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Poker Mental Game & Planning

Guide to PC Hardware for Poker

4,976 Views on 1/9/15

If you're in the market for a new computer, check out our guide on PC hardware for playing poker online.

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PokerVIPBadgeI’m writing this article to help poker players all over the world get a better understanding of the do's and don't of PC hardware for online poker.

Having just graduated from Computer Science University, and having a PC since I was two years old, I’ve been through all the components in the world and I know what is what and can give a lot of advice on what you should be getting as an upgrade for your PC. Let’s talk about components and what you should be getting for a decent PC.

Before I start – Let’s get one thing straight. The graphics card on a computer has absolutely nothing to do with the speed of your computer when you’re playing poker. It barely uses it. Buying a new and cheap graphics card is the best for this. Don’t rely only on your CPU graphics card, it will take some punch out of it, the CPU should be reserved for other things.

The best bang for the buck graphics card in the cheap range is the Nvidia GeForce 730 that you can get for 50$ on Amazon, and I fully recommend that for poker. If you want to multi-monitor though, get one that’s a little bit better, like the AMD Radeon R7 250X.

Will you be using a HUD?

HEM2I  would thoroughly recommend it, using tracking software that comes with a HUD is imperative nowadays for online poker. But some players just want to go on reads, take notes and examine players from other points of view, don’t multi-table that much and focus on just a few, but think more about the situations presented to them and make, presumably, better decisions.

Another thing to consider, if you have a weak PC and don’t want to upgrade, are websites that offer HUD-free tables, where other players can’t use them and you’re on the same level with them information-wise. A good example of a site like this is Unibet.

If you want to play more tables, you’re going to need a little bit more RAM memory and a better CPU. Think a little bit about it, even if you do not want to play many tables now, you might want to play more in the future, you might want to use a HUD. So why change your computer again? Get one now and be prepared for the future!
I’m not talking about buying a state-of-the-art PC, I’m just talking about putting a little more buck into your system to get a little more power, so that you always have enough.

CPU

There’s two ways to go when buying a new computer, and that’s AMD and Intel. I’d recommend the 2nd option usually because their CPU’s are usually a better bang for the buck and last longer, but each to his own. If you’ve had AMD before you’ll probably stick to that, so I’m going to give you CPU’s from both brands that fit a certain profile.

Cards4 tables and nothing else – Any PC that can run Windows 7 is good for the job. Poker clients are thoroughly optimized so they won’t take that many resources for a limited number of tables.

4 tables and Holdem Manager 2/PokerTracker 4 - Here you have to think about the tracking software that takes a little bit of resources. Before buying a new PC, try out a trial of PT4, because it hogs up less resources than HM2. If your computer is still slow, get new parts. Also, if you decide to buy some hands to import into the database later, or get them from a friend, you will need a lot more RAM because the software always preloads the database, and a better CPU, so have that in mind.

The Intel Version: Pentium G3258 - This beast of a dual core CPU is the Anniversary Edition, and is highly overclockable – I’ve seen some cool stuff done with it. Prices revolve around the 65$ mark, and this beast of a CPU will get you as far as you want poker-wise. It is basically enough for 12 to 16 tabling, but I’d go a little bit higher for that table setup, you really want to have enough when it comes to computer resources
At this price range the Intel is unparalleled, I’d suggest even if you’re an AMD fan, let go and go for the G3258. You’ll thank me later. But if you’re stubborn, go for the AMD X4 740 Trinity Quad Core CPU. Really close in performance to the G3258 and 70$.

multitabing12-16 tables and Holdem Manager 2 - This is where we roll out more powerful CPU’s so that we can have enough not to make our PC crash/get stuck when massively multi-tasking.

The Intel Version: I3 4370 is a very good bang for the buck CPU and it will be everything that you will ever need poker-wise in the next decade. It’s actually on sale in most shops right now and it goes for around 140$.

The AMD Version: Here is where I recommend the AMD in this price range, because the 8350 is just a BEAST of a CPU and is majorly overclockable, but you never need to because the 8 cores at 4.2 Ghz will be more than enough in anything that you might ever need. Right now it’s only 166$ on Amazon and it’s the best price/performance CPU on the market these days. It’s performance is rivaled with top price-range Intel contenders and all-around this is a LAG destroyer! I recommend it fully!

Got more money to put into your PC to make it future-proof?

trophyIntel - I recommend the I7 4790k Devil Canyon CPU because it’s the best out there, and it’s the same performance with newer tech Skylake CPU’s, that are still almost in the prototype state and have a long way to go. Think about the 4790K as the best of it’s generation, while the new Skylake CPU’s are the first of their kind, still unpolished.

AMD - The 8350 still tops this list, having similar performances to the 8370. It’s enough and I still think getting a I7 is overkill, but each to their own.

As for the RAM part, be sure to have at least 4 GB of RAM at good speeds (for DDR3 which is the current technology. Don’t invest in DDR4 because it’s still in it’s beginning stages.) 1866 Mhz is a good speed, and higher is even better. I’d recommend 8 GB though, to have a little spare.

In the next article I’m going to discuss how to thoroughly protect your computer from hackers! Stay tuned!

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