One of the reasons people modify their computers extensively is to be able to play hardcore games. Who doesn’t like having complete control over what games they play, and what graphics they have? The release of Grand Theft Auto V on Xbox 360 has left much to be desired, since the console’s graphics system was slightly sub-par compared to what one would consider at the time a high-end computer. What if Rockstar Games would have released a version for PC on the same day? Would people still buy the Xbox 360 version? While the PC can far outperform gaming consoles, sometimes the day those consoles see a store shelf, there still is a lot wrong with people’s perceptions of the importance of PC gaming hardware choices. It’s time we explored a few of these problems.
1: You Probably Paid Too Much For Your Graphics Card
My rule of thumb is: If I can get an average of anywhere between 25-30 frames per second from my games, my graphics card is fine. People obsess compulsively over the frame rate their cards deliver as opposed to focusing on hitting a sweet spot and sticking with it. The most difficult thing for most people to accept is that their investments were in vain. This is particularly true of those who pay more than $1300 for a graphics card. Usually, graphics cards in the range of $300-500 work just fine with most games. It’s not your job to get a card that works with a new game. You’ll see this theme recurring a lot in this article.
2: Your CPU Probably Doesn’t Need Replacement
The truth is that most games don’t rely so heavily on your CPU. They need your GPU (graphics card) more since that’s what they use to render graphics. A dual-core heavyweight can perform just as well as a quad-core counterpart. You don’t really need a $1000 CPU to get your game rolling. And if you do, something’s seriously wrong with the developer. Here’s a secret: In all likelihood, any of Intel’s earliest iterations of the i7 can outperform most consoles of its day. If a game developer releases a PC version and a console version, but the PC version is chewing on your CPU relentlessly, you can bet they really don’t care about their PC users. Don’t let them do that.
3: “Gaming” Keyboards (And Other Equipment) Are Good Only For Some People
You’ll accomplish nothing with a gaming keyboard/mouse unless:
- You’re used to handling tons of different specialized buttons in your daily life (or you don’t mind the learning curve), or
- You’re playing games with so many complex functions (read: World of Warcraft) and you can’t really do without the special keys.
Let’s be clear, though: When I talk about gaming equipment, I’m talking about the hardcore stuff, like Logitech’s G19 keyboard or Razer’s Ouroboros mouse. Don’t get me wrong. They’re good, for the purposes they serve. However, for most gamers, a sturdy, decent keyboard and mouse combination works without a hitch. You don’t need to go out and spend $800 on the latest crazy gear.
Other Inconvenient Truths
The gaming world has gone a bit far in terms of hardware. If you want to disregard everything mentioned above and future-proof your PC, go ahead, but do a cost-benefit analysis first. Is it more feasible to have that shiny new graphics card today for $1500, or would you rather buy it in 3 years when its price has dropped to $400? If you feel compelled to forego what I said, that’s your right. But take some time. Think about things a little bit. Be patient.
And if you have any other suggested inconvenient truths, please leave a comment below. We’d all love to see it!