Buying new PC - need update on processors and graphics cards

New job, new country, so its time to leave the five-year-old Advent at home and buy a decent games machine to occupy those lonely expat evenings... (Mrs 4(T) is around to ensure I don't enjoy too many of the traditional expat amusements...)

I'm a bit out of date with hardware at the moment (eg I went to the local PC shop to buy a replacement MS optical mouse, and was amazed to find out how much rodents have changed - now I have a lazer version with an incredible number of buttons and which glows purple for some reason...).

With PCs, I usually buy "high end" but not "bleeding edge" - so I don't need a megabucks gaming starship cooled by liquid helium, or whatever the geeks are using these days. I'll probably get a machine built locally, so just need to know where we are with processors and graphics cards at the moment - eg Intel/AMD, core duo/quad core, NVidia/ATi, etc.

In the past I've started by looking at the configurations on the Dell site, and taking those as a benchmark. Unfortunately, Dell now seems to list so many processor options and deals that its hard to understand what is new and what is old.

I was wondering therefore if anyone can point to a site which gives an easily-understandable road map of the current processors and/or graphics cards?
There's a Medion base unit in Tesco at the moment for £519. It seems quite well specced, but what do I know.
Hi all,

Thanks for the input; sorry for late reply - getting online was not a trivial task out here...

Budget could be about £800 for the box only.

Not looking for an online custom system, 'cos I'll either have to buy locally or get one off the shelf in Uk and put it in my suitcase.

What i'm really after is an indication of which processor is newest/ most future proof/ best-buy at the top end, and likewise the graphics card.
This is my PC . The Basics are as follows. Ive got loads of other good stuff as weell but the basic system is :

Intel® Core™2 Quad Q6600 (4 X 2.40GHz) 1066MHz FSB/8MB L2 Cache

Memory (RAM)

ASUS® P5K-E/WIFI: DDR2, SATAII, 2xPCI-e x16, 3 PCI, 2xPCI-e x1

Memory - 1st Hard Disk
150GB WD Raptor® X Clear Cover SATA 16MB CACHE (10000rpm)

Graphics Card

Sound Card
Sound Blaster® X-Fi Platinum - Fatal1ty Champion Series
:D if you go to SCAN they do some cracking deals of the day /week etc and are well worth a look .
2 of my mates bought their new machines from there as part of package deals .They were self built though . :twisted:
OK, if your after a few specifics as of right here right now in terms of value.

CPU's: AMD still playing catchup, but watch this space
Best value CPU out there at moment in terms of Price and potential to Overclock higher is either Quad Core Q6600 or Dual Core E6750

Graphics cards: Dodgy area because DX10 is very slow to take off, but if you assume that "its has to eventually" then for DX10 cards ATI are also still playing catch up and really the best card for the price is the GeoForce 8800 320Mb GTS for around £200 (and I say this as one who has just forked out for the £450 8800 Ultra pre overclocked) You can buy pre overclocked versions of this card that are approaching 8800 GTX speeds.
Avoid the 8600's unless price is a real issue.

To be honest if you are prepared to spend £800 on just the box only, you should be able to get a cracking machine
4(T) you don't mention which country you are going to. PCs are very expensive in the UK. What you pay in pounds in UK you tend to pay the same number but in euros on the continent. If you're going to the ME I believe its similar to the US, far east is also cheaper.

So tell us which country and we can try from there?

Edited to add

700 quid will get you this

jinxy said:
IT_GEEK said:
UberSoldat said:
lol, only if you rob a bank first :p

Also check out
PC Formats Gold winner for last 2 months
Alienware are owned by Dell.......................Nuff said.
I take it you mean Dell are Sh1t?

If so, what would people consider to be THE best PC manufacturers. So we can then pick and choose what we (I) can afford without worrying about the minute detail of this chip over that chip etc.

I suppose all I want to know is - if I buy a PC from them will it be a good PC even though I'm spending £500 and not £4000?
I'm looking for a new laptop at the mo too. Can anyone point me towards a lexicon of all the new abbreviations for chip speeds as I can't work them out?

I was PBI after all!
If I wanted to go to an actual shop, rather than chance my arm at a website which makes no sense to me, where would you suggest? Is it worth hunting down a local grotty computer shop run by a nerdy chap with broken glasses and BO or is there a reliable nationwide chain?
Bat_Crab and Crapspy: The generic answer is dont use any big high street names, also avoid using big brand names like Dell. I would avoid the small shop setup as well unless you have got good references.
The big high street names have the usual shop overheads and struggle to compete on price (though occasional exceptions do pop up), the bigger brand Internet names (like Dell) to my mind have become victims of their own success, there prices are often not brilliant, plus often their customer service is lacking due to their size.

The best idea is to go for something in the middle, there are quite a few medium size companies out there, used by many "build it yourself people" who are big enough to offer you good support and not worry about them disapearing the next day, but are still small enough to know that they need to keep their prices competetive. A trawl through a few PC mags will usually throw up some decent names. here are a few that I would consider to be in the above category.

One I have just started using, good so far, but never heard of them before last month, so I havent included with above

And finally, if price is not an object and you want a top of the range system

I rarely recommend a particular system without knowing a lot more about what a user really wants from their machine, hence I would not neccecarily reccomend any of those listed above as "better" than each other, but generally speaking, I would be suprised if you found a difference of more than £50 odd on like for like systems if you used any of the above, so in the end it comes down to which one has the most features you personly like.
IT_GEEK speaks a lot of sense. As an alternative, but only if you're confident putting it together yourself, try if you're in the UK.

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