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Futureproof computer under 600 bucks.

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March 12, 2012 4:40:08 AM

Is it possible? I want to build a computer which will be capable of playing all new games at or above console graphics for the next 6-8 years (that is, something I can justify purchasing instead of a console, specifically for gaming).

I wouldn't be building this until this summer, so upcoming hardware is ok.

I was thinking maybe an ivybridge i3, and whatever the equivalent of the 6870 will be this summer. But I would relly liek to know if it could be done at all, and how?

I'm not too worried about maxing out the graphics on all the games; I just want something that performs at or above the level the next generation of consoles are likely to. And will last me that long (assuming the hardware itself doesn't go kaput.)
March 12, 2012 5:02:03 AM

The i3-2120 is an excellent CPU for the price, but the equivalent of the 6850 - the 7770, is a decent performer but it hasn't exactly been getting the best reviews - it's still a better choice than the 550TI is. It won't max everything out but you'll get good numbers on most games.

Check this build out - it won't be totally future proof (that's pretty much near impossible) but :

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99 ($10.00 MIR)
PSU: Corsair CX600 - $69.99 ($20.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Intel BOXDH67DLCB3 - $89.99
CPU: 3.3Ghz Intel Core i3-2120 - $129.99
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB 1333Mhz - $42.99
HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB - $89.99
Optical: Lite On Bulk DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 - $159.99 ($10.00 MIR)

Total: $658.92 - $40.00 MIR = $618.92
March 12, 2012 7:20:00 AM

G-Unit's got a nice build listed. However, I think the 6850 fares a-lot better than the 7770.

Here's what I came up with:

Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($112.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus P8H61-M LX PLUS (REV 3.0) Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($76.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($35.00 @ Amazon)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($97.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec 550W ATX12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($25.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $603.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2012-03-12 04:16 EDT-0400)
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March 12, 2012 7:48:14 AM

6-8 years? You would have to spend a lot more than that just to future proof for the next 1-2 years. I'm already resigned to looking at a 32-64 GB RAM system in the next year or so (waiting for 8 GB Dimms to drop in price) and I have had my 2600 K for about 6 months.
March 12, 2012 3:31:56 PM

@wamphryi...

that depends on what type of games you play, what type of graphics level you expect and what resolution you run. we have an old single core amd64 tower built about 9 years ago for $700 that can still play new games. it runs guild wars era games at ultra-max and new games on low. it "just barely" handles ut3 and similar. not bad for a budget build!

i would recommend at least $700-800 for a build that you wish to future proof for the required time period. however, keep in mind that with the leaps and bounds that games seem to be growing in graphics things might be a little rougher for the ops system than mine.

32-64gb of ram is what you call excessive. i could be playing crysis on max while multitasking and still not use my 6gb of ram let alone the numbers you list. to future proof 8 is not a bad number. if you want to get a little more excessive then get 16. however keep in mind that it is a waste of money.

i've had my i7-920 system with triple channel mem 3x2gb for at least a year now and anything i throw at it is fine. i see absolutely no need to upgrade.

--

now if you want to game on ultra-max graphics on a 2560x 30" monitor than yes... you will need to throw loads upon loads of cash out more frequently than most....but to game at 1920x1080 (or less) does not require the same upgrade pattern.
March 12, 2012 3:36:13 PM

Some great suggestions on this page for builds. Most builds that are 1000-1500 more then likely will not last you at high graphics for 6-8 years. Its impossible. The builds given to you will last you a few year though for sure.
March 12, 2012 3:51:51 PM

nothing will last 6-8 years. NOTHING.

however, you can get a very solid core that should last 2-3 years easily, whereupon you update with a new $600-800 system
March 12, 2012 4:13:55 PM

ssddx said:
@wamphryi...

that depends on what type of games you play, what type of graphics level you expect and what resolution you run. we have an old single core amd64 tower built about 9 years ago for $700 that can still play new games. it runs guild wars era games at ultra-max and new games on low. it "just barely" handles ut3 and similar. not bad for a budget build!

i would recommend at least $700-800 for a build that you wish to future proof for the required time period. however, keep in mind that with the leaps and bounds that games seem to be growing in graphics things might be a little rougher for the ops system than mine.

32-64gb of ram is what you call excessive. i could be playing crysis on max while multitasking and still not use my 6gb of ram let alone the numbers you list. to future proof 8 is not a bad number. if you want to get a little more excessive then get 16. however keep in mind that it is a waste of money.

i've had my i7-920 system with triple channel mem 3x2gb for at least a year now and anything i throw at it is fine. i see absolutely no need to upgrade..


I completely agree that anything above 16GB even is major excess. On a gaming system you'll never use all of it, even working with an HD audio / video workstation you'll never use 64GB.

I personally would put that money into the GPU and get the best one you can get on the market - like a 680 or a 7970.

Quote:
G-Unit's got a nice build listed. However, I think the 6850 fares a-lot better than the 7770.


Debatable. I haven't used a 7770 yet but I have used and seen a 6850 in action and it's a great card for the price, I can't argue there, however I will argue against that build using an H61 mATX board - I wouldn't put that on any build unless it's an HTPC. And Patriot is not the best RAM manufacturer either, I've used their RAM and it's failed before, and I had a flash drive of theirs that died on me after two days, I really don't recommend using them.
March 12, 2012 5:41:55 PM

qarano said:
Is it possible? I want to build a computer which will be capable of playing all new games at or above console graphics for the next 6-8 years (that is, something I can justify purchasing instead of a console, specifically for gaming).

I wouldn't be building this until this summer, so upcoming hardware is ok.

I was thinking maybe an ivybridge i3, and whatever the equivalent of the 6870 will be this summer. But I would relly liek to know if it could be done at all, and how?

I'm not too worried about maxing out the graphics on all the games; I just want something that performs at or above the level the next generation of consoles are likely to. And will last me that long (assuming the hardware itself doesn't go kaput.)


Your best bet is to build in your price range for now, but make sure you can upgrade certain parts with the motherboard you choose. Basically leave room to upgrade the CPU/GPU in the future, because 7-8 years is a long time to go without spending some money to make the FPS/Settings more desirable in games. Oh and don't skimp out to much on your PSU either or you may have to buy another one when you make the upgrades down the road.

So if you start with an i3 you can at some point upgrade to an i5/i7, if you start with 4gb of ram you can get an extra 4gb when you need it, and if you buy a video card now you can buy a second for SLI/Crossfire(if the motherboard you buy supports it). Also probally be a good idea to look for a 650w+ PSU of good quailty so when your ready to upgrade you won't have to look at buying a second power supply.
March 12, 2012 6:26:01 PM

It is true that my RAM example is not the best one as I am Video Editing as well as Gaming. Currently I run 16 GB and Sony Vegas caches the whole lot in minutes. Plus the ability to have a RAM drive that can hold all the HD Video I am working on would be a superb bonus thus my desire for 64 GB RAM. However I still hold the view that 6-8 years may be a touch optimistic.
March 12, 2012 6:46:24 PM

I suggest skipping a dual core as some games are already recommanding quad cores. Maybe an i5 2400 as currently a long lasting CPU requires more cores. The video card you will have to buy a new one about every 3 years else the latest DirectX will not be supported.
March 12, 2012 6:51:55 PM

Agreed that 6-8 years is unrealistic. Specifically, he says this:

Quote:
I want to build a computer which will be capable of playing all new games at or above console graphics for the next 6-8 years

To me, that's saying he wants a resolution of 1920x1080 and settings on medium or better.

You might be able to hit that mark if you spend $3k on your rig, but at $600, you'll be lucky to pull that off for more than a year or three. 6-8 is absolutely not happening unless PC games stagnate even worse than they already have.

The smart choice would be to future proof yourself by leaving upgrade paths. Get a motherboard that supports PCIe 3.0, so you can't be crippled by the slower 2.1 lanes. AMD and Intel both have upgrades coming for their current chipsets, with Ivy Bridge landing on 1155 and Piledriver on AM3+ (last I heard).

Getting at least two PCIe x16 slots would probably be a good idea so you can move to SLI or Crossfire in the future, and spending another $30-$40 on your PSU to get one that's ready for it will give you more options for more power in that area.

A cheap SSD I don't think has any place in this kind of build, though. Prices are still dropping, and the capacity limitations at the low price points will be a problem. Better to save that money and upgrade later, I think.

Now that you've got your basic $600 system with some upgrade paths, set aside $100-$200 a year to upgrade it. In 6-8 years, you'll have spent in the range of $1500-$2000 on this system, but it will be performing way, way better in 2020 than any $2k system built today.
March 12, 2012 7:12:44 PM

any mention of what existing components you have and could potentially carry forward?
March 12, 2012 7:30:34 PM

"You might be able to hit that mark if you spend $3k on your rig, but at $600, you'll be lucky to pull that off for more than a year or three. 6-8 is absolutely not happening unless PC games stagnate even worse than they already have."

i have two pcs... one was a $1500 build and one was a $700 build. both were created 9 years ago and both, although at the very end of their lives, can just about handle games of this era. its not at all unheard of ... as long as you make certain concessions along the way (like not max settings)
March 12, 2012 8:45:39 PM

willard said:
Agreed that 6-8 years is unrealistic. Specifically, he says this:

Quote:
I want to build a computer which will be capable of playing all new games at or above console graphics for the next 6-8 years

To me, that's saying he wants a resolution of 1920x1080 and settings on medium or better.

You might be able to hit that mark if you spend $3k on your rig, but at $600, you'll be lucky to pull that off for more than a year or three. 6-8 is absolutely not happening unless PC games stagnate even worse than they already have.


I'd think a Radeon 6850 would be able to hit those numbers - it won't max everything but you'll get at least high ratings.
March 12, 2012 9:08:31 PM

Response to g-unit

"I completely agree that anything above 16GB even is major excess. On a gaming system you'll never use all of it, even working with an HD audio / video workstation you'll never use 64GB."

I agree that gaming will not require more than 4 GB RAM for some time if ever. Games generally work on a small footprint. However when it comes to Video Editing I can assure you that the latest offerings from Cyberpower, Adobe and Sony are making full use of the 16 GB of RAM I am currently running. Indeed they are pushing my 2600 K harder than anything I have encountered. Now that Quad channel memory configurations are hitting the market and 64 bit applications are coming the norm we will see a lot more use of RAM in applications hitting the market.

Also don't forget RAM drive which is most helpful. If I had 64 GB of RAM I could leave 20 GB for applications and caching and still have 44 GB to load up all my HD clips for editing.

I can recall when I had 4 MB of RAM and how people thought that my move to 16 MB was excessive.
March 12, 2012 9:25:53 PM

Wamphryi said:
Response to g-unit

"I completely agree that anything above 16GB even is major excess. On a gaming system you'll never use all of it, even working with an HD audio / video workstation you'll never use 64GB."

I agree that gaming will not require more than 4 GB RAM for some time if ever. Games generally work on a small footprint. However when it comes to Video Editing I can assure you that the latest offerings from Cyberpower, Adobe and Sony are making full use of the 16 GB of RAM I am currently running. Indeed they are pushing my 2600 K harder than anything I have encountered. Now that Quad channel memory configurations are hitting the market and 64 bit applications are coming the norm we will see a lot more use of RAM in applications hitting the market.

Also don't forget RAM drive which is most helpful. If I had 64 GB of RAM I could leave 20 GB for applications and caching and still have 44 GB to load up all my HD clips for editing.

I can recall when I had 4 MB of RAM and how people thought that my move to 16 MB was excessive.



Guess I don't know enough about video editing but that's interesting to know that you can do that. I shall investigate this.
March 13, 2012 1:38:37 AM

It is well worth checking out. Essentially you have a RAM disk that saves an image of itself at the end of every session. It will automatically load or manually if required. Of course it helps to have the image stored on a fast drive but once the image is loaded and RAM Disk is up then you have a working drive that will hose even a SSD. Of course the drawback is that power failure will impact heavily but of course everything important is backed up to a RAID 1 array anyway. RAM Disk is especially good for Video Editing and Encryption work.
March 13, 2012 2:14:42 PM

.....except.....video editing doesnt apply to the ops request at all. it is therefore pointless to push the issue.

i see your point about using a higher than typical ram amount. i was using 2gb when 1 was common, 4gb when 2 was common, and now 6gb when 4 is common. since i have no need of ramdrives there was no need for me to run 12. save the money if you arent going to use it i say.
March 14, 2012 5:16:51 PM

ssddx said:
i have two pcs... one was a $1500 build and one was a $700 build. both were created 9 years ago and both, although at the very end of their lives, can just about handle games of this era. its not at all unheard of ... as long as you make certain concessions along the way (like not max settings)

By "not max settings" do you mean "as low as every single setting will possibly go, at the lowest resolution my monitor supports" ;)  ?

Seriously though, 9 years ago the best video card was the Geforce 4 series with 128 MB of VRAM, supporting only up to DirectX 8.0. Processors had only just broken the 1 GHz barrier, and the first dual core chips were still almost a year away. DirectX 9, which is required for many modern games, wouldn't be supported until the next generation of cards, and Shader Model 3 (another common requirement) wouldn't debut until the end of 2004.

DDR2 was brand spanking new, but was still slower than DDR because of its latency. A computer with a TON of memory back then might have had 512MB, 1GB tops, which would result in a massive bottleneck in today's games due to constant paging.

I don't believe for one second that a modern game would run in any capacity on a 9 year old computer that hasn't received major upgrades to the video card, memory and probably processor too. Most games would probably refuse to load, citing woefully inadequate system specs, or simply crash immediately. What games did run, those that don't require DX9 or later, would have framerates in the very low single digits in pretty much any modern game engine.
March 14, 2012 7:29:31 PM

its been awhile but lets see if i can remember the specs. pardon if i dont remember exactly.

$1500
amd64 3500+, 2gb 2-2-2-3 ddram, 60gb 7200 hdd, dfi lanparty UT mobo, 7800gtx, soundblaster live.
$700
amd64 3000+ 2gb ocz value ram, 80gb 7200 hdd, dfi lanparty UT mobo, forget which vid card.

the two systems can ultra max games from the early 00's such as guildwars, ut2003, quake iv, etcetera. the older of the two which was $1500 can run games in the era of ut3 at 1600x1200 albiet just barely. yes some new games crapped out unless i started them right away. however i did manage to get some play time in on ut3, though yes it was a bit choppy.

however if you are trying to compare games like crysis.... then no, of course they wouldnt load. the bloated pos that it is. i'm just stating that it is entirely possible to keep a system for a long time.

of course i've since moved on... that is just a backup pc now.
March 15, 2012 6:07:46 AM

the 7800 is a late addition. wasnt around in 2002
March 15, 2012 8:53:17 AM

I had a SLI GTX 7800 GTX set up in 2006 if my memory serves me correctly.
March 15, 2012 11:00:05 AM

i built the pc in 2003. 2012-2003=9 years. its an estimate not an exact science.

the evga 7800gtx was released the same day i bought my system so it was bleeding edge tech at the time. i never upgraded the system since (besides a new hd since one died on me..but i replaced it with the same type but larger capacity)

it was quite an upgrade from our first computer.. a compaq presario pentium (i want to say II but perhaps a III). all i know is that it was 4x as fast.

---

in any case it looks like the op abandoned this post and our recommendations so no use continuing until there is input.
March 16, 2012 10:05:10 PM

ssddx said:
i built the pc in 2003. 2012-2003=9 years. its an estimate not an exact science.

the evga 7800gtx was released the same day i bought my system so it was bleeding edge tech at the time.

Are you saying that the system you built 9 years ago had a 7800 GTX in it? Because the 7800 GTX didn't exist until very late 2005, closer to six years ago than seven. Like I said, the best cards nine years ago were the 4000 series. You're three full generations (and years) ahead with the 7800.

At any rate, I wasn't trying to say you couldn't keep a PC running a long time. In my post, I actually claimed exactly the same thing. I just said you had to put upgrades into it to do it, like I have with mine. You can't just buy a computer, never upgrade it and expect it to run games that won't be released for half a decade.

Quote:
although at the very end of their lives, can just about handle games of this era.

Quote:
the two systems can ultra max games from the early 00's such as guildwars, ut2003, quake iv, etcetera.

Yeah...I wouldn't call those games from this era. More like, games from ten years ago. It's not particularly interesting to say a computer using a six year old graphics card can handle games that are 6-9 years old. Of course it can, it was literally designed to do exactly that.
July 26, 2013 2:36:46 PM

qarano said:
Is it possible? I want to build a computer which will be capable of playing all new games at or above console graphics for the next 6-8 years (that is, something I can justify purchasing instead of a console, specifically for gaming).

I wouldn't be building this until this summer, so upcoming hardware is ok.

I was thinking maybe an ivybridge i3, and whatever the equivalent of the 6870 will be this summer. But I would relly liek to know if it could be done at all, and how?

I'm not too worried about maxing out the graphics on all the games; I just want something that performs at or above the level the next generation of consoles are likely to. And will last me that long (assuming the hardware itself doesn't go kaput.)


http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1kZwU

^Go to that link, I made a PC build for around $650, this should future proof your PC for AT LEAST 5-6 years when playing on 720p. Note: Consoles play on 720p.

In this build I have an AMD FX-6300, an AMD XFX Radeon HD 7850, 8GB RAM and an 80 Plus GOLD Certified 650w PSU that should definitely last you YEARS AND YEARS! :)  This will run Battlefield 4, Crysis 3 and Far Cry 3 MAXED OUT at 720p.
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