will7476 wrote:No wonder people get put off PC gaming - all that talk about specs just puts me off instantly. I can understand the appeal, and I'm not knocking PC gamers, but isn't it just a never ending process of upgrades and cost?
Depends on the individual. My personal experience is that if you leave the PC setup unchanged with a gaming rig it will play games for about 5 to 5 1/2 years before you are literally at a point where it will no longer run some of the latest, tech-heavy games. If you build your own PC you can save a good chunk of cash and if you are able to salvage parts from an old rig in to a new one, say your DVD drive for example, then that too can save you a good bit of change. That said, there are times when a whole new branch of tech is released (ex. going from DDR2 to DDR3 and switching from Duo and Quad cores to the i-core family) and such switches are going to be expensive although less so if you can wait a bit and if you don't demand the very best out there.
I prefer to go for a nicely balanced "price vs. performance". Buying the most expensive hardware isn't always the best setup, and it may very well fall short of serving your PC needs adequately at a price to your liking.
If you start out with a solid motherboard and a PSU that's above what you currently need and is of a quality brand then you are really only left with the CPU, GPU, memory as the main components left. Separate sound cards are often better then onboard sound but costs more and they are not a strict necessity if you want sound (if you want better sound then, yes, they are). Changing the HDD or the DVD/BR drive isn't that tough either and will be cheaper to replace than the CPU or the GPU. Those last two bits are the the really expensive parts that you are most likely to see immediate gaming gains in by upgrading.
It's worth noting that after you hit 60 FPS it's going to become increasingly difficult for the unaided human eye to see a difference beyond that. 30-40 FPS will look fantastic, so other than bragging rights there is little immediate need to max everything out (which is where the 3,000 GBP PC claims arise). As usual, if you take the time to realistically evaluate what your needs and demands of a PC rig are ahead of time, then you can often save a bundle when you finally decide to buy a new rig after shopping around and doing your homework on the parts.