What Is The Best Game Dev Desktop Computer Build?

18 posts (showing 1-18)

Market Level 4Community Level 7
1157 posts

Howdy all!

I recently decided that it's time to upgrade my desktop computer and would like it to be a quality upgrade that will be ideal for Flash game development for the next 5 years or so. To that end, I was hoping to get some feedback from ya'll about what I kind of hardware I should look into getting.

I currently have a large case (technically a server case, I think) that I like with plenty of cooling and a Power Supply that should be good for whatever I build. So at the moment I'm mainly looking at upgrading the mobo, CPU, Graphics card, and whatever RAM is needed to max it out.

Budget isn't much of a concern for this one, but I'd prefer to keep it simple (nothing uber technical or time consuming to setup/troubleshoot) and it definitely needs to be reliable (nothing in Beta or with lots of questionable negative reviews).

So, what do you think? If you were building your dream game dev system, is there anything specific that'd be a must have? Is there any particular feature I should focus on for minimizing compile times and maximizing multi-tasking capabilities?

Any feedback is appreciated!

posted 2013-09-05T21:52:32-07:00

Market Level 6Community Level 6
466 posts

I suggest the "Master of Two Worlds" setup. If budget isn't much of a concern, get this:
- a Mac Pro with a 27" screen.

- a desktop with at least a quadcore processor and the biggest RAM you can get. Again, attach a 27" screen to it.

- a comfortable mouse and keyboard. Connect them to the desktop, then install software like Synergy on both. This software transfers keystrokes and mouse movements through your internet connection. As a result, you control both computers with a single mouse and keyboard.

- high speed, reliable internet connection.

- a crappy monitor and crappy desktop. Again connect through Synergy. Use this to simulate your game on an old system. Some of your users won't have your high tech system. Do your Skyping and browsing on the crappy computer. It doesn't get in the way, and will keep you productive.

- a replaceable photo-holder to showcase your dog, girlfriend or other family members. Replaceable in case they die or leave you.

- a whiteboard and some markers. Use when needed.

- a comfortable chair and paper container

- an emergency mattress. Trust me, some of the greatest programmers I know have one. Ignore if you work from your bedroom.

You might have noticed I didn't quit after the tech. The other stuff is just as important to keep you productive.

But really, get raw processing power, at least two big monitors and comfortable tools.

PS don't upgrade, just replace. Your system is as strong as the weakest link.

posted 2013-09-05T22:30:30-07:00 | edited 2013-09-05T22:31:18-07:00

Market Level 4Community Level 7
971 posts

Spend your money on a decent chair, screen and cloud storage.  Spend less, but more frequently, on replacing the machine at the center of it.  Never worry about RAM or Cores, just do basic research and buy current, ideally clones (i.e. Samsung).

Typically, over the course of a year, having a "spare of everything" will save you more time than a machine that is "twice as fast".


posted 2013-09-06T00:03:43-07:00

Market Level 3Community Level 11
2401 posts

An SSD is a must-have, for performance. Doesn't matter what sort, although you can look at the different warranty lengths that different companies offer to get a good idea which ones are the most reliable (and I would recommend choosing reliablity over speed). Intel is a good pick.

Make sure the motherboard has sata 6 gb/s so that the ssd doesn't get bottlenecked by it.

A 16:10 aspect ratio monitor is another must-have if you're doing coding of any sort you need that extra height. Ideally a 30" 2560x1600, with a smaller monitor beside it.

I personally prefer to get a build that's as silent as possible too, and with self-build that's definitely doable.

Then some sort of backup solution.. and a really good keyboard (absolutely love the wired apple one I have, really fast to type on a chiclet style keyboard and the aluminium build prevents it from flexing under heavy use).

As for what else you need it depends on if you're doing art/animation as well... in which case a cintiq is good.. I have one and have gotten great use out of it, but am looking for a tablet to replace it so I can get away from the desk a bit more often... waiting for the Sony Tap 11 to come out, since it was used as the reference tablet by Adobe when creating photoshop touch.

posted 2013-09-06T19:52:38-07:00 | edited 2013-09-06T19:55:35-07:00

Market Level 7Community Level 17
4715 posts

Don't get a Macintosh what ever you do.

I suggest just buy all the parts online so you dont have to pay taxes.

Get a nice motherboard like an ASUS or gigabyte. 

Get an SSD, cannot live without those. (intel) I have had other brands fail.

Buy 3 LCDs 23 inches or bigger.

posted 2013-09-11T16:59:53-07:00

Market Level 5Community Level 5
715 posts
Boîtier PC Fractal Design Define R4 Arctic White - Boîtier Moyen Tour Blanc (sans alimentation)          
Carte mère MSI Z87-G43 GAMING - Carte mère ATX Socket 1150 Intel Z87 Express - SATA 6Gb/s - USB 3.0 - 1x PCI-Express 3.0 16x + 1x PCI-Express 2.0 16x          
Processeur Intel Core i7-4770K (3.5 GHz) - Processeur Quad Core Socket 1150 Cache L3 8 Mo Intel HD Graphics 4600 0.022 micron (version boîte - garantie Intel 3 ans)          
Mémoire PC Corsair Dominator Platinum 16 Go (2 x 8 Go) DDR3 1866 MHz CL10 - Kit Dual Channel RAM DDR3 PC3-14900 - CMD16GX3M2A1866C10 (garantie à vie par Corsair)          
Carte graphique MSI GeForce GTX 760 Twin Frozr GAMING 4GB - 4096 Mo Dual DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort - PCI Express (NVIDIA GeForce avec CUDA GTX 760)          
Enceintes JBL Jembe Blanc - Système 2.0          
Système d'exploitation Microsoft Windows 7 Professionnel SP1 OEM 64 bits (français)          
Alimentation Corsair Gaming Series GS800 2013 Edition 80PLUS Bronze - Alimentation 800W ATX 12V 2.3 (Garantie 3 ans par Corsair) - 80PLUS Bronze          
Clavier/Souris en Pack Logitech Wireless Desktop MK270 - Ensemble sans fil souris + clavier (AZERTY Français)          
Disque dur SSD Samsung SSD 840 PRO 256 Go - SSD 256 Go 2.5" 7 mm MLC Serial ATA 6Gb/s          
Moniteur LCD ASUS 23" LED - VX238H-W Blanc - 1920 x 1080 pixels - 1 ms (gris à gris) - Format large 16/9 - 2x HDMI (garantie constructeur 3 ans)          

Here is the config I just buyed. It's a little expensive but it will be OK for at least 3 years!!!

posted 2013-09-11T17:37:28-07:00

Market Level 7Community Level 17
4715 posts

I like my ASUS 23inch monitors, i have 3 of them on this computer and a dell monitor also.  The dell one just broke but the ASUS ones still punch strung.  Im not sure about the fancy white plastic, i got the black ones. 

The setup above is nice,

I suggest though getting the BOSE 2.0 companions.  They are amazing and still small enough to pack up and go somewhere with. 

posted 2013-09-25T07:29:56-07:00

Market Level 0Community Level 2
102 posts

If you are iffy on SSD reliability the Western Digital Velociraptor 10,000 RPM drive is a great performing 1TB hard drive. I've been running a pair of these since January and they are very fast. There are lot's of reviews online as well so you can get some benchmarks.

posted 2013-09-30T19:42:20-07:00

Market Level 6Community Level 6
710 posts

Hey there! I will just jump in here and ask what you think about this laptop:


Text is on Serbian but all parts are on English and in bold font so there should be no problems checking it out.

He cost about $2400. I know I could get Desktop PC strong as this one for less money but I really want to buy laptop. Also I would add SSD hard to this configuration.. So it would be $200 more I guess.

What I need is very fast computer for work and I also want it to be able to run every game very smoothly. 

posted 2013-12-03T15:56:12-08:00

Market Level 7Community Level 17
4715 posts

My buddy has that same computer.  It is very nice but it is huge!  If you want to travel the world and build games i suggest it.  But if you want something to go to business meetings make sure you go to a coffee shop with extra tables.

posted 2013-12-04T17:15:20-08:00

Market Level 6Community Level 6
710 posts

Yea that's the idea :)

I actually like that it has 17.3" monitor. I am not really feeling comfortable going from a PC with 21.5" to a laptop with 15.6". 

posted 2013-12-04T17:25:08-08:00

Market Level 7Community Level 17
4715 posts

yah well i cannot really work on anything with less than 3 screens.

posted 2013-12-04T17:36:32-08:00

Market Level 4Community Level 7
971 posts

I don't like it, been there done that, regretted it.  May I suggest an alternative "3 year" strategy:  buy 2 off-the-shelf $1,200 laptops at 18 month intervals over the next 3 years.  The median performance will be higher than the single super $2,400 laptop (the same beast that can be lost, dropped, infected. stolen or cause you shoulder ache).  Plus cashflow remains positive during the capital depreciation period, and you have a spare machine for the second half.  Win win win.

As for screen size - 17.3" is still too small - it only looks "big" in comparison to other too-small screens.  Any serious work / game shift needs a separate monitor, keyboard, mouse - so why bulk up?

Anyway, just thought I'd give you an alternative to a "yes".  Whatever you do, make it work for you :)


posted 2013-12-04T17:49:18-08:00

Market Level 6Community Level 6
710 posts

I don't like buying used technique. I never know what will I got and how long until it will stop working. :p (if expression off-the-shelf mean that. if not, sorry for my English :D). 

Well yea I would still use my monitor,keyboard and mouse at home. But I want it to be big enough so when I travel somewhere I can still work with it without monitor. 

I was checking this one out as well. But it has slower processor and a lot less powerful graphic card:


Yea this one is even bigger lol :) 18.4". IT cost about $1300

posted 2013-12-04T18:44:51-08:00

Market Level 6Community Level 11
1045 posts

Why do you guys spend time trying to assemble parts? Just buy an all-in-one with customer care and be done with it :)

posted 2013-12-04T19:03:10-08:00

Market Level 4Community Level 7
971 posts

@EntertainmentForge, sorry for my colloquialism.  "Off-the-shelf" meaning purchase a brand new, ready made, demonstable, touch it and feel it, known brand model from a big box store (or online).  Acer, Apple, Samsung, Sony for example.

I have found for laptops that touch, feel and build quality (i.e. heat distribution and tensile strength) are more productive qualities than an extra 33% in raw component performance.


posted 2013-12-04T19:23:41-08:00

Market Level 6Community Level 6
710 posts

Thanks for explaining b10b :)

posted 2013-12-04T19:27:10-08:00

Market Level 2Community Level 5
370 posts

On Dec 04, 2013, jjwallace said:

yah well i cannot really work on anything with less than 3 screens.

I am less spoiled then you 2xLG 24EN43V-B: 24" here.
More is always better! :D

posted 2015-03-23T11:42:28-07:00