I know you must get this question all the time, but what is your computer building philosophy? I want a computer that lasts as long as a console generation. I am tired of console gaming, because of the expense of the games themselves, etc (I know that consoles cost way less, but computers are utilitarian too). I am going to build a computer sometime next spring again, but I feel like I don't have the right building philosophy. The computer I built in 07 is still doing great (love the 8800 gts).... just a great deal slower. So... Should I be the guy that trys to keep up with the Jones', or the guy that is secure in knowing that every 5 years or so it is a good time to think about something new?
Philosophy? As in when we should upgrade? Well, everyone's is different. It kinda goes like this:
Generally, people who spend much more money the first time are able to keep their computers for longer. People who spend less the first time have upgrade to keep up with the settings they want to play on, but the upgrades cost less.
I like to continuously upgrade, but I don't see myself upgrading for awhile, as I just upgraded. Some like to just buy whole new systems and sell off the old ones. The thing about that is that you don't get much money from them, and no to many people care to buy them.
But if you want to spend A LOT of money for a system to make it last longer. Then don't forget there is some sort of spot, where it is kinda stupid spending more, if it is only for gaming.
Buying a computer for $6000 now or spending $6000 over the next 5 years, I think the last part is the best.
You'll get a great computer for $6000 right now, but in 5 years, it might just look like a waste of money.
I had a pretty stupid friend that spend around $6400 on a machine, when the first i7 came out. He does an i7-950 3.0 Ghz Quad Core with 12 GB of memory and so on and it still works today, but the video cards was (I believe) 2 x HD4870X2, which is not good enough for the games anymore at all, if you want really good performance. But it's individual!
I tend to upgrade a part of my pc whenever it I need more performance. Although my PC is by far not the strongest, it is good enough for what I need to do. Basically replaced my whole pc sept 2011. (old machine was amd9850BE, 6gb ram, radeon 4830). since then the only thing i have upgraded was adding the SSD.
You can build a great gaming system for as little as $1000 that is "future proof." With a good graphics card you can do the CORE part for about $1500 (with GTX680).
Let me show some basic specs and then comment:
- Z77 1155 motherboard
- Intel i5-3570K CPU (or i7-3770K)
- 8GB DDR3 2133MHz
- (HD7850 up to GTX680) graphics
Basically, the above system is a great gaming system especially with an HD7970/GTX680 graphics card. It's also "future proof" because no serious bottlenecks exist so a better graphics card (GTX880) in three years or so isn't hampered too seriously by this CPU.
- the CPU is quite powerful and should hold up fairly well (and the "K" series can be overclocked if need be. I wouldn't yet.)
*While there's little gaming advantage to an i7-3770K it's possible that future gaming engines will benefit from the extra threads. I only make use of it now for video editing.
- the 2133MHz DDR3 isn't too expensive. I recommend it over 1600MHz to prevent bottlenecks (I have several games NOW that benefit up to 15% over 1600MHz)
- the motherboard is PCIe v3 which isn't a big deal yet with a single card, but the older motherboards with PCIe v2 would bottleneck future high-end cards.
Most of the other parts are a non-issue as they are easily replaced.
- the above specs are a great foundation for a "future proofed" computer. If the games need a little more processing in three years you can simply swap out the graphics card.
- SLI is problematic. While you COULD add a second GTX680 there are many reasons not to:
a) by the time you NEED it in three years the card isn't available
b) micro-stutter adds issues
c) you may need more VIDEO RAM than 2GB
d) it adds a lot more HEAT (2xGTX680 vs GTX880)
i swap out my gpu for the latest and greatest every year or so. i also recently upgraded from a maximus x38 formula with c2de8400 [remember those?]
had held me over for 5 years now. but it was time to upgrade, i got a asrock extreme 4 with i5 3570k and 16gb ram.
the best part was that x38 held me down with all gpu upgrades because of its dual x16 pcie slots. my psu stayed the same, 750watt modular. i got a new case, donated my old one to my younger bro.
anyway, build around your case and psu. those are the parts that wont be going anywhere for a long, long time. motherboard cpu and ram should always be purchased together IMO.
gpu speeds are twice as fast as what they were two years ago. and twice as fast as two years before that. once a year i throw my card up on amazon for a decent discount, and use the extra cash for an upgrade. ill be ready for the hd 8000 series after the first few price drops =]
Seen too many people trying to future proof their rigs by getting the strongest hardware possible, talking 3930k's and a 690 on a gaming rig. If you really want to be future proof, a bigger case and PSU is far more important than a bigger processor/GPU.
Case in point, my rig (can see below) in no way needs a large full-tower case. Including this $200 case over a cheaper (more reasonable) one is why I have a 7870 and not a 7950/670 (prices at the time).
However, less than 6 months later I suddenly get interested in watercooling. If I had bought a cheaper case, that would be pretty much a no go. Not enough space inside for all the stuff and a max of a 240mm radiator, not enough for more than a CPU-only loop. By spending money then, I have saved myself money in the long run and expanded my options for the rig later on.
My system could run on a 600W supply quite easily, but then I wouldn't be able to Crossfire/SLI without a PSU upgrade. If/when I eventually do so, that's another $150 I have saved myself by spending $50 extra then (more if you count the first PSU which is now effectively going to waste).
Much better off getting better/bigger non-core components and peripherals than core components when future proofing is a concern IMO. Because no matter how fast your graphics card and how powerful the CPU is, it will always be outdated in a few years. Your case, HDD, monitor, keyboard, mouse, sound system, PSU (to a lesser extent) and cooling wont be however. Dropping good money on these items will save you heaps in the long run.