Advice sought on building a PC that can compete with next gen consoles (PS4, X720)

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  • Skirlasvoud 13 Apr 2013 17:16:30 246 posts
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    Hey everyone! I'm not that Tech savvy or familiar with any tech oriented forums around the web, so I thought I might as well ask fellow Eurogamers about this:


    Its clear that the consoles now determine the PC system requirements of the latest games. Every time Sony and Microsoft release a new generation of consoles, the new games are designed around the hardware of those consoles and the games therefore demand similar requirments from PC rigs. After that however, new games also becomes stuck with that console hardware for a whole generation and there's a very pleasant period of stagnation where the PC system requirements don't become higher.
    Having gamed for over 20 years and having lived through a period where this wasn't always so, I applaud this stagnation. PC hardware becomes better, system requirements don't, and there's no pressure for me to keep upgrading my rig for a good while if I don't want to. On top of that, PC's are more versatile, also allowing me internet browsing, home entertainment and office tools.


    However, the next generation is almost upon us (Playstation 4, Xbox 720) and I myself am married to a FrankenStein of a rig. It has performed admirable and managed to keep up with the PS3 and Xbox 360, but I'm afraid its time has slowly come. Even if it hadn't, its now giving me random Bleu Screens of Death, its noisy, the graphics stutter and cooling is lacking.
    There's 10,8 and 4 year old ram in there (4x 1 gig), an aging motherboard (AM3), a wobbly graphics card (Gforce 250 GTS), and a reliable PCU (AMD Athlon II x4 640), put inside 12 year housing that looks like it got shot at after I replaced the power unit. It also still runs on Windows XP.

    With the exeption of perhaps the CPU, it might be time to say goodbye and start anew. I'm moving from Norway back to my homecountry in two months and the costs of taking it with me, might be higher than the desktop itself is worth.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Time to embrace the next generation and build a rig that can handle the challenge given by the Xbox720 and Playstation 4! But how?


    >


    What is better to do in cost?

    - Either create a cheap PC rig at the low end of the next-gen spectrum (maybe re-use the AMD Athlon II x4 640) and upgrade the individual parts later as required.
    - Or create a more expensive, but solid rig that can last the entire course of the next generation.


    >


    But for either of these two options, what is enough? I've read up on the hardware specs of the Xbox720's Durango and the PS4, but I can't make heads or tails from it. Only thing I'm sure of, is needing 64 bit.

    I favor AMD/ATI, but what is the minimum entry into the next gen when it comes to Processing and Graphics power for the PC, and what current Processor unit/Graphics card has a chance of competing with the entire generation?
    What is the minimum amount of RAM on what motherboard?


    >


    Will Windows 7 last the PC for an entire console generation, or do you expect they will push aggressively for games needing Windows 8 in a few years?


    >


    Thanks in advance for any help given.
  • GuiltySpark 13 Apr 2013 18:36:43 6,460 posts
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    Not that this really answers your question, but it's not as clear cut as simply matching the system spec of a PC up to a console, and there's no guarantee that you'd match the performance of a console, just because you've matched the spec sheet of the console, because there is no guarantee that the games function similarly over the different hardware.

    It's much better to do the traditional way of building a PC. Look at your budget and allocate parts to the different bits you need.

    In essence, just go on Tom's Hardware or something similar and look at their builds.

    Get bent.

  • RobTheBuilder 13 Apr 2013 18:47:20 6,521 posts
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    Given you can create a pretty powerful system for under 800 I would say do that.

    If you buy a 400/500 machine you'll end up spending the same again in two years. If you buy a 2000 unit you'll get terrible value.

    800 will get you an i5 3770K capable of being overclocked easily to 4ghz, and a very good graphics card.

    I put this spec together for someone, use these codes on ebuyer:

    i5 - 349029
    Good motherboard - 386271
    16 GB ram - 412029
    Nvidia 670 2gb graphics card - 367979
    dvd drive - 410560
    2tb hard drive - 319641
    windows 7 64bit oem - 259863 or windows 8 64bit oem - 407517
    case - 172779
    a 550w PSU from a very reliable make for 42.99 (278492)

    Total: 865 inc vat

    If you wanted to put another 670 graphics card in and have them in SLI in the future I'd recommend spending a bit more on a power unit like this one: 235519

    Edited by RobTheBuilder at 18:47:46 13-04-2013
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Apr 2013 18:48:30 6,521 posts
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    @Skirlasvoud See above!

    What would your budget be for a new machine if you went for a high spec one?
    As really there isn't much better than the above machine for sensible money, so adding another 670 in a year or so would be a logical way to up it without spending too much more.

    Edited by RobTheBuilder at 18:50:08 13-04-2013
  • grey_matters 13 Apr 2013 18:50:02 3,860 posts
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    1045T Six-core drop-in replacement for your Athlon II 640

    7850

    That should be close. As time goes by, the developers will squeeze more out of the consoles and your PC may not be quite up to the ports. At this point (18-24 months time), you can replace the graphics card with something that blows the consoles out of the water.
    RAM might be worth getting in the next year at some point.

    The other route is to sell off what you have and get an Core i5 plus the best GPU you can afford. (Edit: Along the lines of what RobTheBuilder suggested)

    Edited by grey_matters at 18:53:24 13-04-2013
  • sport 13 Apr 2013 18:53:39 12,798 posts
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    Wait till dirtbox hears about this thread. Just wait...
  • Deleted user 13 April 2013 18:54:30
    Titan
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Apr 2013 19:03:46 6,521 posts
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    @bitch_tits_zero_nine a titan would be a total waste of money! Could get three 670's or two 680's for the price of one one Titan

    Edited by RobTheBuilder at 19:04:18 13-04-2013
  • Fake_Blood 13 Apr 2013 19:19:44 4,385 posts
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    Haven't we established that sli is for suckers?
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Apr 2013 19:27:21 6,521 posts
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    @Fake_Blood 2x sli is a reasonable upgrade path. 3x is for suckers. 4x is for big suckers with too much money.
  • mrpon 13 Apr 2013 19:28:48 29,421 posts
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    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-vs-the-ultimate-gaming-pc

    Give yourself 5 or gig, you're worth it.

  • Fake_Blood 13 Apr 2013 19:32:04 4,385 posts
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    I think it's okay when you want to upgrade an existing system if your psu can handle it.
    I just got a an asus 670 with 4gb, think that will be on par with what next gen will be.
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Apr 2013 20:01:40 6,521 posts
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    @Fake_Blood exactly. The PC above (with the better psu) will be roughly par with ps4 but easily upgradable by adding on another 670 or swapping it for a newer card.
  • webespresso 13 Apr 2013 20:04:18 89 posts
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    Do what all the cool kids do and get yourself a Wii U instead.

    ...because you know, you could blow yourself up or electrocute yourself or something if you're a tech noob.

    Edited by webespresso at 20:11:53 13-04-2013
  • Deleted user 13 April 2013 21:04:07
    RobTheBuilder wrote:
    @bitch_tits_zero_nine a titan would be a total waste of money! Could get three 670's or two 680's for the price of one one Titan
    Yeah I know, just wanted to suggest it because even though you'ld have to be mental I'd still love one : p
  • X201 13 Apr 2013 21:18:40 15,692 posts
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    Buy a copy of PC Gamer and make one of their test rigs that suits your budget.
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Apr 2013 21:19:52 6,521 posts
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    @X201 for the money that rig suggested above was about the best spec I could see.

    Edited by RobTheBuilder at 21:23:29 13-04-2013
  • munki83 13 Apr 2013 21:25:12 1,447 posts
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    Or you could wait till after the launch to see how pc ports of multiplatform games are compared to the ps4 and neXt box then decide what you need :)
  • Deleted user 13 April 2013 21:34:19
    That would be the smart thing to do.
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Apr 2013 21:43:35 6,521 posts
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    @bitch_tits_zero_nine not sure how exactly PC ports are likely to vary in any significant degree. If anything they'll improve as the architecture gets closer together
  • Deleted user 13 April 2013 21:49:23
    No, but because the games will be written to take advantage of unknown architecture, PCs will likely need to brute force decent framerates by being much more powerful.

    For one thing, as an example of a potential bottleneck, the ps4 has 8gb of gddr5 available to both the cpu and gpu; no pc or gpu has that as of yet.

    Edited by bitch_tits_zero_nine at 21:51:53 13-04-2013
  • b0rk 13 Apr 2013 22:00:34 2,942 posts
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    @Goodfella

    Still rocking that 560?
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Apr 2013 22:02:02 6,521 posts
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    @bitch_tits_zero_nine but with that CPU and setup he could easily swap out the graphics card for a new one. If he wants a PC to reach ps4 standards that's hardly likely to change any more so than PC development normally does.
  • Deleted user 13 April 2013 22:08:17
    Yeah logically you're probably right, but he could potentially need to change mb to accommodate an as yet unknown new CPU architecture.

    Architectures are definitely converging, but it's still not written in stone is my point, so there is still a degree of risk involved.
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Apr 2013 22:45:51 6,521 posts
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    @bitch_tits_zero_nine true, but an i5 clocked at 4ghz should be pretty good for at least 3/4 years given that CPU's are less important in PC gaming than graphics spec now.
  • Deleted user 13 April 2013 22:48:26
    I'd definitely hope so. I'm saving up for an i5 -> 670 myself :D

    Should have enough by july ish.
  • Bremenacht 13 Apr 2013 23:03:56 19,370 posts
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    @OP

    1/ Set yourself a budget.
    2/ The other stuff.
  • Physically_Insane 13 Apr 2013 23:14:47 9,111 posts
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    RobTheBuilder wrote:
    Given you can create a pretty powerful system for under 800 I would say do that.

    If you buy a 400/500 machine you'll end up spending the same again in two years. If you buy a 2000 unit you'll get terrible value.

    800 will get you an i5 3770K capable of being overclocked easily to 4ghz, and a very good graphics card.

    I put this spec together for someone, use these codes on ebuyer:

    i5 - 349029
    Good motherboard - 386271
    16 GB ram - 412029
    Nvidia 670 2gb graphics card - 367979
    dvd drive - 410560
    2tb hard drive - 319641
    windows 7 64bit oem - 259863 or windows 8 64bit oem - 407517
    case - 172779
    a 550w PSU from a very reliable make for 42.99 (278492)

    Total: 865 inc vat

    If you wanted to put another 670 graphics card in and have them in SLI in the future I'd recommend spending a bit more on a power unit like this one: 235519
    Yep, Rob kindly recommend this setup for me and after around 2 weeks with my machine I'm very happy with the results. Highly recommended.
  • joeymoto108 13 Apr 2013 23:23:48 654 posts
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    Don't do what I originally did, which is getting a shit case and shit PSU. Just makes things a hassle when you want to upgrade- I had to get a better PSU and bigger case to house my GTX 680 when I upgraded, and I'm now looking at upgrading my motherboard. Don't skimp out on the things which seem trivial, it works out cheaper in the long run.

    'Look at you, hacker: a pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you run through my corridors. How can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?'

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