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Buying Advice Guide

 

We have created this guide to make sure you know what to look for when buying a new PC. There is a lot of jargon to sift through and it can be difficult to make a start when you don't understand what you need.

At Kuda PC we aim to make buying a PC as simple as possible and guarantee:

  • The latest high quality hardware

  • The best value and performance for your money

  • 5 year labour and 3 year parts warranty

 

You can use the links below to skip to different sections of the buying guide:

The latest hardware:

1. Central Processing Unit (CPU)

2. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

3. Random Access Memory (RAM)

4. Power Supply Unit (PSU)

5. Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)

6. Why we only use the latest hardware

Explain:

1. Monitor Resolutions

2. Frames per Second (FPS) and Hertz (Hz)

3. Game Settings

What is the latest hardware?

1. Central Processing Unit (CPU)

- 12th and 13th Generation Intel i3 / i5 / i7 / i9 (i3-12100F, i5-12400F, i7 12700K,  i9-13900K)

- Intel Pentium Gold (G7400)

- AMD Ryzen 3 / 5 / 7  (Ryzen 3 - 4100, Ryzen 5 - 5600X, Ryzen 7 - 5800X, Ryzen 9 - 7950X)

- AMD Athlon (3000G)

For gaming you want a quad core processor at minimum, preferably a 6 core. However, with games frequently utilising 6 cores, the more cores the better.

Always look carefully at what you are buying. Many mistake older processors for newer ones. 

 

For Intel:

 

Intel i7 2600 | 2nd Generation - denoted by the 2 at the start of the product number (launched in 2011)

Intel i7 12700 | 12th Generation - denoted by the 12 at the start of the product number (launched in 2021)
 

For AMD:

Ryzen 1600X: 1st generation (launched in 2017)

Ryzen 7950X: Latest generation (launched in 2022)

Choosing the right CPU:

If you are looking to play a certain game, it's always good to have a look at the system requirements so you can choose hardware strong enough to handle that particular game. A game may state it needs at minimum an i7 - 4770 (launched in 2013) but what a lot of people don't realize is that newer i3 processors out perform these older processors considerably. For example, the latest i3 - 13100F is as fast for gaming as an i7 - 8700.

The issue with buying into old hardware is that you're locked into that architecture. If you have a PC with an i7 8700, that's basically the fastest processor you can get for that particular motherboard, so you're stuck and have to upgrade. With the i3 13100F, you have 13th Gen i5's and i7's to move up to. Using the latest hardware has it's benefits and saves you money in the long run.

 

2. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

For NVIDIA:

 

- GeForce 3000 / 4000 series (RTX 3050, RTX 3070, RTX 3080Ti, RTX 4090)

For AMD:

 

- Radeon RX series (6600, 5700XT, 6700XT, 7950XT)

For gaming you want a GPU with 4GB of video memory at minimum, preferably 8GB and upwards. 

Your choice of GPU will depend on your CPU. They need to be balanced or it will bottleneck the performance of the PC. Bottlenecks are created when the CPU can't feed the GPU data at a fast enough rate to keep it busy.

An important consideration when choosing a GPU is the length of the card and the maximum GPU length your case will accept. You also need to have a high enough wattage power supply as cards have minimum requirements (eg.750W)

 

3. Random Access Memory (RAM)

RAM is measured in Gigabytes (GB) and runs at frequencies measured in Mega Hertz (MHz). The latest generations of RAM are DDR5 / DDR4 and older generations are made up of DDR3 and below.

DDR5 has a base speed of 4800MHz. RAM has it's base speed and it's XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) / DOCP (Direct Overclocking Profile) speed. The XMP / DOCP profile allows the RAM to run at higher frequencies (eg. 6400MHz). To take advantage of these speeds you need to match the long model number of the RAM against a list on the motherboard manufacturers website. This list also takes into account your CPU as memory compatibility across CPU generations isn't always the same. Incompatible RAM trying to run at XMP / DOCP speed is a common cause of system stability issues including blue screens of death and failure to post / boot.

Here is an example of a RAM list.

8GB - sufficient for general use (browsing the internet, word processing etc)

16GB -  optimal for gaming 

32GB plus - not necessary for gaming but would be helpful for audio / video editing or content streaming

An important factor in choosing RAM is it's height. If you have a tower CPU cooler, RAM may be too tall to fit under the cooler. This isn't the case with liquid coolers as they don't obstruct the area around the CPU.

4. Power Supply Unit (PSU)

The PSU is the most important part of the PC. You go cheap and you risk damaging or killing your PC.

Every power supply has a rating (White, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium)

We use Bronze rated PSUs for our office builds, and Gold rated PSUs for all our gaming PCs. We only use Gold Rated PSUs which include the following safety features at minimum:

 

OCP (over current protection)

OPP (over power protection)

OVP (over voltage protection)

UVP (under voltage protection)

SCP (short circuit protection)

NLO (no load operation)

PSUs don't push power, PC components draw power. Ideally you want to use a bigger power supply than the PC requires due to the power efficiency curve. Power supplies are most efficient at 50-70% of their maximum power output. So, to keep things as efficient and as cool as possible, we tend to oversize what is needed. Although, this isn't really possible on budget builds.

We recommend that PCs be further protected by use of a surge protector and this forms an important part of our warranty.

All PSUs are tested by a Thermaltake Dr Power II and a multi meter to make sure they are meeting their specific power outputs, and run for 24 hours before being cleared for use.

 

5. Solid State Drive (SSD)

An SSD stores data on instantly accessible memory chips, and is much faster than a standard mechanical hard-drive (HD) that uses platters and a moving read /  write head to access data (think about a record player). The speed of SSDs / HDs are measured in Megabits per second and the faster the storage you have the better.

 

HD - 100MBps

SSD - 500 MBPS

M.2 SSD - 500MBPs

M.2 NVME SSD - 3500MBPs

PCIe Gen 4 M.2 NVME SSD- 7000 MBPs

HDs / SSDs are connected to the motherboard by a data cable. M.2 SSD's slot into ports on the motherboard directly. We only use M.2 nvme SSD's in our builds and always add a heatsink to keep them cool.

6. Why we only use the latest hardware

Given how accessible the latest hardware is, there is not much reason to use older hardware when it comes to the CPU, motherboard and RAM.

 

i7-2600 | Motherboard | DDR3 RAM | no upgrade path | £60 combo

Ryzen 1200 | Motherboard | DDR4 RAM | Ryzen 3600 compatibile | £120 combo

 

GPUs however, are different. There is a lot of value to be had from using older GPUs alongside a newer CPU, motherboard and RAM.

Explain - Monitor Resolution, Frames Per Second and Hertz

 

 

1. Monitor Resolution

There are three main resolutions: 1080P, 1440P (2K) and 2160P (4K).

 

The higher the resolution you want to play games at, the more expensive the PC is going to be.

1080P - At Kuda PC these setups cost between £800 - £1100

            - 65.68% of gamers play at 1080P (steam hardware survey)

            - The optimal monitor size is 24" - 27"

1440P - At Kuda PC these setups cost between £1000 - £1800

            - 6.45% of gamers play at 1440P (steam hardware survey)

            - The optimal monitor size is 27"

2160P - At Kuda PC these setups cost between £2000 - £5000

            - 2.23% of gamers play at 1080P (steam hardware survey)

            - The optimal monitor size is 27" - 32"

2. Frames Per Second (FPS) and Hertz (Hz)

Frames Per Second (FPS) is the frequency of which consecutive images (frames) are displayed on screen.

 

Hertz (Hz), which is also known as refresh rate is how many times per second the screen can refresh the image. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the image is perceived to be. 1FPS = 1Hz.

60 FPS or 60 Hz is the sought after figure for a smooth gaming experience and is ideal for the average gamer. For 60FPS gaming you want a 60Hz monitor and to cap your FPS at 60 using Vertical Sync which matches your fps with your monitors refresh rate.  Why?

 

On a 60Hz monitor the maximum number of FPS the monitor can handle is 60. Your FPS counter may show over 60, but these excess frames over the 60 FPS limit are being dropped and are not being utilised.

There are, however, higher refresh rate monitors. An 144Hz monitor can take advantage of up to 144 FPS, much like a 240Hz monitor can take advantage of up to 240 FPS

 

The increased refresh rate not only gives you a benefit in terms of smoothness of the image, but also reduced input lag for mouse and keyboard inputs which is measured in milliseconds (ms).

 

For example:

60Hz - 16.67 ms (need hardware capable of achieving 60fps)

100Hz - 10.00 ms (need hardware capable of achieving 100fps)

144Hz - 6.94 ms (need hardware capable of achieving 144fps)

So, if you're into First Person Shooter games (eg. CounterStrike GO) where movement and precision is important then having the highest refresh rate with the lowest amount of input lag would give you a bit of an edge. But, you also need the hardware capable of achieving the FPS needed to take advantage of these refresh rates. Or, you can run your game at lower settings to achieve the required FPS, which is commonly known as competitive settings.

3. Game Settings

Games are played at different settings.

The standard settings scale is as follows: low, medium, high, very high, ultra, max.

The higher the settings you want to play at for your chosen resolution (1080P, 2K, 4K) the more expensive the PC will be. For example:

£600 PC - High settings at 1080P at 60FPS+

£700 PC - Very High settings at 1080P at 60FPS+

£800 PC - Ultra Max settings at 1080P at 60FPS+

Every game is different and while one game may play at very high settings at 1080P on a £600 PC, another may play at max settings. It's important to take the games you are playing into consideration as some are more resource heavy than others.

This guide will be expanded through the help of feedback from our customers, and will get more comprehensive as time goes on. If there are any topics you would like to see covered contact us.

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