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Thread: Gaming PC: What’s the Catch?

  1. #1

    Gaming PC: What’s the Catch?

    I do NOT want to buy a Walmart computer. That inherently seems wrong. But is this an amazing deal or what?

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/CYBERPOWE...s-10-/56229038

    Is this too good to be true? I’ve never owned a gaming “rig” as they say, so the subtleties of PC building are lost on me.

    For the the longest time I was eyeing this:

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/ibuypow...?skuId=6180825

    The Walmart one looks better or equal in every way. The Best Buy one has extensive reviews, which I have thoroughly looked through. I think they said it had a cheap power supply and cheap ram.

    Im aware almost everyone suggests building a PC part by part, but when I add up cost I’m paying way more than $1,200.
    " I am the Lizard King, I can do anyhthing... "

  2. #2
    Thought he was onto something.
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    I would check it against pcpartspicker.com to see if you're really getting a good deal, or are getting rolled by Slick Jim from marketing.

    Edit: seems you might already have done that.

    My biggest gripe here would be: no SSD and not a very appealing GPU IMHO, but depends on what you want out of it of course.
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  3. #3
    For PC building I've used Logical Increments spreadsheet which contains an updated tiered build list. I did a quick cross check between the prices on the Cyberpower system and items I found on the site, which were all over the board. Here is a listing for the same PC on Amazon if you want to read more reviews.

    As for the cross reference it runs you close, though I couldn't find what cooling system, case, motherboard, and power supply individually cost.
    Intel i7+ 8700K ($348)
    Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB ($280)
    16GB Memory ($135)
    2TB HD ($45)
    =$808.00

  4. #4
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Other than some parts being lower quality, it's legit. Remember Wal Mart has the logistics and negotiating power to order these in bulk, probably straight from the factories in Taiwan (more likely, a factory which buys parts and assembles finished PCs). So they have a straight price edge over individual wholesalers.

  5. #5
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    With Best Buy you're getting the same parts, but paying higher premiums to cover their shipping and stocking costs, which per unit are way more expensive than Walmart's.

  6. #6
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    That's just nuts that the 1060 is still that expensive and is still a card people will use. I built a "budget" gaming PC for my son and I couple of years ago and I paid $230 (I think it had less memory). Actually I'll attach the specs. (Which doesn't have some things included like case which I ordered elsewhere and keyboard/mouse/monitor which we used from an old computer.)

    Anyway, the reason I'm replying is because my son was whining about "lag" in fortnite while he was streaming. I watched what he was doing and it was really framerate stutter. He has a dual monitor setup and was watching himself stream in a little window on his second monitor. Once I had him turn that little window off he said it was a lot better. Anyway, the 1060 still seems ok to me.

    (the attached components were purchased in december of 2016)
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  7. #7
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Does every kid today want to become a streamer? Is this the new "I want to be a rock star"?

    Every time I happen to learn something about streamer culture, I find myself wanting to burn down the Twitch server warehouse.

  8. #8
    I remember a time when people used to say "Someday I want to write about about that." Today, more often than not I hear "I want to make a youtube video about that." I think in some way it is the same mentality.
    We tend to become the media we consume.

  9. #9

    NIKVMVS-REX-TODOA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Every time I happen to learn something about [Internet thing], I find myself wanting to burn down the [Internet thing].
    Hey, that's my thing!

    Anyway, here's my computer specs (got this machine two years ago), dunno how well it fares to today's tech:

    https://www.nikumubeki.com/computer

  10. #10
    Admiral of Awesome
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    The main thing I’d be worried about with that computer is upgradability - the parts are probably carefully margined for exactly that system configuration and nothing else. There’s probably only one 16X pcie slot, one 8X power connector, etc.

    If you never intend to add or change anything that’s not a big deal, though.

  11. #11
    Admiral of Awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikumubeki View Post
    Hey, that's my thing!

    Anyway, here's my computer specs (got this machine two years ago), dunno how well it fares to today's tech:

    https://www.nikumubeki.com/computer
    My desktop is almost identical to yours (except with 64 GB RAM, for very specific needs that nobody else has). It’s perfectly fine.

  12. #12
    No SSD is pretty brutal. I'd rather take a slower CPU and get an SSD over the way that build is designed.

  13. #13

    NIKVMVS-REX-TODOA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    My desktop is almost identical to yours (except with 64 GB RAM, for very specific needs that nobody else has). It’s perfectly fine.
    Alrighty.

    I still wish that rendering things in FL Studio wouldn't take 12-40 minutes (depending on the length of the track being rendered) with all the fancy FabFilter plugins applied to every instrument, tho'

    (Even though CM says it's due to the plugins being single-core instead of FLS itself. Eh.)

  14. #14
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikumubeki View Post
    Hey, that's my thing!

    Anyway, here's my computer specs (got this machine two years ago), dunno how well it fares to today's tech:

    https://www.nikumubeki.com/computer
    We have an almost identical build, I'm just rocking a GTX 970 because hooo doggy the GTX 1080 was expensive at release.

    Let's burn down internet things together!

  15. #15
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikumubeki View Post
    Alrighty.

    I still wish that rendering things in FL Studio wouldn't take 12-40 minutes (depending on the length of the track being rendered) with all the fancy FabFilter plugins applied to every instrument, tho'

    (Even though CM says it's due to the plugins being single-core instead of FLS itself. Eh.)
    The rule of VST plugins: if its compatible with your DAW, its useless. If its useful, its not going to work well with your DAW.

  16. #16

    NIKVMVS-REX-TODOA

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    Still gotta get used to "if I want it to sound fancy, I actually have to wait for the rendering to finish" again - after all these years.
    Last edited by Nikumubeki; 09-07-2018 at 12:19 PM. Reason: What next - webpages taking 5 minutes to load again?

  17. #17
    This is a build I came up with real quick, which IMO is way better balanced than the Cyberpower PC. https://pcpartpicker.com/list/nT7G29

    CPU isn't as fast, sure, but it's not much slower for gaming purposes, especially pared with a 1060. In exchange, you get an actual boot SSD (250GB), and a larger HDD for game storage. You will feel that way more day-to-day. Furthermore, you can toss in a higher end mobo if you like, and get some extra expandability out of it, for only ~$40 more.

  18. #18
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    I've noticed my CPU is bottlenecking on some games harder than my GPU. I feel the real issue with GPUs is RAM and texture size. As long as you aren't doing 1440 at 144hz, with 16x MSAA and massive textures, your GPU is likely not holding your games back all that much.

    Could also be that i self-select games which are more CPU intensive but hey.

  19. #19
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikumubeki View Post
    Still gotta get used to "if I want it to sound fancy, I actually have to wait for the rendering to finish" again - after all these years.
    Huh, does the live version sound that much worse to you? Other than reverb, most effects sound okay to me when rendered live.

  20. #20

    NIKVMVS-REX-TODOA

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    Well, for a long time I just applied the bunch of fancy plugins only on the main effects channel, but after discovering that I could improve the sound quality (to my ears anyway) by applying the bunch separately on every single instrument, well, that's what I've been doing ever since.

    So FL's reported CPU (single core) usage jumped from about 5-30% to 100%, thus preventing me from doing any proper real time editing (thanks to enormous lag), and extending the rendering times quite a bit (takes me 40 minutes or so to render my version of the 1812 Overture - ~17 minutes long - with all the fancy plugins in place).

  21. #21
    Admiral of Awesome
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    An enterprising person could write a universal shim that offloaded poorly written plugins into a worker thread, I guess.

  22. #22
    ^^vv<><>BASTART
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikumubeki View Post
    Well, for a long time I just applied the bunch of fancy plugins only on the main effects channel, but after discovering that I could improve the sound quality (to my ears anyway) by applying the bunch separately on every single instrument, well, that's what I've been doing ever since.
    Most instruments should be mastered separately, for sure. I only use effects in return tracks occasionally. I tend to be particular about how each channel is balanced, and try to fix problems with balancing or other issues there. So I tend to run a bunch of separate effects on each track. Which leads to this point..

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikumubeki View Post
    So FL's reported CPU (single core) usage jumped from about 5-30% to 100%, thus preventing me from doing any proper real time editing (thanks to enormous lag), and extending the rendering times quite a bit (takes me 40 minutes or so to render my version of the 1812 Overture - ~17 minutes long - with all the fancy plugins in place).
    It's been many years since I've used FL Studio. But this all sounds really wrong. I have Ableton 9. I'm able to edit fairly large projects on the fly without ridiculous spikes in lag. And my rendering times are usually a fraction of the track's length.

    I rendered these two bits from projects I was working on. The first is 22 seconds of a drum beat with some chordal instruments. Took 7 seconds to render. The second is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Took 24 seconds to render. Both took ~5 or so seconds to go through the LAME encoder for MP3. So I'm ranging 1/4 to 1/2 the length of the track. And both tracks use multiple effects.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3kv2ys039j...ments.mp3?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zzlf45bujs...on%29.mp3?dl=0

    Unless you're throwing on a crazy amount of plugins, really long renders shouldn't happen. Where did you get the plugins you're using? Odds are you can find a modern substitute for many of them. Or they're redundant. Synthesizers and wacky effects are the only things most DAWs really need, once you get comfortable with the default plugins and mastering tools.

    iZotope mastering tools and good reverb plugins are the only exceptions I can think of.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    I've noticed my CPU is bottlenecking on some games harder than my GPU. I feel the real issue with GPUs is RAM and texture size. As long as you aren't doing 1440 at 144hz, with 16x MSAA and massive textures, your GPU is likely not holding your games back all that much.

    Could also be that i self-select games which are more CPU intensive but hey.
    Unless you're looking at high framerate gameplay, CPU shouldn't bottleneck at all in most titles outside of games like Ashes of the Singularity, Starcraft, or Civilization, until you're really low on the CPU totem pole.

  24. #24
    Child's Play CharitySon of Krokodile XVI
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Anyway, the reason I'm replying is because my son was whining about "lag" in fortnite while he was streaming. I watched what he was doing and it was really framerate stutter. He has a dual monitor setup and was watching himself stream in a little window on his second monitor. Once I had him turn that little window off he said it was a lot better. Anyway, the 1060 still seems ok to me.
    You know, if your son is big into streaming, you might want to consider investing in a dedicated streaming computer for him. This is what a lot of serious streamers do. So they play the games on one computer. The other computer captures the screen of that gaming computer and handles the streaming. Streaming is highly CPU-intensive. Another solution is getting one of the higher-end AMD Ryzen CPUs. With their higher number of cores, they're better suited for playing and streaming on a singe computer than Intels.

    Then again, if your son's framerate issue was really just a GPU thing and he doesn't need a more powerful streaming setup anyway, nevermind I said anything!

  25. #25
    Admiral of Awesome
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    It's important to teach children how to diagnose performance problems.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krokodile View Post
    You know, if your son is big into streaming, you might want to consider investing in a dedicated streaming computer for him. This is what a lot of serious streamers do. So they play the games on one computer. The other computer captures the screen of that gaming computer and handles the streaming. Streaming is highly CPU-intensive. Another solution is getting one of the higher-end AMD Ryzen CPUs. With their higher number of cores, they're better suited for playing and streaming on a singe computer than Intels.

    Then again, if your son's framerate issue was really just a GPU thing and he doesn't need a more powerful streaming setup anyway, nevermind I said anything!
    i had no idea this was a thing. Any links to more info?

  27. #27
    Admiral of Awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    i had no idea this was a thing. Any links to more info?
    http://www.logicalincrements.com/art...treaming#twopc

  28. #28
    Zulenglashernbracker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid
    Every time I happen to learn something about streamer culture, I find myself wanting to burn down the Twitch server warehouse.
    I had a blog. It sucked.

  29. #29

    NIKVMVS-REX-TODOA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Most instruments should be mastered separately, for sure. I only use effects in return tracks occasionally. I tend to be particular about how each channel is balanced, and try to fix problems with balancing or other issues there. So I tend to run a bunch of separate effects on each track. Which leads to this point..

    It's been many years since I've used FL Studio. But this all sounds really wrong. I have Ableton 9. I'm able to edit fairly large projects on the fly without ridiculous spikes in lag. And my rendering times are usually a fraction of the track's length.

    I rendered these two bits from projects I was working on. The first is 22 seconds of a drum beat with some chordal instruments. Took 7 seconds to render. The second is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Took 24 seconds to render. Both took ~5 or so seconds to go through the LAME encoder for MP3. So I'm ranging 1/4 to 1/2 the length of the track. And both tracks use multiple effects.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/3kv2ys039j...ments.mp3?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zzlf45bujs...on%29.mp3?dl=0

    Unless you're throwing on a crazy amount of plugins, really long renders shouldn't happen. Where did you get the plugins you're using? Odds are you can find a modern substitute for many of them. Or they're redundant. Synthesizers and wacky effects are the only things most DAWs really need, once you get comfortable with the default plugins and mastering tools.

    iZotope mastering tools and good reverb plugins are the only exceptions I can think of.
    I've been going on about this "oh no, plugins and CPUs!" issue for a few months now, but only yesterday did it actually occur to me that maybe the DAW might be the issue... until CM said it might probably be the plugins themselves. I should take a look into Ableton, tho'

    The FX plugins I'm using are some of these Fabfilter ones https://www.fabfilter.com/ (reverb, multiband compressor and equalizer)

    And yeah, if I had paid (or started paying) attention to how mixing should be done, I might get away with this issue somehow.

    ( And maybe if I started to learn C++ I could be able to make some use out of this, but.... https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/action-rpg )

  30. #30
    Admiral of Awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zloc_Vergo View Post
    .
    Am I missing something? Gaming computers are not appropriate for all workloads. When I build and test code I offload that work onto a cluster, because software build and test benefits from having many threads but my gaming desktop is optimized for single thread performance. Having a separate machine for stream compositing and encoding isn't any different.

  31. #31
    Thought he was onto something.
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  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth_Xasthur View Post
    I do NOT want to buy a Walmart computer. That inherently seems wrong. But is this an amazing deal or what?

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/CYBERPOWE...s-10-/56229038

    Is this too good to be true? I’ve never owned a gaming “rig” as they say, so the subtleties of PC building are lost on me.

    For the the longest time I was eyeing this:

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/ibuypow...?skuId=6180825

    The Walmart one looks better or equal in every way. The Best Buy one has extensive reviews, which I have thoroughly looked through. I think they said it had a cheap power supply and cheap ram.

    Im aware almost everyone suggests building a PC part by part, but when I add up cost I’m paying way more than $1,200.
    I purchased a Cyberpower PC from Amazon almost a year ago. The specs are a bit lower and I know the video card isn't the most desirable but the computer met my needs (primarily Adobe Creative Cloud and older games) and has performed great. I ran that unoptimized Mos Eisley demo with the settings maxed out and 1080P with no problem at all.

    My computer does have the short motherboard with one PCI slot left. It does look funny to see the expansion slots in the case knowing that but I don't really need to add any cards and if I decide to upgrade the motherboard someday the case is very easy to work in. I also have two m.2 slots and I upped the size of the m.2 that came with it and threw that one in a laptop I've since purchased. Two upgrades for one. There are ample power supply connections but I did not think to look for the one Jon`C referred to when I was in there last.

    I chose to buy this model because I was just going to spend way more building my own and I thought it was a good value. My suggestion, if you really need/want a new computer, is to look for a range of models that fit your needs and then keep an eye on the prices for awhile. You may find a better model or price by being somewhat methodical over a period of time about this.

    Oh, and the Cyberpower keyboards suck. The mouse is, I guess, okay. I stuck with my Logitech keyboard but I do use the mouse.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Am I missing something? Gaming computers are not appropriate for all workloads. When I build and test code I offload that work onto a cluster, because software build and test benefits from having many threads but my gaming desktop is optimized for single thread performance. Having a separate machine for stream compositing and encoding isn't any different.
    To put this in perspective: GDQ uses not one, not two, but three computers for the streaming side of its production. One to ingest and composite, one to encode and upload to stream, and one to record VODs. All these things could be bashed together onto one mega-PC, but they are better done separately for reliability and performance reasons. Many streamers use separate PCs, not because they couldn't get a workable all-in-one solution, but because reliability and performance are more important.

  34. #34

    "Has it won yet?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cool Matty View Post
    Unless you're looking at high framerate gameplay, CPU shouldn't bottleneck at all in most titles outside of games like Ashes of the Singularity, Starcraft, or Civilization, until you're really low on the CPU totem pole.
    I'll add Source engine games to that.
    SnailIracing:n(500tpostshpereline)pants
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  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by ECHOMAN View Post
    I'll add Source engine games to that.
    I wouldn't say they're CPU intensive at all. They're just so GPU-light that it doesn't matter. It's like the difference between 200 and 300fps, it doesn't really matter on Source, haha.

  36. #36
    Zulenglashernbracker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Am I missing something? Gaming computers are not appropriate for all workloads. When I build and test code I offload that work onto a cluster, because software build and test benefits from having many threads but my gaming desktop is optimized for single thread performance. Having a separate machine for stream compositing and encoding isn't any different.
    If you're doing this at a high level, I get it. But buying a second computer to handle the encoding before you're making a living off of this seems wasteful, unless you have a lot of disposable income to throw around.

    It seems like overkill for Brian to build a second computer for his son to stream with instead of just having him turn down the graphics settings a notch or two. Unless, of course, the encoding is that intensive (I've never down video work so I don't know what the CPU/GPU load is like in tandem with running a game) in which case that's a lot of money for Brian to drop down so his son can stream with two machines as Kroko suggested.

    As someone not immersed in streamer culture, it came off as "if you're a serious streamer you gotta have two computers," as if that were some badge of being a quality streamer rather than a necessity when you're working at such a high level. But I was also probably projecting when I wrote the original comment.
    Last edited by Zloc_Vergo; 09-19-2018 at 09:25 PM.
    I had a blog. It sucked.

  37. #37
    Admiral of Awesome
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    You should read it as “in order to stream, period, you need a certain amount of CPU power” and “it’s much cheaper to get enough CPU power in two computers than it is one”.

    You could probably get a good enough compositor/encoder machine from a scrap yard for a couple hundred bucks. A single computer that can both play games and stream video comfortably, you’re talking HEDT territory. It’s not worth it.

  38. #38

    NIKVMVS-REX-TODOA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikumubeki View Post
    I've been going on about this "oh no, plugins and CPUs!" issue for a few months now, but only yesterday did it actually occur to me that maybe the DAW might be the issue... until CM said it might probably be the plugins themselves. I should take a look into Ableton, tho'

    The FX plugins I'm using are some of these Fabfilter ones https://www.fabfilter.com/ (reverb, multiband compressor and equalizer)

    And yeah, if I had paid (or started paying) attention to how mixing should be done, I might get away with this issue somehow.
    One of the recent FL Studio 20 related news notifications mentioned "better CPU handling", so I decided to check it out.

    No lag took place when adding the Fabfilter plugin bunch separately to all (in this sample case) 21 channels, even though the CPU-o-meter did spike above 50% (at least).

    Yet for some reason, when I first played the track in FL20, no noticeable (to me) lag occurred (in FL12 this would have resulted in something akin to running Half-Life on a 386), but then I changed a note or something and "CPU usage" bounced up to 100% and the real-time played audio got distorted just a bit (but nowhere near in the same way as in FL12). And the rendering took roughly 5 minutes (for a 6-minute track).

    (Oddly enough, while this is certainly an improvement in the overall lag situation, in FL20 there are some brief moments of lag when opening a new channel in the note editor or something that hasn't really occured before... but still, a minor setback)

    Anyway, just opened my FL project file for 1812 Overture, last time it took 40 minutes to render this (16m21s version).

    Rendering in FL20 starts... now!
    Last edited by Nikumubeki; 10-06-2018 at 03:03 AM.

  39. #39

    NIKVMVS-REX-TODOA

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Most Polite Massassian Par None
    [11:01:23] <Nikumubeki> RENDERING STARTS NOW
    [11:12:51] <Nikumubeki> RENDERING ENDS
    Well, it's settled, FL20 works far better with these plugins than FL12 does.

    In other words, I guess it was up to the software rather than the plugins and VSTs all along.

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