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Hardware  » 1200$ budget for new gaming PC, neep help

20 posts found
  Histati

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/11/13
Posts: 2

 
OP  2/11/13 1:31:47 PM#1
I'm looking to buy a new gaming PC, I do not want to build my own. I'm worried that I will invest into all this hardware and screw something up and have no tech support to help me along. The idea of spending 1200$ on a new machine and not having a warranty on the product concerns me. I guess what I'm asking: what is a good prebuilt gaming PC(tower only).   I want it to be from a company that will not leave me hanging if I run into a problem. For those that respond thanks for the help.
  miguksaram

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 828

2/11/13 2:53:26 PM#2
I realize your caveat regarding building a system on your own.  Have you attempted to look in your local area to see if there are any small business computer stores that are willing to build a system for you utilizing your own parts or perhaps theirs?  There a number of reasons this could be a better option over looking for a decent retailer online but I can't stress enough if warranty is your major concern typically these type of establishments will provide their own warranties as long as they built the system and it's a helluva lot easier to drive the system down to the store than it is to mail it out.  The other major advantage is you can select every single part YOU want in the system rather than having to choose from a preset part list.  You can also find the best deals for each part and not pay initial markup.  Typically you will only have to worry about the fee the store will charge you to build the system and provide said warranty.  I'd highly recommend you look into this option first and foremost.  Once you have if you are still concerned about specific parts feel free to reply.
  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3650

2/11/13 8:03:31 PM#3

Most pre-built computers have a warranty of 1 year remote/phone tech support and mail-in repairs, with the option to upgrade to 3 years and/or on-site repairs.

They also have famously very bad technical support.

Most computer ~parts~ have warranties of 3-5 years, individually. Some parts are Lifetime warranty (some RAM manufacturers, some video card models, etc).

The only difference is when something breaks, that instead of mailing in your entire computer, you only mail in that single part -- and if you happen to have a spare, or are able to borrow/buy a second part before your repaired/replaced part comes back, you can continue to use your computer.

That being said, it does require someone to be able to figure out exactly which part that is - which can range from being really easy, to devilishly difficult. A local Mom&Pop store really is your best bet, but not all are created equal. A good one can be hard to come by.

Pre-built name-brand computers with the best technical support:
Apple, hands down, has the best technical support & customer service, and very high reliability, and has had it for years and years. You can walk into any Apple Store and get your computer worked on same-day. Apple maintains a very active help community on their web site (via forums, FAQ's, and Knowledgebase articles, which are fairly easy to search). There is a 1-800 number you can call any time (, and get someone that actually speaks english and not Hindi. You can mail it in. If your too far from an Apple store, Apple can send someone to your home or business. You can ask their Genius Bar questions for free. You can schedule one-on-one training sessions. It's pretty hard to beat. However, Apple's are expensive, and their hardware isn't necessarily the most capable (particularly for gaming).

Lenovo and Dell often trade blows for #2 (which would include Alienware). Consumer Reports (and most other rankings-type publications) consistently put them a good ways down from Apple - but you get a full PC and don't have to pay the Apple Tax for it.

HP is usually among the worst, in terms of customer service, technical support, and reliability.

If you are looking at Custom-Building, check out Falcon Northwest and Puget Systems - both do custom order rigs with a very high level of quality.

If warranty/customer service is a concern, I'd probably steer clear of iBuyPower/CyberPC, which does custom-building as well, but with a focus on "economy" rather than quality.

  Barbarbar

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/10
Posts: 261

2/12/13 1:36:20 AM#4

Both those places seem mighty expensive. How about AVAdirect, you'll get further for your money and will let you pick decent components too.

AVAdirect

Not sure I can link to a build, but here is a one of their ASUS machines:

 

GAMING PC Powered By ASUS Core™ i5 / i7 Z77 2-way SLI® / CrossFireX™ Custom Gaming System $1180.06  UPDATE $1180.06
  • INTEL Core™ i5-3570 Quad-Core 3.4 - 3.8GHz TB, HD Graphics 2500, LGA1155, 6MB L3 Cache, 22nm, 77W, EM64T EIST VT-d VT-x XD, Retail
  • ASUS P8Z77-V LK, LGA1155, Intel® Z77, DDR3-2400 (O.C.) 32GB /4, PCIe x16 SLI CF /1+1*, SATA 3Gb/s RAID 5 /4, 6Gb/s /2, DP + HDMI + DVI + VGA, USB 3.0 /6, HDA, GbLAN, ATX, Retail
  • CORSAIR 8GB (2 x 4GB) Vengeance™ PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz CL9 (9-9-9-24) 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
  • ASUS GTX660-DC2O-2GD5, GeForce® GTX 660 1020MHz, 2GB GDDR5 6008MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, DP + HDMI + 2 x DVI, Retail
  • SEAGATE 1TB Barracuda®, SATA 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache
  • RAID No RAID, Independent HDD Drives
  • SABRENT CRW-UINB Black 65-in-1 Card Reader/Writer Drive, 3.5" Bay, Internal USB
  • ASUS DRW-24B1ST Black 24x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner, SATA, OEM
  • FRACTAL DESIGN Define R4 Black Pearl Silent Mid-Tower Case, ATX, No PSU, Plastic/Steel
  • CUSTOM WIRING Standard Wiring with Precision Cable Routing and Tie-Down
  • SEASONIC M12II-750 Bronze 750W Power Supply w/ Modular Cables, 80 PLUS® Bronze, 24-pin ATX12V 2x EPS12V, 4x 8/6-pin PCIe, Retail
  • MICROSOFT Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM
  • WARRANTY Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)
  • SERVICE Standard Shipping (UPS or Fedex)

You can save 40 bucks by taking the XFX 650 Watt powersupply. But hey, who doesn't want a modular PSU from Seasonic.

  Phoebes

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/29/06
Posts: 72

2/12/13 1:56:24 AM#5

I know you said PC Tower but I figured I would just throw this out there: I have a gaming laptop I got around Christmas and I love it. I don't have a ton of games, but Planetside 2 runs great on it. I also have some older MMO games that run great as well.

Amazingly it runs super cool all the time... never gets warm on the keyboard. The downfall is the hard drive is slower than you would get with a pc but it hasn't bothered me yet.

Here's a link if interested: LINK

.. but it's 1249 not 1200

  Histati

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/11/13
Posts: 2

 
OP  2/12/13 10:37:13 AM#6
Thanks for the input, it really helps. Mom and pop store is starting to sound good to me. I was thinking of a laptop for the convience but I do like the power a desktop offers. Now I will just have to find a shop that will be fair in price to build it. After I get some pricing, I'll ask for suggestions on what a good set up would be. Thanks again
  miguksaram

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 828

2/12/13 8:31:07 PM#7
Originally posted by Histati
Thanks for the input, it really helps. Mom and pop store is starting to sound good to me. I was thinking of a laptop for the convience but I do like the power a desktop offers. Now I will just have to find a shop that will be fair in price to build it. After I get some pricing, I'll ask for suggestions on what a good set up would be. Thanks again

As was mentioned earlier see if you can find a mom'n pop store that has a decent reputation or perhaps one which has a public proven track record.  I'm not trying to discourage you because I really do feel in your case this would be the best option but that's not to say that everyone is honest.

  Brenelael

Guide

Joined: 10/19/06
Posts: 3984

Pointing out the Obvious to the Oblivious since 2006

2/14/13 6:36:05 PM#8

I built this for about $1300 recently:

 

Intel i7-3770K Processor

Asus Sabertooth Z77 Motherboard

Asus GTX 660 TI Graphics Card

Rosewill Challenger Mid-Tower Case

Rosewill Hive Series 650W 80+ Bronze Modular Power Supply

16GB Patriot DDR3 1600 (8GB x 2 kit)

Asus DVD-RW Drive

Western Digital Black 2TB 6Gb/s SATA III Hard Drive

 

This thing eats up anything I throw at it. I play all games maxed out at 1920x1080 and I've yet to see the frame rates drop below 60FPS on anything. I ordered all of the parts through NewEgg.com and assembled it in about an hour. My load times in games are almost non-existant as well with the 6Gb/s transfer rate on that WD HD. With a total of 8 fans in this build it's also wisper quiet even under full load. For $1200 you should be able to get something similar maybe buy cutting back on the processor to an i5 or ordering a slightly less expensive MB. Just thought I'd share.

 

Bren

 

 

while(horse==dead)
{
beat();
}

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13756

2/14/13 6:43:46 PM#9
Originally posted by Brenelael

I built this for about $1300 recently:

 

Intel i7-3770K Processor

Asus Sabertooth Z77 Motherboard

Asus GTX 660 TI Graphics Card

Rosewill Challenger Mid-Tower Case

Rosewill Hive Series 650W 80+ Bronze Modular Power Supply

16GB Patriot DDR3 1600 (8GB x 2 kit)

Asus DVD-RW Drive

Western Digital Black 2TB 6Gb/s SATA III Hard Drive

 

This thing eats up anything I throw at it. I play all games maxed out at 1920x1080 and I've yet to see the frame rates drop below 60FPS on anything. I ordered all of the parts through NewEgg.com and assembled it in about an hour. My load times in games are almost non-existant as well with the 6Gb/s transfer rate on that WD HD. With a total of 8 fans in this build it's also wisper quiet even under full load. For $1200 you should be able to get something similar maybe buy cutting back on the processor to an i5 or ordering a slightly less expensive MB. Just thought I'd share.

 

Bren

And what SSD?  You didn't really spend $1300 on a slow computer, did you?  Because a computer without an SSD is slow, no matter what else it has.

6 Gb/s is the SATA type.  It means it's SATA 3, which caps transfer rates at around 600 MB per second.  But that only gets you from the SATA controller in the hard drive to the SATA controller on the motherboard, and doesn't guarantee that anything else can go that fast.  The hard drive will only be able to do around 150 MB per second (I didn't look it up; I wouldn't be surprised if the real number is 160 or 130 or some such, but it's definitely below 200) under optimal conditions (one very large file physically located on the outer rim of a platter and read sequentially), and will chug along below 1 MB per second under harsh conditions (reading lots of 4 KB clusters scattered all over the drive and with queue depth 1).  Good SSDs will beat your hard drive by about two orders of magnitude in some important tests.

  Brenelael

Guide

Joined: 10/19/06
Posts: 3984

Pointing out the Obvious to the Oblivious since 2006

2/14/13 6:51:50 PM#10
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Brenelael

I built this for about $1300 recently:

 

Intel i7-3770K Processor

Asus Sabertooth Z77 Motherboard

Asus GTX 660 TI Graphics Card

Rosewill Challenger Mid-Tower Case

Rosewill Hive Series 650W 80+ Bronze Modular Power Supply

16GB Patriot DDR3 1600 (8GB x 2 kit)

Asus DVD-RW Drive

Western Digital Black 2TB 6Gb/s SATA III Hard Drive

 

This thing eats up anything I throw at it. I play all games maxed out at 1920x1080 and I've yet to see the frame rates drop below 60FPS on anything. I ordered all of the parts through NewEgg.com and assembled it in about an hour. My load times in games are almost non-existant as well with the 6Gb/s transfer rate on that WD HD. With a total of 8 fans in this build it's also wisper quiet even under full load. For $1200 you should be able to get something similar maybe buy cutting back on the processor to an i5 or ordering a slightly less expensive MB. Just thought I'd share.

 

Bren

And what SSD?  You didn't really spend $1300 on a slow computer, did you?  Because a computer without an SSD is slow, no matter what else it has.

6 Gb/s is the SATA type.  It means it's SATA 3, which caps transfer rates at around 600 MB per second.  But that only gets you from the SATA controller in the hard drive to the SATA controller on the motherboard, and doesn't guarantee that anything else can go that fast.  The hard drive will only be able to do around 150 MB per second (I didn't look it up; I wouldn't be surprised if the real number is 160 or 130 or some such, but it's definitely below 200) under optimal conditions (one very large file physically located on the outer rim of a platter and read sequentially), and will chug along below 1 MB per second under harsh conditions (reading lots of 4 KB clusters scattered all over the drive and with queue depth 1).  Good SSDs will beat your hard drive by about two orders of magnitude in some important tests.

I wanted storage space first... I will add an SSD later on. As for it being slow I don't think so. I know you know a lot Quiz but with the read/write lifespan of the current generation of SSDs I don't think I want one as a boot device just yet. When they get it up to the read/write lifespan of a magnetic drive I'll consider it. This thing has almost instantanious load times now.

 

Bren

while(horse==dead)
{
beat();
}

  User Deleted
2/14/13 6:54:46 PM#11

Calling a computer "slow" because it doesn't have an SSD is a bit innacurate.  Compared *to* an SSD, sure, but it's not like the thing is going to be crawling around while you go make a cup of coffee until your program opens.

Anyway, the great thing about SSD's is that they do well along side a normal drive.  Install your games on the SSD, where the performance increase is noticeable, and everything else on the regular drive, which has the higher storage capacity.

You give great advice sometimes,  but you also have a tendancy to sound like a car salesman trying to scare someone into buying the top of the line model .

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13756

2/14/13 7:06:00 PM#12
Originally posted by Brenelael
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Brenelael

I built this for about $1300 recently:

 

Intel i7-3770K Processor

Asus Sabertooth Z77 Motherboard

Asus GTX 660 TI Graphics Card

Rosewill Challenger Mid-Tower Case

Rosewill Hive Series 650W 80+ Bronze Modular Power Supply

16GB Patriot DDR3 1600 (8GB x 2 kit)

Asus DVD-RW Drive

Western Digital Black 2TB 6Gb/s SATA III Hard Drive

 

This thing eats up anything I throw at it. I play all games maxed out at 1920x1080 and I've yet to see the frame rates drop below 60FPS on anything. I ordered all of the parts through NewEgg.com and assembled it in about an hour. My load times in games are almost non-existant as well with the 6Gb/s transfer rate on that WD HD. With a total of 8 fans in this build it's also wisper quiet even under full load. For $1200 you should be able to get something similar maybe buy cutting back on the processor to an i5 or ordering a slightly less expensive MB. Just thought I'd share.

 

Bren

And what SSD?  You didn't really spend $1300 on a slow computer, did you?  Because a computer without an SSD is slow, no matter what else it has.

6 Gb/s is the SATA type.  It means it's SATA 3, which caps transfer rates at around 600 MB per second.  But that only gets you from the SATA controller in the hard drive to the SATA controller on the motherboard, and doesn't guarantee that anything else can go that fast.  The hard drive will only be able to do around 150 MB per second (I didn't look it up; I wouldn't be surprised if the real number is 160 or 130 or some such, but it's definitely below 200) under optimal conditions (one very large file physically located on the outer rim of a platter and read sequentially), and will chug along below 1 MB per second under harsh conditions (reading lots of 4 KB clusters scattered all over the drive and with queue depth 1).  Good SSDs will beat your hard drive by about two orders of magnitude in some important tests.

I wanted storage space first... I will add an SSD later on. As for it being slow I don't think so. I know you know a lot Quiz but with the read/write lifespan of the current generation of SSDs I don't think I want one as a boot device just yet. When they get it up to the read/write lifespan of a magnetic drive I'll consider it. This thing has almost instantanious load times now.

 

Bren

If you have almost instantaneous load times, you've never tried loading anything demanding.  Such as Windows.  Or just about any recent commercial game.  The CPU work to load a lot of things is enough to make loading far from instantaneous, even if you had infinitely fast storage.

For consumer use, an SSD has a good chance of living longer than a hard drive.  Reads don't put meaningful wear on an SSD; it's only the write/erase cycles that are problematic.  The time that it takes to wear out an SSD through typical consumer use will typically be at least decades and likely centuries.  The SSD would usually fail before that for other reasons--as would a hard drive, for that matter.

  Quizzical

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Posts: 13756

2/14/13 7:09:34 PM#13
Originally posted by asmkm22

You give great advice sometimes,  but you also have a tendancy to sound like a car salesman trying to scare someone into buying the top of the line model .

If you're going to spend $1200, then you might as well get a nice $1200 computer.  That's a large enough budget that you definitely want an SSD--as is $1300.

If you've got a $600 budget and need a lot of storage space, then an SSD probably doesn't fit.  I wouldn't say, "No, you need to spend $1200."

But you could cut back on the CPU and motherboard from Brenlael's build in ways that few would ever notice the difference to make room for a good ~240 GB SSD.  Not doing so constitutes spending money in the wrong places unless you have extremely unusual needs.

  skakruk

Novice Member

Joined: 4/18/12
Posts: 9

2/14/13 7:11:11 PM#14
If I'm not mistaken the new Intel processors and AMD video cards are comming in June, July. Might be worth it to wait for a few month?..
  Brenelael

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2/14/13 7:12:13 PM#15
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Brenelael
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Brenelael

I built this for about $1300 recently:

 

Intel i7-3770K Processor

Asus Sabertooth Z77 Motherboard

Asus GTX 660 TI Graphics Card

Rosewill Challenger Mid-Tower Case

Rosewill Hive Series 650W 80+ Bronze Modular Power Supply

16GB Patriot DDR3 1600 (8GB x 2 kit)

Asus DVD-RW Drive

Western Digital Black 2TB 6Gb/s SATA III Hard Drive

 

This thing eats up anything I throw at it. I play all games maxed out at 1920x1080 and I've yet to see the frame rates drop below 60FPS on anything. I ordered all of the parts through NewEgg.com and assembled it in about an hour. My load times in games are almost non-existant as well with the 6Gb/s transfer rate on that WD HD. With a total of 8 fans in this build it's also wisper quiet even under full load. For $1200 you should be able to get something similar maybe buy cutting back on the processor to an i5 or ordering a slightly less expensive MB. Just thought I'd share.

 

Bren

And what SSD?  You didn't really spend $1300 on a slow computer, did you?  Because a computer without an SSD is slow, no matter what else it has.

6 Gb/s is the SATA type.  It means it's SATA 3, which caps transfer rates at around 600 MB per second.  But that only gets you from the SATA controller in the hard drive to the SATA controller on the motherboard, and doesn't guarantee that anything else can go that fast.  The hard drive will only be able to do around 150 MB per second (I didn't look it up; I wouldn't be surprised if the real number is 160 or 130 or some such, but it's definitely below 200) under optimal conditions (one very large file physically located on the outer rim of a platter and read sequentially), and will chug along below 1 MB per second under harsh conditions (reading lots of 4 KB clusters scattered all over the drive and with queue depth 1).  Good SSDs will beat your hard drive by about two orders of magnitude in some important tests.

I wanted storage space first... I will add an SSD later on. As for it being slow I don't think so. I know you know a lot Quiz but with the read/write lifespan of the current generation of SSDs I don't think I want one as a boot device just yet. When they get it up to the read/write lifespan of a magnetic drive I'll consider it. This thing has almost instantanious load times now.

 

Bren

If you have almost instantaneous load times, you've never tried loading anything demanding.  Such as Windows.  Or just about any recent commercial game.  The CPU work to load a lot of things is enough to make loading far from instantaneous, even if you had infinitely fast storage.

For consumer use, an SSD has a good chance of living longer than a hard drive.  Reads don't put meaningful wear on an SSD; it's only the write/erase cycles that are problematic.  The time that it takes to wear out an SSD through typical consumer use will typically be at least decades and likely centuries.  The SSD would usually fail before that for other reasons--as would a hard drive, for that matter.

Well Quiz, I'm not in the mood to argue with you so lets just say it's good enough for me and leave it at that. I will add an SSD when I can but right now this build is good enough. Keep fighting the good fight brother.

 

Bren

while(horse==dead)
{
beat();
}

  Quizzical

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2/14/13 7:13:46 PM#16
Originally posted by skakruk
If I'm not mistaken the new Intel processors and AMD video cards are comming in June, July. Might be worth it to wait for a few month?..

For desktop use, Haswell won't be much better than Ivy Bridge--probably single digit percentages.  That's not worth waiting for.

For discrete video cards, the only stuff coming this year other than minor refreshes (e.g., now stock clocked 50 MHz higher than before!) is some new low end cards and the top end GK110-based card for $900, plus possibly some salvage parts of it.  GK110 is worth waiting for on a $3000 budget, but not $1200.

  Brenelael

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2/15/13 12:56:37 PM#17
Originally posted by Quizzical

But you could cut back on the CPU and motherboard from Brenlael's build in ways that few would ever notice the difference to make room for a good ~240 GB SSD.  Not doing so constitutes spending money in the wrong places unless you have extremely unusual needs.

Just to reply to this Quiz... When I build a new rig I look at the Mobo and Processor as the foundation of the system. I never go cheaper on these because I want it to last 3+ years without upgrading. What I bought now may seem a little overpowered for my needs but 2 years from now they will be average and 3+ years from now they will be getting obsolete. I build for tomorrow... not today. I wanted a system that I could build on over time so I chose a solid foundation to work on. The SSD will come in time. Right now waiting 3-5 seconds for a game to initially load isn't a big deal to me. In the games I never have issues with waiting for anything to load however with this setup. A SSD is nice and I do agree it would be faster but I don't really need it just yet.

 

Bren

while(horse==dead)
{
beat();
}

  Aori

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/28/06
Posts: 1824

2/15/13 2:16:57 PM#18
Originally posted by Brenelael
Originally posted by Quizzical

But you could cut back on the CPU and motherboard from Brenlael's build in ways that few would ever notice the difference to make room for a good ~240 GB SSD.  Not doing so constitutes spending money in the wrong places unless you have extremely unusual needs.

Just to reply to this Quiz... When I build a new rig I look at the Mobo and Processor as the foundation of the system. I never go cheaper on these because I want it to last 3+ years without upgrading. What I bought now may seem a little overpowered for my needs but 2 years from now they will be average and 3+ years from now they will be getting obsolete. I build for tomorrow... not today. I wanted a system that I could build on over time so I chose a solid foundation to work on. The SSD will come in time. Right now waiting 3-5 seconds for a game to initially load isn't a big deal to me. In the games I never have issues with waiting for anything to load however with this setup. A SSD is nice and I do agree it would be faster but I don't really need it just yet.

 

Bren

It doesn't matter if you buy an FX 6300, 3570k or a 3770k.. they would all need upgraded around the same time. Unless you have very specific needs then as long as you get something quality then it won't make that much of a difference for the future.

If I buy a computer, I buy it for today because today is the day I know what it can handle. You can't build for tomorrow, it doens't work that way with computer and software technology. You can build a computer that has enough raw power to handle tomorrows task but it doesn't mean its ideal.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3650

2/15/13 3:57:50 PM#19


Originally posted by Aori
If I buy a computer, I buy it for today because today is the day I know what it can handle. You can't build for tomorrow, it doens't work that way with computer and software technology. You can build a computer that has enough raw power to handle tomorrows task but it doesn't mean its ideal.

I agree with this largely. There is definitely going to be a difference in longevity based on, say, a dual core Core i3 3225 and a octocore FX8300 - how much, it's hard to say. Also, again, between say a 640GTS and a 680GTX.

But to try to predict what the difference in longevity is hard to do.

There's a good example. Back in the early 2000's, AMD and Intel were in a clockspeed race. At the time, single-core CPU's where all that we really had, and x86 architecture was pretty cut and dry, so really the only way you could differentiate yourself was to have the faster clock. The Megahertz wars. AMD had a decent edge on Intel with their Athlon lineup, and for a while actually had the speed crown.

So games and programs were designed with this in mind: one lane of traffic running on a race car.

However, we hit a road block. Physics kicked in, and we were more or less stuck around 3-4Ghz (and if you notice, we still are stuck around 3-4Ghz). So no longer could you just get faster by cranking the clock up. We had to change the way CPU's worked fundamentally.

Instead of raising the speed limit and trying to come up with faster cars, we started to add more lanes to the highway (core count).

Servers, supercomputers, and large workstations had been doing this for a long time, so it wasn't really anything new. But it was new to PC's. Game developers still are struggling to revamp their toolkits to switch from "faster" cores to "more" cores, and that is not an easy change to make.

The best example of this: Everquest 2. It released in 2004, right around the start of the multi-core releases. During it's development, Sony bet that core clocks would keep getting faster, and designed their engine to run on a single really fast core (think 6-8Ghz). At the time it released, not many computers out there could run that graphics engine well, and even still today, not many can.

Sony tried to predict the future, and based on all indications, that was the direction things were heading, but something changed, and Sony bet wrong.

So now, we have multi-core CPUs. The real bet today is how many will be enough, because individual cores are (probably) not going to get a whole lot faster. Up until very recently (the last year or two), dual-core was plenty. This past year we are starting to see games where 3-4 cores can be effectively used. How long will it be until 4 cores is no longer enough, I can't say. Probably not for a while though - and if I were betting, I would say 4-cores would be safe for the next 4-5 years, which is about the lifespan of an average gaming PC anyway before it would see significant upgrades just based on technology changes alone.

But things could easily shift as well - we see mutterings about ARM out there. I don't seriously thing they will push into the PC realm in a big way, but if we see something like 20-core ARM powered computers come out (purely a hypothetical situation for example here), or we see some shift in design that gets us back into a clock race (again, purely hypothetical example), or something else entirely that could radically shift the context again, and no amount of "futureproofing" today can prepare you for a shift like that.

  Brenelael

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2/16/13 1:42:20 PM#20

Although I do agree you can't possibly accurately predict the future you can make an educated guess based on the past. Right now and for that matter as long as I can remember games and programs in general aren't really made for today's hardware. In order to reach as wide an audience for their program software developers usually develop for hardware about 2 years behind whatever is current. What is coming out now for example will run fine at max settings on CPUs and GPUs that came out 2 years ago or more. This is because if they catered only to those that could afford the latest best hardware they would have a very small market for their product.

 

Going on this you can pretty much predict that what is going to come out 2-3 years from now won't break this cycle. This means if you get the best you can get now you can pretty much expect to have it still be current as far as software goes for at least the next 2 years. 3+ years from now you will start to see it's age however in the games that will be releasing at that time and will need to start thinking about an upgrade. This is mainly because whatever is going to release 2 years from now is most likely in development already on todays hardware.

 

Bren

while(horse==dead)
{
beat();
}