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Is there such thing as futureproofing?

Right now I'm putting together a parts list for my first pc, and I have asked myself many times about all of my parts- do I need an 8700k? Do I need a Gtx 1080? Do I need 16gb of ram? I have basically answered all of these questions with "It'll be more time before I have to upgrade". Is this valid, or should I build a computer that suits my needs right now?

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4 minutes ago, Ayala said:

Right now I'm putting together a parts list for my first pc, and I have asked myself many times about all of my parts- do I need an 8700k? Do I need a Gtx 1080? Do I need 16gb of ram? I have basically answered all of these questions with "It'll be more time before I have to upgrade". Is this valid, or should I build a computer that suits my needs right now?

Futureproofing is ineffective. 

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I'm not judging your build (btw it is a good build in my opinion) but I think the GTX 1080 is getting a little old. It's still a good and expensive card, but I recommend the 1080 TI if you can.

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As Computers advance, hardware becomes older and as technologies progress, that old hardware becomes outdated, unable to to complete the simple tasks of the new technological age.

 

People will get the best stuff right now so 6 years down the line, it's as if you just bought a consumer product and it will still work great.

 

If you buy 8700k right now with a 1080 TI you will not even think about upgrading it for at least 5 years, hardware is becoming very powerful and no game company is going to spend half a decade developing the best graphical game ever when they could just get it out within 2. The only technology that is advancing is VR and that requires high-end stuff right now.

 

We have really reached a point where upgrading every other year is unnecessary. It is likely you would spend as much money now than later on upgrades.

 

 

Edit: Get a 1080 TI and 8700k, 16gb ram is fine but if you're doing more than a normal person then by all means go 32gb.

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I would say that there is no future proofing, only future readying. The argument of "do I need" should be more of "do I want". Are you wanting to play everything in ultra or 4k, or do you really care that much? Building to suit your needs is a very valid approach, but if you want to have a PC more capable that will plow through games more readily, then go ahead and get the beefier components. The processor would last you for a very long time while the GPU should be very capable for the next couple of years (As long as you don't need 4k or Ultra settings for the latest AAA game), and this next part is mostly speculation, but if you don't care about playing at max settings, I could see that GPU lasting for quite a while easily.

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I also think that future-proofing is kind of dumb. In no possible way can you build a great PC now in 2017 and expect it to crush games in about 10 or 15 years. Even Threadripper will be obsolete in a long time.

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Answer to your title ... No.

You can build for a good upgrade path, or you can build a high end rig that will last about 5-10 years but future proof is just a coined phrase. 

[I personally dont like the phrase]

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I'm going to argue the opposite point. If your needs are sufficiently modest, you can futureproof. Consider this build:

 

Core i5-650, GTX 660. 16GB DDR3, SSD

Pretty old right? If you don't game on it, it'll do everything *else* without a hiccup for a long long time.

Gaming drives the upgrade treadmill like nothing else does (excepting edge cases like video editing or working in Hollywood) 

If games are your life, then your build will last 2-3 years before you might need to upgrade something on it, assuming the form factor is still valid (and we all know how fast CPUs change form factor)

If you don't game on it, it'll last until the parts die.

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The rule of thumb is to always buy what suits your needs, but since no component becomes obsolete with the next generation or two, I think there are other things to consider. For example, buying an expensive, nice-looking motherboard with a brand new chipset is futureproofing to some extent, as you're unlikely to need (because of new processors) or want (because of looks) to replace it. Same goes for buying an i7 instead of an i5 or r5 and pair it with a 1060, as you won't need to change it whenever you decide to buy a new graphics card (if you're only gaming, that is). However, it must not be overlooked that you might just get tired of the old rig, and decide to treat yourself with a new computer, thus nulling the benefits of your initial choice to spend money on an upgrade path.

 

EDIT: @Radium_Angel You could still game on your "old" system if you wanted to. The CPU is quite weak, but the 660 is still pretty close to a 1050 (and much better than a 1030 or an rx 550) when it comes to fps in older titles. People with small budgets still build systems with this kind of performance nowadays, either by throwing a 1030 / 1050 in an OEM machine, or by going the "g4560 - 1030 - no SSD" route. I still have a laptop with an i5 3230m (exact same performance as the 650) and a gt 740m (way weaker than even a 1030), it's perfectly fine for "old but gold" titles such as skyrim / fallout 3 / fallout nv at 1600 x 900 mid to low settings. This is not weak. Seeing / using high-end systems everyday distorts our perception, I guess. My pentium n3700 laptop is not a beast by any means, and still, it's pretty decent for these "everything else" tasks you just mentioned, provided you replace the stock windows 10 install with a well-optimised OS. Even the dual-core pentium e2160 from 2007 is still usable for basic office work, web browsing, even media consumption to some extent. I've tried the athlon 64 3800+ recently, though. Now that's not usable anymore. I had to go all the way back to a single-core processor from 2004.

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I would say no.
But there is such a thing as buying a dead end system. - Or something that will make future upgrades a lot more difficult or expensive. But thats honestly really easy to avoid...

The first example I can think of was a Micro ATX system a friend made a couple of years ago. He thought he was being smart by saving a little $ on his motherboard and Ram. He got a pretty good AM3 CPU all things considered, and an AM2+ motherboard that had 2 rams slots (AM3 CPUs worked in AM2+ Motherboards). At the time AM3 boards and DDR3 were only just slightly more expensive then AM2+ and DDR2. (For perspective in the timeframe this is like buying a DDR3 System today)
Personally I was against going DDR2, and AM2+, but if he had to, I told him to get a 1x4GB Ram stick, cause if he ever wanted to upgrade to 8GB later it be cheaper. Not heeding my advice He bought 2x2GB sticks of ram, because 'dual channel is better!'

A few years later, Turns out 4GB was no longer enough!
DDR2 became more expensive then DDR3, and rather then being able to buy a single stick of Ram, he would have to replace both sticks.
This time he said he wasn't going to cheap out and make the same mistake he claimed. However my advice to him was to replace both Ram sticks while 2x2GB DDR2 could still easily be sold, and just get 8GB of DDR2, because I wasn't sure how much more life his AMD system would have in a post Sandybridge world. - (While his CPU was pretty good the year it came out, Sandybridge really took us all by surprise.)

But nope. He decided to buy an AM3 board and 8GB of DDR3 memory. - He kept the same processor. Now his CPU is outdated, and he wants to upgrade.

Morals of the Story:
1) You cannot predict the future and when AMD or Intel will launch a new CPU line that completely floors what came prior. Sure in the past couple of years things have been quite stagnant, but thats when something will catch you off guard.
2) Don't fill up your all Ram slots right away. - Specially if you only have 2 slots. Dual channel doesn't really offer that much of a performance boost, and 2x_ kits are often the same price as a single stick thats 2x the size.
3) If a CPU offers multi generational capabilities. (Like AM2+ & AM3, or Skylake with DDR3L and DDR4.) don't think your being smart by saving a few (and I mean FEW) $$ by going with technology thats on it's deathbed... Seriously does anyone even have a DDR3L Desktop?

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I just would leave room for upgrade. So, get cost effective parts too. Factor in the fact you can sell the parts later.

i5 6600k and GTX 1070 but I play 1600-900. 1440p BABY!

Still, don't put too much faith in my buying decisions. xD 

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The only things you can effectively (kind of) futureproof are the case and PSU. Get a good looking case and a solid beefy PSU and you won’t need to change them in a long time, unless the ATX standard changes, which I find very unlikely. 

As for the rest of the components, it’s up to you how long you have want to keep them. There are people with Core2quad machines that are happy with them to this day, and there are people bought an i7 7700K that NEED to buy an i7 8700K.

I say buy the best hardware you can afford comfortably and keep it as long as it gives you what you expect from it. 

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TLDR: A CPU should last you for a while, 5-10 years, whilst a GPU won't.

The longer explanation; CPUs haven't changed that much over these last 7, even 10ish years. My x58 Xeon can still kick Ryzen 3, and even Ryzen 5s ass in multi threaded performance. Granted, this CPU was €1000 new, and is pretty good at OCing. 

Now let's look at the GPU, a GTX460 from roughly the same time. It can't hold up in new games at all, and is really reaching the end of its usable life. GPUs and I'll continue getting drastic increases in performance, whilst CPUs won't. We'll just be chasing higher cores. 

 

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All depends on what you are going to do. If you are doing or planning to do editing and such high demand tasks, going for workstation stuff now will be good choice. If its only/mainly games, midrange would be still good enough for 5+ years. Anything in between I would personally go for i7/Ryzen 7. That comes from personal experience. I had C2D before current build. When it came time to move, I got used C2Q. And that lasted 3 more years. Its still valid CPU for general tasks and light gaming, but not for my needs. 4 years ago I did upgrade and went straight for i7. While it was and still is bit too much for my everyday needs, I really enjoy having it when working with GIS or occasional video editing.

 

In all, you shouldn't go for tech which is way over your needs. Rather look at what you can do maybe 3-5 years later. How many parts you need to change and so on. I have option to get generation newer i7. I could go for 32gigs of RAM instead of 8 I started with (at 16 now). CPU won't be bottleneck if I would get topline GPU now. Only thing I'm missing are M.2 SSDs as mobo is too old for those.

 

7 hours ago, notawalrus47 said:

I also think that future-proofing is kind of dumb. In no possible way can you build a great PC now in 2017 and expect it to crush games in about 10 or 15 years. Even Threadripper will be obsolete in a long time.

 

You are taking word "future" too literally. Futureproofing is all about optimizing upgrades. What one needs to buy and when. GPU will be good for 2 years if you want to play at same graphic settings all the time. Maybe 3 if game devs are lazy. If you would be willing to drop graphics/resolution, it might last longer. CPU is good for 5+ years, again depending on use. The Q6600 I meantioned earlier is from 2007/8, so 10 years in age. Its still good for office use. But not for modern games. Did someone expect that? Ofc no. And thats not point either. Futureproofing isn't about looking 10+ years ahead. Its looking 3-5 years ahead.

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13 hours ago, Ayala said:

Right now I'm putting together a parts list for my first pc, and I have asked myself many times about all of my parts- do I need an 8700k? Do I need a Gtx 1080? Do I need 16gb of ram? I have basically answered all of these questions with "It'll be more time before I have to upgrade". Is this valid, or should I build a computer that suits my needs right now?

CPU's are a bit special atm, because you need a K version if you want to overclock. But besides that most components have a point at which buying the next more expensive part won't do much good anymore. Buying the most bang for the buck parts IS the most futureproof imho, because it leaves money to upgrade sooner, which'll do a whole lot more good over the long run then splurging on parts now.

 

The thing is you need substantial performance gains for it to be worth it. Paying a lot of extra money for a part that is only 20% or so faster is not really worth it imho. If your game already gets 100 fps then what good will 120 fps do ? If you're only getting 20 fps then 24 is still too slow. The amount of times you'll find that 20% making the difference between too slow and fluid are few and far between.

 

There's a few basic things you can keep in mind for futureproofing,such as getting a motherboard with 4 ram slots in stead of 2, and only fitting 2 sticks of ram, leaving slots open to upgrade or not buying a new computer when a new platform is about to be released. But that's basically it.

 

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2 things to keep in mind.

 

1. Whatever you buy will be out of date by the time the parts are delivered thus don't try to chase the carrot every time new stuff comes out.

 

2. As parts age Great parts become good parts become decent parts become crap parts. But crap parts always stay crap parts.

Buy the big bore CPU, PSU, GPU, and motherboard and bite the bullet now and in 5-7 years time you will still have a system that will still do most tasks well.

 

I myself bought a 3970x the chip that everyone said was a fool's buy, but now 6 years later its about the equal of a 8700k in cores and clocks. (Obviously not IPC but the gap isn't huge even then).

 

So I've slipped from a high end cpu to a upper mid-range cpu overall and honestly if my motherboard wasn't beginning to flake out I would probably hold off on a replacement for another year or two, but I foresee a 7900x in my future.

"The Codex Electronica does not support this overclock."

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19 hours ago, Ayala said:

Right now I'm putting together a parts list for my first pc, and I have asked myself many times about all of my parts- do I need an 8700k? Do I need a Gtx 1080? Do I need 16gb of ram? I have basically answered all of these questions with "It'll be more time before I have to upgrade". Is this valid, or should I build a computer that suits my needs right now?

Depends on the games and resolution you play at.

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