Future Gaming Builds: What To Expect and Thank YOU

| November 4, 2010 | (22)
NZXT Phantom

The NZXT Phantom, in white, a case that you'll most likely see in one of our future Gaming Builds.

A week and a half ago, I asked you to Throw in your requests, suggestions and feedback for the next Gaming Builds and with over 65 comments, you’ve answered my call!

I took a look at all your suggestions and the like today and I’m happy to announce the ideas that will be integrated Gaming PCs.

Ideas that will be integrated into the future gaming builds:

To keep it simple, I’ll credit and thank every person who left those great ideas, by quoting and replying to them. I’ll end this post with ideas of my own that I’ll implement as well. Let’s get started!

liveonc wrote:

There are two types of people you haven’t focused on yet:
1. The Mac (looks mean everything & hardware components come second).

Those I call Mac people aren’t Mac people, because if they were, they’d buy a Mac.

But rather those that love exterior & maybe also interior designer look complementing the rest of the home & furniture.

Where maybe functionality is important than price, but that performance can be comprised to save on the overall cost of 2/5th look 2/5th functionality & 1/5th performance.

2. The Fast n Furious (need for speed even if it’s on the verge of unstable)

The Fast n Furious would go for things to do with OCing the heck out of their PC to get a Futuremark top 50 (or at least try to).

Components such as OCZ HSDL or PCI-Express SSD might be considered, where it normally wouldn’t, monster PSUs, dual CPUs, & GPUs normally too expensive & extreme might also have a place here, as well as overly excessive cooling solutions.

My reply:
You are very right on this point, I’ve been focusing mostly on “the most performance at a given price” or value and the two examples that you’ve given are people that I’ve seen all over the web. You’ll see me make an effort to satisfy/attract these two group of people with the new builds.

Zach wrote:

Could you recommend a good wireless card?

My reply:
The problem with wireless cards is that:

  • They aren’t very reliable in most cases, at least compared to LAN.
  • They induce additional latency compared to LAN, which is the last thing that you want when you’re playing online, especially with first-person shooters.

In short, for reliability and to get the best ping, LAN is simply superior, not to mention cheaper to use. Nonetheless, I’ll make some suggestions for some wireless card (as well as USB adapters) in the Gaming builds, after mentioning the warning that I wrote above of course.

DoctaJohn wrote:

First Part – Cheap PC that can be upgraded in the future:
I’m looking for a computer that will be cheap to build now, but is able to be upgraded a lot in the future.

I want to be able to build something cheap, but be able to drop in a second video card in SLI or CFX, enable 2, 3, or 4 monitors, get a second HDD in RAID, and possibly even use 3D.

Second Part – AMD vs Nvidia: SLI vs Crossfire, overclocking, multi-monitor (Eyefinity vs Vision Surround), 3D, etc.:
A good starting point for this sort of “2-step” PC build would be a comparison of the GTX 460 (768 MB and 1 GB) vs. HD 6850 and 6870 in terms of what is more promising and flexible in terms of dual-card setups, overclocking, multi-monitor, and 3D.

It seems like nVidia’s 3D Vision Surround idea is fairly narrow, in that you need three 3D monitors that are all the same resolution and you can only use them in landscape mode, whereas Eyefinity can be used in more layouts with a variety of monitors.

I’m also not quite sure of how all of these features work when combined together. A more in depth comparison of these GPU options and an analysis of what each of these builds would require (motherboard, PSU, compatible monitors with narrow bezels) would be really helpful.

My reply:
For the first part:
While I try my best to include available upgrades, I understand what you’d like to do and I could put more emphasis on that.

The only issue that I can see coming is that if you’re not careful with the parts that you buy first, you’ll end buying in double and being stuck with useless parts. For example, you might end up buying a power supply that’d be too weak to handle two powerful video cards and/or overclocking, or you might end up buying a video card now, with the intention of adding a second one down the road, only to realize that when you’re ready to buy the second card, that buying the newest latest card would make more sense. That’s the danger with buying a cheap build and upgrading as time goes by.

Don’t get me wrong though, it can be done and if done properly, there’s nothing wrong with. Guess that’s where I come in? ;)

For the second part:
Even I am not quite sure of how all of these features work when combined together, so yeah, I can definitely see the need to clear this up. I’m thinking that I’ll handle this either in a separated article or integrate it as part of “The Best Video Cards For Your Money” series of article though, since it would be too much work to integrate this as part of the Gaming PCs, if I want to release them soon and not in December ;)

Windez wrote:

matt i think u could bring in a lot traffic to this site from youtube, i mean you could be the next 3dgameman! u could just post Q & A session…

My reply:
I’ve been wanting to restart the Q&A articles that I used to write on HR. I could definitely read and answer them on video and post that on Youtube, sounds like a cool idea. Thanks for the suggestion!

MECU wrote:

A guideline to how long your computer would last, that is perform well enough to run modern games, would be useful

My reply:
Problem with this is that I can’t predict with 100% accuracy how demanding future games will be, nor do I have an idea what Intel/AMD will do with their CPU socket/chipset/motherboard platforms, as in whether or not you’ll be able to upgrade the CPU to keep your PC’s performance good enough.

I’ll be able to give some kind of guidelines though.

Brian wrote:

You should have fewer builds. The upgrades can fill the voids between the price points

ThePilot wrote:

I think if you do take out a few builds, then you should have some sort of threshold. Like a price-vs.-performance comparison. For example:

the $400 build has performance X
If a $500 build could have performance X + 3 than keep it, but if it’s only X + 2 or less than it’s not worth it.

If that doesn’t make any sense than: If there’s a fairly decent price vs. performance difference between $400 and $500 and $600 than we need all three…but if you can have a $500 build that’s upgradable to include what would be in the $600 or $700 range than you don’t need separate builds.

Richardginn wrote:

What if you posted your 600 buck PC build and then from your table with all the parts listed in a different color showcased what the 750 buck build would look like???

That would cut down on the different articles, but still keep some of the builds.

My reply:
A lot of other people posted comments on the number of builds/upgrades and the like as well, I won’t be including all comments above, but I’ve read them all and here’s what I have in mind right now:

I do plan on having fewer articles/builds per say, about five or so, like this:

  • Budget ($400 – $800)
  • Mainstream ($800 – $1250)
  • High-End ($1250 – $2000)
  • Ultra-High-End ($2000 – $4000)
  • Enthusiast ($4000 +)

Instead of having only one short summary table with all the parts recommended for a particular price point in each build article, I could post four summary tables (2 side-by-side, two rows), each of them at a different price point  in a single article, i.e for Budget: $400, $500, $650, $800,  allowing you to quickly figure out what upgrades are worth or not.

Of course, I’ll try to keep every “build” parts compatible with the other builds within the same article, allowing you to customize it outside of my main suggestions, like with the current builds.

Note that I’d go with wider posts too (I’d remove the right sidebar on pages with builds), to make the posts easier to navigate, especially if there are two parts summary side-by-side.

Shane wrote:

A way to REALLY differentiate builds, for instance, a numerical rating system that shows a percentage increase in awesomeness (performance, price efficiency, etc.) between previous builds and the new build.
Example:
$750 Gaming PC 2.1
as compared to 2.0…+7% performance, +3% cost effective
as compared to 1.0…+20% performance, +15% cost effective

My reply:
Your idea is 100% awesome and should be simple/quick to implement. I’m on it for the next builds!

Jared wrote:

Adding a Black Friday Sale special edition would be awesome, as that’s typically when I purchase all my new components for the year (because of the deep discounts available during the 24-48hr sales). Cost effectiveness changes a lot for that one day.

For example, your regular November build might suggest brand y’s GTX 460 card, due to cheaper price but decent performance, but on Black Friday, brand y’s GTX 460 performs comparably to brand x, but is $50 cheaper for that day, so would significantly improve the build’s price (and possibly make room for buying more performance elsewhere in the build).

My reply:
How about this? I’ll post an article where I’ll ask everyone to pitch in the deals that they can find, I can “approve” them, on whether they are good or not and compatible or not and update the article during the day for everyone to see the best deals. That way, we should find more deals and I won’t be spending my whole day browsing websites hah!

BigTmoose wrote:

Add INTO the existing builds some sort of benchmark game comparison, with three current games, one “Crysis” super high-end games, one middle of the road game and one popular game that isn’t as demanding and have a small section in every build saying how well that particular build handles each game, i.e “Handles Crysis with Enthusiast settings at 1920 x 1080 with 2X AA and 4X AF”

My reply:
Great idea, as long as I stick with guidelines and not hard numbers (which would change with every update, would be too much work), I can implement that.

MT wrote:

Adding a discussion forum to the site.

People can ask and questions on build configurations or troubleshooting builds problems. You can also have a section where people can post reviews on certain parts and hot deals that they want to share. Plus you can have a showcase (brag :-) ) section where people post their finished builds, benchmarks and pictures which details their cost and explain why they chose certain parts and options.

My reply:
I can affirm that forums are definitely coming on Hardware Revolution, I’ve started work on this, contacted an old friend of mine to help me out with the setup, as well as administrating/moderating the forum. Andrew J also got in touch with me to help me out with forums. So, while I can’t give you an exact date, I can tell you that forums are coming to Hardware Revolution.

Hlopezb and many others wrote:

I would love if you had an hackingtosh friendly build.

My reply:
Quite frankly, I have little experience with hackingtosh and as far as I know, building one from scratch as a pain in the … since you need parts that are compatible with OSX. Andrew J mentioned that a friend of his installed OSX on his AMD laptop using Virtual Box.

I looked into that and virtulization would allow for the best of both worlds, allowing you to run OSX on top of Windows, so that you can go back to Windows for video games and Windows-only compatible software. I won’t be posting an hackingtosh until I get more research done on the subject, but there’s hope for an easy way to achieve it and I’m interested to figure it out, to then share this information with you.

che3zeman and Starkuru wrote:

How about some articles on the best gaming laptops, web laptops, netbook and ultra-portables notebooks?

My reply:
I’ve been neglecting those guides lately, I’ll do my best to update them later this month.

One in need of a PC wrote:

I like how you list suggestions for upgrades for each component, which saves me a lot of time in hunting down compatibility issues. Some added descriptions as to how this affects overall system performance would help as well.

My own concern, for example, has been going with the i5 processor with the ~$1000 budget. I realize that money could be spent in other ideal locations for strict gaming.

However, I imagine a lot of people will be using their gaming computer as their main home/workstation computer as well (and are forced to choose between the gaming and workstation PC’s).

Maybe you could include a bit on how the gaming PC’s compare with the workstation PC’s, and include “suggested upgrades” in each section to better serve the other function (gaming PC upgrades which would better handle processor work, for example).

Rather than creating a whole new “hybrid” build section, you could tailor your list of upgrades for each component accordingly. For example, “if you require Firewire, get this mobo”, or “if you will also be using this as a production computer, consider this processor, in which case this ram upgrade would be ideal”, etc.

My concerns might be a moot point, since I imagine the processors nowadays can handle the majority of tasks (audio production, for example). But it would be nice to critique those choices and upgrades on things outside of the gaming scope (doesn’t have to be extensive). And I know you already do this to some extent, but hopefully I got some of my concerns across.

My reply:
Yes, there’s a need for some sort of “Hybrid” Workstation/Gaming PC, via upgrades. Heck, that’s what I did myself, with my Workstation. I’ll try to put more emphasis on this.

Here are some of my own ideas that I intend to implant too:

  • Version System (i.e $500 Gaming Build v2.04), with links to previous versions. Simple changes, with no or minor impact to performance would be a 0.01 change (i.e V2.0 to V2.01), while changes with major impact to performance would result in a 0.1 change (i.e. V2.0 to V2.1).
  • Specific recommendations for specific games: Instead of a one-fits-all recommendation (i.e This build will be fine to play most games at 1920 x 1080), I’ll do my best to give you specific recommendation, to play a specific game, at a specific resolution. So comment away with the games that you’d like to play!
  • Table of contents, inspired from Wikipedia: Let’s not pretend otherwise: The Builds articles pages are getting heavy and long. From previous polls, I know that you prefer a single page format and it will stay that way, since this is your website. However, in order to improve navigation and make your life easier when you’re looking for something, I intend to introduce a table of contents, where clicking on a topic will make your browser jump straight to said topic, similar to what Wikipedia uses.
  • Comparison and links to other Gaming PC Builds: I realized that it’s not always clear what you’re getting when you’re upgrading from one build to another and whether it’s necessary or not, so I’ll do my best to make that as clear as possible, starting with the new builds.
  • Comparison to other website’s builds: I pride myself in offering the best builds possible at a given price. It’s too easy to claim so without comparing yourself to your competitors, so I’ll start doing exactly that: Comparing the builds on Hardware Revolution to builds offered on other websites! Feel free to suggest who to take on ;)
  • Troubleshooting: Include links to the troubleshooting articles in a “blockquote” box at the end of articles, explain DOA, RMA, guidelines when asking for support, etc., basically what to do if a build doesn’t work as it should after assembling it.
  • Wide articles: Get rid of the right sidebar for the builds, allowing for the next suggestion below.
  • Use two tables (parts summary) side by side, allowing for more quick configurations, at various price points, within the same article.
  • Link to “Buy this complete system at Newegg” like some competitors do, allowing you to add all parts of a build straight to your cart, making your life easier.

Conclusion

First of all, I’d like to thank you for the amazing ideas, suggestions and feedback that you’ve given me for the next Gaming builds. You’re all amazing, the community here on Hardware Revolution is growing and I feel your energy and enthusiasm flowing into me :D

Since I left my last part-time job in March to work on Hardware Revolution full-time, I’ve been having more and more fun every day. To be working on this website, to be working on my passion, to be able to help you build your own PCs and much more is amazing.

Without you, this wouldn’t be possible. This is YOUR website and I write for you, to help you. I can do this thanks to your amazing support and feedback.

For this and much more, I thank you. Let’s keep making Hardware Revolution a better place, me by writing articles that you want, you by being part of this community, by participating, commenting and helping other members of this growing community.

In short: I love my job and you rock! :D

Cheers,
Mathieu

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Category: Computer Builds, Development, Gaming PC, News

About Mathieu Bourgie: HR Founder - Computer expert with 13 years of experience in building, fixing and modifying PCs. Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for PC hardware and now I enjoy helping others build their own PCs! In April 2008, I launched Hardware Revolution and ... Read more at my about page .

  • Brian

    I think we need to get a forum. :)

  • Andy

    I have more suggestions! You could break down the small differences between products in a nice separate article. The differences between motherboards such as 790fx, 880g, 890gx, 890fx, 980 ect ect. Your hard drive articles are good but they also lack depth – what if I want to know the cheapest quality 2TB drive where speed becomes way less of an issue and price per gb becomes a bigger concern. You could fill it by having more price points in your hard drive article – there's a huge jump from $75 to $130 where there's no price point in between. I noticed that you have also put some of this information inside build articles but those aren't one size fits all solutions and can't carry the amount of depth that you could be offering. Love your site. Keep up the good work.

  • Tracy

    One thing to keep in mind – Don't try to incorporate every single idea, no matter how great they are, and especially not all at once. What you're doing is already wonderful and improvements are always nice, but don't burn yourself out by trying to do too much too quickly! Keep up the great work you're already doing, and anything on top of that is gravy!

  • Ptolemy

    I suggested adding a monitor break down like you do with the graphics card. $200, $400, $600 etc. There's plenty out there and 1920×1080, 1920×1200, 2048×1152, and 2560×1440/1600. breaking them down different from other sites using actual outside dimensions would also be a big help. Just throwing ideas out.

    Also if you explained on your monitor page how to know the difference between what you need to know when buying a monitor and what's marketing propaganda so people won't be fooled would be a big help for others to read.

  • che3zeman

    Thanks man! A forum would be a great idea.

  • ThePilot

    Man I would LOVE a forum…but it sounds like you're going to be creating it yourself?

    I don't know if you'd want to do this, but there are several free (and very good quality) boards out there (phpBB would be my recommendation ;) but you can look around. Very easy to set up and administrate, and they're very professional! :)

  • EBOBO
    • http://www.hardware-revolution.com/ MathieuB

      Yeah, reviews are going to be up at 9AM EST, when the NDA is lifted. Talk about being overwhelmed with all the latest products all coming at the same time :P

      • kmeena

        go go go buddy..

        thanks for your time. :) can't wait for the updated budget build.

        god speed!!

  • D736834

    Could you add a icon that would give a “printer friendly” version of your articles so people could print them if they wanted? thanks, jb

  • thomasjespersen

    I have a suggestion for the workstation:

    Some want to use linux on a workstation, so how about linux compatibility? Perhaps suggest alternatives when some piece of hardware doesn't work on linux.

    The potential problem I can see with this is that you are unable to test all equipment yourself, and many reviewers doesn't look at at linux compatibility.

  • Reilly Campbell

    Important Note about the NZXT Phantom Case. I purchased two Cooler Master 200mm Blue LED fans and the screw holes to attach the fans do not line up in the case. I sent them back to Newegg and ordered 2x 200mm NZXT Blue LED fans that will hopefully fit in the case.

  • BigTmoose

    Oh wow! You took my advice! And somehow managed to make me sound like I knew what I was talking about! Awesome! Can't wait to continue watching this website grow into even MORE awesome!

  • Randy

    Are you still planning to do the Black Friday thing? I plan to build something on a $1k budget on Black Friday if you are.

  • BigTmoose

    Oh, and the “Link to 'Buy this complete system at Newegg'” would be great! Hadn't even thought about that. That woulda saved me some time before, but no big deal. Thanks again for everything, and good luck!

  • Dave H.

    ETA on the Budget Build? Might we expect it before Black Friday? Thanks, Mathieu.

    • Andrew J

      The budget build will definitely be coming out before Black Friday.

  • kmeena

    :) can't wait to build a new PC.

    could you please give an ETA or preview of the budget build.

    Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

    • Andrew J

      The Budget Build should be out soon, before Black Friday.

      • nukular

        How about a ~1250-$1500 build? :)

  • Dave

    I totally love the number of builds here. I spend a ton of a time trying to see if I could fiddle with each level to see whether I could be happy shaving or adding dollars and or performance at every level.

    I don’t know about other people, but I LOVE choice. The more the better. It is all about flexibility and I love how much your site has right now.

    DO NOT CHANGE A THING AS FAR AS NUMBER OF BUILDS!

  • Chris

    I think you should have a section where your subscribers can post pictures, or even video clips, or links to video clips of their build. I will be doing my first real build from scratch and I am definitely going to document it, being I got most of the information I needed from this site I would love to contribute back in some way other than or in addition to a donation.