How often do PC gamers upgrade their machines?

#1 Posted by SoleVillain (45 posts) -

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?

#2 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -

Every five years, if I've heard correctly. (There's a good change I haven't.)

#3 Posted by ze_ro (182 posts) -

Pretty much a new top end rig every 4+ years or so for me, all at once.

#4 Posted by Kaiserreich (809 posts) -

Every few years, and even then you do it one or two parts at a time.

#5 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3053 posts) -

Upgrade every year, or new rig ever 2 .5-3 years

#6 Posted by BonOrbitz (2400 posts) -

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...

#7 Posted by Skytylz (4070 posts) -

I usually spend a little every year and just upgrade to avoid the huge cost ever 3 years or so.

#8 Posted by j0rdan (221 posts) -

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. 

#9 Posted by SoleVillain (45 posts) -

I built my first mid-range pc with the help of a friend November 2010. I use it has a home theater pc. I wasn't sure when and what to upgrade. Thanks for the fast responses guys!

#10 Posted by wemibelec90 (2109 posts) -

2-3 years for a whole new machine with things bought here and there to supplement it.

#11 Posted by Kidavenger (3883 posts) -

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.

#12 Posted by crazyleaves (666 posts) -

I've had my setup five years can't run everything on max but good so far, when I upgrade it'll blow my mind.

#13 Posted by AlexW00d (6739 posts) -

It really depends on your budget. You could do it every time a new component is released, or you could survive on low settings for like 7-8 years.

#14 Posted by Marz (5721 posts) -

i usually go in 2 generations of hardware cycles before i upgrade. 

#15 Posted by Hunkulese (2968 posts) -

@j0rdan said:

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.

#16 Posted by AndrewB (7782 posts) -

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.

#17 Posted by Gargantuan (1890 posts) -

I don't upgrade, I just buy a new computer when my current computer feels to slow. This usually takes 4-5 years. I think I bought my current one in 08 or 09 so I'll probably buy a new one next year.

#18 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2762 posts) -

Upgrade every 9 months, new rig every 18.

#19 Posted by Zithe (1056 posts) -

I do a major upgrade (motherboard, processor, RAM) every 3-4 years and I upgrade the video card more often than that.

#20 Posted by zudthespud (3328 posts) -

I bought a mid range PC last year and I don't see any need to upgrade anything for at least another year. I think I'll end up going 3 years, depends if I have more money than I know what to do with at any point.

#21 Posted by ZeForgotten (10368 posts) -

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. 

#22 Posted by Sooty (8195 posts) -
@Zithe said:

I do a major upgrade (motherboard, processor, RAM) every 3-4 years and I upgrade the video card 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.
#23 Posted by wewantsthering (1652 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Every five years? lol Maybe a brand-new computer every 4-5 years, but there are definitely upgrades between.

#24 Posted by Zelyre (1373 posts) -

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.

#25 Posted by IBurningStar (2199 posts) -

I upgrade something at least once a year. Last year I got a new video card and power supply, year before that I put in some more memory. It really just depends on how much extra money I have to put into it.

#26 Posted by Subjugation (4786 posts) -

I went three years before another build.

#27 Edited by myketuna (1784 posts) -

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.

#28 Posted by ectoplasma (1041 posts) -

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.

#29 Posted by Doctorchimp (4163 posts) -

Every other year or so upgrade your graphics card or something else. And then do a completely new build every 4-5 years.

That's the beauty of PC gaming. You decide what you want to do.

#30 Posted by mustachioeugene (544 posts) -

@Marz said:

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.

#31 Posted by ajamafalous (12447 posts) -

I built this computer over two years ago and the only thing I've upgraded since then was the graphics card (GTX 275 to a GTX 560 Ti). It's not like my i7-920 or my 6 gigs of RAM are suddenly garbage.

#32 Posted by SlasherMan (1723 posts) -

I tend to upgrade every 3-4 years. Whether it's a completely new build or just select components depends on what I have and how I feel it's performing.

#33 Posted by s10129107 (1334 posts) -

i built my computer about 5 years ago and only recently have had trouble running everything at maximum settings.

#34 Posted by Tag (67 posts) -

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)

#35 Edited by Falx (366 posts) -

@ectoplasma said:

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.

Basically this.

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.

#36 Posted by gosukiller (2339 posts) -

Around once every 5 years. Sometimes a new machine, sometimes just a new videocard.

Put a 6950 2gb into my 3.5 year old system and it was all it needed to run everything on max again.

#37 Posted by Nomin (1004 posts) -

Around every three years, BUT, I find it wiser to upgrade in time for a new console system release these days, what with all the ports on the system still limited to hardware five or six years ago.

#38 Posted by Beforet (2991 posts) -

When I absolutely need to. I don't like opening up my machine for any reason.

#39 Posted by MysteriousBob (6262 posts) -

I've never upgraded, I'll buy a new machine every 5 years or so.

#40 Edited by WilltheMagicAsian (1547 posts) -

Biennially. Usually just minor stuff since most of the games that are coming out right now aren't too great or are just ports that are easy to run. Once the next generation of consoles come out, I'll probably invest in a new GPU.

#41 Posted by jorbear (2570 posts) -

Every 2 to 3 years. Usually just RAM or a graphics card.

#42 Posted by Stepside (558 posts) -

Usually every 2-3 years.

#43 Posted by VierasTalo (1088 posts) -

I just upgraded. Before this I upgraded in -04. I tend to go for slightly larger overhauls, as the latest upgrade came in at around 500 euros.

#44 Posted by mosdl (3388 posts) -

3 years roughly here. Graphics card upgrades usually depends on Nvidia's release cycles.

#45 Edited by Subject2Change (2971 posts) -

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)

#46 Posted by Scrumdidlyumptious (1679 posts) -

Very rarely. I only upgrade when new games no longer run at an acceptable frame rate at the lowest settings.

#47 Posted by CornBREDX (6546 posts) -

I usually have to upgrade about every 5 years and have to completely build a new one because the board on the old one is outdated about every 10 years. It may change though, who knows. We shall see.

#48 Posted by supersheep3000 (16 posts) -

I upgrade every couple of years. Mainly graphics card, sometimes CPU, rarely RAM. Never changed my case, though. Always been good to me. I buy mice and keyboards even more rare as my mouse and keyboard have lasted me for years now.

#49 Posted by j0rdan (221 posts) -
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
#50 Posted by Stete (784 posts) -

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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