I’m looking for a gaming computer. I truly believe that. I’d like to develop it as well, because the pricing makes more sense that way. A great gaming PC, for example, has aided me in eventually starting to stream on Twitch, especially now that I have the Logitech C920 (one of the best webcams).
Also, based on what I’ve heard from my other gamers, a PC is one of the greatest ways to gaming. I’m not attempting to make Cyberpunk 2077 run as smoothly as possible (though it would have been better with an RTX 3080 card than with an Xbox One X). My desire to purchase a gaming PC isn’t motivated by a desire to play the latest hits. It’s an older game that I’m unable to play on my PS4 or PS5.
But, as much as I want to play that game and start streaming, there are a slew of reasons why I won’t be building a gaming PC.
Before I go any further, I’d like to express my admiration for individuals who construct their own gaming computers. I wrote this for players who, like myself, are hesitant to participate in the process.
It all started with a game I’d wanted to play for years but hadn’t been able to: Persona 4 Golden. P4G is the prequel of Persona 5 and Persona 5 Royal, two incredible games that I spent hundreds of hours working on over the last four years.
However, for the majority of its existence, P4G was restricted to the niche PS Vita. Then, this summer, Persona 4 Golden was released on Steam, and I was ecstatic. Until, that is, P4G performed so terribly on my regular system that I assumed I’d have to build a gaming PC to get it to work properly.
However, when I considered the amount of effort required to build a gaming PC, I had serious reservations.
Building your own computer is a choice of chaos.
I’ve always been hesitant to build a computer because of how easy it is to make a mistake. I’m knowledgeable enough to know how to ground myself electrically so I don’t break something, but I’m not a tinker.
Building a fierce PC needs far more than I am capable of providing. The whole process of working with a system’s BIOS (basic input/output system, aka the operating system for your components) and other components appears to be somewhat daunting.
Take the case of the Tom’s Guide test PC, for example. Our senior editor Marshall Honorof — who is really one of the smartest people I know — tried to make it all work for more than a month in what I’d term the debugging process.
The TG PC would shut down soon after booting up for whatever reason, then start up again. (For example, when I wake up and fall back asleep when I should simply get out of bed.) That’s clearly not how you want your computer to function. I would retweet Marshall’s demands for help when he put them online, and I would watch as my friends tried to help.
Marshall finally figured it out one day. The answer is so perplexing that I was impressed by Marshall’s accomplishment — and added another reason to my list of reasons why I’d never try to construct my own computer. Overclocking — the practise of pushing a computer’s performance beyond its default settings — caused a problem on the test PC.
He spotted three active overclocking profiles while mousing through the BIOS on the Tom’s Guide PC. I’m not sure why a system would have that many activated at the same time, and I’m not sure whether I would have recognised the problem. Then I’d have spent even more time troubleshooting.
What was the point of having three profiles? One overclocking profile (visualised as a Game Boost button) for the CPU and one for each stick of RAM had been added to the system. That defies logic, and it’s the kind of response I’d never have expected in a million years.
Marshall’s narrative is, of course, a long-term winner. He fixed an issue, learned something in the process, and now has a powerful desktop gaming PC. As much as I respect his accomplishment, I find myself wondering where I would have found the time in the last month and a half.
It’s nearly tough to find the correct pieces.
If you think it’s difficult to locate a PS5 replenishment or a new Xbox Series X, consider how difficult it is for PC gamers to buy the latest and best GPU (graphics processing unit).
The popularity of our article on where to buy Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 demonstrates that even a premium price cannot address a supply-demand imbalance. Even a $699 graphics card can be out of stock at any time.
But things go even worse. Taking a look at Amazon’s devoted GeForce GTX 3080 page
It’s like walking through a shopping centre when nearly every store is closed. It’s all “currently unavailable” until a third-party shop sells a rare choice with a GPU that costs at least twice as much.
Gaming on a PC is much more expensive than gaming on a console.
It’s also not a good idea to buy a GPU from an earlier generation in this case. A gaming PC is designed to be upgraded, however a GPU upgrade may necessitate a power supply change, as new components require more power. Furthermore, if I’m going to create a gaming PC, it needs to be a long-term investment. I don’t want to invest in anything that I’ll have to replace soon.
Finally, the parts for the aforementioned Tom’s Guide PC came to around $1,655 in total. That’s without using a monitor. While not outrageously expensive for a computer, it is three times the cost of the PlayStation 5.
A great gaming PC, admittedly, can perform more tasks than a console. It’s not only a gaming computer; it’s also a workstation for productivity and online streaming. But, for my productivity, I’ve already chosen the macOS world, and I’m not leaving anytime soon.
Laptops designed for gaming should suffice.
Let’s return to the video game that prompted me to create a gaming computer. This past summer, I spent hours playing Persona 4 Golden on a variety of computers, including a powerful Surface Book 3 with a Core i7-1065G7 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU. However, I still had performance concerns.
When I asked around, I discovered a disturbing common theme. Maybe I shouldn’t be playing games on a laptop, I was informed. Not even this old PlayStation Vita title. Then I sought assistance from an internet acquaintance. Matt Enloe, who’d tweeted about playing the PC port of P4G. Among other suggestions, he said “I would recommend not trying to play video games natively on laptops,” and that “cloud gaming is going to be a better option if you are mobile.”
When I broke it down, the logic made obvious. High-end games will almost certainly run better on desktops than on laptops. Tower PCs have far greater heat dissipation and cooling than laptops, allowing you to push desktops even further.
Even if a game isn’t supposed to be demanding, it can be if the company didn’t optimise it properly. Thanks to testing for the Tom’s Guide Ultimate Home Office Awards, I was able to get my hands on a laptop powerful enough to do the assignment. With a 2.3 GHz 10th Gen Core i7 H-series Intel CPU and an RTX 2080 GPU, the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel runs an old game as well as it can be run. (I did had to spend an evening fiddling with the settings, however.)
Am I irritated that this ancient game required a $3,999 laptop to run? Yes. Is there a less expensive laptop that would probably suffice? Probably. But all of this only adds to my dissatisfaction with the PC gaming world. I don’t want to fiddle with the settings, turning on and off V-Sync to get the graphics to appear good. One of the reasons I’m a console gamer initially is because of this.
The majority of games can be found elsewhere.
Persona 4 Golden is currently the only reason I use Windows in my spare time.
Aside from that, I’ve only seen a few games that require a PC to play. And, in any case, PC games inevitably make their way to consoles. Take, for example, Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is coming on Xbox Series X. Maybe I’ll be lucky and Atlus will port P4G to the PS5 in the future. What are the chances?
Half-Life: Alyx, League of Legends, and Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition, on the other hand? Fortunately (for my wallet and time), these big-name PC games aren’t in my wheelhouse.
My gaming PC fantasies have been put on hold.
For the time being, I’m putting my PC gaming ambitions on hold. Hopefully, component pricing and unavailability will decrease sooner or later. I’d also like to see the PC gaming professionals I know obtain COVID immunizations, not just for their own health, but also so that we can share a room and I can seek their guidance in person.
However, it appears that creating a gaming PC is not something that can be done on the spur of the moment. There’ll be a lot of wasted time and money if you go down that road.
Of course, if the proper exclusive title or experience came up, I expect my tune to change on a dime. Building a gaming PC is intimidating, but it also has its own appeal.
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