PC & Video Games

Get back into PC Gaming?

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[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 25, 2006
1019 posts
290 upvotes
Nova Scotia

Get back into PC Gaming?

So long story short I have been toying with the idea of getting back into PC gaming as the title suggests. I know about steam (duh) and have tried to keep up with some of the PC gaming hardware and I did build a client (friend) a new PC gaming rig few days ago. That ma be whats pushing me again to try out PC games. I can only get a laptop for various reasons and have been trying to wrap my head around certain things. 4k versus 1080p panels? Or buy a good gaming monitor? Honestly I will not be doing a ton of mobile gaming other than work travel which is about 3 times a year. There is a good deal going on for a Lenovo Extreme X1 Gen 2

Processor : 9th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-9750H (2.60GHz, up to 4.50GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12MB Cache)
Operating System : Windows 10 Pro 64
Operating System Language : Windows 10 Pro 64 English
Memory : 8GB DDR4 2666MHz
First Storage Selection : 256GB SSD PCIe
Hard Drive Total Capacity : 256GB
Display : 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080), IPS, anti-glare with Dolby Vision™ HDR 400 with IR & 720p HD Camera, 500 nits
Top Cover Selection : Black Paint (FHD Models) / Carbon-Fibre Weave (UHD Models)
Graphics : NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 Max-Q 4GB
Fingerprint Reader : Fingerprint Reader
Keyboard : Backlit - US English
Camera : IR & 720p HD
TPM Setting : Enabled Discrete TPM2.0
Battery : 4 Cell Li-Polymer, 80Wh
Power Cord : 135watt AC
Wireless : Intel® AX200 Wi-Fi 6 802.11AX (2 x 2) & Bluetooth® 5.0
Ethernet Dongle : RJ45 Extension Connector
Display Panel : 15.6" FHD (1920x1080), IPS, Anti-glare, 500nits, No touch, IR-Camera, Mic
Package Box : Retail Packaging
Publications Pack : Publication-English
Warranty : 1 Year Depot or Carry-in

Any thoughts? Stick with my Xbox and PS4?
26 replies
Deal Fanatic
Oct 23, 2004
8205 posts
4905 upvotes
Toronto
Gaming laptops are almost always poor performance for the price. I guess it depends what games you're interested in playing but generally speaking going that route isn't much better than just buying and playing on a console. That said you can still enjoy the benefits of mods, free/cheaper games, free online etc with a laptop but performance wise I wouldn't expect much from that laptop you've picked, especially not at 4K
Deal Fanatic
Feb 11, 2007
9018 posts
3315 upvotes
I bought a 4K laptop but it uses 2 power bricks. Roughly $4000 on sale and it is not as portable as I'd like it to be due to the 2 massive power bricks it uses.
RTX 2080 laptop: https://ca.msi.com/Laptop/GT76-Titan-9S ... gLBC_D_BwE

I would suggest sticking with a desktop gaming PC over a gaming laptop.
The desktop PC I bought cost $2200 from Lenovo and has about the same power as the laptop I bought but
the difference is its internals like the graphics card slot, etc, are upgradable.

If you are going with the gaming laptop still, I would suggest Dell Alienware might be a better option over MSi from my experience
with my gaming Laptop.

Also almost all 4K PC monitors are fake HDR. I would suggest getting a good 4K OLED TV with HDR.
PC monitors that advertise as HDR capable have only 300-400 nits of brightness capability which is highly misleading.
Real HDR is at least 1000 nits. 1000 nits is necessary for viewing HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision the way it's supposed to look.
Newbie
Oct 24, 2009
46 posts
6 upvotes
Really depends on the type of games you want to play. The graphics card is going to be pretty weak for new AAA games and is roughly equivalent to a GTX 970 (2014 graphics card). Also going forward it would probably be a good idea to have 16GB of RAM. But for older games the system would be mostly fine at medium settings (pre 2017). You'll still be able to run the newest games, just at lower setting and framerates.

If your thinking 4k, your going to need something much more powerful and pricey.

Check out epic's free game giveaway as well.
Epic Free Games
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 25, 2006
1019 posts
290 upvotes
Nova Scotia
Yeah Im not considering 4k with that rig or paying a premium right now to play 4k@60 but would like a laptop. This would serve dual purpose as a work laptop and being able to play a few games at medium to high settings. Thats the Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen 2 config. I would be adding 2x16gb sticks and probably upgrade the SSD. I realize the card is the weak point but I have seen some youtube reviews and it seems to run most games fine. I can move the screen up to OLED as well with 500nits. I also have a 55 4k TV that would be used from time to time.
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Aug 20, 2009
8174 posts
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Grimsby
I realize it isn't what you want to hear but I would echo others here and say that you should just get a work laptop for work and get a desktop for gaming. A laptop is a dead end for gaming and isn't ideal for several reasons - battery life, input, thermals, performance and so on. The only real pro is its portability.

If you insist on going this route then I would suggest getting a good docking station with a real KB/M and dedicated monitor. Stick to 1080p if you go the laptop route, 4k isn't realistic and 1080p is much more manageable in most titles with decent detail toggles.
Deal Addict
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Aug 17, 2009
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I would steer you away from going back to PC gaming, from personal experience. About 5 years ago, or so, I decided to get back into PC gaming (as opposed to consoles). I bought on sale a $2K Asus GOG PC that played AAA games without issue. Modding was great.

The fun came to an end about 2 years after purchase when I could no longer play new titles on the highest settings. I started having the need to update drivers, increase memory, etc. I got fed up with constantly having to check if my gaming rig could still (properly) play some games. I went back to consoles (bought a $400 one) and never regretted it. While I miss modding, I didn't feel it justified the price tag.

Something to keep in mind, I guess ...
Corvus oculum corvi non eruit.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 23, 2004
8205 posts
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Toronto
quicksilver7 wrote: Thats the Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen 2 config. I would be adding 2x16gb sticks and probably upgrade the SSD. I realize the card is the weak point but I have seen some youtube reviews and it seems to run most games fine.
Not sure if you need that much RAM for work but it won't do anything for gaming and 8GB would be more than enough in that context. More SSD space would help as it's not uncommon for recent games to be in the 50-100GB range. It's not that the GPU isn't fine to play games but it's likely to be inconsistent depending on the game, marginally better than current gen consoles in some and about the same or worse for others.
Micelli_Illuminatti wrote: I would steer you away from going back to PC gaming, from personal experience. About 5 years ago, or so, I decided to get back into PC gaming (as opposed to consoles). I bought on sale a $2K Asus GOG PC that played AAA games without issue. Modding was great.

The fun came to an end about 2 years after purchase when I could no longer play new titles on the highest settings. I started having the need to update drivers, increase memory, etc. I got fed up with constantly having to check if my gaming rig could still (properly) play some games. I went back to consoles (bought a $400 one) and never regretted it. While I miss modding, I didn't feel it justified the price tag.

Something to keep in mind, I guess ...
You made a mistake by overspending on a prebuild which is never recommended for the issues you encountered later on which isn't a normal PC experience. On the other hand I'm still playing the latest games at high detail 1080p/60fps on a rig I built for under $1K back in 2012 and only ever upgraded the GPU once back in 2015 which cost me $100 out of pocket after selling the original. Your $2K prebuild didn't make it 3 years yet my older far cheaper custom build has lasted going on 8 years now and will likely keep up with if not surpass next gen consoles should I choose to spend a couple hundred upgrading the GPU again. Always avoid prebuilds for this reason.
Member
Dec 1, 2006
339 posts
53 upvotes
I was in a similar situation (have laptop, bad for gaming, but want to get back into it). I decided to go with Shadow (cloud gaming) since I have a fast wired connection and they had a promo on. I've been using it for weeks and love it. It will cost me about $200 a year which I see as reasonable as depreciation on any gaming PC I build. I also save the out of pocket expenses up front. If the service I have keeps going this well I will stick with it for a long while.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 25, 2006
1019 posts
290 upvotes
Nova Scotia
craymail wrote: I was in a similar situation (have laptop, bad for gaming, but want to get back into it). I decided to go with Shadow (cloud gaming) since I have a fast wired connection and they had a promo on. I've been using it for weeks and love it. It will cost me about $200 a year which I see as reasonable as depreciation on any gaming PC I build. I also save the out of pocket expenses up front. If the service I have keeps going this well I will stick with it for a long while.
Says not available in Canada. I assume you are using a VPN? If so what VPN service does not throttle the connection? Surprised you can game that way.
Member
Dec 1, 2006
339 posts
53 upvotes
quicksilver7 wrote:
Says not available in Canada. I assume you are using a VPN? If so what VPN service does not throttle the connection? Surprised you can game that way.
Registered using a random US address in New York (so I get the NY DC) and pay via Stack. This is the recommended approach as found via Reddit.

No VPN to connect from then on.
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Aug 17, 2009
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ReeGee wrote: You made a mistake by overspending on a prebuild which is never recommended for the issues you encountered later on which isn't a normal PC experience. On the other hand I'm still playing the latest games at high detail 1080p/60fps on a rig I built for under $1K back in 2012 and only ever upgraded the GPU once back in 2015 which cost me $100 out of pocket after selling the original. Your $2K prebuild didn't make it 3 years yet my older far cheaper custom build has lasted going on 8 years now and will likely keep up with if not surpass next gen consoles should I choose to spend a couple hundred upgrading the GPU again. Always avoid prebuilds for this reason.
Good point. There lies the rub. You sound like someone who knows their way around a computer and can fine tweak their rig, on their own. I'm not one of them. I am not computer savvy enough, to do that. I would have to hire someone every 2-3 years and pay $300-$400 to upgrade the rig for me. I might as well go back to consoles.
Corvus oculum corvi non eruit.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 23, 2004
8205 posts
4905 upvotes
Toronto
Micelli_Illuminatti wrote: Good point. There lies the rub. You sound like someone who knows their way around a computer and can fine tweak their rig, on their own. I'm not one of them. I am not computer savvy enough, to do that. I would have to hire someone every 2-3 years and pay $300-$400 to upgrade the rig for me. I might as well go back to consoles.
There's no complex knowledge or "fine tweaking" required in putting together a modern gaming PC and decent computer stores like Canada Computers, NCIX etc will do all the work for you so you don't need to be saavy at all. Even though I'm capable of doing it myself, I simply paid $50 to have the parts I selected put together for me and stress tested with a 1 year warranty, though I've had no issues with my parts in 8 years. These same stores also charge next to nothing to install a video card or other parts if you don't want to learn to do it yourself.

The only minimal effort you need to put in is selecting good parts that fit your budget which requires no more research than any other purchase in this same price range and it's easier than ever these days with the ample resources available online. All you have to do is log on to /r/buildapc, tell people your budget and what games you want to play and the kind users there will do it for you.

That said, what you should never do is go to generic retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Staples, Amazon etc looking for a prebuilt gaming PC because that's how people get ripped off buying poor quality hardware that underperforms and doesn't last which creates incorrect perceptions of how PC gaming works
Deal Addict
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Feb 23, 2007
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2-3 months ago, I ditched my GTX 980 that I bought in 2015, which was already about 70% faster than the GTX 1650 Max-Q of that laptop. The graphics card of that laptop wouldn't have been sufficient for me 5 years ago. But that's me.

You might as well stick with a PS4 instead of buying that laptop.

What did you build your friend anyway? I find it hard to believe that you would build your friend a gaming rig but would consider THAT laptop for gaming.
Core i7-5820K @ 4.2GHz | Asus Tuf OC RTX 3090 | G.Skill Ripjaws 48GB DDR4-2666 | CM StormTrooper | 850 EVO 250GB x2 Raid 0 + NVMe 970 Pro 512GB | ASRock X99 Extreme4
| Noctua NH-D15 | ASUS PG27UQ + Dell P2715Q
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 25, 2006
1019 posts
290 upvotes
Nova Scotia
LKane1 wrote: 2-3 months ago, I ditched my GTX 980 that I bought in 2015, which was already about 70% faster than the GTX 1650 Max-Q of that laptop. The graphics card of that laptop wouldn't have been sufficient for me 5 years ago. But that's me.

You might as well stick with a PS4 instead of buying that laptop.

What did you build your friend anyway? I find it hard to believe that you would build your friend a gaming rig but would consider THAT laptop for gaming.
His budget was different then mine....he wants to play the latest games....he doesn't want a dual purpose unit for work and gaming. So I built him the PC below and he is very happy and its a pretty cool looking rig. My office would pay for the laptop so I was hoping for a mixed use one.

Intel Core i5-9600KF 3.7 GHz 6-Core Processor
Corsair H100x 57.2 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
MSI MPG Z390 GAMING EDGE AC ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
Intel 660p Series 1.02 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
Seagate Barracuda Compute 2 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB XC ULTRA GAMING Video Card
Phanteks Enthoo Pro M TG ATX Mid Tower Case
Corsair RM (2019) 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply
Cooler Master MasterFan MF120R ARGB 59 CFM 120 mm Fan
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User avatar
Jan 8, 2020
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Dallas, Texas
Good device, but I'd like 16 GB memory, not 8. IPS displays are great for graphic design because they represent colors naturally, pleasing to the eye. 15,6" displays seem small for me, but it depends on your preferences
Deal Addict
Nov 22, 2003
3601 posts
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Micelli_Illuminatti wrote: I would steer you away from going back to PC gaming, from personal experience. About 5 years ago, or so, I decided to get back into PC gaming (as opposed to consoles). I bought on sale a $2K Asus GOG PC that played AAA games without issue. Modding was great.

The fun came to an end about 2 years after purchase when I could no longer play new titles on the highest settings. I started having the need to update drivers, increase memory, etc. I got fed up with constantly having to check if my gaming rig could still (properly) play some games. I went back to consoles (bought a $400 one) and never regretted it. While I miss modding, I didn't feel it justified the price tag.

Something to keep in mind, I guess ...
To be fair, another thing to consider is that you're saying you expected to be able to play everything on the highest settings. Perhaps this isn't exactly what you meant but if it is, you could just have started to back off on the settings depending on the game. Even with "Medium" settings, I think you'd still have been mostly ahead of the current gen consoles of that era - meaning you could probably have squeezed at least another 2 or 3 years out of that system without needing to switch to consoles.
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Feb 23, 2007
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Micelli_Illuminatti wrote: I would steer you away from going back to PC gaming, from personal experience. About 5 years ago, or so, I decided to get back into PC gaming (as opposed to consoles). I bought on sale a $2K Asus GOG PC that played AAA games without issue. Modding was great.

The fun came to an end about 2 years after purchase when I could no longer play new titles on the highest settings. I started having the need to update drivers, increase memory, etc. I got fed up with constantly having to check if my gaming rig could still (properly) play some games. I went back to consoles (bought a $400 one) and never regretted it. While I miss modding, I didn't feel it justified the price tag.

Something to keep in mind, I guess ...
Was this the one you bought?

best-buy-asus-g751jm-17-3-gaming-laptop ... #p22608997
This is a medium-high end gamer laptop that can play most games out there. Under the hood it has:

- 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor and 16GB RAM
- 2TB hard drive
- 17.3-inch display
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M with 2GB dedicated video memory
That's your mistake right there.
First of all, of the 800 series, 860M is one of the weaker ones (870M and 880M being faster).
Second, The 800 series (being a mobile series) is slower than the desktop 700 series, which came out in Q2 2013.
According to https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/N ... 8647vs2159
The 760 (again, the weaker ones of the series) is about 50-80% faster than the 860M.
According to https://www.3dmark.com/compare/spy/2094126/spy/6071334
Just comparing Graphics score, 760 gets 26.16 fps and 860M gets 9.10 per second (760 being nearly 3 times faster)
So you bought the GTX 860M in 2015, a card that was completely inadequate IMO even in 2013, thinking it was medium/high end, and you expected it to run well in 2017 (2 years after as you mentioned)?

Advice to the OP: Don't buy junk. If you get that GTX 1650, you'll end up like him. You know that built you did for your friend? Make that your minimum.
ReeGee wrote:
You made a mistake by overspending on a prebuild which is never recommended for the issues you encountered later on which isn't a normal PC experience. On the other hand I'm still playing the latest games at high detail 1080p/60fps on a rig I built for under $1K back in 2012 and only ever upgraded the GPU once back in 2015 which cost me $100 out of pocket after selling the original. Your $2K prebuild didn't make it 3 years yet my older far cheaper custom build has lasted going on 8 years now and will likely keep up with if not surpass next gen consoles should I choose to spend a couple hundred upgrading the GPU again. Always avoid prebuilds for this reason.
This. Note how in his thread, every reply says that laptop was overpriced.

https://www.geforce.com/hardware/notebo ... erformance

Can't even hit 60 FPS in most games at 1080p. "High End"
Core i7-5820K @ 4.2GHz | Asus Tuf OC RTX 3090 | G.Skill Ripjaws 48GB DDR4-2666 | CM StormTrooper | 850 EVO 250GB x2 Raid 0 + NVMe 970 Pro 512GB | ASRock X99 Extreme4
| Noctua NH-D15 | ASUS PG27UQ + Dell P2715Q
Deal Fanatic
Oct 23, 2004
8205 posts
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Toronto
LKane1 wrote: Was this the one you bought?

best-buy-asus-g751jm-17-3-gaming-laptop ... #p22608997

Just comparing Graphics score, 760 gets 26.16 fps and 860M gets 9.10 per second (760 being nearly 3 times faster)
So you bought the GTX 860M in 2015, a card that was completely inadequate IMO even in 2013, thinking it was medium/high end, and you expected it to run well in 2017 (2 years after as you mentioned)?
Yeesh that best buy laptop thread should be stickied as a guide for how not to get into PC gaming. I upgraded from a 760 in 2015 because I was starting to feel it underperforming while he was putting down nearly 2 grand on a laptop with an even weaker GPU.
At the same time it's hard to blame him because stores like Best Buy thrive on ripping people off with overpriced crappy systems all the time. All we can do is educate people not to shop for gaming systems at stores like this.

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