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PC Hardware Buyer's Guide August 2013

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sotu1 22nd August 2013, 16:02 Quote
"Windows 7 "

Either you really believe in Win 7 or you didn't update this. And I genuinely don't know your advice here!
mi1ez 22nd August 2013, 16:30 Quote
I'd stick with Win7...
Combatus 22nd August 2013, 16:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotu1
"Windows 7 "

Either you really believe in Win 7 or you didn't update this. And I genuinely don't know your advice here!

The OS is down to your personal preference really but I'll refer you to our Windows 8 testing http://www.bit-tech.net/bits/software/2012/10/26/windows-8-performance-benchmarks/7

In short we agree with mi1ez - we'd still buy Windows 7 over Windows 8, although addons such as Start8 do make it much more user friendly in a desktop environment.
thogil 22nd August 2013, 17:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
...addons such as Start8 do make it much more user friendly in a desktop environment.

The start screen in windows 8.1 is far better than the start menu in windows 7, due to a superior search system. What with search being the only reason you would ever open the start menu since Vista, I'm not sure why you would want to downgrade to Start8.

There really is not much in it, so much that its hard to recommend paying for an upgrade, but there are a few minor improvements (multi monitor taskbar and wallpaper, file copy pausing, task manager, native zip and iso opening, etc), and literally no disadvantages.

In other matters, it's good to see this feature back.
VipersGratitude 22nd August 2013, 18:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meanmotion
Our regular guide

If that's your definition of 'regular' I'd hate to use a bathroom after you :D

Joking aside, does anyone here anticipate AMD GPUs becoming a more sensible choice over the next decade due to a more similar architecture to the consoles?
Matticus 22nd August 2013, 19:22 Quote
Wow, when your GPU is worst than the affordable all-rounder you know it's time to upgrade!

Great to see this back though, I usually point people to this when they ask me about buying a new PC. That way I get none of the hassle and only 99% of the liability when it goes wrong :P
Hustler 22nd August 2013, 19:26 Quote
The AMD FX 6300/6350 is a far better CPU than that i3 for the affordable all rounder, even though they're slower per core, 6 of them at 4GHZ or more will be far more useful over the next few years in games and apps.

Especially with all the multi-core console ports that will be incoming from 2014 onwards..
barrkel 22nd August 2013, 19:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by thogil
The start screen in windows 8.1 is far better than the start menu in windows 7, due to a superior search system. What with search being the only reason you would ever open the start menu since Vista, I'm not sure why you would want to downgrade to Start8.

I don't accept your priors; your argument depends on unwarranted assumptions.

I don't use Windows 7's start menu, since I prefer the XP menu, and I use ClassicShell to get it. It has the search functionality, but I seldom use it, I use a Cygwin terminal window if I want to type to start a program. I generally use the start menu for selecting a program based on categorization / spatial navigation / muscle memory.
Quote:
There really is not much in it, so much that its hard to recommend paying for an upgrade, but there are a few minor improvements (multi monitor taskbar and wallpaper, file copy pausing, task manager, native zip and iso opening, etc), and literally no disadvantages.

Windows has had "native" support for zips since at least XP SP2, and I've disabled it ever since it was implemented, because it bogs down Explorer and litters the treeview with in-zip directories. MS have had an ISO mounter freely downloadable from their site since at least the early 2000s too. Having these baked in is not an advantage to me.

Windows has supported multi-monitor wallpapers ever since it supported multiple monitors. The trick to it was that you had to compose your wallpapers on a single bitmap and set it as the tiled wallpaper.

Multi-monitor taskbars are another non-advantage. I have an infinitely configurable desktop at work (Linux) that can easily do that, but I'd rather spend the extra centimetre on my browser window. Widescreen monitors aren't high enough as it is.

I generally pause file copy / moves with Ctrl-Z. If you've never used the terminal, you may not know what I'm talking about...

The biggest disadvantage is encouraging MS's further adventures in TPM and locked down boot loaders.
loftie 22nd August 2013, 21:37 Quote
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the 670 faster than the 760? And considering it's £200 - or below if it's on offer like it is now on overclockers and probably scan too - would it not be the better choice? Assuming of course they don't all vanish.
Combatus 22nd August 2013, 21:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by loftie
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the 670 faster than the 760? And considering it's £200 - or below if it's on offer like it is now on overclockers and probably scan too - would it not be the better choice? Assuming of course they don't all vanish.

Funny you should mention that - I did nearly put it in! I think the margin is pretty slim though - it's down to 1-2fps in many of our benchmarks and as you say you're essentially relying on flash sales of the 670 to bring it down under £200, whereas the 760 is regularly available for under £190 which for this guide is what you want really. However if you can find one for for £180 or less it might be worth considering, but then the GTX 760 is also a pretty good overclocker, especially the MSI Twin Frozr we looked at recently.
Edwards 22nd August 2013, 22:40 Quote
Quote:
New This Month

Lol.
roundyz 22nd August 2013, 22:42 Quote
Whats premium about this "8GB 1,600MHz DDR3" ? Its the same as the others..
Combatus 22nd August 2013, 23:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundyz
Whats premium about this "8GB 1,600MHz DDR3" ? Its the same as the others..

It's premium not pointless - we don't just ramp up the specs as we go through the article for the sake of it ;) Seriously though, the testing we've done showed that very few situations benefit from more than 8GB of RAM, and even where they did the difference was small, while the move from 4GB to 8GB is far, far more beneficial. This is why the affordable all-rounder now includes it too. I dare say in the next buyer's guide (hopefully won't be as long this time!) the Premium Player may well include 16GB.
Apoptosis 22nd August 2013, 23:46 Quote
Mostly what I would've gone for, although when I get enough scratch for a new system, I'm not going to be using any more mechanical drives. Thankfully, large-capacity SSD's are coming down in price!
chrismarkham1982 22nd August 2013, 23:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
The AMD FX 6300/6350 is a far better CPU than that i3 for the affordable all rounder, even though they're slower per core, 6 of them at 4GHZ or more will be far more useful over the next few years in games and apps.

Especially with all the multi-core console ports that will be incoming from 2014 onwards..

Agree in priciple (and im no amd fan) will say though that they trade blows in the various benchies so id imagine the fact that the I3 uses a fare bit less power for its needs is probably the reason it was chosen.

Xbitlabs have the i3-3240 (id imagine identical power usage to i3-3220) under load at 91w where-as the fx-6300 is at 162w, thats a big margin, 31w more than an i7-3770k in the same test/system!
Harlequin 23rd August 2013, 00:34 Quote
do I even need to click it to know intel have bought and paid for another BT article....


£400 would get you a mini itx A10 based gaming rig or are you still `recommending` £1000 itx kit??
loftie 23rd August 2013, 00:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
Funny you should mention that - I did nearly put it in! I think the margin is pretty slim though - it's down to 1-2fps in many of our benchmarks and as you say you're essentially relying on flash sales of the 670 to bring it down under £200, whereas the 760 is regularly available for under £190 which for this guide is what you want really. However if you can find one for for £180 or less it might be worth considering, but then the GTX 760 is also a pretty good overclocker, especially the MSI Twin Frozr we looked at recently.

Fair point. Even if there's not much in it I personally would still go for the OC 670 for the extra ~£10, simply for the higher min frames on skyrim, though both push over 70fps, and the slightly lower power draw at load.

Also, @£191 that's a standard 760 on scan, the OC ones hit ~£200.
Combatus 23rd August 2013, 01:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
do I even need to click it to know intel have bought and paid for another BT article....


£400 would get you a mini itx A10 based gaming rig or are you still `recommending` £1000 itx kit??

I think you've kind of missed the point of our Mini-ITX gamer system. power itself through the latest games and provide ample power for other demanding tasks too

It's essentially a PC that's similar to the Enthusiast Overlcocker but using mini-ITX hardware ie something that's powerful but small. It's not meant to be a super-budget system, as we stated in the introduction.

We do actually recommend an AMD APU-based system as a cheaper alternative to the Affordable All-rounder for the reasons you mentioned - the AMD APUs do make for a great budget gaming rig if you can't afford a low-end Intel CPU and discrete graphics card, but short of having three different price points for each PC using different components and the article taking weeks to put together as a result, it's difficult to cover every base I'm afraid!
teppic 23rd August 2013, 02:39 Quote
Lots of people have bought that cheap Z68 board on new stock with a BIOS that doesn't support Ivy bridge. It's a poor recommendation. An FX-6300 would have been far better -- some newer games require 4 cores to be playable in any reasonable way too, and this is only going to continue. tomshardware has a recent article saying the very same.
Bindibadgi 23rd August 2013, 04:43 Quote
If you'd have gone for an ROG board in the Gaming PC you'd have saved 75 quid on that sound card! ;)
xaser04 23rd August 2013, 09:19 Quote
The decision for the 760 over the 670 makes sense for an article such as this as ultimately the 670 is EOL.
Combatus 23rd August 2013, 10:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by teppic
Lots of people have bought that cheap Z68 board on new stock with a BIOS that doesn't support Ivy bridge. It's a poor recommendation. An FX-6300 would have been far better -- some newer games require 4 cores to be playable in any reasonable way too, and this is only going to continue. tomshardware has a recent article saying the very same.

Well that's why we're saying to check first, we can't be fairer than that, especially when this great board is so cheap :D We'll certainly look at the possibility of including AMD's new CPUs when we've tested them, but don't forget the Core i3-3220 does have hyper-threading so it has two physical cores and two virtual ones so it will be fairly capable in multi-threaded programs compared to cheaper Intel CPUs.
teppic 23rd August 2013, 10:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Combatus
Well that's why we're saying to check first, we can't be fairer than that, especially when this great board is so cheap :D We'll certainly look at the possibility of including AMD's new CPUs when we've tested them, but don't forget the Core i3-3220 does have hyper-threading so it has two physical cores and two virtual ones so it will be fairly capable in multi-threaded programs compared to cheaper Intel CPUs.

It's cheap, yeah - but people who are ordering the board right now are getting ones without the BIOS that supports Ivy. I don't think a main recommendation that people will have to check first and may not be able to get at all is the right way to go (plus some people will no doubt just assume it's fine and get a system they can't boot).

Here's the recent conclusion that puts together a number of tests in games at 1080p across several processors, bearing in mind the 6350 is exactly the same as a mildly overclocked 6300:

http://media.bestofmicro.com/I/G/395944/original/Combined-Average-Gaming-Performance.png

The one for applications is here: http://media.bestofmicro.com/I/F/395943/original/Combined-Applications-Performance.png
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