Up For Debate - Will high-end PC hardware be redundant in the future?

Written by Chad Norton on Sun, Jul 19, 2020 5:00 PM
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We all know it, we all pretty much obsess over it, but upgrading our PC hardware is an essential part of PC gaming. As games get more and more advanced and look better, they start to get more and more demanding. Even if you buy the latest high-end hardware at the time, chances are that a few years down the line (or even a decade) you won’t be able to play at maximum graphics settings anymore.

But will we even need high-end hardware in the future? As technology progresses we see more and more features being introduced that allow us to play with better performance, with better frame rates, on hardware that normally wouldn’t get that kind of performance.

DLSS is the closest example to think of, which has recently been implemented in the Death Stranding PC release and sees FPS gains of around 35-50%, going from around 30fps to nearly 60fps with the RTX 2060.

Obviously the RTX 2060 itself is a pretty powerful card by today’s standards, but the technology still speaks for itself: getting nearly 50% more FPS just by the flick of a switch is pretty game changing if you ask me, and it’s still pretty early as the technology slowly gets integrated into more games. And eventually in the future we may see an even better version that can be used by lower-end cards too.

Of course, if cloud gaming improves substantially, we won’t really need much in order to play that. Nvidia’s GeForce Now only needs a GeForce 600 series card, 4GB of ram and a dual core 2.0GHz or faster CPU. As long as you’ve got the internet connection speed, you really don’t need a beefy computer to run it.

Upcoming titles like Cyberpunk 2077 are just one of the few next-gen demanding games that will be available on Nvidia's service, essentially allowing you to play at the Maximum graphics settings and ray tracing enabled even with lower-end hardware.

By no means am I suggesting this will ever happen, but with the recent implementation of DLSS and the rise of AI and cloud gaming, I just thought this would be an interesting talking point to discuss among us PC gamers.

So do we really need high-end PC hardware in the future? Will AI pretty much do everything for us? Or will there always be a need for high-end hardware in the consumer PC gaming market? Let’s debate!

Will high-end PC hardware be redundant in the future?

What do you think will be the most significant alternative?

Our favourite comments:

The thing is, there will always be a new frontier. The same way our phones can now play PSX/2 games when that was cutting edge for the time; hardware will keep advancing and developers will push it to the limit. The only way to circumvent the need to purchase it would be indeed some sort of cloud gaming. That said, its a cost shift: you now have to pay for much better internet, if not altogether geographically move somewhere the service reliably works.

bichoxxx

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14:52 Jul-21-2020

It will go from person to person. Companies are hunting for higher and higher resolutions which means lower resolutions (1080p) will be able to be maxed by medium hardware, and that suits me, who don't care about higher res, perfectly.

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10:51 Jul-20-2020

I am waiting for the time when we can pirate and 3D print computer hardware...

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14:42 Jul-20-2020

Well it'd be cheaper to buy the parts for the pc than to get such a complex 3d printer... currently tsmc and intel spend billions to produce the chips they sell us, so maybe in 300-500 years or so these machines might become cheap, but by then we will have moved away from silicon all together

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08:19 Jul-22-2020

now this is the science fiction writer in me speaking but i guess 50 years to make a portable machine that can make small like in really small dies with lots of time to make them about 20-30 hours and the NM will still be like 250-90nm and

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08:28 Jul-22-2020

like high defect rates. and then like another 7-15 years till they are available to the larger masses with a potential reduction in manufacturing down to 28-20nm and then there will also be printers that not only make chip dies in the tradi

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08:32 Jul-22-2020

traditional way but chips that can be the size of a dining table. or chips this like long flexible ribbons printed on cloth using Graphene. at that point wearable tech and possibly BIO-printed Organs with encased chips to get other readings

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08:36 Jul-22-2020

and regulate on the fly making use of really sophisticated algorithm on these purpose built chips. and then at that point there will Moore's Law will kick in for these Portable chip printers as well. I REPEAT THIS IS MY SCIENECE FICTION WTI

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08:39 Jul-22-2020

WRITER BRAIN SPEAKING not really based on much reality but if its true then Hell yeah at that point logically speaking true AI will be available by simply making a basic simple copy of our own conscious and ever lasting digital life.

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08:44 Jul-22-2020

unless data corruption and massive amount of data absorption / exposure in a short duration causes some sort of weird Psychological change. Psychology as a field might see rapid advancement during such times as they will be able to make mul

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08:46 Jul-22-2020

multiple copies of a new born kid's conscious and expose him to various things and sorta simulate an entire virtual life and see its effects.
Man I miss writing Science Fiction Writing. Sorry if i lost the point and took us all to Another

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08:47 Jul-22-2020

Galaxy rather than the Next Door Pizza joint.


so i guess at certain point Computer Hardware will get redundant atleast the kind of computers which we have today. it'll be custom made Purpose built Computers and yeah we might have Games m

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08:51 Jul-22-2020

made by us ourselves by Teaching our Ai Coding and playing Againts ourselves. is that Co-op or Competitive Multiplayer?

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21:20 Jul-24-2020

I mean, you could do that already, by designing the PCBs and somehow get a hold on the NDA parts (gpu and most likely memory chip), but to build one GPU, expect to pay over 1000 euro. I am not sure how many layers GPU PCBs have, but I assume that it's either 4 or 6 layers, and that's already 100+ eur if you buy the PCBs from China (JLC has the best manufacturer specs and can make matte black PCBs).
The BOM list (components) will surely be around 100 eur excluding memory and the gpu chip. The time we can fabricate PCBs and components at home is very far

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07:16 Jul-20-2020

gaming has evolved like crazy we have seen game engines kinda achieve photo realism that alone needs crazy high system specs, then blow up your 720-1080 image size into 4k-5k and thats like 2-5x higher system requirements? then we need HYPE

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07:20 Jul-20-2020

HYPER REALITY so that means crazy smoothness I'm still on 60fps but my boss is trying to order a 240Hz monitor so thats another 4x higher system requirement? plus throw in the insanity that is VR and what we have right now is Gen 1.1.2 so w

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07:22 Jul-20-2020

so we are still in the infancy of VR I spoke to a designer who uses VR at work (So he kinda teaches about VR Software development) he says that VR will be indistinguishable from real life when we have a vr software that simulates a helment

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07:25 Jul-20-2020

helmet on your head to reduce your FOV but still have a sufficent enough FOV that you dont find it awkward and restrictive. SO something like HALO helmet not Iron MAN and then it needs to be....... (brilliant i forgot the actual diemensions

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07:29 Jul-20-2020

he mentioned in it Degrees anyway somthing like 120degrees into 70 or 90 and then still have a dpi thats crazy dense i think 1200dpi i honestly do not remember that figure as well but it was somthing really absurd. and then it needs to be

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07:33 Jul-20-2020

160-240hz which is abosolutly insane i dont think we are anyway near that level of Output capablilities but yes as a Sim Racing Fan that would be like yes i know how the ferrari is Ive Driven it virtually kinda feeling but he did say that f

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07:35 Jul-20-2020

for VR the main thing even more than the visuals is the interactivity so you need Gloves with movement restricting capabilites and a very sensitive and precise Haptic feedback to simulate touch and to record our movements. being able to int

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07:37 Jul-20-2020

being able to interact with the world is alot more critical and important than being able to see it. as odd as that sounds the point is the user is aware that he is in a virtual world but being able to interact with it like hes acctuly ther

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07:40 Jul-20-2020

there is what takes him out of the oh this is so cool its VR feel. thats why till now the most Immersive VR applications till now are games where you interact with controlers such as flight sims and driving sims cause that interactivity is

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07:43 Jul-20-2020

natural. ......**** i totally got off topic again didnt i? so yeah in 2020 we have actual RAY TRACING at 1080p 120fps in real time even million$$ movies back in the day couldnt do that. but we still have a need for more pixel pushing and

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07:46 Jul-20-2020

thats not to mention the even more crazy insane Physics and other interaction i think will be a bigger role in the upcoming generation of games. so yeah crazy high end Gaming hardware is not gonna stop cause todays crazy insane prototypes a

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07:48 Jul-20-2020

are tommorows toys which we will play with. i mean we all have a smartphone thats what 100-200 times more powerfull that the the the Appolo 11 spaceship progress will never stop, and tech will always keep leading the way just stay chill and

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07:49 Jul-20-2020

Just Stay chill and keep on gaming

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23:53 Jul-19-2020

cloud gaming bad

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14:53 Jul-21-2020

For enthusiasts who only want to measure peni -s -e- s- ...for normal people who just wanna play...cloud gaming perfect.

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22:16 Jul-23-2020

Normal people just buy consoles.


It's not perfect. The whole world in regards to internet plans is a mess.

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14:02 Jul-29-2020

For people that want to own what they purchase and don't like their rights being taken away from them = physical console games and a console.

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22:03 Jul-19-2020

I will NEVER buy into cloud gaming. There are too many potential issues that are completely outside of your control.
Internet isn't fully reliable, no matter how much you pay. I cash out a fair amount for my internet, and it's really good as far as modern internet goes. But there are times it drops. There has been a single occasion where it cut for a couple days.

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22:04 Jul-19-2020

Because all my games are on my PC, I can still play them. Let's not even mention the inevitable input lag.
Move house, and can't get the internet set up for a couple days, or even weeks? Well no games for you.
I just can't see it taking off the way these companies want it too.

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14:54 Jul-21-2020

5g that will solve all internet problems says hello.

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21:15 Jul-19-2020

I have a better question. Will we get proper high-end hardware in the first place?

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22:21 Jul-19-2020

I have a better question, will we get proper prices on said high end hardware ?$

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05:23 Jul-20-2020

Question of the year... no the freacking decade!

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07:53 Jul-20-2020

As long as people buy them, they won't reduce their profit margins and we won't get proper prices.
It's not just the high-end. Mid-range and sub-mid-range GPUs are overpriced too. The RX5700xt a sub-mid-range GPU should have costed 300-320$ MSRP at launch, NOT 400$.

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14:58 Jul-21-2020

Correction...that's 400$ in designated areas....in the rest of the world it's 460-500 and more...so yeah..it sucks.

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07:07 Jul-22-2020

I don't take individual country taxes and extra costs into a count.

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20:33 Jul-19-2020

I doubt high end will ever be redundant, sure for many midrange is fine, just like not everyone is audiophile, but there will always be enthusiast market that will want to push extreme FPS or resolutions, or whatever next big thing is, like raytracing. And there will always be something new for developers to do to improve games and get enthusiasts to buy high end hardware.

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20:35 Jul-19-2020

DLSS and cloud gameing won't change that. While I do believe DLSS will be big thing in moving performance in future and I do believe AMD will need something equivalent to compete there. I do think that extra performance will at some point be put to good use. Maybe we will eventually hit limit, like we did with sound cards, where for 90%, it really won't matter anymore. We still aren't there yet.

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20:38 Jul-19-2020

Plus innovation like raytracing will bring new milestones... probably till gaming is like holodeck in Star Trek. I guess dunno where we will move beyond that. :-D


As for cloud gaming, I think it will remain interesting for very casual niche, when done right, but there will always be people who will want smaller delay of gaming on local hardware and control of their own games.It won't take over.

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20:41 Jul-19-2020

But I do think it will coexist with consoles and PC, as either additive option, like xCloud with Game Pass, or maybe standalone thing, but not like Stadia, but maybe if someone can do it like GeForce Now, without publisher greed ruining it, like they did with movie streaming, except with cloud gaming they didn't even wait for it to get popular. But cloud gaming will remain casual thing.

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20:27 Jul-19-2020

Only when it reaches the threshold of a console or cloud-based system (with nigh-on no input lag) producing true to life graphics & physics and retailing at an affordable price. Until then there will be the race to the next tech breakthrough to get there and the PC consumer market will continue to subsidise the research by paying for the incremental hardware/software upgrades.

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19:42 Jul-19-2020

Doesn't DLSS reduce the image quality?

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19:45 Jul-19-2020

if anything it improves it, the first version of dlss was a bit unrefined but now 2.0 should be smth they promised in the first place

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19:51 Jul-19-2020
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02:37 Jul-20-2020

im curious if someone plays on a 1080p screen uses 1080 internal and dlss to 4k which then the gpu will downscale to 1080 would compare to just playing at 1080. not concerned about the frame rate, just image quality. i know the whole thing is redundant but I'm still curious.

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09:27 Jul-20-2020

I'd totally do that, as a current DSR user. People downsample (render higher resolution than the screen's native) to get better image quality, superior AA, etc - and that's exactly what DLSS could offer here, without sacrificing much performance.

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19:08 Jul-20-2020

If you can do that, let me know. Make a video or take some pics to document that.
I do dsr now too. I love the detail it brings out with an X1X when I have to travel and use hotel TV's.

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09:37 Jul-21-2020

I don't see why it shouldn't work, but I don't currently have any DLSS titles to play with, so can't confirm. I'll have one when Cyberpunk or Watchdogs Legion come out :)

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00:08 Jul-21-2020

Thanks for the link! The improvement isn't enough for me to abandon my 1080 ti, but in a few years I'll replay Death Stranding and Control with a new card so I can appreciate what DLSS has to offer.

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09:39 Jul-21-2020

Well, the improvement is really in the framerates at 4K and 1440p, especially with raytracing turned on. A 1080Ti would crap itself sideways trying to do any of that in Control, for example. We'll see what the future brings, but it seems quite exciting so far :D

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20:44 Jul-19-2020

Yes, but they did improve it. DLSS 1.0 had issues and it had noticeable difference in quality. But DLSS 2.0 got way better with difference being so small, it really doesn't matter. Sure you can spot something in screenshots, if you take time, zoom in, but ti is at the point where it gets you so close, it really doesn't matter and FPS increase more than makes up for it.

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20:46 Jul-19-2020

I can totally see tech like DLSS being the future. Because if you really can't spot the difference without stopping, taking screenshots and doing zooming in and stuff, it really won't matter. And I do think AMD will need to get something like it on their cards. Because nVidia is making it easier and easier to train AI for it and to implement it. Plus it eventually won't be just on "few cards".

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19:16 Jul-19-2020

I hope not, i love buttersmooth gaming :/

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18:39 Jul-19-2020

I hate to say that, but that will depend on game developers/publishers,
just look at Fortnite for iPad Pro, which can handle 120fps without even having a cooling fan!
and when it comes to photorealism, as showcased for ex. in upcoming Unreal Engine 5 demo, I doubt human eye can really appreciate the details from far, so I believe the future gaming techs will be based on some sort of automatic visual degradation producing various levels of distance on the fly, offloading actual gpu rendering tasks

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18:37 Jul-19-2020

High-end gaming won't become redundant. It is true that you may always need to upgrade to achieve the maximum graphical fidelity but often the absolute maximum settings isn't worth the increasing demand for power. Although while I say that from point of raw power and number it doesnt matter as much, when a new graphical techonogy is adopted like ray tracing and is adopted on a larger scale, older gpus become more obsolete on the high end.

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18:14 Jul-19-2020

Depending on where I live in a few months, I might give Geforce now a try.

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18:12 Jul-19-2020

High-end hardware will always be needed. The games will be pushed to pure raytracing and then, eventually, to pure pathtracing. Alongside with that - higher framerates, higher resolutions, etc. This means that no matter what - hardware will still need to keep evolving to keep up with the demand in realism/accuracy/fidelity in video games.

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18:06 Jul-19-2020

No because this isn't Stadia's wet dream, its the real world.

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17:50 Jul-19-2020

The thing is, there will always be a new frontier. The same way our phones can now play PSX/2 games when that was cutting edge for the time; hardware will keep advancing and developers will push it to the limit. The only way to circumvent the need to purchase it would be indeed some sort of cloud gaming. That said, its a cost shift: you now have to pay for much better internet, if not altogether geographically move somewhere the service reliably works.

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18:13 Jul-19-2020

You've just summed up what most ppl think on the matter.

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17:42 Jul-19-2020

Machine learning (DirectML superRes - DLSS) combined with GPU power would be unstoppable.. i hope they won't downgrade high-end cards & favour Ai solutions

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17:39 Jul-19-2020

If it isn't improvements in graphics, we still have physics that need to be improved (especially liquids). To run a game in realtime with actual life physics, you'd need a very strong computer. Eventually we will get to that point. Cloud gaming is actually a very nice concept, as you pay little money to access all, and I mean ALL games on that platform. Lets say you pay 120 euro per year, that's still cheaper than buying a 1200 euro high end pc + games to play in the upcoming 10 years. I mean, didn't this kinda happen with the music industry?

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17:39 Jul-19-2020

DLSS is awesome

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