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kialasin

Buying a desktop for SL. Need advice

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So im trying to get myself back into some SL after being away but i have less than 200$ currently to spend. I found this desktop that looks fairly decent on amazon but being only slightly technical i would appreciate someone else with more knowledge taking a look at the specs and letting me know if i can expect to be able to play. I dont need super graphics or anything,  just decent playability until i can save the money for a better computer. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01LX3ERTI#Ask

There is also this one, its almost the same i believe but has a few differences and has 3.0 usb.  https://www.amazon.com/HP-6305-A8-5500B-Certified-Refurbished/dp/B07GDSY5MM/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1546376474&sr=1-3&refinements=p_n_feature_fourteen_browse-bin%3A2057441011%2Cp_36%3A1253506011%2Cp_n_operating_system_browse-bin%3A17702486011%2Cp_n_feature_five_browse-bin%3A13580790011%7C13580791011%7C7817224011%2Cp_n_feature_two_browse-bin%3A562240011%7C562241011%7C5446812011%2Cp_n_feature_four_browse-bin%3A3081486011%7C1264728011%7C2289792011&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=desktop+computer&dpPl=1&dpID=41HycG7T6LL&ref=plSrch

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Both of those are running extremely low end APUs by modern standards. Its single thread performance (how well a single core out of all the cores can perform, which is very important for SL) is lower than the 30$ haswell low voltage dual core im currently testing out (Intel Pentium G3260T). Its better in multi core/thread loads for sure since its a quadcore, but SL being the old game that it is on an old engine really doesnt use multiple cores well (this is a longer story, tl;dr version is that the games current engine has been built on an original version made when Dual cores were fairly new).

https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/AMD-A8-5500B-APU-vs-Intel-Pentium-G3260T/1868vs2566

Thats gonna be the killer with SL, graphically it will do it ok, its integrated graphics are kind of mediocre but not terrible, from the benchmarks ive seen of that APU youre looking at running the game maybe in 720p tops, definitely lowering graphical bound settings (textures and view distance, avatar cloth and glow settings (for Firestorm). CPU stuff settings wise is shadows and lighting, which will also likely have to be turned down.

So summary, its a good option at sub 200$, theres no real big noticeable difference between the two of them.

It does have two pcie x16 slots internally, though obviously low profile only. This will allow for a low profile, low wattage graphics card upgrade in the future (such as a GT 1030 for example which would be a pretty drastic improvement over the integrated graphics).

 

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I had been told that getting an AMD processor was better than an intel because it overclocks, but ill be honest im not sure what that even means. Would i be better off adding intels to my search and looking for one that is perhaps dual core with a better single thread speed? I was also told SL works well with quad or duo cores because the viewer basically uses 1 full core itself to render with.

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5 hours ago, kialasin said:

I had been told that getting an AMD processor was better than an intel because it overclocks, but ill be honest im not sure what that even means. Would i be better off adding intels to my search and looking for one that is perhaps dual core with a better single thread speed? I was also told SL works well with quad or duo cores because the viewer basically uses 1 full core itself to render with.

Both intel and AMD can overclock, it gets a bit complicated to explain but heres the simple tl;dr version:

1) Overclocking means you are running the CPU at a higher clock speed than stock. i.e a 3ghz processor overclocked to 3.4ghz. Doing this basically increases the voltage going to the processor by a small amount to get the clock to run faster (think of it like giving more power to a lightbulb, more power, brighter light).

2) This requires specific processors and specific chipsets. Chipsets are a small microprocessor on the motherboard that control things like CPU features, SATA (storage drives) controllers, pcie (slot interfaces) controllers, memory controllers, etc. Older motherboards have integrated graphics on the chipset but thats now moved to being on the CPU instead.

3) AMD is a preferable budget option SOMETIMES because of this. AMD has less restrictions on which processors and chipsets can overclock. Almost all processors and chipsets on AMD platforms can overclock at some level. Currently the mainstream AMD Ryzen processors can all overclock, and all but one current chipset type motherboard can be used to overclock (B350/450, X370/470, but A320 cannot overclock).

4) Intel overclocking is limited to "z" series motherboards and only works with "k" series processors. So for example, an i7 8700k can be overclocked on a Z370 motherboard. It cannot be overclocked on an H310 motherboard. Likewise a regular i7 8700 non-k cannot be overclocked on Z370 or H310 (or any other intel chipset).

5) The upside to overclocking is better overall CPU performance, higher clock speed means it will perform slightly better since its running slightly faster. The downside is that this draws more power and creates more heat. With a "stock" cooler on most processors you can usually overclock a little bit, but if you want higher clock speeds you need a better cooler. Extremely overclocking involves liquid nitrogen to keep the processor cool.

6) You can do the same with many components including the GPU and RAM

I wouldnt look into that as a deciding factor for your PC choice. You can overclock those APUs, you may not 100% be able to do it on that specific motherboard however. Large system providers like Dell/HP/Lenovo tend to have weird semi customized chipsets that may have some features enabled or disabled at a hardware level. Not to mention that those machines have a 240 watt power supply and overclocking draws a lot of power at times. You also have the stock and likely proprietary and non up-gradable cooler that may not be able to handle the heat.

SL likes single thread performance. I highly suggest using >> https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/

Use that to compare different processors in machines you find to see which ones have the best overall performance and single thread performance. But also account for a GPU solution. Those machines you posted have decent integrated graphics. And theyre cheap machines. An equivalent priced Optiplex 790 at around 140-160$ will have a processor like an i5 2400 which would absolutely decimate that A8-5500B >> https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/AMD-A8-5500B-APU-vs-Intel-i5-2400/1868vs793

But, the integrated graphics are substantially weaker and you would need to factor in the cost of a graphics card to make SL bearable.

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