Is there a general rule of thumb to upgrading? And when you do upgrade, is it all at once or CPU one year, GPU the next, etc?
How often do PC gamers upgrade their machines?
I bought a Dell in '05 and after seven years I finally decided to break down and build a rig for the first time. Between those systems I updated my graphics card twice.
The nice thing about building my own machine is that I'll feel more comfortable with upgrading other components. I don't know if there's a rule of thumb when and what you upgrade...
Yeh, its best to do all at once, otherwise your left buying components that are compatible with your current system, rather than best in class.
A complete rebuild of top drawer components should easily last 4 years, for 2 of those years you will be playing almost every new game on absolute top settings.
I try to do it 6 months after each new windows release which is typically every 4 years for full new PC and a new video card halfway, or ever 2 years, depends a lot on how things are going though, my 5850 is looking like it will last longer than that.
Yeh, its best to do all at once, otherwise your left buying components that are compatible with your current system, rather than best in class. A complete rebuild of top drawer components should easily last 4 years, for 2 of those years you will be playing almost every new game on absolute top settings.
That's just silly. If you're only goal is to play games on ultra settings you don't need to upgrade everything. Your CPU, memory and motherboard will last much much longer than your gpu. Buying the absolute best possible GPU is also overkill for 99% of the games. If you build your PC with decent but not top end parts with the intention of upgrading your gpu when you need to you'll still be able to play everything at max for the next 5 years at least and end up spending a lot less money and still have a better setup after those 5 years.
Pretty much just like every console cycle. I bought my PC around the time the 360 came out and it was only last year when I had to start making minor compromises to keep up the framerates. Now... it's more like major compromises, but that would be solved with a new graphics card alone right now.
New rig every 2-3 years I guess. Sometimes I go crazy and just buy the newest top of the line gaming rig and give the old one to a friend for a tiny sum of money just because he needs it(that doesn't happen often, though). Tiny upgrades like video cards and RAM and HDD is more often than that.
Me too, everything else is less of a big deal for gaming. My i5 (non-Sandy) is still maxing every game out with ease.
I do a major upgrade (motherboard, processor, RAM) every 3-4 years and I upgrade the video card more often than that.
When it starts to feel slow or when a super great deal pops up.
I upgraded my Core2Quad Q6600 @ 3.4ghz to a Core i5 2500k not because it was feeling slow, but because the 2500k's overclocked like hell. My upgrades get cascaded, though. So my server which was happily chugging along on an Athlon XP got a big boost and that computer turned into my media center PC, while the old media center PC went to my mom.
Same with the GPU. I bought an AMD 5870 for $170 a few years back because it was huge bang for the buck. I'm still using it and it runs all my games smoothly on high-ultra.
When I'm no longer able to run my games on high-ultra at native resolution, it's time to start thinking about upgrades.
I also keep a soft cap of $200 per item. So, while a 7970 smokes my 5870, it's out of my price range. A 6870 is what I call a zero-gain side grade. My 5870 holds its own against the 6870 except in DX11 titles. Its not worth the money.
I WAS going to upgrade last year, but decided to buy an HDTV instead to use as my monitor and TV (duh). Save space that way (I took out my old smaller monitor and tv from my setup). Then the GB crew started doing the TV/PC combo and I felt ahead of the curve.
That said, I will probably upgrade (everything except HDD) sometime this year and give the guts of this current PC to my parents to replace their ancient HP Pavilion from '04 or '05.
i usually go in 2 generations of hardware cycles before i upgrade.
Same here, depending on how my current gear is holding up, I can squeeze out an extra year or two.
On the upside when I do upgrade I can write off part of it on my taxes, because as far as my account is concerned I obviously need a mid-high end graphics card.
I upgrade when there is a need/i have money. My c2d e6600 and gtx260 worked well until late last year with the release of battlefield. So at xmas i bought a gtx560 ti, and now ive got a i5 2500k, motherboard, 8gb of ram on the way(should be here next week sometime)
it used to be every 2 years, but since games usually take their standart from xbox360 and ps3 thats not necessary anymore. when the new systems are out, youll need a new rig. and that will last for 4-5 again I would bet.
I personally upgrade my PC in a modular fashoin, like last year i got a new CPU and memory and later this year or early next year i'll likely get a new graphics card because it's almost 4 years old now.
New graphics card every 2-3 generations usually. Usually every other birthday for myself. 8800GTS G92 > GTX 280 > GTX 560 Ti; is how it went for this computer. My computer is at limits now.
New system every 4-5 years. Maybe by the end of this year or sometime next i'll build a new machine; it always comes down to money. Next system will be a much larger investment (SSD and SLI for 3 Monitors; 2 Computer Monitors 1 TV) however I use my computer for freelance work at home (I work as TV/Film editor)
your theory is that buying two high end GPU's works out cheaper than buying one Top end card.
Sorry, but that logic just wrong, GPU prices do not rise so exponentially to support that argument.
I Bought my nVidia GTX295 when it was the top card, bought for £350, two other high end cards would be £200 each.
My GTX295 is still playing new games on top settings, so where you would have upgraded your GPU I wouldn't, and thus you would have spent £50 more than me.
Spending a little bit extra now, can save you money in short term upgrades down the line
It depends. I won't buy a whole new rig unless the majority of hardware is obsolete and cannot be upgraded anymore. The last time ive build a tower was in 2008 and I still use the same motherboard/processor and kept adding hard disks as I go along. Over the last 5 years ive upgraded the ram once and the graphics card twice. Ive also added a water cooler on the CPU. My current spec is a Q6600 quad core at 2.4ghz, 4 GB of ram and a geforce gtx 560 ti. Definitely not top of the line, but it can run pretty much everything I want better than my PS3/360. The next upgrade Im gonna get will probably be an SSD, but I don't plan to get another CPU/graphics card/RAM for at least 2 years.
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