I need a new PC in 2007 - What am I waiting for?

I’ll keep it simple:

At some point during 2007, I’m going to be in the market for a new PC. What next big thing should I wait for?

Last time I was buying, I held out for shader model 3.0. That proved to be a good decision, as games are now starting to require that feature.

And any other general advice is always welcome. I simply have not been keeping up with hardware at all. I have no fucking clue what’s hot and what’s comin’ in e-machines these days.

Help me out here, yo.

-Dual core/Quad core cpu’s
-DX10 video cards
-Windows Vista

This is the future of PC gaming, all these features should become more mainstream as the year progresses.

Vista comes out jan 30th and the ATI R600 on jan 22nd. Those are the big ones to wait for right now.

Taranis, elaborate.

Are DX10 video cards going to be like DX9 cards? Or will the features actually be standardized this time?

Also, don’t lynch me, but what the hell is a quad core CPU? We’re not talking about some dual processor setup shit, are we?

I’m not a tech guru or anything but from what I understand DX10 cards combined with Windows Vista will use the latest and greatest shaders that will be a huge leap over DX9, I’m not sure if the features will be standardized or not but I believe they would.

Right now I believe the Intel Quad-Core cpu’s are actually 2-Dual cores combined, I don’t believe its a true 4 core independent system, but I’m sure some of the experts on this forum could explain how they work. But multi core cpu’s are definitely the future of PC gaming.

Keep in mind that as of now computer hardware has surpassed gaming software, not too many games utilize any of these features but they will start in this year and the next.

As of now there’s only a few games that I know of that use these features, GalCiv2: Dark Avatar is going to take advantage of Dual-core cpu’s, and Company of Heroes and Microsoft Flight Sim uses DX10.

Also, don’t lynch me, but what the hell is a quad core CPU? We’re not talking about some dual processor setup shit, are we?

Pretty much. The cores (4 for quad) are on the same wafer, but are separate processing units. Most of the new Intel Macs are dual core, and the Mac pros are quad core.

Are there any actual benefits to games? i.e., how many games actually use multiple threads in a significant way?

Mac pros aren’t quadcore, they have two dualcore CPUs, like the AMD “4x4”. They don’t use the real intel quadcore stuff, the clovertown xeons or kentsfield core2quads. That will probably change shortly, though, since kentsfield will allow Apple to use vastly cheaper motherboards and memory.

DX10 is entirely standardized, any DX10 compatible chip must support a certain set of capabilities. You can’t just switch features off like DX9. Of course some cards will be faster than others, but if it says “DirectX 10 support” you know it’ll play the game with everything turned on. That’s why it isn’t backwards compatible through software. If you have a DX9 card, you can’t run DX10.

VERY few games benefit from dualcore, and no games benefit from quadcore. The first titles that really use multiple cores will probably come out in early 2008.

Here’s a blog by Brad Wardell about how multi-core cpu’s could revolutionize how computer AI plays in games. Sounds pretty cool to me!


Could someday != should buy today. Future-proofing your PC is so 90s.

You know, let me ask – how much would you have saved by waiting until now to buy a SM 3.0 card?

Probably not a lot. I got a GeForce 6800, which was already slipping into tier 2 when I bought my current rig. I’ve actually been pretty damn pleased with the machine thus far. It’s lasted me over 18 months and even performance hogs like NWN2 are playable.

Thanks for the replies, by the way.

I have to say that Quadcores really have impressed me so far.

By day I use it for work (coding and such) and the results are just phenomenal when compiling.

At night it becomes part of the render farm at the office and it’s literally 4X faster than our other machines on the farm.

I had been slow to upgrade my machines because I had started getting the distinct impression that newer machines were only “faster” in benchmarks but not so much in real world use (other than certain high end games where you would get 100fps instead of a mere 60fps which is meaningless IMO).

For what it’s worth, here are the things that have come out recently that really are a big step up:

  1. RAID 0 (or RAID10). This isn’t new stuff but you put 2 10K RPM drives together and it really will make a significant (i.e. noticeable) difference.

  2. DualCore or QuadCore. If you get Quadcore, pay close attention to the speed for each core. A Quadcore can end up slower than Dualcore on some day to day tasks if the DualCore cores are running faster (because you really need threads to make the most of them).

  3. The new Geforce 8800.

THings that are coming out that look like they may change things:

  1. FlashRam on the motherboard or via Vista’s support. I’d really like to see the boot OS stuff be taken from flash memory. Supposedly this is coming out soon.

  2. Faster Quadcores

Just out of curiosity, whats a reasonable amount to expect to spend on a mid to high end gaming pc these days? I guess it’s more then mere curiosity. My pc hits the 4 year mark this march, and I suppose whether I want to or not it’s about time to put a new machine together if I want to play any of the years new releases. My current build cost me about $1200 and held up pretty damn well IMO.

I plan on upgrading everything except for my case, drives, and DVD-RW for around $1300, so figure $1500 total if you build it yourself. That’s with a 8800GTS, if you go for a lower end videocard you’ll save >$200.

If you spend less on your CPU and more on your GPU, you’ll be a happier camper for longer.

Well, here’s what I spent recently:
Asus P5B-E MB: $150
Core2Duo E6600 CPU: $310
2GB DDR2 RAM: $210
GeForce 8800GTX: $500 (after rebate)
Case & PS: $100
300GB HD: $60
Windows XP Pro: $140

Total: $1470

I got pretty good deals on the 8800GTX and the HDD; the case and PS were also on sale. I’m reusing my old DVD burner. If you need to save some money, you could buy a cheaper CPU, slower video card, less RAM, etc. If you want SLI, expect to spend $100 more on the MB for an nForce 680i; and you’ll need a much beefier power supply.

I plan on waiting for vista to be out a few months so games have time to shake out thier compatability issues, so that puts it on March to April time frame.

BTW does anyone know if Vista will run on a 32 bit cpu? I am wondering if my older system can run vista or not.

Yeah, it does.

A cheaper MacPro.