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SF Redd

Budget gaming PC help

Question

SF Redd

Hey everyone, so I'm somewhat new to PC gaming, having gamed on consoles most of my life. I've been wanting to get into PC gaming for a while though, but my biggest problem with it, bar the price, is the fact that I don't know what components are better than different components. I currently have a small budget of £365, and I found a PC with these specs within my price range: http://imgur.com/jbx34bK

The PC I use right now is this one http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=c03799414

If I buy the computer, I plan to put the hard drive with windows 8.1 and the RAM from my current PC into the new one, put the hard drive and RAM from the new one into my old one, then sell my old one. Can I do this? Are the hard drives and RAM compatible between the PC's?

Also, like I said, I'm now sure how good exactly these specs are. I don't expect to be maxing out(or even playing) Crysis on this new PC, but I'd hope to play Skyrim and Elder Scrolls Online at 60 fps. Will this be possible with the PC I'm considering? Do you have any advice? 

Thanks in advance.

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hoo

I'm not the smartest with computers compared to most people on here, but I think you can switch the RAM chips, but I'm pretty sure the HDD (Hard drive) is a no go.

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SF Redd
8 minutes ago, Hoobanana said:

I'm not the smartest with computers compared to most people on here, but I think you can switch the RAM chips, but I'm pretty sure the HDD (Hard drive) is a no go.

Really? Why is that?

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hoo

I heard that the HDD is customized to work with the computer that you have when you pop it into a computer or something like that. I had the same question a while back, and I was trying to figure stuff out like that.

(Yay it rhymed.)

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SF Redd
4 minutes ago, Hoobanana said:

I heard that the HDD is customized to work with the computer that you have when you pop it into a computer or something like that. I had the same question a while back, and I was trying to figure stuff out like that.

(Yay it rhymed.)

So is it at all possible for me to transfer the information/OS from my old hard drive to a new one? I wouldn't be able to spend £80+ on a new OS. Plus it'd be really convenient not to have to reinstall every programme I own.

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hoo

You could probably use some online backup thing to transfer files over to your new computer, or maybe use a couple of big flash drives (or maybe a terabyte drive) to transfer them over as well. As for your OS, I'm not sure how you can "transfer" it over, but if you still have the product key and the disk, you could just re-install it. If you don't have the disk, you can use a blank cd or flash drive (flash drive recommended) and make a Windows Installer out of it.

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Gestalt

It's possible to transfer a win8 drive with minimal headache. However, you likely have to reactivate Windows (or haxxor the copy into not asking for a key): http://bit.ly/1NSO4Xa

Spoiler
Quote

 

1. Take your old hard drive and physically install it to your new machine (or old machine as long as it can install Windows 8).

 

2. Start your computer, Windows should start and load drivers for the new hardware.

 

3. Right click start menu / Left click System scroll down to Activate windows.

 

4 Left Click Activate windows when you should get an error message saying this software is already activated.

At that point choice number 3 should give you a choice of countries to receive the phone number.

 

5 Call Toll Free Number

 

6. Follow the instructions on disclosing you installation ID.

 

WHEN ASKED HOW MANY COMPUTERS HAVE THIS COPY OF WINDOWS INSTALLED ON THEM SAY ZERO

 

7. Enter the confirmation ID

 

Your part list is noticeably missing a motherboard (required), a power supply (required), and a system case (recommended). Those entries may simply be cut off the screenshot. Otherwise, you may have to start with more thorough part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/parts/partlist/

 

 

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OneUnder

Those aren't bad specs for a beginning, budget rig at all.  I'm not entirely well versed in how AMD processors stack up against one another being that I've always had Intel processors in my rig, but through four seconds of googling I've discovered that the 7650K seems to be a decent processor around the $100 pricepoint.  A benchmark comparison between it and a similarly priced Intel i3 offering is linked to below.  (The only thing you'd have to do if you decided to go with an Intel processor is swap your chosen AMD motherboard with an Intel one, and ensure that you've chosen one with the right socket number for your processor.)

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/1464?vs=1192

An Nvidia GTX 750Ti graphics card is a good starting point as well.  When I had mine I averaged around 60FPS while playing Skyrim at high settings.  When I set the game to ultra I got around 45FPS to 50FPS, but my card had 1GB of vram as opposed to the one you've listed with 2GB.  It will likely make a difference.  Here are some additional benchmarks for that card. 

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/1130

4GB of RAM does meet Skyrim's recommended settings, but the 8GB that you plan to swap over is even better.  RAM is transferable easily; just make sure that you place it in the correct slots so that your motherboard will know to utilize both sticks. (The correct slots for activating dual channel memory will be listed in your motherboard's user manual.  If you don't have the manual, just take note of the slots that the RAM comes pre-installed in on your new PC, and install the 8GB of RAM that you move over into those slots.)

Your chosen HDD is a decent brand, is clocked at 7200RPM, and is 1TB - it looks like a good choice to me.  The wireless adapter is fine, but if you can have a wired connection running from your modem/router to your PC, that always offers better signal strength and stability.  Unless that build that you've posted also comes with a power supply, case, optical drive, and the all important motherboard, you'll need to pick those up too. 

---

I do not recommend that you swap your HDD from your old computer to your new one, unless you're just going to use it as a storage device and not to boot from.  I'll let this quote from PC World sum it up in a simplified manner.

Quote

Moving an existing Windows installation to another PC is a massive pain. When you install Windows onto one computer, it configures itself for the hardware. If you move the hard drive with that installation to another PC and boot from that, the OS suddenly finds itself in hardware it doesn't understand. It's as if you woke up one morning and found yourself in a strange house and had no idea why. But Windows isn't as smart as a human being. You would find the bathroom, but Windows would just take the same steps and turns it does every morning, and walk into a wall.

Then there's the licensing issue. Windows is copy-protected. It won't work on hardware different from what it was installed on.

When you register Windows on one computer, it ties itself to that computer's motherboard.  If you ever need to reinstall your OS, you will not be able to use that same disc on a new computer (unless you went for the retail version instead of the OEM builder version of the OS, as the retail version is usually more expensive and has two or three product keys instead of just one).  Not to mention that removing and reinstalling drivers can get confusing pretty quickly.  I'm not sure how Windows 8 stacks up in terms of its experience with transferring HDDs, but I would avoid it entirely.

Being that you purchased a prebuilt system, the OEM version of Windows was likely used.  Your best bet is to purchase an OEM copy of whichever Windows version you'd like and use it to configure your new HDD on your new computer. I love Windows 7, but haven't gotten a chance to play around with 10 yet and have heard that it's great.  I'd avoid 8 if you can get 10. 

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DZComposer

I pretty much agree with what has been said:

The build itself is a fine starter rig. Just make sure to get a quality PSU, that's not the place to skimp.

As far as transferring the OS to the new machine, you can do it, but it's a complete PITA. I would highly advise against it. Just pony-up for a Windows 10 license and save yourself the trouble.

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OneUnder

+1 on that power supply recommendation.  Do not skimp out on what will be powering all of the other expensive pieces inside of your computer.  If you're unsure of how much wattage you will need, this calculator will be of use to you.  Use the basic tab instead of the expert one for a simplified estimate.

http://outervision.com/power-supply-calculator

Additionally, the PC Part Picker link posted by Gestalt should prove to be invaluable.  It's a great site for keeping everything organized.

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SF Redd

I probably should've given this link, too http://vi.raptor.ebaydesc.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemDescV4&item=181833962485&category=179&pm=1&ds=0&t=1451257861031#tabs-2 

It's the same computer, but it just doesn't have the customisations I've shown. If you scroll down you'll see the power suppy, motherboard and case.

As for transferring the hard drive and OS, with my budget I wouldn't be able to afford a new OS if I get this computer. I currently have Windows 8.1, and Windows 8 came with my PC when I bought it. I did upgrade to windows 10 for free, but it ran terribly on my computer. Whenever I opened Chrome my screen would just go black with the cursor on screen and the only other thing visible would be a minimised skype at the bottom left of my screen, so it reverted back to windows 8.1.

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OneUnder

The included 500w power supply should be fine for that build, and the motherboard and processor both have the FM2+ socket and should be a match.  The motherboard you listed does have a few complaints on Newegg for being delivered DOA, so do watch out for that. 

The issue that you encountered while switching between 8.1 and 10 will likely be replicated if you do not purchase a new copy of Windows to use on your new PC.  If you don't want to deal with the complete pain of finding out which drivers aren't playing nicely with your hardware, do yourself a favor and save up a bit more so that you may purchase Windows 10.

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SF Redd
5 minutes ago, OneUnder said:

The included 500w power supply should be fine for that build, and the motherboard and processor both have the FM2+ socket and should be a match.  The motherboard you listed does have a few complaints on Newegg for being delivered DOA, so do watch out for that. 

The issue that you encountered while switching between 8.1 and 10 will likely be replicated if you do not purchase a new copy of Windows to use on your new PC.  If you don't want to deal with the complete pain of finding out which drivers aren't playing nicely with your hardware, do yourself a favor and save up a bit more so that you may purchase Windows 10.

There's a warranty that comes with the PC, so if the motherboard is DOA, then I should be able to get it fixed.

I think I'll risk getting my Windows 8.1 on my new computer. When I first installed windows 8.1 it was all messed up. I waited for a few months then accidentally reinstalled it. Then it was fine. It worked properly and all. So I'll just stick to Windows 8.1 for the time being. If it comes to it, I'll install... Linux... until I've saved enough for Windows 10.

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OneUnder

Warranties are always good, provided that their terms aren't ridiculously restrictive.

On the subject of OS, is it a question of purchasing Windows 8.1 versus purchasing Windows 10?  Both are the same price, and 8.1 has an an inbuilt upgrade to 10 available in the event that you want to try it out.  I assumed that you were still trying to transfer the same OS between two computers by swapping the HDDs, which, as mentioned above, is not the best idea.

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SF Redd
20 minutes ago, OneUnder said:

Warranties are always good, provided that their terms aren't ridiculously restrictive.

On the subject of OS, is it a question of purchasing Windows 8.1 versus purchasing Windows 10?  Both are the same price, and 8.1 has an an inbuilt upgrade to 10 available in the event that you want to try it out.  I assumed that you were still trying to transfer the same OS between two computers by swapping the HDDs, which, as mentioned above, is not the best idea.

Yeah, I've got Windows 8.1 on my current computer, so when I get the new computer I'll take the Hard Drive out of it and put the 1TB hard drive from my old computer in. If I were to buy an OS, I'd probably buy Windows 10. And I may even upgrade my Windows 8.1 to windows 10 once I'm using my new PC, but I'll decide that later, as I don't really have any problems with 8.1 except the lack of a start menu in favour of a start screen.

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OneUnder

In that case, good luck.  Be sure to post some photos when it arrives!

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SF Redd
29 minutes ago, OneUnder said:

In that case, good luck.  Be sure to post some photos when it arrives!

Yeah, I will, thanks!

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Arashikage

Wait, is your current PC a laptop?  If it is, you can't use your current HDD with your new computer.

Also as DZ said, DEFINITELY don't skimp on the PSU.  I'd bought a Raidmax PSU for like 40 dollars, 600 watt, and it exploded on me in about a year.

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DZComposer

I'm concerned about a couple of things with that machine.

The PSU is my first concern. It's some generic PSU. Generic PSUs scare me. They often have less protection circuitry and often can't push their rated wattage (the 500W may be a lie). Since it doesn't have an efficiency rating at all, I would be surprised if that PSU could actually handle a 500W load.

Remember: the PSU is the most important component of a PC. Why? Because it is potentially the most destructive if it fails. Bad PSUs can fry other components. Bad PSUs can catch fire. Bad PSUs are inefficient and waste electricity. The PSU is not the place to save money. I'd step a rung down the CPU ladder before buying a shit PSU.

I pretty much use Seasonic PSUs these days. Both my gaming rig and my DAW box have Corsair-branded PSUs built by Seasonic.

The second is that it is a pre-built machine. Any particular reason why you don't want to build? You could probably save some money and you'll know exactly what is going into the machine. If it's warranties, don't worry. Every component worth buying has a warranty.

Also, with your OS, You are going to probably run into activation issues. What you are doing is against the EULA. It also will run like crap. If you can't afford a Windows license, drop SteamOS on the box for now and save-up for a Windows 10 Home license.

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SF Redd
On 31/12/2015 at 5:07 PM, DZComposer said:

I'm concerned about a couple of things with that machine.

The PSU is my first concern. It's some generic PSU. Generic PSUs scare me. They often have less protection circuitry and often can't push their rated wattage (the 500W may be a lie). Since it doesn't have an efficiency rating at all, I would be surprised if that PSU could actually handle a 500W load.

Remember: the PSU is the most important component of a PC. Why? Because it is potentially the most destructive if it fails. Bad PSUs can fry other components. Bad PSUs can catch fire. Bad PSUs are inefficient and waste electricity. The PSU is not the place to save money. I'd step a rung down the CPU ladder before buying a shit PSU.

I pretty much use Seasonic PSUs these days. Both my gaming rig and my DAW box have Corsair-branded PSUs built by Seasonic.

The second is that it is a pre-built machine. Any particular reason why you don't want to build? You could probably save some money and you'll know exactly what is going into the machine. If it's warranties, don't worry. Every component worth buying has a warranty.

Also, with your OS, You are going to probably run into activation issues. What you are doing is against the EULA. It also will run like crap. If you can't afford a Windows license, drop SteamOS on the box for now and save-up for a Windows 10 Home license.

Dually noted on the PSU and OS issues, I'll do my best to upgrade both asap. With the money I get from selling my current PC, do you think I should upgrade OS or PSU first?

The reason that I'm not wanting to build is that I don't really trust myself not to do something wrong or break something, as I've never really done anything like that before. I'd like to practice upgrading a PC before jumping into building one from scratch.

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DZComposer

Building a PC is easy. Can you use a screwdriver? Can you plug a lamp into a grounded electrical socket? If you answered yes to both questions, you can build a PC.

Everything is keyed so yo can't put it in backwards. You won't break anything unless you do something dumb like force the CPU into the socket when it isn't lined-up properly (which is easy to tell because the CPU just drops right in when correctly aligned).

The hardest part is the planning, but that is even easy with resources like http://www.logicalincrements.com/#!/ and https://pcpartpicker.com/. The important thing is making sure you buy a motherboard that is the same CPU socket as your CPU and RAM that is the same type as your motherboard takes. I recommend using a stock CPU cooler for your first build. You won't be able to overclock, but that's another thing I do not recommend doing for your first build.

On Logical Increments, you can build one for £358 that is slightly better than the one you're looking at and that comes with a good PSU.

PC build guide for newbies:

 

 

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OneUnder
1 hour ago, SF Alba said:

Dually noted on the PSU and OS issues, I'll do my best to upgrade both asap. With the money I get from selling my current PC, do you think I should upgrade OS or PSU first?

The reason that I'm not wanting to build is that I don't really trust myself not to do something wrong or break something, as I've never really done anything like that before. I'd like to practice upgrading a PC before jumping into building one from scratch.

Go for upgrading the PSU first.  An OS that can't be activated sure as hell beats a fire, right?

I had no experience in fiddling with anything inside of a PC before building mine.  All I needed was a screwdriver and some video-based instruction.  It really is simpler than it looks.  Newegg's How to Build a PC series is excellent on that note, and I used one of its previous iterations as a reference.

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SF Redd
55 minutes ago, DZComposer said:

Building a PC is easy. Can you use a screwdriver? Can you plug a lamp into a grounded electrical socket? If you answered yes to both questions, you can build a PC.

Everything is keyed so yo can't put it in backwards. You won't break anything unless you do something dumb like force the CPU into the socket when it isn't lined-up properly (which is easy to tell because the CPU just drops right in when correctly aligned).

The hardest part is the planning, but that is even easy with resources like http://www.logicalincrements.com/#!/ and https://pcpartpicker.com/. The important thing is making sure you buy a motherboard that is the same CPU socket as your CPU and RAM that is the same type as your motherboard takes. I recommend using a stock CPU cooler for your first build. You won't be able to overclock, but that's another thing I do not recommend doing for your first build.

On Logical Increments, you can build one for £358 that is slightly better than the one you're looking at and that comes with a good PSU.

PC build guide for newbies:

 

 

I was told that it is very difficult to put a CPU in, as the fan has to be a very precise distance from the CPU with very little room for error. Is this true?

Another problem I have is that after a lot of Googling I still have no more understanding of what parts are better than others. All the different models tend to trip me up, and I don't want to jump to the conclusion "more expensive is better" and potentially waste money.

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OneUnder
24 minutes ago, SF Alba said:

I was told that it is very difficult to put a CPU in, as the fan has to be a very precise distance from the CPU with very little room for error. Is this true?

It's ridiculously easy to put a CPU in.  You literally drop it right into its square slot on the motherboard.  All you have to do is make sure that it's inserted in the correct orientation.  The nerve-wracking part is lowering the tension arm to keep the CPU in place as it seems like it takes much more force than is safe, but it's fine.

There are two types of CPU fans/heatsinks; stock and aftermarket ones.  The stock heatsink fans are easy and come with your CPU - just line them up and lock them into place.  They come with thermal paste on the bottom of them already so you don't have to worry about applying any, and if you don't plan on overclocking and don't live in an extremely hot area, the stock heatsink fan will suffice.  Aftermarket heatsink fan installations are more involved, and I'll second DZ's recommendation that you stick with the stock one for your first build.

You don't have to worry about measuring the distance between the CPU and heatsink as all of the brackets and other pieces are per-measured in that respect.  Take note of how large components are in relation to other components though (if your graphics card is longer than your case has room, for example, that would create an issue).   

Watch the videos that DZ and I linked to.  They'll give you a much better idea of what is involved in terms of actual installation.

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SF Redd
20 minutes ago, OneUnder said:

It's ridiculously easy to put a CPU in.  You literally drop it right into a square slot on the motherboard.  All you have to do is make sure you're not applying pressure to it and that it is inserted in the correct orientation.  The nerve-wracking part is lowering the tension arm to keep the CPU in place as it seems like it takes much more force than is safe, but it's fine.

There are two types of CPU fans/heatsinks; stock and aftermarket ones.  The stock heatsink fans are easy - just place them on top and lock them into place.  They come with thermal paste on the bottom of them already so you don't have to worry about applying any, and if you don't plan on overclocking and don't live in an extremely hot area, the stock heatsink fan will suffice.  Aftermarket ones are just a little bit more involved.  You don't have to worry about measuring things as all of the brackets and other things are premeasured. 

Watch the videos that DZ and I linked to - they'll give you a much better idea of what is involved in terms of actual installation.

I'll definitely use this information to upgrade the computer, but I'll hold off on building one until I have a bit more trust in myself.

My Windows 8.1 has the free upgrade to Windows 10 ready on it. If I put the hard drive in the new computer and then do the upgrade to Windows 10, will that make it adapt to the new hardware?

 

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OneUnder

That's fair.  I edited my post a few times while you were replying, and I'd like to reiterate the point of watching the build videos that DZ and I posted.  It can't hurt to have an idea of how things go together, right?

Your latter question is a good one, and I'm not entirely sure if it would make things easier or not.  You'll still have to go through the difficulty of uninstalling and installing proper drivers though, and being that I'd rate building a computer as being significantly more straightforward and simplistic than working around software hiccups, which can turn into a nightmare rather quickly, I would be cautious about it.

DZ was right on the money when he said you should be going with something like SteamOS until you can purchase a license for Windows 10 IMO.

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