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Windows 7 or 8 for new gaming PC?

Posted on 2015-01-05
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Last Modified: 2015-01-06
I'm going to be getting a new system, mostly for gaming (specifically, I play WoW)

My laptop (where I game on now) has Windows 8.1, and I hate it.  I tend to multi-task a lot and switching between the game and other apps for some reason is really bad on Windows 8  (it takes forever for the start menu to load for example). I got so fed up I installed "Start is back" to make it look like Windows 7 (and it runs better actually)

So now the dilemma is the new system I'm building out... I don't know what to do.  Windows 7 will actually save me money on a custom system since I have a license for it from my old TechNet subscription so I can order the system with no OS...

But I remember hearing how much better performing Windows 8 is (when Windows 8 was first coming out). I just haven't felt that first hand and I don't know how accurate that is.

Whatever system I get now I'll likely keep for the next 3-5 years, so that is also a consideration  (according to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/lifecycle, Windows 7 end of mainstream support is this month, with extended support ending in 2020)


So common sense says to get Windows 8.1...  but I just don't feel the love.


Any feedback on actual performance for gaming and advice in general?


Thanks
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Question by:Vas
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by:VB ITS
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I'd say it's more personal preference really. You will see better performance in Windows 8.1 for newer games but at the same time some games run better on Windows 7.

With that being said, check the WoW forums and you'll see that many players on there can run WoW in Windows 8.1 flawlessly.

Just make sure that with your new PC you get a big SSD to store your games on, along with a decent video card and you'll be set. The SSD alone will make a world of difference when it comes to gaming when it comes to load times (everybody hates load times).

What kind of specs are you looking at for your new PC?
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by:Vas
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I'm pretty open in terms of specs right now, I prefer Pentium over AMD though.

The video card *has* to be good, and something with power that will last 3-5 years. I asked around a bit and got some ideas based on my budget (I'm looking to spend ideally around $600)

one build someone recommended is here:
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1GNBHE

I'd need to tweak that a bit, looks like for +$100 I can get a SSD-hybrid, that's pushing me over my intended budget but that's ok for a really good system.

I'd want to install my drives from my current system as I have a lot of data so it needs to have extra bays for add'l SATA drives, so may add +39 for the full tower.

I don't yet but possibly in the future I'd want this to drive a large monitor or maybe even a 55" plasma I have at the house (not sure if that would work well for gaming in any config but it's a thought)


I'm open to any other recommendations. I'd rather the system come built even if it's custom, I did put together a system once but I don't have the patience or time right now.



Thanks
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by:John Hurst
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I suggest learning a bit more about Windows 8.1. I have been using Windows 8 / 8.1 for nearly 2 years now. I NEVER use Metro. I start in the Desktop and stay in the desktop. It is faster than Windows 7 and it looks and feels like Windows 7 (99%). I do not use an third party start menus. I built one from Windows 8.

Please take a look at my article on Ways to Improve Windows 8.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/A_16620-Ways-to-improve-Windows-8.html

Windows 7 has now past its "best before" date and will get security patches only. Windows 8 will continue to evolve for a bit and Windows 10 is out in about 7 months.
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by:VB ITS
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The build in that link looks OK however I'm not digging the processor as it's a dual core - quad cores are more the norm these days and will generally give you better performance in games, especially the newer games.

The motherboard in that build has 2x SATAIII and 2x SATAII ports so you'll be limited to 4 hard drives in total (or 3 hard drives + 1 CD/DVD/BluRay drive). The case itself actually only has 3x hard drive bays anyway. If you don't need an optical drive you could just use 3x standard HDDs then invest in a 120GB SSD for Windows + games as the SSD can be stuck onto the case using double sided tape/cable ties. Since there's no moving parts there's no real danger as long as its secured properly. The Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD for example only costs $81 from NewEgg.

The rest of the machine looks pretty good to me. Can't go past AMD video cards when it comes to value for performance.
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by:VB ITS
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Just realized I can customize your saved build myself!

I would personally swap out the processor for an i5-4460 and swap out the hard drive for a 120GB Samsung 840 EVO.

This does however push up the total price to $777 and you do lose disk space as you're replacing a 1TB hard drive with a 120GB SSD. What I do though is move my Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Music, etc. folders to another hard drive with more capacity to free up space for games etc. on the SSD.
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by:Vas
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VBITS - would the config you suggest (http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1GNBHE but with i5-4460 / 120GB Samsung 840 EVO) support driving a large plasma TV?  (60")

Not sure yet I'd want to do this, but considering it if I decide to put the PC in a different room.
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by:VB ITS
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Yep the video card you have picked (AMD R9 270) will have at least one HDMI port which you can use to connect to your TV (providing it also has a HDMI port which nearly all HD TVs do these days).

You'll just need a HDMI cable which you can pick up easily enough from your local electronics store, Walmart, or even eBay.
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by:nobus
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i would not select the Samsung brand for SSD drive, but a Crucial, or Intel one (better support)
also - it may be best to go for a 250 GB drive, in order to have a bit more space - if your budget allows for it
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by:Vas
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Thanks, so here is the proposed build, with the larger tower:
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1GNEKW

a bit more than I wanted to spend but I think it's worth it.  I wasn't able to tell for sure how many internal SATA drive bays will be free with this tower, would you mind taking a quick look and confirming (assuming I leave the DVD/CD drive included)
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VB ITS earned 400 total points
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6x 3.5" or 2.5" drives according to the tower's specifications, and 3x 5.25" drive bays. Keep in mind that your motherboard only has 4 SATA connectors so you'll still be limited to 3 hard drives and 1 DVD/CD drive.

You also won't be able to easily increase your total amount of RAM if you desire to do so in the future. You only have two memory slots and the memory kit you have chosen is 2x 4GB modules. This means if you want to increase your total memory to 16GB you'd have to buy 2x 8GB modules and take out the 4GB modules, as opposed to simply buying another 2x 4GB sticks (which works out to be cheaper).

8GB is plenty of RAM though and you will rarely find yourself maxing out your RAM, so the call is yours to make. Either get a better motherboard so you can have more hard drives along with the ability to easily increase your memory or make do with what you've chosen.

Just want to be able to make an informed decision.
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by:Vas
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Thanks all, decided on this build based on all the feedback, way over budget but worth it:

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1GNF9J
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by:John Hurst
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@nathaliev  - Thanks for the update and I was happy to help.
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