View Full Version : Help choosing a new PC
16th Mar 2012, 03:21 AM
Hi, I read the sticky for buying a new computer but it is a few years old at this point so not really that helpful =/
I have used macs since 2006 and I literally know nothing about PC's, but my new macbook won't run the sims at all (ugh) so I am planning to exchange it for a mac air, and use the money I get back to buy a PC desktop or laptop literally JUST for playing the sims.
I would rather have a laptop simply because I live off-grid and I would have to turn off my fridge to turn on a desktop computer, but if it's just a way better option for what I want then I'll make it work.
I want to be able to play the sims plus 3-4 expansion packs on near highest graphical settings. The computer will have nothing else on it.
There are so many different combinations of PCs that I am very confused.
I would prefer to spend $500-$800, but if that isn't possible then I can go up to $1000. Again I just really am unaware of PC prices!
Perhaps somebody could link me to a few options for laptops and desktops in different prices, and tell me what specs they could run sims on?
I would really appreciate any help. All the different options with PCs are confusing when you haven't been paying attention for years.
16th Mar 2012, 02:52 PM
Wow! Turning off your fridge for a desktop is a big trade off lol! If you hadn't said that, I would not have recommended at all playing on a laptop, but I guess you don't really have a choice. Are you sure there's not another socket around? :P
You can get PCs at any price level. That's good for you, though confusing like you said.
I'm thinking you might be able to get a laptop that can play the sims3 +expacs at highest settings, but I'm not 100% sure you can with $1000 though. I'm hoping you can. Where do you live (so I can google websites and shops in your country)? Also if you live off-grid, are companies usually willing to deliver to you?
From what I can tell you're looking at $1200 laptops just to play the game on medium.
I found this toshiba http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834214604 , $1050, which can probably play at medium-ish with a few settings such as AA turned off or set to low. If you buy refurbished you can probably shave 10% off, but I have never bought refurbish so I can't help with that aspect.
Edit: According to the feedback on the website, says people are using it to play SW:ToR (a more recent game), at high settings. I'm not sure how that would equate to thesims3, but it's encouraging.
17th Mar 2012, 12:21 AM
When I say off grid, I mean I have two solar panels and on a rainy day I can't charge my laptop. It's rustic. I live in the US, in Hawaii. Fedex delivers somewhat, and I also have a PO box that packages can come to.
I can't believe you have to spend $1200 just for medium settings. That Toshiba is a little too expensive for me. I see so many people who have beautiful graphics, and I can't imagine that they all have such expensive computers... or maybe they all have desktops =/
Can you point me in the direction of something good in the $800 range? I really don't care about the laptop being able to do anything other than play the sims, pets, generations, and night life.
Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.
How is this one?
17th Mar 2012, 01:44 AM
My boyfriend is interested in this one, http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-M14x/pd.aspx
with these upgrades:
8GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz
Intel® Core™ i7 2670QM (2.2GHz,3.1GHz,w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)
There are two options for the graphics card,
1.5GB DDR3 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 555M using NVIDIA Optimus™ technology [Included in Price]
3.0GB DDR3 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 555M using NVIDIA Optimus™ technology [Add $100.00 or $3.00/month1]
I don't understand what the difference is with an added 1.5GB?
I found these on the official forum, where people were saying alienware computers are overpriced.
(But actually it looks like the 540 isn't a very good graphics card?)
And one more--
To me this one looks exactly like the alienware computer, except it has the 560 vs 555 graphics card which I read was better for pets elsewhere on modthesims... and it's got a larger screen.
Sager NP8131 / Built on Clevo P151
- 15.6” FHD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1920x1080) Super Clear Matte Type Screen (SKU - S1R324)
- 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2670QM, 2.2-3.1GHz, (32nm, 6MB L3 cache) (SKU - S2N224)
- -Stock OEM Thermal Compound
- nVidia GeForce GTX 560M 1,536MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11 (SKU - S3R452)
- 8GB - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (SKU - S4R371)
- 750GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache) (SKU - S5R308)
- Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti DVDRW/CDRW Drive w/ Software (When selecting a Hard Drive in the Optical Bay, No Optical Drive is Included) (SKU - S7R455)
- ~Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's + Microsoft Office Starter 2010 - Included with OS Purchase
vs. $1,399.00 for the alienware one upgraded to have the same specs.
I am hoping for some input before I make my decision because I really don't know what I'm doing!
17th Mar 2012, 06:55 AM
Is there an electronics/computer store near where you live? Maybe you can just purchase a laptop from the store and return it if you can't run the game well. At least you can test those out, without having to commit to such a high expenditure and long wait for a return of your money, if any. I.e. it's easier to buy, return, and get your money back from your merchandise to a physical store, than to return merchandise bought online.
One of the problems, from what I understand with laptops of any brand, is that it isn't very customizable/upgradable. So if you buy a laptop, hopefully you can use it for at least 3 years or more, without the equipment becoming obsolete in that time period.
Ask if the stores have a return policy, and ask them about situations where you'd get a definite response. (e.g. "If I install this software, and it doesn't run well, can I return it to the store and get a full refund?", "Will there be restocking fees?", "What exceptions are there to the return policies?", etc.). Ask the salespeople from those stores, what's their best performance model, which one is most popular with clients, are certain laptops more prone to breakdowns than others, etc. Now if the salespeople are not helpful, then nevermind, strike that from your mind, lol.
My situation was when I asked about what video card to get. There were only a couple of computer stores, thankfully BestBuy was one of them. I bought two video cards from BestBuy, they had some 14 day return policy for computer equipment. So after testing those cards on my desktop computer, I found out they were crap. I returned them, got my money back, and proceeded to buy some other ones. Still weren't good, and returned them. Went to another computer store, and low and behind, found one that worked just fine.
Hopefully it'll be the same if you buy the laptop and can be able to return it.
The only other recommendation I'd have is if you take note of the brands and models those computer stores have. Research on the Internet what customer reviews say about said model laptops, then make a choice to which laptop has the better review. If the best reviewed laptop doesn't work, return it, then choose the second-best reviewed laptop. If that doesn't work, then do the third one, then fourth one, etc.
17th Mar 2012, 08:57 AM
Yes, most people who have nice graphics either have a desktop (you can get a decent one for $600-$800 screen not included, a good for $1000 screen not included) or a good laptop ($1200+).
As for your suggestions:
The difference between the 1.5GB option and the 3.0GB option you mentioned is it gives your video card more memory to pre-load the textures and stuff it needs to display the game. The more you have the more it can preload and the faster your game is, up to a certain point. If you already have 8GB of RAM, you really don't need 3.0GB of VRAM. The 1.5GB is sufficient, and the 3.0GB option is there probably just to get people to spend more.
Of the two options you linked, neither of them will play the sims 3 at high in my opinion. Medium - Low probably. The third option you linked is much better, even better than the Alienware, but its also $1200. I'd say get the third if you can afford it, or the toshiba (it costs less). d_dgjhh's suggestion is great too. If there are stores nearby who let you return laptops, go for that. Try them out.
17th Mar 2012, 03:44 PM
Please don't double-post, guys.
Yep, no highest settings on a laptop with midrange, or slightly above midrange components. Adjusting expectations also means you won't be disappointed.
I think the Sager/Clevo/MSI line is configurable for components of the same family/series. But definitely not an Alienware - that's locked in.
I'd go for a Sager over a Dell any day. :)
And the price is also better, for better components to boot.
17th Mar 2012, 09:21 PM
Thanks for all the help, I was going to get the Sager but it is a bit backordered and this laptop is also for my boyfriend (he needs it asap). We have decided to go for this one:
ASUS Republic of Gamers G74SX-AH71 17.3-Inch
It is $200 off on amazon, so $1300 total. It seems comparable to the Sager one. Definitely more than I had planned on spending but he is actually paying for most of it.
Oh also, I tried to do the whole checking them out in store and returning them thing, but Hilo (where I live) only has a target, walmart and office max... our walmart doesn't have any computers in store, and the other two stores didn't have any gaming laptops.
17th Mar 2012, 10:55 PM
Look on the requirements for the game and order a system online that you can afford that meets the requirements. Make sure you have 4 GB RAM,. a video card that meets the spec and the compatible processor. A big hard drive is good so you have room to support your download-a-holicism acquired goodies.
HP makes some decent computers at an affordable price. http://www.hp.com. The issue here is that you are in Hawaii and everything there is higher priced due to shipping costs. Their computers have celeron, AMD and Intel. Make sure you get the correct processor type in your build.
Stay away from alienware. At one time they were the bomb but when Dell purchased the line, they ruined support for it and their product is buggy and mediocre on TOP of being high priced.
by the way.. Windows 7 can only support 4 GB of ram. To get more than 4 GigaBytes of RAM that is currently a waste of money because you won't be able to utilize it. yes, there are tricks but those are for the geek types who are running Unbuto or linux.
18th Mar 2012, 05:12 AM
Porkypine, windows 7 does support more than 4GB of ram if you use the 64-bit version.
Emmejuice, those specs look pretty good for the sims3.
18th Mar 2012, 10:03 AM
Also there's a problem with looking up the system requirements for the game and looking for a laptop. The system requirements posted are almost always for desktop video cards and rarely (if ever) for laptop video cards. You can't just compare the model numbers. For example a 6990 desktop card is NOT equal to a 6990M. Not even close. It gets even worse as you go for cheaper cards.
It's possible to work around that, but its really hard for the average user.
Congrats emmajuice on the new laptop, when choosing the appropriate settings for gameplay, I'd suggest downloading Fraps so you can see the current FPS and lower your settings to get an average of about 45-40 fps, minimum 30-25fps. The first place to lower settings for me is always Anti-Aliasing (edge smoothing) and shadows.
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