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'[OT] PC recommendation for gaming?'
2012\10\07@151246 by PICdude

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Perhaps an odd place to ask, but I suspect many of you will know  still... I'm not a gamer, but I need to get a PC for setting up a  racing simulator game.  However, I'm out of touch with current PC  hardware, especially graphics cards, sound cards, etc.

I'm looking at one of a few racing games, such as LFS.  I expect I'll  go with an i5 processor, perhaps 4 or 8GB RAM, and WinXP, but can any  of you recommend a decent graphics card and sound card for this?  I  understand some mobos come with 5.1 sound on-board nowadays, so  perhaps that enough, but I expect I'd need way more than anything  on-board for graphics.

Also, though I'd prefer individual components (no case) so I can mount  directly into the simulator seat/dash, would I be better getting  something COTS/consumer from a chain store, etc?

Cheers,
-Neil.

2012\10\07@165911 by Picbits Sales

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Personally after many years in IT (both sales and support) I always have advised people to buy a games machine (i.e. Xbox 360) for playing games on and a PC for doing work on.

The problem with using a PC as a games machine is that the newest software always seems to be pushing for the latest hardware. The latest hardware always seems to cost at least as much as a good games machine !

At least with a dedicated games machine, the software has to make the most of the hardware available to it.

Highly unlikely that the latest hardware will be supported effectively in XP either as it is an aging OS and support is being dropped by Microsoft for it in the near future.
Just my 2c / 1.3p

Dom

{Original Message removed}

2012\10\07@184627 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Oct 7, 2012, at 1:59 PM, Picbits Sales wrote:

> I always have advised people to buy a games machine (i.e. Xbox 360) for playing games on and a PC for doing work on.

Aren't the "latests" games machines falling pretty far behind the current PCs?  I mean, no major new technology in the XB360 since 2003, right?

My son games a lot, and my general impression is that "gamer PCs" are a lot like "audiophile hifi."
We've always been satisfied with a midrange pc with midrange graphics card.  Note that a "midrange graphics card" nowadays has more memory than the entire xbox360…  But we've never done the "multiple 30inch monitors running at 2560x1600 resolution", either.  (There seem to be a lot fewer general graphics card technologies than there used to be.  ATI or NVidia; pick your price range.)

For any particular game, there's likely to be numerous forum discussions where people recommend or dis-recommend their particular graphics/sound setup..

BillW

2012\10\07@191118 by PICdude

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This is definitely PC only, as we intend to run additional software on  it to get data from the game, and stream it out serially.  These games  work well on PC's, but the recommendations from the games forums seem  to be in the order of "... it works great on my gazillion-dollar,  20-processor, 10x overclocked, 64GB RAM, nitrogen-cooled machine...".   IE: they're serious games with over-dedicated machines, and I'm sure  we won't anywhere near that much.

Cheers,
-Neil.


Quoting Picbits Sales <spam_OUTsalesTakeThisOuTspampicbits.co.uk>:

> Personally after many years in IT (both sales and support) I always have
> advised people to buy a games machine (i.e. Xbox 360) for playing games on
> and a PC for doing work on.
> ...

2012\10\07@193050 by Bob Blick

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iRacing works fine on my i5 laptop (win7 64bit) that has a GeForce 310M
card. That's about as low-end that unshared-memory video can get.

Cheers,

Bob


On Sun, Oct 7, 2012, at 12:12 PM, PICdude wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2012\10\07@195059 by peter green

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PICdude wrote:

> Perhaps an odd place to ask, but I suspect many of you will know  
> still... I'm not a gamer, but I need to get a PC for setting up a  
> racing simulator game.  However, I'm out of touch with current PC  
> hardware, especially graphics cards, sound cards, etc.
>
> I'm looking at one of a few racing games, such as LFS.  I expect I'll  
> go with an i5 processor, Sounds reasonable though perhaps a little overkill. I personally
game on a pentium G850 (not sure of the exact model offhand) at the moment.

>perhaps 4 or 8GB RAM, It's overkill but ram is so cheap now I don't see a lot of point
in dropping in less than 8GB nowadays unless you are really tight
on money.


> and WinXP, I wouldn't generally reccomend XP for a new gaming build at this point. XP 32-bit is limited to 4GB of physical address space This means you end up with less than 4GB of usable ram. How much less depends on how much address space other hardware takes up. I've
seen one system where it was only 2.5GB due to the graphics card
eating up a lot of address space. Windows XP proffessional x64
edition (which is really a version of windows 2003 under the hood) while a fine OS was not so widely supported.
Also be aware that the gaming world is moving towards directx 10 or 11 and XP only supports directx 9. Most games do still h
ave a directx 9 rendering mode but some are now increasing the minimum OS requirement to vista or even win7.

On the other hand if your games and associated software aren't
too memory hungry, you already have a suitable XP license
and you either know you will never be changing games or you are prepared to do a full reinstall if you do need a newer game then you may be ok with XP.


> but can any  
> of you recommend a decent graphics card and sound card for this?  I  
> understand some mobos come with 5.1 sound on-board nowadays, so  
> perhaps that enough,
Yeah, the days when games could get significant benefit from hardware mixing in soundcards are over. Onboard is fine nowadays unless you
need super high quality output.

>  but I expect I'd need way more than anything on-board for graphics.
>   What I generally do is look at the "reccomended" specs for the games I want to play and aim slightly above them. I don't go too overboard
on the graphics because they are easy to upgrade later.

Unfortunately graphics cards are a mess of inconsistent naming, so once you decide roughly what price/capability range you want to be in you will spend a lot of time looking at benchmarks and suppliers
websites figuring out which cards are good value in that range Back
when I last bought a card I found the geforce GT 430 was a good budget option but things may well have changed since then.

Also note that intels graphics are now integrated in the CPU so the
CPU you choose determined what integrated graphics you get. The have
also been getting better recently . The GT 430 I mentioned above is about 40% better than intel's best integrated graphics (the HD 4000).

http://hothardware.com/Reviews/Intel-Core-i73770K-Ivy-Bridge-Processor-Review/?page=11

Another component you didn't mention but I will is the power supply.
I'd generally be looking in the 600W range from a reputable vendor
like corsair, antec or seasonic. This will give you the headroom
to use pretty much any single socket graphics card now or in the
future without worrying about it's power requirements. ..

2012\10\08@102210 by V G

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On Sun, Oct 7, 2012 at 3:12 PM, PICdude <.....picdude3KILLspamspam@spam@narwani.org> wrote:

> Perhaps an odd place to ask, but I suspect many of you will know
> still... I'm not a gamer, but I need to get a PC for setting up a
> racing simulator game.  However, I'm out of touch with current PC
> hardware, especially graphics cards, sound cards, etc.
>
> I'm looking at one of a few racing games, such as LFS.  I expect I'll
> go with an i5 processor, perhaps 4 or 8GB RAM, and WinXP, but can any
> of you recommend a decent graphics card and sound card for this?  I
> understand some mobos come with 5.1 sound on-board nowadays, so
> perhaps that enough, but I expect I'd need way more than anything
> on-board for graphics.
>
> Also, though I'd prefer individual components (no case) so I can mount
> directly into the simulator seat/dash, would I be better getting
> something COTS/consumer from a chain store, etc?
>
>
I can tell you exactly what to get, and it can all be had for much less
than $1000.

Currently, as much as I'd hate to say it, Intel is producing slightly
"faster" CPUs than AMD. The newer Intel motherboard chipsets are also doing
quite well.

What I have (just for reference):
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600k
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 PRO (the P67 chipset is pretty good).
RAM: 24GB (I need to run several VMs, and I don't want to be swapping do
disk).
Mass storage: 2 x OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSDs in motherboard RAID 0
configuration. The motherboard "fake" RAID on the P67 chipset is reliable.
If your motherboard fails, any standard Intel RST capable board (like the
P67) will be able to use your drives without any problem. The performance
is excellent.
Video Card: AMD HD6950

What I recommend you should get:
OS: Don't use Windows XP. It's unsupported by Microsoft and a lot of
software is abandoning support for it. If you insist on Windows, get
Windows 7 or 8 which will be released in a few weeks.
CPU: I recommend you get an i7, but an i5 is fine for your application.
Video Card: Graphics processing is the most important thing for gaming, so
get an AMD HD7970 which costs about $400. It's the top of the line single
GPU card from AMD. If you want to go nVidia, get the GTX680. They're
comparable in performance for gaming, but the AMD card is far better for
GPU programming. I don't like nVidia due to their business practices, so I
always recommend AMD.
Motherboard: It's always good to get a board with SLI capability in my
opinion, so you can stick a second video card in there for double the
performance down the road.
Mass storage: SSDs are always good. OCZ Vertex 4s are excellent.
You don't need a separate sound card. Any half decent motherboard will have
more than sufficient integrated surround sound

2012\10\08@102950 by V G

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On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 10:21 AM, V G <x.solarwind.xspamKILLspamgmail.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Further:

As Peter Green mentioned, a good power supply is important too. A 750W 80+
certified supply is what I have.

But don't trust recommended specs. If you want to crank the graphics up to
max on games, you NEED a good video card and the AMD HD7970 is what you
should get. Don't even think about integrated motherboard graphics or the
new CPUs with graphics processing built in. Also I'd say 8GB of RAM is the
minimum.

Don't listen to anyone suggesting ancient GT430 or 310m graphics. This will
seriously disappoint you

2012\10\08@134835 by PICdude

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I've really only purchased laptops over the past decade or so, as I'm
everywhere.  I keep a netbook in my glovebox, plus my regular laptop with
me at most times.  Graphics is not a strongpoint on most laptops, hence my
unfamiliarity with these cards.

Had to look this up, but yes this 310M is older, and I can see much faster
available nowadays.  I also found this, which is quite helpful in deciding
if any cards I come across will perform decently...
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/video_lookup.php?cpu=GeForce+310M

Thanks,
-Neil.



[Hide Quoted Text]
iRacing works fine on my i5 laptop (win7 64bit) that has a GeForce 310M
card. That's about as low-end that unshared-memory video can get.

Cheers,

Bob


On Sun, Oct 7, 2012, at 12:12 PM, PICdude wrote:
Perhaps an odd place to ask, but I suspect many of you will know
still... I'm not a gamer, but I need to get a PC for setting up a
racing simulator game.  However, I'm out of touch with current PC
hardware, especially graphics cards, sound cards, etc.

I'm looking at one of a few racing games, such as LFS.  I expect I'll
go with an i5 processor, perhaps 4 or 8GB RAM, and WinXP, but can any
of you recommend a decent graphics card and sound card for this?  I
understand some mobos come with 5.1 sound on-board nowadays, so
perhaps that enough, but I expect I'd need way more than anything
on-board for graphics.

Also, though I'd prefer individual components (no case) so I can mount
directly into the simulator seat/dash, would I be better getting
something COTS/consumer from a chain store, etc?

Cheers,
-Neil.

2012\10\08@135537 by PICdude

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PICdude wrote:

>> I'm looking at one of a few racing games, such as LFS.  I expect I'll
>> go with an i5 processor,
> Sounds reasonable though perhaps a little overkill. I personally game on a
> pentium G850 (not sure of the exact model offhand) at the
> moment.

i5 seems to be the bang for the buck nowadays, so I might still go that
way.  I don't mind spending a bit more (than say, and i3) if it's worth
it, as it'll just extend the time to obsolesence.


> I wouldn't generally reccomend XP for a new gaming build at this point. XP
> 32-bit is limited to 4GB of physical address space This
> means you end up with less than 4GB of usable ram. ...

I was actually thinking XP because it's more "proven" (stability) than
Win7, and uses less resources.  But yes, I had not considered the 4GB
limit.  Actually the laptop on I'm now has 3GB, but as soon as I get to
the 2GB mark (in Task Manager), the computer bogs down noticeably.  WinXP
BTW.  Win 7 is fine.

FWIW, stability is of utmost importance here, and I don't mind spending
more to get it, as long as I know what it is I'm spending on that will get
me that stability.  Newer is generally not better for stability though, as
I've learned with OS'es and mobile phones.



> Also be aware that the gaming world is moving towards directx
> 10 or 11 and XP only supports directx 9. Most games do still have a  
> directx 9 rendering mode but some are now increasing the
> minimum OS requirement to vista or even win7.

Was not aware of this.



> On the other hand if your games and associated software aren't
> too memory hungry, you already have a suitable XP license
> and you either know you will never be changing games or you
> are prepared to do a full reinstall if you do need a newer
> game then you may be ok with XP.

Not sure how much memory the game will require, but someone on a forum
eluded to even 2GB being fine.  I don't have an XP license for the machine and
it won't be transferrable, so I'll be getting the license for this
specific machine.




> Yeah, the days when games could get significant benefit from hardware mixing
> in soundcards are over. Onboard is fine nowadays unless you
> need super high quality output.

I don't.  No 5.1 etc necessary, as I'll only have a couple speakers
flanking the driver's head.



>> but I expect I'd need way more than anything on-board for graphics.
>
> What I generally do is look at the "reccomended" specs for the games ...
I found no graphics recommendation for this game.  Just 1GHz or better
processor, and that too is questionable as my question on the LFS forum
seems to indicate a 1.8GHz atom mini-ITX (which I have laying around) may
need to be overclocked for decent performance.  I won't bother doing that,
and I'll just get something better/dedicated.




> Unfortunately graphics cards are a mess of inconsistent naming, so
> once you decide roughly what price/capability range you want to be
> in ...

Lets say $50, or even $100 is fine for the graphics card.  And from the
list I just found, that should be plenty for something decent...
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/video_lookup.php?cpu=GeForce+310M




> Also note that intels graphics are now integrated in the CPU so the
> ...

Was not aware of that.  Thought it was on the mobo or chipset, but not in
the CPU.  My laptop lifestyle has told me however, that onboard graphics
(on laptops specifically) suck for gaming, so I was projecting that to
desktops, and even felt that it would be worse for desktops as those are
generally expected to carry separate graphics cards.



> Another component you didn't mention but I will is the power supply.
> I'd generally be looking in the 600W range from a reputable vendor
> ...

Sounds good.

Thanks,
-Neil.

2012\10\08@154458 by Neil

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Ouch -- that's a significant difference in graphics card.  I want this for just this one game and nothing else.  It will be part of a tradeshow display for 3 days, then sit in a corner until another trade show.  My ex-robokids (who are in college now) are open to upgrading it to a force-dynamics type racing sim later.  But that's it -- no other games, etc..

I've got recommendations for an HD6850, which is ~$150 or a EVGA GeForce GT640 2GB at ~$105.  Quite a big difference from $400, so I really need to ask if I need that much.  I found a benchmark on the HD6850 of 2745 (passmark) vs. 3057 for the HD6950 you're using.  The HD7970 comes in at 3939.  These numbers are way higher than I'm hearing that I need though.

I think the pieces settling in place right now are i5, win7, 8GB. I'm not familiar with SLI, but I like the idea of being able to run 2 video cards, so later we can upgrade to a 3-monitor setup, if we wish.  For now, we'll be using a HDTV/monitor.  I notice these graphics cards don't do VGA, but I can use HDMI.

Also, FWIW, Win XP is still supported for another couple years IIRC.  But I agree with not using it, due to RAM limitations.

Cheers,
-Neil.


On 10/8/2012 10:21 AM, V G wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> more than sufficient integrated surround sound.

2012\10\08@160014 by V G

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On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 3:44 PM, Neil <EraseMEpicdude3spam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTnarwani.org> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Trust me on this, PassMark is not a good benchmark, ESPECIALLY for video
cards. Never trust synthetic benchmarks. You need to look at real world
game benchmarks. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/549?vs=547  If
you're on a tighter budget, the 7850 ($200) is what you need. I really
wouldn't go anything lower than that and still call the computer a "game
machine". You can do your own research, just don't go for the older AMD
HD6000 series, as the newer 7000 series is out.

AMD's technology is called CrossFire (not SLI). For either one though, you
need to make sure that your motherboard chipset supports it, and obviously
needs to have at least two PCI-e x16 slots. This will add to the cost of
the motherboard. So you have to choose between a more expensive single card
or a more expensive motherboard, and potential problems with SLI/CrossFire
down the road. I'd personally just get a good single card and a non-sli
motherboard if you don't want to bother with all this.

Don't worry about stability. As long as you get a decent motherboard and
video card and power supply, you'll be fine

2012\10\08@170648 by Neil

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Okay, I got another link now, with real-world data for this actual game... http://lfsbench.iron.eu.org/?c=completemin

As I understand it, 30 FPS is fine, 60 is good.  But I'm seeing 600+ FPS with a GTX 560 1GB card.  The processors seem to be overclocked however, which I prefer not to do for stability.  Much to think of still, but it's a very enlightening data set.  And yes, this supports Win7 as the way to go, rather than XP.

I'm not familiar with the specifics of passmark, but it seemed to be a popular benchmark for these cards, so made it easier to compare.  Yes I still need to figure out the motherboard slots, etc.  I'm still trying to determine if my mobo should have LGA1155 or LGA1156 sockets for example, to support an i5 processor.  Sucks being out of touch, but I'm catching up.

BTW, I don't care to call it a gaming machine.  As long as it runs this simulator fine, I'd be happy to call it an ostrich. :)

BTW2, VG, I formed an impression of you some time ago as a college student who'd prefer to build things rather than buy, to save a few bucks, as with most college kids.  I'm surprised that you have this much horsepower for gaming.  :)

Cheers,
-Neil.


On 10/8/2012 3:59 PM, V G wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> video card and power supply, you'll be fine.

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