Survey: How old is your game PC?

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I’d assumed that among people who blog about games I’d be one of those with the lowest spec PC. So I was surprised when I saw that some people who play a lot more than me and are a lot more knowledgeable than I am about games and gaming tech said things like these on Twitter:

I think this is an interesting thing to investigate for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s always a comfort to know that you’re not alone in your situation. Secondly I suspect that game companies and developers would be very surprised that people like us who play a fair amount of games, and even have game blogs and participate in game communities have quite such old and low spec PCs.

Maybe we can do a little to correct that impression, and perhaps get them to think about serving this part of the market better. Because as business people they will know that we are potentially rather good customers, and they’ll miss out on sales if they don’t properly cater for our needs.

So with that in mind, I thought a simple survey would be enlightening.

With both these polls, feel free to give more info or explanations in comments.

Since I don’t have a huge following for this blog, I’d appreciate it if you would also share this survey more widely so we can hear from more people.

The survey is obviously not going to be “scientific” in any sense, but it should be interesting, and maybe it can be useful in triggering a needed debate that can come to the attention of game companies.

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19 thoughts on “Survey: How old is your game PC?

  1. The machine I built in 2010 was mid-range in a lot of ways. I favor more modest video cards after having burned out three 8800GTs playing LOTRO. But I did go for the biggest quad core i7 processor I could afford, since I tend to upgrade video cards over time (I just did that last summer) but I tend to stick with whatever processor I start with until I move to a new system.

    Since the bottleneck for a lot of games tends not to be the CPU in any case, I expect my system will last for a few more years, with maybe another video card upgrade along the way.

    • Not to mention that GFX cards can just be hot-swapped in and out. A CPU, or better RAM will have to be compatible with the socket and capabilities of your motherboard.

      I tend to do the same for that very reason. Upgrading a CPU normally means upgrading my motherboard and RAM at the same time. GFX card I could update weekly if I so desired.

      • In retrospect I really should have included a question about upgrading in the survey.

        I’m really curious about what proportion of people ever upgrade a PC.

        Personally I tend to go the other way, i.e. go for a spec that should be usable for a long time without upgrading, then when it doesn’t cope any more, get a new system. I’m not too confident about meddling with hardware, and I don’t have the spare budget these days to risk screwing things up altogether.

    • I guess for the purpose of this survey, you can either pick the “Other” category or pick the type of PC that you think is the best equivalent to the Mac in question.

      It’s good to hear in comments about what people actually have, esp if it’s a bit different than we might expect.

  2. Mine’s 7 or more years by now, about two years older than I’d like. Just about the time it was due for an upgrade or complete overhaul, other RL financial concerns enroached in on the budget. Been dropping lower and lower down the system spec demographic ever since…

    *sigh* It -was- a high end gaming system once. That’s probably the only reason it’s still holding its own on the minimal-est settings now.

    Caveat: I probably did upgrade a graphics card 5-6 years ago, and memory to 4gb at the same time (though win xp could only use 3/4 of that), and I recently gave it CPR by upgrading to Win 7 64-bit half a year ago or so.

  3. Pingback: Small Items for a Cold Friday in March | The Ancient Gaming Noob

  4. Somewhere between four and five years ago Mrs Bhagpuss and I bought two identical PCs costing around £600 each (what’s that, $900?) which I would call mid-range. Having had issues upgrading previous PCs I took a deal of care to make sure these had a good upgrade path and we duly upgraded them both significantly about two years ago.

    They are now probably low-mid range by contemporary standards but they can, for example, play Landmark perfectly comfortably on high graphic settings so they are probably good for a while yet. They also still have some overhead left for upgrades but the motherboard is going to need replacing if we wanted to make any significant improvements and if it comes to that I think I’d just buy a new PC. I’m assuming we’ll need to do that for EQNext.

    Also it’s been my experience that MMOs play considerably better on mid-range PCs than high-end ones. THere have been many times when I’ve read long threads on the forums of particular MMOs with high-end PC owners bemoaning all kinds of issues that rarely if ever experienced on my more modest set-up. I wonder if MMOs are tuned to some kind of mid-range average?

  5. Bought parts for a core i5 with a HD6870 in summer 2012, apart from a possible graphics update in late 2014 or 2015 I don’t plan to upgrade anything. Seemed to work well enough for WildStar Beta.

  6. Well, when it comes to specs of the average gamer’s PC, they know these things. I’m assuming that when you log into the game, the settings that you use to play (not necessarily your hardware) can be compiled by them. But gaming companies have definitely been trending toward lower weight graphics that still give the biggest punch they can. However, there’s also the stygma that if your game can’t tax lower end PCs on release, then you’re going to be blown away by those that can. Better and better graphics are to be expected.

    But the shifts nowadays are so much smaller than they use to be. Heck, I’m on year 4 of the same video card. Other hardware has changed, but that hasn’t demanded an upgrade, and is getting to the point where it’s physically dying and is causing me to upgrade instead of new graphic advances.

    But also, if you want the biggest bang for your buck, especially when it comes to gaming… learn how to build your own rig. It’s more cost effective, you can customize your system to your liking, and you can upgrade individual parts over time, saving you money again.

  7. I upgrade once every three years or so. Most common upgrade items are GPU/CPU/ram/mobo. I generally carry over case and PSU. At upgrade time I buy the highest spec available. I see absolutely no reason to buy lesser as it immediately puts you behind the eightball in hardware specs. Better to have a machine that performs strongly for three years rather than a machine that struggles in the last year of ownership.

  8. I play legacy games on a rig I built in Feb 2003. Pentium4 @ 3.4Ghz. Vid card is ATI Radeon HD3600. 2048Mb RAM.. OS is Windows 7 pro. As of today it’s 11 years old

    • That’s an angle I would never have thought of!

      Do you have another machine for newer games as well, or do you just play legacy games?

  9. HELLO I AM FROM PAKISTAN I WANT TO TELL THAT I BOUGHT PENTIUM 4 HP 7 YEARS AGO . IT PLAYED HEAVY GAMES AT THAT TIME NOW IT DOES NOT PLAY ANY GAME LIKE NFS UNDERGROUND PLZ TELL WHAT SHOULD I DO

    • You probably need a new PC now. However there is a chance that if you can upgrade the RAM and graphics card you might just about be able to play the games you want.

      Also, it is not a good idea to comment in all capitals. It makes your comment look like spam, and I almost deleted it for that reason.

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