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Need Advice on GPU and build for Total War

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May 1, 2013 9:12:54 AM

Hi,

I bought a Dell XPS 8500 i7-3770 (3.4ghz 8mb), 8gb DDR3 SDRAM, 1TB hard drive) a few months back that I've had tons of serious problems with, the latest being I've just discovered they put significantly inferior components in compared to what I ordered & paid for. So I'm in the process of returning it to Dell and trying to get my money back. I have 2 questions I really need help with.

First - I wanted this PC for ordinary internet browsing, writing a few letters, but mainly for playing Total War. Assuming the worst happens & Dell won't refund & demand I have to have a replacement, then I'll still not be happy with the GPU - it should have been Nvidia GeForce GT 640 1gb DDR5 which is bad enough, but instead they put in an AMD HD7570 which apparently has a 30% lower core clock speed - as per: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/answers/id-795797/nvidia-....

I've seen on your site about putting a Radeon 7770 2gb gddr5 in a Dell XPS 8500 and it seemed fine (with the PCU & connections etc) : http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/367543-33-geforce-g....

Can anyone confirm if I'd be able to put a Radeon 7770 2gb gddr5 in an XPS 8500 i7 (that I believe has a PCU of 400), or if there are now any even better GPU's I could put in a Dell XPS 8500 and that would work best for Total War?

Second - Assuming the best case & Dell do refund, then I'll be buying a gaming PC specifically for Total War - but I need some serious advice on that. I know this kind of question has been answered before but that was in mid 2012 and I assume things have moved on since then (like with Nvidia Keplar etc).

As must be obvious I'm a complete novice and have no chance of building a PC myself. Instead I want to buy a built gaming PC from one of 2 companies - either pcspecialist.co.uk (who don't overclock but do seem to use more of the componenets your contributors recommend), or palicomp.co.uk (who do overclock, who are local to where I live and so seem like a good idea incase it goes wrong again, but who use different component manufacturers on PCU's etc). Both offer options to upgrade all the components, but I don't know what base unit I should start with & what things I should upgrade. I daren't ask them coz I assume they'll just advise me to buy the most expensive and I'll end up with overkill or something not as good as it could be for the money & for what I'll use it for.

The Total War games I want to play on this PC are Empire & Napoleon at ultra settings, but also the upcoming Rome 2, and possibly their next couple of titles (hopefully Empire 2 & Napoleon 2). I want good framerate & playability, but most of all I want the graphics in the battles to be as good looking as possible. I'll also be getting a new monitor which will be HD (23 or 24'') with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (but I don't know if I should get a PC that can deliver good performance at a higher resolution)? I will only be running this 1 monitor.

I'd obviously prefer to spend less, but my budget on the PC is up to £1,200, although maybe a bit higher if it was really worth it, particularly in terms of longevity.

I want an Intel CPU rather than AMD, and I'm guessing I need an i7 quad ivybridge for the upcoming Rome 2 & future Total War titles (but not sure as I've seen it previously recommended that i5 is best for gaming). I'm also guessing I need an AMD Radeon HD 7970 3 gig as I know Creative Assembly work with AMD and from what I've seen on bench tests the HD 7970 works really well for Total War Shogun 2 - however I imagine the Nvidia Keplars might have changed that. I'd also want the PC to be reasonably quiet (as Total War is a relatively quiet game & also coz I don't use headphones).

I've muddled a few possible solutions myself, which are palicomp.co.uk:

Phoenix i5 Vortex (£700), upgraded to AMD Radeon HD7970 (+£160) and i7 ivybridge (+£95) = £955. http://www.palicomp.co.uk/gaming-pcs/phoenix-i5-vortex....

Alpha Infinity i5 ivybridge (£1,000), upgraded to AMD Radeon HD7970 (+£100) and i7 ivybridge (+£95) = £1,195 http://www.palicomp.co.uk/gaming-pcs/alpha-infinity.htm...

Phoenix i7 Ninja (£1,300), with free choices between ASUS P8Z77-V LX or Gigabyte Z77-D3H (which is best?), and free choices between Nvidia GeForce GTX680 2GB or AMD Radeon HD7970 3GB (which is best?). http://www.palicomp.co.uk/gaming-pcs/phoenix-i7-ninja.h...

That Phoenix i7 is probably too much though, as on all of these I'd probably want to get the options of extreme noise reduction (+£40), silent fans (+£10), and hidden cables (+£25). But if you people thought it was really worth it I'd try to find the money. However, it obviously all depends what CPU & GPU you think is right for me. I'd also be very glad of any suggestions on other component upgrades I should go for.

OR - pcspecialist.co.uk:
this is much more simple, there seems to be one good base option for me, the Vortex 1000 - http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/view/Vortex-1000-gaming-p...

Again I'd need help with which CPU & GPU (or GPU's) I should get for Total War. When I opt for i7 ivybridge 3770k (3.5ghz) and an AMD Radeon 3gb HD7970 the price comes out at £1,233, which is around my top limit but maybe worth it?

OR - palicomp.co.uk offer to build an entirely custom PC to your own specs - so maybe it would be best for someone to suggest a PC build that would be perfect for Total War with components total between £800 to £1000 and I can then get them to quote on building it?

Sorry to throw all of this at your site in one go but I need to work out my options now coz as soon as I contact Dell I'll be returning this PC and won't have access to the Internet again until I get my new PC, by which point it will be too late to ask.
Thank you.

Best solution

May 1, 2013 10:15:27 PM

The second palicomp build at 1000 quid is enough,infact, quite abit over the top,but it'll play everything you throw at it and then some.
You can add £80 for z77 v motherboard and £50 for XFX 850w. This will expand your upgradability in future,though I doubt you'll need it.
Don't knock building a PC till you try it,with your budget you'd build something sweet
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May 2, 2013 11:53:35 AM

Thanks for responding allanitomwesh that's really helpful and it gives me a way forward. I will definitely get the mobo & pcu upgrade as you suggest.

By the way, I wouldn't dream of knocking PC building, I'd love to be able to do it. But we are all good & bad at various things & although I'm not too sure what I'm good at, I know I'm really bad with technical stuff. It's not the components & putting them together that would be my problem, it's the operating system & programs I'd need to load & fiddle with to get the whole thing working & stable, I wouldn't stand a chance. To be honest, I still find it hard to believe that computers could actually work and that they're not really just magic.

Thank you for your help.
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May 2, 2013 12:03:49 PM

Your welcome,just pick a solution.
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May 3, 2013 4:23:03 AM

MaxWWFC said:
Hi,

I bought a Dell XPS 8500 i7-3770 (3.4ghz 8mb), 8gb DDR3 SDRAM, 1TB hard drive) a few months back that I've had tons of serious problems with, the latest being I've just discovered they put significantly inferior components in compared to what I ordered & paid for. So I'm in the process of returning it to Dell and trying to get my money back. I have 2 questions I really need help with.

First - I wanted this PC for ordinary internet browsing, writing a few letters, but mainly for playing Total War. Assuming the worst happens & Dell won't refund & demand I have to have a replacement, then I'll still not be happy with the GPU - it should have been Nvidia GeForce GT 640 1gb DDR5 which is bad enough, but instead they put in an AMD HD7570 which apparently has a 30% lower core clock speed - as per: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/answers/id-795797/nvidia-....

I've seen on your site about putting a Radeon 7770 2gb gddr5 in a Dell XPS 8500 and it seemed fine (with the PCU & connections etc) : http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/367543-33-geforce-g....

Can anyone confirm if I'd be able to put a Radeon 7770 2gb gddr5 in an XPS 8500 i7 (that I believe has a PCU of 400), or if there are now any even better GPU's I could put in a Dell XPS 8500 and that would work best for Total War?

Second - Assuming the best case & Dell do refund, then I'll be buying a gaming PC specifically for Total War - but I need some serious advice on that. I know this kind of question has been answered before but that was in mid 2012 and I assume things have moved on since then (like with Nvidia Keplar etc).

As must be obvious I'm a complete novice and have no chance of building a PC myself. Instead I want to buy a built gaming PC from one of 2 companies - either pcspecialist.co.uk (who don't overclock but do seem to use more of the componenets your contributors recommend), or palicomp.co.uk (who do overclock, who are local to where I live and so seem like a good idea incase it goes wrong again, but who use different component manufacturers on PCU's etc). Both offer options to upgrade all the components, but I don't know what base unit I should start with & what things I should upgrade. I daren't ask them coz I assume they'll just advise me to buy the most expensive and I'll end up with overkill or something not as good as it could be for the money & for what I'll use it for.

The Total War games I want to play on this PC are Empire & Napoleon at ultra settings, but also the upcoming Rome 2, and possibly their next couple of titles (hopefully Empire 2 & Napoleon 2). I want good framerate & playability, but most of all I want the graphics in the battles to be as good looking as possible. I'll also be getting a new monitor which will be HD (23 or 24'') with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (but I don't know if I should get a PC that can deliver good performance at a higher resolution)? I will only be running this 1 monitor.

I'd obviously prefer to spend less, but my budget on the PC is up to £1,200, although maybe a bit higher if it was really worth it, particularly in terms of longevity.

I want an Intel CPU rather than AMD, and I'm guessing I need an i7 quad ivybridge for the upcoming Rome 2 & future Total War titles (but not sure as I've seen it previously recommended that i5 is best for gaming). I'm also guessing I need an AMD Radeon HD 7970 3 gig as I know Creative Assembly work with AMD and from what I've seen on bench tests the HD 7970 works really well for Total War Shogun 2 - however I imagine the Nvidia Keplars might have changed that. I'd also want the PC to be reasonably quiet (as Total War is a relatively quiet game & also coz I don't use headphones).

I've muddled a few possible solutions myself, which are palicomp.co.uk:

Phoenix i5 Vortex (£700), upgraded to AMD Radeon HD7970 (+£160) and i7 ivybridge (+£95) = £955. http://www.palicomp.co.uk/gaming-pcs/phoenix-i5-vortex....

Alpha Infinity i5 ivybridge (£1,000), upgraded to AMD Radeon HD7970 (+£100) and i7 ivybridge (+£95) = £1,195 http://www.palicomp.co.uk/gaming-pcs/alpha-infinity.htm...

Phoenix i7 Ninja (£1,300), with free choices between ASUS P8Z77-V LX or Gigabyte Z77-D3H (which is best?), and free choices between Nvidia GeForce GTX680 2GB or AMD Radeon HD7970 3GB (which is best?). http://www.palicomp.co.uk/gaming-pcs/phoenix-i7-ninja.h...

That Phoenix i7 is probably too much though, as on all of these I'd probably want to get the options of extreme noise reduction (+£40), silent fans (+£10), and hidden cables (+£25). But if you people thought it was really worth it I'd try to find the money. However, it obviously all depends what CPU & GPU you think is right for me. I'd also be very glad of any suggestions on other component upgrades I should go for.

OR - pcspecialist.co.uk:
this is much more simple, there seems to be one good base option for me, the Vortex 1000 - http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/view/Vortex-1000-gaming-p...

Again I'd need help with which CPU & GPU (or GPU's) I should get for Total War. When I opt for i7 ivybridge 3770k (3.5ghz) and an AMD Radeon 3gb HD7970 the price comes out at £1,233, which is around my top limit but maybe worth it?

OR - palicomp.co.uk offer to build an entirely custom PC to your own specs - so maybe it would be best for someone to suggest a PC build that would be perfect for Total War with components total between £800 to £1000 and I can then get them to quote on building it?

Sorry to throw all of this at your site in one go but I need to work out my options now coz as soon as I contact Dell I'll be returning this PC and won't have access to the Internet again until I get my new PC, by which point it will be too late to ask.
Thank you.


allanitomwesh said:
Your welcome,just pick a solution.


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