Good time to buy a PC?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by Wizerzak, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Wizerzak
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    Wizerzak Because I'm a potato!

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    So I've been out of the loop regarding specs and developments recently, however my old XPS 720 is starting to fail me and I have a load of money to spend this summer. :)
    Been looking around a bit at logicalincrements.com and such but I'm not entirely sure how much I should spend (I would prefer not to go over ~£800). However seen a few of Originality's posts saying how we're in between phases right now so I don't know whether to wait it out (and how long this would be). Would I be better off buying a lower spec until something new is released?

    Needs:
    Gaming (new and old, obviously high settings would be nice)
    -No monitor, I have 2 x 1280x1024s on my desk right now. may upgrade in the future though.
    Not sure about audio card or not. I'm not a complete audiophile but the Creative SB x-fi I have at the moment gives some good extras such as crystallizer and virtual surround sound (I use headphones).

    Many thanks,
    Wizzerzak.
     


  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I am never quite sure about "phases" when it comes to computer buying, at least past any point where core2duo was a thing. This is primarily as by the time you have waited for the new release, for people to discount their old stock and you to twiddle your thumbs for a week it sees you right back waiting for the next "phase". Likewise if you do take the plunge you may not have saved/lost that much in terms of money or future upgradability.

    No screens and 800 GPB to spend should do you very well unless you really want to do something silly like SLI or buy unlocked chips (not really worth it on either count). If we assume again that the games will be locked to the consoles and developers then you can buy a Xbone/PS4 a like easily enough. That 800 might just get you into the range where the speed differences between parts and the new ones will become apparent but I doubt it will be a true dealbreaker.

    Audio cards... many conflicting opinions on the matter though most say if you are not a recording/mixing studio or doing audio recording it does not matter so much and even there most will probably instead buy standalone get and eventually have it end up inside the PC (probably even via a good USB sound card or something). Still it is not hard to get software addons to do audio transformation (there are a few that will abuse the loopback options) and surround sound type things (something like http://www.razerzone.com/gb-en/surround ).

    Holding back. Even a modest processor does really well at this point and with most old games being DX9 locked you do not need the fanciest graphics card either. To this end you could probably build the rest and upgrade the graphics card a bit later if you wanted.
     
  3. marksteele

    marksteele GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    are you looking for something custom built or pre-built? Custom built would give you more options and more upgradability but pre-built is just a lot simpler.
     
  4. LegendAssassinF

    LegendAssassinF GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    You can easily pick up at 770 and play at 720p for the next few years. If you don't plan on updating to 1080p any time soon. I currently have a 770 and it can play almost every game I own at 1080p at 60 fps with max settings so 720p should last you 4-5 years with no problem. Considering most games today don't even output to more than 720p I would assume for a while until half way through the PS4/Xbox One lifespan we will see AAA games at 1080p with max settings. If you plan on playing games like CoD or BF PC is the best just due to graphics since all the console ports for those didn't even come close to 720p. The console version ran at 1280 x 704 at 30 FPS so my guess it Battlefield 4 on console is likely only going to run 720p and 60 FPS (Just guessing due to PC versions showed at E3) yet my GPU could handle 1080p max settings so you can likely go for 660 or 660 ti and get console level graphics under 400$
     
  5. TemplarGR

    TemplarGR Gaming expert

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    In general this is NOT a good time to build/buy a new gaming PC. Unless of course you do not already own one.

    There are a few reasons:

    1) Since most PC games are console ports today, we need to know what kind of processing power next-gen ports will need. Although we do know some things, there are many unpredictable factors, for example unified memory, use of gpgpu for physics etc. We need to actually run next gen ports to be sure about their requirements.

    2) Most upcoming games for the rest of 2013 and at least the first half of 2014 are crap and/or available for older machines. Unless you consider the annual revisions(aka boring paint jobs) of COD, Assasins Creed etc as "gaming gold". So no reason to upgrade for at least a year...

    3) An AMD 7850-70 with 2GB ram is comparable to PS4 level. But if you wait for a few months/year, newer versions on the 20nm process will arrive with lower power requirements, probably more ram and more performance, for the same money. Since there is no hurry to upgrade for a "killer game", there is no reason to buy old hardware when with the same amount (and some patience) you can buy a far superior GPU a few months down the line...
     
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  6. LegendAssassinF

    LegendAssassinF GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Going by this logic it is never a good time to buy a PC you just have to take a chance since there is no sure fire thing. Same goes for PC parts next month they could be releasing a GPU that is half the price but perform at the same level as the Titan. I found that you should buy what you can afford at the time between 500-1000 and buy the most recent CPU/MOBO because they will last at least for 5 years and be still supported. GPU is a different story I would buy something that can run 1080p now and then when it starts to not be able to run 720p chances are you can SLI or Crossfire it to play 1080p again.
     
  7. TemplarGR

    TemplarGR Gaming expert

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    Nope you are wrong.

    If you build a gaming pc capable of playing next-gen level games on your favourite resolution(most probably 1080p), then you are set for 6-7 years. Because even though later games will add some bells and whistles on PC, it will not make much difference.

    If on the other hand, you build a PC now and it proves to be inadequete for next-gen gaming, you will need to upgrade again.

    I built my PC 6 years ago, and i can still game without a problem. Although more powerful hardware was released, i didn't really feel the need to upgrade.

    You should know that it is not possible to cut the price of a GPU in half on a month by month basis. With current transistor technology there is a limit on what companies can do... Do not expect rapid increases in performance after 20nm GPUs. We will have 20nm gpus for at least 3 years, and they will be improved for a +50% at most...

    So there is a point in waiting for a year. Then you can buy a gpu with a lifetime of 4-5 years...

    PS: SLI/Crossfire suck so much. It is much better to use one single powerful gpu...
     
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  8. PityOnU

    PityOnU GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Makes sense to me. Year and a half is a long time to wait, though.
     
  9. Thanatos Telos

    Thanatos Telos random stuff

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    More so Crossfire. SLI has very little microstuttering and very few runt frames in comparison. Also, it's not that bad if you bought a 560ti or something and wanted to upgrade for cheap. A 560ti runs about 130$ now, with slightly lower performance than the 7850. For reference, SLI 560tis beat out a 670. Just Saiyan.
     
  10. LegendAssassinF

    LegendAssassinF GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    He is likely not going to want to pay 1,000$ to play next-gen gaming. They have already said that the GPU is comparable to the newest GPUs (excluding the most recent one aka Titan on). I've never had a problem with SLI/Crossfire I know plenty of people that have done it with no problems and it really doubles when you do it so it could easily last you a long time. I'm pretty sure you can buy a GPU today and be set for next level graphics for a while since they haven't even touched the full compatible of the PS3 in terms of graphics if you look at Heavy Rain which took up a whole BR and now Beyond Two Souls that almost doubled in graphics (no clue about disc space yet) yet The Dark Sorcerer tech demo didn't go that much higher than Beyond Two Souls
     
  11. Kirito-kun

    Kirito-kun Disciple of GabeN

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    Firstly, never buy pre-built. They are a waste of money.

    Second, if you want a new PC, there's no better time than the present.

    Thirdly, if your budget is about $800, try this build:

    AMD FX 8350 = $200
    Nvidia GTX 660 Ti = $250
    Any AM3+ ATX mobo = $100
    8 GB Corsair Vengeance RAM = $60
    WD Blue 1 TB hard drive = $80
    Any 500 W PSU = $60
    Any ATX case = $60

    At approximately $800, this system can max out any game currently on the market.
     
  12. LegendAssassinF

    LegendAssassinF GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I would say max out if you want to play at 720p with 60 FPS but not at 1080p 60 FPS.
     
  13. Thanatos Telos

    Thanatos Telos random stuff

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    Actually, it would @ 1080p. The 660 ti is no slouch, even though I would get the 760 at that price, and the 8350 isn't that bad. From several benchmarks, (Which I'll be glad to show you) the FPS difference between it and the 3570k are negligible. 5 at the most in modern games.
     
  14. TemplarGR

    TemplarGR Gaming expert

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    Better to buy Nvidia 760 if one prefers the Nvidia brand... 250$, far more performance... But i vote for AMD since they create more power efficient designs...

    Also, AMD FX8350 is a power hungry(125 W TDP) useless for the desktop and gaming processor. The Best on that money range is Intel Core i5 4670. Far more single threaded performance. And do not be mistaken, single thread performance is key for gaming, and most consumers never use more than 2-3 heavy threads in general... Also, single threaded performance is a must for emulation, for example the Dolphin emulator...

    While i agree that this system will make the cut, it is a very wasteful system. The NVIDIA alone uses 150W TDP (660)/170W TDP(in case you get the more powerful 760). A 500W PSU won't cut it after 2-3 years, it will lose performance... Better to get a 600-650W PSU for such a power hungry machine.

    Why not wait for more power efficient and cheaper products? There is no hurry to upgrade, most games of 2013-14 will be playable on older consoles/systems... And there is no great game coming on this timeframe...
     
  15. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

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    Glad to see someone pays attention to my posts.

    The "phases" in computing I spoke about refers to the significant developments. Core 2 (and PhenomII) were a phase. Sandy Bridge (and Llano) was a phase. In each of these, they changed something about the game that made it easy to say "now is a good time". IvyBridge and Haswell since then have only been incremental upgrades that (to quote others) haven't impressed (Bulldozer even less so). In graphics, 8800GTX was a phase, then GTX 560 Ti after that. Waiting can be a year, or it can be 3 years... Hard to say. It always gets better, so it's never the "wrong" time to upgrade. Just depends on what you have/need.

    For the time being, AMD/Ivy Bridge is the cheaper option, whilst Haswell includes small features that I genuinely find useful. You can't go wrong with a Core i5-3570K, any Z77 motherboard (there's little gap in performance between the many models), new RAM if needed, and a good, solid GTX 660 Ti or higher. Recycling your case/drives if they're adequate saves a fair bit, but do check if you need to upgrade your PSU. If you have the budget left over, I also like to sink £70-80 into a 120GB SSD.

    If you need anything more specific, like links to parts (I usually pick Scan but there are others with better deals), then just ask (and/or give more details).
     
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  16. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

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    You are over-estimating the effect of capacitor aging (PSU losing its wattage rating gradually). Capacitor does not degrade significantly over 2 to 3 years (as long as you keep PSU properly ventilated). It IS however, recommended to replace PSU 7-10 years as other components inside the PSU may have failed by then.

    I'm running i7-3770K + HD7850 + 3 HDDs and when measure power consumption at UPS (uninterrupted power supply), it consumes less than 250 W including PC monitor at stress. There is still plenty headroom for a mildly overclocked FX processor.
     
  17. TemplarGR

    TemplarGR Gaming expert

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    There is no way such a setup would consume less than 250W under REAL stress. I mean REAL stress, like, using most components at their full capacity. The 7850 alone needs 130 W when operating at full speeds. Your cpu could use 77w irc. Go there:

    http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/Power

    and use your setup details. The recommended wattage for your setup is 331W. Considering capacitor aging you should use a quality 500w PSU minimum.

    Now, for the setup mentioned above, the AMD FX needs 125W TDP, and the Nvidia 660-760 need 150-170W. Considering this 68-88W TDP addition over your setup, recommending "any 500w PSU" is madness. A PSU will lose about 20% of its capacity in 2-3 years. Enough to make such a system unstable-poor performing. One of the reasons most consumers complain of their pcs "aging" is that their PSU is not up to the task anymore, and creates hung ups and other problems...

    Another thing with PSUs, is to consider only 80% of their power output. If a PSU advertises 1000W, consider it having only 800W for real use...

    So, for a system of 331+(60-80)W of maximum power draw, you should use at least a 600-650 quality PSU. It is that simple...
     
  18. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

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    Low quality PSUs overestimate their peak wattage (e.g. Claim 800W when it can only provide 500W) whilst higher quality PSUs underestimate their peak wattage (e.g. Some 1kW PSUs can provide over 1200W and remain stable). Add to the equation efficiency curves and that's why they always overestimate power requirements on graphics cards.

    For any single GPU system, 500W is enough, but I personally recommend 600-650W for higher end parts. The only time more is needed is when you're putting in extra graphics cards, and 650W is still enough to comfortably feed a dual graphics system. Even saying this, I always say get a good PSU, since its one of the most important parts of the system. Good PSUs mean stable currents which means less stress on the rest of the system.
     
  19. LegendAssassinF

    LegendAssassinF GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    No there are plenty of benchmark test to back me up on this it can handle at 720p at 60 FPS but it can't handle 1080p at 60 FPS with games recently released.
     
  20. Kirito-kun

    Kirito-kun Disciple of GabeN

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    And that is why you don't buy PSUs from Diablotek and other low-quality brands. If you buy from a good brand like Antec, when they say 500W, it can actually take 500W.

    But are those benchmarks done while overclocked? It makes a huge difference and I don't see why an OCed FX 8350 and an OCed 660 Ti can't max out current games. I'm able to get 30+ FPS in Far Cry 3 maximum settings 1080p with an OCed Phenom II x4 960T and an OCed GTS 450. According to synthetic benchmarks, the FX 8350 and 660 Ti are more than twice as powerful as my current system, so 60 FPS should be very possible.