PC/Laptop for Poker

Posted 5 years agoEdited 5 years ago

If you're looking for a new PC or Laptop for poker (or you want to upgrade your current machine) this is the thread for you! I was always interested in everything computer-related and I'm somewhat experienced when it comes to building PC's. I feel competent enough to give advice on the subject so if you're looking for one let me know.

Please provide me with some basic info:
1) What's your budget? This is very important. You can always build "something better" so it's important to decide on a budget first. It's cool to give a range (400-500£. 800-1000£ etc.) but you have to decide on something.
2) What will you be using your PC for? Poker, gaming (if so what kind of games will you play), software/game development, music production etc.
3) If it's mostly for poker provide me with some details about your poker sessions. Playing 2 speed tables without a HUD requires very different processing power than playing 24 tables on 3 monitors with holdem manager, table ninja and note caddy running.
4) Do you need a monitor, operating system, mouse, keyboard?
5) Where do you live? Prices can differ depending on your country of residence. Also, if you want to buy in specific shop please provide me with a link to their website (thou I'd advise being flexible because some shops have limited stock/high prices etc.)

I'm not super familiar with UK shops, but with https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/ it's not a problem. If you have any computer related questions don't hesitate to ask!

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Posted 5 years ago*
Hi man thank you for this opportunity, well here is my question, I'm a bit familiar with hardware and pc building in general, just need some advice with a new build I want to make so here are the specs, my budget is around 1000 -1100 eur so we can be a bit flexible on that, just need the tower not the displays, I will use the pc mainly for poker, I play 6 to 9 tables with PT4 with a database of something around 30 to 60 gb with tons of custom stats, I won't use any other sophisticated software, and will only use two 1080p monitors so any advice would be very helpful having in mind I'm going to invest some decent money on it. Thanks in advance. Here are the specs: Attached Image

PS. The only thing I would like to consider is the noise levels since my pc will be hanging in my desk I would like the noise levels to be minimum.
Posted 5 years ago*
First of all I'd like to commend you on most of your choices. It's clear that you have solid knowledge on the subject. That said there are some changes you could make that I highly recommend:

CPU Cooler: All in one liquid coolers are somewhat inefficient and often quite loud. If you're not going to overclock your CPU (and given the fact that it's clocked at a massive 4.0 GHz out of the box there's really no need especially for poker) you can get away with cheaper and much quieter air cooler. My recommendations:
1. be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim
2. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
3. Thermalright Macho 140
I'd go for the first one if you're not planning on overclocking (thou it should handle slight overclock) and for the last one if you really want to overclock your CPU.

Case: You can find better silent optimized options.
1. Fractal Design Define R5
2. NZXT H440
I'm using the first one and at idle it's dead silent. H440 is pretty comparable so it's mostly a matter of taste. Pick one that looks better to you. Oh and you can get a version of Define R5 without the window if you're not into that sort of stuff.

RAM: You can get away with 8GB, but 16GB kit fits in your budget.

CPU: Probably the best choice in your budget. I'd say that you don't need a 'k' part for poker ('k' at the end of intel CPU's means that you can overclock this part) but 'non-k' version of this part is clocked 400mhz lower so you might as well go for 'k' since it fits in your budget.

Motherboard: You have a bunch of options here. Again you can find something cheaper but Z97 chipset has a lot of features and it allows you to overclock your chip in the future. Besides Asus is probably the most reliable motherboard maker (thou they all are pretty reliable nowadays) and this particular board looks good.

SSD: One of the best consumer SSD's. Your database will love it:) Previous version had some problems with performance degradation over time, but I wouldn't worry since 850 EVO uses different NAND and controller.

Power Supply: Seasonic is regarded as very reliable so I don't see any point in changing it. You could get away with less powerful unit, but 550W will allow you to add some midrange graphics card to your PC in the future if you decide you want to do some gaming:)

TLDR version:
Swap loud inefficient liquid cooler for quiet and cheaper air cooler. Use that money to upgrade to better silent optimized case. Voila:)
Posted 5 years ago
Hey! I like the idea of this thread!

Maybe you can give me some advice as well.

ATM I'm running this Samsung laptop.. (pity donations are in order Laugh )

Attached Image

As you can guess, RAM usage is coming close to 100% in longer sessions, so I'm considering getting a new machine.

1) I'd like price to be as low as possible - getting the maximum muscles for lowest dollar. I'd probably prefer a Laptop, but can consider PC as well if there are big differences.. I don't expect getting anything under 500 eur.
2) I don't do gaming, so I need a machine exclusively for Poker.
3) I use extra monitor, have open up to 8-10 regular tables, up to 8h sessions. I use HM2 / some small convertors / 2 poker rooms. BUT I plan to get full pack of Note Caddy edge Ultimate in next few months (my current system wouldn't take it, am I right?)
4) I have 10 years old monitor, so I'll need an upgrade on that as well. Mouse - yes. Keyboard - yes, if go for PC, operating system - no (I can get any microsoft product for free next 2 month, until I officially drop out from Uni).

Thanks in advance!
Posted 5 years ago
@MilfGrinder I can work with that, but I'd like to ask you some more questions to give you the best advice possible.
1) Please decide on Laptop vs. PC. And to help you out with that, unless portability is absolutely crucial I highly recommend going PC. Especially because you'll be relying on external monitors anyway. At the same price you'll get >50% more processing power and much more reliable machine. Laptops, even good ones are notorious for overheating since it's hard to design efficient cooling solution confined in such a small space. And since you're playing long session and you'll need decent level of processing power with two poker rooms, HM and Note Cady I'd imagine that you don't want to hear small laptop fan going crazy for 8 hours:)
2) Read the point number 5 on the list that I added to my first post. Where do you live? Maybe you have a specific shop in mind (if so please link to their website).
3) Is 500 euro your max budget? Can I go over. If so by how much?

Answer those questions and I'll cook something delicious for you:)
Posted 5 years ago
1) OK then, PC it is!
2) I live in Latvia. Market is small and overpriced. I expect I'll have to ship in components from outside. (No added taxes from inside EU, but I have no idea about the warranty).
3) 500 eur is not maximum. I mean, I have the funds, but each eur will be coming out of my Poker BR. But this will be a good long term investment, right? And with PC, I'll have to buy a monitor as well (at least 1 atm lol), so probably 1k eur would be the max for all together. But I'd be very happy to keep the number as low as possible, since my poker BR is just ~4k.
Posted 5 years ago
Ok, that's almost all I need. I'm not really sure what's the optimal way of acquiring computer parts when you live in Latvia so I'll leave that choice/research to you. I'll focus on creating the best build possible to suit your needs. One last thing. Do you feel confident building a PC? Or maybe you have a friend that can do that for your for a beer or something like that:)? Some shops will do that for you but in some of them you can only order separate parts. And yeah I'd research warranty too. Most computer parts have really low failure rates nowadays but well... just like with 2 outers on the river - unlikely stuff sometimes happens and there's really small chance you can order faulty motherboard, power supply or laptop (if you went that route).
Posted 5 years ago
I've studied IT for a while so I'm not a newbie, but I'll get some pro IT friend or just let some shop get everything together for some 20 eur just to make sure everything's perfect. Smile
Posted 5 years ago*
Ok here's what I'd recommend:

PCPartPicker part list: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/KdnT7P
Price breakdown by merchant: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/KdnT7P/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor (£143.99 @ Novatech)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£25.98 @ Novatech)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B85M-DS3H Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard (£53.52 @ CCL Computers)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£46.99 @ CCL Computers)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (£81.47 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£42.65 @ Amazon UK)
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case (£58.99 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: be quiet! 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply (£47.39 @ Aria PC)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN781ND 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter (£7.54 @ CCL Computers)
Monitor: LG 22MP55HQ-P 60Hz 22.0" Monitor (£104.42 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £612.94 + about E15-20 for mouse and keyboard.

I used British PC part picker. £612.94 translates to around E827.17. If you want to spend less you can do a couple of things. You can remove one of the storage drives. Samsung 850 EVO is not necessary but solid state drives are great for poker because they have really amazing read and write speeds and you write a lot of small files on your disk when you're using Holdem Manager. Also, if you think 250gb is enough, you can remove HDD. Another thing you can change is the case. If you don't care about silence optimized enclosure you can go for something like Zalman TM-T4. Removing SSD and changing the case should bring down the price to around E700. If that's still too much let me know and we'll think of something.

Posted 5 years ago
Hey! Thanks for suggestions! I found almost everything in one of the biggest and most reputable e-shops close to where I live and everything has warranty. + They offer building it for free as a gift, so that's very cool. I couldn't find exact memory / power supply / WNA, so you could take a look on what they offer. The site is Latvian / Russian, but it should be easy to understand everything whats necessary.

CPU: http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/procesori/intel_core_i54460_32ghz_6mb_lga1150_bx80646i54460sr1qk 194 eur
CPU Cooler: http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/coolers/cooler_master_hyper_212_evo_universal_cooler_rr212e16pkr1 34 eur
Motherboard: http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/pamatplates/gigabyte_gab85md3h 66 eur

Memory: http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/ram_flash_atminas/crucial_8gb_ddr3_pc312800_cl11_ct102464ba160b 56 eur
(this differs from suggestion, you can take a look what they offer here: http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/ram_flash_atminas)

Storage: http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/cietie_diski_ssd/samsung_ssd_850_evo_250gb_sata_iii_mz75e250beu_ 120 eur
Storage :http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/cietie_diski_hdd/western_digital_caviar_blue 57 eur
Case: http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/datoru_korpusi/fractal_design_define_mini_fdcadefminibl 95 eur
Power supply: http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/barosanas_bloki | couldn't find what you suggested, can you suggest one of these?
Wireless Network adapter: http://www.1a.lv/datoru_komponentes/tikla_kartes | Same
Monitor comes for 110 EUR
~800 EUR, which I'm fine with.

I can probably get this set up going in a week! Smile
Posted 5 years ago*
Sure thing!

RAM: Crucial Ballistix 8GB

Powe Supply:Corsair CS450M - This shop seems to be well-stocked, but there's not that much choice when it comes to power supplies. Oh well. Corsair CS450M is a solid option. Your computer will draw around 180-200W of power from the wall at full load so 450W is more than you need (thou it's good to have that 200W-250W buffer for optional future upgrades/efficiency's sake). It could even handle adding some midrange graphics card into your system but you're not interested in gaming so I guess that's not important:)

Case: Define Mini is quite expensive in your shop. Because of that I'd either go with full-sized version of that case: Define R4 or better yet this small, cheaper but also silence optimized case: Cooler Master Silencio 352. With no dedicated graphics card in your system (you'll only use graphics core integrated with i5 4460 processor which is enough for multi-monitor set-up and even some light gaming) you don't need the tank of a case that Define R4 is so I'd suggest Cooler Master Silencio.

Wireless Network Adapter: I'm not sure, but I think that you linked to wired network adapters? If that's the case then you don't need one since you have an adequate port on your motherboard. And as for the wireless adapters you can grab one of those two: TP-Link 722n or TP-Link WN851

Let me know if I missed something.
Posted 5 years ago*
Aaaaand it's done! Ordered and can pick it up on Thursday. Smile Thank you very much!

This is how my order looks: To my standards it looks like a monster PC! (I think this is my most expensive single purchase ever lol)
Attached Image
Posted 5 years ago
I'm sure you'll love it. If you never used SSD before you're gonna be amazed at how fast and smooth everything works. Just remember to install windows and all of the frequently used programs(including poker room, Holdem Manager etc.) on it and keep the rest of the data on your HDD.

Here's relatively easy to understand guide on how to properly configure a system with both SSD and HDD:

Posted 5 years ago
Hey buddy you probably hate people like me as I have a 'mainstream' computer but just wondering if my machine is capable of running a second monitor and what I would need?? Here is what I have.......

Posted 5 years ago*
@jef147 I don't hate many things. Hate actually requires effort and I don't see a good reason to spend this precious, finite resource on such a destructive feeling. That being said, yes I'm not a fan od laptops and all-in-one PC-s, but only because you can build much more powerful, reliable PC for the same or lower price. However sometimes you don't need power, you need portability and because of that I used to own many laptops. Buying laptop/all-in-one can be perfectly reasonable. It really depends on what you need.

Ok, back to the point. I had to research your machine because from the link you posted it wasn't obvious if It has some ports that you can plug an additional monitor into. According to THIS you have one HDMI port located on the lower left side of your monitor? It should look kinda like THIS. Can you please confirm that for me?
Posted 5 years ago
Yes mate it does have an hdmi port!
Posted 5 years ago
Sweet! The graphics card in your PC can handle two monitors. Just remember to pick up a monitor that also has HDMI port on it. If you need help choosing a monitor I already recommended solid and cheap option in this thread: LG 22MP55HQ-P. If you don't like it for some reason let me know and we'll think of something else.
Posted 5 years ago
Nice thread, love the idea.

One thing I may upgrade on is an SSD but I cant really be bothered re-installing windows. Is adding 8 more GB ram as easy as just slotting them in?
Posted 5 years ago
Got a mate of mine setting me up with a new box right now. I don't do much on it besides play poker and then standard stuff like store music, photos, movies etc....Not a gamer at all.

My old PC had 160GB which I completely filled and he installed a second 1TB HDD.

Can that be transferred in to the new PC?

His description of the new PC is: 8 gig RAM, core i5 processor, 250 gig SSD.... don't really understand SSD though. Will that be enough to handle everything I used to have or will I need the 1TB HDD installed also?
Posted 5 years ago
Technically yes. RAM is the easiest thing to install in a PC (unless your CPU cooler blocks the RAM slots on your motherboard then it becomes much more problematic). The only thing to keep in mind is that depending on how many RAM slots you already populated in your motherboard you might want to put another RAM module in a specific slot. Most motherboards will have color coded RAM slots like in THIS example. Basic rule of thumb is that in example provided above you want to populate "blue" (in your case it might be different color) slots first before you start putting any RAM modules in "black" slots but it's best to consult your manual on this:)

Also, although theoretically you can buy another RAM module, stick it into your motherboard alongside any module(s) that you already had there and it will probably work it's best to pair modules with the same capacity (2GB, 4GB, 8GB etc.), frequency (1333Mhz, 1600Mhz, 2400Mhz etc.) and CAS latency (CL9, CL11, CL16 etc.). If you know the specification of your current RAM module picking up another with the same "stats" won't be a problem but buying random one might not work out so great.

Last and most important thing. RAM upgrade does almost nothing for your system unless you really need one. For casual user... well you might be able to open a lot more tabs in your browser before your computer starts complaining but that's about it. Your PC won't get any faster. To check if your system needs a RAM upgrade next time you play your poker session press Alt + Ctrl + Delete (just once though!) -> go to your Task Manager -> click the "performance" tab and see how much RAM your system is using. If you, for example, have 4GB of RAM installed in your system and during your session PC is using 3.2-3.5GB or more then sure picking up another 4GB stick might not be such a bad idea. If it's using like 2.5GB picking up another stick will do almost nothing for you.

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