A powerful new PC - is it worth it?


My current PC dates from March 2003 and is beginning to creak. When I bought it, for about £800, I wanted it to last 5 years, and it has performed well. In that time it's had ram added, 2 new PSUs and an additional hard drive.

It's a P4 2.6 / 1024MB ddr333 / MSI radeon 9600tx. It was upper mid-range when I bought it.

I recently set about putting the same amount of money by again for something new and upper mid-range spec with quad-core. But I find myself wondering if I should bother to go even that far this time.

I spend less time playing games now, for obvious reasons. I was 20 when I bought this PC and a student. I had a lot of time for games. I am now 25 and holding down two jobs. I don't.

When I do play games, they are all native dx9 games that run fairly comfortably, if not spectacularly, on this machine. Counter-strike source, other Valve games, and although it pains me to say it, EA games.

EA have basically given up updating their PC game engines, in fact they are pretty much focusing on consoles from here on in. It's a shame for me because I love my golf and I love playing Tiger Woods 08 online, even though the game should never have made it past beta in its current release. It is dire. But that's EA, and a different story.

The EA situation seems symptomatic of developers focusing on consoles, and we don't need to guess why.

I suppose I need convincing that there's enough out there to warrant investing in a good new machine. Having a good PC obviously has other benefits as well, which consoles don't, so I'm more inclined to. But I do wonder if I should cave in and spend x% on a PC and the rest on a 360/PS3.

Over to you.

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I say sit on the money for a while until at least the next year, mostly because a lot of new hardware/technology is set to release that might make it worth the wait. Granted that's true for every year, but 2009 seems a bit special.

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Postal 3 is coming out on the 360 so I see no need in you buying a new rig.

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Quad Core is pointless at this time. You don't really get anything worth it over the dual core. But with the new Nvidia cards you get a lot of card for your money. I spent less than 10000 sek on my new computer (~1400$) before Christmas, and I got a computer that can handle Crysis very well. Though I'm sticking with XP.

Although, I'd never recommend anyone who is familiar with computers to get a consol, since I find them very uninteresting myself.

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First of all: don't bother upgrading a perfectly good PC.

Do you really need a console? If so, get the PS3, you'll be served better - even though the X360's exclusive releases are generally better.

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What would you do with £750 ($1500~) to spend on hardware

I'd spend it on something else... or if it had to be hardware only, I'd buy someone a present.

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Being a tech geek, my natural impulse is to say the following:

Go for broke (no pun intended :P) and get the best PC for your money!

Consoles kinda suck IMHO, cant do NEARLY as much with them as you can with PCs! (The XBox 360 was outclassed by top-of-the-line PCs soon after it came out :P)

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As far as consoles go, if you spend the majority of your gaming time playing Valve and EA stuff, then you would be better off with a Xbox 360 than a PS3. Reason being is that Valve and EA games tend to be better on the Xbox 360 versus the PS3. Half-Life 2 and Madden, for example, look pretty much the same on the 360 and PS3; however, the 360 versions have a smooth frame rate, whereas the PS3 versions have a choppy frame rate. I blame this on shitty port jobs though, but what are you going to do?

Getting to the question at hand; my answer would be to build your own PC and buy a 360. Now I'm not sure about the prices in the UK, but in the US, with $1500, you could build a damn fine PC and have enough money left over to buy an Xbox 360.

But, judging by how you worded your thread, I'm going to take it that you're the type that prefers to buy a already built PC instead, which in case you'd need every bit of that £750/$1500 to get anything even remotely decent. So....

Anyway, like I was saying, if you do go the console route, then an Xbox 360 would be better for you.

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I have a PC and a 360 and I'm buying a new PC as soon as I get a full time job.

My opinion is the best, ergo this is what you should do.

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If I would buy a console, it would probaly be a x360, as it has many of the good pc games. Then I would buy a new computer or something for 500$. Also depends, if you can handle playing on a console. I am mostly a pc gamer man, as the controllers to consoles can be weird if you are used to mouse and keyboard.

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If you're going for a new PC, you don't have to go for broke. If you already have a good harddrive, case and monitor, you can save a bit of money buying only what you need. I've actually been kicking around a wishlist on Newegg for a new PC that is about $700 with all the necessary parts. I already have a great monitor, DVD-drive and a case, so I saved a bit of money. I'm also not going for the best parts, but more low to mid-range stuff.

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Most modern games being what they are (quality wise), you really don't need a high grade PC just for playing the best games.

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If you don't mind getting your hands dirty - replace the Motherboard, CPU and RAM then shop around for a good (recenty superceded) video card. That's what I'll be doing in about a year's time when my current PC turns 5.

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The first next-gen games (when I can I use current instead of next, i wonder?) had terrible PC ports, but there's a new wave of improved, pre-patched, reworked UI, all DLC-included ports of hit PS3/X360 games, and it looks like a trend that will stick.

Anything over dual core is not quite necessary yet, but any form of new graphics card will provide instant advantages to any game coded in the last 5 years.

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I, of course, voted for as much PC as you can.

But a lot of PC isn't very expensive these days. My friend just spent about £500 on a new system and ended up with something that will handle Crysis comfortably.

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You could probably afford both a decent PC and a console.

You won't notice the speed boost with quad core, I can tell you right now. Pure Hertz is still the big factor here, and really for playing games the video card is more important. 2 gigs of RAM will do you just fine (even running Vista, if you care to use it). Maybe get a smaller 10k rpm SATA HDD for the OS and use your old ones for storage. Video cards are up to personal choice but I recommend a GeForce 7950. You'll probably need a new power supply, motherboard, case, et cetera. Lastly, get a nice big LCD monitor to really appreciate the boost. 24" isn't out of the question, but slightly smaller ones can be had for around US$200. Keep in mind, though, that widescreen STILL isn't supported by a lot of major games.

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pritch said:
I spend less time playing games now, for obvious reasons. I was 20 when I bought this PC and a student. I had a lot of time for games. I am now 25 and holding down two jobs. I don't.

I think this is really the key point here. If you don't play games as much these days then there seems to be less of a reason you should be looking at consoles, or possibly upgrading. If you're thinking about it from the 'games' perspective, consider what it is that you want to play and what system those games are on. If you aren't interrested in console games then why bother? If you prefer PC games, then how is your PC running them now? If they aren't running at their best, is it something a small upgrade like ram could fix in the short term? As I see it, there's no need to update a machine that is working well enough to fit your needs. When it gets to the point where it no longer does that, then yes, a new PC (IMO) is the way to go. If it helps, think of the money as an investment; spending the money to make it nice now will (hopefully) increase it's overall lifespan, so maybe you can wait another 5+ years before you have to upgrade again.

Ultimately you should do what fits your needs and not end up like a lot of people and think "well, I have the money, might as well spend it all."

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There are lots of good points made here.

First, I'm not averse to building my own at all. But to be brutally honest, I have struggled to put together a system from components that beats the price of some of the deals to be had on ebay. And I don't mean cheap OEM rubbish that is being sold off by some insurance company employee - there seem to be a lot of people out there who are building good PCs in thermaltake psus/cases and with branded hardware for a reasonable price, perhaps for the love of building systems. They buy bulk, so that's where your saving goes.

Secondly I'm probably not interested in doing a major upgrade inside this case and with this PSU. The PSU in here now is a secondhand Thermaltake 360w that I got for £1 on ebay after my Antec decided to misplace its 12v rail recently (which I was not happy about). It's a good PSU this but old and it would have to be replaced along with the case, which is a mini-tower that suffers from poor airflow - I've cut my own holes and wired my own fans into this thing. Upgrading the ram would mean new sticks altogether so 1GB of redundant RAM, new board is needed really. Considering my optical drives are also old and noisy now, I am pretty much decided on starting a-fresh and having something that will last another 5 years.

I think Zal came closest to what I was driving at with needing to be persuaded either way. What I play at the moment is just that, what I play now. But the gamer that's buried somewhere inside me is open to new things which at the moment I don't know about.

But it's true the point some have made here that maybe I don't play consoles enough to warrant a current-gen purcahase. I have a ps2 and hardly ever use it, so. I suppose the console thing always kicks in on those occasions when I'll go round to friends, all of whom have 360s, and we'll be playing Gears of War, or lately COD4, and in moments of weakness I'm always thinking how much better I'd be if I owned the console. Heh.

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Unless there's some must-have games out now that you find worth grabbing a new PC for, just go with console gaming this gen.

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Crysis is worth grabbing a new PC for IMO.

I keep going back to it, it's great. And pretty on top of that.

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I would wait for six months mate, I have a good enough PC although I lack vista and a dx 10 card.
Athlon 64 dual core 6000+
250 gb
2gb ram
radeon 1800xt (£500)

I also have a 360................hears my view.

360 and PS3 WILL be cheaper at christmas and we will have a clearer idea of who has the best games. (although 360 is better now)

We will know more about how essential a dx10 compliant gpu is.

IMHO blu ray will never take off.

I have the 360 for sports games like tiger woods and fifa, xbox live is brilliant and cheap...... i use my pc for steam games and classic emulation.

Just chipping in my 2p's worth.

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pritch said:

But it's true the point some have made here that maybe I don't play consoles enough to warrant a current-gen purcahase. I have a ps2 and hardly ever use it, so. I suppose the console thing always kicks in on those occasions when I'll go round to friends, all of whom have 360s, and we'll be playing Gears of War, or lately COD4, and in moments of weakness I'm always thinking how much better I'd be if I owned the console. Heh.

I'm right there with you.
I don't have much time for games and when I do it's usully Doom for an hour or two. I'm still glad I bought my PS3, though. But then, I'm a home entertainment whore.

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Stay ahead of the curve and get a top-of-the-line PC, then upgrade the shit out of it. Hell, do that "Dual Strike" thing or whatever the fuck those fancy Radeons can do, and you'll be in business for years.

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Als I need right now is a video card, I think. Something so I can play Dawn of War and Morrowind without crashing (something that could run Oblivion would be nice too).

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Fisk said:

Stay ahead of the curve and get a top-of-the-line PC, then upgrade the shit out of it. Hell, do that "Dual Strike" thing or whatever the fuck those fancy Radeons can do, and you'll be in business for years.


I've heard that Dual Videocards are only good for people who have huge monitors and need something to display a huge resolution properly. It doesn't have a huge performance boost like people think it does (me included).

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amberleaf said:

IMHO blu ray will never take off.



It's already doing much better than DVD after the same time period and even for computers the increased storage will be used sooner or later.

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caco_killer said:

I've heard that Dual Videocards are only good for people who have huge monitors and need something to display a huge resolution properly. It doesn't have a huge performance boost like people think it does (me included).

Not in my experience. The speed boost can be anywhere from around 175% to absolutely nothing, depending on what game you're playing. I suppose that covers larger resolutions-- but really, I've discovered that dual GeForce 8600s don't even perform as well as a single 8800 in most cases.

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Graf Zahl said:

It's already doing much better than DVD after the same time period and even for computers the increased storage will be used sooner or later.


Maybe Graf, I think that with the increase in speeds over the internet coupled with faster and larger small removable media the need for blue ray will never match that of dvd (for film) or the old CD format (for music). I think more game publishers will go the way of digital distibution as will the film companys. We've all seen what happened with itunes etc.

What you think?

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