Up For Debate - Price vs Performance When Gamers Choose Computer Gaming Hardware

Written by Neil Soutter on Sun, Jun 26, 2016 4:00 PM

This is the classic debate. Are you more focused on price when purchasing your new gaming hardware upgrade, or is it a hunt for the pinnacle of performance? Most people will say they look for the sweet spot between these two key indicators. But thats far too easy. One of them drives you a little more than the other. Dig deep and lets see which one it is that pushes our gaming community.

So when you upgrade, are you the sort of person who says, I only do this once every 3 or 4 years, so I want the absolute best performance so money is not really a problem. Gaming is a passion for a lot of us and although a decent computer can cost a lot of money, if the PC will offer us our main form of entertainment for the coming 4 years then why not splash out a bit and get the best. You want to see your games in as Ultra settings as you can for as long as you can, otherwise whats the point in gaming anyway?

Or do you feel like prices can get stupid fast. The more top end you go the higher the dollar price per benchmark point returned. Surely it always makes more sense to pay $200 for a solid new graphics card rather than gaining an extra 30-40% performance for a $500 graphics card. With that in mind, why not upgrade every year or two instead, but hit the best price to performance ratio each time. You may not run 1440p at Ultra settings on all the latest games, but you will certainly be enjoying high graphics settings at 1080p on them.

So where do your hardware purchasing choices normally come from, the head or the heart? Its easy to say both, but when you are put in a corner, which one pushes your decision making the hardest, price or performance.

During hardware upgrades are you looking mainly at price or mainly at performance

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15:13 Jul-04-2016

As you mentioned, I believe everyone is looking for the sweet spot. But I suppose I can clearly say, I am more on the performance-side.


I mean.. I'm looking to upgrade from A GTX 980 to a GTX 1080.
I definitely also look at the price, but at the same time, if I can get a 1080, I'm not even going to consider a 1070 or 1060.


I guess I might as well call myself a high-end whore : P

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04:28 Jun-30-2016

Well, I'm one of those odd ball guys that go for looks as well as price and performance...if it doesn't look good to me I won't buy it...

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06:20 Jun-30-2016

LoL. Sure u are odd. 'cus 99.999999999999999% = 100 % of the time we are gonna look at the monitor not components. lol

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16:50 Jun-28-2016

Price for me. I'm still doing okay in newer games even if the rig cost less than 600 usd to build after 2 years. With polaris on the horizon I might pick up a 4th gen i5 and an rx 480.

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09:20 Jun-28-2016

basically, during hardware upgrades I look mainly at reliability/performance, don't really mind if price difference of similarly performing component is like 40$ more or less to be honest,
when buying parts, at first I estimate how much money I am willing to spend,
then thoroughly memorize what tasks the components have to handle,
then seek for the parts within that price range matching best performance/reliability ratio,
then consider pros and cons of various configurations, following various reviews and feedbacks of users,
then stretch the budget by about 25% more and reconsider if any component would be worth replacing by better piece,
then persuade self that it makes no sense to wait anymore for something better,
then check what stores offer interesting deals on chosen components, usually buy cpu+mobo+ram at once, but all other components are sometimes bought separately,

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09:29 Jun-28-2016

Totally agreed with "persuade self that it makes no sense to wait anymore for something better". Tech changes too fast yet too little to wait around forever for that "perfect" component. Just build/upgrade and enjoy :)

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11:38 Jun-28-2016

What a thorough and concise comment.
MLG Hardware Buyer!

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01:20 Jun-28-2016

I would say that im 80% performance and 20% price.

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00:36 Jun-28-2016

Realistically speaking it almost makes zero difference which way you choose because what you just bought will be surpassed and/or rendered obsolete in a very short amount of time. Tech evolves at a disgustingly high rate, and the gap from generation to generation, from one level to the next, is getting shorter all the time. Faster better tech lets you create even faster and better tech, and the correlation feeds itself.


You need to be practical with the choices you make.

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00:41 Jun-28-2016

As an example; the PC I have now is one I put together, with parts I purchased over a period of about 3-4 months, waiting for most of it to be on sale before making the buy. The first buy was a GTX 660, and I waited till the very end to get CPU and Mobo at the same time, since one needs the other. By that point the GTX 770 had released, and I decided to sell the 660 to buy one....a few months later, GTX 780 released -> 770 price down 25%, like 90$ cheaper....

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00:45 Jun-28-2016

To conclude my unintentionally long story, the choices I made when building my PC started fairly simply; I wanted 1080p gaming at High/Ultra levels for minimum 1 year, and to go at least 3-4 years before I find myself having to go to Medium settings, and I wanted my CPU & RAM to be sufficient for 4-5 years. From that point I won't be building a PC from the ground up for a long time, I can just upgrade as I see fit, spaced out over a few years so my poor wallet doesn't die...

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21:24 Jun-27-2016

I neither opt for price nor performance. If you opt for price you can buy yourself a trashcan that even can't run CSGO. If you opt for performance you can end up with a titan X. I think it has to be price per performance. 70% price 30% perf

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21:52 Jun-27-2016

THIS is pretty fast!...scrap that... ULTRA FAST! Runs CS GO at lowest settings 50fps, according to reviews. Looks fast too! Who says price alone can't be good? :)

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23:09 Jun-27-2016

2nd that my little htpc (test rig without gpu) only cost around £170 about the same as 1 of my 4tb drives and its a pretty capable little legend wasn't expecting anything good tbh but my nephew played his transformers game on it at a pretty constant 30fps without a graphics card :) cant complain with that :)

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23:18 Jun-27-2016

I was actually poking a bit of fun at the seller selling that machine as an "Ultra Fast" gaming PC, which is not true by a long shot.
But as I've mentioned before in one of my comments - it's still pretty badass that people with such a variety of rigs are united by the common passion of gaming :)

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23:29 Jun-27-2016

i got the joke just loved the philosophy of cheap doesn't have to be bad :) i really like that to how people here are interested in all kinds of pcs :) its totally awesome

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19:10 Jun-27-2016

Performance per dollar. I mean come on why not both ?

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20:14 Jun-27-2016

Coz then everyone will pick that and we'd have nothing to talk about :)

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17:19 Jun-27-2016

Why is the Price bar so high? I always go for best performance. I think that should be obvious for a gamer...

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17:25 Jun-27-2016

Because not everyone has the funds to build killer rigs, no matter how much they would like to. And it might just be my innocent mind, but your rig isn't exactly the newest either. :)

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17:31 Jun-27-2016

Yeah. I anticipate to. Actually, I upgrade after a very long time coz with this I don't have to spend money every 2-3 months. And, about the debate, it's actually a trap question coz both depend on each other. Eventually, we've to take both into account while buying. :p

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17:47 Jun-27-2016

In my rig's case I had barely any budget limits, so hoping this one will last me a while :)

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13:36 Jun-28-2016

What the!! My GPU is 4554% less powerful than yours. 4000%!!!!!!!!

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13:43 Jun-28-2016

Cost an arm and a leg. No regrets tho'!

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16:28 Jun-29-2016

lol :D

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01:19 Jun-28-2016

Lol, i thought that it was because they just didnt cared about performances XD

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18:01 Jun-27-2016

Ye not e1 is rich af rofl :/ :)

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16:27 Jun-27-2016

I choose "Price" over "Performance", not because i feel that i should upgrade every few years, but because i feel like i dont have that much of a choice.

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21:34 Jun-27-2016

to be fair people tend to say a RX 480 is a cheap video card since it's 200 USD. To me that's quite a heavy price for a single PC component. So buying high end stuff is certainly out of the question.

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06:50 Jun-28-2016

Well, let me tell you this, i saw that my current GPU (the 750 Ti) costs around 110$, (but for me it was around Rs. 10000). And i also saw that the RX 480 will cost around Rs. 20000, in the US, it'll be 200$. So all Americans have to do is spend around 90$ more and you'll get a GPU with almost GTX 980 beating performance, which is awesome. Hell, even for us Indians it seems like a viable option. This is just my opinion, so feel free to add something in support or against this.

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15:58 Jun-27-2016

Voted price here, but really its both.
I dont want to have a cheap part in my pc but then afterwards finding out performance is not okay.
The price for performance is the way how i chose my build and how i will build my next setup in a couple of years.
I dont mind not having the best of the best, but i want a...

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15:59 Jun-27-2016

...decent setup which most of the times in the past was chosen for a specific game, for the best price.
But when performance is not great, like i said when having either cheap of expensive parts, it feels like a "misbuy".

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15:23 Jun-27-2016

It depends on one's life situation. If you have a steady well paying job and no dependents then you're most likely going to spend on performance while if you have a well paying job and dependents then you'll consider cost and power together. If you have a crap paying job, regardless of dependents, budget would be the way to go.... or maybe not gaming at all and focusing on improving your life situation.

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10:21 Jun-27-2016

Why separate the two factors? They're supposed to be considered together...

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04:21 Jun-27-2016

I prefer performance over price. If my budget not enough for the performance I want, I will get something in the middle. But it depend on my own research. Not all expensive item are good, some of them expensive because of Good & Service Tax or Import/Export Tax.

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02:41 Jun-27-2016

It's not only about price/performance. In my case I also decided on which part should I spend the most. eg. 4 years ago I've spent the most money on CPU, then on GPU. Now I've changed only my gpu because my i5 is still enough for gaming.

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01:15 Jun-27-2016

it depends on what part(s) if its drives or case ect ill go for the best that fits me regardless of price but for say a gpu cost is what i care about most. for example i wont replace my case (corsair 750D £140) so the extra over say a £70 case was worth it but i will replace the gpu (msi 390x £340) so the extra to get the 980ti £630 wasn't imo (prices taken from time of release or what i paid)

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01:15 Jun-27-2016

I think of a reasonable price that I'm willing to pay, and give lean way for a $50 increase just in case something really really catches my eye, then make a purchase. I also usually wait for hardware components to go on sale.

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21:29 Jun-26-2016

when i bought my gtx 560ti i had an average salary of 170euros...so then it was price and the max i can get for it.now when i make around 450euros i got my gtx 970 which for 1080p is ok.i wish i had the money to buy a 1080 now or the 1070 at least but i think ill sell my 970 next year and add some money and buy it then.maybe if nvidia lowers the price of the 980ti to 400$ ill get that :)

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22:39 Jun-26-2016

Nah forget the old generation completely unless u going for sli anyway the old generation is just too power hungrier than the new one this time

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02:43 Jun-27-2016

I had an 560Ti aswell :) IMO one of the best price/performance GPUs a few years ago.

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21:06 Jun-26-2016

both ... i do my research before purchase, for example for my next gaming pc i choose i5 4690, gtx 970 oc

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21:27 Jun-26-2016

If you actually did any research you would be looking at the rx 480 that is supposed to perform at the level of a 980 for the price of a used 970.

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11:59 Jun-27-2016

Good luck buying an rx 480 for the same price as a used 970 anywhere else other than the US. In the UK the rx480 will be at least £250, I got my used 290x for £125. Yes it is power hungry but at least it keeps my room warm in the winter X

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12:01 Jun-27-2016

Agreed. It's ALWAYS just the damned US that get the advertised pricing. Europe gets screed over and so does India, by the looks of it.

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12:24 Jun-27-2016

Yeah it's the taxing and shipping that gets us, as well as the value of the pound plummeting because the UK is leaving the EU XD. The other message was also supposed to mention this but it was cut out because of the stupid text limit XD.

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12:35 Jun-27-2016

The whole Brexit thing isn't in effect yet unless you shop abroad and has not been in effect previously, lol. And the text limit you can raise with your rank :)

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12:38 Jun-27-2016

Hmm yeah I suppose but it's going to be brutal when it hits in the terms of pricing and stuff as we import a lot, but it should recover in the long term. Oh I didn't know that I should start posting and replying more then lol :).

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21:31 Jun-26-2016

@janijohnny if u wait 1 more year ill sell u my whole computer :P

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08:27 Jun-27-2016

and why not i5 6600 with ddr4 ram ?

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19:34 Jun-26-2016

It's when working on a budget and balancing CPU and GPU performance toward the build's goal/purpose.

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Ryzen 3 3300X 4-Core 3.8GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
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100% Yes [1 votes]
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Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Gigabyte Windforce 2X OC 3GB 16GB
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Core i7-12700K 16-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 8GB 32GB
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Core i5-10600KF 6-Core 4.10GHz Radeon RX 580 Asus Dual 8GB 16GB
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Core i5-11400F 6-Core 2.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 6G Edition 16GB
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Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 580 4GB 8GB
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Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Radeon HD 7970 OC Sapphire Edition 16GB
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Core i7-8086K 6-Core 4.0GHz GeForce GTX 980 4GB 32GB
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Core i5-7400 3.0GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Palit StormX 2GB 12GB
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Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gigabyte Aorus Master 8GB 16GB
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