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Guide

Customising a Gaming PC for Apex Legends

Apex Legends is smashing records right now as the most popular PC game. With it’s player count topping 25 million within the first week, it beat out DayZ, PUBG and even Fortnite to claim the thrown as the most successful PC game launch of all time.

So what does it take to jump and start playing? We’ll we’re going to run down the hardware specs you need to get the most of Apex Legends and similar online shooters so you’ll be ready for today, and what ever comes around the corner tomorrow.

Getting started.

To follow along and customise a gaming PC as we guide you through the process you can head on over to store page (linked here). Don’t be alarmed by the number of options. It’s all very easy, we have built in error detection and instructions so there is no need to worry.

Defining your target performance level.

Whether or not you want to target a very high frame rate, play at 4K or crank all the settings up to max will greatly impact your hardware selection. With this in mind the below hardware recommendations will define 3 separate levels. We’ll cover an explanation regarding the listed GPU, CPU and RAM a little further below.

  • Budget
    • The entry level hardware selection to get a good competitive experience at 1080P / medium presets.
      • GPU : GTX 1050 TI OC
      • CPU : Intel i3 8100
      • RAM : 8GB
  • Recommended
    • A step up, allowing for higher frame rates at 1080P on high presets to give you at that little extra edge and visual fidelity.
      • GPU : GTX1160
      • CPU : Intel i5 9400F
      • RAM : 16GB
  • Ultra / 4K
    • Crank up all the settings to max and leave noting on the table with silky smooth frame rates at 4K.
      • GPU : RTX 2080 OC
      • CPU : Intel i5 9600K
      • RAM : 16GB OC

The basics of hardware selection.

If you’ve read one of our custom PC game guides before you probably already know this. However for the sake of first time readers we’ll cover the basics again.

When it comes to game performance, the 3 components that matter are the CPU, GPU and RAM. No other components have a direct impact to in game performance. Your storage device might increase load times and your cooler and fans might help prevent thermal throttling but that’s about it.

Now of these three components, the GPU (also know as a video or graphics cards) is by far the most important. There are a few exceptions in which the CPU will be more important but in 99% of games this just isn’t the case. As long as the CPU and RAM don’t become a bottleneck, the GPU is the single most important component of the system.

Once you understand this basic concept, the rest becomes easy. Just select the GPU required to fit your performance target and pair it with the appropriate CPU and RAM combo. Once we know what these three components will be, we can choose an appropriate motherboard and power supply to match. Finally, all that’s left to do is select the rest of the configuration with your own personal preferences and requirements.

Choosing the right motherboard & power supply.

The Motherboard

A motherboard, as the name suggests, is the main board in to which all other components are attached. They house the integrated audio and network solutions as well as USB ports and various other ports to connect peripherals and storage devices. Higher end boards (eg Z390) are more geared towards enthusiasts looking for premium end integrated audio and networking adaptors and the ability to overclock the CPU or run multiple GPUs. The mid-range boards (eg B360) are great all rounders and best value for money option in most cases. The lower end boards (eg H310) are more of a basic, no-frills solutions designed for budget systems where every dollar counts.

In general we advise against CPU overclocking. The logic behind this is simple. The amount of performance you stand to gain is outweighed by the required additional investment required. This additional investment being a higher end motherboard and cooling solution to make it happen. Not to mention the added possible instability, heat, power consumption and shortened component life span if it’s not done carefully.

The PSU (Power Supply)

As for the power supply, we offer both Bronze and Gold rated options. These ratings indicate their AC to DC power conversion efficiency with Bronze being 85% under 80% load and Gold being 92%. Increased efficiency means less heat output and lower power bills! The other thing to consider when selecting a power supply is the wattage. How much do you need exactly? Well if you are using our custom PC builder (linked here) it’s smart enough to tell you. Simply select all the other hardware first then navigate to the power supply selection area. At the top of the list will be a short instructional message. This will tell you how much wattage your system will draw and recommend a suitable buffer.

In Summary / TLDR;

Still have questions?

Need recommendations for a chassis or storage device? Not too sure which cooler or you should go with or simply want an expert to go over your build and make some suggestions? No worries! You can reach out to us via the Contact Us page on our website and we will get back to you ASAP.

Customise and Order Online Today

Head on over to our store page at www.evatech.com.au to customise your next dream gaming PC for Apex Legends or any other game! It’s quick, easy, powerful, Australian built and delivered fast nation wide. Not to mention outstanding value.

Not convinced? Checkout how we stack up against the competition,

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News

$2000 Gaming PC Challenge

JB HIFI / Officeworks / Good Guys / Bing Lee VS Evatech

It pays to shop around, especially on big ticket items like gaming PCs! This isn’t news, but what happens when you compare an Evatech custom built to order gaming PC with an off the shelf pre-assembled in china option? The results might surprise you.

We get it. Custom built in Australia sounds expensive right? Logic says that should be true, but when you do your homework it’s a very different story. To illustrate this, we’ve done a little experiment. With $2,000 to spend we visited JB HiFi, Bing Lee & Officeworks to see how much bang for our buck we could get, then compared it to an Evatech custom gaming PC for the same price.

Initial Observations

The first thing we noticed when doing our comparison is that there wasn’t a lot of options to choose from when it came to a gaming desktop PCs. The second thing we noticed is that there were no options with ‘current-gen’ hardware! Several months after the launch of the 9th-gen Intel CPUs and RTX series GPUs, they were nowhere to be found.

Last but not least, we noticed a disturbing trend of only 12 month manufacturer warranties. Under Australian consumer rights laws this probably isn’t even legal but we think we know why they do it. We suspect it’s help the retailers push their ‘extended’ warranties. Essentially scaring you in to spending more money on something the law entitles you to anyway.

Setting the Rules

To make this as fair as possible we set of very basic ground rules.

  • We couldn’t exceed our $2000 budget
  • We had to choose the best value for money gaming PC without exception
  • All pricing and specifications were recorded on the same day (15/03/2019)
  • All options must be stand alone PCs, not bundled with peripherals or a monitor.
    • Initially this was done to try and ensure the fairest possible comparison and minimise subjectivity but it turned out none of the competitors offered such a bundle in this price range anyway.

The Comparison Chart

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

CPU

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

8th Gen 6-Core 8700 4.6GHz

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

8th Gen 6-Core 8400 4.0GHz

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

8th Gen 6-Core 8700 4.6GHz

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

9th Gen 6-Core 9600K 4.6GHz

RAM

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

16GB DDR4

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

8GB DDR4

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

16GB DDR4

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

16GB DDR4

Video Card

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

NVIDIA GTX 1060 3GB

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

NVIDIA RTX 2060 6G

(Up to 40% Faster than a GTX1060!)

SSD

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

128GB

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

128GB

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

256GB

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

500GB

Hard Drive

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

2TB

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

1TB

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

1TB

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

2TB

Operating System

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

Windows 10 OEM

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

Windows 10 OEM

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

Windows 10 OEM

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

Windows 10 Full Retail Licence

(Transferred)

WiFi

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

Warranty

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

1 Year

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

1 Year

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

1 Year

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

3 Years (Extendable to 5!)

Upgradable / Customisable?

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

Price

Officeworks (HP Omen i7)

$1888

JB HiFi (Acer Nitro N50 i5)

$1999

Bing Lee (Acer Nitro N50 i7)

$1999

Evatech (Custom PCID 138234)

$1999

The Results

For the tech savvy among you who understand what you’re looking at on the chart above, the results are pretty clear. For the sake of those who might not have a full understanding of what exactly they are looking at in the chart, we’ll break it down for you.

A crash course in PC gaming hardware metrics.

When it comes to gaming performance, they key contributor is the graphics card, as long as the CPU and RAM are not a bottleneck. The best way to compare graphics card performance is with a real world benchmark result. There are thousands of these available online, some from more reputable sources than others. We would recommend using well known and trusted independent hardware review websites like GamersNexus.net, TweakTown.com and Techspot.com

Here’s an example.

In modern gaming systems, 8GB of RAM is considered entry level, 16GB plenty and 32GB overkill. As for the CPU in a gaming PC, low end systems will get by with an i3, while mid range systems should ideally be paired with an i5 and only the highest end systems would need to bother with an i7 or i9.

There is a commonly held misconception when it comes to CPUs that higher “GHz” means more performance or that more cores means more performance. Both of which are both true in a way, but mostly false. “GHz” is a measurement of the CPU’s clock speed or ‘tick’ rate. 4GHz means the CPU cycles through a set of ‘instructions’ 4000000000 times a second. This doesn’t account for the number of instructions per cycle it can handle, also known as “IPC”. A CPU with a higher IPC and lower clock speed can outperform a lower IPC, higher clock rate competitor.

Furthermore, cores are something that will only contribute to performance if the application or game you are running actually utilises them. Most modern game engines really only make full use of the first 4 to 6 cores (sometimes less). This means in most games, a 4 core CPU and 6 or 8 core CPU with the same IPC and clock rate will perform practically the same when compared side by side.

Of course this is a very generalised guide and dependence will vary from game to game. That being said, for the vast majority of modern games, this is the widely accepted best practice.

Gaming Performance

First Place : Evatech (40+% Higher than 2nd Place)
This was an easy win, with second place not even coming close. The Evatech configuration blows the competition out of the water with it’s significantly higher performing GPU (video card). You can see one such example in Battlefield V with the benchmark chart shown above. It also has the highest performing gaming CPU of the bunch with the highest IPC.

Last Place : Officeworks (with JB HiFi not far behind)
With the slowest GPU (video card) in the pack, the Officeworks PC would perform the worse in most titles. The only exceptions being for the most RAM hungry or CPU dependant games like the Total War series or Civilisation in which the JB HiFi model would lose it’s much lower RAM capacity and lower end CPU.

Storage Capacity

A secondary consideration when it comes a gaming PC but an important one none the less. Each system being compared today comes with a primary SSD and secondary regular hard drive. For those of you unfamiliar with the difference SSDs are Solid State Drives. They are significantly higher performing when it comes to boot and load times, but don’t effect in game performance much. Hard drives are spinning mechanical platter storage devices that have are cheaper GB but much slower. Bare in mind that it’s not uncommon for sames to reach 60-70GBs once installed and patched these days, plus Windows itself will eat up 10GB+.

First Place: Evatech (2-4x more SSD storage capacity than the competition)
With 500GB of SSD storage you have plenty of storage space to install a bunch of all your favourite games without the need to uninstall others or resort to using the slower hard drive. Still not enough? Well there’s an extra 2TB of space for you to install your less frequently played games and applications on the secondary drive.

Last Place: JB Hi Fi
Sporting only 128GB on the primary drive (much of which will be already eaten up by the operating system and bloatware rubbish that will come pre-installed), you’ll have room for 1 or two big AAA games before you run out of space. This is something that the Officeworks system also suffers from but with double the secondary hard drive storage capacity it edges out the JB Hi Fi system to avoid a last place tie.

Warranty & Upgradability.

First Place : Evatech
Pretty clearly the winner in this category with the only system that allows upgrades and comes as standard with much more generous warranty policy than the competition. Free troubleshooting assistance from professionals who actually know what they are talking about. Much much longer warranty period and very reasonable out of warranty repair pricing. Everything you would expect and more, for a $2,000 investment.

Last Place : JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks, Bing Lee (3 way tie)
Is it because they use such lower end hardware that they can’t offer more than 12 months warranty? Is it all a scam to to try and rip you off further and help the big box retailers push their extremely pricey and often useless extended warranties? We suspect it’s mostly the latter, but there is also no doubt the hardware you get in an Evatech PC is far superior. Oh, want to upgrade in the future and keep your expensive investment up to date long term? Don’t even think about it, just buy a whole new one. Not only will attempting upgrades void your warranty but in a lot of cases you just simply can’t because they use non-standard hardware that’s simply not compatible with off the shelf gear.

In Summary (TLDR;)

Evatech

  • Far superior gaming performance
  • Higher quality latest-gen hardware
  • Upgradable
  • Much better warranty
  • Way better support
  • 100% customizable

Bing Lee, Office Works & JB-Hi Fi

  • None of the above
  • Overpriced
  • Lacklustre performance
  • Old last-gen hardware
  • Not custom or upgradable
  • Short warranty

Are we biased? Of course we are. But are we wrong? Well everything we mentioned above is true, verifiable and we stand by it 100%. The rest is up to you to decide. Bare in mind we specialise specifically in custom computers and have done so since our inception in 2013. The competition peddle their so called ‘gaming PCs’ next to staplers, toaster ovens and refrigerators. So is it really that big of a surprise that we would offer better quality, service and value? We don’t think so.

Not convinced? Give our store website a try at www.evatech.com.au and customise a PC today. It’s quick, easy, powerful, great value and packed with the latest hardware. All you have to do is lock in your order and our team builds, tests, setup and deliver your system to your door in a matter of days while you sit back and save time & money. What more could you want?

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Guide

Customizing A Gaming PC for Battlefield V & RTX

With Battlefield V’s Tides of War Chapter 2 update being released next week and the RTX2060 to follow soon after we’re decided it would be a great time to jump in and review what sort of gaming PC it requires to play Battlefield V with RTX on (Ray Tracing) at 1080P / 1440P and 4K.

We’ll be doing this with a focus on the RAM, CPU and most importantly the video card (GPU) as these are key components that contribute to performance. All other components do not directly contribute to in game performance so you can pick and choose your favorites based on personal preferences, aesthetics and functionality requirements.

New RTX Tech (DLSS)

When Battlefield first got it’s original RTX enabling update it only enabled real time ray tracing which arguably is one of the most impressive features of the latest generation of RTX series graphics cards. However it did not initially get DLSS, aka Deep Learning Super Sampling. For those unfamiliar with the concept, this technology is essentially a ‘smarter’ way of handling AA (anti-aliasing), the togglable option in most modern PC games that essentially smooths out rough edges.

At Nvidia’s latest press conference at the 2019 CES show in Las Vegas, they showed off performance charts that indicated enabling DLSS would not only make the game look that much better, but actually boost your in game performance when ray tracing is enabled. Now this isn’t something that’s been guaranteed to be included in the big upcoming patch but Nvidia and Dice have promised to deliver it ‘soon’.

A Closer Look at the RTX 2060

Nvidia’s newest GPU to hit the market in the wake of the RTX 2080, then 2080 TI and 2070. As the name suggests the price and performance of this card is expected to land a touch below the RTX 2070 offering the latest RTX enabled tech like ray tracing and DLSS at a new lower price point. These cards are set for release on January 15th however initial price and availability is still TBD. For more details on the upcoming RTX 2060 reach out to us or stay tuned to our website.

The Specifications

  • 6GB of GDDR6 14Gbps Memory
  • 240 Tensor Cores
  • 37 RTX Ops
  • 1680MHz Boost Clock (-/+ depending on model)
  • 160w TDP

Now you can compare these against the RTX 2070 to get an idea of the overall performance.

  • 8GB of GDDR6 14Gbps Memory
  • 288 Tensor Cores
  • 42 RTX Ops
  • 1620MHz (-/+ depending on model)
  • 175w TDP

You can checkout the full summary of the CES press conference on the Nvidia website here for a recap, videos and presentation slides.

Customize as you Go!

If you want to play along at home and while you read this article also begin customizing your next dream custom gaming PC for Battlefield V on our website simply head on over to our store page (by clicking the link here). It’s quick, easy and with a click of a button you can upgrade, downgrade, remove or add a massive range of the latest PC hardware to your build, then with a click of a button save it for later or order it online!

What you need to play at 1080P with RTX & DLSS ON

Based on the independent third party performance testing of Battlefield V coupled with Nvidia’s CES press conference data, we would recommend the following specification. Of course this doesn’t take in to account various other in game settings that can effect performance but we would base this on the high graphics pre-sets with the possibility of some minor tweaks.

  • Intel i5 8400 or Equivalent
  • 16GB of DDR4 RAM
  • RTX2060 6G Video Card

Recommended pairing with the other non-performance delivering components for the best balance ‘bang-for-buck’ value.

  • B360M Gaming Edition Motherboard
  • 250G/500G SATA SSD Primary Drive
  • A mid range Mid-Tower chassis with decent airflow A mid range Mid-Tower chassis with decent airflow
    • eg, Corsair Carbide Spec series, Carbide 270R, Fractal Design Focus G or Meshify C
  • 550W Gold PSU
  • Windows 10 Home Edition
  • WiFi & additional hard drives if needed.

What you need to play at 1440P with RTX & DLSS ON

Scaling up from our 1080P recommendation would push the video card and CPU up a notch but keep the RAM at 16GB. RAM is something that doesn’t necessarily add anything in terms of performance simply by having more of it than you need nor is more necessarily required when you increase your resolution, frame rate or graphics settings. As a result, with 16GB being the sweet spot for value for any performance in PC gaming right now, it will be the same across all our recommendations.

  • Intel i5 8600 or Equivalent
  • 16GB of DDR4 RAM
  • RTX2070 8G Video Card

Again, here’s a recommended set of accompanying components to fill out the rest of your build for the best ‘bang-for-buck’ value and performance when pairing with the CPU, GPU and RAM listed above.

  • B360M Gaming Edition Motherboard
  • 250G/500G SATA SSD or NVMe M.2 Primary Drive
  • A mid range Mid-Tower chassis with decent air flo
    • eg, Corsair Carbide Spec series, Carbide 270R, Fractal Design Focus G or Meshify C
  • 550W Gold PSU
  • Windows 10 Home Edition
  • WiFi & additional hard drives if needed.

What you need to play at 4K with RTX & DLSS ON

4K is a very very high resolution for gaming. To play at 4K you are essentially asking your video card to render 4x as much in terms of pixels on the screen when compared to a regular 1080P display. Does this mean you need 4x the amount of GPU horsepower to achieve it? Not quiet, but don’t expect to get there on a budget. This is why the RTX2080 TI exists with it’s enormous amount of GPU compute power, and the price tag to match. This is an extreme GPU for an extreme level of fidelity in game. You will also need a 4K monitor which don’t come cheap, and even, you may need to scale back some of the other in game settings slightly to keep the dips above 60+ FPS.

  • Intel i7 9700 or Equivalent
  • 16GB of DDR4 RAM
  • RTX2080TI 11G Video Card

Last but not least, here is the hardware we would recommend pairing with this CPU, GPU and RAM. Of course this is just a guide and you can by all means make any adjustments or choose any other hardware you wish. Our custom PC builder has built in error detection so you don’t need to worry about compatibility issues. If you wanted to get our option and some recommendations on your configuration after you’ve saved in on our website just shoot us an email with the PCID number!

  • Z390 Gaming Edition Motherboard
  • 120mm Tower Air CPU or Liquid Cooler
  • 250G/500G NVMe M.2 Primary Drive
  • A mid to high end Mid-Tower chassis with good air flow
    • eg, NZXT H500 or H700, Corsair Spec Omega or Carbide Air 540 and the Fractal Design Focus G or Meshify C
      • Avoid low airflow chassis like the MSI MAG or InWin 805C and 303
  • 750W Gold PSU
  • Windows 10 Home Edition
  • WiFi & additional hard drives if needed.

Limited Time Bonus : Get Battlefield V Free

Nvidia is also offering both Battlefield V or Anthem free with any purchase of an RTX series card from selector vendors. This offer is also included when purchasing an RTX powered custom gaming PC from our store at www.evatech.com.au. This offer is valid for a limited time only, see our site for details.

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News

Zombie Survival Royale! – Bad Blood

Battle Royale games have been all the rage since PUBG burst on to the scene and took the PC gamer world by storm. Yes there as a lot of similar open world survival games but the addition of an ever shrinking map and no respawns really set it apart. 

Now there is a ton of copy cat’s, most notably Fortnite, the up coming Call of Duty Black Ops game and even possibility a Battlefield V game mode. Any why not right? It’s hugely popular, undeniably fun and every game is going to deviate slightly to try and deliver a slightly new experience. 

Well flying under the radar of big up coming game releases, the developers of Dying Light have been working on a new free to play addition to the genre coming out in just under a month from today! The best part is, it’s not your typical Battle Royal clone.

So what is it exactly?

At the start of the round you get dropped off by a helicopter to random point on the map and that’s almost where the similarities end.

Instead of an ever shrinking playable area and only other players on the prowl, bad blood pits you against hordes or Zombies as well and makes you  scavenge the map to collect samples from hives. For every sample they collect they level up and get bonus attributes like health, speed and damage.

Once any player reaches the top level, they can call in an escape chopper. Of course in doing so you alert every player still alive to the chopper’s landing position and the round culminates in a mad dash to the chopper to escape where the last player left standing in the pickup zone after it arrives wins.

Sounds like fun right? But wait, there’s more. The game is running in the same gorgeous game engine as the previous Dying light games with a huge array of different Zombie types and weapons. Just as with the previous games in the series, there is a big focus on melee weapons and a very well polished fluid parkour system allowing the player to traverse the map quickly and efficiently ‘mirror’s edge’ style.

Weapons include grenades, molotovs, bow and arrows plus a host of blunt and bladed melee weapons, all with different attack speeds and damage ratings.

Checkout this 12 minute play through with Ian from Eurogamer at this weeks GamesCom event in Germany.

The Take Away

  • Free to Play
  • Stand alone, early access coming to Steam in September
  • 12 Player PVP + PVE (Zombies)

With so many big new releases creeping up right around the corner, is it time you retired your old rig and got yourself a new one? Checkout our 100% custom gaming PCs at our store page over at www.evatech.com.au

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News

Doom Eternal Gameplay Trailer Released.

Quakecon 2018 is underway in Texas and with it came some big announcements from the teams at Bethesda and ID Tech. As well as an extensive Rage 2 game-play trailer the keynote included an announcement that Quake Champions will be permanently free to play and of course a long awaited in-game demo of the long awaited followup to the 2016 Doom remake, Doom Eternal.

From the rather extensive trailer it looks as though the development team are sticking to the fast paced run & gun action with plenty of gore and heavy metal formula of it’s predecessor, with a few refinements and additions. This means if you were a fan of the 2016 game you’ll be in for a treat but you were hoping for a return the slower paced horror / jump scare Doom games like the 2004 release, you might be disappointed. Here is a run down of what we’ve learned so far;

  • No release date just yet but the game looks pretty far along so hopefully it makes it in time for Christmas this year.
  • Plenty of new weapons including a shotgun mounted grappling hook to latch on to and propel yourself towards enemies across the environment.
  • Multiplayer will be a bigger focus than the original and completely developed in house by the primary team.
  • The game will simultaneous release on all three major consoles (including switch) along side the lead platform PC edition where the Doom legacy started, will offer the highest fidelity graphics and of course where the obviously superior control method of mouse & keyboard is the only way to REALY play the game.

So without further a’do here’s the trailer. 

Don’t forget the season of big game releases is fast approaching! Is your gaming rig ready to take on Doom Eternal, Rage 2, Battlefield V, Call of Duty Black Ops 4, Fallout 76, Just Cause 4, Darksides III, Total War Thrones of Britannia, Hitman 2, MechWarrior 5, Escape from Tarkov and much much more? If your answer is no, maybe you should checkout our custom gaming PC range today and make you get your order in quick so we can build, test and deliver to your door before it’s too late!

Click here to visit the custom gaming PC store today.

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Guide

Customization The Best Gaming PC for August 2018.

We often get asked for advise from customers who have a rough idea of what they are trying to achieve but are just not quiet sure what the best configuration for their particular needs is.

For the purposes of this article we are going to make a few basic assumptions.

  • Primary Use : Gaming
    By far the most common and often the trickiest to determine with a lot of conflicting information floating around online.
  • Goal  : Best value for money
    Isn’t this always the goal? Well not always, a lot of our customers do like to splurge on aesthetics with bigger coolers, RGB LEDs and high end fancy chassis. Our recommendation below won’t take aesthetics in to account as it’s too subjective. That being said, you  can always use this guide as a jumping off point for the performance aspect and make a few tweaks or additions to get it exactly how you like it!
  • Availability : Right Now!
    In the world of PC hardware, something new is always around the corner and you can always find someone to tell you ‘just wait another month or two and you can get the X with the Y and it will be so much better’. Well sometimes this true but quiet often it’s a longer than expect wait for a smaller than expected jump in performance. Don’t forget to factor in the value of being able to game on your new PC for that extra time and remember, even if you wait a few weeks or months for the next big thing, it’s only a few months away from the next, next big thing and  you can’t wait for ever!

It also might be worth checking out our online custom PC builder page linked here before you jump in to the rest of the article so you can get a better idea of what we are discussing.

Getting Started; Addressing the lies.

Don’t fall for the CPU and RAM trap.

There are three main contributors to a PCs performance, the CPU, RAM and GPU (aka video or graphics card) but contrary marketing hype it’s not all about the CPU or RAM.

For almost all games, especially triple-A big budget 3D titles, the video card is the key contributing factor to in-game performance. The heart and soul of any gaming PC as long it’s not bottle-necked, responsible for rendering as many frames per second to the screen as it possibly can. The more frames per second, the better the performance and smoother than experience.

It really is that simple but quiet often the ‘gaming PCs’ you see in big box stores sitting on the shelf are configured purely for marketing purposes, designed to be sold to people who know nothing about PC hardware by shady salesmen who know equally as little or are happy to lie to your face to get their sales.

This is why you’ll commonly see an i7 CPU and a huge amount of RAM paired with some entry level or mid range video card completely unnecessarily! Why? Sadly it’s because your average mum or dad wandering in to a JB HIFI to buy their 13 year old a ‘gaming PC’ has no idea how important the video card is and how to even compare them against one another. What they do end up comparing is the CPU and RAM, a poor indicator for gaming performance but an easy mistake for the un-savvy customer to make. It seems intuitive right? i7 is better than i5 or i3 and more GB’s means faster!  Well this is completely wrong.

If you take anything away from this article to save you money on your next gaming PC purchase it should be these simple facts;

  • You should always start with the GPU and work backwards.
    Figure out what sort of performance you are looking for, choose the right video card for your needs and work backwards to make sure you choose the appropriate supporting hardware.
  • More cores doesn’t mean better gaming performance.
    Most modern game engines will only utilize 4 cores and barely touch the others. In fact a lot will only really fully utilize 2! This might change a bit in the future but not any time soon and it’s been this way for a very long time. As a result in the vast majority of games an i5 will match in i7 in performance and in some cases even the i3’s!
  • More RAM that you actually don’t need doesn’t actually do anything.
    These days, RAM comes capacities come in increments of 8GB and in all but the most demanding games, 8GB will get you by just fine. Jump up to 16GB and your totally covered, anything higher just isn’t going to make a difference for gaming.

Choosing the best video card for gaming PC and pairing it correctly.

For as critical as this step is to any gaming PC, it’s not actually that difficult. Performance and price almost scales uniformly and it’s generally a case of you get what you pay for. The only real trick is knowing what you can expect for money.

Top of the Line.
Best Gaming PC GPU for 144Hz, 4K & VR

If you really want the best of the best, as of today the GTX 1080 TI is the only way to go.  The only card considered a higher tier than this is the much more expensive Titan X which is more optimized towards professional applications over gaming and as a result even with it’s extra pipelines and on-board memory they perform almost identically in terms of gaming.

To pair with this, a high end i5 like the 8600 or 8600K with 16GB of RAM would be our recommendation but if you wan’t that extra piece of mind and it’s within your budget, an i7 would be worth concidering. Especially if you have some secondary use cases that would leverage the extra cores or if your a big fan of games like the Total War series that lean much more heavily on the CPU.

Great.
The Best Gaming PC GPU for 1080P / Max Settings

A couple of steps down from the top is the GTX1070 or GTX1070 TI. Both great cards in their price range with only very little difference in performance and price between them and each capable of running all modern games at 1080P extremely well, even at high / ultra graphics settings very well.

For CPU and RAM, a mid to entry level i5 with 16GB of RAM would be all you need, no need to worry about an i7 at this tier.

Mid-Range
The Best Gaming PC GPU for General 1080P Gaming

A lot of games, especially popular e-sports titles don’t really require much in the way of gaming PC horsepower as they try to optimize for high frame rates over rich, high detailed 3D environments. A great example of which are titles like Overwatch and Fortnite. If these are the types of games you love and you don’t really worry about needing to crank all the graphics settings up to their highest you can easily get away with a GTX 1060 3GB.

The 3GB model is a slightly cut down version of the 6GB but still plenty to get very smooth frame rates across a very wide range of popular titles and if you dial back the settings a bit you can still find a very enjoyable balance in the more demanding games too.

A high end i3 like the 8300 would be great pairing with this card and you could easily get away with only 8GB or RAM.

Entry Level
The Best Gaming PC GPU on a Tight Budget

Happy with medium pre-sets and really only play a handful of less demanding classics like Counter Strike, Team Fortress, Dota etc? The GTX 1050 packs enough of a punch to keep you very happy, but don’t expect 4K or VR levels of power! It’s great value for a lot of games but you might struggle in a more demanding title a little further down the road.

As for CPU and RAM with this one, it doesn’t really matter. Even the entry level Pentium would get the job done and anything over 8GB of RAM would be waste of money.

Should you go with SLI? (Dual Video Cards)

For those of you not familiar with the term, that means running two of the same model GPU in the same machine, setup and linked together so they work together to power your PC while you’re gaming. The upside is a lot more gaming performance assuming the game you are playing is well optimized to support it. The down side is of course the extra cost, not only in the second GPU, but the motherboard and power supply that is required to support it.

Remember, even the most optimized games don’t scale 1:1 so it’s always better to have a single higher performing card over two less powerful ones.

So the answer is yes, but only if it’s a high end card, it’s within your budget, and your happy to pay the premium involved with to get the extra performance.

Categories
Guide

Building a custom gaming PC for Fortnite @ 4K

Occasionally a game comes around that is so unanimously popular that our sales team start to get asked daily for a recommendations configuration a custom gaming PC specifically to play it.

Now Fortnite is one of those games that will run great on older hardware at 1080P but what will it take to crank out a satisfying frame rate at 4K on Epic pre-sets? This is the question A LOT of you guys have been asking so it’s one we’ll have to take the time to write this article about!

Laying out the ground rules.

The goal of this article is to not only run through how to configure a custom gaming PC to run Fortnite on ‘Epic’ quality at 4K but to explain the how and why behind our recommendation.

When it comes to cranking out high resolution frame rates by far the most important component of the system is the video card (aka GPU). This is true in almost any game so the goal is to basically to find which video card it takes to handle these settings and work backwards from there.

What do we mean when we say we work backwards from the GPU? Well it’s simple. Once we know what GPU we need, you pair that with a CPU and RAM combo that won’t bottleneck it for the best price, then a power supply that’s capable to handling this configuration, a suitable motherboard to round out the core hardware selection and lastly selecting an appropriate chassis to house and keep them well ventilated! Pretty simple right?

Targeting a Frame Rate

Before jumping straight to the list below, it’s good to know what what sort of frame rate it is that you really want to hit. If you are not quiet sure, the basic rule of thumb is that 30 is ‘playable’ but not ideal and 60+ FPS is great. Everything in between is a cost / benefit calculation you have to make when deciding how much you want to spend for every extra frame.

Every extra frame per second counts in the overall ‘feel’ of the game but at some point (and this point is different for everyone) there is a point of diminishing returns as each extra frame per second feels less and less noticeable. This might be common sense, but it’s worth bearing in mind. The closer to 30 FPS you are, the more value an extra few frames will add to the experience, the closer to 50-60fps you get, the less so.

Now we know there is big segment of gamers that prefer ultra high frame rates of high resolutions and will tell you 144Hz at 1080P is superior or 60Hz at 4K. This is not necessarily false, it’s just a personal preference.  If you’re more of a casual player and love the look and feel of the game 4K is the way to go, but if you are ultra-competitive and wan’t to go toe to toe with the pro’s then a higher frame rate might give you that slight millisecond edge you’ve been needing. The beauty of it is, once you have a gaming PC that can crank out high frame rates at 4K, you already have an awesome system for way higher frame rates at 1080P, just jump in to the settings menu and change the resolution! It’s the best of both worlds and you can try out each for yourself.

Choosing a Video Card

So enough rambling, lets jump right in to it. Below is a list of GPUs and their average frame rates.  Cards marked as OC are factory overclocked editions, no extra overclock necessary and available in all our custom gaming PCs. For the best value for money, we would recommend sticking to our Valkyrie as the other systems are more for specialized use cases with other non-gaming secondary uses or requirements.

  • GTX 1080 TI OC – 76FPS     <– ‘best performance’
  • GTX 1080 TI – 71FPS
  • GTX 1080 OC – 55FPS    <– ‘best value / performance recommendation’
  • GTX 1080 – 52FPS
  • GTX 1070 TI OC – 49FPS
  • GTX 1070 TI – 47FPS
  • GTX 1070 OC – 46FPS  <– ‘best value’
  • GTX 1070 – 44FPS
  • GTX 1060 6G OC – 36FPS
  • GTX 1060 6G – 34FPS
  • GTX 1060 3G – 31FPS    <– ‘playable but not recommended’

Note that these frame rate measurements listed above were taken from multiple play through, no two of which were identical and average outed to obtain a number that we feel accurately reflected the performance point of each card. As no two matches are alike your mileage may vary, please use this a a guide in good faith and not a guarantee.

Pairing a CPU and RAM

Once you’ve selected a video card from the list above, it’s time to pick a CPU and RAM option to make sure you get the most out of your GPU. It’s pretty straight forward and this same recommendation applies to pretty much all games out there with few exceptions.

While it might feel like you ‘need’ an i7 CPU or 64GB of RAM, you if you’ve found friends or people on online message boards telling you otherwise it’s probably people who have bought in to a bunch of marketing hype from rip off merchants like Alienware, HP Omen and the like.

  • Intel i5 8600 + 16GB RAM for the GTX1070 TI or higher.
  • Intel i5 8400 + 8GB RAM for the GTX 1060 6G OC to GTX 1070 OC
  • Intel i3 8300 + 8GB RAM for the the GTX 1060 6G and below;

Remember, unless it’s a bottleneck, the CPU and RAM don’t really add that much to performance, especially the RAM that just sits there doing nothing if it’s not being utilized! 16GB is plenty for modern gaming and that isn’t likely to change any time soon. Additionally, did you know the high end i5’s perform almost identically to the i7’s in most games? Their ‘per-core’ performance is almost identical and most games don’t utilize the additional threads in the i7’s anyway.

So next time you walk to a JB or Harvey and see the $5K gaming PC with 64GB of RAM and top of the line i7 paired with some mid range GPU, steer clear. It’s a complete rip off and will perform so much worse than an i5 with 16GB of RAM and a better GPU for half the price!

Last but not least, all the other bits..

This part is easy, the B series gaming motherboard is what you should go for the best value or if it’s within your budget and you want more room to upgrade in the future and get a little better built in audio and LAN controllers, a Z series gaming board is the way to go.

Next, it’s time for a chassis. If you went with a top of the line build and OC GPU it’s best to get something with good ventilation. This usually means an air intake grill at the front like the MasterCase HP500 Mesh or Corsair Air 540. If you wen’t with something a little more ‘cost effective’ well you can get away with a little less airflow in which case you can pretty much select any chassis from our list.

Now it’s time for storage drives. If your budget is tight a regular 1tb hard drive will get the job done although be it a tad slow to boot in to windows and load games. On the other hand an SSD drive will give you dramatically faster boot and load times (5-10x in some cases!) and the only trade of is capacity. Personally we would highly recommend and SSD. It makes the whole system feel so much more snappier and responsive overall. If a large capacity SSD is too pricey, maybe a smaller SSD primary drive for your operating system and your favorite games with a secondary regular hard drive for the overflow when you need it?

Lastly, the power supply and at this point with all the other selections already made above our custom PC builder page will give you a recommendation calculated based on your needs. The main difference between the Gold or Bronze units is just the AC to DC conversion efficiency from the wall to the PC. The gold series will save you a bit on your electricity bill and run a bit cooler as the lost power will dissipate is heat.

Of course there at a lot of other options you can choose from in our custom PC builder but we’ve covered all the ones that directly impact performance. The rest are all personal preference options and you can easily pick and choose which suit your needs best. If you do have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us any time and we will get back to you ASAP.

So what are you waiting for?

Head on over to our store page at www.evatech.com.au and get customizing! It’s so simple with built in error detection, basic ‘as-you-go’ guides and automatic performance indicators for all the latest and greatest games.

 

Categories
News

RGBs & Tempered Glass. Fad, gimmick, or awesome?

Even if you don’t know your CPUs from your GPUs or your RAM from your SSDs, you should know that flashy RGB LEDs and tempered glass won’t make your games run any faster. They sure can be pretty but when your gaming, you are looking at your monitor not your hardware right? If anything the glow of the LEDs could be a distraction and every dollar you sink in to the aesthetics is a dollar not going towards performance!

That’s how we used to think about it anyway, but it seems more and more customers are going for the premium looks over the best possible price / performance ratio and configuring rigs with aesthetics at the forefront of their mind, and who are we to judge? That’s the beauty of Evatech’s level of customisability, no mater what side of the issue you fall on you can get exactly that you want with none of the bundled in rubbish you don’t need.

If you haven’t already, checkout our custom gaming PC builder page (link here) and find out why we’re Australia’s premiere custom PC provider, with built in error detection, game performance indicators and the widest range of options to choose from selecting only top quality hardware and latest generation gear.

Categories
News

Pre-Christmas Delivery Cut Off Dates for Custom PC Orders – 2017

UPDATE : CUSTOM PC PICK UP ORDER DEADLINE EXTENDED!

Order before midnight this Sunday (17/12) and it will be ready for pick up no later than Friday (our last business day before the Christmas break!)

Our store is located at 1/382 Huntingdale Road, Oakleigh South 3167 VIC and will be open until 6PM Friday 22/12/17.

It’s that time of year again and if you were considering a brand new custom gaming PC for yourself or a loved one this Christmas, now’s the time to pull the trigger!

Our tech team are hard at work 7 days a week cranking out every order we possibly can but during peak times of year link this, the turn around time can be several days longer than usual. To guarantee pre-Christmas delivery, the sooner you get an order in the better!

So when is the delivery order cut off dates?

While the below cut of dates given are not a guarantee, they are conservative approximations made in good faith. Courier delays are rare but can occur on occasion, especially in such a business time year for deliveries. Please bare this in mind when placing your order.

  • Canberra, Gold Coast & Brisbane Metro – 05/12
  • Adelaide & Sydney Metro – 07/12
  • Melbourne Metro – 12/12
  • Perth, Darwin, and smaller metropolitan cities and towns are encouraged to place their order before the end of November. Delivery may still be possible for later orders but it’s hard to guarantee.

So I can’t order after the cut off date?

Of course you can! Just be prepared that it might not arrive before Christmas. While we make every effort to get all orders dispatched ASAP, each system is meticulously assembled by hand and rigorously burn in tested prior to dispatch.  Deliveries will continue to occur between Christmas and New Years baring public holidays.

Do you guys have any PCs in stock we can simply walk in and buy in the store?

We do but they are selling fast! Check out our home page at www.evatech.com.au to see whats available.

I don’t know anything about PCs, can you help me with a recommendation?

That’s what we are here for! Just give a call, drop in to the store or shoot us an email via the contact page on our store site here.

 

So what are you waiting for? Click here to head on over to our store page now and start shopping!

Categories
News

Customising a Gaming PC, Choosing the Right Hardware for You (June 2017)

Here at Evatech, we get asked a question in some form multiple times an hour, every single day. So much so that with a bit of quick math, it would be safe to say this is a question we answer more than 10,000 times a year and growing! So if you know anything about our focus here at Evatech or you simply just read the article title above, you can probably guess what it is.

I’m looking for a gaming PC to play X with a budget of Y, what would you recommend?

Now there is a few ways to approach this and a whole of extra questions we have to ask to really tailor something to your specific needs and this is why we take the time to actually sit down, go through the specifics and actually work with our customers to reach what is ultimately the best possible configuration for your needs.

Defining X, what are you actually planning on playing?

Most gamers just want a rig that is able to handle anything they can throw at it, something that will keep up with new releases far in to the future and leave their options open to give everything a try.  But there are always a few customers out there that are really only looking to play one or two titles, sometimes older ones that have less demanding hardware requirements or some large scale RTS or sim games that are a bit more heavily weighted towards the CPU over the GPU than more common first person shooters or action games.

Defining Y, what sort of budget are we working with?

The truly custom nature of our product here at Evatech makes it extremely flexible when it comes to fitting a specific budget if your just looking for the most gaming performance you can squeeze out of your dollar. However on the flip side, if your just looking to play CS:GO or League of Legends at 1080P and you have a budget of $5,000, that’s just complete overkill. If you really don’t expect you’ll ever use this system to play more demanding games at higher resolutions in the future, it’s going to be really hard to spend anywhere near your bull budget in a way that really gives you any practical value for money, just a whole lot of unused potential.

There probably isn’t too many businesses out there with a sales team trained to talk a customer out of spending more money they need to. Here at Evatech we wanted customers to know they are getting genuine, honest advise so there are no commissions, no bonuses, no KPIs and no sales targets to hit. You don’t need to worry about the up-sell or a shady car dealers equivalent of ‘paint protection’ and the extra warranty with so many exclusions it doesn’t actually do cover anything.

We’ve actually gone so far as to mark some products on our website as just flat out OVERKILL. Yes we offer a 1500W power supply just in case some really stubborn customer wants it just for the sake of saying they have it, but we would never actually recommend it and make that pretty clear.

The general rule of CPU/GPU/RAM balance. AKA, where the performance comes from.

For a general all round gaming PC at any budget, the secret to getting the best performance out of the system is making sure you’ve properly balanced your CPU, GPU and RAM.

In the majority of games, the video card is the single biggest contributing factor to the performance (frame rate) as long as it isn’t bottle-necked by the CPU or RAM.

Let’s start with RAM as it’s really pretty straight forward.

  • 8GB, enough for 90% of games / systems.
  • 16GB plenty with some extra to spare (future proof)
  • > 32GB overkill unless you have some specific use case like a high end game server or a particular non gaming software suite that is a real memory hog.

Now with that in mind, here is how we typically pair GPUs and CPUs.

  • Pentium or i3 with up to a GTX 1050 TI
  • Low end i5 with up to a GTX 1070
  • High end i5 or i7 with a GTX 1080 or higher.

Just to reiterate, this is a very general guideline but it’s a good place to start if you otherwise didn’t have any ideas or specific use cases beyond just gaming in general.

Compromising, it hurts but it’s ultimately a good thing.

Yes you can have a top of the line i7, 128GB of RAM, dual top end $1000+ video cards and fancy LEDs, colored cables and a tempered glass and hand brushed aluminium chassis if money is no object, but at the end of the day chances are that hard earned money could be better spent elsewhere and you could still have a killer gaming PC at half the price. That being said, we know it it’s hard when the option is right there on the screen, just a click of the mouse away but then the price jumps and all of a sudden you’ve convinced yourself you need more than you actually do and you can’t really afford it.

Don’t worry, with a bit of will power and research you’ll quickly find out that most games will run just fine on an i5, you don’t necessarily need that i7. 8GB of RAM is pretty good, 16 is plenty and 32GB, well for gaming that’s just overkill. Keeping your PC in air conditioned room? Those extra fans and giant expensive cooler probably isn’t the best allocation of your budget. Yes technically a GTX 1080 TI is going crush a GTX 1060 in benchmarks but can your monitor even display those frame rates or go beyond 1080P?

We know it’s complicated, we understand it’s a lot to take in all at once, but that’s why we are here. Just reach out, give us a call, leave us a message on Facebook or shoot us an email via our contact page and we’ll gladly walk you through every step of the way.

Leaving room for the right peripherals.

It’s one thing to have a beast of a gaming PC capable of super high resolutions and frame rates, but if you go ahead and pair that with a budget 1080P low refresh rate monitor, your just instantly bottle-necking your PCs potential.

That’s not to say you can’t have a great gaming experience at 1080P / 60Hz, but these should be paired with systems to which you didn’t just sync hundreds of extra  dollars more than you need to do just to render more 5x more frames than your monitor can output.

In summary, don’t cheap out when it comes to your monitor. Pair your PC with a display capable of displaying the resolution and frame rates your system is capable of!

Now when it comes to a mouse, keyboard and headset it’s a little more subjective. Some people swear a good high end set of peripherals add a lot to the overall experience, others are happy with a regular old budget Microsoft branded combos from Office Works. Personally we stand some where in the middle and recommend a good solid mechanical keyboard, a nice (cabled not wireless) variable DPI gaming mouse and a reasonably sized mouse mat with a good surface.

Confused, put off by all the options, tempted just to go buy an off the shelf JB Hi Fi or Harvey Norman ‘gaming’ PC instead and be done with it?

 

Don’t get fooled by the marketing pitch,  when it comes to high end gaming performance, the most important factor is the video card. An “i7” CPU with 32GB of RAM doesn’t make for a good gaming PC if it comes paired with a cheap mid to low end last-gen video card but these big box retail store con-artists know if they can say ‘i7’ and it has a lot of ‘GBs’ that they can trick the uneducated consumer in to thinking it’s actually decent value. Video cards get conveniently sidelined in the sales pitch either because they are awful old cheap garbage to maximize their profits and the sales person doesn’t really know what he or she is talking about.

Add to all this the fact that you’re probably not getting the best, most reliable power supply, storage device, motherboard, RAM or anything else that contribute to the sales pitch. It’s all sourced from the lowest bidder and if you ever dare trying to upgrade it yourself you’ll instantly void any warranty you may have had and that off the shelf part’s are not necessarily compatible.

Please, take the 5 minutes it takes to shoot through an email to let us know what it is your actually looking for and let us do all the heavy lifting. It’s really pretty simple and our sales guys are the best of the best.

Checkout our easy online customisation process with built in error correction, instant quotes, millions of possible hardware combinations and even game performance indicators!

We’ve spent a lot of time behind the scenes building what has quickly become the best, easiest to use, full featured, most powerful online PC customisers on offer from any Australian retailer (if not one of the best worldwide). We really would love you to jump in a give it a try and don’t forget we’re only a quick email or phone call away if you need some expert advise!

Check our our gaming gaming PC builder page here.