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Sventex

How to read Computer Specs?

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My 4 year old computer XPS 8700 is dying from a failing hard drive, and it can't even run modern games like Battlefield 1 on the lowest setting, and has a hard time with Fallout 4.  Now it'll just freeze for 30 seconds or slow down considerably randomly, whether I'm running any programs or not.  I've got decent virus protection, and nothing it glitching on me, so I think I've got a hardware issue.  I'd like to buy a new gaming computer for Black Friday, around the $1000 range, but I'm bad at reading specs.

 

Currently I've got a Del XPS 8700, Intel(R) Core (TM) i7-4770 CPU @ 2.40 GHz with 12.0GB of RAM.

Video Card: Geforce GTX 645

OS: Windows 7

 

Any suggestions on what computers I can get that would be a direct upgrade?  Something that can at least run Battlefield 1 decently?

Edited by Sventex

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Wow, everything will be a direct upgrade, man. I mean, holy old computer, Batman. xD

 

If you can build it, I would suggest doing that. It'll be far cheaper. Any full built gaming rigs on websites cost way more than they should, and regular towers in stores don't have much flexibility as far as adding things to them. For BF1 and the like, you really need a good quad core cpu, at the least, I'd suggest a hex core or octo core, 8-16 GB of ram, which in the systems today is DDR4, and a gpu in the 1060GTX or R9 and above series, from Nvidia and AMD, respectively.

 

My main rig, this one, has an AMD FX-8350 octo-core, 16GB of RAM, and it's paired with an AMD Radeon RX 480X. This rig is about to get a major facelift to the new Ryzen and new DDR4 RAM.

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Here are some recommended builds but the hardware team can help you build a system to your individual needs if you ask them.

 

http://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f255/tsf-hardware-teams-recommended-builds-2017-a-668661.html

 

 

Edited by Snargfargle

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Building isn’t necessarily cheaper, and for those who aren’t inclined it’s not wise.  I just got an Alienware i7-8700 with an nVidia GTX 1080 for $1070.  It pays to shop around.  Sites like Slickdeals can be helpful.

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1 hour ago, TheKrimzonDemon said:

Wow, everything will be a direct upgrade, man. I mean, holy old computer, Batman. xD

 

If you can build it, I would suggest doing that. It'll be far cheaper. Any full built gaming rigs on websites cost way more than they should, and regular towers in stores don't have much flexibility as far as adding things to them. For BF1 and the like, you really need a good quad core cpu, at the least, I'd suggest a hex core or octo core, 8-16 GB of ram, which in the systems today is DDR4, and a gpu in the 1060GTX or R9 and above series, from Nvidia and AMD, respectively.

 

My main rig, this one, has an AMD FX-8350 octo-core, 16GB of RAM, and it's paired with an AMD Radeon RX 480X. This rig is about to get a major facelift to the new Ryzen and new DDR4 RAM.

I've built them before, and found them to be a huge pain the behind, so I don't bother anymore.  They don't always work and the parts I get aren't guaranteed compatible, and it causes strange things to happen that takes way too long to fix in my opinion.

36 minutes ago, Snargfargle said:

Here are some recommended builds but the hardware team can help you build a system to your individual needs if you ask them.

 

http://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f255/tsf-hardware-teams-recommended-builds-2017-a-668661.html

 

 

Well, say I'm looking at this computer, which appears to be a direct upgrade: http://deals.dell.com/productdetail/qic

Processor
7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700 processor (8MB Cache, up to 4.20 GHz)
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64bit English
Memoryi
16GB, 2400MHz, DDR4
Hard Drive
Dual Storage (3.5' 1TB HDD+ 2.5'128GB SSD)
Video Cardi
NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 1050 with 2GB GDDR5 graphics memory
 
Would this even be able to run Battlefield 1 effectively?  I'm just not good at figure out what the spec numbers really mean.  I also don't really know what a Solid State Drive does for performance.  Or even what it really does for that matter.

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Solid state drives don't have moving parts like a hard drive so they're faster. You put your most used/intensive things on the SSD and the less used things/files and documents on the hard drive. That's the extent of my technical knowledge so you're going to need someone else to clarify my answer or explain anything else, sorry.

Edited by warpath_33

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3 minutes ago, TheKrimzonDemon said:

Also, just say "NO!" to Dell.

Umm, why?  Their computers have been the most reliable I've ever owned.

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You know the guy down the street that works on his own car a lot?  Who swears it’s the only way to go?  Who is always working on it, always fixing something, but sure is proud of working on it? Even though he has to bum a ride to the auto parts store?  Yeah, those are the folks that say to stay away from prebuilt machines from companies like Dell.

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They're also the guy you go to when wondering, "Hey, what car should i buy with the money I have?"

It's the guys with the truck on blocks for 40 years in the front yard you have to be concerned about... I've been into computers since the 1980's and my opinion, like yours, is just as valid. 

 

I'm for Asus - but that's just me. My laptop is now roughly 10 years old. Still a champ. 

 

But go watch this guy - at least a dozen of his videos... so you at least know the lay of the land. 

 

 

Then no matter if you build or buy, you'll be a more informed customer. 

  • Cool 1

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Walmart has an up black Friday special, may still have some still available through weekend.

$499.00

HP special buy.

Intel I5.

4gb ddr4. 2 slots you may be able to swap in 2 8gb.

1 tb hd.

Intel 1060 3gb ddr5.

Dvd drive.

Card reader.

1 usb3, 2 usb 2 and 2 usb.

.......

Note I work at Wal-Mart and we still had 10 left in iowa when I got off at midnight.

 

Note I have an I5, 16 gb ddr3 and Intel 1060 3gb ddr5. I can run COD WW2 on high.

WOWS on ultra, with WOWS I get 76+ fps.

So I believe the above stock rig would fufil your requirements with a simple swap of ram to 16 gb.

I bought the graphics card 2 months ago on Newegg and it was $259 by itself.

Hope this helps.

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3 hours ago, Sventex said:

I've built them before, and found them to be a huge pain the behind, so I don't bother anymore.  They don't always work and the parts I get aren't guaranteed compatible, and it causes strange things to happen that takes way too long to fix in my opinion.

Well, say I'm looking at this computer, which appears to be a direct upgrade: http://deals.dell.com/productdetail/qic

Processor
7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700 processor (8MB Cache, up to 4.20 GHz)
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64bit English
Memoryi
16GB, 2400MHz, DDR4
Hard Drive
Dual Storage (3.5' 1TB HDD+ 2.5'128GB SSD)
Video Cardi
NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 1050 with 2GB GDDR5 graphics memory
 
Would this even be able to run Battlefield 1 effectively?  I'm just not good at figure out what the spec numbers really mean.  I also don't really know what a Solid State Drive does for performance.  Or even what it really does for that matter.

Solid state drive loads games faster. No moving parts, think of it as an ad card, but for computer.

1060 3gb is considered the new minimum to run current games.

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3 minutes ago, dEsTurbed1 said:

 

1060 3gb is considered the new minimum to run current games.

Are you referring to the video card?

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2 minutes ago, Sventex said:

Are you referring to the video card?

For games like battlefront and COD, etc yes.

For WOWS it's overkill.

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Spend your money on the videocard. Any current gen CPU will perform within 2-3 fps variance with almost any game.

 

I would get something like a 1070 at least if your budget can stretch it.

 

Stay away from AMD, I don't really care what anyone says they have so many software related issues it's silly (whether it's CPU or Graphics chipset).

 

Nothing wrong with a pre-built system, I build my own, but I also am a Network Engineer.

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The downside to store-bought systems is that they almost always come with crappy power supply units, with barely sufficient power to run the system as shipped on the date it was shipped. Capacitors degrade over time so five or so years down the line many Dells, etc. start having PSU issues because the units supplied are no longer sufficient to power the system due to degradation. I've replaced PSUs in dozens of Dells, HP/Compaq's, etc. Also, if you plan on significantly upgrading a video card in a store-bought system you almost always have to also replace the PSU. This is the prime reason why I build my own systems.

 

The main downside to building your own system is that you don't get technical support (though the state of tech. computer company support nowadays is dubious at best), Also, it's up to you to purchase an operating system and install it, although with Win 10 this has become much easier than in the past. It will also take you a bit more time to assemble and install software on a self-assembled system, whereas once you unbox a store-bought system and plug in a few color-coded connections you are ready to use it.

 

Personally, I'd never go back to store-bought systems since I started building systems in the late 90s. However, like with anything else, speed and proficiency in assembling PCs comes with practice. I spent many hours on my first system, reading the motherboard manual and all the component manuals cover to cover and then printing out a picture of the motherboard and "building" the system on paper before even opening a hardware package. The last computer I put together took me less time to assemble that it took for Windows to download and install updates.

Edited by Snargfargle

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I'm looking at a XPS tower that has these specs, is there anything anything missing, like a Ethernet port?  I'm somewhat nervous since this tower wasn't listed under "gaming desktop", but will it do the job of one?  I'm just not that great at reading the information.  I especially have no idea why it's got 4 different types of USB ports.

Processor & Memory: 
8th Gen Intel® Core i7-8700 Processor 3.2GHz
32GB DDR4 2666 MHz RAM

Drives:
1TB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive + 16GB  Intel® Optane™ Memory Accelerated
DVD-RW (Writes to DVD/CD)

Operating System: 
Microsoft® Windows 10 Professional (64-bit)

Graphics & Video:
6GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 Graphics
Monitor Not Included

Communications:
802.11 Wireless-AC + Bluetooth® 4.1

Audio:
Integrated 5.1 with Waves MaxxAudio® Processing

Keyboard & Mouse:
Dell Wired Keyboard + Laser Mouse

Ports & Slots:
3x USB 3.1 (1x Type C, 2x Type A)
6x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
1x HDMI
1x Combination Audio jack

Additional Information:
Dimensions: 15.1" x 7.0" x 13.3"

Edited by Sventex

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The reason why most computers have old USB 2.0 ports is that there are relatively few things that actually need USB 3.0/3.1 ports yet and the former are cheaper. For instance, your mouse, keyboard, printer, and most of your thumb drives are probably USB 2.0.

 

Unless you are an audiophile and have ears that can discern the slightest variation in tone, integrated audio is fine for most purposes.

 

The motherboard probably has an Ethernet port, almost all do.

 

What is the exact make and model here? Knowing this, we might be able to find out what wattage the PSU the system has and other information.

Edited by Snargfargle

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2 minutes ago, Snargfargle said:

 

What is the exact make and model here? Knowing this, we might be able to find out what wattage the PSU the system has and other information.

I'm not sure it has one, the "title" is incredibly vague.  That was all the specs listed on the page.

https://www.costco.com/Dell-XPS-Tower---Intel-Core-i7---6GB-NVIDIA-Graphics.product.100380432.html

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That system comes with 32 GB RAM, which is overkill but will allow you to have a jillion windows open and a couple of games playing in the background with no problems. The GTX 1060 is a quite respectable video card as is the i7-8700 CPU. The PSU will be sufficient to run the system as bundled and since it's fairly high-end you probably will not need to upgrade for several years. That system should be able to play just about any game available at higher graphics settings.

 

One word of warning, you can chose better components that have long-term individual warranties when you build your own system. However, when purchasing a Dell, etc. you are stuck with the warranty they provide. The system you linked is built and shipped directly from Dell, with Costco taking a cut of the profits. The warranty is also through Dell and is probably for one year. You might be able to get the system directly from Dell for a better price and also purchase a longer-term warranty for it too. 

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5 minutes ago, Snargfargle said:

That system comes with 32 GB RAM, which is overkill but will allow you to have a jillion windows open and a couple of games playing in the background with no problems. The GTX 1060 is a quite respectable video card as is the i7-8700 CPU. The PSU will be sufficient to run the system as bundled and since it's fairly high-end you probably will not need to upgrade for several years. That system should be able to play just about any game available at higher graphics settings.

 

One word of warning, you can chose better components that have long-term individual warranties when you build your own system. However, when purchasing a Dell, etc. you are stuck with the warranty they provide. The system you linked is built and shipped directly from Dell, with Costco taking a cut of the profits. The warranty is also through Dell and is probably for one year. You might be able to get the system directly from Dell for a better price and also purchase a longer-term warranty for it too. 

Okay, thanks for letting me know, having someone with knowhow check over the specs really helps me, I've been screwed over by electronic salespeople before.  Given I have about 30 Chrome tabs open at any time, RAM is something I could use.  I also checked the Dell website first, and didn't see much a difference in price.  I know how the Costco business model works, they don't make profit on their sales, but rather membership fees, so I don't think I'm getting gouged.  In the end, I'm just looking for a computer to last 3-4 years before I get a new one, so this looks right up my alley.  

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13 minutes ago, Snargfargle said:

That system comes with 32 GB RAM, which is overkill but will allow you to have a jillion windows open and a couple of games playing in the background with no problems. The GTX 1060 is a quite respectable video card as is the i7-8700 CPU. The PSU will be sufficient to run the system as bundled and since it's fairly high-end you probably will not need to upgrade for several years. That system should be able to play just about any game available at higher graphics settings.

 

One word of warning, you can chose better components that have long-term individual warranties when you build your own system. However, when purchasing a Dell, etc. you are stuck with the warranty they provide. The system you linked is built and shipped directly from Dell, with Costco taking a cut of the profits. The warranty is also through Dell and is probably for one year. You might be able to get the system directly from Dell for a better price and also purchase a longer-term warranty for it too. 

Oh a quick question, a friend is asking me if there's a big difference between Core i5 vs. i7?

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24 minutes ago, Sventex said:

Oh a quick question, a friend is asking me if there's a big difference between Core i5 vs. i7?

Yes, one is a generation ahead of the other. However, for specific applications some i5s can outperform some i7s. Here is a chart for comparison.

 

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

Edited by Snargfargle

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4 hours ago, Snargfargle said:

Yes, one is a generation ahead of the other. However, for specific applications some i5s can outperform some i7s. Here is a chart for comparison.

 

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

 

No, the difference is not generational.  The difference is the features, which can vary within a given generation. Intel is now starting to slowly ship their 8th generation Core processors.  That’s why there have been good sales on the 7th gen stuff for the past two months.  In this 8th gen, the i5 and i7 have 6 cores each, with the i7 having higher clock frequencies and Hyperthreading.

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