Readers often ask us some variation of the following questions:
What PC would be equivalent to the PS4 / Xbox One? Can you really build an equivalent PC for the same price as a console?
This is a great question, and one that we are happy to answer.
The GPU is the most important component for determining the gaming performance of a PC or console. The GPU in a PS4 is roughly equal in power to an AMD R7 360, and the Xbox One GPU is a little slower. This is only the raw power of the hardware, and doesn’t take into consideration the fact that games built for consoles can be optimized to get better performance out of the slower console hardware. So to get equal performance from a PC, you’ll need an extra tier or so of GPU performance. (See our Graphics Card Comparison table to see where those rank compared to other GPUs.)
Looking at our PC parts recommendations at logicalincrements.com, this would place the PS4/Xbox One between the Modest and Fair tiers, equivalent to a PC build around $380. With the PS4 and Xbox One both priced at $300, that would imply that a PC of equivalent power is more expensive than a console.
Sounds bad, eh? Not exactly. Let us present our logic regarding why the PC is still the better choice.
A console’s internals are not a choice, and they’re not particularly high quality. The motherboard, power supply, and ventilation system of a console is set in place, and you cannot easily change any of those things. If you were to lower the quality of your PC’s internals to match a console’s, you could get a PC for the same price as a console, as seen in this Reddit post.
To avoid those sorts of issues with a PC, we recommend focusing a bit more on quality:
- We recommend high quality cases. These come with dust filters and more fans, as well as more fan slots. This keeps your PC parts cooler and cleaner. Cooler parts run more stable, and last longer.
- We recommend higher quality power supplies. Such units have higher efficiencies, waste less electricity, produce less heat, and run quieter. They last longer, too.
- We recommend higher quality motherboards. These last longer.
- We only recommend smaller than 1TB hard drives for the absolute cheapest builds.
If you switch to a cheap 500GB drive, and pick the cheapest power supply, motherboard, and case, then you will have a system that is on par with or cheaper than a PS4. Such a system would run hot, and it would get loud as it heats up. It might even have a lifespan as short as a console!
For the money that you pay, we believe that a PC should provide a better experience than a console. By buying quality components, your PC will last much longer, and be easily upgradable in the future. If a console fails, it typically has to be replaced completely. And besides the storage, you cannot upgrade anything in a console!
Also, think about actual game performance.
Modern consoles play games at 900p or 1080p, and at 30 frames per second. Not amazing. Most PC gamers want 1080p at 60 FPS (double console performance). PC gamers with bigger budgets can enjoy 1440p, or even 4K resolution, and smoother frame rates like 144 Hz. PC games also come with higher graphical settings than consoles.
Our PC recommendations aim for better quality, longer-lasting performance, higher resolutions, higher framerates, more upgradability, and higher graphical settings than what consoles can provide. Simply put, they are superior machines.