Question Mom of gamer ...help me pick Xmas PC for VR

Shawnaz

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Jul 21, 2017
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My son games. A lot. He wants a new gaming pc.

‘I’m torn between intel i7 and amd. Also between Graphic cards 2070, 2080 and 3080.

also ram is so confusing ...argh

ive been studying, but I still don’t know what kind of ram to get. or how much.

I just want an Alienware system that he can VR with the best of them with and game for a few years without upgrading. I can’t build. I know Alienware is expensive for nothing but he wants it :(

I want to spend between 2-2500. Possible?

not sure what VR he will buy...he’s been saving for months though.
 
This really depends.
I would still suggest trying to convince him to not get an alienware, and let you choose the parts, and have a system integrator build it, like ibuypower, or a local store that sells computer parts and assembles them.

But as for parts.
2-2.5k is a nice amount of change for a pc.
AMD or Intel is really not a very important matter these days, especially in a prebuilt where the price between the 2 is sometimes identical, and performance is somewhat the same. Intel edges a little on gaming, and AMD a little on productivity.

Since your son is wanting a VR headset, GPU muscle will be of the utmost importance, while cpu will actually be on the side a little.

As for cpu

A ryzen 7 3700, or intel i7 10700F will be a very good buy.
(Though in november, the ryzen 5800X will release, which is much faster, but will probably cost a fair amount more.)

As for gpu.

You shouldn't get the 2070 or 2080. While they are powerful, the new 3000 series (3080 or 3070) are much, MUCH better than the 2000 series.

Say the 3070 (at 499$) beating or matching the 2080 Ti (one tier above the 2080, which was priced at 1200$.)
For vr gaming, the 3070 will be more than enough, but the 3080 will also be very welcome and is still a very good card.

As for ram

16 gigabytes is more than enough for capacity. 32 is the next tier up, and unless he does any productivity stuff, gaming alone almost never reaches above 10 gigabytes of usage, leaving him with 6 more gigabytes left for chrome, discord, or spotify to run in the background comfortably.
for speed that's a very good question.
3000-3600 CL 15-CL 17 are where you want to be.
Higher mhz is better, lower CL is better.
But above 3600 CL15 the benefit really becomes small.
3200mhz CL16 is the sweetspot in my opinion. But the thing is, intel caps speeds at 2933mhz on i7 and i9 on their B series and H series motherboards. I don't know what alienware puts in their systems, but I doubt it's a Z series board.
If they give the option to faster ram, it probably can run it, but you should ask alienware support this question.

AMD does not have any limitation, and actually benefits more from fast ram. on intel slower ram does not hurt performance that much, while on AMD it can be up to a 15% difference.

As for VR

You should ask him what vr he will buy too.
There are 5 Headsets he will probably choose from

Oculus quest 2, Oculus rift S, HTC vive, HTC vive PRO, Valve index.
The quest, rift and vive actually are fairly easy to run, and you honestly can get away with a much cheaper rig with low-mid end stuff running it. The quest 2 doesn't strictly need a PC and has a small pc inside it already.

The Vive Pro and Valve index on the other hand have higher resolutions and/or more refresh rate.
Which are more difficult to run, and I'd say actually warrant the 3070 or up for optimal performance.
 

Shawnaz

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Jul 21, 2017
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This really depends.
I would still suggest trying to convince him to not get an alienware, and let you choose the parts, and have a system integrator build it, like ibuypower, or a local store that sells computer parts and assembles them.

But as for parts.
2-2.5k is a nice amount of change for a pc.
AMD or Intel is really not a very important matter these days, especially in a prebuilt where the price between the 2 is sometimes identical, and performance is somewhat the same. Intel edges a little on gaming, and AMD a little on productivity.

Since your son is wanting a VR headset, GPU muscle will be of the utmost importance, while cpu will actually be on the side a little.

As for cpu

A ryzen 7 3700, or intel i7 10700F will be a very good buy.
(Though in november, the ryzen 5800X will release, which is much faster, but will probably cost a fair amount more.)

As for gpu.

You shouldn't get the 2070 or 2080. While they are powerful, the new 3000 series (3080 or 3070) are much, MUCH better than the 2000 series.

Say the 3070 (at 499$) beating or matching the 2080 Ti (one tier above the 2080, which was priced at 1200$.)
For vr gaming, the 3070 will be more than enough, but the 3080 will also be very welcome and is still a very good card.

As for ram

16 gigabytes is more than enough for capacity. 32 is the next tier up, and unless he does any productivity stuff, gaming alone almost never reaches above 10 gigabytes of usage, leaving him with 6 more gigabytes left for chrome, discord, or spotify to run in the background comfortably.
for speed that's a very good question.
3000-3600 CL 15-CL 17 are where you want to be.
Higher mhz is better, lower CL is better.
But above 3600 CL15 the benefit really becomes small.
3200mhz CL16 is the sweetspot in my opinion. But the thing is, intel caps speeds at 2933mhz on i7 and i9 on their B series and H series motherboards. I don't know what alienware puts in their systems, but I doubt it's a Z series board.
If they give the option to faster ram, it probably can run it, but you should ask alienware support this question.

AMD does not have any limitation, and actually benefits more from fast ram. on intel slower ram does not hurt performance that much, while on AMD it can be up to a 15% difference.

As for VR

You should ask him what vr he will buy too.
There are 5 Headsets he will probably choose from

Oculus quest 2, Oculus rift S, HTC vive, HTC vive PRO, Valve index.
The quest, rift and vive actually are fairly easy to run, and you honestly can get away with a much cheaper rig with low-mid end stuff running it. The quest 2 doesn't strictly need a PC and has a small pc inside it already.

The Vive Pro and Valve index on the other hand have higher resolutions and/or more refresh rate.
Which are more difficult to run, and I'd say actually warrant the 3070 or up for optimal performance.
Thank you so much, this is exactly what I needed since while I could read the info on pc sites, I had no idea about the intel capping the limit, and so on. So intricate and complex. Lol your insight is really appreciated and saved me from buying something completely not workable like an i5 with 8gb ram and 2060 card.
 

Shawnaz

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Jul 21, 2017
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What parts and bling is HE looking for?
He doesn’t know. He plays on an i5 w 8gb ram and 1tb he’d. That’s all we know. He doesn’t know PCs well...I know more than he does, which is not good lol he is just starting to game on pc as he played Xbox before. Wants a valve index.
 
Thank you so much, this is exactly what I needed since while I could read the info on pc sites, I had no idea about the intel capping the limit, and so on. So intricate and complex. Lol your insight is really appreciated and saved me from buying something completely not workable like an i5 with 8gb ram and 2060 card.
An i5 is actually still really good for gaming.
There are 2 main measures to cpu performance:
multithread, and single thread.
Currently, i7 and i9 provide more threads, meaning better multithreading, but actually are only a tiny bit better in single thread.

While games are slowly becoming more and more multithreaded, most games now, and for the foreseeable future don't benefit from more than 8 cores at best.
(in the current generation, i5 has 6 cores, and i7 has 8.)

8gigs vs 16gigs is very situational actually.
8 is actually enough to run almost all, or actually all games with no problem.
Thing is, sometimes you have more stuff open than just a game, say you have chrome for searching stuff and spotify for music, and discord for talking with friends at the same time, all those quickly add up to more than 8 gigabytes, even if the game itself actually takes only say, 7 gigs.
And as I mentioned in the last comment, 16 is the sweet spot since, all games fit on there, and gives you headroom for whatever else you want to open without being restricted.

Another important point for the computer
He should have an ssd.
I'm sure you know already, but SSD's are the main drive of the computer (replacing hard drives, or working with them)
For the actual main drive with windows on it, and stuff that opens when the pc opens, say his favorite game, or discord (which usually opens as soon as the pc boots up) it MUST be an ssd in the year 2020.

For the bulk storage, say, games he only plays every once in a while, photos or videos for archiving, that's actually okay on an hard drive since there are still cheaper per gigabyte and have higher capacities if needed.

He doesn’t know. He plays on an i5 w 8gb ram and 1tb he’d. That’s all we know. He doesn’t know PCs well...I know more than he does, which is not good lol he is just starting to game on pc as he played Xbox before. Wants a valve index.
the "bling" of a machine is actually the last decision in my opinion, even if it's for a child.

The case, and vendor parts (meaning what company you buy the ram, or gpus from, even if they are the same card.) are the 2 more important "bling" items.

The case is quite obvious, since its the main chassis and is the main "look" of the machine

The vendor parts also drastically change the look of the inside of the machine, even if there is no major difference in performance.
for example
Ram from corsair, or ram from g.skill.
Which one looks better in your opinion? pick that one, AS LONG AS THE SPEED IS THE SAME.
say corsair has better looking ram in your opinion, as long as the speed of both is the same, you should pick the one that looks better, since the performance will be the same


Thing is, if your son is set on alienware, you really can't configure the looks of the machine.
They only have a few types of cases, and I'm pretty sure non of them have side panel window.
 

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