Can’t wait for a PS4? Build your self a similar spec gaming PC!
Peter Donnell / 4 years ago
There has been a lot of excitement this week over the announcement of the PlayStation 4, but one cannot simply dismiss the fact that it is closer to a PC than ever before. This isn’t a bad thing of course and while I’ve seen many fanboys already trolling the internet about how awesome PC is and how consoles suck… those people need to grow up, there is a lot more to it that what you might think.
I’ve seen a big article online recently about how you could build a PC with similar performance and specification to the PlayStation 4, this is kind of true and also completely and utterly wrong at the same time, there were some glaring omissions and some big mistakes, I’m not going to say who they were or what those errors were, but lets hope I can point you in the best direction possible with my suggestions.
The first thing we need to discuss is hardware optimization, this is something that is integral to a consoles longevity and you only have to take one look at the game which launched with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to see just how much more refined the games and their graphics have become over the last 5-6 years. Take one look at a PC graphics cards from 6 years ago and tell me, can it run the kind of graphics we see in games like Uncharted 3?
The real answer to that is yes it could, but PC development doesn’t focus on optimisation of older hardware, favouring instead to throw more horse power at the problem via a frequent and often expensive upgrade cycles. Game developers have to tweak their engines to find that power from consoles over time and while these specs I publish today may give you nice PC graphics, PS4 developers know exactly what hardware you will have in your console and can maximise its performance more often than you can on a PC.
That being said, PC graphics and PS4 graphics are likely to be on par for some time now, the gap will widen again and PC will take the lead but this is just how these things work. OK so PC is ahead now when you stick in a few GTX Titan cards, 32x AA, SLI, 3D Vision, multi monitors and what ever else, but that isn’t generally consumer level tech or affordable for a lot of gamers.
Your PC will have what is known as an overhead, this is the amount of system requirements required to run the rest of the PC systems such as the Windows desktop and its generally something that isn’t an issue on fixed hardware such as the PlayStation. Of course the big benefit of this is that you also get a fully fledged multimedia, internet capable, PC that you can use daily for work and more, not just a gaming system.
AMD Bulldozer FX-8 Eight Core 8120 Black Edition 3.10Ghz (Socket AM3+) Processor
While this is nothing like the 8 core mobile CPU/APU that you find in the PS4 it is still a commendable chip and while not the best CPU on the market, far from it, it does offer a lot of performance for the price. The Black Edition is built to overclock too and that should allow you to get maximum performance from this CPU for your games.
MSI 970A-G46 AMD 970A (Socket AM3+) DDR3 Motherboard
A CPU needs a good home and the motherboard is one of the most vital components for your system, this one from MSI is robust enough to support our CPU, some high speed ram and even has room for a 2nd graphics card should you want to get more power from your system in the future.
Patriot Intel Extreme Masters 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-17000C11 2133MHz Dual Channel Kit
8GB of high performance memory will really give you that extra boost, not only in gaming but also general system performance and this Patriot memory kit is great value for money too.
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 16MB Cache
I’m sure our PC knowledgeable readers will be screaming “get an SSD!” and yes that would speed things up, but you’ll also have to put your budget up too, this Caviar Blue drive offers a great amount of storage and its reasonably quick too for a mechanical drive.
EVGA GeForce GTX 660TI 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card
This is a rock solid graphics card and while you can go higher you can expect the price to leap up quickly for your troubles. This will run any game on the market today and while it may not compete with the PS4 or other PC games beyond 2 years from now, the motherboard combo I’ve laid out here will allow you to add a 2nd GTX 660 Ti in the future, which should be easier when the price comes down on the graphics cards and this will effectively double your graphics power.
Corsair Carbide 200R Compact ATX Case
The Corsair Carbide 200R is one of the best value cases on the market today, its well built, supports just enough of the latest hardware, its easy to maintain and it should be easy to work with for the less experienced system builder.
Antec High Current Gamer 620W ’80 Plus Bronze’ Power Supply
This is important, you really shouldn’t try and save money by getting a cheap PSU and the most common cause of component failure, system failure, component instability and more is more often the result of a nasty power supply, but right and you’ll help protect the rest of your system. This Antec one is also pretty powerful and can handle overclocking, a multiple graphics card setup and it has modular cables, not bad at all for the price and its why I use them in both my systems at home and our eTeknix review system.
The total price here is more than you can expect to pay for a PS4, this much is for certain but it’s because fundamentally I didn’t want to sacrifice on performance. If you really want to take on a high performance gaming system your going to want that expensive GTX 660 Ti and it will also ensure that you can still play the latest games with more than decent graphics settings for at least two years. The Eight core CPU will assist with heavy multi tasking over the next few years and I’ve designed this system to be suitable to overclock should you need to pick up the pace a little.
You can save money on the ram, most any DDR3 1600Mhz kit will save you £30 and still perform great, you can even find a cheaper chassis, or even a different GPU but the most important thing I will stress again is don’t buy a cheap PSU.
There are of course still some glaring ommisions of my own here and you will still need and opertaing system like Windows 7 64 Bit or Windows 8 64 Bit. A Keyboard and mouse, monitor and heck maybe even a desk but these are basic extras that you could pick and choose to your liking, we have hundres of reviews for you to pick through and find what suits your personal style in terms of peripherals.
This may not sound cheap but it will ammount to a very respectable gaming system and for those of you who can’t wait for the PS4 this will certainly give you better graphics performance in games like Battlefield 3 that you can’t get close to on the current gen PlayStation 3.
PC gaming also has a wide selection of free-to-play games that for the most part simply don’t exsist on consoles at the moment so even if you do blow your budget on hardware you need not worry about premium quality games for some time yet.