Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

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Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby toprob » Thu May 21, 2020 2:08 pm

For a long time now I've been thinking that it's time to replace my old third-gen i5, with its 8GB RAM and admittedly nice GTX980. Both it and I have a birthday next month, one of us is turning 7, but I won't say which.... Discovering that P3Dv5 just thinks it's a joke, plus the upcoming Microsoft Flight Simulator, coupled with an ongoing issue with X-plane, both the sim and development toolset, has rekindled my interest in upgrading. There's plenty of chatter about what it would take to have a great system for P3Dv5 or MFS, which I've followed with interest. I've even priced a few options, which are in the 4 or 5 grand range.

However....

Today I've realised that I just don't want to spend that sort of money on a PC. My PC is basically a tool, admittedly I use it a lot, and of course it's been a requirement for my business for the last 12 or more years. (Can't even remember when I went full-time at Godzone.) If the business could afford it, then it might not be a problem, but basically it covers what I pay me (I'm a lousy boss, but the job is interesting), with no real chance of profit, or even a decent development fund. So it would mean buying this out of my 'hobby/fun' fund, which normally runs on empty anyway, now being no exception. However, if I had $5,000 spare, I'd much rather spend it on camera gear, or even a new telescope. It seems far too much money to just waste on a business tool which the business can't even afford...

Shortly, though, I'll have a little extra in the bank, not enough to do anything reckless with, short of paying off some debt, but enough to cover a new PC, plus a new (old) car, which is another thing I need, I've had the use of a friend's car for years, but she's now back in NZ so it goes back to her this weekend. I'll be glad to see the back of it, but it does leave me carless.

Get to the point, Rob... I think I'd be happy to forego a 'power' PC, and maybe stick to $3,000ish. this would mean less that cutting edge -- does that make sense to anyone? Would I offend the flghtsim gods? So.... what would you get if you only had $3,000, $3,300 tops? If I get some sensible suggestions, then next I'll be asking you to choose me a car....

EDIT: Ok, I looked it up, I've been full-time Godzone for 14 and a half years.
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Re: Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby Adamski » Thu May 21, 2020 2:51 pm

I feel your pain!! I too have a similarly age-challenged system.

It's not just the hardware, though - you also have to factor in the costs of all the add-ons you might be tempted into buying (or re-buying if the old ones won't run in your new sim). I have a spreadsheet that holds all the serial numbers etc. for all my software - but also includes a price/cost column. It's all too easy to add the dreaded "total" formula to that column and frighten yourself.

I used to think that if you divided both hardware and software costs by the number of months you typically use them for, it would equate to the odd pizza or trip to the cinema. The truth is, however, that I very rarely eat out, never have take-aways - and enjoy the cinema once a blue moon. Also - all these activities would usually include "your significant other" - or at least have some social interaction. Sitting there [alone] with my PC and X52 seems to be an increasingly selfish thing to do if money is tight.

It's easy to think that 4-5k could get you a fairly decent [2nd hand] car - but then the running costs are pretty high. At least you'd get out more though LOL.

Similarly, I've bought a fairly decent digital camera. Though I enjoy the actual taking of the pics (especially at air shows), the results just sit there on my PC ... going nowhere. At some of the more spectacular shows I've been to, I've left my camera in its bag so I could just enjoy the moment - and let my memory serve me to re-live it.

I've ended up trying to combine both interests - spending a lot of time taking screenshots from flight sims. I can post them publicly, where they're "ooh'ed and "aah'ed" for a brief moment then oblivion: a bit of an incentive if nothing else. At 70yrs old I don't think I could justify a fancy flight sim as a step towards a PPL or CPL (you wouldn't get a job anyway, in the current climate) and programming an FMS loses its appeal after a while.

So ... what else could you justify spending 4-5k on? Hmmm ... I love music ... that amount of money would buy you a stonker of a Hi-Fi ... and would finance the occasional live concert (classical or pop).

I think the thing I feel awkward about is the way PC-related stuff locks you in. The software itself is pretty addictive, but I resent being seduced into upgrading hardware for no real gain. P3Dv5 is a case in point. Splashed out on an RTX2060 only to find P3Dv5 runs worse than P3D4.5 on my old GTX970. Grrr. The killer there is when you see screenshots you took ages ago in FS9 that look better than the one you just took in P3Dv5!

Adam.
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Re: Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby dbcunnz » Thu May 21, 2020 4:01 pm

If you are after a complete new rig this one doesn't look to bad $2,335.95inc GST & Free Delivery

https://pp.co.nz/product/amd-desktops/g ... e/AB00998/
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Re: Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby toprob » Thu May 21, 2020 7:20 pm

Cheers, I'd better describe what I'm looking for first. It'll probably be an Intel i7 -- or equivalent -- and I really want a min of 8GB GPU, so probably GTX2070 or whatever is close over the other side of the river. I'd start with 16GB RAM, and double it if I have a little lotto win. Storage is an issue -- at the moment I have a OS SSD plus 3TB of HD space, with less that 10% free -- I collect stuff, that's for sure. I plan to keep the current system.

As an old Nvidia bloke, I could do with some help from someone who knows AMD, and can confidently advise me.

I'm a lot like Adam, probably more so:) I was just recently saying to someone that I know how to live frugally, and I even enjoy life without frills. The last time I went out to dinner, my mum shouted, and the time before that my kids took me to lunch when they visited. I would have no idea what it would cost for a sit-down meal in town. I am single, and will remain so for the rest of my life, courtesy of the beta blockers I take twice daily:)

I don't remember the last time I had a holiday away, but I do travel a lot, 'for work', which really means just another fun part of my fun job. I've decided to take up photography again (I began at age 12, but every few years I dump everything and vow to quit. Then a year later I'm back. I would love to be great at it, but I know I'm average at best. Still, that's what hobbies are for.)
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Re: Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby emfrat » Thu May 21, 2020 9:01 pm

Rob - as ever, whatever you buy will be half the price in 3 months' time and obsolete in 6. I was looking at GPUs the other day and the prices are just ridiculous - nearly AUD 3k for a video card!!? Madness. Apparently it is all to do with demand from bitcoin miners. I installed the France VFR AFS2 Paris scenery on my current flying machine, which has a Radeon 550X card, and it nearly brought it to its knees. I will keep an eye on the market, and also the exchange rates which are pretty disastrous for AUD at the moment.
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Re: Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby cowpatz » Fri May 22, 2020 8:23 am

If you are not fussed about 4K then the 1080TI still holds it's own with plenty of VRAM (11 GB) . If you want to future proof yourself a bit then maybe wait until the 1200 socket CPUs and MOBOs become available.
I believe that the 10000 series processors start appearing in a week or two.
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Re: Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby NZ255 » Fri May 22, 2020 9:26 am

If you don’t need a new monitor, case, psu, hdd and ssd you’re looking at just the motherboard, cpu, ram and graphics card.
That’s how I did my last upgrade. I know those are the most expensive bits but I wouldn’t have thought you’d need to spend anywhere near 5k.
The i5 cpus (k series if you overclock) definitely hold their own. You don’t nessesarily need an i7.
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Re: Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby deeknow » Fri May 22, 2020 2:12 pm

You are possibly a special case Rob given you're building projects and possibly restarting the sim more often than the rest of us, but I think for general users there's very much a diminishing return on the uber high level stuff.

I've been researching this hard-out for the last 6 months, and ordered parts for my new rig a week or so ago. Here's my perspective on the current state of things re CPUs

  • AMD have the upper hand without doubt on the multi-core/thread bang for buck side of things, all tests and price trends show this
  • The new 10xxx series Intel CPUs show more promise for single-threaded workloads (tests are coming out as we speak)
  • Us plebs (not on the MS2020 Alpha) don't yet know if 2020 will take advantage of multi-threaded stuff
  • General consensus is Intel has done too little too late
  • AMDs X-series CPUs (e.g. 3700 vs 3700X) show marginal performance boost for the buck and draw more power (if that's an issue for you)
  • With the AMD CPUs you can run a wider range of compatible motherboards (unless going for a thread-ripper variants)
  • For the 10xxx Intels you will need a m/b with a new chipset (socket 1200) that is yet to demonstrate it's advantages
  • The GPU is about to become a bottle-neck by the looks as it is asked to do so much in these new platforms and even a mid-range CPU will be pushing it hard

For what it's worth, I've opted for the 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (6C/12T) as it's well priced, decent spec and lower power (am building an ITX rig, smaller form factor, keeping heat down a little). On the AMD side a lot of deep-pocketed folks I'm sure will be going for the high-end 3900X. If you're an Intel guy (which I have been) you couldn't go wrong w a 10700/900K or such like, they will rock.

Regarding GPUs ... I've decided to play it safe and opt for Nvidia, 8GB (there are loads of 8GB options at all levels of Nvidia) and I'm personally going for a 2060 Super as the MASSIVE extra cost for a 2080s just can't possibly be worth it apart from bragging rights. No offence (yeah right) to any current 2080s owners but if MS2020 can't perform on a 2060 or 2070 then it's looking like the same trap we're in with P3D right now (ie being disappointed with performance irrespective of spec)

Regarding other components, go for a motherboard that supports PCIe 4 and has at least one on-board NVMe M2 slot that supports PCIe4. The improved throughput on these is impressive and should help with shifting data about in a sim right? And of course buy yourself a spanking new 1TB or so M2 SSD to slot into it.

Hope some of that helps. Be interested to hear what you opt for. Keep us posted.

PS - my build cost for individual parts was $2500 (no case/PSU as re-using) - save yourself a couple of $1000 and go on a holiday instead :)

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Re: Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby Aharon » Sat May 23, 2020 6:06 am

Toprob,

I do not know about local tax laws and tax regulations in New Zealand but if you live in America, you will be eligible for tax deduction if you use your new computer to write off as business expense since you own an extremely successful business called Godzone Software company which you pay regular taxes to New Zealand for revenues earned from your software business.

So maybe you can do same tax deduction in New Zealand by using new computer to write off as business expense for tax deduction purposes.

And I do not know what computer pricing is like in New Zealand. In America, kids at school age get computers at student discount rate. If you have any relatives such as nieces or so on who are still in schools in New Zealand, you can ask them to buy computer at student discount rate in their name using your money and then give the new computer to you when it arrives. It will be plausible to stores or computer companies because you are buying GAMING computer which makes them think it is really a kid buying it at student discount rate.

There you go that might result into money saving!

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Re: Would a new PC 'spark joy'?

Postby toprob » Wed May 27, 2020 4:45 pm

Just catching back up with this, I've been away for a week, not ignoring it....
Aharon, yeah, I would certainly like the business to purchase the PC, but it would take too long to pay it off:) I normally look at the write-off options for anything I buy for use in the business though.
Deeknow -- mulling this over while I've been travelling, I've come to think a bit more like your suggestions -- for example, a 2060 would be a great starter, as I could then improve on it if it could do with a boost in a couple of years. And 8GB is certainly the best choice, looking at MFS and P3Dv5. I do have a fair idea of how MFS will perform, even if I can't talk about it, so I'm less worried now than I was a month ago. Still, I may stick with an Intel i7, simply because my current system uses an i5 so I have a clearer idea of what to expect.
I've very much aware than I could spend more on a GPU than I spent on my last car, but I have learnt to be quite frugal over the last ten years!
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