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Advice on buying a Gaming PC

edited 27 June at 7:21AM in Gaming MoneySaving
23 replies 751 views
Narola1976Narola1976 Forumite
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edited 27 June at 7:21AM in Gaming MoneySaving
Please help a mum who knows nothing of these matters out..

DD, is nearly 18, in 2 weeks (eek) and intends to buy a gaming PC that she will be saving up and paying for. She has good part time job, earning over £600 and once she is 18 she will do full time hours now that college is closed. She will also use the PC for college as she is on a game design course. She has told me her budget is £2000 which I think is a shocking amount of money. I am not entirely sure she is clear on what to buy (she says she is!) and I do not want her to get ripped off or buy the wrong thing. I have said I do not think we should buy parts as neither she nor I or anyone we know has any knowledge of how to go about building a PC. So I am looking for specific guidance and advice on the following:

  • Where is the best place to buy a gaming PC?
  • What is a reasonable cost of a super duper one?
  • What specs should she be looking for, memory, graphics, processor etc 
She plays overwatch and games such as this on her PS4. Plus, she also needs to run Photoshop, Substance Painter and Real Engine Maya for college so the PC should be able to handle this too

Would be ever so grateful for advice please :)
Thank you

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Replies

  • ceremonyceremony Forumite
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    Building a PC used to be complicated, but it's not any more. There are websites such as PCPartPicker that allow people to choose components and it will tell you if the components that you're considering buying are incompatible with each other. 

    Putting them together is nothing more than playing a very expensive game of Lego. There are things that can go wrong if you rush or don't read the instructions, but personally I'd be inclined to let her go for it with the sincere warning that if anything goes wrong you're not bailing her out.  There are lots of guides she can watch online. There are forums devoted to building computers (even some of the manufacturers have their own forums and people on there can be blunt but the advice is good).

    Individual parts, if faulty, can still be sent back to the retailer or manufacturer for replacement.

    As for the price... it depends on the spec. It's entirely possible to build a machine for a small child to play Minecraft and Fortnite on for just a few hundred pounds. Running high-demand graphics applications and games would cost a lot more than that. Look at some of the completed builds on PC Part Picker - there are "good" PCs ranging from £1,200 to £2,300 or more... So she is targetting the higher end of the price range but without seeing her dream build it's tough to say whether she's wasting her money or she's just got very good taste in parts! If she's buying parts from good brands (MSI, Asus, Corsair, Crucial are some of the 'good' names), then that's a good start.

    If you were posting saying "My Son has been a PC gamer for years and he swears he's not wasting his money and said something about this card being worth it because RTX is superior" I would be telling you that he's right and that a "super duper" PC can cost that much. I'd say that it's worth buying very good parts because they can last for years. You can build an expensive "future proof" PC and it will work for a long time, upgrading little bits here and there as needed. Or you can build a "cheap" PC and it'll be OK but when you need to replace a part you'll find all the other parts are outdated as well and you need to rebuild the whole thing. In some ways that can be a false economy.

    I suggest you ask your daughter to put together a build in that site and then share it for feedback. I work in IT and am a gamer so I'd be happy to comment on the parts and I'm sure many other readers would too.

    If she's earning her own money and is willing to save up for the parts I think it sounds like she's pretty intelligent and motivated. Having the confidence to try a custom build is awesome. These days you don't save a lot of money doing it yourself, but it's still worth learning the skill in my opinion.
    Start Debt Jun 2020 = £10,036 - Current £7,689 | #324 £1,000 Emergency Fund Member - £115
  • ToxicWombleToxicWomble Forumite
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    Plenty of online companies-
    have personally used PCSpecialist on numerous occasions.
    Make full use of their forums for advice on specifications and budget etc.
    £2000 will get a pretty good spec although I suspect £1500 is doable with a few “minor” compromises.
    One of the biggest costs is the GPU which can run into £700+ easily 
  • Phil3822Phil3822 Forumite
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    Also a recommendation for PCSpecialist and also I suggest Palicomp. Have used both and got decent machines with great service.
  • jonnygee2jonnygee2 Forumite
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    Both PCSpecialist and Overclockers are very good websites for buying parts.

    She should build it herself, prebuilt gaming machines are usually a waste of money and building them is very simple.  £2000 is higher but not totally unreasonable, it's what I budget for a new gaming machine (although I earn a bit more than £600!).

    You can let her pick the parts, I bet she knows more than you think she does, and possibly than all us millennials and boomers :-). Personally, for 2k I'd go for a Ryzen 3900x processor and a GTX 2060 / 2060 Super.

    Make sure she understands the different SSD types and gets an M.2 SSD, not a SATA one, especially if she is recording streams because SATA ones might not be fast enough. 

    Probably the only other  advice, from a long term gamer to a newbie, is not to go too high end on the graphics card. I have done that before and really regretted it. By far the best value is to go for something in the £300 range, beyond that you pay a lot more for less and less performance boosts. Better to buy something midrange and upgrade more frequently, unless you can just afford a £600+ card every few years. So, I prefer to build a system with faster processor and midrange graphics card, then upgrade the graphics card in 3-4 years, getting total 8 years use from the gaming PC before needing to upgrade.
  • Narola1976Narola1976 Forumite
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    Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I will share your feedback and report back. She is going to be doing lots of overtime so she hopes to be able to buy in a couple of months. By the time she buys it she will be so tired. She also said she needs 2 monitors for her college stuff so that will be an extra cost. I must admit I admire gamers. She tried to get me to play and I just could not run and shoot at the same time. Oh for the days on supermario cartridge games lol. 
    Starting Total = £35156.29
    Current Total = £31793.19
    9% of debt paid off so far

    Debt Free by Christmas September August 2023!
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  • jonnygee2jonnygee2 Forumite
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    Oh for the days on supermario cartridge games lol. 

    Still the best games available!

  • baggy_eyedbaggy_eyed Forumite
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    The College aught to be giving you some idea of the spec needed.
    The software you need to use could change and leave her struggling.
    You could look at magazines like PC Pro and Custom PC. They may have run group tests on machines with relevant specs recently. Back copies usually available. They also have letters page to ask, they may even have prize for star letter.
  • JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
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    Should still be able to get a pretty good gaming specc and 2 monitors for £2,000 - as long as her expectations on monitor quality aren't too high - a 1920x1080 Full Hd 1080p 27" can be had for ~150-200 (up to ~400), two full 4k monitors may be out of her reach (and arguably unnecessary)
  • jonnygee2jonnygee2 Forumite
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    Should still be able to get a pretty good gaming specc and 2 monitors for £2,000 - as long as her expectations on monitor quality aren't too high - a 1920x1080 Full Hd 1080p 27" can be had for ~150-200

    It can be but I'd probably spend a bit more. As she is playing 1st person shooters I'd recommend buying a semi decent  140hz or even a 240hz 1080p monitor as the 'main' gaming screen, and then any old monitor for the second screen, which can just be used for chatboxes or uni work and stuff, to get the most out of the system.

  • JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
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    well i did say up to ~400 (but you cropped that bit off the quote)
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