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Old 11-18-2018, 09:28 PM
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Default Venturing back into PC gaming: a sub-$550 budget build

After some 15 years away from PC gaming, I'm building a game-capable PC and will sell my rarely-used Xbox One. After two years, the XB1 UI is still annoying and confusing, it has the weird habit of switching on itself on randomly, and my Xbox 360 gets more use than it. The gaming PC will also be used for virtual reality, which XB1 doesn't do.

I already have the machine at home, a used Dell T3610 workstation. It's a wonderfully designed machine. Lots of space to work with, 8 ECC RAM slots, wires don't get in the way, and built like a tank. The power supply can be slid out the back without tools.

But it will need some upgrades to make it gaming-capable. I bought it several weeks ago on eBay, but it's been sitting idle while I made up my mind about those upgrades and searched for good deals new and used.

It came with 16GB of RAM (4x4GB), so I don't have to buy more anytime soon, and the 4 free slots will allow me to add RAM in the future without having to take out any of the existing sticks. The RAM slots are hidden under those two black tunnels marked "Dell Precision" in the picture (from a 2013 review, not an actual picture of mine).

https://www.pcworld.com/article/2066...nd-finish.html
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Old 11-18-2018, 09:37 PM
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The CPU it came with was a weaker 4-core Xeon, so I upgraded it with a Xeon E5-2630 (v1) which has 6 cores (plus hyperthreading) and a Passmark score of 8859. Less than $25 on the 'bay.

To make the build complete, I'm still waiting on a used GTX 1060 video card from eBay, and a new 512GB SSD from Amazon. That will be combined with an old 120GB SSD sitting in the closet (yes, dual SSDs!) and the 500GB spinning hard drive that came with the machine. The whole build is going to be under $550 (counting the old SSD as "free", and excluding virtual reality).

The Dell will be connected to a 1080p projector that does 60Hz, and a 32-inch 1080p TV that also does 60Hz, so I didn't see any point in spending $150+ more for a GTX 1070 or higher video card. The 1060 may be inadequate when I eventually upgrade to a higher resolution or higher Hz, but by that time the 1080 and other currently high-end cards will be cheaper, so I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

I haven't yet decided on the virtual reality piece. It's going to be either GearVR or Oculus Go, with Riftcat software used to stream VR from PC the headset.
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Old 11-19-2018, 01:13 AM
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What kind of games are you planning to play on it?
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:24 AM
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Driving games, zombie shooting games, the updated Doom, classic first-person shooter games like the Serious Sam series. Maybe Rocket League and other unconventional sports games. Not interested in military-style shooters like COD and Battlefield.

The GTX 1060 I'm getting is the 6GB version, and videos on Youtube have shown that it can maintain above 60 fps in almost anything at 1080p in high and sometimes ultra settings, when paired with a comparable CPU as the Xeon I have. In some games even the weaker 1050 Ti can give above 60 fps @1080p.
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:39 AM
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I thought this was going to be an advice thread?

From what I've heard (I'm a lo-tech myself) racing games are best in VR, in which case you might want (but not need) a better card.
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:59 AM
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Well, the advice is you can buy an old but reputable high-end system with the desired amount of RAM included and make it gaming-capable at a total cost of under $600, and here's an example of how to do it. After everything is in place I'll benchmark some games and report the performance.

I'm also going to ask some of you more experienced PC gamers for suggestions on games, controllers, and how to find online multiplayer opponents and co-op teammates.
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:34 AM
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Very cool -- I was just wondering about the graphical intensity of the games you were going to play, but it sounds like this system will handle them.
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Old 11-19-2018, 11:47 AM
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My GPU cost double your budget, bow to your master
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Old 11-19-2018, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Incredible Hulctuary View Post
Well, the advice is you can buy an old but reputable high-end system with the desired amount of RAM included and make it gaming-capable at a total cost of under $600, and here's an example of how to do it. After everything is in place I'll benchmark some games and report the performance.

I'm also going to ask some of you more experienced PC gamers for suggestions on games, controllers, and how to find online multiplayer opponents and co-op teammates.
gotcha, this is already one of the most well-researched nerd threads to date.
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:07 AM
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The BIOS is two years out of date. One of the typical but minor issues with buying an older machine. This evening I'll hook it up a UPS and update it with the latest BIOS.
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