For the past year, I’ve been saving up for one of the two next generation consoles. The plan was to purchase one of the two at launch later this year. Though I’ve seen some exciting things from both, neither have made the definitive case for why I should take one over the other.
In recent days, a new challenger has emerged to complicate matters further.
At the beginning of the month, Nvidia revealed the 30-series of graphics cards. Strictly based on specs, even the “budget” 3070 appears to out-punch the next generation of consoles by a wide margin. The Xbox Series X – the more powerful of the two consoles – pushes teraflops at just over half of what a 3070 can do. Yes, teraflops aren’t necessarily the most accurate in terms of real-world performance, but it at least gives us some sort apples-to-apples horsepower comparison.
Normally, graphics cards wouldn’t even be on my radar. I haven’t played a PC game in decades and up until recently, I haven’t owned a PC capable enough of running modern games. Between the heavy upfront costs and my annoyances with configuring games to work in the old days, console gaming worked fine for my needs. In light of recent events, the calculus is different.
These days, I’ve got a fairly beefy PC for the purposes of streaming. The only bottleneck is my Nvidia 1060 graphics card. Even though it has more than enough juice to handle streaming and recording, the encoder on the 1060 pales in comparison to x264 or the new NVENC encoder on 20-series cards, which makes for a blurrier streaming image.
Spending the $500 USD on an upcoming 3070 graphics card (and roughly $100 to update my relatively-new power supply to cover the increased demands) is way too much for me to spend on getting a slightly sharper image. But what if my PC also becomes my next gen gaming platform?
In a world where I get the graphics card and power supply instead a next generation console, I then knock out two birds with one stone. Furthermore, based on rumblings that the next gen consoles will be relatively expensive than what we’ve seen in years past, shifting into the realm of PC gaming might even make sense from a financial perspective.
Too early for me to make a decision, especially since both Sony and Microsoft refuse to unveil their pricing until the absolute last moment. But with the 30-series cards looking tantalizing while also solving my streaming needs, it’s hard for me to ignore the possibility of buying a graphics card this holiday season instead of a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X.