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Hardware  » Top end hardware, are they ever worth the premium price?

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26 posts found
  Badaboom

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/04/10
Posts: 2382

 
OP  5/04/12 10:18:03 AM#1

I have bought best bang for buck parts many times with hopes to upgrade down the road.  Two times, the tech has completely changed rendering my upgrade plans obsolete.

For instance, I have a motherboard that has ddr2 ram which, from my limited understanding, is twice as slow as ddr3.

I think, when you get right down to it, the cost of buying premium parts is the same as buying best bang for buck.  As premium parts should keep you in the game for twice as long.

What do you guys think?

  Havekk

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/14/08
Posts: 1360

5/04/12 10:21:30 AM#2

Depends on the part. You have to know where to spend your money and where to get thrifty. For example, I never cheap out on the motherboard, but I may buy a lower end cpu, as long as I know there are better available on the roadmap before they change the arch. As far as graphic cards, I always buy mid range. That's an item that you will typically swap out one a year or so, as such, I don't like spending over about $300. Power supply, go premium. Always. You get the idea though.

  Aori

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/06
Posts: 1781

5/04/12 10:33:30 AM#3
Originally posted by Praetalus

Depends on the part. You have to know where to spend your money and where to get thrifty. For example, I never cheap out on the motherboard, but I may buy a lower end cpu, as long as I know there are better available on the roadmap before they change the arch. As far as graphic cards, I always buy mid range. That's an item that you will typically swap out one a year or so, as such, I don't like spending over about $300. Power supply, go premium. Always. You get the idea though.

 Exactly what this fella said.

Though it really depends on your definition of top end premium.. also depends on what you're trying to accomplish. A $250 CPU can be just as effective as a $1000 CPU for the average user for the same amount of time.

  Cod_Eye

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/04/09
Posts: 1009

5/04/12 10:36:56 AM#4

There is one deciding factor for most people on whether they want to buy the latest piece of hardware, and that is money. Whether its worth the money to buy the latest gpu or cpu doesnt come into the eqaution for those that do buy it, for pc geeks its more of a status symbol to show off to their mates.  Not saying that everyone is like that but I reckon it is for pc building geeks, hardcore hobbiests.

When buying the latest hardware for the likes of maybe you and I, then money becomes a hurdle, we have also got to take into account will my pc be able to take advantage of the latest piece of hardware? is it going to choke my other components? (very unlikely), will my system choke the new gpu? (more than likely) What more expense will I need to outlay for a $600 gpu/Cpu?

Me personally regardless if I could afford the latest piece of kit or not, I would buy an alternative if I need to update that particular hardware and wait till a later date to get the one thats just been released at a later date.  Hardware becomes so last year so quickly, it just doesnt make sense to fork out all that money, not to the average user anyway.

If your talking about brand named items then yes it is worth that bit extra.  Cheap items are built with cheap components and wont last anywhere near as long as a well built branded item.  One of the most common replacements are PSU's a cheap £35 psu is really a bad investment, spend that bit extra and expect to pay double the amount at least for a better quality product.

  Badaboom

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/04/10
Posts: 2382

 
OP  5/04/12 10:39:25 AM#5

A gtx 680 currently sells for $600 from my favorite online retailer.  Would it be better to buy that card in the hopes that it lasts twice as long as the $300 alternative? (Let's not even get into SLI)

 

Also, I could buy an: 

 
Intel Core i5 3570K Unlocked Quad Core Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Ivy Bridge 6MB Retail
for $239 right now or an I7 is for $380.  Is $140 worth the price difference...in the long run?
  Trionicus

Novice Member

Joined: 1/31/12
Posts: 488

5/04/12 10:53:12 AM#6

On my most recent build I decided to cheap out on everything. UPS had decided to destroy about 3 and 1/2 of my machines so I wanted to just throw something together.

Went with some cheap $60 Gigabyte mini ATX board, some DD3 3 @ 1333 an i5 2400 that was on a nice rebate, a used 6770 for less than $100 and some other not too fancy parts, totalled around $450-500.

The machine runs 720p on  max, I havent tried it on the 1080p or 1080i screens of 42+ but on the 22's it seems just fine. Actually I should mention I recycled a few parts like the PSU and 1 of my HDD's from a working machine.

Compare this new machine to one of the "Premium" 2008 machines it replaced that had a E8400. This new PC destroys it in every category. However, the E8400 has served me well for 4 years, awesome-ish right?

When I think of real "Premium" parts I usually think of Core 2 Extremes or cpu's similar to that price range $900+ and of course mobo's that are in the $240+ price range. Since I'm not a competing pro gamer or very rich I can't really justify spending 50% - 100% more on parts. So I just keep my eye on percentages spent comapred to "Premium" and usually the best bang for buck is half the cost of premium parts with less than a %50 difference in performance.

Presently I think it's a radical difference compared to even 4 years ago. Now you can get a cheap machine and it will run everything you want, where as in an E4400 will suck balls vs an E8400 even back then.

Anyway to try and answer, I think buying a cheaper more banging for your bucking machine every 2 years might be superior to buying a more expensive premium machine every 4 years.

  jdnewell

Elite Member

Joined: 7/04/06
Posts: 1842

5/04/12 10:53:23 AM#7

I usually buy the mid range GPU's. My last one was a Sapphire 5850 ( which was a beast) I kept it for almost 2 years, just got an Asus 7870-2gb version which I will keep for at least 2 1/2 year or so.

CPU I usually buy the previous generation- Currently have an I5 2500k, which I will keep for the next 2 1/2-3 years ( if not more )simply due to the fact that in 2+ years I can crank up the OC to get more performance out of it.

Motherboard I go mid range - Usually around the $150 range roughly, simply due to I dont use SLI or crossfire but want some overclocking tools available.

PSU- always get a good power supply, may go cheap on anything else but that, well worth the cost.

RAM- So cheap its not even a factor

HDD- I always buy a good HDD, even if its just for bulk storage. The 7200 rpm western digital I have re used in my wifes computer is goin on 6 years old now, just cant kill the thing. In my latest build I bought an SSD, and honestly will probably never go back to a platter drive as my main drive. That speed and performance spoils you for sure.

Case- I go for a decent case, nothing over the top. Mid tower usually and less that $100 bucks.

CPU cooler I always buy a decent one, usually spend around $50 bucks. I have a Zalman air cooler that I have reused in several older systems ( from parts unused when I upgrade ) and Its going on 5 years old and still runs like a champ.

So to finally answer the question- To me its not worth top end hardware just for the prices. I run an I5 system, 16gb DDR3, 120g SSD, 7870-2gb, Corsair PSU,  NZXT case, Corsair H60 cpu cooler, Mid range MSI mobo, 2 x 1.5 tb WD 7200 HDD. Total cost me a bit less than $1000. I can run crysis 2 DX 11 maxxed out at 45-60 fps easy.

unless you just have the money to blow why spend more? to run at 80+ fps? My experience is just as good at 60fps and I probably spent at least $500-$1k less than these Uber builds.

  Aori

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/06
Posts: 1781

5/04/12 10:55:25 AM#8
Originally posted by Badaboom

A gtx 680 currently sells for $600 from my favorite online retailer.  Would it be better to buy that card in the hopes that it lasts twice as long as the $300 alternative? (Let's not even get into SLI)

 For $600 no, for $500 sure if Nvidia is your thing.

Also what're you trying to do it really depends on what you're wanting out of the card to determine how long it'll last. In the meantime you can look this over aswell.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102982 Comes with 3 free games aswell.. however if you don't like AMD and are not patient with excessive money to burn then sure get the 680.

As for your CPU question, it again depends on what you want to do. If you're just gaming or any lesser tasks than the 3570K is more than enough.

  Badaboom

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/04/10
Posts: 2382

 
OP  5/04/12 11:01:47 AM#9
Originally posted by Aori
Originally posted by Badaboom

A gtx 680 currently sells for $600 from my favorite online retailer.  Would it be better to buy that card in the hopes that it lasts twice as long as the $300 alternative? (Let's not even get into SLI)

 For $600 no, for $500 sure if Nvidia is your thing.

Also what're you trying to do it really depends on what you're wanting out of the card to determine how long it'll last. In the meantime you can look this over aswell.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102982 Comes with 3 free games aswell.. however if you don't like AMD and are not patient with excessive money to burn then sure get the 680.

As for your CPU question, it again depends on what you want to do. If you're just gaming or any lesser tasks than the 3570K is more than enough.

I guess my point is it more than enough in the long run?  Consensus seems to be that hardware is not worth the premium.

 

PS:  I have to laugh.  I once bought the 6800 Ultra for big bucks.  Had something like 3.5 million transistors.  The gtx 680 has like 3.5 billion transistors.

  Terrorizor

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/15/12
Posts: 337

5/04/12 11:03:21 AM#10

high end stuff never pays for itself unless you are actually earning money from it. 

 

Having a little foresight can go a long way. I built my last PC using a Quadcore Q6600 cpu, and a good motherboard that was going to last.  At the time, people were talking about how the quad cores like the Q6600 were not as good for gaming because of the 2.4Ghz clock speed, while there were 3ghz dual cores for slightly less. Games just didn't utilize quad cores, but I knew they would eventually.  So now, after 4 years my q6600 is still a decent performer and functions as a very capable gaming system, or a great household PC. A 3Ghz dual core is substantially weaker  by todays standards.

  Aori

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/06
Posts: 1781

5/04/12 11:04:02 AM#11
Originally posted by Badaboom
Originally posted by Aori
Originally posted by Badaboom

A gtx 680 currently sells for $600 from my favorite online retailer.  Would it be better to buy that card in the hopes that it lasts twice as long as the $300 alternative? (Let's not even get into SLI)

 For $600 no, for $500 sure if Nvidia is your thing.

Also what're you trying to do it really depends on what you're wanting out of the card to determine how long it'll last. In the meantime you can look this over aswell.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102982 Comes with 3 free games aswell.. however if you don't like AMD and are not patient with excessive money to burn then sure get the 680.

As for your CPU question, it again depends on what you want to do. If you're just gaming or any lesser tasks than the 3570K is more than enough.

I guess my point is it more than enough in the long run?  Consensus seems to be that hardware is not worth the premium.

 It depends on what you're trying to do with it.. for the average user no it isn't worth the premium. However if you're running higher than 1920x1080 resolutions then yes it can be worth it for the GPU.

  dronfwar

Novice Member

Joined: 10/14/11
Posts: 323

1+1=1
(IMO)

5/04/12 11:07:50 AM#12

wait for the 670!

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13273

5/04/12 11:41:27 AM#13

A lot depends on what you mean by top end hardware.  Is it worth paying over $1000 for a Core i7-3960X?  Not for gaming purposes.  You could get something just as effective for gaming purposes for $250 today, and then replace the motherboard and processor with another $250 one two years from now that will be substantially better than what $1000 gets you today.

Or to take an even more extreme example, it this worth the money?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227771

For consumer use, no.  But if you have some reason why you genuinely need the sort of performance that that card can push, it might well be worth it to you.  CCP spent a fortune to move the EVE database from hard drives to SSDs, and without even knowing what they spent, EVE players can tell you it was worth it.

You don't want to get a computer that is barely enough today, as that might mean having to replace it in six months.  You want a computer that will last you a few years.  Is it worth spending 50% more to get a computer that will last you twice as long?  Of course.  Is it worth spending 3 times as much?  No.  And no matter how much you spent today, it's still going to go obsolete eventually.

  Hurvart

Novice Member

Joined: 11/02/10
Posts: 566

5/04/12 12:07:19 PM#14
Originally posted by Badaboom

A gtx 680 currently sells for $600 from my favorite online retailer.  Would it be better to buy that card in the hopes that it lasts twice as long as the $300 alternative? (Let's not even get into SLI)

 

Also, I could buy an: 

 
Intel Core i5 3570K Unlocked Quad Core Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Ivy Bridge 6MB Retail
for $239 right now or an I7 is for $380.  Is $140 worth the price difference...in the long run?

Personally I would buy a GTX 680 if i needed a new gfx card. It will probably be good enough for most games the next 2 years. And later you can buy one more for SLI. If you need more performance. I mean find one on ebay and buy it cheap when you start to feel one GTX 680 is not enough.

I will probably order one myself next week. Its a very good card. Compared to the best cards previous generations this year we have something really special. Efficient and great performance!

The I7, however, would be a waste. Get the 3570K.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13273

5/04/12 12:17:22 PM#15
Originally posted by Badaboom

A gtx 680 currently sells for $600 from my favorite online retailer.  Would it be better to buy that card in the hopes that it lasts twice as long as the $300 alternative? (Let's not even get into SLI)

 

Also, I could buy an: 

 
Intel Core i5 3570K Unlocked Quad Core Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Ivy Bridge 6MB Retail
for $239 right now or an I7 is for $380.  Is $140 worth the price difference...in the long run?

For gaming purposes, a Core i5-3570K is essentially as good as a Core i7-3770K.  The only important difference between them is the price tag.  By the time hyperthreading matters in games, the 3770K will probably be old enough that it needs to be replaced, too.

As for a GeForce GTX 680, no, not for $600.  If it were $500, then sure if it fits your budget.  But you can get maybe 90%-95% of the performance from a Radeon HD 7970 for $480 with a very nice cooler, free shipping, and three free games:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102982

If you overclock both cards, that narrows the performance difference between a 7970 and a GTX 680 substantially--and the 7970 also has PowerTune to make overclocking safer than it is on a GTX 680.

  Badaboom

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/04/10
Posts: 2382

 
OP  5/04/12 12:27:05 PM#16

So Quiz, what do you think of this build?  How long would this build be relevant? 

 

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I currently have a E8400 wolfdale 3 ghrz, 4 gig ram (ddr2) with a GTX 460 se vid card.  My power supply should be good, Corsair 650w professional.
  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3339

5/04/12 12:42:10 PM#17

A lot of it also depends on your threshold for pain with regard to graphics options.

A top-end (assuming a smart build) computer doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, and will perform very well. They typically will last about 5-6 years as-is with no upgrades, so long as you don't mind starting to turn down options in 3-4 years, and by the 5th-6th year your probably more or less running games on "Medium" to lower settings, before your finally forced into obsolescence by lack of driver upgrades and API updates more so than because the hardware isn't fast enough.

So if you factor that cost in versus the price of buying Medium now, and continuing to upgrade back to Medium every time your computer stops performing (which would be every year or two) - buying top end makes a lot of sense.

The key though, is your personal standard for graphics. If you are one of those people who absolutely has to play MAX MAX on every game, then your just going to end up spending a lot of money no matter what.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13273

5/04/12 12:44:26 PM#18

Should be fine for that part of the build.  You also need a number of other things, and I'd like to know exactly what parts you're planning on keeping to make sure it makes sense to reuse them.

For what it's worth, PowerColor's non-reference cards tend not to be that good.  I'd sooner save some money and get this:

http://ncix.com/products/?sku=69073&vpn=900491&manufacture=VISIONTEK&promoid=1018

VisionTek isn't that good of a board partner, either, but it's a reference card, so it will be fine.

 

  Thorbrand

Novice Member

Joined: 3/06/04
Posts: 1217

5/04/12 12:49:29 PM#19

I just upgrade my computer and you don't need the best hardware to game. You have to research the reviews.

I myself upgraded to i5 2500K because that is the best bang your your dollar and you need nothing better than that to game.

I did change my HDD to SATA II.

Also, upgraded my RAM to 16G DDR3.

But I kept my GTX285 video card. Again because you don't need anything better. Do I want to buy the GTX690 sure but it isn't needed.

I ran GW2 BWE on high and had none of the lag issues that other had even on better systems.

  Badaboom

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/04/10
Posts: 2382

 
OP  5/04/12 12:53:37 PM#20
Originally posted by Quizzical

Should be fine for that part of the build.  You also need a number of other things, and I'd like to know exactly what parts you're planning on keeping to make sure it makes sense to reuse them.

For what it's worth, PowerColor's non-reference cards tend not to be that good.  I'd sooner save some money and get this:

http://ncix.com/products/?sku=69073&vpn=900491&manufacture=VISIONTEK&promoid=1018

VisionTek isn't that good of a board partner, either, but it's a reference card, so it will be fine.

 

Well, to be quite frank, I'm not in a rush to buy as the system I have seems to run my next game of choice (GW2) fine on balanced settings.  I may want to upgrade now so that I can play on max settings, or should I wait to see what Trinity has to offer with A10?  I just bought a 1 TB 7200 rpm HD and have also been thinking of getting an 120 gig SSD.

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