What specs for a solid, modern computer?

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What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Sandro » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:53 pm

Hey all,

My current 7yo desktop computer is slowly getting too old for my personnal use: it cannot run the latest mods and the biggest maps without lags, and the most modern engines don't run anymore... (Besides, the HDD is 99% full so I need at least 2To more)
I am considering buying a new one within the next weeks ; with good specs so I won't have to worry about lauching the most demanding mods, or even some modern games without lags.

I guess Doom 4 or GTA5 ran smoothly is fine enough for me... ? I don't know any of the nowadays games with stunning graphics, but basically I want to be able to play most of them (eerm not necessarily the very latest ones of course, I have no money for that...).
My question is: What specs are good enough for the use I want ? (GZDoom mods is what I play(ed) the most, but I also want to try games I can't run actually with my actual pc)

I have to confess I am really confused about hardware stuff and the good/bad companies.
- Should I buy a branded computer or build it myself? (ratio price/quality?)
- Intel? AMD? NVIDIA? What do you recommend and what do you not?
- Win10 or 7? (currently on 7 and like it, but is it not getting old now?)

- I also consider buying a new HD screen : which company to avoid? Which one do you recommend?
- Also, LED/OLED/LCD/whatever... I have no clue about what is what: any advice?

I'm not asking you guys to do my part of the work, I simply would like some advices to not being rip off and to get less confused when the time to choose comes.

Anyway, thank you for any of your help! Cheers! :wub:

P.S: I live in western Europe, and I've a budget of, say, 1500€ maximum? (screen included...), but if I can put lower price that would be muuuch better.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby wildweasel » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:36 pm

If you have the skill to build a machine yourself (it's a lot easier now than it was twenty years ago, especially with sites like PCPartPicker to help you pick components that are compatible) then you're saving at least half the cost of a pre built machine right there. You can build much more of a machine for your 1500 than any manufacturer will sell you at the same price.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby RexS » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:39 pm

For my new rig I got an i7-8700k with 64GB of DDR4 and a GTX 1060. I'm running everything Ultra in 3840x2160 and VR works perfect, but I did have to turn resolution scaling down a tiny bit in Soul Calibur VI and Quake Champions at this level (to like 90% instead of 100%) since I didn't get the 1070 or 1080. It's not worth getting a Geforce 20xx for me just yet, I may wait for 30xx or for the prices to drop. I had a few AMD processors and video cards, and hated them with a passion. I also hated Catalyst with a passion. So I have a bit of bias in my preference for companies, but I can't personally recommend anything they make after all my terrible experiences with their products. You probably only need like 32GB of RAM for now, and generally people recommend i5 over i7 because the i7 is overkill and only a few games really benefit from it. The i7 really shines in things like compiling and stuff, not really gaming.

For the record, my 960 ate Doom 4 alive in 2160x1440, but the second I upgraded to a 4k (3840x2160) screen, my frame rate nose-dived and I had to get that 1060.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Rachael » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:24 pm

Really, the best answer to this question is: Go with the biggest parts you can afford. The longer you can wait before you upgrade again, the more money you will save in the long run. There's diminishing returns to that, obviously, when you go for cutting edge stuff - so try to avoid that if you're on a budget. (i.e. don't buy a threadripper and NVidia's newest ever card with 64 gigs of RAM and a 2TB SSD - that's insane! and will probably break the bank quicker than you can blink)

Here are the specs I consider most important:
  • RAM - 16 gigs or more. This is by far the most important, more than anything, in terms of performance with modern games, and even to some extent GZDoom, as long as you have things running in the background. 32 gig is better if you can afford it.
  • Solid State Drive - Sorry but this one is absolutely essential. You can get by with a regular spinner drive, but they're awfully slow. You should continue using a spinner drive for long-term storage of large amounts of data (such as photos, movie collection, etc), but the operating system and the games you use the most should always be on a SSD.
  • GPU. This comes third for many reasons, because OS thrashing will destroy performance quicker than anything, and the above two items fix that to a great extent, but it is also still way more important than the majority of components you will put in the system. Get an NVidia GTX 10xx series if you can afford it - they're the second-best cards on the market right now (since they've already advanced a generation), but they will still last you a very long time. If not, the GTX 9xx series is still pretty good, but it's getting out of date very quickly.
  • CPU. This is fourth on the list because most games these days are not CPU-locked, and even GZDoom will be less and less CPU-locked in the future. It's still important to get a decent CPU though, go with at least a quad-core i7 from within the last few years if you can afford it. This one is more flexible than the other 3 items on this list though, but still, it will affect things depending on what you choose here.
  • After the above 4 items, everything else you put in the system is fairly flexible - just don't get technology from more than 10 years ago to fill out the rest of the components.

This list will probably run you at least $600 USD at a bare minimum if you go with all new parts. If you can get used parts - even better. But like I said - you'll save money in the long run if you can get at least second- or third-gen parts as they will still last you a few years and you'll get plenty of life out of them.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby drfrag » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:38 pm

Slightly unrelated but i've found a ddr2 memory module for 1€ and i've upgraded my ram from 2 to 3 gb and everything is much better now. Performance was awful before (VS sometimes took 10 minutes to load). This is a core2 duo with win 8.1. Night and day difference.
So i think to some extent ram is more important than a ssd drive (it's better to have both).
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Graf Zahl » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:42 pm

Sandro wrote:- Win10 or 7? (currently on 7 and like it, but is it not getting old now?)


You won't be able to install 7 on a recent CPU because some of the drivers only exist for 10. That aside, 7 is indeed getting old with some more modern hardware and may become a problem, especially since it doesn't have DX12.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Graf Zahl » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:45 pm

drfrag wrote: So i think to some extent ram is more important than a ssd drive (it's better to have both).


It depends. On your system for sure, because you essentially went from extremely understuffed to very understuffed in the RAM department.
Unless you run a recent AAA game at maximum settings 8 GB will most likely be sufficient, but I wouldn't buy anything below 16 GB anymore, it'd be like throwing away money.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Rachael » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:06 pm

Graf Zahl wrote:
drfrag wrote: So i think to some extent ram is more important than a ssd drive (it's better to have both).


It depends. On your system for sure, because you essentially went from extremely understuffed to very understuffed in the RAM department.
Unless you run a recent AAA game at maximum settings 8 GB will most likely be sufficient, but I wouldn't buy anything below 16 GB anymore, it'd be like throwing away money.

drfrag is right - RAM is WAY more important than what you are using for your hard drive, which is why I put it first in my list. But these days going from 2 to 3 gigs is not much difference, you are going to get a metric fuckton of thrashing from the OS either way, unless you are an absolute stickler about what you run in the background (then you MIGHT get away with it - maybe!!). Of course that means web browser - forget about it! Those things eat up RAM quicker than you can feed them.

But I do agree - anything less than 16 gigs nowadays is pretty much throwing away money. In 2-3 years I expect 32 will be standard.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby RexS » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:27 pm

I agree with the above, but there are still a few games that can have quite a bit of effect from single core performance on a CPU. X-Plane 11 comes to mind. Although, I guess that isn't really a game...
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby SHayden » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:47 am

My rig is fairly average if anyone cares :geek:
4 cores I5 2.8 Ghz
8 Gb ram
Gtx 1050 Ti G1
500Gb HDD
60 Gb SSD

I can run most of the recent games (such as DOOM 2016) on at least medium settings, but...yeah I might need upgrade in nearer future.
I've been told that it's old and that it couldn't run games such as GTA V or DOOM but it's fairly good I don't feel that it's underpowered or anything and I built it fairly cheap-ish...
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby Graf Zahl » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:56 am

I'd say that actually is a bit underpowered on basically all accounts and definitely not something one should look out to buy these days.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby wildweasel » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:09 am

SHayden wrote:My rig is fairly average if anyone cares :geek:
4 cores I5 2.8 Ghz
8 Gb ram
Gtx 1050 Ti G1
500Gb HDD
60 Gb SSD

I can run most of the recent games (such as DOOM 2016) on at least medium settings, but...yeah I might need upgrade in nearer future.
I've been told that it's old and that it couldn't run games such as GTA V or DOOM but it's fairly good I don't feel that it's underpowered or anything and I built it fairly cheap-ish...

You could probably keep that rolling for another few years just by upgrading the RAM. The CPU might also be a potential weak point down the line, depending on which generation of i5 it is; if it's a 4000-series or newer, you might be okay for a bit longer, but I'm seeing games that require the 4000s and newer now, so anything less might not be workable.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby SHayden » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:12 am

wildweasel wrote:
SHayden wrote:My rig is fairly average if anyone cares :geek:
4 cores I5 2.8 Ghz
8 Gb ram
Gtx 1050 Ti G1
500Gb HDD
60 Gb SSD

I can run most of the recent games (such as DOOM 2016) on at least medium settings, but...yeah I might need upgrade in nearer future.
I've been told that it's old and that it couldn't run games such as GTA V or DOOM but it's fairly good I don't feel that it's underpowered or anything and I built it fairly cheap-ish...

You could probably keep that rolling for another few years just by upgrading the RAM. The CPU might also be a potential weak point down the line, depending on which generation of i5 it is; if it's a 4000-series or newer, you might be okay for a bit longer, but I'm seeing games that require the 4000s and newer now, so anything less might not be workable.


It is indeed I5-4440S
But as I said, I built it fairly cheap since I'm a student and I literally worked about a month and got all second-hand components, and in fact all works well, only gpu was fresh from the store.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby drfrag » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:50 pm

Rachael wrote:But these days going from 2 to 3 gigs is not much difference, you are going to get a metric fuckton of thrashing from the OS either way

Actually there's a massive difference, this was a memory-starving machine and it's an extra 50%. It's the maximum for a 32 bit system and 1 GB more for the OS (up to only 2 GB per process). 32 bit applications actually require less memory to run.
With more ram you also get more disk cache and you can hibernate to keep that disk cache. Also i think SSDs are up to 5 times faster than an HDD and ram is still several orders of magnitude faster than any drive. SSDs also have serious limitations and on a low ram machine you'd end trashing the SSD with virtual memory. But of course when there's enough ram a solid drive will give you even better performance.
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Re: What specs for a solid, modern computer?

Postby SHayden » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:58 am

Speaking of SSD I have a question. My OS is installed on HDD and I'm not sure if 60 Gb SSD is enough size to install OS on it..?
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