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Buy used (recent) gaming computer, or custom build?

Last response: in Systems
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October 22, 2012 2:15:20 AM

Hi, I am considering getting a better desktop computer, and I am not sure whether to buy parts myself or to buy a custom computer someone else built recently.

I would use the computer for gaming (goal: handle battlefield 3 at high settings 60 fps).

These are the builds I am considering getting, and for some I calculated the cost to buy new parts for using PC Part Picker:

Budget desktop PC for general purpose and HD video - $425 (to upgrade?)
http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/sys/3355124194.html
Full Tower PC For Sale - $600 (needs upgrade?)
http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/sys/3355231584.html
Quality gaming PC with AMD 8-core CPU 8GB ram 120GB SATA III SSD - $630 (I read that this processor is not as good as quad core i7's, is that true or would 8 cores be worth it?)
http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/sys/3339809044.html
my simulation: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jcJg
Excellent gaming PC with AMD 6-core 1100T 8GB 120GB SSD 600W psu - $650
http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/sys/3341987465.html
Great value for a high performance PC w/ Intel i7 2600k and 128GB SSD - $750
http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/sys/3308272629.html
Powerful elegant PC Intel Ivy Bridge i7 3770K Z77 16GB ram 128GB SSD - $890 (is this processor actually better than the i7 2600k? The only advantage I could find was the PCI Express 3 support)
http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/sys/3317406638.html
my simulation: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/kVMg

My main question is whether it would be better to buy one of these computers, a prebuilt store computer, or to order parts and build it myself. The simulations suggest it would be cheaper to buy the used custom computers, but are those setups ideal for battlefield 3? In particular, most of these computers do not include a video card in the price, but the seller offers to add this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Would this work well enough for bf3, or would it be better to get a better card or use SLI or Crossfire?
(I am not sure about whether to use an AMD or a Nvidia card, but I might play minecraft, and I read that Nvidia's are considerably better for that. Is that right, or do I even need to think about that with a set up for bf3?)
One extra question: I already have a monitor, but I doubt it would work well for this scenario:
18.5” LCD Dell, VGA only, 5ms response
Thank You for answering these questions in advance





October 22, 2012 2:18:46 AM

I suggest you build your own. Great learning experience if you ask me. Also, you dont know how much repairs, stress and stuff those computers have gone through.

That 6950 is a last gen card. I wouldnt get it.

Whats your budget? And whats the resolution of your monitor? I take it 1680x1050?
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October 22, 2012 2:36:35 AM

The budget is flexible, but no more than $1100

The monitor's site suggests the max preset resolution is 1366 x 768 at 60 Hz

Would this card be new enough?
XFX Double D FX-787A-CDBC Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition Black Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 22, 2012 2:38:22 AM

Yeah thats good. It should run BF3 on Ultra too at your resolution.

So, you leaning towards building your own?
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October 22, 2012 2:42:33 AM

That monitor is VGA only, does using a VGA=>DVI converter mess with video quality?

I originally bookmarked that card with the intent of adding that to one of the used builds that don't come with a video card, but I'm not sure what I'll do now.

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October 22, 2012 2:49:28 AM

It shouldnt affect video quality.

Its pretty much up to you, if you want to build or not.
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October 22, 2012 3:02:52 AM

I might have read somewhere that there is a difference between a passive and an active VGA to DVI adapter, but that might actually have been for dual display adapters, I don't know.
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October 22, 2012 3:11:55 AM

There should be little difference between them.
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