Question Planning a build to beat PS5 and XSX long term

afromac

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Mar 19, 2010
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The (upfront) TLDR: Is it possible to build a gaming pc today that will still play the next gen of games at 60fps and high settings for the lifetime of the next console generation? I don't think it is, but I would love to know if I am wrong.

My thinking behind this question:

The PS4 and X1 both launched in 2014 with 8-core AMD Jaguar processors clocked at 1.6GHz and 1.75Ghz, respectively, with bumps to 2.13GHz and 2.3GHz for their mid cycle refresh "pro" versions. These were low end CPUs for the time the consoles were released.

Functionally, what this has meant for me as a pc gamer, is that I have monstered the entire cycle of games on Ivy Bridge. A 3770K clocked at 4.5GHz has more than covered my needs, and coupled with a GTX 1080, I effectively ran games at 1440p and 60fps - essentially doubling the performance of the "pro" consoles in most situations.

So in effect a 2012 quad core Intel CPU was a sufficient processor to play games until 2020. That's a decent investment, so I'm trying to plan how to achieve the same for the next cycle. The crucial thing, so far as I understand, was that the sheer compute speed of highly clocked Intel cores and SMT enabled the Intel to match the higher thread core count of the consoles and double the speed of the weak Jaguar cores.

Looking ahead to the next gen, both Sony and MS are building their machines on a slightly underclocked 3700X. That is a much more powerful CPU relative to the release window of the consoles when compared to 2014. In fact, there is nothing on the market at a consumer level that offers the same kind of premium of performance over the upcoming console CPUs as the was available in 2014. Not even a 10900K is going to have that kind of a performance improvement over a 3700X running at 3.8GHz (which is the clock on the XSX).

So, the conclusion that I have come to is that its actually a really bad time to build a strictly gaming pc right now, and maybe even for the next year or more. If developers target 4K30 on console (which is a reasonable assumption), and you plan to play games at 60fps, your Zen 3 or Rocket Lake is going to struggle within 2 years and you will not have an upgrade path on that platform.

Obviously, I have completely ignored the issues of memory, GPU, storage speed etc here, as generally you will have an upgrade path for those. I just want to think about deciding on a platform to use for a gaming build going forward, with a focus on future upgrades.

I am not here to crap on pc. I'm just trying to get some informed opinions back on my thinking on this subject. I would very much like to be wrong. I would love to hear from some people who know more than me about this.
 
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