Snacky & Jack, thank you! Very good info right there. Now I just need to do some research about what sort of machine/components I should be looking for. Any recommendations? Also, I should be able to upgrade as needed with a used rig right?
First of all, if you want to do gaming, you should be planning on a discrete graphics card. Integrated graphics are pretty good these days, but not good enough. Also, SSDs have finally gotten cheap enough to supplant spinning-rust hard drives entirely, so don't bother with the latter.
Desktop computers are upgradeable, but there's a limit: I often find that by the time I decide I want (for example) more RAM or a faster CPU, sockets/standards have changed and I have to buy a new motherboard too. Things like video cards and disk drives are more flexible (new versions of PCI-E and SATA come out occasionally, but as far as I know, they're mostly backwards-compatible).
Personally, I like rooting for the underdog so I make it a point to buy AMD almost all the time. I also like AMD's business practices: Intel has a history of monopolistic collusion with OEMs and Nvidia is relatively hostile to Free Software.
However, I have to admit that at the moment, an Intel/Nvidia system wins on performance/watt and possibly performance/dollar.
I plan to build my next desktop when Zen
comes out next October. If you want a computer before then, I recommend evaluating the system requirements of whatever game you want to play and then buying the cheapest used system you can find that meets those requirements.
When you do build a system, pay attention to getting a high-quality case and power supply (look for "80 Plus" certification
), because those are the things that have the longest lifetime. Also, if you aren't planning to upgrade for a while (and as a mustachian, you shouldn't be -- the rate of obsolescence has slowed down, so a new computer should perform satisfactorily for at least five or maybe even 10 years now) then look for motherboards that list durability and/or high-quality capacitors as features.
I'm no computer expert, but I look for two things: the latest/ greatest processor (right now that's the i7) and empty RAM slots. upgrading a processor can be a hassle so I start with one that will last a long time before becoming obsolete, and adding to the RAM is the cheapest, fastest upgrade out there.
I agree that having a motherboard with 4 (or more) RAM slots is a good idea, but I have to object to buying the latest/greatest processor. The price/performance curve for computer hardware is usually exponential, so the absolute fastest processor is normally going to be a much
worse value than even the second-fastest one.