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What are the Best Online Poker Computers?[ return to main articles page ]

By: Dan Cypra    [See all articles by Dan Cypra]
Published on Mar 20th, 2012
In a thread from earlier this year we found interesting, posters on PocketFives bantered back and forth about the best PCs to use for online poker. How much memory do you need? How much processing power do you need? What if you're on a budget? With computers coming in a limitless number of shapes and sizes, finding the ideal one for your online poker experience can be quite daunting. To help you out, let's take a look at what a few PocketFives members believe are the best poker PCs.

One of the first responders in the thread gave his advice when it comes to owning a top-tier poker PC: "Main issue you would need to be concerned with is having a fast processor speed and sufficient memory to run multiple programs [and] have a fast ISP upload/download connection. Probably want to have 6 GB to 8 GB of processor memory... If your current PC is more than four or five years old, then you would probably benefit by getting a new system with the latest OS."

A Connecticut online poker player outlined, "Windows 7, i7 core, motherboard with at least three 6 Gbit/s SATA ports, and three SSD with similar read/write speeds connected to 6 Gbit/s SATA ports. Cheaper SSDs have write speeds significantly lower than their read speeds. [Also, get] a 2 TB hard drive for storage, 12 GB of RAM, install Windows 7 on one SSD, poker clients on the second SSD, and Holdem Manager on the third SSD." The same poster also stressed the importance of having an above average video card.

While some posters in the thread noted that the above machine would likely be quite pricey, others reiterated the importance of using an SSD, or solid state drive: "If you are using Holdem Manager, then the one of the most important things you can do is use an SSD instead of a standard one. I have found it makes a huge difference, especially with a lot of tables open."

What if you don't need or want a poker computer that is tricked out? Can you get away with something more cost-effective? "Most new PCs these days have more than enough RAM and everything," one PocketFives member from New York argued. "If you just want a PC to play poker, then even something basic with 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive is plenty. But if you can afford more, go for more RAM and a better processor." He added that a computer with 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive would likely cost around $400 to $500.

Another poster reinforced the notion that a fully featured computer wasn't necessarily needed: "I can run 4-5 sites (20 tournaments), other software, chat on Skype, check emails, surf the internet, listen to music, etc. on a 17" laptop with 4 GB of RAM, not the greatest processor, and an additional 24" monitor."

Owning twice that number of GB of RAM was a Costa Rican PocketFives member, who described, "I use a Dell XPS with 8 GB of RAM and it runs Holdem Manager, multiple sites, and as many tables as I can play without a sweat."

PocketFives Mod Alex RedIceRap Gerlach, who hails from Germany and has nearly $500,000 in tracked online cashes to his credit, shared his poker setup: "I have a 17" Macbook Pro with 750 GB and run both Mac and Windows on it. Really great laptop, but quite expensive. It cost me 2,300 Euros, which should be about $3,000."

For those of you out there interested in Holdem Manager, the program's stated system requirements are as follows: 1.0 GHz CPU, 512 MB of RAM (2 GB recommended), 1024x768 screen resolution, Windows XP, and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 or newer. Holdem Manager officials suggested, "Having a fast hard drive helps Holdem Manager's performance drastically. We suggest using a 7,200 RPM hard drive or faster."

We want to hear from you. What PC setup do you use for online poker? And what advice would you give to others? Post here or visit the thread in Poker Community.

Comments

  1. The minimum specs you need to play poker and the minimum specs worth buying in today's market are drastically different. I use a quad core i5 desktop with 16 gigs of ram, two SSD's and two gaming cards. This machine handles poker with identical performance as my core i3 dual core laptop with only 4 GB of ram, integrated intel graphics, and a mechanical hard drive. The performance of my HUD isn't impacted by my machine's hard drive, because I have a dedicated PT3 database server with its own SSD. I access one central database from any computer.The Intel Z68 Chipset motherboards will handle all sandy bridge CPU's, and will enable Intel integrated HD graphics. You could use a Z68 board with a Core i3 CPU, 4 GB of RAM & integrated graphics and play 20 tables over two monitors, no problems at all. Adding an SSD will help you boot into Windows faster, and improve HUD performance. Nobody needs three SSD's, my system is as high end as they get and I only have two SSD's.
  2. Further tips one todays laptop market and what to buy? Wicked u seem to know a lot and im planning to buy a laptop. Would like to have one SSD to boot my programs and 1 normal drive for data (500GB-1TB)
  3. This article couldnt have come at a better time for me, im looking for a new computer at the moment and im fairly useless when it comes to technical side of them, i experience problems when im playing 3 sites and have 5 or more tables on 1 of those.
     
  4. I understand most peoples concerns, however poker clients and poker software has minimal impact on a computer, any lap top worth over $500 dollars will run any poker clients fine, I am on 5 year old laptop and I can 20 table with almost 0 delay
  5.  
    Originally Posted by ;

    A Connecticut online poker player outlined, "Windows 7, i7 core, motherboard with at least three 6 Gbit/s SATA ports, and three SSD with similar read/write speeds connected to 6 Gbit/s SATA ports. Cheaper SSDs have write speeds significantly lower than their read speeds. [Also, get] a 2 TB hard drive for storage, 12 GB of RAM, install Windows 7 on one SSD, poker clients on the second SSD, and Holdem Manager on the third SSD." The same poster also stressed the importance of having an above average video card.

    ----I would have consulted someone with at least basic computer knowledge before you post things like that.. Overkill doesn't even begin to describe that setup.. You could play poker on 9 sites with every hud while filming yourself playing crisis and bragging to 10 friends in a skype conference call. It's a public forum but posts like that are why even people who do research pay way too much money on computers. You could get a modern laptop for less than 700usd that would suffice or build your own pc for less.. Prebuilt pcs aren't even that bad, 1000 and you are set. All you want is an i5 or i7, at least 4gb ram and a decent graphics card.
    Edited By: ACgaming Mar 20th, 2012 at 07:00 AM
     
  6.  
    Originally Posted by ACgaming View Post

    ----I would have consulted someone with at least basic computer knowledge before you post things like that.. Overkill doesn't even begin to describe that setup.. You could play poker on 9 sites with every hud while filming yourself playing crisis and bragging to 10 friends in a skype conference call. It's a public forum but posts like that are why even people who do research pay way too much money on computers. You could get a modern laptop for less than 700usd that would suffice or build your own pc for less.. Prebuilt pcs aren't even that bad, 1000 and you are set. All you want is an i5 or i7, at least 4gb ram and a decent graphics card.

    This....
  7. Couldn't agree more with ACgaming, what a joke. My 5 year old PC runs multiple poker clients and HEM fine.
  8.  
    Originally Posted by ACgaming View Post

    ----I would have consulted someone with at least basic computer knowledge before you post things like that.. Overkill doesn't even begin to describe that setup.. You could play poker on 9 sites with every hud while filming yourself playing crisis and bragging to 10 friends in a skype conference call. It's a public forum but posts like that are why even people who do research pay way too much money on computers. You could get a modern laptop for less than 700usd that would suffice or build your own pc for less.. Prebuilt pcs aren't even that bad, 1000 and you are set. All you want is an i5 or i7, at least 4gb ram and a decent graphics card.


    hahahaha
     
  9. apple
     
  10. The 3 x SSD quotes are plain lol. It's not even that it's overkill, it's just stupid. Poker clients will run on pretty much any recent hardware. An SSD as a boot drive is a great idea to speed up performance but far from a necessity. PT or HEM can benefit from a speedy disk and more RAM, especially if you're using a db with a serious volume of hands.I find running poker software in a VM is actually really beneficial. Your poker setup is then portable between computers and if you only use it for poker then it is easier to lock down against hacking/malware etc/
     
  11.  
    Originally Posted by iPlayTourneys View Post

    Further tips one todays laptop market and what to buy? Wicked u seem to know a lot and im planning to buy a laptop. Would like to have one SSD to boot my programs and 1 normal drive for data (500GB-1TB)

    An SSD from the factory will be hard to find, and most laptops will only hold one internal hard drive. There are a few out there that will hold two, but typically you could have an internal SSD for Windows & applications, with an external drive for bigger storage. You could also remove the optical drive & use a caddy to hold a second hard drive, but not having an optical drive can be a real pain.

    I recently bought my laptop (3-4 months ago) and have been very happy with it, even with its mechanical hard drive. I would recommend any Sandy bridge based laptop. This will be identified as Intel "2nd generation" processor. I have the Core i3 2310, which is a dual core with hyper threading. I spent <$450 on mine, an incredible value.

    Shop for an intel sandy bridge processor and presumably a large screen size. Those are the two things that you really can't upgrade later, so it's important to get those components right during the initial purchase.
  12. This article is probably more confusing then informative. A couple thoughts:

    For the vast majority of grinders any laptop/desktop with i5 or i7 4gb ram and normal hard drive will do just fine. My previous desktop was an older generation pentium processor, 4gb ram and 1 tb HD and I could 20 table across a couple sites with HEM1 running. An extra 4gb ram wouldn't hurt for future proofing but its not a neccesity.

    Video Card - For most the integrated graphics on most new PCs will be fine. However if you want to use multiple monitors an entry level card dedicated card from ATI or nVidia will suffice (Geforce GT 430 as an example.) If you want to do some gaming I'd buy a mid level card but that would be overkill for just poker.

    SSD vs HD - An SSD might be the only component I'd recommend to splurge on for a poker PC if you use HEM/PT. The reason being :the main bottleneck when working with large databases is the read/write speeds. My current setup has a 60 gb SSD for software HEM and a 2TB HD for everything else. Working with HEM with large database (~ 1m hands) was painful on a normal HD. I wouldn't recommend switching to HEM2 unless you have an SSD - I bought it but could only use HEM1 on my old desktop as HEM2 lagged considerably with 8 tables.

    I recently built my desktop so if anyone has any questions about building/components shoot me a PM.
    Edited By: taaffey Mar 20th, 2012 at 04:36 PM
  13. 1 which doesnt freeze as ive punched a laptop through in a £160 pot on the flop and then it froze i saw red and resulting in buying a new laptop so i was around £500 pound down just because of 1 hand on sky poker. That software is criminal anyway you need a super computer to multi table on that site, it uses hell of alot of cpu on 1 table on my duel core im able to run around 10ish before things start going downhill.
  14. dell intel core i5 runs smooth as you like and i paid 400 pounds for it, cant go wrong.
  15. You're running poker software, not running architecture design programs or playing online war games or whatever. Standard 4 gigs of ram and at least a duel-core processor should be all you need. If you have more than that and your games are dragging, it's because your computer has other issues like spyware or viruses, or maybe you need a re-flow or your Windows imaged or something like that. Download like a Malwarebytes cleaning program, go to your local computer repair place to clean up your board or system for $150 you don't need to spend an extra $1,000 on some quad core i7 beaster.
     
  16. Everything here is going to be relative to budget & what else the PC needs to do. The recommendations I'm making in this thread are tailored to a budget buyer, who simply wants to buy a new PC that will play poker and other standard tasks without performance issues. With this in mind...

    Recommending an i5 or i7 processor is overkill, in terms of whats needed for professional poker & general daily use. I would only recommend an i5 or i7 to someone who is interested in only buying the best when they shop, or to a user who would call themselves a "power user" (and wouldnt be looking for PC advice here in any case). The proper recommendation would be a core i3 (dual core) system, with a Z68 motherboard.

    This will provide the user with great performance, without wasting money on a powerhouse CPU that will never be pushed to its full potential. With a Z68 motherboard, there will also be an upgrade path to an i5 or i7 processor later if needed (and at lower prices).

    Also, recommending a dedicated graphics card over intel integrated HD graphics for the specific purpose of using multiple monitors needs to be discussed further. I personally used two 22" Samsung LCD's with Intel IGP in a dual monitor setup for about 6 months. In terms of HD Quality video, the intel graphics actually produce better quality than all NVidia cards, and all low & mid range ATI cards. The only reason you should use a dedicated graphics card instead of intel integrated graphics, is for the specific purpose of gaming. The only limitation of Intel HD graphics is a lack of gaming horsepower.

    I eventually added a dedicated graphics card (two actually), but this was specifically for the purpose of playing some video games my friends wanted me to join in on. I stand by Intel built-in graphics as the choice, considering both needs and budget.

    An SSD, while expensive, is worth the money. I own a total of 4 solid state drives, being used in a variety of applications. The only downside to buying a solid state drive is the ratio between price & storage space. Gigabytes are very expensive in the SSD Market, with 60 GB drives of the current generation running about $100. Compare this to a mechanical drive market, with 1,000 GB drives selling around $110. Essentially, you're giving up a lot of space for a lot of speed. This is why they're recommended strictly for storing your operating system & frequently used applications (as opposed to MP3's & video files).

    I hope this information helps all of the shoppers find the right balance of price & performance for their own personal needs.

    Cheers
    Edited By: wickedfamous Mar 20th, 2012 at 09:51 PM
  17.  
    Originally Posted by harrison View Post

    1 which doesnt freeze as ive punched a laptop through in a �160 pot on the flop and then it froze i saw red and resulting in buying a new laptop so i was around �500 pound down just because of 1 hand on sky poker. That software is criminal anyway you need a super computer to multi table on that site, it uses hell of alot of cpu on 1 table on my duel core im able to run around 10ish before things start going downhill.


    down 500 pounds,because u punched your screen
     1
  18. The quote below is from me...

     

    A Connecticut online poker player outlined, "Windows 7, i7 core, motherboard with at least three 6 Gbit/s SATA ports, and three SSD with similar read/write speeds connected to 6 Gbit/s SATA ports. Cheaper SSDs have write speeds significantly lower than their read speeds. [Also, get] a 2 TB hard drive for storage, 12 GB of RAM, install Windows 7 on one SSD, poker clients on the second SSD, and Holdem Manager on the third SSD." The same poster also stressed the importance of having an above average video card.

    I find several of the comments about not needing such a hard core setup amusing. For the players out there that play poker as their profession, why not spend what you can on a system that is top notch? If you can afford it, build it and optimize it, do it. I guess people still have that mentality that a 1gb processor with 512k of RAM will be more than enough and why would we need anything more?

    If poker was my profession, I would spend 10k or 20k to know that I had a fast, reliable system with redundant capability. If you're a pro don't go middle of the road, invest in the tools you use.
    Edited By: wackyJaxon Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:33 PM
  19. Best online computers are ones outside the US. Haven't been able to get my computer to bring up FT or stars in a year. What a waste!
  20.  
    Originally Posted by nikotes View Post

    The quote below is from me...

    a 1gb processor with 512k of RAM will be more than enough

    The fact that you don't know the difference between "1gb" and "1ghz", and also "512k" versus "512 MB" really shows that you haven't the slighest clue what you're talking about.
 
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