With Xbox Scorpio specifications revealed this week, it’s obvious that Microsoft wasn’t kidding when it claimed this would be the most powerful console ever. But pure specifications might not be good enough for Microsoft – and if you’re interested in the muscle power of the system, then you could consider getting a PC that rivals – or flat out beats – the Xbox Scorpio’s purported performance. It isn’t cheap; if you want the 4K resolution at 60fps that Microsoft is promising, then you’ll have to spend significantly more money on a gaming PC than the upcoming console, but it’ll be yours without any wait.
Admittedly, there are still more than a few unknowns here, such as the degree to which Microsoft will tweak games to make them run better on Xbox Scorpio. What’s crucial though, is that the company is gunning for gaming at 4K resolution with 60fps as standard. Microsoft hasn’t commented on how much it will cost except, for hinting that it will be more expensive than the PS4 Pro and made for the ‘premium consumer’. Rumours peg that at $500 – the Xbox One S is $349.99, while the Xbox One 1TB is priced at $399.99 (both are heavily discounted online), so this isn’t an unreasonable guess.
Keeping all of this in mind, we’ve configured what could be a better, more flexible option for the gamer who doesn’t mind spending more for a better experience.
All prices below were accurate at the time of writing and may be subject to local variations and changes over time. However, it is safe to say that anyone can build the same or a similar machine and will be able to play the latest and greatest in gaming, as well as VR, with power to spare. And yes, all of these components are available online as well, but expect to pay a premium versus your local computer store, particularly when it comes to video cards. If a specific part is available cheaper offline, we’ve listed the lower cost indicating that it’s the street price.
Chances are if you’ve owned a desktop PC you probably already have a decent enough monitor, keyboard, mouse, and OS license. For the most part, your own comfort should be your deciding factor for these components, which essentially means you should go with your personal preferences and we’ve not included them in this list. Plus, you’re plugging your console into the TV, so it wouldn’t be fair to add the price of a 4K monitor to this cart. Here’s all the rest that you need to put together.
CPU: Intel i7 – 7700K ‘Kaby Lake’
Price: Rs. 29,999
The Core i7-7700K ‘Kaby Lake’ processor has a base speed of 4.2GHz with a maximum boost speed of 4.5GHz. It also has an unlocked multiplier for overclockers to tinker with as the ‘K’ suffix indicates, meaning that you can, if you so choose, go beyond the 4.5GHz for even higher performance in the most demanding games, particularly at 4K resolution. You could go with the AMD Ryzen R7 1800X ‘Zen’ CPU and a corresponding motherboard but in our detailed review we found that it’s not as good a deal versus what Intel offers at the moment, if what you want is pure gaming performance.
Motherboard: Asus Maximus IX Hero
Price: Rs. 24,500
The Asus Maximus IX Hero is a Z270-based enthusiast motherboard aimed squarely at overclockers, but there’s plenty of appeal even for less adventurous enthusiasts. The layout is completely standard, with generous amounts of room around the CPU cooler. There are a host of features that make tinkering with this beast a treat. From power and monitoring terminals for water pumps and high-powered fans to a debugging mode if you’re the sort to use liquid Nitrogen. Plus, Asus’ numeric Q-code diagnostic readout helps you figure out boot-related concerns, if any. All of this makes it a solid partner to the i7-7700K processor.
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB DDR4 DRAM 3600MHz C18 Memory Kit
Price: Rs. 23,298 (for 2x8GB)
Despite Kaby Lake processors officially offering support for upto 2400MHz DDR4 RAMfrequencies, Corsair’s 3600MHz kit was a no-brainer. At the moment, gains per rupee are less dramatic with speeds above 3200MHz in intensive tasks like gaming and video rendering, but a PC like this should ideally outlast an Xbox Scorpio, so any bit of future-proofing is a welcome expense. You may need to tweak voltages to ensure it is running at high speed though.
Storage: Samsung 960 Pro Series – 512GB PCIe NVMe – M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V6P512BW)
Price: Rs. 33,900
At the moment, all we know is that Xbox Scorpio has a 1TB hard drive. There has been no mention of whether there’s also a solid state drive or at least an option for one though Eurogamer – which revealed the Xbox Scorpio specs suggests it will be a regular mechanical hard drive (perhaps a hybrid drive akin to what we’ve seen with the Xbox One Elite console?). Either way, it would be prudent to stick in a fast, reliable solid state drive available, and our choice is the Samsung 960 Pro M.2. The 512GB variant seems to be the only one currently in stock, but grab the 1TB version if you can find it. Couple this with a 2TB mechanical drive, the Seagate Barracuda 2TB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-inch hard drive, priced at Rs. 5,920 and you should have plenty of space for Steam, GOG, Origin and any other PC games client you use.
Video card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11GB Graphics Card
Price: Rs. 71,999
The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is more than enough for pushing 4K at 60fps in most current games, and that carries over to high-refresh-rate monitors at lower resolutions and even VR headsets. While the Founders Edition variant is the only one we see in stock at the moment, custom versions from the likes of Asus with its Strix line or Gigabyte with its Aorus models should be available at your local PC store if not online very soon.
SMPS: Seasonic SS-850KM3 X-Series 850W Modular Power Supply with 80+ Gold Certification
Price: Rs. 13,800
To power all of this, you’ll need a reliable SMPS. In our experience Seasonic is pretty solid. The X-Series 850W sports a modular design, heavy duty capacitors, and a high performance Sanyo-Denki San Ace Silent Fan for quiet operation.
Cabinet: NZXT Noctis 450
Price: Rs. 12,700
The NZXT Noctis 450 has great build quality, a welcome amount of ventilation, dust filters, and more than enough space for expansion. Though you could also opt for the older, more boxy NZXT H440, the armoured design of the Noctis 450 gives it a fresh look.
How much will this set me back, and how long will it last?
The configuration we’ve outlined here costs Rs. 2,10,196. As we mentioned previously, you could get it for less if you buy offline or substitute components. But if you’re looking for a no holds barred experience of gaming at 4K resolution with 60 frames per second, look no further.
It has enough raw power to exceed the performance expected from the Xbox Scorpio, and last year’s PS4 Pro, all while being future-proof enough to handle anything else thrown at it in 2017 and beyond. Given that a five year old machine with minor upgrades is able to play the latest and greatest without breaking a sweat, this gaming rig should easily outlast Microsoft’s Xbox Scorpio.
On the other hand, it’s definitely a lot more expensive than whatever the price of the Scorpio will ultimately be. If the rumour mill is right, you could get four consoles for the price of this hardware – but that involves a long wait, uncertain pricing, a (comparatively) limited catalogue, and a shorter life-cycle. It’s not a clear-cut decision, but this is definitely the premium gaming experience.