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Future proofing a new system for VR


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#1 Panpiper

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Posted 27 February 2015 - 05:25 PM

I've been dirt poor for several years now, unable to afford any computer upgrades. My existing computer is so long in the tooth that I have to set my graphics settings to minimum to run games that came out in 2008. I need a new system rather desperately. Waiting much longer is not really an option.
 
I am about to come into a decent amount of cash (in about a month), enough to get my life readjusted enough to hopefully get a real job again (I've been living off very meager residuals for far too long), get my teeth fixed and buy a few toys, such as a modern TV (to replace my ancient CRT), and most importantly, a new computer.
 
I do not know when or even if I will be able to upgrade again after this computer purchase. I need to be sure that this computer has enough legs to render it reasonably future proof, that even ten years from now, it will be able to run games that come out then (on minimum settings would be fine, ten years from now). Especially, it is extremely important that it be able to handle the upcoming consumer edition of the Oculus Rift with very good results.
 
I am not a newbie when it comes to computers, but I am far from an expert and hope to solicit opinions. My intent right now is to get a large SSD (probably 480 GIG, more if I can find a good deal) with harddrive backup, a good eight core processor, at least 16 GIG RAM (probably 32), and two Geforce 970s. I am dabbling with the idea of bumping that to two 980s. A silent system is more important for me than a super fast system, so I am not intending to overclock. I will be getting a 4K monitor (plus a few peripherals like Trackir), so the system has to handle that.
 
Any comments are welcome. The major questions in my mind however is the graphics cards and whether I am making the wrong choice by going for SLI now. Would a smarter move be to pick up a much more prosaic card just to tide me over till the consumer Oculus Rift comes out, and spring then for the latest cards? (I can run games at 1080P in the interim.) Would that make much of a difference, would the next generation cards be that much better than current? Would two Geforce 970s be adequate right now, two 980s?
 
Getting the maximum VR experience while playing Star Citizen is my focus for this machine. Of course I will do much more with it, but that is the performance benchmark I am aiming at. While I am willing (and fully intend) to spend a decent amount of money on this new system, I do not want to spend thousands just to eek out a performance increase that six months of hardware improvement will eat.

Edited by Panpiper, 27 February 2015 - 05:29 PM.


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#2 YeahBleeping

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Posted 27 February 2015 - 07:01 PM

Hello and welcome to BC !!  Honestly the Rift specifications are up for debate so I wouldn't yet buy THE BEST VIDEO CARD EVAR!

Until after the Rift becomes widely consumer available.  YOU CAN buy kits that work with the Rift but as I would hold off until 2016 or early 2017 to get one (if I could).  So buying a 'good enough' video card or even just going with Intel's onboard 5600 is good enough until you can buy a video card that matches the specs for the Rift.  As for future proofing the rest of the system I would  ' wait yet again ' for Intel's Skylake architecture.  It should be out soon and if you want to truly future proof your system then the ' best ' way is to buy the newest.  Since this is a 'Tock' in Intel's tick-tock scheme .. It will require new motherboards and possibly memory.  But since we are ' close to release ' (within 6 months)- you may as well wait.  If this were still early 2014 and you posted this then I would have suggested the ' best bang for the buck' processor and then upgrade the processor / and video card if you found performance was ' not good ' with your Rift but since your main concern is being able to ' Play good with Rift' you maybe should wait... Just my opinion.  The Rift uses its own driver board so I do not know for certain how closely the video card is tied in to it's performance.  You may even get a better perspective from Oculus VR forums.

 

All that being said ... its definitely in the 'buzz' that cpu ' speed/performance' is basically tapped out as there is seriously no applications for an end user that can max out 8 cores.  I realize that ' they will come' but it hasn't happened yet.

 

The focus is really on GPU's graphics processors are changing so much right now.. and you can bet Nvidia and ATI want a piece of that Oculus action.  Its a good time to be a gamer.  But as far as upgrading and future proofing.  It's any-ones guess.  As its been stated that even the new Skylake processors will not bring a 'huge change in performance' but more of a change in die size and thermals.

 

I am not sure which advice to give you so I gave you the best insight I could.



#3 Panpiper

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Posted 28 February 2015 - 10:55 AM

Thank you for the response. I am of course continuing to do research, and from what I am reading, the current graphics cards have serious problems with 4k, let alone the Oculus. One pretty much needs SLI (with high end cards) for 4K with the current crop of graphics cards, but then we run into issues with many games glitching out with SLI... Sigh... (Is there an option when using SLI to 'turn off' one card?)

 

I find your advice compelling, about waiting for the Oculus to come out before building a system for it. I could build a much more modest system in the interim, with a single Geforce 970, have it run a 1080P monitor, and bank the money for a much more impressive system a year or so down the road. (I have found it quite useful in the past to have two systems available.) That will raise the price for me by the cost of the new system, but if I spring for a modest system for that interim, it shouldn't be too bad.

All that being said ... its definitely in the 'buzz' that cpu ' speed/performance' is basically tapped out as there is seriously no applications for an end user that can max out 8 cores.  I realize that ' they will come' but it hasn't happened yet.

Rendering edited video and 3D animation are two applications that right now can avail themselves of as many cores as you can muster. I have done video editing professionally in the not overly distant past and may find myself doing so again in the future. (I used a dual CPU system back then to crank as much CPU power as possible.) I have also done rotoscope animation for video (and traditional cell animation in the distant past), and am always dabbling with the idea of learning Blender, so there too having the extra cores is desirable.



#4 YeahBleeping

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 10:47 AM

If your into using your pc for rendering you may very well want to wait for the new processors.  You stated: " Rendering edited video and 3D animation are two applications that right now can avail themselves of as many cores as you can muster."

 

That is only true for the GPU .. not the CPU.. however the new cores are supposed to have the ability to offload some of that render power to the processor.  ( I do not know this for certain as I am not expert on the new chips ) I only know what I have read.

 

A crap ton of memory on the mainboard and video card s usually the ' bottleneck ' when it comes to rendering (not saying the cpu isn't /but not as much as the GPU. - I don't think blender can see any more than 4 cores currently anyway.

 

You could buy a ' good enough ' system now for around 800 bux.' But I think with the changes coming out with the new processors would make me want to ' wait and see' as far as your video card for renderring may change.  And then bank on the new processor/GPU technology when more is known.

 

The quadro line of video cards isn't cheap but if you plan on cutting down that render time than you .. as they say.. get what you pay for.  And the video card memory and render time comes down to how big the image is your going to render.  So you may want to head over to the blender forums and do some asking around.

 

Good Luck with your new build.. Feel free to keep posting here so we can know your progress/ give you advice on builds/ etc..






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