Advice on buying an OLD gaming PC/Laptop

  • Thread starter m355y
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
I'm posting this here mainly because I've just spent a while Googling this, scouring Reddit etc and am still none the wiser.

I'm in no way a PC guy - I'm not technically minded with that kind of thing, I've never had a gaming PC really. And there's the problem. I've missed out, over the years, on so many games that look incredible- Geoff Crammond's GP series, Mobil Rally Championship, F1 Challenge '99-02, that kind of era. Richard Burns Rally!! And it dawned on me that now might be the time to track down some old gaming PC in the dusty corner of a secondhand shop and start experiencing some of these - better late than never etc. A couple of years ago (during Covid) I got into all the retro consoles etc, but the PC side remains a foreign language to me.

So really I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on where to find something, what specs/operating systems/graphics cards etc would be needed for some of those games, and roughly what kind of prices these things go for in 2024? I really never expected to find it so difficult to research this!

Good resource to get started in terms of system requirements to look for. (And possible workarounds y'all might need, how I got THPS4/THUG1/THUG2 working fullscreen on a Windows 8.1 laptop)

Computerwise, you'd be looking at a Windows XP/Vista/7 machine from ~2005-2010. More specific parts to get will depend on what else you intend to play amd what those games need.
Thanks. I find this all so confusing, I'll be honest. I've looked at the system requirements for, say, a game like GP3. And then at graphics cards and the prices are all over the shop, some are a tenner and some are hundreds of pounds. Then the operating systems etc, seems XP and before for the older games but then people saying XP can't go online anymore, then I look at another game released at a similar time (Mobil Rally Championship, for instance), and it's all different. I have the ultimate respect for anyone who can make sense of it and I wish I was better researched on it all.
Hi there. I would advise against buying an old/used PC precisely because the technical stuff is overwhelming you, and if you can get a buddy that's into PC gaming that would be a helpful guide also. Since you have established your parameters (old PC games) it's time to work a budget, and maybe looking for YouTube videos of cheap builds you get into the subject.

Also, keep in mind, with a PC comes the peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse, game pad, headphones...) and the OS (just download Windows 10).