Alright MMO-Champion, I thought I'd ask for some help here, as I really have no clue as to what I'm doing around computers.
I've just started my senior year in high school, and I'm getting set and ready to head off to the University of Arizona next year, but in the meantime I've decided to take a plunge and upgrade my piece of crap computer.
Current Specs: (I'm reading these from my System Profiler so if I don't know what I'm talking about please correct me)
It's a Macbook from either 06 or 07, not sure.
Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
Graphics Card: Intel GMA X3100
Memory?: 2, 1G 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM Not really sure if that's right so help me out.
Operating System: Mac Os X 10.5.8
I've looked at the "Help Requests" post that explains what components to include, but I either don't know what they are, or can't find anything comparable within my system profiler. Also, is there anything that I can do in the meantime to make my gaming experience a little better? I've heard overclocking mentioned, but from what I can discern that's got something to do with making your computer work faster but run hotter? Is this something I can do? Is it viable? What about cleaning out the hard drive? Does that improve performance?
~Anyways, I'm looking to upgrade from this MacBook. Right now I can quest/10 man raid with reasonable frame rates (5-15), but 25 mans and intense moments in the day in dalaran slow it to a crawl. I've also recently picked up SC2, but I'm doubting my investment because I've increasingly run into situations where I lose matches due to my computer not being able to handle the game on absolute bottom settings. I do realize this computer was probably not built with gaming in mind in any sense, and according to SC my graphics card isn't supported either, but I think I could do a bit better with more than 10 fps in basic battles and certainly more than 2 fps in much larger battles.
So, without further ado, I've got a lot of questions/points.
1. I'd like to buy a computer to be able to run my computer games (WoW/SC2) on more than the most basic settings, with more acceptable frame-rates (25-45), but there's a multitude of options available to me, and I don't really know where to turn.
2. I'm on a budget, I'm a student, with a minimum wage job with lots of upcoming student loans to pay off and lots of college expenses, so like everyone else out there, I'd like to get my money's worth. I'm thinking a budget of around $1200-1400. Just spending a brief couple minutes looking over this forum implies that building your own computer can tailor it more to your needs and be cheaper than buying a pre-made unit. So, what can you guys tell me about this? I really don't know much right now, but I consider myself a quick learner, and if it means I can save a few bucks and learn a bunch, I'd love to build my own. Are there guides to this? Guides better than others? Should I really just do myself a favor and buy a pre-made unit?
3. I really don't know my way around computers, but the jump from Mac to WIndows scares me. Am I really any more vulnerable to viruses/key-loggers? How about windows 7 vs vista? Any other tips? Can you build your own Mac also? Or can you just build a PC and put any operating system on it?
4. Many people these days have lots of doodads and additional options with their computer. How do you: Use multiple monitors? Hook up a computer to a Tv? What about monitors that allow you to switch inputs and watch TV that way? Etc.
Thanks for slogging your way through that wall of text, and any info that I get will be appreciated.
Tl;Dr I'm a complete computer n00b, but I'm afraid that if I buy a pre built computer that it will cost too much and be out-dated/ill-suited for my needs very quickly. Halp!