Future Proofing Your PC Build - Are you doing it right?

 If you're into PC building or saving up for a build while looking at guides and asking around online for advice, then you might've come across the term "Future Proofing". But people seem to be misinformed on the topic and make bad decisions. I'm not saying future proofing is bad, but it is more to do with the user itself than the PC build, so if you do it wrong, you'll end up loosing money instead of saving some.

So what do I mean by "You're doing it wrong"?

Like I mentioned earlier, it is more about the user than the PC itself. Some people don't need to have latest and greatest, if they build a decent PC now, they won't need an upgrade for at least 5-8 years. I'll admit that most of such people typically don't need a lot compute power and typically would be fine with any pre-built PC. So let's consider the remaining group of people, namely gamers and content creators. 

These people can further be divided into three groups

  1. Purely Gamers: People who just play games on their PC and some fundamental works like browsing internet and consuming multimedia content. 
  2. Purely Content Creators: People who are in entertainment field(vloggers, streamers, comedians, reactors, influencers, etc) and online educational fields(the people who make "how to" and tutorial videos).
  3. Combination of both: Gaming youtubers and streamers. 

Out of these three, only third group may require to have the latest and greatest hardware and might actually need to consider future proofing their build. Once again, emphasis on term "might". There are two type of gaming content creators:

  1. Who have one main game and they rarely play other games, like Grian(Minecraft), Ankit Panth(Valorant), etc.
  2. Who play whatever their viewers ask them to or whatever is trending, like Gopher.

The first of these two types gamers, who mostly play one game just need to get a PC that's powerful enough to let them create high quality content for their audience, since that PC is powerful enough for gaming content creation, it should be able to handle other games fine.

But the second kind, who make videos on all sorts of games, will require to own a PC that can handle anything thrown at it. So it makes sense to keep upgrading their PC time to time. 

So what is future proofing?

Realistically there is no such thing as future proofing in the current age of PC hardware, it is more like calculated decisions. You never know when next "Cyberpunk 2077" releases and bring your budget system to its knees. Still people prefer the term "future proofing" so I'm just entertaining the idea. Keep in mind that this concept only exist in budget builds. People who can afford to get top of the line products are automatically future proofing their PC. They only upgrade their PC because they just want the latest and greatest. 

There are two types of future proofing. 

  1. If you can afford it, get something much better than what you need so that you won't need upgrading anytime soon. 
  2. Make some minor adjustments/sacrifices according to your budget so that you can make partial upgrades in near future. 

Makes sense? If not, let me explain a little further. Suppose you play Valorant or Minecraft a lot and decided to become a Youtuber/Twitch streamer, Realistically you only need a Core i3-12100 or Ryzen 5 3600 paired with something like GTX 1660 for that purpose. But since you have the budget, you went with Ryzen 7 5800X3D or i5-13600K paired with 3060 Ti(or better). Now you have PC powerful enough that you can switch to more demanding games later if you want to without needing to upgrade. That's first type of future proofing. 

Coming to second type of future proofing, let's assume the following scenario, you really want to enjoy latest Ray Tracing enabled titles but can't afford to build a proper Ray Tracing capable PC due to limited budget. But your budget situation is "not right now" type, ie, you're short on money at the moment but you can save up more within few months or under 1-2 years. So what you decided to do was to pair a Core i3 12100 with a 3060Ti and a decent motherboard. That way you can simply replace the CPU later while enjoying Ray Tracing games now. 

That was for gamers, for content creators and 3D modelling/animation artists, CPU performance is equally important. If such people are in PC budget dilemma, they tend to go with powerful processor and budget GPU, like i7-13700K with GTX 1660 Super/RTX 2060 and then upgrade the GPU later. A powerful CPU purchase now ensures no bottleneck when they get a powerful GPU like 3090/4090 later. 

How can you future proof your build?

Like I mentioned earlier, there is no true future proofing nowadays unless you get top of the line products, just calculated decisions. So I'll just summarise when to make "future proofing" decisions for main components of a PC.

  • CPU/Processor - If it is a gaming build, you can use a temporary budget CPU like i3-12100 or Ryzen 5 4500(given it is cheaper than 13-12100F) with a decent motherboard if it means you can afford to get a powerful midrange GPU. But if you are in creative fields like video editing and animation, cheap processors will hurt your throughput. So choose wisely. 
  • Motherboard - You can save some money with them but you'll be losing some features as well. On top of that, some budget motherboards were utter failure recently. But be wary of spending too much, higher end motherboards often have features that common users will never use. There is point of diminishing return with them, so don't future proof your motherboard blindly.
  • GPU - People often overspend here in the name of future proofing. I can't blame people for that because different games have different requirements and there is no universal minimum requirement. For example, minimum requirement for Cyberpunk 2077 Ray Tracing at 1080p is suitable for 4k gaming in games like Valorant. So carefully assess what games you play and decide accordingly. Once again, animators and 3D artists are different case, no GPU is overkill for them, so they can kinda blindly future proof their build if budget allows. 
  • PSU -  Another component that people either underspend or overspend on. While 80+ Bronze rated is more than enough, Gold or higher rated PSU last way longer. But real issue comes with wattage. While it is true that most PSUs are most efficient at 50% capacity, but doesn't mean you should be buying 1200-2000W PSU for midrange PC build. Calculate the total wattage of each component and add 150-300W headroom on total system wattage, that's more than enough for future proofing. 
  • RAM - 32GB is more than enough for average user. Unless you're a working professional employed by a big studio, it is highly unlikely that you'll ever need more than 64GB RAM. 

All the remaining components are sort of personal choice. So you can't really future proof them without knowing your true needs, otherwise you'll be wasting your money. A recent example I saw when a guy purchased a ₹1,29,000 monitor for photo editing purpose, when he could've bought something like Asus ProArt monitor or a high end gaming monitor with better display quality for much cheaper. 


Post a Comment