Helping a friend to buy a Gaming rig

in Hive Gaminglast year


One of the "benefits" of being the nerd in the family/friend circle is that you are often asked for tech buying advice... which lets you gush about all things tech and computer nerdy... whilst the question quickly glazes over and silently wishes that they had never asked the question in the first place. At which point, you point out some recommendations that lie in their budget... and then then ignore all your advice and buy something else completely that they whinge about for the next few years.

Part of the problem when people ask me, is that there really is no "perfect" answer. There are devices and machines that fit each person's work and play flow better or worse, and we all prize different things in our daily interactions with technology. This is even more the case when there is a price constraint and there are compromises that need to be made... I can only suggest compromises and recommendations, but in the end the buying party will need to be one that pulls the trigger on the purchase. Plus, being the way that I am... I want to find each person the PERFECT fit for them.... but that is hard when it is a bit of a personal choice. I guess, in the end, the best that I can do is to suggest things that are important for them... and steer them AWAY from really BAD choices.

Screenshot 20201122 17.47.04.png

So, his last week... a friend asked if I could help with buying a gaming machine for his teenage son. Immediately, I started to completely nerd out and wrote back with a rough guide of what to look for in terms of CPU/GPU combinations, RAM/Storage options and also others stuff like power supplies. In addition, I recommended a couple of manufacturers like Dell/Alienware, Asus ROG or XMG/Schenker.

So, in the end he settled on a machine from HP and a desktop as well... as pictured above and with the details here. So, on paper... the HP Pavilion Gaming TG01-1370nd is a relatively newly released box and looks okay for a mid-range gaming machine.

Intel i7 (10700F) and RTX 2060 for the CPU/GPU combo, 16 GB (2 x 8), and SSD (512MG) and HDD (1TB) combo. Decent everything else, and with some possibility for expansion as well.

However, I had alarm bells ringing at the 400W power supply. For a RTX2060, you are wanting to be around the 550W mark for a decent PSU. Anything less and you might be okay... or you might be putting some serious strain on the PSU and looking at magic smoke some time down the track. The GPU will chew around 350W at full pelt, and the CPU is rated around 65W at full usage... so, there isn't much headroom... and that doesn't take into account voltage ripple if the PSU isn't the best.... and doesn't take into account which rails the power is required on!

So, I said that it is okay on paper... but I wouldn't buy it as that PSU looks really too underpowered for my taste! I sure as hell wouldn't be buying for anyone in my family! Still, there was some persistence in sticking with this box... I guess there is the concept that people wouldn't sell things that are crap, but unfortunately, in the area of tech... people will sell mismatched equipment and most consumers won't know that they are buying a dud!

Anyway, I think I convinced him that it is best to look for a different machine... or make sure that there is a decent warranty! After all, a strained PSU is only going to show problems later in the life of the machine... At best, it will just fail or have BSOD all the time. At worst, it could catch fire or destroy other more valuable components in the machine!

So, I offered to have a bit of a look around... and also at screens as well. After all, you have to match the screen with the GPU!... and there is nothing a nerd likes better than to do some technology window (internet...) shopping!

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