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#1 Posted by WasabiCurry (422 posts) -

I will cut to the chase and ask the topic question, "How much is too much for a Gaming Rig?" As of right now, I am saving up for my first PC build. I would like to save up to $2,500 US Dollars by the time May rolls around. However, I am having thoughts on whether this budget is simply too much.

Of course, I will be doing a little bit more than regular gaming at 1080p, 60 fps, etc. I want to pick up Photoshop and start my pixel animation again since I am just dating, living with parents, and nothing I owe in terms of bills. Also, I want to do some great overclocking which is why I am adding a closed water system in the build as well.

I am just thinking that maybe this is a tad over kill. Would anyone care to share their thoughts on the manner? What kind of system would be best and how much?

#2 Edited by believer258 (11621 posts) -

If you've got the budget to go all-out, then there's no reason that you shouldn't unless you just want to set aside more money for games and other things. Still, if you can gather and safely spend that kind of dough, then you've probably already got or will soon have a good library of games.

However, if you're spending more than, say, $1500, you're getting diminishing returns, and that's just a number taken off the top of my head. You could get something together that would run any game at max, 1080p, consistent 60FPS, for a few hundred dollars less than that.

#3 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

It's a well known fact that when you buy the ultra high tier parts, you're just not getting a good deal at all. I'd say the best price point for a powerful PC is around $700 max. Hell, you'd be surprised with what you can get for $500.

#4 Edited by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

1500$ should get you a very nice PC. But like believer said, if you have the money, sure go all out! You'll be set for future games.

#5 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

There's no real upper limit. You can build an adequate PC for maybe $8-900, a competent PC for maybe $1000-1200 and the sky's the limit from there.

#6 Posted by insouciant (710 posts) -

Yes, $2,500 is too much.

#7 Edited by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

I don't like the idea of spending more than $1,000 USD. It really depends on what you're going to be using it for. If you build it yourself, $1,000 should be more than enough to play anything that is out right now with settings turned all the way up. Future proofing is going to cost exponentially more per component, since it's generally cheaper to just upgrade every few years, instead of getting the best thing you can buy right now. And it's going to cost more if you can't re-use a monitor, case, and OS. So factor that into the cost, too. But $1,000 USD is my personal limit for hardware alone.

EDIT: I should add that Intel has a new set of processors, Haswell, set for release around June. This probably won't affect the total price of a new build too much, since everything will still be connecting to everything else in the same way. No new sockets or anything like that. But since this fits around your timeline, you might want to consider waiting to see how these releases will affect prices.

#8 Posted by MB (11956 posts) -

It's all relative. If you're 19 years old and making $20k per year and living at home, then any amount is too much to spend on a gaming PC.

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#9 Posted by WasabiCurry (422 posts) -

Thank you everyone for your input! I wasn't actually expecting anyone to answer!

Anyways, I think that spending that much would be quite unnecessary and I have heard about the diminishing returns as @believer258 stated. I think I should forward that money into something else. I guess I am still in limbo on what is comfortable for me to spend on myself. Typically, I don't spend nothing more than $75 dollars on rare occasions. So something like this, a PC build, is very new to me.

#10 Posted by WasabiCurry (422 posts) -

@mb: I am actually 23 and making 30k per year. It is my first professional job so I am planning to stay there for a while.

#11 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

If you have the budget to comfortably spend 2500$ on a PC, please, for all of us out there who can't afford such a beefy machine, do it, DO IT!!

#12 Posted by clstirens (847 posts) -

WasabiCurry marked this as the best answer

If you've got the budget to go all-out, then there's no reason that you shouldn't unless you just want to set aside more money for games and other things. Still, if you can gather and safely spend that kind of dough, then you've probably already got or will soon have a good library of games.

However, if you're spending more than, say, $1500, you're getting diminishing returns, and that's just a number taken off the top of my head. You could get something together that would run any game at max, 1080p, consistent 60FPS, for a few hundred dollars less than that.

Actually, right now Graphics cards are over priced, so $1500 is the minium for 1080 max settings 60fps.

Still, as you said, diminishing returns after said price.

#13 Posted by clstirens (847 posts) -

@wasabicurry: Here's a pretty respectable build

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Aq3G

#14 Edited by BigBoss1911 (2412 posts) -

$2,500 is WAY more than you need.

#15 Posted by WasabiCurry (422 posts) -
#16 Edited by MonetaryDread (1991 posts) -

@sathingtonwaltz said:

It's a well known fact that when you buy the ultra high tier parts, you're just not getting a good deal at all. I'd say the best price point for a powerful PC is around $700 max. Hell, you'd be surprised with what you can get for $500.

If you have an older PC and you just need to purchase a mobo, ram, cpu, and video card, then $700 will get you a great gaming PC. Yet if you are starting from scratch then there is no way you can build a decent gaming PC for under $700. Parts like a case, an operating system, gaming mouse, gaming keyboard, speakers, dvd drive, these all add up.

Lets just ballpark things here:

Monitor: $200

Case $60

OS: $100

Mouse: $60

Speakers: $50

Keyboard: $60

DVD drive: Optional but $40

Surge Protector: $25

Total: $605 not including taxes, shipping, or parts like a CPU, MOBO, Power Supply, Video Card, Ram, Hard Drive, any cables you might need, or a Wireless Network Adapter (tho there are some mobos that have Wireless built in, they are still rare and only on the premium boards). This is also a conservative estimate. Most gaming keyboards are actually $100, the $60 case is usually the shittiest case you can buy and you have to sacrifice both sound dampening, space, and air-flow to reach that price.

So if your budget is $700 that leaves you with $95 to spend on the rest of your PC. That is nowhere near enough to build a decent gaming PC.

Edit: I think that right now is the absolute worst time to build a PC. The new systems are out in less than a year and it looks like all the hardware manufacturers are holding off on releasing their new products because of this. There is going to be a MASSIVE jump up in gaming system requirements in a year and I do not have confidence that a gaming PC purchased now will hold up for a year.

Just look at all the rumored console specs for next gen. They both have hex-core processors (developers have been saying that next gen is more about CPU power than GPU power), and a GPU that is equivalent to a mid-high end part. Since PC's will always need double the power that consoles use to compete in performance (due to the fact that console games can be optimized for a single hardware spec) that means that the PC's of today will not be able to power next-gen console ports at the requirements you are asking for.

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#17 Edited by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

@monetarydread: I built a perfectly fine PC with $500 dollars for by younger brother just a few weeks ago. $500 dollars just for the actual PC mind you, I'm not taking into account accessories. Specs for his PC are as follows:

  • AMD Phenom II X4 965
  • AMD Radeon HD 7770
  • 8GB RAM
  • 500 GB 7200RPM HDD

It's not necessarily an impressive machine, but it plays anything out there on moderate settings at 1920x1080 resolution fine.

Edit: When I started out from scratch, I spent about $600 building the actual PC, and about $400 on accessories like mice, keyboard, speakers, and monitor. So roughly $1000 dollars if you literally have nothing to work with already is a good estimate imo.

#18 Posted by LiquidPrince (15840 posts) -

It's a well known fact that when you buy the ultra high tier parts, you're just not getting a good deal at all. I'd say the best price point for a powerful PC is around $700 max. Hell, you'd be surprised with what you can get for $500.

My GPU alone cost roughly $500...

#19 Edited by MonetaryDread (1991 posts) -

@sathingtonwaltz said:

@monetarydread: I built a perfectly fine PC with $500 dollars for by younger brother just a few weeks ago. $500 dollars just for the actual PC mind you, I'm not taking into account accessories. Specs for his PC are as follows:

  • AMD Phenom II X4 965
  • AMD Radeon HD 7770
  • 8GB RAM
  • 500 GB 7200RPM HDD

It's not necessarily an impressive machine, but it plays anything out there on moderate settings at 1920x1080 resolution fine.

Edit: When I started out from scratch, I spent about $600 building the actual PC, and about $400 on accessories like mice, keyboard, speakers, and monitor. So roughly $1000 dollars if you literally have nothing to work with already is a good estimate imo.

And my system with an ssd, GTX 680, 16 gig of ram, and a i7-3770k can barely run new games at full detail, 1080p, at 60fps.... (Battlefield 3, Planetside 2, Assasins Creed 3, far cry 3, Hitman, Crysis 3 beta [this wasn't even at full detail either]). So what is going to happen come September? Even if you don't trust anecdotal evidence, just look back at the history of PC gaming and you will see that with every console release there is a massive jump up in requirements that butt-hurts everyone that purchased a PC that past year. Then you look at cards like the ATI 7xxx series and you realize that they have been on the market for almost a year and a half and ATI has no plans to release a new card until after the new consoles are released (Edit: To be fair, even Nvidia's current gen cards are almost a year old). There is a reason for that, ATI wants to liquidate their current stock before people realize that the cards are going to be useless soon; and if you are gong to spend a shit-tonne of money on a PC then you want it to play games on it a year from now.

Plus, my brother has a 7770 in his PC, he is not a gamer so he is fine with the card, but to reach 45fps in Battlefield 3 at 1080p he has to set graphics settings to the lowest available or drop the resolution to 720p (there is a reason every 7770 benchmark video on youtube has the games running at 720p with no AA). So that card would not be acceptable to the original poster, even if he didn't care about playing games on his PC in a year.

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#20 Posted by Skytylz (4029 posts) -

Marking best answers? What is this? Fucking yahoo answers?

#21 Posted by MC_Hify (321 posts) -

I spent $3000 on my last desktop and I don't think I'll ever spend that much on a PC again. If I had a budget of $2500 and I was starting from scratch I'd probably spend around $1500 on a pc and then buy some nice accessories: Razer mouse and keyboard, Astro A50 headset, and a nice monitor or two.

#22 Posted by FrankieSpankie (228 posts) -

The problem is with a $700 PC is that you have to keep upgrading every year or suffer console graphics or even just not being able to find a game playable.

I bought a computer for $900 about 3.25 years ago. I bought a $200 GTX 560Ti when Battlefield 3 came out (what's that? a year and a half ago now?) Lots of times Far Cry 3 ran at 25fps at 1080p and lowest settings for anything else. Some games I just find completely unplayable due to poor framerate, such as Natural Selection 2. I put $1,100 into this machine over 2 years and here I am 3.25 years later and I already want to build a new machine.

My next build, which I think I will make at Black Friday at the end of this year, will probably be around $1,500, while planning to go with dual GPUs a year later when that particular model GPU drops in price due to new upgrades being available. I'm hoping it'll end up being $1,800~ by that point for the whole machine. Maybe quite a bit more than the $1,100 that I spent on my current machine but the whole thing will run much faster running new games on its release than this computer ever did running older games on their releases and it should certainly last a lot longer than 3 years before I seriously consider a new build...

#23 Posted by granderojo (1778 posts) -

My first PC build was 1,400 dollars and I've convinced myself that 1,400 to 1,600 is the optimal price of a PC build for me.

#24 Posted by JoeyRavn (4947 posts) -

Before getting a hexacore i7, wait for new consoles to be released. Or, at least, to know their official specs. If they don't have CPUs with more than four cores, there will be no need to have a gaming PC with more than four cores, so get a cheaper i5 that will have the same performance. Even today most PC games are not optimized for four cores, so I doubt they will start taking advantage of six any time soon.

#25 Posted by RollingZeppelin (1914 posts) -

There must be an optimal price point where going over would yield a longer lasting PC but the cost of an upgrade plus the initial price (factoring in time value) is less. I'm too busy to spend the time coming up with the model though. $1500 sounds like a good upper limit.

#26 Posted by YoThatLimp (1879 posts) -

The problem is with a $700 PC is that you have to keep upgrading every year or suffer console graphics or even just not being able to find a game playable.

I bought a computer for $900 about 3.25 years ago. I bought a $200 GTX 560Ti when Battlefield 3 came out (what's that? a year and a half ago now?) Lots of times Far Cry 3 ran at 25fps at 1080p and lowest settings for anything else. Some games I just find completely unplayable due to poor framerate, such as Natural Selection 2. I put $1,100 into this machine over 2 years and here I am 3.25 years later and I already want to build a new machine.

My next build, which I think I will make at Black Friday at the end of this year, will probably be around $1,500, while planning to go with dual GPUs a year later when that particular model GPU drops in price due to new upgrades being available. I'm hoping it'll end up being $1,800~ by that point for the whole machine. Maybe quite a bit more than the $1,100 that I spent on my current machine but the whole thing will run much faster running new games on its release than this computer ever did running older games on their releases and it should certainly last a lot longer than 3 years before I seriously consider a new build...

I bought my GTX 580 at the same time and only get 45 FPS in Far Cry 3 on high, it sucks and those 580s aren't coming down in price, still sitting at $400. I think there is a "How much" and "When" . Buy a new card at the beginning of the hardware cycle. We bought video cards at the dumbest time possible since the 6XX series cards were coming out. I am waiting for the 7XX series come out and then I will upgrade GPU, CPU and put in an SSD all at once.

#27 Posted by Dauthi693 (130 posts) -

Having just looked at newegg i just priced up a computer for $1500 http://i.imgur.com/lYVRHdO.jpg for comparison and for myself. I will say your original build is faster but $750 faster i would put it to better use else where or spend it on the computer in a year or 2.

#28 Posted by BlatantNinja23 (930 posts) -

The next generation is going to make it's PC port brethren jump up significantly. (tessellation y'all) Currently I would suggest building the PC based on however you want Crysis 3 to preform. If you get it to run at max, then you'll probably be good for quite awhile. The PS4 and Xbox won't have specs that high, so you'll be fine with the next couple years of ports.

Everyone who you built mid tier PCs a year ago because nothing was really pushing hardware at the time (yay long console life cycle) is about to see their PC age incredibly fast.

2 years ago I would have said $2,500 is overkill, but now I wouldn't. (Titan?) Then again, if you don't care about game running at it's best than whatever.

Spend your money on a GPU, not CPU. If you can wait though, wait. Maxwell looks like it's hopefully going to be worth it.

#29 Posted by Dauthi693 (130 posts) -


Spend your money on a GPU, not CPU. If you can wait though, wait. Maxwell looks like it's hopefully going to be worth it.

It depends on how you upgrade in the future

For me as the CPU can be so expensive to replace i would spend abit on it so my system is still decent and balanced when i just upgrade my GPU 18 months-2 years down the line. Instead of needing a new CPU/Motherboard/Ram aswell same with the PSU it can be worth spending a little extra money can potenially save a chunk of money further down the road.

Also when is Maxwell epected?

#30 Posted by granderojo (1778 posts) -

Spend your money on a GPU, not CPU. If you can wait though, wait. Maxwell looks like it's hopefully going to be worth it.

Personally if I'm building my first PC and I were this kid I'd spend more money on CPU than GPU. Haswell is coming out very soon but the next big push for GPUs isn't coming until next summer/fall so there's no point in spending a ton on a GPU when it will be obsolete faster than the CPU.

#31 Posted by Nictel (2380 posts) -

It's relative to what you want to spend just don't think any amount will stop you from having to update again in 2 years. If you have the money I would personally rather spend it in screen real estate and get 3 screens over say a $500 videocard.

#32 Posted by Dauthi693 (130 posts) -

@nictel said:

It's relative to what you want to spend just don't think any amount will stop you from having to update again in 2 years. If you have the money I would personally rather spend it in screen real estate and get 3 screens over say a $500 videocard.

As you said its relative i would rather just have 1 screen and the PC feel powerful than haveing 3 screens and it reduceung the time i can get by on each GPU or not even being able to do what i want and the 3 screens taunting me. Which means i would upgrade alot sooner on more expensive cards.

#33 Posted by WasabiCurry (422 posts) -

@skytylz: I was curious what the button did, so I clicked it. :3

@thabigred I have heard about Haswell coming out later this year, but the mysterious question is when it will be released? It is moreover timing than anything else. I would like to build my PC in the month of May, but I could wait a month or two just to Haswell.

I just know the old saying, "If you keep waiting for new PC products to come out, you will be waiting forever." So I might just take the plunge if there is no sign by the end of July.

#34 Posted by Skytylz (4029 posts) -

@wasabicurry: I wasn't mad at you :( I just thought it was a strange feature to add.

#35 Posted by Subject2Change (2966 posts) -

Present day you can get excellent gaming performance for about $1200 assuming you have your OS/Peripherals already. However it's your budget and you can drop whatever you want on it.

Personally I never get the highest end graphics card, I always get something for around 300-400.

My next system will probably be about $2k however it will be both gaming and as a editing work station (going to have 2 Windows installs)

#36 Edited by LornHg (42 posts) -

It really depends on what you wanna run !

I can run the games I love on my 2 year old 600$ laptop.

It runs SC2 and Counter-Strike GO pretty smoothly

#37 Posted by MonetaryDread (1991 posts) -

@nictel said:

It's relative to what you want to spend just don't think any amount will stop you from having to update again in 2 years. If you have the money I would personally rather spend it in screen real estate and get 3 screens over say a $500 videocard.

Unfortunately you need the $500 video card to power a game over three screens. Though I agree with your thinking. The thing I enjoy about PC gaming is the flexibility on your options. My uncle has a controller called a Novint Falcon and the haptic feedback of that controller feels like future tech. I have a 3D vision 2 monitor and it produces 3D that beats any home system / movie theater that I have tried before - and PC gaming 3D is a more effective use of the technology than movies.

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#38 Edited by Corvak (883 posts) -

Depends on what you want to do.

If its purely a box to play games on, driving a single 1080p screen, $1500 is a good ceiling. (I generally try to build a rig that'll be relevant for a couple years at least.

UPGRADES: if you're using an existing case, screen (or if you plan to use an HDTV), optical drive, power supply, peripherals etc. in your build, this number is much lower. Knock $4-500 off.

But if you want to go for multi-panel systems (3 monitors) then you're going to want to pay out for a high end, or multiple GPU setup, which will push you a lot higher. ($500+ for video card(s) alone) Can be over $3000 including screens. Though at this point, you're not really looking to keep costs down anymore, and are looking to get. Note that driving two screens is perfectly fine for a more reasonably priced single GPU, especially if the second is only used for desktop applications (not games)

#39 Posted by Nictel (2380 posts) -

@nictel said:

It's relative to what you want to spend just don't think any amount will stop you from having to update again in 2 years. If you have the money I would personally rather spend it in screen real estate and get 3 screens over say a $500 videocard.

Unfortunately you need the $500 video card to power a game over three screens. Though I agree with your thinking. The thing I enjoy about PC gaming is the flexibility on your options. My uncle has a controller called a Novint Falcon and the haptic feedback of that controller feels like future tech. I have a 3D vision 2 monitor and it produces 3D that beats any home system / movie theater that I have tried before - and PC gaming 3D is a more effective use of the technology than movies.

Oh true in an ideal situation you would be gaming over three screens, though I use only monitor for gaming and the others for when I'm doing other stuff. I don't really have time to watch every Giant Bomb or youtube vid so I like to have the video open on one screen while working on the other. On that note, turning one monitor vertical for browsing stories and forums is great. :)

#40 Posted by granderojo (1778 posts) -

@thabigred I have heard about Haswell coming out later this year, but the mysterious question is when it will be released? It is moreover timing than anything else. I would like to build my PC in the month of May, but I could wait a month or two just to Haswell.

I just know the old saying, "If you keep waiting for new PC products to come out, you will be waiting forever." So I might just take the plunge if there is no sign by the end of July.

Somewhere around May & June have been the leaked released date. You should really wait I think. It's supposed to be a big improvement.

#41 Posted by Corvak (883 posts) -

@thabigred: GTX 700 series and AMD 8000 series are also supposedly hitting in Q4. Though, only relevant to people dropping $500+ on a GPU, I expect.

#42 Edited by BlatantNinja23 (930 posts) -

@corvak: not really, cause that means it's mid tier bother and sisters is even further away.

@thabigred: @dauthi693: I'd be pretty shocked if current i5 would end up being a bottleneck 5 years from now. Games just aren't pushing CPUs. The move to DX 11 took the burden off of the CPU and put it onto GPUs. Even Tom's Harware has stated that overclocking your CPU is now meaningless because games simply don't need/use it. Now depending on Next Gen, this could change, but I was under the assumption that their CPUs aren't exactly the hottest either.

Sounds like Maxwell is 2014

#43 Posted by AlexW00d (6180 posts) -

@mb said:

It's all relative. If you're 19 years old and making $20k per year and living at home, then any amount is too much to spend on a gaming PC.

What? 20 thousand dollars and living at home? That's a tonne for a PC. Unless your folks are asking for $1000 of rent a month.

#44 Posted by ajamafalous (11845 posts) -

I'd only spend somewhere between $1200-$1500, but as some other people said, I wouldn't build a new PC right now with new consoles around the corner. PC ports are about to get a hell of a lot better once those come out.

#45 Edited by TooWalrus (13135 posts) -

I built my gaming PC last year and started from scratch, and spent about $2000. Granted that was only because I had money to burn, I didn't need 16GB of RAM, didn't need a blu-ray burner with lightscribe and M-Disk capability, probably didn't need a "professional" series modular 850 power supply... I bought an Intel SSD even though it was $50 more just because I thought it looked cooler (in my completely opaque case). Anyway, $1500 is probably the most you need to spend before the diminishing returns make it not really worth it.

#46 Edited by TobbRobb (4579 posts) -

No such thing. SPEND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Also, I wish I could be as offended about paying $2500 on a PC. But that is about what mine cost. And it's not even that amazing of an machine in the grand scheme.

Damn you Americans and your cheap merchandise.

#47 Posted by arch4non (444 posts) -

I'd say a PC budget should be around $700-$1600. If you aren't spending at least $700 when building a completely new system then it's not really worth it and you should just wait a little longer until you have enough. Once you have enough you can pick out parts with surgical precision for your exact price point. If it's over $1500 then you're probably throwing money away and not being very cost-effective.

#48 Posted by squiDc00kiE (347 posts) -

I spent $2000 on my brand new rig but that might be overkill for some. I'm running in 2560x1440 and BF3 runs EASILY at 60fps. At 1080p it runs at 120fps. Important bits: 3770k oc'd 4.5GHz, 2x EVGA 670 GTX FTW in SLi.

#49 Posted by Robo (773 posts) -

When all is said and done on the new PC I will have spent around $2k, but it'll be a beast.

I suppose there's no hard limit. The key to avoiding spending "too much" is just not blowing through your budget on pointless crap that nets you insignificant performance gains. That translates to not throwing $600 at a CPU and skimping on the GPU, not dumping hundreds into a motherboard full of features you'll never use, not getting some ridiculous 9000W PSU or 15TB assortment of storage drives you don't need, so on and so forth.

#50 Posted by Andorski (5187 posts) -

It's much more helpful to have the mentality of "What am I buying and what do I get in return?" instead of "Is this too much?" when pricing out your rig. You can have a $1500 gaming PC that was efficiently set up and a $800 gaming PC where the budget was not spent correctly, if not downright wasted. An example would be getting an i7 CPU instead of getting a better video card.