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Default 2008 Guide to PC Gaming Specs @ YouGamers

January 17th, 2008, 23:15
In a change of focus from the proposed games of 2008 making the rounds right now, YouGamers takes a look at the hardware end of the gaming industry in this 6 page guide. The article covers Trends in CPU's, Video Cards & RAM, DX10, Operating Systems & Buying a New PC, and gives their own recommendations.
From the Trends:CPU section:
Every game box still lists "magical MHz numbers", with most games currently asking for a 2 to 3GHz Pentium 4; the reality is that just about any CPU you can still buy from the stores is adequate to run games at an acceptable frame rate. The whole "MHz number" is increasingly obsolete, as it's useless when comparing old Pentium 4s and Pentium Ds to current Intel Core 2, AMD Athlon 64 X2 and AMD Phenom CPUs. So in the gaming world of today, a good guideline is that if it has two cores, it is fast enough for gaming - even the cheapest dual core CPUs are "fast enough" for almost all games today….
As games started to really take advantage of DX9 and complex shaders and the resolution most commonly used for gaming went up, the situation flipped around, and games are being limited by the performance of the graphics card. Yes, by going for that 3.0GHz mega-expensive quad core CPU you may see higher performance and better frame rates, but that assumes you combine it with something like a pair of GeForce 8800 GTXs. With a more mainstream video card, almost every single game out there is limited by the video card, while the CPU spends time idling.
From the Closing Comments:
The PC hardware market is always changing, and that means this article can only be based on what the situation is today. In the near future, the recommended hardware will definitely change, and by late spring the recommendations are most likely going to be obsolete. In general, names and models change, but the price you pay for a good gaming system remains mostly the same - you just get more for the same price….
…Ah, the age old question - "when to buy?" - it always seems that if you wait just a bit longer, something cheaper, faster and better is going to come out. This is the cheapest option - you never buy anything while waiting for the next best thing, but it also means you rapidly run out of new games to play as your old system isn't getting any faster while you wait. Right now (in January 2008), if you seek a high end system, it may be worth waiting for the "Wolfdale" chips to arrive as they are just a couple of weeks away, but beyond that, there is little in the horizon that is "worth the wait", so to speak.
My personal rule on this age old issue has been that I never upgrade anything that is under 12 months old, but when I do, I go for the fastest reasonably priced product available, discounting the Extremely Expensive Ultra Specials that offer 10% more for twice the price - and that has served me pretty well over the past six years.
More information.
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January 17th, 2008, 23:15
Okay, so here's my two cents on upgrading: I do it every 2 years or so (no way sooner than that, but preferably, later) and put together a decent rig that is made up of neither the most expensive (i.e. latest) nor the cheapest and thus soon-to-be-obsolete pieces of hardware. I believe that the only "miracle recipe" to upgrading is being well-informed: read up on stuff prior to purchasing anything; it's totally worth it.
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January 17th, 2008, 23:42
There's never a good time to have a heart attack or buy a PC.
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January 17th, 2008, 23:45
I've upgraded last November and don't want to do it again soon.
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January 18th, 2008, 00:20
I slapped a new video card in my machine (GeoForce 7600 IIRC) mainly so I could extend its life a bit and play NWN2. Plays the game ok, but from the forums I've read, trying to build a module with my current system will probably be painful!

The rest of my rig, except the SATA hard drive is from Christmas 2004, so I guess I've got pretty good mileage out of it!
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January 18th, 2008, 01:59
A 7600 is totally outdated by now.

Personally, I really like tom's hardware website and their «The Best Gaming Graphics Cards For The Money» feature.

The current one for january : http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/01/…ming_graphics/
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January 18th, 2008, 02:41
Originally Posted by vanedor View Post
A 7600 is totally outdated by now.
Yes. And yet it's what I bought for my new computer. Which barely squeeks into the low-end spectrum of that article otherwise.

I dunno, I always go for budget, and never choose upgrades if they're too expensive. I can wait a few years for titles like Oblivion. If they want me to play their games, they should frikkin' learn to optimize 'em properly.
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January 18th, 2008, 04:41
Spending all the time on far low end systems, I eventualy have gotten used to it.

Then in 5 years time when I can afford a new PC, old games have a extended life in high-graphics mode.
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January 18th, 2008, 05:52
I haven't upgraded my computer for almost 3 years and I can still play all the games I play at the highest graphics. I plan on upgrading my gpu when the next geforce series comes out but other than that all I am going to do is add anoth 500gb hd and maybe replace a stick of ram that I think is going bad.
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January 18th, 2008, 09:28
I usually dont upgrade individual parts, since the upgrades are so infrequent that the mainboard will be a bottleneck anyway.

We have two PCs and replace the oldest every two years. I tend to ask around at places like this about the meaning of various acronyms (since I have better things to do than to keep myself updated on the difference between a GS and a GT in between purchases) and simply look at price/specs for the components. There's usually a sweet spot where prices start to climb much faster than stated performance.

Incidentally this usually ends up with me buying what was top of the line about six months ago, with as much RAM and HD as I can put in the box
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January 18th, 2008, 17:14
I wish that more articles about cost effective PC gaming would come out. You can build a PC with 2 GB of RAM, a dual core processor, and an 8800 GT for less than $1,000, but yet the myth persists that you need to spend $4,000 if you want to get to the menu screen in Crysis. X-Play did a segment on PC gaming back in November, and instead of showing the average Joe how to build a reasonable PC, they put together an Alienware style $4,000 or $5,000 with liquid cooling and dual GPU's. Basically a bunch of ultra-expensive unnecessary crap.
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January 18th, 2008, 17:47
There was one recently about building a $1000 gaming rig that I can't find now … pretty decent gear, just add monitor. It came to ~$900 and since you can get a 22" wdescreen for ~$200, it isn't too bad.

Much less than any of the new laptops I'm considering …
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January 19th, 2008, 05:25
7600 is not outdated and can run even that latest games provided your doing it at low res with no AA or fancy features.

If you were buying a new PC I would recommend going for a 9600 GS(should be available this month) or a cheap 3850, both are more than capable of running the latest games.
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