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Is a fast PC worth the price?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by gargoyle, May 31, 2004.

  1. gargoyle

    gargoyle
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    In the years that I''v been building and using pc's, I always aimed for a 'middle spec' machine - example, my current setup is based around the following - AMD 2400 (£52), 512 ddr ram(£55), radeon 9800 pro(£139), santa cruz soundcard(£65), Asus A7N8X-X(£55) and in my mind, is perfectly adequate for todays software as I can play more or less any game set at max configuration with ease.
    All the components were the cheapest I could get but not so cheap and bottom of the barrel as to affect performance but I find that there are a great many people out there with processors, gfx cards, memories etc costing many hundreds of pounds ultimatley making their pc's VERY expensive machines and I have to ask - does the performance of such a machine/component merit such a big price tag given that the only payoff is only a couple of extra frame rates?
     
  2. Ethics Gradient

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    what car do you drive ?
     
  3. gargoyle

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    Car? with todays running costs? get outta here! :suicide:
     
  4. Hawklord

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    It's the same with av imo are you happy to make do with an average system that does everything but not as well as it could. The difference in component prices does mean that you are paying a premium for the high end stuff but compared to av the difference is usually £10's-£100's rather than £1000's.
    If the system you have keeps you happy and at the price your prepared to pay then that's fine but I tend to prefer to play my games with all the bells and whistles turned on at good fps so have to pay the little extra required for the better components. I don't tend to buy them as soon as they're available though usually holding off for a couple of months till prices settle down. I usually find that buying the higher spec'd components gives me an 18 month window where no upgrade is required while software catches up with the hardware. Overall prices have come down vastly (except graphics cards :rolleyes: ) in the last few years so the budget I usually work with goes a lot further:)
     
  5. Ethics Gradient

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    Its just one of those things - people could all drive around in budget cars that get you from A to B in the most ecconomical way, choose a mid range car that balances features and comfort against cost ..... or drive a ferrari.
    Just depends on the type of person you are ..... and what your budget is.
     
  6. Garrett

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    I tend not to buy the top of the range stuff myself as after a couple of months something new comes out and knocks it of its perch. The last time I bout a graphics card the top Ge-force cards had just come down in price and more or less where 3 flavours (excluding the MX range) Ge-force 3 T500, Ge-force 3 and the Ge-force 3 T200. The later ran about 10% slower than the next one up was nearly 33% cheaper. So I went for that and has run all the game I have wanted since.

    I think as with most things it is a case of diminishing returns, at the start a little money gets you a big increase in performance this then slides from one to the other when you pay a lot for a little gain in performance.

    As I computing is not my only hobby and do not have a vast income I like to surf just behind the cutting edge wave.
     
  7. gargoyle

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    After the first voodoo cards were introduced, I bought my first accelerator and at the time, thought it was the best thing since sliced bread as I was able to play previously slow games at unheard of (at the time) speeds and also gave the gfx a facelift in the process.
    It cost me £100 so later the following year when voodoo 2 (which was advertised as being more than twice as fast as its predecessor) was introduced, I ransacked my bank account of £180 and promptly bought one . And on installation, felt like I'd been kicked in the teeth as the thing was barely faster than my last voodoo and was a damned sight more unreliable as well.
    After that debacle, I vowed that I'd never spend more than was absolutely necessary.
    What prompted my question is seeing the prices of the latest gfx cards by ATI and Nvidia - are there people who'll gladly spend around £300 on just a card?
     
  8. Ethics Gradient

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    I upgraded from a GF3 500 to a GF4600ti as soon as they hit the market ... costing about £320+ at the time ..... but I had the money and its my hobby.
    I like to build fast computers .... simply for the sake of having a fast computer. I have a phase cooled case amongst others, that freezes the chip to below 0 degrees to aid overclocking....... most users don't want to go to the expense or effort that requires.
     
  9. james.miller

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    its not the expence or effor that deters people, is just the fact that most people can't see the point in doing it.
     
  10. gargoyle

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    Ethics Gradient - so, given your question about what car I have and seeing the quality of your rig, I take it you'v got a XJ200 lurking in the drive?!!
     
  11. Ethics Gradient

    Ethics Gradient
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    hehe - I'm without transport atm - just started a new job and its a train commute.
    ...... though I am currently saving up for a Supra twin turbo as a base car - planing to veilside kit it - then have it engine modified ;)


    ...... If I had the cash I'd be ordering one of those Carrera GT's ;)
     
  12. gargoyle

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    So I take it next time I see a turbo nutter supra charging down the high street in transparent bodyshell, a multitude of illuminated fans and led's and a cooling rig that looks like its been ripped off the back of marty mcfly's delorean, that'll be yours? :laugh:
     
  13. Ethics Gradient

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    I think you need to take a look at the overclocking community forums and websites to see just how many people are interested in that sort of thing ... and those wishing to if they had the cash etc.
    What exactly do you mean by 'most people' - as 'most people' don't actually own a computer nevermind have opinions on the cooling or modification of them ;)
    Out of the people that own or use computers - the majority use them for work and don't even have anything above bog standard cpus and graphics for using Word processing, spreadsheets or simple web surfing.

    Ask most people about audio visual entertainment and they don't care or see the point in spending a small fortune, time or effort into setting up a decent system .... if they buy at all its an off the shelf high street setup.
    ........Yet we are on a forum dedicated to those that particularly interested in the subject.
     
  14. Ethics Gradient

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    don't forget the neon strings and the 10,000 megawatt subwoofer blasting away ;)
     
  15. gargoyle

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    Most of the people I associate with or communicate with are highly computer literate and a great deal are into modding as indeed I am - not to the degree of expensive cooling systems as you are, as I just throw the things together and anything more than that flies right over my head - I'd love to push my cpu and gfx's cpu to their limits but after two VERY expensive accidents, never again! :thumbsdow
    My forte is more cosmetic so next time you see a pc decked out in clear case, illuminated cables and front displays, thats mine - I may not have a fast pc, but it does have go faster stripes!!
     
  16. Ethics Gradient

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    I've been envolved in computer engineering for quite sometime now - after I left uni ( computer sci bsc ) - I went to work for commadore UK .... fixing Amiga's. Since then I've worked for Siemens, Dell, Compaq, DEC Alpha amongst many others - building, operating and programming most things from laptops to critical telco grade systems - currently working in operations, supporting most of the UK's sms ( mobile text messages ) traffic.
    Having access to all the right tools and experience, I'm not phased by ripping the gubbins out of PC and even if it blows up ( which it has more than once ;) ) ... fixing it isn't too much bother.
    Thats the advantage of having a career that matches the hobby ;)
     
  17. cliocarl

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    Im sorry but I have to disagree expense is a major issue! Lots of people would love to get the best stuff just not financially viable which is why most people settle for value for money products mainly the mid range stuff.

    If you have a real admiration for a particular material such as car, home cinema or pc etc then it is most likely that you will spend most money on that. However if like me your into it all and on tight budget, timely cheap and steal buys are needed to achieve good results.

    if you were on £18k a year would you spend £5k on a projector or £2k on a PC????

    And on the above reply, thats exactly right if your career is also your hobby its ideal thats why Im getting into construction so I can build my own palace eventually :)
     
  18. james.miller

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    I think you need to realise that 'overclockers' represent less than 1/10th of the pc using community, and even less of us 'overclockers' see the need in going to extreams such a phaze change cooling.

    You have taken my quote the wrong way - i was talking about going to extreams. Many people just dont see the point. Phaze change is great an all, but the benifits aren't worth the time/hassle/cost for most people. If i had the money - i probably still wouldnt bother with it.
     
  19. CAS FAN

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    The basic fact of the matter is that if you buy near top of the range stuff you can run those parts for far longer than if you buy stuff that's already mid range. My last G/Card upgrade was a GF4 Ti4400 when it came out (cost about £250) and that is still running ok now. I got a new mobo, Xp2200 and 512 pc3200 ram when they were all pretty new and they are still doing well.

    If you buy mid range stuff you'll probably find that you will have to upgrade 2 or 3 times in the time that someone who bought near top of the range does, if you want to play up to date games on reasonable settings anyway. So say 2 or 3 upgrades of around £200 or 1 upgrade of around £400-£600 means that there's not a great deal of difference price wise and you have to go through the hassle of upgrading fewer times.

    As had been mentioned, I tend to wait a few months after a new product range is released and then buy the model that is just below the top of the range (as there tends to be a large price drop from the absolute best model to the next one down with usually only little performance loss).
     
  20. gargoyle

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    Well, if theres one thing I'v learnt here, its that just as in all aspects of life, computer users can be pigeonholed - I guess you could apply the same analagy to car users - there are people who see it merely as a means of getting from a to b, there are those who recognise that if the car's well maintained and looked after, its life will return the favour with years of performance and reliability, and there are those who see the car as a creative outlet for a mind buzzing with ideas and schemes (hello ethics gradient!) and willing to spend time and money to meet their ideals.
     
  21. Ethics Gradient

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    A) you have taken that quote out of the context of the rest of the post - where I stated quite clearly the smaller number of computer enthusiasts - ie my comments about most pc users in the main being for work etc.
    Your comment is simply ridiculous given that context.

    B) I think you'll find that like many other enthusiast hobbies - it has become overpopularised and also commercial. The original and true overclockers do everything they can to squease small percentages out extra performance out of their equipment - simply adding extra fans and upping the bus speed of a chip is NOT being an 'over clocker' - its simply someone using basic overclocking techniques... but thats down to definitions we could argue about for ever.
    I find its much akin to people who modify cars - some people do it properly as a hobby completely restyling or over performanceing the car - others go down to halfords and buy some new fogs lights and some aluminium peddal covers .....
    Unless you are the sort of person that does voltage mods, bridge blowing, water / phase cooling and keeps at it - rather than getting some quick fix off the shelf cooling solution and upping the bus ...... then you are NOT an oc'er - merely someone with a passing interest.

    The simple fact that you "don't see the point" confirms what I have just said.
     
  22. rigman

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    I have been battling with the same question. I have not upgraded my PC for at least 3 years. I have an Athlon 1gig with a 64mb graphics card and it is definately time to upgrade for the likes of Far cry, doom 3, painkiller etc. I do not even have a DVD writer. The only modern bit is my 17" LCD screen which I bought secondhand off here.

    Do I get an upgrade pack from Novatech now and pay £300, add a ATI radeon 9800 and be done with it. Or

    Do I wait for PCI express to arrive in a couple of months, buy the best processor, buy a X800 or Nvidia 6800 graphics card, buy a dual layer DVD writer etc etc.

    The latter will last me at least a couple of years but obviously cost a lot more than the former.

    The story on the new graphics cards are that they are a quantum leap over the 5950 and 9800's, add to that PCI express with the massive bandwidth etc etc

    f I went with the former I would wish I had waited but the latter means I have to wait until the autumn.

    Decisions decisions

    Darren
     
  23. Garrett

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    Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the PCI express require a new MB. Seem to remember my mate saying or reading it on this forum that the 6800 will be a big leap forward.
     
  24. rigman

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    Yes PCI express is going to replace both AGP and PCI which is 12 years old now.

    The first motherboards should have both. The graphics cards will use PCI x16 which is about the same length as a PCI slot. There are also other sizes x8, x4, x1 (I think) all becoming smaller in size. The bandwidth and power ouput of the slots is much higher than PCI.

    One thing of interest I did read recently is that the 6800 and X800 will actually be held back by the CPU as even the fastest CPU is not not up to the job.

    If the 6800 and x800 were just 10 - 20% faster than my decision would be much easier but they are much more than that some of the benchmarks have then over 100% faster than the 9800 and 5950.

    So buy one of these babies and it will last a long time before time to upgrade.

    Darren
     
  25. eviljohn2

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    It very much depends on the person, I'd consider myself an Overclocker but my PC is a bit of a relic these days! Pentium 133MHz, 80MB EDO RAM, 8MB Voodoo2, Awe64 sound and so on. I've managed to squeeze every last bit of performance out of it and it happily runs my office utilities, web and the games I want to play on it (the likes of Civ2, Worms, Settlers2, Carmageddon etc). I should point out that as a physicist I've got some fairly resource hungry number crunching programs on it.

    In my case I'd like to build a new PC but I really can't justify the expense for a handful of games. I'm much happier with my Gamecube and HT which have cost me significantly less over the period of time :)
     
  26. CAS FAN

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    It doesn't cost that much to build a reasonable PC though - if you were doing it on a budget you could build a reasonable tower capable of playing the majority of games for around £150 - £250 (depending on what spec you go for). The fact that PC games are IMO generally better and more advanced than console games combined with the fact that they are around a tenner cheaper makes the PC a pretty affordable games machines. I have over 30 PS2 games so if you consider that (excluding offers as both systems games have those) they are on average between £5 and £10 each more expensive than PC games of similar age and quality, then that's an extra £150 - £300 spent on games.
     
  27. eviljohn2

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    That's £150-£250 without a monitor though ;)

    I've considered a new PC countless times, but each time I conclude that I don't really get any additional functionality aside from a slightly quicker bootup (~5mins at the moment :blush: ) and the ability to play some newer games.
     
  28. BlueOrange25

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    It depends on what type of PC user you are, how you view money and technology, and how far ahead into the future you want to look.

    I built my PC back in March (it's currently hobbled :rolleyes: :mad: ) and I know that though it can cope with any game for the rest of the year (if I get it fixed), in all probability I'll have to upgrade/replace it in time. This will happen to whatever specification and is part of the problem/fun of owning a PC.

    It's probably not worth it if I was to be perfectly honest. New technology today becomes second best within the space of 12 months. But when you're talking about a fast PC or other high end bits of technology, value for money isn't really the main thing for those who can afford and choose to buy top end stuff.

    It's all about priorities and how those fit within your budget.
     
  29. james.miller

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    No you are quite right. I have no idea what you are banging on about.

    my point? despite what you seem to think, not everybody wants to go to the lenghts of using water cooling, or phaze cooling, or LN2.

    LN2? can't be used 24/7 so whats the point? I dont think you can argue that 99% of overclockers would view LN2 in the same light. Now that's as far as you can go with extreame overclocking, but it lasts all of 30minutes at a time. That's nothing to do with money - infact a burst of LN2 would be cheaper than buying a phaze change. It's the fact that many people see no point in overclocking like that when it only lasts a few minutes.

    Take it back a step. Phaze change. SO, so easy. Get the unit, bolt it on and eh voila. Job done. little tweak here, little tweak there. you've got a monstor. Theres something not quite so satisfying about that though, as this quote seems to suggest:
    Phaze change is an off-the-shelf solution, is it not?

    Water cooling. Now this would be ideal for me - if i had the space and resources to do it. But again, even water cooling isn't everybody cup of tea - people are forever worried about leaks. In my case - again its not about money. I simple dont have the sapce and TBH i much prefer my silverstone case to a tower with water cooling.

    Now really, that only leaves air for the majority of us overclockers. so we do the best we can with it. we spend endless hours tweaking (far to many, im sure you'll agree) to push that cpu and chipset as far as we can while keeping the temps down. Now personally, id say thats a harder job than buying a phaze change unit.

    Does any of that actually matter though? does it make us better than them? Are we "true" overclcokers while they are not, simply because i have voltage mods on my board or you use a phaze-change? Of course it doesn't. If we overclock, we are overclockers. There is no "true" and "fake" overclocker. No difference to me, anyway. If you feel the need to put yourself above others who, let's face it, are just enjoying the hobby then thats really up to you:)

    Agreed. Though i'd go further than that and say it's all about priorities full stop. Just because i'd rather spend my money on something else that would benifit me in real life(tm), doesn't make me or anyone else less enthusiastic or serious about 'overclocking'. Not in my eyes, at least. :thumbsup:

    EDIT: oh the spelling mistakes :rolleyes:
     
  30. CENSORED

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    EG,

    What ya runnin' then, big boy? ;)
     

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