My PC is now over ten years old, and while I’ve upgraded it along the way I could really do with a new one.
I don’t play games that often but I do like to play military flight sims, the latest being DCS World and my current PC isn’t up to it. Apart from that I just use it for browsing online mostly.
I’m going to buy it from this company below, and they have a ‘build a custom PC’ option which I’ve been fiddling around with. I prefer Intel but I’m willing to consider AMD, for Intel it would be one built around the X299 chipset. I’m willing to spend up to £1500 for one that is somewhat future-proof. I don’t know a huge deal about computers but I’m capable of minor upgrading tasks like swapping in a new graphics card.
So that said, what components should I choose? Thanks in advance!
The first thing I suggest: your main drive should be an SSD - 500GB if you can afford it.
I don’t think PCs are really that affected by technology increases in the short term the way smartphones and tablets are, mainly because you can upgrade Windows or iOS, but for some reason whatever version of Android you have on your device is there forever.
There have been a few recent threads here on “which PC should I buy” that have been very informative. That said,
PCPartpicker.com has a nice interface for evaluating components and whether they are compatible with each other. Logical Increments.com is great for figuring out just how much power you need, in a variety of computer components. Userbenchmark.com compares different graphics cards.
I think with the Ryzen and now Threadripper chips, AMD is quite competitive with Intel. I have a Ryzen 7 and I’m happy with it. The SSD has been covered; briefly, you need one. Period. The increase is speed is easily noticed. Whether it’s a M.2 one that screws to the motherboard or a SATA isn’t as important, IMHO. But the difference between platter HDD and SSD is night and day. Putting games on the SSD and media on a larger HDD works well.
Graphics card should be where your upgrade money should go. In particular, evaluate whether you want to take part in VR systems, which seem tailor made for something like a flight sim. If so, you’ll need a better graphics card. I have a 750ti, and I wouldn’t dream of trying to run anything too complicated with it. Cryptocoin mining has made upgrading prohibitively expensive until around now, but I’m personally looking at something in the minimum Nvidia 1070ti, 1080 range. Make sure your power supply can handle the load, especially if you’re water cooling or using a power hog of a graphics card.
Anyway, try those resources I listed and see what you think.
If you’re using it for flight sims and web browsing, it sounds like a CPU won’t be a driving issue for you. Most games don’t significantly benefit from multi-threading or multi-cores, so clock speed is more of a factor than it might be on other systems. You probably want to look at an unlocked i5 series CPU if you go Intel. I’m less familiar with AMD’s CPU’s since their performance was abominable when I built my PC (summer 2016- Ryzen didn’t come out until 2017).
I have an AMD 1070 GPU, and I can crank practically anything new to the max settings. It’s near the bottom of what VR requires, but it’s capable, if that’s your interest.
You absolutely should have a SSD. It’s the single biggest upgrade I’ve done. A dual hard drive setup is a decent compromise between size and speed, with all media stored on the HDD.
You’ll never have something “future proof” though my upgrade cycles have been much longer recently. The computer I had before my current desktop lasted five years before I felt much need to overhaul it. The only significant upgrade during that time was the SSD. My current build is two years old and I haven’t upgraded anything and I’m still running pretty much everything on maximized settings. I tend to buy AAA games when the prices drop, so 6 months to a year behind launch, but my current build seems very good for current games.
Here’s what I came up with as a starting build for 1500 pounds, including VAT.
There are a lot of tweaks you could make to that setup. If you know you’ll never overclock your CPU, you can drop to a cheaper i5. If you know you want to overclock it now, you’ll probably want to downgrade something else and upgrade to water cooling. You can transfer your current hard drive to the new system without much difficulty and save money. I deliberately put a larger power supply in than required, which gives the option to add a GPU later.
I didn’t look into which CPU cooler or which memory was best. The difference should be pretty small. You may want to put some research into power supply reliability. There can be significant variance among the series, even within brands, and some lines are truly garbage.
I went through and made a build and it was, well, essentially HookerChemical’s build when I was done. Using a Ryzen 5 2600X processor and board saved all of £9 but Ryzen also needs fast memory so you’d want to upgrade to the 3000MHz option – hardly saving money at that point.
If you want to save money, consider dropping to a 1070 or 1070Ti GPU. I assume, based on your general description, that you’re not using a 1440 or 4k resolution monitor and either of those cards should do you fine at 1080p.
For what it’s worth, I’m using an i5-8600K with a GTX 1080 and built it this last spring with the expectation of using it for a good while.
Upgrading the CPU will likely mean upgrading the motherboard and RAM which may all already be decent for your intended use. You may only need to get a recent GPU and SSD/hybrid drive, not a whole computer. Perhaps there are “veteran” Bitcoin miners eager to sell GPUs for a very reasonable price.
Also"Can You Run It" is a website that determines whether your system meets requirements for a particular game.
On the SSD, I went with Intel, as it was awhile ago and they seemed to be the most reliable. I will go with Samsung for my next SSD, probably the Evo series, and I think it’ll be an M.2-whatever that number is. Going by Newegg reviews, a huge complaint with many SSDs is heat. I don’t know if the heat is enough to bollix them, or just make CPU cooling tougher, but it does come up quite a bit.
I have 3200 memory for my Ryzen, although it gets quite cranky at anything above a default (IIRC) 2166 or so. Temps spiking, rebooting, etc… It may be my mobo, I don’t know. In any event, RAM is not likely to be a bottleneck, provided you have enough.
One nice thing is that Nvidia’s latest generation is supposed to be out any day now, which will make things even cheaper for buying 1070s and the like.