Windows "Console" PC's

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by gkarris, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #1
    Since PC's are so powerful now, you can build a PC that has "console specs" for about the same price as a console.

    Great for those of us on a budget who only need to run older PC games or current games at 1080p/30+.

    I would like to build one to run the latest Space Sims.

    Anyone running one or can make a recommendation?

    I found this video on YouTube:

     
  2. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    #2
    1080p @ 30fps can be easily achieved by much older PCs. You can target much higher than the current gen consoles and 60fps is very easy to get in this resolution, nowadays. This month is a great month to build a gaming PC considering the new gen cards from nvidia. Any quad core i7 with a GTX 1070 will easily give you 1080p / 60fps in every triple-A title.

    A previous gen gpu might also be a great choice if you want to keep the budget down. Prices for the GTX 9xx line will drop considerably during the following days as the new gen gpus hit the shelves.
     
  3. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #3
    I was just at Microcenter - is AMD still a good choice for being on a budget?

    Is there much a difference between the FX 6300 and FX4350?
     
  4. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Here's a budget PC that uses just the graphics from the AMD APU. Once you set the RAM to its proper 2400 MHz speed, you can get surprisingly good 1080p performance out of it. For another $180 or so, you can add an AMD R9 380 and really boost graphical performance.

     
  5. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    #5
    It really depends of what games you are planning to play. E.g. for "Witcher 3"-level titles I wouldn't choose any gpu lower than the GTX970, but I'd wait for a few days as a price drop is iminent.

    No idea how these amd cpus will perform, though.
     
  6. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #6
    Yup. I'd say Witcher 3 serves as an excellent benchmark for any titles coming out in the near future. If your card can't push it at high/ultra settings @1080p and maintain a 40-60FPS average, I wouldn't expect it to do any better with any of the AAA games coming out this year and beyond.
     
  7. Irishman macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Here's another one the builders call "the potato masher ", running Doom. $375 total money spent.

     
  8. 1080p macrumors 68020

    1080p

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    #8
    Thanks for the mention. I really appreciate it!
     
  9. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #9
    Is it because of E3? Is AMD dropping the price of CPU's as well as GPU cards?
     
  10. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #10
    Hey, no problem! Just giving props where props be due! :D
     
  11. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #11
    It's because NVIDIA's next generation cards are starting to hit the market. The new GTX 1070, with an MSRP of about $400 is delivering performance just about on par with that of the $1000 Titan X.

    I'd expect the 970 to drop to about the $250 range, or even less.
     
  12. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #12
    Cool, I guess the A10 CPU is a great budget with an integrated GPU.

    Interesting as these "console PC's" were budgeted at the $400 range (okay, $300 but you have to pay for Windows). But now that the consoles are dropping to $300, what do you get for that?

    For budget's sake, I do already have a Kangaroo PC and have finally started to try out different Steam games on it.

    Preliminary is that I can do some games 1080p but I think they run at 15fps. I tried going down to 720p but am stuck with a black border around my 1080p TV set - will look into fixing that...

    The Kangaroo PC is really cool for the $99 price:

    http://www.kangaroo.cc

    I guess that would be more a "microconsole PC" contender (another discussion thread).

    Please continue to share links on this issue...
     
  13. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #13
    Thanks for all your advice!

    AFA my Kangaroo - I couldn't get it past trying to get rid of the black borders when playing 720p on a 1080 TV. Also, of course it struggled with a bunch of newer games I have on Steam even at lower quality (especially some of the newer beautiful Indie games). It seems to be more for casual and much, much, older games (Microconsole class, I guess).

    So I took the plunge over the weekend and assembled a Console PC (I took the advice of the video with the AMD APU):

    CoolMaster Mini-ITX Case (can use full size video cards)
    Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN MB w/ WI-FI
    AMD A10-7860K with R7 GPU
    2X4Gig 2133 EVGA DDR3 Memory (8G total)
    Corsair CTX 750W PS (refurbished)

    I made my budget of $250 and came in at $330 (after taxes and $30 in 3 year extended warranties on a few of the main parts)... ;)

    I had a barely used WD 1TB SATA drive and unused copy of Win 7 Home 64-bit a couple of people gave me ( and upgraded to Windows 10).

    I put it together Saturday and installed the OS and upgraded yesterday - seems very easy compared to building a PC in the old days. I did have to do what the AMD video did and go into the BIOS and over-ride the memory speed so it runs at the full 2133.

    It runs really cool because of the included case fans plus the 750W PS seems to be hardly working.

    Just upgrading to the latest Windows patches and drivers this week. Over next weekend - onto gaming!

    (a month ago, got Titanfall PC closeout at Target for $10, gonna load that and see how it compares to XBox One and 360).
     
  14. blesscheese macrumors 6502a

    blesscheese

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    #14
    Looking forward to your impressions! Was there any particular place you bought the components from?
     
  15. gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #15
    Microcenter, mostly all on sale. They have a deal where you buy a CPU and Mobo and you get an extra $40 off.

    They're extended warranties are reasonable since the prices are now sale prices and I did have to use it a couple times before. I got the warranties on the parts likely to not upgrade and may burn out early (PS, CPU, Mobo).
     
  16. panda76 macrumors member

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    #16
    Have done many, many budget builds.. but I generally incorporate a few 2nd hand parts into my machines

    One of the most expensive parts is the graphics card, I used to be very wary of the 2nd hand market, but in about 20 cards I've never had one issue

    A few points
    Windows (7, 8.1 and 10) can be bought for about 10 dollars (currently) - check the UK deals site (hotukdeals.com), that's a big saving

    AMD cards coming out end of June, the new 460 card is primed to have an MSRP of around $99.. will be a seriously good new budget card

    I used to buy refurbished office PC's with very good CPU's for knockdown prices on ebay and just put in the best low power graphics card that can be run off a standard 300-350 watt oem PSU - instant gaming machine
     
  17. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #17
    And also a big risk because there's always a chance that whatever key you buy will be blacklisted by Microsoft at some point in the future, if not right away.
     
  18. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #18
    But by the same token, instead of spending close to 400 on a gaming rig that will be used on a desk with a smallish monitor (I say smallis in comparison to many TVs being used now a days).

    I'm not knocking gaming PCs, and you typically can do a lot more with them, but by the same token, for $350 you get a PS4 that will hook up to your living room (or bedroom) TV and its a bit more enjoyable sitting on a couch or a recliner then sitting at a desk.

    I was playing Fallout 3 New Vegas on my 27" iMac and it was ok, but I will say playing fallout 3 on my PS3 in the living room was a better experience because I'm more comfortable, and I'm playing it on a larger screen.
     
  19. antonis macrumors 68000

    antonis

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    #19
    However, every modern pc gpu can be connected with any modern tv, nowadays. Output ports are the same with consoles' and modern TVs are also double as monitors anyway.
     
  20. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Let's break this down a bit because you seem to be operating under a false pretense, and I apologize up front if I'm misinterpreting your intentions.

    Virtually every motherboard that supports the AMD APU (and even Intel CPUs with integrated graphics), will have HDMI, VGA, DVI, DisplayPort/mini-DisplayPort, and/or any combination of these video outputs. The HDMI port will be able to pass audio signals, too, making it a trivial matter to hook the computer up to a TV. Most boards will also have an optical output for audio so you can easily connect it to your A/V receiver.

    Now I will agree that moving a desktop tower, like the one you see in the video I linked above, can be a hassle if it's not going to strictly be an integral part of your home theater setup. There are dozens of small form factor cases that are lightweight and easy to move around. @gkarris is using a mini-ITX motherboard, which is even smaller than the micro-ATX one used in the video. This gives him the option to use an even smaller case, while losing none of the connectivity. His board is slightly better in a way because it has built-in WiFi with an external dongle to provide better range than what you'd get in an iMac or game console. His motherboard also has a PCI-Express slot so he can add a dedicated graphics card later on. Some AMD cards can even leverage the power of the APU's GPU in a sort of poor man's Crossfire, for lack of a better phrase.

    As for my own setup, I have a gaming notebook with a desktop-class Core i7 CPU and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M. The latter, when overclocked, gives me performance nearly equal to that of the desktop GTX 970. The system comes with both DisplayPort and HDMI outputs. I connect the former to my NVIDIA G-Sync capable monitor, which allows me to play games with vertical sync on and not have to worry about the input lag this can otherwise cause. When I want to game on my couch, I move the system over to my TV and hook it up via HDMI. I have a wireless keyboard/trackpad combo for text input and navigation, and I play with my Xbox One Elite and wireless receiver. I'm actually going to re-work my setup to have the controller connect via USB, as it's just a bit too heavy with the batteries installed.
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #21
    No doubt, and I'm sure some folks do, but I also think (assumption on my part), that most typical computer usage is at a desk and not in the living room with the PC hooked up to the 51" TV
     
  22. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #22
    It depends on what the computer is doing. You can set one up to be a gaming system, network attached storage, multimedia streaming machine, all without needing separate pieces of hardware. A PS4 will let me use Youtube and Netflix, but I wouldn't be able to play any of my iTunes content. A PC lets me do all that.
     
  23. BillyBobBongo macrumors 68020

    BillyBobBongo

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    #23
    I have a 'Steam Link' and 'Steam Controller' (http://store.steampowered.com/hardware/) so I can either choose to game at my desk, so that the wife can watch something with Doctors in it on the TV, or on the couch when said Doctors have buggered off! :)

    Of course it's an extra investment, but it provides versatility.
     
  24. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

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    #24
    I had thought about getting rid of my gaming laptop and building a desktop, supplemented with a Steam Link or NVIDIA Shield TV to stream games to my living room. Optimal performance for those devices requires an Ethernet connection, however, which isn't a practical option for me. Connecting the notebook directly to the TV works great, and it also negates any type of input lag. Any type of online gaming I do would be from my desk, which has said Ethernet hookup.
     
  25. gkarris, Jun 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016

    gkarris thread starter macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #25
    Yea - I have a DIY home theater with a projector on the ceiling (have a newer projector with HDMI now - system is wired for Component).

    I have a cheap Asus Sub-note for $160, and decided to hook it up one day (I had gotten an HDMI to Component Converter since new stuff only has HDMI), added an XBox 360 wired controller and played my Steam games on the big screen! This prompted me to see what kind of computer can be hooked up with console specs.

    The problem I'm having (at my old age) is that the sofa is TOO comfortable and I end up quitting the game and running Netflix and then falling asleep... :eek:

    At least when I'm at my desk, I seem to be paying more attention and am able to play games longer. I recently got a 32" Sharp 1080p native TV on closeout at Bestbuy for $150. It is pretty big as a desk monitor from 6 inches away...

    Yes, I tried that Kangaroo system. It's a great $99 nano-pc for day-to-day tasks, plays videos at 1080p no problem, and casual games. It does take other $100 media players a run for their money. (I tried a bunch of others and the only one with decent potential is the nVidia Shield, but they're around $180). You can hook any computer now to TV's or Monitors.

    I had starting looking at this guy's videos comparing a PS4 with XBox One, Custom PC, and Alienware Console PC. It's pretty good and eye opening (keep in mind his Custom PC build is already old).



    Yeah, to get the free Hulu content as well as many of the free program (from like PBS), you can only get it through a computer browser. Using an app on a device (phone, tablet, set-top box, game console), you have to pay or subscribe to dish/cable.

    I could've saved money buying a regular micro-atx case and board (the only mini-atx board they had was $55 after the $40 bundle savings), and a lower power supply, but I wanted a case with a small height as well as being able to use full size video cards in the future when I get a VR set. Glad I did as the case with extra fans and the larger power supply will be enough for a VR capable budget card a year or so down the road.

    Looking forward to throwing my Steam games on it as well as comparing Titanfall to my XBox Consoles...
     

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