BUDGETING FOR HARDWARE UPGRADES 2016

Now that 14nm is maturing it’s not a bad idea to consider a modernization of the gaming box. We are expecting a flock of new motherboards, processors and video cards come the holiday season. Last year the Z170 gave Intel users a much needed boost in gaming. This year the AMD Zen is expected.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • 650W PSU
  • $200 video card
  • SSD

As long as you have at least 8GB of memory and x4 processor you will be OK for now. A 650W PSU will give lots of headroom even for an expensive enthusiast video card. The new 80 PLUS gold power supplies are now much less expensive and they can do wonders for the power bill.

A new CPU, motherboard and RAM are all needed to moved to Kaby Lake or Zen. Expect to spend close to $1000 for a new rig. Intel’s Canon Lake is being pushed back to 2017.

The M.2 slot seen on recent motherboards has much more bandwidth than SATA. PCI Express SSD cards for x4 slots are making inroads into elite gaming rigs. PCI Express x8 SSD cards are at the high end of the market. We expect to see M.2 slots to become widely available over time.

AMD users can now use M.2 SSD products as new motherboards are now being shipped for the fall season. The GA-990X-Gaming SLI is likely to be very popular.

The Corsair Carbide 300R has mounting holes on the hard disk trays to mount SSD drives or notebook hard disks. The popular Samsung 850 Pro 2TB SSD (MZ-7KE2T0BW) has become a popular choice for many as it can be installed with a standard SATA cable.

LOOKING AHEAD

Both AMD and NVIDIA are expected to have new video cards. Its likely the $99-$129 segment will be fierce again this year. The problem is that cards in this market segment will come up short to play this year’s high priced action games. The $200-$300 market segment has the performance needed for high-end games.

Our old TX850V2 can cope with dual video cards, which are often needed when top tier video cards become too demanding. The TX859V2 is 80 PLUS bronze which is 82% efficient while the CS450M is 80 PLUS gold which is 87% efficient. Power supplies tend to be replaced only once they fail. 80 PLUS platinum power supplies are slowly entering the mainstream.

OUR SHOP

We continually acquire new hardware for the shop. Video cards, RAM, CPUs and obsolete power supplies etc. tend to accumulate. Motherboards do not seem to last long so we are continually replacing them,

We bought the Asus PA238QR back in 2012 with the intention of using it for several years. IPS panels have dramatically better color and contrast.

The machine we using now for game reviews was built in 2013. This machine is more than adequate for even games released in 2016 easily.At present we have 3 ATX chassis with working power supplies. The new chassis was purchased to support USB 3.0 on the front however front panel boxes are an option.

Over time power supplies have improved considerably, with better capacity and better efficiency. This is driven mostly by the EPA mandate to cut back on the number of new power plants needed as the number of personal computers grows. Reality is that power costs money so any savings is welcome. Our Corsair CS450M is 80 PLUS gold which is now moving into the mainstream

Video cards increase in performance faster than CPU performance. Games have improved in quality which has driven video cards towards TFLOP performance.

More affordable cards like our EVGA GT 640 or our HD 5450 are sold into a very competitive $99-120 range. Mass market cards today can play last generation games reasonably well. They tend to stumble with the high-end of the gaming market.

Cards like our EVGA GTX 660 Ti are expensive and in practice not many are sold. Extreme cards can remain viable for a long time primarily they beat the Xbox One and PS4 easily and the consoles are still early in the cycle. PC gaming however is not set in stone and already some new games are demanding even more extreme video cards.

Generally we spend as much on hardware as we do on games. PC gaming is not a small undertaking but is manageable with some budgeting. Generally $100 quarterly seems to be enough to keep the gaming alive. New machines of course can cost more depending on the parts being used.

error: Content is protected !!