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Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: rz
Date: November 21, 2022 09:50AM
My teenage son told me he wants a "gaming PC" for Xmas. He currently has a 2014 Mac Mini, and he mostly uses it to play Roblox and Minecraft. When I asked him specifically what games he wants to play on the PC, he says "I don't know."

He spends way too much time playing games on the computer, but he's very introverted, and his grades are good. I would much rather get him an Xbox or Playstation. He has an old Xbox 360, but he never plays on it anymore. Since he's used to playing "8-bit" type games, even the Xbox 360 has much better graphics than the games he spends all his time playing. I don't want to shell out a bunch of money on a computer where he'll just end up playing the same web-based games he can play on the mini.

I've already told him IF (and it's a big if) I buy him one, I will NOT be responsible for fixing issues with it. I'll make sure he runs virus protection, but any issues that pop up will be his responsibility. I work on PCs at work and have no interest in doing that crap at home.

Given that, what kind of stuff should I be looking for in a PC for gaming? I assume a pretty hefty graphics card and a bunch of memory are needed. I'm not looking for top-of-the-line. I saw a cheaper HP that has a six-core i5, with 8GB RAM, 256 SSD and a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 8GB video card for under $800. Another was a 10-core i7 with 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 video card for $1300. It would really help if he could tell me exactly what games he's looking to play. Hoping to get about 3 years out of it, which I know is a tall order. PCs are pretty much obsolete the day after you buy them, and keeping them crap-free for 3 years is nigh on impossible.
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: modelamac
Date: November 21, 2022 10:07AM
I think you need to push him -get him to be specific. He may just want one because he has heard that is the way to go. He needs to tell you his goals (with specifics) for you to do the best job for him. It is a teaching moment.



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: JoeH
Date: November 21, 2022 10:52AM
I agree on getting your son to have a better idea of what he wants to do on it. He may have specific games in mind, or just a general idea that he wants to do more than Minecraft and Roblox.

That said, Newegg usually has one or more prebuilt gaming PCs on sale each day. Current special is one from MSI, a 12th generation i7 with 16 GB RAM and a RTX 3070 for $1200. That may be more than he needs, but is more than enough for all but the most demanding games.
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: November 21, 2022 11:43AM
Brand name warning: Stay away from CyberPowerPC. Son got one a few years ago; to be fair, it works, and it's a good gaming PC, and it's cheap(ish), but if you have to add anything to it other than RAM, it's going to be a mess.

We had to add a PC card ethernet port b'c the internal was several speed constricted and the wi-fi barely got a signal, even with antenna attached and the wi-fi node right next to it. PC card works but can't be attached to the back of the PC via the expansion card access. Not quite sure how to explain, but the motherboard is not quite right inside of the case, so you can't put the cover thingy on it. CyberPowerPC said this is "normal with some PC cases".

Went to try to add an internal SSD. There's no seats for it, so I emailed the company to inquire as to expansion. Their official response was to "just let it sit inside the case somewhere, but be careful not to lean it on the motherboard".

To be fair, it was fairly easy to add an NVMe card to the motherboard for storage expansion.

On the otherhand, my daughter got an Alienware Aurora R8 via Dell. Looks perfect, plenty of ports. Quick internal access to RAM, two spots for 2.5 type expansion drives. Clean. Opening the case takes a few seconds, and the inside stays remarkably clean even after a year without opening it.

Trying to convince my son to go that route next time.



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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: November 21, 2022 12:34PM
Yep, no game PC until he can tell you what he is thinking of playing. You need to know that to be sure you are getting the right processor. For longevity, don't go i5, go i7.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias

The German word for contraceptive is “Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel”. By the time you finished saying that, it’s too late
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: spacescape
Date: November 21, 2022 01:35PM
Following.
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: November 21, 2022 01:49PM
Quote
Ombligo
Yep, no game PC until he can tell you what he is thinking of playing. You need to know that to be sure you are getting the right processor. For longevity, don't go i5, go i7.

If financially feasible, agreed. If not, and I say this with caution b'c there are other factors, you can (sometimes? often?) replace the processor in a PC, unlike a Mac.



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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: November 21, 2022 02:03PM
When my younger son got into it several years ago, he was all about wanting to build one with parts

After he did some research with the help of an older friend and started adding items to my Amazon cart, we figured out that Microcenter has great prices on their in-house, prebuilt brand, PowerSpec

So, we ended up just buying one of those rather than go through the mess of building

I know there are pros to putting one together on your own, the learning involved, etc but, in the end and in hindsight, I think we made the correct decision going with Microcenter

If you have one locally, have your son do some research and see what would fit the bill for him with any of their prebuilt options

By the way, even price wise it made more sense buying a PowerSpec than piecing a gaming PC together. But, mind you, this was way pre-pandemic and I haven't checked recently what kind of havoc supply chain shortages have wreaked on the gaming industry



My music blog: [www.auditorymusings.net]


The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: November 21, 2022 08:23PM
Don't get a Dell. They have set the bar so low, they are playing limbo with the devil.

Online multiplayer like Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota 2, PUBG, CoD don't need a super powerful CPU/GPU for playing at 1080p at over 120 fps.

Cyberpunk 2077 is probably at the top of the heap for needing a $2000 PC to play at 4k. This page talks about graphically intensive games. https: //www.thegamer.com/pc-games-best-intense-graphics/



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: Forrest
Date: November 21, 2022 09:23PM
The Nvidia RTX 3050 wasn't popular when it was released. You definitely want to spring for the speedier 3050 Ti, 3060 or a somewhat less expensive Radeon 6600 or 6700.

8 GB is not enough to play many AAA new games - 16 GB is recommended.

You can find better prices than those deals you mentioned on black Friday. Also, consider you can buy an inexpensive gaming laptops for $500-$700. Dell makes very good gaming laptops IMHO.
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: Buzz
Date: November 21, 2022 09:38PM
At some point when Baby Buzz was in college, he wanted a gaming PC. Told him college was costly enough, and the MBA we got him was sufficient, computer-wise, so any gaming PC was on him. He wrangled a deal on some sort of fancy Alienware monster tower, then stole my 28" Hanns•G monitor. As has been noted, it lasted him about 3 years.... he says it's fixable, but he hasn't been in a hurry to make that happen.

IOW, don't get too invested in it, the urge may not last that long, and if it does, he should learn how to feed that beast on his own; sooner, rather than later.
Enjoy your kid.
==
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: jonny
Date: November 22, 2022 10:15AM
My son was dying for a computer of his own, but as we all know, the longer you wait, the more you get. Then the M1’s came out and I pulled the trigger. Glad I waited.
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: rz
Date: November 22, 2022 12:42PM
Thanks all. I'm going to talk to him again today and have him tell me what he wants to do with it. I doubt it'll be anything too graphically intensive. I'm still hoping to steer him toward a game console. Cheaper, and no worries about viruses/malware.
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: sunfalcon
Date: November 22, 2022 05:15PM
FWIW, i5 12600 is a great gaming CPU. You don't need the i7 - it's overkill. I have a i5 with a 6800XT and there isn't anything I cannot run.
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: November 23, 2022 11:00AM
This video examines your costs per frame on currently available platforms. With sweet spot memory, skip to @10:45:

[www.youtube.com]

answer:

AMD Ryzen 5 5600 with a B550 MoBo
or
Intel Core i5-12400F with a B560 Mobo

The Core i5 or Ryzen 5 are both more than enough for high end gaming for years, you do not need an i7, that's wasting money. Plus you can upgrade to an i7, i9, R7, R9 in a few years if you get the bug. An 8GB video card is more than enough for 1080p or 1440p high-refresh gaming, you do not need more than that. Even 6GB will get you by.

How do I know? Because I game with all of these. I have an R5 5600 and used an 8GB GTX 1080 and an 8GB RX 6600XT for years at 1440p. The kids both use 6GB video cards with 1080p. I just upgraded to a 16GB RX 6800XT which is an effing overkill video card and it has yet to use more than 8GB in any game I play, and I play some current-gen games.

We have 5 gaming PCs in the house, plus a couple of upgraded Dell 9020 MTs with slot-powered video cards because that's fun!

If I was building a gaming PC right now to match or beat a PS5/XB1X, and keep the budget decent, I'd get:

AMD Ryzen 5 5600
DeepCool AK400 or Ventroo V5 CPU cooler
B550 Motherboard (not sure which one)
16GB 3600 CL14 RAM (down to 3200 CL16 if signif. cheaper)
AMD RX 6600XT video card
1 to 2TB WD SN570 Blue NVMe SSD
~600W EVGA Power Supply
$50-80 case with at least 2 fans in it. You can buy extra fans cheap afterwards if you want.
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Re: Son wants a gaming PC for Xmas
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: November 23, 2022 11:15AM
Here is an example build, I hope it sticks.

[pcpartpicker.com]

Notes:
* I usually can get the Power Supply for less than this, around the $50 mark on sales.
* I used the cheapest decent RAM as it matters the least.
* Case is arbitrary but is a good inexpensive one
* Mobo is mostly arbitrary but is a good inexpensive one
* Video card prices crept up a bit this past week or two, I'd prefer a Sapphire or MSI one and would wait for one of those to go on sale
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