Customization The Best Gaming PC for August 2018.

We often get asked for advise from customers who have a rough idea of what they are trying to achieve but are just not quiet sure what the best configuration for their particular needs is.

For the purposes of this article we are going to make a few basic assumptions.

  • Primary Use : Gaming
    By far the most common and often the trickiest to determine with a lot of conflicting information floating around online.
  • Goal  : Best value for money
    Isn’t this always the goal? Well not always, a lot of our customers do like to splurge on aesthetics with bigger coolers, RGB LEDs and high end fancy chassis. Our recommendation below won’t take aesthetics in to account as it’s too subjective. That being said, you  can always use this guide as a jumping off point for the performance aspect and make a few tweaks or additions to get it exactly how you like it!
  • Availability : Right Now!
    In the world of PC hardware, something new is always around the corner and you can always find someone to tell you ‘just wait another month or two and you can get the X with the Y and it will be so much better’. Well sometimes this true but quiet often it’s a longer than expect wait for a smaller than expected jump in performance. Don’t forget to factor in the value of being able to game on your new PC for that extra time and remember, even if you wait a few weeks or months for the next big thing, it’s only a few months away from the next, next big thing and  you can’t wait for ever!

It also might be worth checking out our online custom PC builder page linked here before you jump in to the rest of the article so you can get a better idea of what we are discussing.

Getting Started; Addressing the lies.

Don’t fall for the CPU and RAM trap.

There are three main contributors to a PCs performance, the CPU, RAM and GPU (aka video or graphics card) but contrary marketing hype it’s not all about the CPU or RAM.

For almost all games, especially triple-A big budget 3D titles, the video card is the key contributing factor to in-game performance. The heart and soul of any gaming PC as long it’s not bottle-necked, responsible for rendering as many frames per second to the screen as it possibly can. The more frames per second, the better the performance and smoother than experience.

It really is that simple but quiet often the ‘gaming PCs’ you see in big box stores sitting on the shelf are configured purely for marketing purposes, designed to be sold to people who know nothing about PC hardware by shady salesmen who know equally as little or are happy to lie to your face to get their sales.

This is why you’ll commonly see an i7 CPU and a huge amount of RAM paired with some entry level or mid range video card completely unnecessarily! Why? Sadly it’s because your average mum or dad wandering in to a JB HIFI to buy their 13 year old a ‘gaming PC’ has no idea how important the video card is and how to even compare them against one another. What they do end up comparing is the CPU and RAM, a poor indicator for gaming performance but an easy mistake for the un-savvy customer to make. It seems intuitive right? i7 is better than i5 or i3 and more GB’s means faster!  Well this is completely wrong.

If you take anything away from this article to save you money on your next gaming PC purchase it should be these simple facts;

  • You should always start with the GPU and work backwards.
    Figure out what sort of performance you are looking for, choose the right video card for your needs and work backwards to make sure you choose the appropriate supporting hardware.
  • More cores doesn’t mean better gaming performance.
    Most modern game engines will only utilize 4 cores and barely touch the others. In fact a lot will only really fully utilize 2! This might change a bit in the future but not any time soon and it’s been this way for a very long time. As a result in the vast majority of games an i5 will match in i7 in performance and in some cases even the i3’s!
  • More RAM that you actually don’t need doesn’t actually do anything.
    These days, RAM comes capacities come in increments of 8GB and in all but the most demanding games, 8GB will get you by just fine. Jump up to 16GB and your totally covered, anything higher just isn’t going to make a difference for gaming.

Choosing the best video card for gaming PC and pairing it correctly.

For as critical as this step is to any gaming PC, it’s not actually that difficult. Performance and price almost scales uniformly and it’s generally a case of you get what you pay for. The only real trick is knowing what you can expect for money.

Top of the Line.
Best Gaming PC GPU for 144Hz, 4K & VR

If you really want the best of the best, as of today the GTX 1080 TI is the only way to go.  The only card considered a higher tier than this is the much more expensive Titan X which is more optimized towards professional applications over gaming and as a result even with it’s extra pipelines and on-board memory they perform almost identically in terms of gaming.

To pair with this, a high end i5 like the 8600 or 8600K with 16GB of RAM would be our recommendation but if you wan’t that extra piece of mind and it’s within your budget, an i7 would be worth concidering. Especially if you have some secondary use cases that would leverage the extra cores or if your a big fan of games like the Total War series that lean much more heavily on the CPU.

Great.
The Best Gaming PC GPU for 1080P / Max Settings

A couple of steps down from the top is the GTX1070 or GTX1070 TI. Both great cards in their price range with only very little difference in performance and price between them and each capable of running all modern games at 1080P extremely well, even at high / ultra graphics settings very well.

For CPU and RAM, a mid to entry level i5 with 16GB of RAM would be all you need, no need to worry about an i7 at this tier.

Mid-Range
The Best Gaming PC GPU for General 1080P Gaming

A lot of games, especially popular e-sports titles don’t really require much in the way of gaming PC horsepower as they try to optimize for high frame rates over rich, high detailed 3D environments. A great example of which are titles like Overwatch and Fortnite. If these are the types of games you love and you don’t really worry about needing to crank all the graphics settings up to their highest you can easily get away with a GTX 1060 3GB.

The 3GB model is a slightly cut down version of the 6GB but still plenty to get very smooth frame rates across a very wide range of popular titles and if you dial back the settings a bit you can still find a very enjoyable balance in the more demanding games too.

A high end i3 like the 8300 would be great pairing with this card and you could easily get away with only 8GB or RAM.

Entry Level
The Best Gaming PC GPU on a Tight Budget

Happy with medium pre-sets and really only play a handful of less demanding classics like Counter Strike, Team Fortress, Dota etc? The GTX 1050 packs enough of a punch to keep you very happy, but don’t expect 4K or VR levels of power! It’s great value for a lot of games but you might struggle in a more demanding title a little further down the road.

As for CPU and RAM with this one, it doesn’t really matter. Even the entry level Pentium would get the job done and anything over 8GB of RAM would be waste of money.

Should you go with SLI? (Dual Video Cards)

For those of you not familiar with the term, that means running two of the same model GPU in the same machine, setup and linked together so they work together to power your PC while you’re gaming. The upside is a lot more gaming performance assuming the game you are playing is well optimized to support it. The down side is of course the extra cost, not only in the second GPU, but the motherboard and power supply that is required to support it.

Remember, even the most optimized games don’t scale 1:1 so it’s always better to have a single higher performing card over two less powerful ones.

So the answer is yes, but only if it’s a high end card, it’s within your budget, and your happy to pay the premium involved with to get the extra performance.

A Look at the Year Ahead in PC Gaming [2018]

Crackdown 3 Terry Crews

So it’s getting close to that time of year where the first big releases drop and you start to look at your old gaming PC and wonder, is it time? Do wait a little longer or do I bite the bullet and just get it now? Well, lets see if any of the up coming releases are enough to tempt you.

Although a lot of the titles that will be landing in Q4 this year may have not been officially announced, there is still plenty look forward to that we already know about. Far too many to cover in a single article but we’ve polled the team and chosen a few of our most anticipated games of 2018.

Despite a few of the trailers being plastered with XBOX logos by Microsoft marketing departments, these games are definitely coming to PC and in most cases the PC version will be the flag-ship, lead platform and definitive edition.

Metal Gear : Survive

What is it : After a 30 year run, this is the first installment since Kojima (the series creator) has stepped down from his own studio. Survive is set (at least partially) between the events of Ground Zero and Phantom Pain and doesn’t feature the series main protagonist (Snake) at all! Instead this time around custom characters fight for survival after being sucked in to a wormhole and landing in an alternate universe full of, yep, you guessed it. Zombies.

Why it could be awesome one you wait for reviews of first : Rumors have it even single player contains micro-transactions and requires and ‘always online’ DRM requirement. That plus it’s the first Metal Gear game without the oversight or direction of Hideo Kojima, so it’s not necessarily an instant winner even for the most die-hard fans of the franchise.

When? February 20th

Far Cry 5

What is it : Running on the latest version of the always beautiful Crytek game engine, the 5th installment in the main franchise is set in back country Montana pitting religious cults, anti-government separatists and the locals against each other with plenty of bullets, explosions, fire and deadly wildlife the serious is known for.

Why it could be awesome : A pretty good franchise track record, a massive budget, a game engine that can look absolutely stunning when executed right and plenty of game-play trailers floating around that look like the developers might have done just that. If your a Far Cry fan and have been putting off upgrading your old gaming PC, this might be the game that pushes you over the edge. You’re going to want to crank the settings up to high on this one to get the full effect.

When? March 27th

Crackdown 3

What is it : Featuring the voice of Terry Crews as a playable character, this sci-fi over the top GTA’esc open world action game features a single player  campaign, co-op and competitive multiplayer modes and a boasts a fully destructible city.

Why it could be awesome : For those who know and love the Crackdown series, it looks like more of the same, dialed up to 11, a little Terry Crews, more destruction and mayhem and actually getting a day 1 PC release!

When? TBD Q2 2018 (Delayed from November 2017)

Age of Empires 4

What is it : A long (loooooooong) awaiting installment in the franchise with fans waiting since the launch of the 3rd game in 2005. Real time strategy games are few and far between these days which is a real shame of those of us who love them and it’s sufficed to say anyone who does is really looking forward to this one.

Why it could be awesome : Hopefully staying true to it’s roots and not straying too far the core mechanics that made AOE3 such a classic, this one is being developed by Relic. You may know these guys as the developers behind Dawn of War and Company of Heroes which is arguably two of the best RTS franchises of recent memory (although granted there isn’t many to choose from).

When? TBD 2018

Anthem

What is it : A fantasy sci fi open world action shooter with RPG elements reminiscent of the Destiny games. Not too else much is known about the game at this stage aside from a trailer released last year but it’s enough to give you an idea of the look and feel the developers are going for.

Why it could be awesome : Developing it is the same Bioware team that is responsible for the Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games.

When? TBD Q3 2018

Jurassic World Evolution

What is it : Imagine a theme park tycoon game with a it’s core mechanic being essentially a business simulator as you adjust ticket prices, build attractions and make sure your gift shop is placed right at exit. Now add giant murderous dinosaurs and a chance that if you mess up, your main attractions could violently murder all your customers.

Why it could be awesome : Who better to develop a game like this than the team behind RollerCoaster Tycoon. We can rest assured at the very least the theme park sim mechanics will be pretty sound. Let’s just hope they get the murderous dinosaur violence right too.

When? Q3 2018

 

The Crew 2

What is it : Something for you racing fans to be excited for, this time around with boats and planes! The trailers set a high bar, lets hope Ubisoft can live up to the hype they are building and that it’s not packed full of micro-transactions.

Why it could be awesome : The developers are ex Eden Games who worked on Need for Speed, Test Drive Unlimited, the original The Crew and V-Rally so their qualifications check out. Visuals look great and if they don’t mess up the core mechanics or force those of us who just want to stick to the cars and bikes to have to grind through boat or plane races to progress, it should be a winner.

When? Q2-Q3 2018

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Not too much is known about these titles, some don’t have solid release dates or even release windows to expect but they are all due sometime this year.

  • Dead Island 2
  • Quake Champions
  • Unreal Tournament
  • Metro Exodus
  • State of Decay 2
  • Dark Souls Remastered
  • System Shock 3 (Maybe)
  • Monster Hunter : World
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Vampyr

Final Note

There are so many more titles than we mentioned here in this article, and probably a few absolute gems too. We just wanted to highlight a few of the ones on our own radar for anyone who hasn’t already in the know.

So is it time for a new custom gaming PC?

In case you haven’t guessed, that’s what we do around here, and we do it dam well.  If your gaming PC just ins’t holding up and you want to be ready to go the moment your most anticipated game of 2018 hits, head on over to our store page ( evatech.com.au ) and check out our custom PC builder. Your just a few clicks away from getting a brand new, fully custom rig built to order and delivered to your door by Australia’s #1 gaming PC retailer.