A Simple Question

Don't see a specific place for your hardware question? This is the forum for you!

Moderators: mac_h8r1, Nemesis

A Simple Question

Postposted on Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:56 pm

Why is there no metacritic.com for PC parts?

In my recent research to build a new gaming rig, I found it pretty challenging to navigate the sea of hardware choices out there. Picking the right components with the right price/performance ratio for the right budget is hard. What complicates matters further is that when you find build guides by reputable sites, their choices vary wildly. There is no consistency. Luckily, there are excellent resources like this very forum to turn to for help. Still, I feel like there is a missed opportunity for a site that keeps a constantly updated database of computer parts and assigns "meta scores" to them. For general tech, such sites exist and are extremely helpful. My favorites:

[*)http://www.thewirecutter.com
[*]http://www.gdgt.com

Is it because PC parts are so varied? The Logical Increments Guide keeps a list of recommended parts for different budget tiers and it's great. But that's a far simpler implementation of the idea. It lists the following as sources for more information:

It is strongly encouraged to visit these sites to get more in-depth info:
Anandtech - The best (Orion's opinion) hardware reviews. Objective and detailed. Active, high quality forums too.
Tomshardware - Another classic hardware review site. Great info and forums.
JonnyGuru - The best site for power supply reviews
TechPowerUp - Detailed reviews, good forums. Tends to get into more technical depth.
FrostyTech - The best site for heatsink reviews.
Bit-Tech - Another quality review site with forums.
HardOCP - Known mostly for their hardware forums, and their reviews that concentrate on what settings games are playable at.
Guru3D
SilentPCReview - If you're interested in minimizing the noise of your system, go here.
Overclockers - As the name suggests, lots of info for overclockers.
VR-Zone
HardwareCanucks
DonanimHaber


Lots of the same PC hardware components released are reviewed by a bunch of these sites. It's the perfect prerequisite for a "meta score". (By the way, don't you think that techreport.com also belongs on their list? :wink: )

What do you think? Why does this not exist yet?
automaticus
Gerbil
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:49 pm
Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:17 pm

I imagine it could be rather difficult to translate all the various review results into a meta-score. You're probably gonna have endless arguments over how to do that mapping.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37979
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:43 pm

I had the same problem picking parts for my new PC. I ended up using the Tech Report System Guide as a starting place. After that it was pretty much narrowing down my choices by reading reviews on Newegg and Amazon with the odd question posted here on the forums for some more view points.

The input I got from this forums was a big help.

To answer your question though, I suspect there are just too many options. Plus rating all those options is subject to a lot of personal preference. Just look at the bickering that goes on between the ATI/AMD and the Nvidia fan boys. Rationality does not come into it very often when one or the other out performs the other.
Khali
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 336
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:31 pm

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:16 pm

I like the idea, but it wouldn't really work in practice because review sites rarely grade products on any kind of numeric scale, they just run a bunch of benchmarks on 4-5 similar components to see if the new one is a bunch of crap or not.
NovusBogus
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:37 am

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:49 am

NovusBogus wrote:I like the idea, but it wouldn't really work in practice because review sites rarely grade products on any kind of numeric scale, they just run a bunch of benchmarks on 4-5 similar components to see if the new one is a bunch of crap or not.

just brew it! wrote:I imagine it could be rather difficult to translate all the various review results into a meta-score. You're probably gonna have endless arguments over how to do that mapping.


I can appreciate this concern, but can only answer with another question: if that were the main problem, how do metacritic.com and rottentomatoes.com solve this problem? Ok, granted, rottentomatoes.com has a very simple model. They just decide whether a movie review was positive or negative overall. It's binary. As more reviews get added, the ratio between positive/negative changes, resulting in the meta-score for a movie. I'm not sure how metacritic.com does it for all the different types of media they cover, but I'm guessing it's similar.

Granted, with PC hardware the decision of whether any particular part is good or bad is a much more subjective matter. In fact, it's a combination of laser-precise measurements like benchmarks, features and price/value. It is definitely more complex. So any site like the one I suggest would have to take all these things into consideration. I guess that's the answer right there... this sort of thing does not exist yet because the complexity required to make it happen far exceeds the effort to make it happen for other types of objects, like movies, games, etc. Doesn't change the fact that it could be an immensely useful resource.

Khali wrote:I had the same problem picking parts for my new PC. I ended up using the Tech Report System Guide as a starting place. After that it was pretty much narrowing down my choices by reading reviews on Newegg and Amazon with the odd question posted here on the forums for some more view points.

The input I got from this forums was a big help.

To answer your question though, I suspect there are just too many options. Plus rating all those options is subject to a lot of personal preference. Just look at the bickering that goes on between the ATI/AMD and the Nvidia fan boys. Rationality does not come into it very often when one or the other out performs the other.

That's exactly how I am currently doing it right here. Still not quite done and have been at it for a good ten days at this point.
automaticus
Gerbil
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:49 pm
Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:23 am

I think I spent over a month checking things out and getting feedback on this forum before I placed my order at Newegg. A couple of things I might have changed looking back, but over all I am very happy with the system now that its built and up and running.

Things I would change now are the following.

Windows 7 pro instead of Windows 8.
Faster memory.
Added in a 120/128 GB SSD for the boot drive.
Would have left out the 1 TB HDD totally. No need for it since I had put two 512 GB Samsung 830 SSD's in the build.
Added in a sound card instead of using the on-board audio. This is going to be a future upgrade.

Its probably pretty common to find a list of things you would have done different on a PC build.
Khali
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 336
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:31 pm

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:04 am

Khali wrote:I think I spent over a month checking things out and getting feedback on this forum before I placed my order at Newegg. A couple of things I might have changed looking back, but over all I am very happy with the system now that its built and up and running.

Things I would change now are the following.

Windows 7 pro instead of Windows 8.
Faster memory.
Added in a 120/128 GB SSD for the boot drive.
Would have left out the 1 TB HDD totally. No need for it since I had put two 512 GB Samsung 830 SSD's in the build.
Added in a sound card instead of using the on-board audio. This is going to be a future upgrade.

Its probably pretty common to find a list of things you would have done different on a PC build.

Why Win7 instead of 8? I'm curious.
Faster memory in what sense? Latency or clock speed? Both?
I'm doing that already. For starters, I'm only getting a 256GB SSD.
The sound card I'm still on the fence about. I feel like I may have to get one eventually. Did you research which one to get yet?
automaticus
Gerbil
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:49 pm
Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:06 am

Khali wrote:Added in a sound card instead of using the on-board audio. This is going to be a future upgrade.

In what way did you feel that the onboard was lacking? Unless you've got really good speakers/headphones and are fairly picky about audio quality the onboard of most current motherboards is pretty reasonable. The only time I bother with a discrete card any more is if I am doing analog recording thru the line in jack.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37979
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:21 am

(I wrote out a long, thoughful response, then IE crashed the tab...(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)

Video games and movies are static (with the exception of Star Wars), meaning that if you play or watch five years from now, they will be the same. They are also experienced and not necessarily rated on performance, which makes things hairier because performance is also affected by the rest of the system.
Damage wrote:Don't try to game the requirements by posting everywhere, guys, or I'll nuke you from space.

-Probably the best Damage quote ever.
superjawes
Graphmaster Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 1143
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:49 am

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:12 pm

Why Win7 instead of 8? I'm curious.


I do not like the Metro screen, had to turn that off. No start button, added in Classic Shell to fix this. My biggest complaint is nothing is located where it was in Windows 7. Microsoft changed things all around just to be changing things. Changing things around to make things simpler or add in an improvement I'm all for. But to change things just for the sake of change is just going to irritate people, like me.

Faster memory in what sense? Latency or clock speed? Both?


Both

The sound card I'm still on the fence about. I feel like I may have to get one eventually. Did you research which one to get yet?


I'm looking at the ASUS Xonar DSX 7.1

In what way did you feel that the onboard was lacking?


A friend has the Asus Xonar DSX using the same speakers I have and his sound is a lot better than mine. Sounds richer. I'm not a audiophile so I can't explain any better than that. We replicated his setting on my pc as best as we could and you can tell a difference between his system and mine. I'm not sure if its the hardware or the software his card uses but there is a definite difference between his system and mine in the same room. We even switched out his speakers for mine, thinking there might be a problem with mine, with the same result.
Khali
Gerbil XP
 
Posts: 336
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:31 pm

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:38 pm

Khali wrote:A friend has the Asus Xonar DSX using the same speakers I have and his sound is a lot better than mine. Sounds richer. I'm not a audiophile so I can't explain any better than that. We replicated his setting on my pc as best as we could and you can tell a difference between his system and mine. I'm not sure if its the hardware or the software his card uses but there is a definite difference between his system and mine in the same room. We even switched out his speakers for mine, thinking there might be a problem with mine, with the same result.

Simple: the Xonar is using an equalizer curve and/or a DSP effect. It may even be built in, IIRC the XonarDG has a profiled output curve by default, not sure about the DSX.
He who laughs last, laughs first next time.
ludi
Gerbil Elder
 
Posts: 5470
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:47 pm
Location: Sunny Colorado front range

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:55 pm

ludi wrote:Simple: the Xonar is using an equalizer curve and/or a DSP effect. It may even be built in, IIRC the XonarDG has a profiled output curve by default, not sure about the DSX.

Hmm... enabling that by default is a little dodgy if you ask me. Bordering on dishonest, if that's what they're actually doing.
(this space intentionally left blank)
just brew it!
Administrator
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 37979
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: A Simple Question

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:49 pm

Here it is:
Asus' Xonar DG and Xense sound cards (TR, 11/21/2010):

Some time has passed since these listening tests were conducted, and I've since been able to gather a some additional context that I think will help to explain the results. More often than not, the Xense had the best separation and most even sonic profile of the bunch. It tended to give each element of the track equal attention, and in back-to-back comparisons with implementations that have specific biases, I can see why we often thought the Xense sounded less exciting than its competition. As it turns out, Asus programmed a little extra excitement into the DG. The card isn't tuned to sound exactly correct, as is the case with the Xense, but to give things like percussion and vocals a little extra pop. And our listeners liked pop. I'm a total sucker for pop, too, especially since it often amplifies my favorite elements of a given song.

However, looks like the DSX isn't doing that, unless the user chose one of the EQ profiles in the control panel.
Asus' budget Xonar DGX and DSX sound cards reviewed (TR, 8/8/2012):

Whether the Xonar DGX's emphasis on mid-range tones is a perk or a detriment may depend on your personal preference. There's something to be said for the extra kick the card gives to certain frequencies, but our blind listening tests didn't reveal a clear preference among our panel members for the tweaked acoustic profile. Some folks will no doubt prefer a sound card whose playback is free from embellishment.

The Xonar DSX doesn't pull any pre-programmed tricks, and it sounds more neutral as a result. Our listeners found the card's bass kick particularly compelling, but in some cases the thump overshadowed other elements. Overall, the DSX's output was the closest match for the pricier DX.
He who laughs last, laughs first next time.
ludi
Gerbil Elder
 
Posts: 5470
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:47 pm
Location: Sunny Colorado front range


Return to General Hardware

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests