Graphics Cards - When are they ever good enough for the average user?


  1. Posts : 85
    Win 10
       #1

    Graphics Cards - When are they ever good enough for the average user?


    On the topic of graphics cards, someone please help me understand something? I am only a very casual gamer (at best) and haven't really been into recent games in quite some time now. Honestly, I just haven't had the time to take up the hobby on any kind of serious level whatsoever. Of course, that's just me and we all have our priorities in life, and the limitations of our time and money.

    But when I look at other forums (not this one), I get the distinct impression that serious gamers are continuously upgrading their rigs, and especially graphics cards every year or two. And so (to them), the rest of us (on desktop computers) are using absolute dinosaur computers that have no value.

    Could the argument or debate not be created that there is somewhat of a racket with high end modern games that continue to demand ever increasing more powerful GPUs year over year? So in other words, it just becomes a never ending cycle of serious gamers feeling like they continually feel the need to upgrade time and again in order to compete with one another? Now, I am not suggesting that the average PC user should not consider upgrading older parts on a desktop PC. In fact, one of the best upgrades I ever did to my older PC was the replacement of the HDD with a new SSD. What a difference that made in performance.

    Certainly, the PC I am currently using is an older one; and I make no pretenses about it. The graphics card itself is a late 2012 era Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti and the computer itself is even older than that. But when a PC is still able to boot up from a cold start (super fast), load web pages fast, play utubes and movies when occasionally desired, run ms office apps quickly, and perform other basic daily tasks, is it not still good enough?
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  2. Posts : 117
    Win 10 Pro 19041.264
       #2

    The upgrade cycle also applies to phone users, there is only so much innovation on new stuff that a lot of the time (I think) it is more of a status symbol.
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  3. CountMike's Avatar
    Posts : 16,681
    W10 Insider + Linux
       #3

    It's catch 22 for serious gamers, CPU/GPU technology is going to be continuously upgraded for sure but game developers are wishing for even more so they are kinda leaping over each other. Great high definition picture with minute detail put into the movement require high performance computer. Ray tracing gives more life like picture but it's nothing new. I remember some computers built in late 1980s built entirely for it. It was all but forgotten in mean time and only now it started to be interesting to game developers. Now we are getting into VR which multiplies HW requirements by many times.
    Real 3D displays are still way behind technology, practically only wishful thinking.
    It's also not all about games, same GPUs are also useful for many other, more "serious" applications, from engineering to movies and even moneymaking, think Bitcoin and other "Coin mining" that's done practically all in GPUs and demand for powerful GPUs soared because of that making them more expensive than what they really are.
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  4. Posts : 85
    Win 10
    Thread Starter
       #4

    dwarfer66 said:
    The upgrade cycle also applies to phone users, there is only so much innovation on new stuff that a lot of the time (I think) it is more of a status symbol.
    Yes, I tend to agree with that statement. I have two year old smartphone technology. But I can tell you - it's fixing to become a lot older than that before I replace mine - particularly as long as it continues to function in a normal way.

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    CountMike said:
    It's catch 22 for serious gamers, CPU/GPU technology is going to be continuously upgraded for sure but game developers are wishing for even more so they are kinda leaping over each other. Great high definition picture with minute detail put into the movement require high performance computer. Ray tracing gives more life like picture but it's nothing new. I remember some computers built in late 1980s built entirely for it. It was all but forgotten in mean time and only now it started to be interesting to game developers. Now we are getting into VR which multiplies HW requirements by many times.
    Real 3D displays are still way behind technology, practically only wishful thinking.
    It's also not all about games, same GPUs are also useful for many other, more "serious" applications, from engineering to movies and even moneymaking, think Bitcoin and other "Coin mining" that's done practically all in GPUs and demand for powerful GPUs soared because of that making them more expensive than what they really are.
    Yes, I can relate to what you are saying for those who are "serious" gamers and/or others in engineering or perhaps bitcoin where a very powerful GPU may be required. But otherwise, I honestly feel that many older desktops and their GPU's became "good enough" for the average user many years ago. I think this is what (partly) led to the decline in PC sales because consumers felt their PCs were meeting their needs for a "much" longer period of time. Look at Windows 10 itself. It may work perfectly fine (snappy) on a PC that could be approaching 15 years old. That may be stretching things a bit. But I think the point is - we don't live during a time (i.e. 1990's or early 2000's) where a computer replacement and/or major upgrades were necessary every 2-3 years, just to keep up with running programs or doing something as simple as surfing the web in an efficient/speedy way. In today's world, a modern computer "could" be defined as something much older than 2-3 years old - depending on your perspective and one's particular needs.
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  5. CountMike's Avatar
    Posts : 16,681
    W10 Insider + Linux
       #5

    I'm not sure that "Average computer user" exists. Some need/want more, some less. My brother likes and uses an ancient single core, 3GB RAM and 320Gb HDD with windows XP !!!
    About that "average" this or that. There's a saying in my country: "Some can afford to eat only cabbage, some can eat meat but in average we all eat Cabbage rolls" !
    All together, it's most important what is needed or acceptable to YOU than what manufacturers would like you to buy.
    Last edited by CountMike; 25 May 2019 at 02:09.
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  6. Lugh's Avatar
    Posts : 109
    Windows 10 Home x64 1803
       #6

    scott784 said:
    is it not still good enough?
    If your machine does what you need, it's good enough. If it doesn't, it's not. Doesn't matter wether you're granma checking email & photos or a scientist running a GPU farm.

    You however are not an average user, since you visit tech forums
    serious gamers are continuously upgrading their rigs, and especially graphics cards every year or two
    That's only a minority of serious gamers, the minority which likes to frequent forums and/or brag about their setup. Many—probably the majority of—serious gamers don't play the latest AAA titles, or any AAA titles.

    If you're interested in gaming demographics, a good site is Quantic Foundry.

    there is somewhat of a racket with high end modern games that continue to demand ever increasing more powerful GPUs year over year
    It's just normal competition, you get the same in most industries.
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  7. Faith's Avatar
    Posts : 1,139
    Windows 10 Home May 2019 Update 64-bit
       #7

    There's a mental condition of not being left behind - which is a real condition by the way - that gives someone a sense of desperation to upgrade because eveyone else is doing it. This goes to a ton of different things aswell, not just PC parts. I feel that this may be a major factor to this. I must also mention that some game devs are lazy when it comes to optimizations, almost forces users to upgrade if they want the game to look and perform adequately. It also doesn't help that many PC gamers are stubborn when it comes to visuals, resoutions and framerate.
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  8. Posts : 85
    Win 10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Faith said:
    There's a mental condition of not being left behind - which is a real condition by the way - that gives someone a sense of desperation to upgrade because eveyone else is doing it. This goes to a ton of different things aswell, not just PC parts. I feel that this may be a major factor to this. I must also mention that some game devs are lazy when it comes to optimizations, almost forces users to upgrade if they want the game to look and perform adequately. It also doesn't help that many PC gamers are stubborn when it comes to visuals, resoutions and framerate.
    Yes, well said. I am into electronics, but since I am not a "serious" gamer (not by a long shot), I don't relate to the need of continual upgrades (of PC parts) on an ongoing basis. That's just me.

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    Lugh said:
    It's just normal competition, you get the same in most industries.
    That makes sense, although I have to wonder if it's not more pronounced with PCs versus other electronics? For example, televisions have largely matured over recent years (with the exception of the new ATSC 3.0 next generation broadcast standard - which is not even here yet). So, for example, a consumer may purchase a new 4K television to replace an aging and/or broken older television set, but not necessarily so much to compete with anyone.

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    Lugh said:
    If your machine does what you need, it's good enough. If it doesn't, it's not. Doesn't matter wether you're granma checking email & photos or a scientist running a GPU farm.
    Well said
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