The 2008 Guide to Gaming PC Specs

PC gaming is always going forward. While a new console generation takes years to arrive, PC hardware evolves in much faster cycles, with new generation of hardware popping up every 6 to 12 months. Vendors naturally want to sell you their latest and greatest toys - preferably every six months - but if you are a gamer that purchases a computer based on what games actually need, there is actually little reason to follow a six month upgrade cycle.

In addition to the hardware cycles, the PC side has the software development mixing things up: Windows Vista and DirectX 10 have been around for a while now, but do you really need DX10? What about Vista? What do games really need from a PC today? And how does the future look? We try to answer these questions, and give practical suggestions outlining a gaming PC worth buying today.

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SaiyanFury4667d ago (Edited 4667d ago )

Interesting read, and it makes a lot of great points. The CPU IS becoming less necessary, but in some games like DiRT and Bioshock on PC, a Pentium 4 would be decent but simply couldn't compare to a dual core CPU. I tested DiRT out with both my 3.2 GHz P4 and my 3.0GHz Core 2 Duo E6850, and the difference was amazing. With my P4, when racing 5 or so other opponents, the game was playable but the framerate was really choppy. When I tried the same game out with my Core 2 Duo, with the same settings in the same race, the framerate was 3-4 times higher. When playing a game that supports multithreading, a multi-core CPU can't be beat.

On the RAM side of things, you can pretty much get away with 2GB, although I recommend a matched pair of dual channel PC6400 if you can get it.

Videocard side of things, DX10 is really overrated right now. It doesn't look a heck of a lot different right now, and running games in Vista is a waste of time anyways. The driver support from third party hardware manufacturers is lackluster at best. Not because of fault of the companies, but the fault of Microsoft's greed. Microsoft locks out developers from the OS keycode in Vista unless hardware developers pay Microsoft a development fee to unlock said code. Then the developers can properly make drivers for the OS. Do you really think hardware developers are going to pay M$ more fees just to make drivers for an already lackluster operating system? Not to mention how hungry Vista is for system resources.

I may not run the highest end hardware in my PC, but it's good enough to run anything I want to play at near maximum settings.
Here's my specs:

eVGA nForce 680i SLI motherboard
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 OC'd to 3.5GHz
4GB Corsair XMS2 RAM PC6400 OC'd to 933MHz
2x eVGA 7950GT KO Superclocked videocards w/ 512MB RAM each

I don't play most FPS games as they usually bore me, but Oblivion runs in 60FPS in most areas, and DiRT, Sega Rally, Bioshock and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory all run at a near constant 60 FPS. Unless you're wanting to spend beaucoup bucks on your PC, it's really not necessary if you want to play most games with acceptable settings.

ip-student4667d ago (Edited 4667d ago )

The mimimum to get a compentent gaming machine was about $800-$1000. For that price you could get a XBOX 360 and a PS3 and be good for 4 years rather than 2. Or just get an XBOX 360 and you will get most games that come out for the PC for a $350 investment.

It is hard to justify buying a gaming PC anymore. Now, if you need one anyway, then spending $1000 to get a decent PC that can also game is a decent idea - but if you are just surfing the net, might as well save the cash and get a cheap PC and a console - IMHO. Assuming of course that you have a HDTV - if not then you are forced to PC game. But I couldn't give up my HDTV - sports are fantastic in HD.