Feature Article

Can We Build a Gaming PC on a Console Budget?

Put your money where your mouth is.

There's no debating that a souped-up gaming PC will outperform an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 any day of the week, but it'll also cost you a lot more at checkout. However, what about a gaming PC that isn't top of the line, say, one that was built for $550?

This is the question we put to the test: could we build a gaming PC from scratch that could provide a gameplay and visual experience on par with a next-gen console, for around the same price as a next-gen console? While the PlayStation 4 is substantially cheaper, we wanted to make this exercise as competitive as possible, and that meant allowing ourselves the luxury of a slightly higher budget. Our own Mark Walton and Peter Brown each built one machine; one based on Intel and Nvidia chipsets, and the other on AMD hardware. Then, we put them to the test to see if Mark and Peter used their budgets wisely or if they would have been better off buying a console for great graphics on a fixed budget. The text on this page covers the basics of our test, but be sure to check out the videos below for a more in-depth look at Mark's and Peter's process and results.

Rules and Goals

We aimed to stay within a budget of $550--roughly the most you can pay for an Xbox One in North America. In addition to acquiring the bare essentials for a PC--CPU, GPU, RAM, motherboard, power supply, computer case, and hard drive--each editor had to include the cost of a mouse, a keyboard, and a Windows license. No piracy or preexisting parts allowed!

The other goal was to build a machine that performs as well as or better than an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 in cross-platform games. The list of benchmark candidates included Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, Thief, and Titanfall.

Mark Walton - AMD Gaming PC

Mark Walton's AMD PC

Gaming PCs live and die by the GPU and CPU. AMD's budget offerings are a far better value for the money than either Intel's or Nvidia's. For less than the price of the cheapest Ivy Bridge-based Core processor from Intel, you can pick up six-core chips from AMD that happily outperform it. The same goes for AMD's GPUs, which offer excellent performance for less than the Nvidia equivalent.

My plan was simple: stick as much money into the CPU and GPU as possible, and work with what's left--and if I could make the computer look half decent too, all the better.

ComponentTypePriceStore
CPUAMD FX-6300 Vishera 3.5GHz$109.00Amazon
MotherboardASUS M5A78L-M/USB3 AM3+ AMD 760G$48.49Newegg
CaseFractal Core 1000$39.99Newegg
PSUEVGA 100-W1-500-KR 500W$44.99Newegg
GPUPowerColor AX7850 2GBD5-DH Radeon HD 7850 (open box item)$107.00Newegg
RAMHyperX XMP Blu Series 4GB DDR3 1600$40.00Newegg
StorageSeagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB$50.95Amazon
OSWindows 8$70.00eBay
Key/MouseV7 Standard PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse Combo$10.19Amazon
Subtotal$520.61
Sales Tax$45.55
Total$566.16

GameSettingsAverage Frame Rate
Assassin's Creed IV1080p, Ultra, AA42
Battlefield 41080p, High, AA72
Battlefield 41080p, Ultra, MSAA42
Thief1080p, Ultra, AA87
Titanfall1080p, Very High, AA60

Note: Click the links under "settings" to view the complete list of settings used during testing.

I was pleasantly surprised at just how well this system worked. All the games I tried hit frame rates 60fps, and--with the exception of Battlefield 4--did so at the highest settings. Rendering games 1080p60 is an achievable goal on a budget, then, as long as you're realistic about which games you'll be able to do it with, and at what settings. If you're after a bit more oomph and some peace of mind for future releases, though, spending a few extra bucks here and there will give you a big boost in performance.

More RAM is the obvious choice. It doesn't cost much to bump it up to 8GB, and the less time the PC has to spend thrashing the hard drive for a swap file the better. An extra $70 toward an R270 GPU would be a wise decision too. It's good value and overclocks extremely well, putting it firmly in the high-end GPU segment for just a fraction of the cost. There's also the option of an SSD for a more responsive feel, an aftermarket cooler for CPU overclocking, and a nicer-looking case, but they're not essential.

Peter Brown - Intel/Nvidia Gaming PC

Peter Brown's Intel/Nvidia PC

A budget of $550 is unusually small for a gaming PC, especially when the cost of an operating system is factored in. My strategy for this build was centered around a few key tactics.

First, I planned to keep the system's power draw as low as possible to save money on the cost of the power supply. I wanted to build small because smaller form factor cases and motherboards are usually cheaper overall unless they're particularly fancy. I also decided to use an unusually modest CPU. Intel makes excellent processors, but this quality isn't limited to the Core line. As long as I wasn't going to risk bottlenecking the GPU's performance, I looked for the simplest and cheapest option available. That way, I could focus on the linchpin of a gaming PC: the GPU. In this instance, I was aiming for Nvidia's Geforce GTX 750 Ti due to its great price/performance ratio.

ComponentTypePriceStore
CPUIntel Pentium G2130 3.2 GHz$74.99Newegg
MotherboardBiostar H61MGV3$36.99Newegg
CaseTopower TP-1687BB-300$34.99Newegg
PSU300W SFX Power Supply (included w/case)n/aNewegg
GPUEVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2 GB$154.99Newegg
RAMTeam Elite 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333$39.99Newegg
StorageWestern Digital Blue 500 GB 7200 RPM 16MB$54.99Newegg
OSWindows 8.1 64-Bit$99.99Newegg
Key/MouseRosewill PS/2 Wired$12.98Newegg
Subtotal$509.91
Sales Tax$38.24
Total$548.15

GameSettingsAverage Frame Rate
Assassin's Creed IV1080p, High, FXAA40
Battlefield 41080p, High, 2x MSAA50
Thief1080p, High, FXAA55
Titanfall1080p, High, No AA50

Note: Click the links under "settings" to view the complete list of settings used during testing.

Like Mark, I was surprised how well my rig performed. I had faith that the GTX 750 Ti would hold up under light pressure, but given its partner in crime, the Pentium CPU, I presumed that I would have to dial down the in-game settings a bit more. In practice, all it took for most games to play near 60 frames per second at 1080p was to disable a few flourishes like ambient occlusion and aggressive anti-aliasing. With my $550 PC, I was able to handily outperform the Xbox One in every case, and the PlayStation 4 in most cases, which says a lot about the value of the PlayStation 4 given its lower $400 price point.

If I had had a larger budget, I would have sprung for a better CPU and a bit more RAM. My inexpensive Pentium CPU held up quite well considering that it cost only $80, but it was typically running at full speed with little to no remaining overhead. Unfortunately, given my skimpy power supply, there's little hope for tossing a better Nvidia GPU into this build down the road without other additional upgrades. In the end, with our meager budget, Mark's AMD focus gave him a slight advantage in terms of performance and upgradability.

Closing Thoughts

As it turns out, you can build a gaming PC for around the cost of an Xbox One that will outperform both next-gen consoles given the current stock of cross-platform games. You'll also enjoy a massive library that neither the PlayStation 4 nor the Xbox One will ever be able to match from a pure numbers standpoint. Plus, your PC is upgradable, and its functionality in non-gaming areas only adds to its value. AMD has an advantage when it comes to the balance of price and performance on the low end, but there's nothing stopping you from mixing and matching components from different manufacturers, which very well might be the best plan if you've got a larger budget to work with.

Keep in mind, too, that current cross-platform games on consoles perform best on a PlayStation 4, which currently sells for $100 less than an Xbox One. If you were to try to build a gaming PC for $400 to $450, our experience has taught us that you would end up with a machine that can't compete with either next-gen console. Though we both succeeded in our goal, $550 was proved quite limiting when it came to picking components.

If you had a budget of $550, which platform--PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC--would you choose? How would you build a gaming PC on a console-size budget? Let us know in the comments below.

Written By

Discussion

5175 comments
TiberiusJones
TiberiusJones

I put together a budget gaming rig this past summer with this AMD motherboard and have been very happy with it for the most part. I paired it with the better FX-8350 CPU and a much nicer MSI R9-280X Twin Frozr Edition (essentially a super-cooled rebranded 3GB 7970). Add a New 700 Watt PSU and a Fractal Design case for under $40. I had roughly 4 TB of hard drives from a previous system.  The whole thing is highly upgrade-able and came in under $600. It far outperforms either new console and will be future proof for the next couple years at least. 


The beauty of PC gaming beyond cost/performance ratio is the satisfaction of building your own system and knowing what it contains, what makes it tick, and why it's better than Joe's down the street, or the crappy Dell the guy at Best Buy is trying to sell to your buddy on Black Friday.


Darthlod missed the entire point - this is about BUDGET GAMING RIGS:


And no, you don't need 850 Watts of power unless you're planning to run SLI or crossfire. Multiple Hard-drives don't draw that kind of power. A nice 600 watt PSU and you're good if all you're talking is one GPU and HDD. Windows 8 is great for gaming. And yes, buy a decent CPU cooler (the Corsair H55 is an entry level water-cooled CPU cooler available for $59.99 at most retailers - easy to install and well worth the money) and get at least one extra fan for decent ventilation! 


Now, if you have unlimited resources - then yes, absolutely - for AMD, get a Sabertooth 990FX Motherboard - they are beastly and my motherboard choice for best in class!!    

DarthLod
DarthLod

Not bad, but these budget builds have crappy wattage for Power Supply. 850w and above is the only way to go if you want to add more hard-drives, etc. 500 and 300w PS are just WAY too low. Furthermore, Windows 8? NO, not for gaming. You want Win 7. Honestly, Save up $200-300 more and get a better PS and MB as well as a Tower that has more ventilation fans. 

daious
daious

Why bother with an open box 7850 when a 7870 ghz is 99 dollars if you buy from the manufacturer

bewitness
bewitness

I'm sure you can create a PC that out performs an Xbox One or PS4 but when has masses ever cared about overall specs? The iPhone is the most popular phone and it's just getting features that many Android phones had for years now, this didn't make (most) Apple customers go to other devices because their phones didn't have certain features. Just like with Apple, Samsung, Nike or whoever, their customers stay because they like the overall experience they have with that product. As a console gamer myself I have no urge to PC game, the closest I may get to that is possibly trying out a Steam machine. Mind you this is not to knock PC gamers, because I am sure their are PC gamers who wouldn't want to game on a console because they are so satisfied with what they experience on a PC.

thekoenig
thekoenig

"Plus, your PC is upgradable" - this is not, in fact, a plus. It is a minus. Consoles don't need to be upgraded at any time in their lifecycle (apart from, if you wish to do so, a bigger hdd). See, consoles start with a comparably high price for same or lower performance as a PC. Over the course of 5 - 7 years, like the last generation, you will see how much the quality of visuals of the games on these consoles improve. And you will not need to buy any upgrade at any time. If you want to play games on your PC on the best settings over the same period of time, I'm _very_ sure you will have to buy upgrades for it - and not only once.

It still is a very good choice for many reasons to own and use a PC. Every person may make that choice based on her own preferences. But the argument of upgradability probably isn't the plus for the PC, at least not from a money spent for performance perspective.

TrenchcoatFlash
TrenchcoatFlash

I'd like to see how well this budget PC handles modern games 9 years from now.  The big plus with consoles is that a game made for it will play on it just fine.  You don't have to go online to see if your old hardware can run it smoothly, or if your video card is not compatible, or if any of your motherboard or other components will work with the upgrade you need to run it.


The point that this article is trying to make fails miserably.  It's trying to say "look we built a PC that can compete or beat current gen consoles" so that way the price isn't a con for PC gaming.  Yet the author stupidly set a budget of $550.  Why?  Did he try building one at $400 and was unable to do so, then increase by $50 each try till he found one that technically could?  The point falls flat when it ends up reading "look we built a PC that can compete or beat current gen consoles, and all we did was spend 40% more than you would for a console!  See?  Look how cheap that is!"  And that's just initial cost, no including upgrades later down the road.


Then the gaming library point was tossed in like it was supposed to be icing on the cake.  When your cake is crappy nobody cares about the icing.  Should have ended with "yes, gaming on a PC is more expensive, but look at the library of games this budget PC can play flawlessly."  If your goal is to argue that one form of a thing is NOT more expensive, you probably shouldn't show an article that says exactly the opposite.  Of course I'm getting a console when the argument is "would you spend $550 to do the same thing on a PC that a ps4 can do for $400?"

top_lel
top_lel

Now that  this article is back up again let me tell you that now in that same budget, you can build a PC that might as well be double the horsepower of that of the PS4..... all hail the price drops!!

lorider25
lorider25

didn't you guys already do this article already?

tonyleo01
tonyleo01

If I only have $550 budget for a PC, I'd probably save another $300-$500 and actually build a decent PC or, ya know, just buy the console. But that's just me.

xboticon
xboticon

Shut up GameSpot. Stop trying be PC salesman. PC is filled with many problems such as hackers, lack of quality control, fractured support from multiple companies, online DRM, and Microsoft's greedy monopolistic control over the OS. PC gaming needs to die or change a lot. It doesn't matter if you can upgrade it. There is no telling how PC will change for better or worse given the reliance on too many companies. More devs need to use Open GL and you shouldn't waste money on expensive graphics cards. There is no telling if games will even support it later. PC is nothing like a console. Without consoles, AMD, Nvidia, and Microsoft would r@pe your wallets. Never get caught up with PC's fractured nature. It scares me that sites like GameSpot don't understand how the consumer tech and computer industry works.

kingfish1984
kingfish1984

I'm sorry but $550 is not a "console budget". Maybe when Sony and MS are riding high after success and they arrogantly launch around $550, but everyone knows those are rare exceptions that don't last long or lead to failure in sales. $400 would be fair ($350 more average), what kind of PC can you build with that?

terrariafan247
terrariafan247

I've never been a massive fan of PC gaming. I couldn't get on with keyboard/mouse as it gives me RSI and controller support is patchy and varies by game. Mods aren't much of an interest to me either. I also dislike Steam and digital gaming in general, although the sales are nice I'd MUCH prefer a physical copy that I can buy pre-owned and sell when I'm finished. The only games I play on my PC are older games I can't play on my PS3 and a few exclusive indie titles.


On the "PC VS Consoles" topic I'd say that it's a better of personal preference. After trying both I'd say that for me console gaming is superior. I prefer console gaming because it's easier to buy a physical copy of a game, controller support is guaranteed. The hardware is also much cheaper, PS4s are now selling at £300, try building a PC capable of running current gen games for that price. My final reason is that better graphics in games simply doesn't interest me, I play games for gameplay and sometimes story. If I want to be wowed by pretty computer effects and "realistic graphics" I'd watch a film.

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

Elite Dangerous reminded me just how much I enjoy P.C. gaming; and this is from someone who prefers sticking with consoles for over a decade and remain. 


But, I have missed games designed for keyboard and mouse. This is great as I've been thinking of making a proper gaming P.C. for Mech-Warrior 2015 & D00M IV.

denny33142
denny33142

I think people still have an outdated view on PC Gaming, Yes it was true that a couple of years ago a gaming pc wouldn't last you much before needing to upgrade it but from what i have seen in recent years that is no longer true. I no longer see games on PC with crazy system requirements like i did in the Doom 3 and Crysis days, I don't know if it's because developers are coding better or because hardware has advanced faster than games.


I still have a GTX 580 that i purchased 4 years ago and it is still playing most games on Ultra settings, The only thing i have needed to upgrade in the last 4 years was the processor and that is partly my fault because i cheapened out when i bought the original, Overall i don't see myself ever having to spend money on a full build again because some of the parts that you buy do not get outdated as fast (such as the powersupply, case, keyboard....).


Also the deals that you get on PC Games from Steam and even gulp....Origin,,  more than make up for whatever extra you might have spent building your pc.



Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

Great article!  Good see something useful come from this sites constant 'console wars' coverage that usually just provokes petty internet arguments.  A little effort and some reading will help you maximize the payoff of a well built PC that does not have its (outdated) hardware locked away.


One thing people in the comments are forgetting though.  When MS or Sony purchases parts for their consoles they are buying up cheap parts in bulk.  The price they pay for their parts is far lower than any consumer pays because they buy hundreds of thousands or millions of a piece of hardware.  The biggest reason I was so frustrated with the new generation of console.  Both companies parading around on stage acting like dated hardware was the best thing since sliced bread, all while being unable to perform half the functions of the previous generation.

gregsuarez-
gregsuarez-

Apparently you can't. And you need to boost your budgets another $50 for a game pad.

axel63
axel63

I think i did something wrong with my PC build then, because i spend way too much money, and i don't think i'm set for years. i spend $1516.83 last year on October, and this is what i got:

CPU:  AMD FX-9370 Vishera 8-Core 4.4GHz

Motherboard:  GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD7 AM3+ AMD 990FX

Case:  Cooler Master HAF X - High Air Flow Full Tower  (i don't really like the case anymore, i think its ugly. Don't know why i got it.)

PSU:  Cooler Master V1000 

GPU:  SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7970 3GB

RAM:  HyperX Black 16GB (2 x 8GB) 

Storage 1:  SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series 128GB

Storage 2: TOSHIBA  2TB 7200 RPM

OS: windows 8.1 Professional

Cooling:  CORSAIR Hydro Series H80i  


Johny_47
Johny_47

Bloody brilliant job on those computers, seriously amazed how all that decent hardware ran on a 300 and 500 watt power supply, just stunned. Power supplies, video cards and everything else must be much more efficient these days, good stuff.


I had a 500W OCZ power supply to power a dual core athlon black adition cpu, two single slot / low profile 9800gt's and 4GB ddr2 ram and the power supply went bang after about a month. A strange noise and a blue screen =P

BJCentral
BJCentral

I don't get this website at all.First they were against drm on consoles and now their suggesting a drm work based computer that's running on windows because what their beloved Sony Coperation is burning in flames.You editors are biast.

seanwil545
seanwil545

Ok....for the people who seem to think PCs only last 6 months to a year, let's take a look at my actual build from 2009.

Let's see how much I spent on it and what I can do with it today. All the initial parts listed came from Newegg. I should point that this machine was NOT initially built for gaming.
 

Case: COOLER MASTER Mystique ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition
Keyboard: Logitech Cordless Desktop LX 310 Laser
Motherboard: ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD Motherboard
Monitor: LG W2043T-PF Black 20" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor
Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) SDRAM DDR3 1600
GPU: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4650 512MB

Total Initial Cost: $637

Upgrades over 5 years...
GPU: Radeon HD 6850 - $140
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB DDR3-160 - $30
CPU: AMD Phenom X4 965 - $99 

Total Upgrades: $269
New Total Cost: $906 (Over 5 years)
 

Xbox 360 120GB cost around $300 back in 2009, depending on when it was purchased. Add 5 years of XBL at $60 Retail and the cost for the console is $600, $300 less than my PC.

***Here is the difference maker, if I were to install an AMD R9 280 for $149 after rebate (Newegg)...this machine from 2009 would easily exceed both the PS4 and XBO in gaming. The AMD Phenom X4 965 is nearly as fast an FX6300 in most benchmarks http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/102?vs=699

Purchasing a PS4 or XBO would put the console expense on par with my PC and would exceed it once you begin to factor in XBL or PSN. 

escopab
escopab

Now the trick is to get it done @ $400 or $350.  I don't see that happening anytime soon.  Why is it that every time someone does this the budget is always in excess of the total retail value of a console?  If you really want to wow people build a gaming PC that outperforms the PS4 for $348.99.  When that happens then we can say that the initial investment in PC gaming hardware is less and offers a power to cost ratio that is higher than any console.  That day will eventually come but not today.  $550 is not less than or equal to $350.


Edit:  I know the point of the article was to offer a PC option that was "similarly priced."  I would really like to see a build for less than the current consoles that outperforms them in every measurable category.  I would definitely assemble one at that moment in time.

holocam22
holocam22

Can you build a gaming pc on a console budget? Yes. Is it worth it? No. Your better off spending that money on a console you can garuntee will last at least 5 years. With a pc that cheap, the parts are already out dated and your not gonna get those amazing pc graphics you've been hearing about.

ramydarwishgtx
ramydarwishgtx

You dont need to JUST pay 400 - 600 $ for a gaming pc , make an initial investment and pay 800 - 1000$ and those 400 $ WILL be saved in due time as games are cheaper & no online fees , also u wont have to upgrade ALOT or every 2 years UNLESS your a graphic crazy person who likes everything on ULTRA all the time , and sometimes in some games this wont be *practical* 


The BIG problem of PC is as i read somewhere is weak knowledge & weak marketing , people have the SAME picture about PC's , that PC will make u spend TONS of money all the time which is not correct 

invizo
invizo

....  If you cannot spend more than a console just avoid PC.  If you can spend a decent amount ($1000-3000) then you will have a noticeably superior experience.  Next year this rig won't be able to play the same games at the playing field of a console.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

@thekoenig If you want to always play games at max settings, then yes, you will almost certainly need to upgrade over the life of a 5-7 year old PC.  This option will cost you more, but will result in better looking games once current gen console hardware starts to age.


If you just want to keep pace with current gen consoles, you can turn down the graphic settings for new titles released after 3+ years and they will still play as good as the console version.

BraollusBeBack
BraollusBeBack

@TrenchcoatFlash Yeah, true. But if you build a gaming PC, you will not only use for gaming, so, I suppose. Also, you might save up money from buying games, Steam and all that. 

PS4 is a gaming machine, good at that, it's cheap, it can do good graphics, and it is gaming centered, so no annoying OS problems or whatever. But essentially, it's all it is, if that's all you want, brilliant.

Also the back catalog of games is quite a big selling point, in my view.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@top_lel True, but $550 is a lot higher than the console price was back then, now it's even lower. This really shouldn't be listed as recent, lol.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@xboticon I'm not even a "real" PC gamer and I disagree with most of what you said. DRM, greed, hackers, little to no QA are all problems with console gaming. It's almost worse since they "assure" you they wont have these problems if you pay them monthly, lol.

At least with my laptop I can customize a game to run smoothly, sometimes even fix issues with a broken game... With my ps3 all I had to chose from was play it as is or don't play it at all.

In recent years consoles have lost a lot of what made them good.

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

@xboticon "P.C. gaming needs to die"


What the. . . We get it, you prefer consoles; so do I but NO! P.C. gaming is amazing and has a place for gamers both young and old. RTS, FPS, MMO, FS, and P&C are better on P.C. no exceptions. Because they're built around Keyboard and mouse functionality. 


You don't need a P.C. with the 2K resolution or 120 frames-per second. That's more for bragging rights in the Elitist crowd. But being a console-fanboy isn't any better you'know!

macklin_
macklin_

@kingfish1984 This was published when both consoles were new and the Xbox One was $500. Even before you could buy one without a Kinect.

RSM-HQ
RSM-HQ

@terrariafan247 I always found the argument 'console V P.C.' silly. It's all about preference. & Elitists always saying a "P.C. is more powerful" is a huge 'No SH*T!' When was any console more powerful? Console games are built on a P.C. for pete-sake.


One I always loving reading from P.C. fans is "Dark Souls is our game, it should have never been dumbed down for consoles". . . Demon's Souls anyone? & shock alert, FromSoftware is a console developer, they even say it's what they prefer developing on. 


The only reason Dark Souls came to P.C. is because fans hounded them for a port even though the idea scared the pants off them. 


Many games are built for consoles in mind, could be for interface reasons, the whole play-style of consoles. Regardless, just like many are designed for P.C. in mind. It's all gaming, & would be nice if buyers didn't blame the other because you think your (toy) is better. It's that superiority complex that turns gamers against each other.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@denny33142 Disagree.  It was not a couple years ago, it was not five years ago or even a decade ago.  I have a Pentium 4, single core processor PC in my living room that my wife and kids use for browsing the internet/homework.  16 years old it is and haven't even had a fan fail on it yet.  It was the machine I used to play Doom3 and the games that were popular at the time.


Six years ago I bought my current PC for 1,500$ three years later I updated my video card simply because the 660ti was at a huge discount (180$), and I'm still running all games on ultra quality.  I'll leave this PC as is and move it into the place of my living room PC in another 5 or 6 years with the confidence that it will last another decade doing the simple things my wife and kids require.


You do not need a quad core CPU or SLI video cards to run current software at the highest settings.  People that require that much power are using it for producing video content such as YouTubers.  The biggest mistake I made when assembling my current PC was to purchase an i7.  Sent my cost way up and hardly any software uses its potential, almost no games at all (heck, no games are coming to mind).


I'd have to agree that games seem to have plateau'd as far as system requirements go, it hasn't stopped the hardware companies from surging ahead with newer products to be sure.  Now consumers just need to be careful about over-doing it.  Also highly agree with the software prices.  IMO you can negate the purchase of your PC in a couple years simply by buying your games at a fraction of the cost, then there's all those wonderful other things you can do because your hardware isn't locked away from you.

joalopes
joalopes

@gregsuarez- No subscription for essential features such as online play. Cheaper games. PC game prices drop quicker than console prices. Competition is more aggressive on PC as online shops try to provide better value for their digital downloads. GMG, Steam all offer huge discounts.


PS+ and Xbox Live offer free games but you get more value on PC.


By the way. I have both the Xbox One and PS4. And obviously pay for Xbox Live and PS+- But I also play on PC. Value wise the PC is the better choice. 

Initial price may be a bit higher, but the investment pays of because unlike consoles, there are less hidden costs.


In fact if I do the math, with the money I spent on a Xbox Live subscription over the years I could buy a new console.

macklin_
macklin_

@axel63 Case, PSU, and cooling. I agree with you, the case is ugly. For 60 bucks you could've gotten the HAF 912. I have a friend who has it and I think it looks pretty great, especially for the price. 1000 watts is way overkill, 750 is more than enough even if you're going to crossfire. The liquid cooling is a bit overkill. Only really need liquid cooling if you're going to overclock, and with a top of the line Vishera at 4.4 GHz there's no reason to. For around 30 you could've gotten a Cooler Master Hyper 212, great CPU cooler. My friend's FX-8350 idles at like 25-30


Regardless on what deal you could've gotten, you've got a great build. You've got more than a couple years with it. I'd say around 2-3-4, then get a new GPU and CPU

seanwil545
seanwil545

@axel63 

I think you spent too much on the motherboard and cpu. I've been using AMD for years, but I think you could have done better by getting an older i5 3570k.

From what I've seen, there is little difference between 3rd and 4th gen intel cpus. i7s  don't add much for gaming which is why most gamers opt for i5s.

Where did you buy your parts?

coop36
coop36

@ramydarwishgtx Ive had my pc for about 4 years now and havent upgraded anything, still can play most games on ultra with no problems.

coop36
coop36

@invizo Youre forgetting that you cant upgrade a consoles graphics.. so the "playing field" wont change anyway.

Chaos_1990
Chaos_1990

@invizo So all these years everything I play on my PC are probably hallucinations cause I ain't got a "decent 1000-3000$ PC". 

BraollusBeBack
BraollusBeBack

@chibi-acer @thekoenig Yeah, but your PC will realistically last for only 5-7 years, IF at the time of purchase you get a high-end PC, which is much more expensive than a console. If you get a low-end or mid-end, it will not last you 7 years. 5? Maybe, with settings on low after 4 years. And that's not considering how obsessed people are with pushing graphical limits(sadly, not gameplay limits), that the specs for PC's gonna go up and up, with half-arsed ports. If you look at it this way, FC2 minimum requirements are less than FC3's, both games on the same generation of consoles, PS3 and Xbox360 had the same hardware for last 7-8 years, so why I need to suddenly upgrade my already more powerful PC(than a x360 or ps3) that I bought 4 years go, and paid for it more than a ps3 or x360, to run the same games, at pretty much the same graphics? It's ridiculous, I mean we all know the reason, more money innit? Why make a good port, when we can just raise the requirements. I mean to run AC unity, I need a GTX 680, it's almost half the price of a ps4(I also doubt that PS4 has anything more powerful than that) and that is why my interest in PC gaming has declined, I still play stuff, but I ain't upgrading my PC anytime soon(too much to upgrade), so I'll just buy a ps4 and play easy for 6 years or so(it's not the best gaming experience, it's not 420 fps or 12KsuperULTRA-(x)HD(x)(hd)  Ultra-max**TXAA160-000** anti-aliasing or 10km draw distance mods for flies, but at least I will not have to configure .inis, download low-specs  patches, deal with a whole heap of bullshit from Windows OS, viruses, hardware upgrades(which turn into more hardware upgrades, which turn into more hardware upgrades)). I mean if you like getting into technical know-how and get the most out of everything, get a PC, save up, you'll love every minute of it, but I'm getting sick of it, for now..

axel63
axel63

@seanwil545 @axel63 i got them all on Newegg. I was kinda mad at myself for not waiting for the r9 290 or the 290x. This was my first time building a Pc.

seanwil545
seanwil545

@creation0 @seanwil545 

I already had those (HDD & Windows) from a previous build. I think the PSU I did have to buy separately, a BFG LS-550W.

I can't edit the original post, so maybe another $80~$90 on top of the $906, still not bad for 2009 prices. 

The great thing is the rig is still in use, my 8 year old games on it. PvZ Garder Warfare, Lego Batman, Bastion, Transistor, Awesomenaughts and others.

megakick
megakick

@coop36 @invizo You don't need to upgrade a console every game developed for console is optimized but with PC there are so many configurations that you can buy top of line parts and the game still might not run properly. PC can be a bigger gamble.

seanwil545
seanwil545

@axel63 @seanwil545 

No worries, just run the rig for as long as you can and upgrade the GPU down the road.

I've had nothing but AMD GPUs as of late, but I think a GTX 970 or GTX 980 might be a better way to go.

Right now I'm running an i5 and HD7970 GHz Ed., I'm going to go with one of the GTX cards when I upgrade.

creation0
creation0

@seanwil545 @creation0 Well if you're comparing the cost compared to buying a new console you can't say it only cost this much, because I missed bits off for the PC cause I already had then. Windows 7 was around $100 and if you wanted to keep it up to date then you have also got the cost to upgrade to Windows 8. You also forgot the cost of a mouse and being a gaming PC you'd probably want a gaming controller to go with it.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@megakick @coop36 @invizo I would agree with you if I hadn't already read a billion articles here on this very site, nitpicking every little visual detail between MS and Sony's consoles.


Then there's always the backwards flying dragons of Skyrim, the animation glitches from BF3, faceless npcs of A.C., horrible frame drop rates in multiple titles, etc etc.


Not every game is optimized for console just as it is with PC.  Sometimes you just fall prey to lazy, ignorant or just broke devs, and that is not console or pc exclusive.

axel63
axel63

@seanwil545 @axel63 yeah, thats what i have been thinking about. i've always liked Nvidia, but i went with AMD just for the price 

seanwil545
seanwil545

@creation0 @seanwil545 

The point of my posting was primarily to debunk the notation that PC games become unplayable after 6 months to year. Instead of hypothesizing, I used an actual legacy build that I own.

Now, I bought a Keyboard/Mouse bundle, so the mouse was covered and I wasn't using 360 controllers back then since I was mostly playing FPS games. I also had a working DVD ROM which was part a previous build. It makes no sense to count the same expense more than once. This is what makes PC building so great, the fact that parts can be carried forward.

Feel free to tack on the additional costs, my point is that a PC from 5 years ago can still run today's games without spending thousands. Clearly, building a rig today is quite a bit cheaper than 5 years ago.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

@axel63 @seanwil545 This is all good experience though.  Things you will remember next time or when counselling a friend/family member if they decide to assemble a PC.  A working knowledge of technology is a good thing and not something to lament the time spent learning about it.

seanwil545
seanwil545

@creation0 @seanwil545 

You should read some of the comments below; some very uninformed statments.

People certainly seem to think upgrades need to happen every year, which is so far from the truth. Most PC gamers just choose to upgrade rather than decrease graphical settings.