Is PC gaming more expensive today than it was a decade ago?


Say it with me: “Gaming PCs are getting more expensive to build.” Price is at the top when building a gaming PC in 2022, and why wouldn’t it be? Today, the best graphics cards will cost you over $1,000, DDR5 is very expensive, and CPU prices are double or triple what they were a decade ago.

It’s easy to add up the numbers and come to a conclusion, but this ignores game optimization, the falling prices of other components, and the various upscaling tools players use to squeeze extra performance out of their PCs. instead of adding what you’re adding could spend on a gaming pc, what I added you would like Spend.

And after digging into what $1,000 buys you today compared to a decade ago, I can confidently say that PC gaming isn’t getting more expensive.

what does $1,000 buy you now

Radeon RX 6700 XT GPU unit installed on a motherboard.

You can still build a respectable midrange PC for under $1,000, despite the rise in GPU prices. Although AMD has released its Ryzen 7000 processors (read my Ryzen 9 7950X review for more) and Nvidia has put out the RTX 4090, we’re still in the awkward middle ground between last-gen and next-gen. That means most last-gen components that offer great value now that prices are starting to drop.

  • CPU, AMD Ryzen 5 5600 – $160
  • cpu cooler, Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo – $45
  • motherboard, ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 – $105
  • Commemoration, Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 16GB – $60
  • storage 1, Samsung 970 Evo Plus 500GB – $70
  • storage 2, Crucial MX500 1TB $90
  • graphics card, ASRock RX 6750 XT Challenger Pro – $400
  • Case, Fractal Design Focus 2 – $70
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake Smart BM2 650W – $60
  • gross: $1,060

For today’s most demanding games, you’re looking at upwards of 60 frames per second (fps) at 1440p with this configuration, as well as 4K with upscaling tools like FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). This configuration can play some of the most demanding games available today at maximum settings, provided you’re willing to sacrifice a bit in the ray tracing department.

The most popular, in-demand games today include cyberpunk 2077, horizon zero dawn, red dead redemption 2, And Dying Light 2. Tom’s Hardware shows the RX 6750 XT reaching above 110fps horizon zero dawn and 80 fps in red dead redemption 2 at 1440p, while TechPowerUp shows the card hitting under 60 fps cyberpunk 2077 at 1440p.

That’s our baseline. If you spend $1,000 today, you’re not going to be able to hit 4K in the most demanding games, but 1440p is still within reach (often above 100 fps). You’re also getting 1TB of game storage, a recent six-core CPU, and a case and power supply combo with room to grow.

what $1,000 could buy 10 years ago

Turn the clock back to 2012: AMD’s graphics cards had “HD” in the name, every motherboard was decked out in blue plastic, a metal PC case would run you more than $300, and even 60 The GB SATA SSD was also over $100. We have come a long way.

Looking back, it’s interesting to make the same point about what exists today, especially for GTX 570 graphics cards in this configuration. Even a decade ago, reviews complained about the “arm and a leg” price of the GTX 580, which launched at $500. This is what we are seeing with the RTX 4080 right now.

Thoughts aside, here’s the configuration I settled on from 2012, using prices on Newegg, available via the Wayback Machine.

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 – $210
  • motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V LE – $130
  • Commemoration: G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3-1866 – $60
  • storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7,200RPM – $160
  • graphics card: MSI N570 GTX 570 – $370
  • Case: Antec Three Hundred – $60
  • Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro M600 – $60
  • gross: $1,050

In 2012, DirectX 11 was brand new, and the landscape for demanding games looked very different. Batman Arkham City led the lineup of titles joined by The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Crisis: Warhead, Battlefield 3, And metro 2033 (original release).

A decade ago, 4K was still a dream, with 1440p being the aspirational resolution for even the most expensive graphics cards. Or rather, 1600p was the aspired resolution. At the time, 16:9 had not yet caught on as a de facto aspect ratio, so most tests were run at 16:10. It’s important to remember that at this time there were no options for upscaling – you got what you got with the performance.

DDR3 memory is sitting on a motherboard.

the gtx 570 was able to exceed 60 fps Batman Arkham City At Full HD with maxed-out settings, though it fell short at 1600p with a 38fps average. I was like that too Battlefield 3, Offering approximately 70 fps at Full HD and approximately 40 fps at 1600p.

This time was still very much in “Can this go on” Crisis ” clear from the ages Crysis: Warhead performance. The GTX 570 falls short, offering just 50 fps at Full HD and closer to 30 fps at 1600p. metro 2033 The de facto benchmark at the time was – similar to cyberpunk 2077 Right now – where you can expect around 30 fps at Full HD and closer to 15 fps at 1600p.

Is PC Gaming Getting More Expensive?

One handheld is the RTX 4090 GPU.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

If PC gaming is really becoming more expensive is a tough one to answer because the answer is yes and no. For proof, you need look no further than Nvidia’s most recent GPUs. 10 years ago a flagship cost $500. Today, it’s $1,200. If you want the best of the best, PC gaming is more expensive today than it was a decade ago.

But it’s a narrow segment of buyers who want that configuration. If anything, you’re getting more for your money today than you were a decade ago. Upscaling tools like Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) make higher resolutions possible with less capable hardware, and your CPU plays little role in gaming performance, allowing you to save some money by going with previous generations’ options.

Today, $1,000 buys you upwards of 60 fps, and often closer to 100 fps, with the possibility of playing at 4K at 1440p. A decade ago, you could skirt 60 fps at Full HD without resorting to making the jump in resolution. Obviously, resolutions and game demands change over time, but it’s clear that games a decade ago were more demanding on hardware than games today. You are getting a better experience even with the most performing benchmarks available in each era.

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