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[Technology] Gaming PCs



lost in london

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2003
1,795
London
Is it possible to buy a PC that isn't suitable for serious gaming now, but that my son can upgrade over the coming years? He is 12 and we're looking at a standard £400 laptop for him for a bit of light touch gaming and school work.

Wondering as well though whether a normal PC at about the same £400 price, with scope to upgrade into a gaming PC, is an option.

Thanks
 




deletebeepbeepbeep

Well-known member
May 12, 2009
21,214
Is it possible to buy a PC that isn't suitable for serious gaming now, but that my son can upgrade over the coming years? He is 12 and we're looking at a standard £400 laptop for him for a bit of light touch gaming and school work.

Wondering as well though whether a normal PC at about the same £400 price, with scope to upgrade into a gaming PC, is an option.

Thanks
Would you be able to build it yourself and/or install and replace parts to an existing build?

Do you need to buy a mouse, keyboard, monitor within the £400?

You could probably build a PC around a 5600G AMD chip for that which includes integrated graphics and will be able to handle simple/old games until you install a graphics card. It is an OLD processor though with limited future upgrade potential. It would be abslutely perfect for school work etc for the foreseeable future.

However if you also need to buy a monitor etc I think you are best off sticking with the laptop.
 


AstroSloth

Well-known member
Dec 29, 2020
1,101
Is it possible to buy a PC that isn't suitable for serious gaming now, but that my son can upgrade over the coming years? He is 12 and we're looking at a standard £400 laptop for him for a bit of light touch gaming and school work.

Wondering as well though whether a normal PC at about the same £400 price, with scope to upgrade into a gaming PC, is an option.

Thanks
The issue with this is if you were to want to upgrade it to a gaming PC, you'd probably want to replace most of the old parts unless you start with a good motherboard, PSU and case.

The main parts that are upgraded are the CPU, GPU and RAM as well as potentially cooling.

It's doable absolutely, but would recommend putting some research into it.
 


lost in london

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2003
1,795
London
Would you be able to build it yourself and/or install and replace parts to an existing build?

Do you need to buy a mouse, keyboard, monitor within the £400?

You could probably build a PC around a 5600G AMD chip for that which includes integrated graphics and will be able to handle simple/old games until you install a graphics card. It is an OLD processor though with limited future upgrade potential. It would be abslutely perfect for school work etc for the foreseeable future.

However if you also need to buy a monitor etc I think you are best off sticking with the laptop.
The replacing parts in the future I could probably handle (or draft in friends), but building from scratch I imagine is beyond me. We have a monitor, keyboard and mouse already.

Based on a recommendation above I had a look at Mesh and saw this: https://www.meshcomputers.com/Defau...E=PRODUCTCONFIGPAGE&USG=PRODUCT&XAPPL=3528785

For £385 it looks like a fair entry level PC with scope to upgrade, but I am waaaay out of my comfort zone here!
 


deletebeepbeepbeep

Well-known member
May 12, 2009
21,214
The replacing parts in the future I could probably handle (or draft in friends), but building from scratch I imagine is beyond me. We have a monitor, keyboard and mouse already.

Based on a recommendation above I had a look at Mesh and saw this: https://www.meshcomputers.com/Defau...E=PRODUCTCONFIGPAGE&USG=PRODUCT&XAPPL=3528785

For £385 it looks like a fair entry level PC with scope to upgrade, but I am waaaay out of my comfort zone here!
I think the issue with buying prebuilts like this are that they will really cheap out on some of their parts. The power supply on this (CiT 450W) looks very cheap and (450W) would not support an upgrade in the future - you would need at least a 650W power supply to support a relatively modern graphics card.

Building a PC is honestly like adult mechano now, slotting bits into other bits and a few screws - just watch a few youtube videos but I also understand the reluctance.
 




StonehamPark

#Brighton-Nil
Oct 30, 2010
9,870
BC, Canada
I think £400 might be a bit tough to source parts (or buy a pre-built) at.

You may well find a good deal on a very entry level gaming pc with a low end gpu and cpu - but the rest of the parts will most likely all need to be upgraded in the future, for if/when you want to upgrade.

At that price point, I’d really consider looking at the used market to get a lower/mid-range gaming pc.
 


lost in london

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2003
1,795
London
Thanks for all your replies. If buying a prebuilt comes with issues, how would someone go about getting a spec for a half decent home build?

The aim here is to set my son on his way with something basic, and then leave it to him to upgrade various parts in the coming years. It definitely doesn't have to be able to play all or even most modern games immediately, he bought himself a PS4 a couple of years ago so is set for most games.

The alternative is I get him an i5 laptop so he can play Valorant with his friend. My reluctance is that it isn't upgradable, and he will never actually move the laptop around.
 


deletebeepbeepbeep

Well-known member
May 12, 2009
21,214
This looks a bit better but I would suggest you:

- upgrade to the B550 motherboard as it will allow a bit more upgrade potential
- upgrade to the 700W PSU as it will allow you to install a graphics card at some point
- upgrade to the SN770 hard drive which will be substantially better than the base one for not that much.
- not sure if you will need a seperate wifi card or if the motherboard comes with one - you might want to check that
- if the budget allows probably worth going for 32gb of ram
- do not add windows to the order - if you need to buy a windows key for cheap I can PM you some details assuming you are OK with greymarket keys.


It doesn't come with a seperate graphics card and therefore will be integrated graphics and only good for games like Minecraft or non graphics intensive/modern games. E; just saw you mentioned Valorant which should be OK depending on settings.

As StonehamPark says you could check Facebook market place or elsewhere for a second hand PC as well.
 
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lost in london

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2003
1,795
London
This looks a bit better but I would suggest you:

- upgrade to the B550 motherboard as it will allow a bit more upgrade potential
- upgrade to the 700W PSU as it will allow you to install a graphics card at some point
- upgrade to the SN770 hard drive which will be substantially better than the base one for not that much.
- not sure if you will need a seperate wifi card or if the motherboard comes with one - you might want to check that
- if the budget allows probably worth going for 32gb of ram
- do not add windows to the order - if you need to buy a windows key for cheap I can PM you some details assuming you are OK with greymarket keys.


It doesn't come with a seperate graphics card and therefore will be integrated graphics and only good for games like Minecraft or non graphics intensive/modern games. E; just saw you mentioned Valorant which should be OK depending on settings.

As StonehamPark says you could check Facebook market place or elsewhere for a second hand PC as well.
Thank you. Lots to think about and more options than I feared. I’ll get researching.
 


Joey Jo Jo Jr. Shabadoo

Waxing chumps like candles since ‘75
Oct 4, 2003
11,355
PC Parts Picker is a good website that will help you plan your build. They normally tell you where the cheapest place to source each part is and will also flag up any compatibility issues, for example the chosen motherboard and processor not being compatible or the PSU being underpowered for the setup.

People also share their own builds on there so you might find something that fits your price range that someone else has already built and you can just copy it.


If your son also knows a few games he wants to play, check out the website Can You Run It? This gives the minimum specs a PC needs run a game and the recommend specs too, a good place to check your planned build against what he is interested in playing before you pull the trigger.

 


dannyboy

tfso!
Oct 20, 2003
3,624
Waikanae NZ
Has anyone thought about not buying a gaming PC and subscribing to geforce now . For a monthly sub you basically play top end games streamed from the equivalent of the best high end pc . you need to own the game in the first place.
 




lost in london

Well-known member
Dec 10, 2003
1,795
London
Has anyone thought about not buying a gaming PC and subscribing to geforce now . For a monthly sub you basically play top end games streamed from the equivalent of the best high end pc . you need to own the game in the first place.
I think I might end up going that way - we would be compromising too much with a gaming PC at the budget we're looking at, and a laptop with access to GeForce Now seems like it ticks most of the boxes.
 


BBassic

I changed this.
Jul 28, 2011
12,585
I've used PC Specialist twice now and I've found them to be really good. They offer pre-builts and individual parts but the service I go for is buying individual parts and then having them put it together for me because I'm almost certain I'd mess it up.

The forums on there are full of very knowledgeable people as well.

 


AstroSloth

Well-known member
Dec 29, 2020
1,101
Has anyone thought about not buying a gaming PC and subscribing to geforce now . For a monthly sub you basically play top end games streamed from the equivalent of the best high end pc . you need to own the game in the first place.
The issue with this is input delays especially in certain games and multiplayer.

I usually play DOTA on around 10-30 ping and upping that to even 100 makes the game feel way worse.
 




HastingsSeagull

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2010
9,349
BGC Manila
Echo the point about skipping a GPU and sticking to onboard graphics for now. Can be something to save up for or a Birthday/Xmas if a very generous parent.
 


Blinkers

Active member
Jul 8, 2020
167
Personally, for a gaming machine, I’d now buy prebuilt and get the best graphics card I could afford after going for an i5 proc, with at least 32GB RAM. I’ve almost always bought my parts from Scan.co.uk (mentioned by someone else on this thread) and I probably buy one of their custom configurable machines, as you get better warranty. And, a laptop form factor would probably do the job if your son needed portability. A decent external monitor suited for gaming at home would be a plus.

My home ‘test lab’ server (upgraded 4 years ago) has a 20 core Intel Xeon proc, 128GB RAM, 250GB SSD mirrored system drive and 8TB of SSD storage currently continuously running 12 Windows servers on hyper-v. If it weren’t for those servers, it’d probably make for a decent gaming/simulator machine for my son to run his bus simulator on, rather than the 8yr old Dell PC that keeps telling me it isn’t up to scratch to run Windows 11.

IMG_1018.jpeg
 


AstroSloth

Well-known member
Dec 29, 2020
1,101
Personally, for a gaming machine, I’d now buy prebuilt and get the best graphics card I could afford after going for an i5 proc, with at least 32GB RAM. I’ve almost always bought my parts from Scan.co.uk (mentioned by someone else on this thread) and I probably buy one of their custom configurable machines, as you get better warranty. And, a laptop form factor would probably do the job if your son needed portability. A decent external monitor suited for gaming at home would be a plus.

My home ‘test lab’ server (upgraded 4 years ago) has a 20 core Intel Xeon proc, 128GB RAM, 250GB SSD mirrored system drive and 8TB of SSD storage currently continuously running 12 Windows servers on hyper-v. If it weren’t for those servers, it’d probably make for a decent gaming/simulator machine for my son to run his bus simulator on, rather than the 8yr old Dell PC that keeps telling me it isn’t up to scratch to run Windows 11.

View attachment 182329
Also PC's can last a lot longer than people think.

I put together a gaming PC about 8.5 years ago now with a 970TI and it still runs fine. It's outdated for new top of the line games but I still get 30fps on Helldivers 2. That cost me less than £1000 so has been a bargain for the amount of time I've used it.
 


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