But I don’t want a computer with the top specs.
I’d like to see pics when you get it built. Sounds quite great!

Writer’s Block, I definitely need an upgrade on monitors! I’ve wondered, how would you set up two monitors? I know about the how the gpu needs to enable it, but what about connection if you only have one hdmi output? What other devices/cords would you need to make such a connection?

LarryPhillips, Thanks for replying! I definitely want to sleep on this for awhile and be informed. Thanks also for the link. I’ll look into that. I do want to add some safety features (cooling wise) to my computer even if though wouldn’t be too necessary. Rendering is bound to fry my pc that I have now if I’m not careful. But I’m glad to here about Intel’s K Series!
I have gone through page after page looking at pre-built pcs. Some have features that I do not want while lacking others that I desperately need. There’s really no way around it. I have taken upgrades into thought. I’m planning on having this pc until it bites the dust (or when it is too out of date).

Yeah, I tend to stay away from used electronics. Instead of saving money by buying a used Wacom tablet, I went for a new, even if I lost $100 or so. But it’s always good to here this advice again.

I’m also envious of your monitor setup! At my local pc hardware store, (Computer Universe), they have three monitors on swivel stands on display. My mouth waters every time I pass them.

Like I’ve stated, I don’t want too big of a monster on my hands, just something to last me quite a while that I can upgrade ever so often. So far NVIDIA’s “Mid-Range Monster” looks the best. I’ll look into all the parts and see what can be dropped and what can’t.

I’d like to see pics when you get it built. Sounds quite great!
Yeah Ill be definitely doing that, ill do a review video as well. Not sure how long it will be until I decide to buy though (as of right now i think it has been almost a half year since i made my first theoretical build on this computer. Thus this thread might be long dead :slight_smile:

if I am correct, the 590 costs $750 or so
most likely, cuz its the 580 that is around $500

I think the 560 is a good choice - not all the way at the high end and not all the way at the low end.

I was actually thinking of not buing a high end card at all at first. but rather a 200 series for $30 maybe less with discount or promo. This way ill be able to have a decent card that will get me by just fine, and then get the high end one a little later down the road. at which point ill have two and if i would want to render something, ill just use the lower end for display and higher end to render.

The only things that are really set in stone i think are the CPU + Mobo + PSU and maybe the case. Other components you can just add on later. ( I could be missing something)
No need for a CD drive right away if you have another computer - take the drive, install OS.
I know I dont use a cd drive that often anyway (but then its most likely around $20 anyway - pocket change compared with the rest

But yeah my whole point with this is that if you are building your computer you dont exactly need to get all items at once.