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What computer should I buy?

So I’ve about saved up enough for a new desktop, and I thought I’d ask Bio Break readers if any of you had suggestions as to what I should buy.

My budget is around $800 to $1000. I only need the tower (no monitor/mouse/speakers/etc.). Obviously, I need it to handle MMOs great, so a good GPU and nice performance is a plus. I can cannibalize my current machine to bring over some SSDs, but a good hard drive space would be nice too.

What would you suggest I should buy?

21 thoughts on “What computer should I buy?

  1. You’re picking a good time to look into buying. Nvidia just released new gpu’s and AMD’s are on the way. you’ll get good deals on last gen. Intel just released a great new set of proc’s so you can’t go wrong with a new i5/i7. If you have a Micro Center near you, they have great deals on combo purchases and usually have a pretty knowledgeable staff. I work at Best Buy and hate recommending someplace else but I’m as thrifty as the next guy when it comes to my computer parts. I hope you choose to build one. will be a great place to start.

  2. I can ask over on private section on The Older Gamers forums. We have a section set up for people asking about gaming systems to buy. I’ll get back to ya with their suggestions.


  3. Just wondering – how long would you expect to use this new rig before buying a new one (and handing this one down one of your kids, I assume)? It seems you can spend a lot for a blazing fast rig and hope new tech doesn’t overtake it within 5 years, or you can buy something affordable and reasonably fast a little more often.

    I use the latter strategy, buying a decent Dell tower every 3 years or so. They usually run recent games maxed out when I get them. I’ve been doing this since 1989, and every system has been super-reliable, running fine 7 years later as a hand-me-down or secondary system, even if they can’t handle the very newest games.

  4. For the longest time, I was an AMD guy, but you can’t beat the performance and price of the GTX cards (and they run cool and quiet).

    Until my last upgrade, I would advocate buying a tower and just going with it. The price you paid extra was offset by the savings in time and the warranties for it. However, that has pretty much been eroded away at this point. You’re far better off buying the parts and putting stuff together yourself.

    Micro Center is a great choice (Fry’s is second for value), or Amazon if those aren’t there. For Processor, go with a Skylake i5 or i7 (Core i5-6500 or Core i7-6700K), and look for a good bundle with a Gigabyte, ASUS, or maybe an MSI… lots of choices here). Don’t skimp on RAM, but again, you can get some good bundles.

    If you have SSD drives, you can always splurge a bit on some storage for the stuff you don’t always play, and make it work. I’d just focus on the parts you want and then get that, and reuse whatever you can to keep costs down.

  5. Preliminary response from TOG:

    Intel Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
    $219.99 Amazon Buy

    CPU Cooler
    Corsair H60 54.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
    $59.99 -$10.00 FREE $49.99 Newegg Buy
    $10.00 mail-in rebate

    Asus Z170-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
    $150.88 OutletPC Buy

    Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
    $57.99 Newegg Buy

    Western Digital BLACK SERIES 2TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
    $117.88 OutletPC Buy

    Video Card
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 4GB WINDFORCE Video Card
    $319.99 -$51.99 FREE $268.00 Newegg Buy
    + 10% off w/ promo code GTXGBTJUNE10, ends 6/23
    $20.00 mail-in rebate

    Power Supply
    Corsair CX 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply
    $74.99 NCIX US Buy

    Total $1001


  6. If I didn’t make it clear, I’m looking for a prebuilt machine. Dell is a solid choice, and Amazon has a couple of machines that I’m eyeing. I would definitely like a rig that could last at least four years for work and gaming.

  7. For your GPU option I would be tempted to wait just a bit. AMD RX480 cards come out 6/29 and the rumor is they will match performance of GTX 980 & R9 390X starting for just $199. May be bit longer before those get put into prebuilts but the price to performance on these cards could be revolutionary for this GPU cycle.

  8. Pick your most resource intensive game/activity and build around that. With regards to graphics cards, wait for a month or two for the new generation to settle.

  9. If you want pre-built this is an option

    You can select the cheapest base model then customize (upgrade graphics card remove ssd imo). I bought one of their machines for rift launch and it is still my gaming pc with a few upgrades

  10. I take it you’re looking for a pre-built, as your last one was hand-made and somehow didn’t turn out so well? 😛

  11. I bought my current system from Portatech. No affiliation I’m just a satisfied customer. I picked a “compete system” and then selected various options (Core i5, quiet cooling, 16 GB RAM, etc.)

    Way back I used to build my own system, but now I’m too lazy, so the menu outfits like Portatech provide give me enough of that feeling.

    Velocity Micro is another small company that costs a bit more but they also cater to gamers via their gaming line.

    As for an actual pre-built, no idea. For the last 13+ years my employers have been Dell shops. Their stuff works fine but I have no experience gaming on those systems. Or comparing to other manufacturers. You might as well go to Best Buy or some local place so if something busts you can complain in person.

  12. If you intend to keep the machine for 4+ years, focus on getting a state of the art CPU (preferably i7) and motherboard first and formost. Also don’t skimp on the PSU, this where a lot of people cut corners and they end up regretting it in the end. I have a ‘platinum’ efficiency PSU for the last 5 years, that is still working in top condition, while a lot of my friends need to replace PSUs every 2 years or so (usually along with a damaged processor due to a power outage).

    For pre-built machines I wouldn’t really know what to tell you, since I have no idea about the US computer market.

  13. I bought an XPS8900 back 5 years ago…it is my current system. So far I haven’t had any issues other than the hardware is now a few generations old. I would need a new motherboard before I could get a good video card today. I got mine for the same price too! -) Dell is a good company…but make sure you don’t settle for their “green drives”…I had to order mine with WD Black hard drives for a bit more.


  14. I wonder if you can’t also keep your current video card. Historically, it seems like pre-built systems will include a great processor and plenty of RAM and hard drive space, but they skimp on the video card (or way overcharge). I’d go for something with one of the top processors and then just use your current video card until you want to upgrade to something that can handle VR in another year or two. Or at least buy a system without a video card and then buy one separately and install it yourself – its much easier than the whole build-your-own-from-scratch process.

    I don’t trust Dell machines at all- seen too many friends and colleagues get burned by them.

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