PC for Gaming - looking for recommendations please

  cactusjack 21:20 12 Apr 2008


I would be grateful for any recommendations that can be made regarding a PC for doing a lot of the usual things (surfing the web, writing letters. image storage, etc etc), but also for game playing. It would be a PC that I would expect to last for approximately 3 years. The budget I have is between £1000 - £1500.

Customer service is important to me - hence why I was considering an Evesham PC (and have had excellent service from them in the past). But then having read that recently went out of business, before being taken over, I don't really want to go to them.

So with Evesham ruled out, my next consideration was Dell or a store like PC World. I am cautious in approaching Dell (given customer service nightmares I have read about - but then Dell do sell a vast number of units, and so statistically, something is bound to go wrong some where!). Some friends of mine online said that they would not recommend Dell for a gaming PC given the hardware - but didn't explain why.

Does anyone have any recommendations? - Here is what I would like to take into account:

- A budget of up to £1500 for a gaming PC to last approx 3 years.

- Good customer support is ideal - I don't like taking my PC apart and messing around with the insides - if something were to go wrong with a component, I would prefer someone to support me. With Evesham out of the running, I am nervous about other options for good customer support!

- Core 2 vs Quadcore - I hear that there are not many applications that can take advantage of quadcore's power at this point. Is it worth investing in quadcore if this is the case?

- Operating System (Vista vs XP?? - but then again most PCs are Vista I guess).

- RAM: 2GB vs 4GB? - do current applications really benefit from 4GB? - and are they likely to in the near future or is it overkill?

- Graphics cards: nVidia vs ATI? - is there any real difference.

- Monitor quality - I will spend a lot of time at the screen (not just for playing games, but for work purposes) - can anyone recommend a good ergonomic brand of flat screen monitor that is easy on the eyes?

- Recovery - in the event of the computer needing a reinstall, I am presuming most major manufacturers provide reinstallation disks?

I would be grateful to recieve any responses to the above,

Thank you.

  iscanut 22:15 12 Apr 2008

Have a look here click here

Excellent customer service and components. Also have look at previous threads re Cougar

  citadel 23:10 12 Apr 2008

quad core, 9800gtx ddr3 memory, more and more games will use quad, 9800gtx is the latest card, ddr3 has come down in price and is now the way to go. you need vista for dx10.

  GaT7 01:14 13 Apr 2008

For that kind of money I'd build it myself, but as that's not an option consider the following...

Use voucher code: 70VH9$5F87NP17 at checkout to get 10% off, & go through Quidco to get further 5% cashback click here.

4Gb RAM & their 4 Year Consumer XPS Premium Hardware Support (incl. Gaming and On-site support) have been added to both default specs for the prices below.

For each look under look under 'Accessorise my Dell' tab to see the other bits you'll get as default. For the 420 there's an 8-game bundle lower down for £41 extra.

• XPS 720 with a Q6600, 8800GTX & a quality 22" TFT click here = £1222 with 10% voucher, or £1170 with cashback too

• XPS 420 with an E8500, 8800GTX, TV Tuner & a 24" TFT click here () = £1147 with 10% voucher, or £1101 with cashback too

Overall the 8800GTX & 9800GTX (citadel's suggestion) are on par I think. G

P.S. Recent related Dell XPS thread click here

  cactusjack 10:20 15 Apr 2008

Am considering Cougar, very good prices and quality components, but I am presuming if something goes wrong the only option is to post the machine back to them and that there is no onsite support.

I looked at Alienware - they have a facility for an engineer to take over your machine and try and fix it remotely - very interesting. Am surprised that more companies don't utilise that. But the cost of Alienware I found to be immense!

Am considering Dell too - Many thanks to Crossbow for the Dell info.

I would be particularly interested to see what people have to say regarding an earlier question from above:

"Monitor quality - I will spend a lot of time at the screen (not just for playing games, but for work purposes) - can anyone recommend a good ergonomic brand of flat screen monitor that is easy on the eyes?"

Are Dell's monitors known to be good for the eyes? If not, which monitor brand would you recommend which is ergonomically good?

Thanks again!

  pc613 15:13 15 Apr 2008

have you tried cyberpower click here
and also go on their forum click here
if you go on their build and compatibility one, one of their techs will help you build the system best for you. You can also upgrade the 3 year back to base warrantry to 1/2/3 year collect and return.

I have a 22" iiyama which I use for gaming approx 8 hrs a day and it's never given me any eye problems over the last 20 months.


  GaT7 19:29 15 Apr 2008

"Am considering Cougar, very good prices and quality components," - two things to be aware of with them - their budget PSUs & monitors. So go for their Corsair/BFG/Tagan PSU alternatives & you'll be fine. And get your monitor from elsewhere (see below). Choose one of the better cases too.

Remember the Dells I suggested come with 4-year on-site warranty for the price.

Wherever you purchase from, read warranty inclusions/exclusions to know what to expect.

The 22" Dell in my first link is very good (review click here, full specs click here), but there are similar/better monitors about - so you could deselect that & get your monitor from elsewhere. Some quality monitors to consider:

• Samsung SM226BW 22" - £200 click here
• Samsung Pebble SM2232BW 22" - £211 click here
• Samsung SM245B 24" (height-adjustable) - £287 click here
• Samsung SM2493HM 24" (height-adjustable) - £340 click here

Most TFT monitors these days are fine for the eyes (quality ones even more so) - much better than CRTs in my experience. Fiddle with the settings for optimum viewing: set it at the native resolution (if not already at that setting), reduce the default brightness (& contrast too for some screens, as these are usually set too high), calibrate the colours to suit you. Of course, commonsense is required too - take breaks, do a bit of stretching, etc as often as you can. G

  GaT7 15:50 16 Apr 2008

Sorry, forgot to mention the Dell 10% discount code expires midnight TODAY.

These codes keep coming & going about once every couple of months, so don't worry if you miss this. But you'll need to be patiently wait for their return - assuming you don't buy from elsewhere in the meantime!

I guess it's wise, if you can, to bide your time with purchasing such an expensive PC. G

  cactusjack 17:58 16 Apr 2008

Thanks again Crossbow for all of the help!

  cactusjack 11:09 19 Apr 2008

I was looking at Alienware (out of my price range sadly), and they sell DDR3 RAM.

Dell and Cougar Extreme do DDR2 - is there a big disadvantage of getting DDR2 now? Or will the other big manufacturers be using DDR3 soon?

  GaT7 13:05 19 Apr 2008

DDR2 is more than sufficient, while DDR3 is just too expensive at the moment & the performance increase isn't enough to justify the premium.

A DDR3 article with benchmarks you may find interesting click here. Though it's been 7-8 months since it was written, I don't things have changed that much. From the Verdict on page 10:

"....Now to the bad news - not to be too gloomy about this, but the bottom line is that it can only be advised to steer clear of DDR3 at present, as in terms of performance, which is what it's all about, it's a waste of money.

Even fast DDR2 is, as we have demonstrated clearly, only worthwhile if you are actually overclocking, as it enables you to raise the front-side bus, without your memory causing a bottleneck.

DDR3 will of course come into its own as speeds increase still further, enabling even higher front-side bus speeds to be achieved. For now though, DDR2 does its job, just fine."

I don't see manufacturers using it (except the enthusiast ones like Alienware) until prices drop. G

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