Can you build a comparable PC for the cost of an Xbox One or PS4?

This has spun off from a couple conversations in the Xbox One and PS4 threads. Rather than clog those threads up, you can hash out your builds in here.

No. /thread

Awesome, my most amazing post in the world has been saved from annihilation. I leave this here so that it can be remembered in the annals of the history.

1 - Consoles get a lot of extra performance out of the same hardware specs because they are highly specialized.
2 - Nobody ever adds in taxes, shipping, and cost of all the tiny extra things you need for a PC such as peripherals and the OS (though that has now been mentioned here). Most guides will have *some* of these, but not all.

Now a $500 or $600 PC might match launch PS4 games, but it's not going to match games that come out in 1 or 2 years.

I'll give an example - Here's the Toms Hardware review of the Radeon HD 7870, the card MeatMan linked above. They got 65 FPS @ 1080p out of Battlefield 3 using that card, a faster CPU, and twice as much RAM (as seen here). And that's Battlefield 3, not Battlefield 4.

Do you really think that system is going to match the PS4 which runs Battlefield 4 at 1080p consistently at 60fps?

This isn't to say you can't get a darn good gaming PC for a low budget, but don't fool yourself into thinking it'll be comparable to a console let alone better than it in terms of performance.

Point to note.. the PS4 runs BF4 @ 900P.. its just upscaled to 1080P.

A more reasonable PC for the next few years at 1080P will cost you around $800.

This is where we were supposed to post Supernatural gifs, right?

IMAGE(http://24.media.tumblr.com/c68e71f0b93fdebc2a172c372543c64e/tumblr_mi33c0Bfek1qzzcgco1_400.gif)

Seriously, though, I'm actually very interested in this idea. I've skated by with a six year old PC (technically, a dual booting Mac Pro) since I have low standards about resolution and framerate (1680x1050 at 30fps is okay by me!) just by adding a bit of ram and newer graphics card here and there, thanks to the fact that nearly every game targeted eight year old hardware for it's lead platform. However, the time is coming sooner than I'd like when that will no longer cut it, and I'll need to get my sh*t right.

Of course, I'll have the added wrinkle of needed to build a Hackintosh compatible piece of hardware so I can go on with my blasphemous Mac using ways for everything but gaming, but still, nice to get a good picture of what the cost will really be to set up a machine that can meet or exceed what will certainly be the target hardware for the next seven or eight years.

60fps @ 1080p for $800? That still seems low to me, especially going forward a couple of years. I'm focusing on the 60fps part because that's the console framerate, so there's no valuable in comparing a PC @ 30fps.

From the kind of benchmarks I've seen you'd need to get a high end graphics card to maintain 60fps @ 1080p for the next couple years. By that I mean GTX 770 at a minimum, and that's $300 for your card alone. Unfortunately all the benchmarks for BF3 with that card ran at 2560x1440, at which point the card pushed out 55fps, so while it's not a 1:1 comparison I think it's fair to say that card would hold 60fps @ 1080p.

zeroKFE wrote:

Seriously, though, I'm actually very interested in this idea. I've skated by with a six year old PC (technically, a dual booting Mac Pro) since I have low standards about resolution and framerate (1680x1050 at 30fps is okay by me!) just by adding a bit of ram and newer graphics card here and there, thanks to the fact that nearly every game targeted eight year old hardware for it's lead platform.

I've got a 4 or 5 year old PC with 8gb RAM, a Nehalem/Lynnfield i7 and a HD 5850. My plan right now is to wait and see how the hardware and requirements shake out over the next year or two before really committing to any sort of major hardware refresh (outside of getting a SSD). Also, I need to see if my PC gaming continues to drift further and further to indie projects which have lower requirements anyways.

Even if you could build a PC that had similar hardware to a PS4 or XB1 at the given price, as I said in my Living Room PC Gaming thread I still think there are several hurdles to using a PC in the living room. So to me the point is moot since the PC is not optimized to use in the living room, hence not really comparable.

TheGameguru wrote:

Point to note.. the PS4 runs BF4 @ 900P.. its just upscaled to 1080P.

A more reasonable PC for the next few years at 1080P will cost you around $800.

It's hard to know. The consoles are less powerful relative to PCs this time around, so current PC hardware might hold up longer, but there are so many factors pushing in both directions that you can't make great predictions. Last gen it took a year for a high end GPU to come out that could last a while (8800 series). Personally I'm going to wait for the 20nm GPUs that are hopefully coming out next year, they should be a good step up over the 700-series.

Stric9 wrote:

So to me the point is moot since the PC is not optimized to use in the living room, hence not really comparable.

Ahh, but that's where I think Valve's work is heading. They're going use Big Picture and SteamOS to turn a PC into a living room gaming system.

At least, that's where I see it going

Ahh, but that's where I think Valve's work is heading. They're going use Big Picture and SteamOS to turn a PC into a living room gaming system.

At least, that's where I see it going

I think Game Guru made a great point in the PS4 thread, where he basically said your making a lot of assumptions about Steam OS and the Steam controller.

The other issue with controls is that even if the Steam stuff works out your still not on an even playing field if your using the Steam controller in BF4 and your opponent is using a keyboard and mouse. The console solves all of these issues.

Do we know what graphics settings the PS4 will be running BF4 at? I mean even if it is getting 60FPS @900p, is it maxing out textures and effects? My computer from a couple years ago can easily hit 60FPS at 1080p at medium settings.

EriktheRed wrote:

Do we know what graphics settings the PS4 will be running BF4 at? I mean even if it is getting 60FPS @900p, is it maxing out textures and effects? My computer from a couple years ago can easily hit 60FPS at 1080p at medium settings.

The reviews mentioned high (not ultra).

EriktheRed wrote:

I mean even if it is getting 60FPS @900p, is it maxing out textures and effects?

It is not, and I don't know if it's official, but I've seen it said more than once that it's roughly equivalent to just high settings on the PC.

Thanks for this thread, it answered a question I had in regards to "What I should get next?"

It looks, as of right now, I will continue to be a console gamer.

EvilDead wrote:
EriktheRed wrote:

Do we know what graphics settings the PS4 will be running BF4 at? I mean even if it is getting 60FPS @900p, is it maxing out textures and effects? My computer from a couple years ago can easily hit 60FPS at 1080p at medium settings.

The reviews mentioned high (not ultra).

I'm wondering if DICE backed that up. The footage doesn't look bad, but it I'm not sure about some of the expensive settings that looked turned off to me. Occlusions, etc. Looked closer to medium, but it's hard to say from compressed web video.

That said, even on low, the PC version looks pretty great, even compared to BF3.

So if you are just planning on matching the capabilities of the PS4 you wouldn't need to get into the upper end of the GPU range to be on par. Also when comparing costs of systems you should factor in game prices, which are often much lower on PCs with Steam sales etc. This is less of a factor if you are always a day one purchaser, but if not you can save a substantial amount of money by waiting a month or two.

The AMD 290 for $400 plus a reasonable CPU, Mobo etc.. should net you rock solid 1080P @ 60fps gaming at around $800.... its honestly probably closer to $900 as I'm not a huge fan of budget PSU's.

EriktheRed wrote:

So if you are just planning on matching the capabilities of the PS4 you wouldn't need to get into the upper end of the GPU range to be on par. Also when comparing costs of systems you should factor in game prices, which are often much lower on PCs with Steam sales etc. This is less of a factor if you are always a day one purchaser, but if not you can save a substantial amount of money by waiting a month or two.

By hardware performance numbers, no. By actual game performance you definitely will need to higher. This is what I tried to point out earlier, you can't just say "This PC has the same clock speed as the PS4, ergo it's equivalent", because the PS4 due to its dedicated design (and this goes for any console) will be able to push out higher performance for the same clock speeds.

EriktheRed wrote:

So if you are just planning on matching the capabilities of the PS4 you wouldn't need to get into the upper end of the GPU range to be on par. Also when comparing costs of systems you should factor in game prices, which are often much lower on PCs with Steam sales etc. This is less of a factor if you are always a day one purchaser, but if not you can save a substantial amount of money by waiting a month or two.

For indie games yeah but Amazon drops console AAA titles a lot faster then Steam. Aside from the winter & summer steam sale you get much better PC deals from Amazon, GMG, and other online vendors. Eventually steam gets to those ultra-low price points but that's usually when games are 2-3 years old.

Edit: On any system if you wait a month or two you can usually find the game for 20-40% off. Except COD games, those rarely drop.

EvilDead wrote:
EriktheRed wrote:

So if you are just planning on matching the capabilities of the PS4 you wouldn't need to get into the upper end of the GPU range to be on par. Also when comparing costs of systems you should factor in game prices, which are often much lower on PCs with Steam sales etc. This is less of a factor if you are always a day one purchaser, but if not you can save a substantial amount of money by waiting a month or two.

For indie games yeah but Amazon drops console AA titles a lot faster then Steam. Aside from the winter & summer steam sale you get much better PC deals from Amazon, GMG, and other online vendors. Eventually steam gets to those ultra-low price points but that's usually when games are 2-3 years old.

I regularly see AAA games go up for sale on Steam for 30-50% off a couple months after release, even outside of their big sales. I don't buy a lot of games from other vendors, but that does not invalidate my point about total cost of ownership.

EriktheRed wrote:

I regularly see AAA games go up for sale on Steam for 30-50% off a couple months after release, even outside of their big sales. I don't buy a lot of games from other vendors, but that does not invalidate my point about total cost of ownership.

I dunno, maybe its just never the games I want. I haven't purchased a steam store game (outside their big sales) for a long time. I have had much better luck at other retailers (with Steam codes).

If you shop around and watch sales you can get great deals on any system.

So...reasonably looking at this I came up with a $950 build..

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/21odm

But that is a rock solid 1080P@60fps for some time to come..realistically you will game at 1600P at 60fps as well.

So...reasonably looking at this I came up with a $950 build..

So I think the answer is if Guru builds that machine and then you wait six months you may be able to pick it up from him used on the trading post for around $500.

Factoring in Steam sales is silly. Are we going to count in GameFly sales, trades, loaner games, ect for the consoles? And how do PS+ freebies count then? I already have several AAA titles for free and had discounts available for several others that compared to the deep discounts on Steam.

TheGameguru wrote:

So...reasonably looking at this I came up with a $950 build..

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/21odm

But that is a rock solid 1080P@60fps for some time to come..realistically you will game at 1600P at 60fps as well.

Good stuff. $1000 is more what I'd expect, especially if we're talking 1080@60fps with High settings, and no crazy Ultra mods for games or anything (which consoles can't do anyway).

TheGameguru wrote:

So...reasonably looking at this I came up with a $950 build..

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/21odm

But that is a rock solid 1080P@60fps for some time to come..realistically you will game at 1600P at 60fps as well.

Pretty much spot on.

RoughneckGeek wrote:

Factoring in Steam sales is silly. Are we going to count in GameFly sales, trades, loaner games, ect for the consoles? And how do PS+ freebies count then? I already have several AAA titles for free and had discounts available for several others that compared to the deep discounts on Steam.

Exactly. And whose buying habits are we using as a baseline? Factoring in Steam sales is fine when it comes to speculating, very loosely, about total cost of ownership; but when it comes to comparing the cost of two discrete physical machines, it's totally irrelevant and only serves to distract.

Gumbie wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

So...reasonably looking at this I came up with a $950 build..

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/21odm

But that is a rock solid 1080P@60fps for some time to come..realistically you will game at 1600P at 60fps as well.

Pretty much spot on.

So the answer is: you cannot even build a comparable PC for the cost of an Xbox One and PS4.

Gravey wrote:
RoughneckGeek wrote:

Factoring in Steam sales is silly. Are we going to count in GameFly sales, trades, loaner games, ect for the consoles? And how do PS+ freebies count then? I already have several AAA titles for free and had discounts available for several others that compared to the deep discounts on Steam.

Exactly. And whose buying habits are we using as a baseline? Factoring in Steam sales is fine when it comes to speculating, very loosely, about total cost of ownership; but when it comes to comparing the cost of two discrete physical machines, it's totally irrelevant and only serves to distract.

Gumbie wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

So...reasonably looking at this I came up with a $950 build..

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/21odm

But that is a rock solid 1080P@60fps for some time to come..realistically you will game at 1600P at 60fps as well.

Pretty much spot on.

So the answer is: you cannot even build a comparable PC for the cost of an Xbox One and PS4.

Well the machine Guru is building is much more powerful than the new consoles at least as I understand them. According to this article at least the graphics processing of the PS4 is comparable to a HD7850 (a $140 card). Even if you factor in the elusive console optimization factor, a $400 GPU on a PC like Guru is suggesting is going to blow that out of the water.

Tagging for interest. I mean, I saw an Xbox-1One running at some kiosk here (Titanfall) and it was pixelated, I could tell it had slowdown, and honestly the graphics jump was nowhere what I expected from new consoles, or it didn't make me go "Damn! That's like 3 years into the future of PCs, MAYBE" like I did with the PS2 and PS3. I jumped headfirst into the Xbox OG and PS2, and I needed very little convincing for a 360, but this new generation, man, I dunno...

I don't want to troll either of the console threads, but I was super disappointed when I actually saw the games running.

For those with better knowledge and memory than me, was it even possible to build and buy a reasonable gaming PC on par with the previous gen(PS3+360)?

We called it "Next-gen" for like 5 years straight, until it became clear that PCs had caught up and surpassed them.

RoughneckGeek wrote:

Factoring in Steam sales is silly. Are we going to count in GameFly sales, trades, loaner games, ect for the consoles? And how do PS+ freebies count then? I already have several AAA titles for free and had discounts available for several others that compared to the deep discounts on Steam.

One could argue that the direction of console (especially digital) sales has been prompted in some part by Steam sales. I think it's fair to say that Steam's PC dominance is largely based on their sales, and I can't see them changing their direction when they begin to push their own OS and boxes. I think it's silly to NOT factor in Steam sales. Thanks to Steamworks, you should also factor in the increasingly common sales on sites like GMG, Amazon, et. al. if you are comparing a PC-centric gaming experience to the console experience of years past. That said, we can all see how the marketplace is changing, and that advantage is waning quickly.

Regarding comments about making assumptions about SteamOS and the Steam controller, I would suggest that it's just as easy to make assumptions about what it can't do as make assumptions about what it can do. Nobody really knows for sure, but at least we can make an educated guess based on big picture mode and the (very few) articles on the controller. Until we get things in hand, any decision we make will be made on limited information. I'm a glass half full kind of guy, so I'll admit that I am excited about what it'll bring. Honestly, I've been a glass half full guy with regard to Valve and Steam for years and they haven't let me down. I hope they bring the same success to the hardware space.