View Full Version : Recommended PC Build

Caleb Watson
27-09-2011, 04:34 PM

I am a student heading to university next year.

I will be studying a BCMS(Bachelor of Computing a Mathematical Science), I love my computer and use it every waking second of the day.

I love to multitask and often run multiple programs at once.

I will be buying a new computer (either custom built or ready made) at the end of this year and was wondering what hardware the computing community would recommend. I would as a computer store, but I know they would recommend whatever costs more so I think this is the best place to go.

About Me and My Computer Use:

Frequently Used Programs

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Thunderbird

MSN Messenger

World of Warcraft


The Sims 3


Overall I want a computer that is going to run fast, for a long time and multitask without a second thought. I also want my computer that won't become out of date too fast.

What kind of specs (eg RAM, graphics ect.) would you recommend I buy?

Caleb Watson

27-09-2011, 05:31 PM
Do you want a desktop or laptop?

Caleb Watson
27-09-2011, 05:48 PM
Just to be annoying I would rather a desktop just because they are cheaper but if I could get a laptop I would look into it

Speedy Gonzales
27-09-2011, 05:52 PM
Doesnt really matter what you get. Sooner or later it'll be out of date. Probably the year after

Caleb Watson
27-09-2011, 06:00 PM
Haha yea, but I was just more interested in what sort of hardware a "fast" computer has today :p

27-09-2011, 06:10 PM
Probably cheaper for you to get a laptop- I think the laptop saved me in Uni and would recommend one over a desktop anyway. Countless long nights in the library writing assignments.

A computer is in date as long as it works- I use a MacBook Pro at work but I've got a 4 year old Vaio that sits in the lounge and I use it for browsing, photoshop/dreamweaver and the odd W3 game- It's a 1.7GHz Celeron w/2GB RAM and Vista. It works fine and will continue to :)

Caleb Watson
27-09-2011, 06:14 PM
Yea, that's what I was thinking... I would love a laptop because it can be easily carried around.

But desktops are generally cheaper and more reliable, aren't they?

Plus, I have had a TERRIBLE experience with my current laptop which is nearly dead after two and a half years

27-09-2011, 06:53 PM
That's generally true but if you buy a from an online retailer you will get a much better laptop for a better price (when compared to normal retailers). Esp. if you buy a Asus laptop (which you won't normally see in shops apart from eeepc's).

Caleb Watson
27-09-2011, 07:01 PM
So a laptop is better than a desktop if you buy it online from someone like Dell?

Where would an Alienware laptop vs. Alienware desktop vs. rest of the world fit into the mix

27-09-2011, 07:05 PM
I will be buying a new computer (either custom built or ready made). I would as a computer store, but I know they would recommend whatever costs more so I think this is the best place to go.

Overall I want a computer that is going to run fast, for a long time and multitask without a second thought. I also want my computer that won't become out of date too fast.
Wrong. **** PC shops will sell you what costs more. Good ones sell you what you need.

Get a desktop - then you'll never have to buy one again. Well, for a long time anyway. You just upgrade it ever after.
Unlike laptops, which can't be.

And you want gaming capability. So that means it will last 5 minutes, gaming is what drives the hardware industry.
Most important in order:
The rest

Take a look at what computerlounge has. They know what they're talking about, will sell you what you need, allow you to make changes to their suggested systems, and provide proper decent support and warranty.

Caleb Watson
27-09-2011, 07:07 PM
That's what I always thought.
Would going somewhere like ComputerLounge be better than for example Dell online customisation?

27-09-2011, 07:13 PM
Yes. Don't buy from dell or hp (Esp. Compaq). They're just bad...
Alienware = dell with some lights, blackboard paint and an extended price tag.

Caleb Watson
27-09-2011, 08:23 PM
So my best bet is to buy a desktop from somewhere like computer lounge?
But IF I was to go for a laptop, what would be the best idea then?
Thanks for the help

28-09-2011, 07:57 AM
Most of the programs you list are not too demanding, world of warcraft can be if you have it at high res and ultra settings - for 1080P ultra in WoW you need about a GTX560 or better.
I would reccomend an i5 or i7 for maximum useful life of current hardware, ie will last the longest until it needs upgrading.

If you can afford it I'd go for;
Z68 chipset asus motherboard
i5 2500/2500k or i7 2600/2600k ( K is the overclockable version )
4~8GB RAM - not too important what speed honestly
GTX560 Ti or 6850
hard drive to suit your requirements, SSD boot drive is nice but expensive if you like fast startup consider one.

For a laptop get an one with an i5 and graphics with it's own dedicated RAM, refer to the chart on this page http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-performance-radeon-geforce,3018-7.html to get an Idea of graphics performance.
You can get away with less in a laptop due to the generally lower res screen.

You can build a really small desktop if portability is an issue, ITX boards and cases can handle real hardware these days.
As an example my media PC in the lounge is built in a silverstone Sugo SG06 ITX case which is really small and its specs are pretty good :-
i5 2500, 4GB DDR3 -1600 RAM, 320GB laptop 2.5" C: drive, 2TB 3.5" storage drive, slim Blu-ray Drive, GTX460 1GB - gets a bit cramped in there but it's all working very nicely and no laptop could touch it :)

28-09-2011, 08:26 AM
Personally I'd wait till next month to see where pricing for the new FX series will settle. I suspect they'll be the better option in the immediate term for mid-range performance.

28-09-2011, 08:36 AM
A blanket statement saying all of one brand is bad is just rubbish. A bit like saying ALL Mazda's are bad
All PC brands make Excellent & occasional dodgy PC's .
Buy the cheapest, expect the cheapest. HP make some Excellent PC's (the business class PC's), as do Dell(although Dell can be quite painfull to deal with after) .

Personally , I would recomend a mid size tower PC. With a full size std ATX PSU
Not a ITX. Ive sen too many SFF pc's that dont take a standard power supply meaning the whole case & PSU has to be replaced when the PSU fails. ALso SFF(small PC's) can be a b8gger to try & work on.

In general, laptops: cost more, are slower, arnt as reliable, can be VERY expensive to repair .
Try & get something with a manufacturers 3 year warranty .
If buying from a local PC builder & they only offer one years warranty, go somewhere else.

28-09-2011, 09:35 AM
I agree with 1101, standard parts are the best option for future compatibility and service options. I wasn't actually advocating ITX as a first choice, just pointing out you can go small if you want to.
SFF PSU's are available and can be replaced by the way, I upgraded mine to a 450W to handle the GTX460 just in the last few weeks. They are definately harder to get hold of and more expensive however.

The 3 year warranty is nice, but if you buy local the consumer garauntees act does cover you as well. Also the parts generally have 3-5 year manufacturer warranties individually. Certainly better if the whole thing has a 3yr warranty of course.

28-09-2011, 11:10 AM
Daughters started with standard laptops at uni but they later opted for a 14" and a netbook

15.6" laptops are rather unwieldy. If one is getting a laptop at all, it's for portability - so make it portable! Get something less than 15.6" IMHO

For a "desktop", personally I am attracted to Dugimodo's Silverstone ITX solution now that we have fast-and-cool CPUs like i5-2500

(Note: some flats or boarding establishments don't allow "desktops")

Caleb Watson
28-09-2011, 03:02 PM
I know HP has made some GREAT computers, I still have a running HP desktop from years ago, and my laptop is still running, haha.

I will be waiting until the end of this year to get a new computer so I will wait for those new parts.

I'm thinking I'll see what happens at the end of the year, might get a custom built desktop or go for a nice laptop.

Thanks everyone for the help, you've all been great!

28-09-2011, 03:34 PM
A blanket statement saying all of one brand is bad is just rubbish. A bit like saying ALL Mazda's are bad
All Mazdas are bad.:devil

Actually Acer for instance - I've never yet seen an Acer that didn't have an ECS motherboard in it. All ECS boards are ****.

There are places that tend to stick with the more reliable brands of parts and don't just stuff whatever random thing in their builds. These are mainly the bettter PC shops and certainly not the likes of Comapq an Dell and so on.

And Caleb - because your HP is fine after a while doesn't make it great. There are a number of ECS motherboards sill going too - but overall the failure rate is way too high for them to qualify as good.
Thats the point.

This PC is supposed to be for gaming, I'd sure want quality, I'd want ease of upgrading and I'd want reliable. But then I'm weird like that.

28-09-2011, 03:41 PM
What I don't like about HP, particularly the desktop models, is how proprietary and virtually impossible to upgrade they are.
The last one I opened up had room for a 2nd hard drive and that was the sum total of your options. Non standard design for MB, Case, PSU, means you can never re-use these parts for anything.
I haven't seen inside other name brands to comment on those, I generally build from stadard parts.

Caleb Watson
28-09-2011, 03:42 PM
So the best idea would be to go for a custom built mid to full tower?

28-09-2011, 06:08 PM
So the best idea would be to go for a custom built mid to full tower?
Go for a full tower you might aswell unless you don't have much space, computerlounge and playtec is what i'd recommend. Both offer good service and they can answer all your questions if you go in person to order.

Caleb Watson
28-09-2011, 07:07 PM
How does this quote from ComputerLounge look?


It will cost around $4,000

Over the top?

28-09-2011, 07:41 PM
Awesome gear, up to you if it's over the top.
There are several places you could save money if you decide it's too much, for example in currrent games the difference between 2500K and 2600K is basically nothing as hyperthreading really doesn't help games and 8GB is plenty of RAM.

But the gear you linked is probably good for quite a while if you're going for future proofing.

Caleb Watson
28-09-2011, 07:45 PM
Well I was thinking of losing some specs to get some more pretty lights since that is what appeals to me in terms of Alienware haha.

Thanks for the feedback, I think I'll go with that one.

28-09-2011, 07:52 PM
NZXT Phantom :drool
Nice choice, best looking case made to date imo.

Caleb Watson
28-09-2011, 08:08 PM
NZXT Phantom :drool
Nice choice, best looking case made to date imo.

TOTALLY! Best looking case I have EVER seen.
I'm thinking of getting some awesome lighting in there. White case, blue lights I think... But then black case with red lighting would be awesome too!

28-09-2011, 08:23 PM
They sell them overseas with red lights: http://www.amazon.com/NZXT-Crafted-Tower-Steel-Chassis/dp/B004MYC6O8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1317198153&sr=8-4. Dunno if you'll find one in nz. NZXT do sell "LED Rope" which is available all over the place. http://www.trademe.co.nz/computers/components/cases-power-supplies/cases/auction-411150791.htm I think there is red as well.

Caleb Watson
28-09-2011, 08:25 PM
Yea, I'm hoping ComputerLounge has the hardware at hand. If not, I might have to buy it and ship it to them or install it myself.

That blue lighting looks epic