With every new console generation comes a brand new war over which platform is superior, but so many are quick to forget about the PC. Maybe it’s because there isn’t a “PC 2” or some other iterative name or maybe it’s the lack of advertising but it seems that PC’s aren’t even on the radar for most. Well I’m here to tell you that most of what you’ve heard about PC gaming is just wrong and that you can have just as much fun on your PC as you can on your console.
First it’s time to squash some myths about PC gaming. One of the thing I hear all the time is that it’s too expensive to game on the PC. So here’s one that comes up every single time an argument between PC’s and consoles come up and it’s just wrong. Sure, you can spend a ridiculous amount of money on a computer that will be able to play games on multiple monitors at 4k resolutions, but that’s really for the enthusiasts out there. If you’re the person who is deciding between consoles and PC’s then your budget isn’t going to accommodate such things although with a bigger budget you can somewhat future proof yourself but if we’re working on the $400 price point you’re obviously going to make some sacrifices. This may sound bad, but it’s something that the execs over at Microsoft and Sony had to make when deciding what hardware went into the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The difference here is that if you wanted better performance and you had some extra money you could buy a better video card or more memory rather than having to wait for the next iteration of the Xbox or PlayStation. The components that were chosen by the console manufacturers cannot change for the lifecycle of the consoles and this is how PC’s are able to keep the price down while surpassing them in every measurable performance test including framerate, resolution, detail, value, and power draw. Now that we’ve settled that part, now we tackle the games. Most games for consoles release at $60 and considering your console doesn’t do much of anything without games you’re going to be spending $60 per game. On PC, with the use of different software like Steam, Origin, UPlay, GOG or others you can get the same games available on consoles for a cheaper price. This becomes more apparent on older games that hold their value on console, but drop to ridiculously low prices on steam.
The second myth is that PC gaming is more difficult. Building a PC, which is where you’re going to save most of your money is more work than just plugging in your console, and while this is completely true just a little bit of knowledge, or five minutes on google will point you to a guide that shows you how to build your computer piece by piece. Building PC’s is akin to building a Lego set, it looks complicated but eventually following the instructions you end up with a sweet model of the Death star. This is the same idea with PC’s, it may seem difficult, but the process has become easier over the years and components really only go in one way. Just watch a video on YouTube and you’ll be just fine. Now for the use of a PC for gaming there’s really only a few things that differentiate them from gaming on a console and one of them is the fact that things aren’t built in. If you want to talk with friends while playing games (assuming the game doesn’t already support voice chat) you have to download a program. This gives you the option of supporting whoever you feel is doing the best job instead of being stuck with whatever the manufacturers want you to use. Imagine if you were stuck with Internet Explorer? So you have the option of choosing Skype, Raidcall, Mumble, Curse Voice, or any number of programs that you feel works best, no matter what you choose you’ll have much clearer voice communications than are possible on consoles. Now what if you’re partial to your couch and fancy new television? Well, the PC has you covered there too. Just add a controller and HDMI cable and you’re ready to use your PC to game on your big television. With the addition of Big Picture mode on Steam and controller support to most games you can enjoy all the couch based benefits of console gaming on your pc.
The third myth I’ll tackle is that consoles have more exclusives. This has never and will never be true, PC has thousands more exclusives than every console ever made put together, and most games, if they didn’t originate on PC to begin with, come to the PC anyways. Of course there will be titles that are specific to PlayStation or Xbox, but then again there are ones specific to PC. You can find an extensive list of PC games Here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PC_games and it even tells you if it’s exclusive or not
Now there are plenty more myths and perceived weaknesses of PC that I can’t completely cover in a single article, but just do some searching on google and you’ll find out the truth. There’s a lot of misinformation out there so don’t trust what you think you know about PC gaming, go out and educate yourself and make your own decisions.
So, you’ve decided you want to game on a PC and want to know where to start? Well, let’s work with your budget. Just like consoles there are things that aren’t included in the box that are integral to your experience like, monitor or television you’re going to have to buy one of those separately but it’s likely you’ll have one of those around anyways. Now I’m going to talk about three different options, one being the direct competitor to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, one being a bit of a bigger budget “mid-range” build, and then an even bigger budget “high-end” build. Note: Operating Systems are not included because you can just as easily pick a free Operating System like Steam OS, Linux or others. If you really wanted windows you could pick them up for somewhere between $15-30 on many online communities like http://www.reddit.com/r/MicrosoftSoftwareSwap. If a Blu-ray drive is really that important to you, you can grab one online for $40.00.
The Console Competitor:
This build is the cheap build made to specifically compete with the current generation consoles, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. The build came out a bit cheaper than $400, this leaves a little bit of room for you to find the mouse and keyboard that you prefer. This build will outperform the current generation consoles in every respect while having a little bit of room for upgrades in the future.
|CPU||AMD Athlon X4 760K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor||$73.99|
|Motherboard||Asus A78M-E Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard||$47.95|
|Memory||Crucial 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory||$29.98|
|Storage||Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive||$47.89|
|Video Card||PowerColor Radeon R9 270 2GB TurboDuo Video Card||$131.99|
|Power Supply||EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply||$29.99|
|Case||Thermaltake ATX Mid Tower Case||$19.99|
The Mid-Range build:
This build is where the PC begins to pull away from the consoles in quality and performance. This build is very capable of getting 60+ FPS at 1080P with all high settings. You can save yourself some money by getting a cheaper case and using the same hard drive from the Console Competitor build.
|CPU||AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor||$94.89|
|Motherboard||Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard||$44.99|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory||$64.99|
|Storage||Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive||$48.89|
|Video Card||HIS Radeon R9 290 4GB IceQ X² Video Card||$252.98|
|Case||NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case||$34.99|
|Power Supply||EVGA 600B 600W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply||$44.99|
The High-End Build:
This build is the future-proof build. It’s got upgraded hardware in every category that will last you for quite some time. This is a good base while also being easily upgradable for the future.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor||$179.47|
|Motherboard||ASRock H97M PRO4 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard||$79.89|
|Memory||G.Skill AEGIS 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory||$61.98|
|Storage||Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive||$49.89|
|Video Card||PowerColor Radeon R9 290X 4GB PCS+ Video Card||$293.98|
|Case||NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case||$34.99|
|Power Supply||EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply||$49.99|
So there you have it, your guide to the hardware portion of PC gaming that dispels the rumors and gives you some solid options for different price points so you can finally see what PC gamers have been enjoying for years. With more functionality, overclocking capability, upgradability, exclusives, controller choice, modding potential, price, value, and legacy support, I don’t see why you wouldn’t consider it. Stay tuned for Part 2.