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Thread: Gaming: consoles or PCs? Pros and cons

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Gaming: consoles or PCs? Pros and cons

    Quote Originally Posted by Resonance View Post
    I'm trying really hard to bite back my religious scorn.
    Spoiler: console wars

    What do you play on that thing that you can't get on a PC?

    Cost comparison shows how specious that argument is. Cost of a current gen console system (beginning of life cycle) tends to run about $500. That will allow you to play current tech games at happy graphical settings for 5-10 years. Over that time frame, the hardware cost drops and the available games increase.

    Cost of an equivalent computer is going to be around 2k. As in a computer set up to play the same game at the same graphic settings. As time goes on, that cost remains pretty static. Add in the obvious observation that AAA titles are generally multi-platform with the console being the norm target, and consoles get pretty attractive for anyone looking to stick with AAA grade titles.

    Then there's the issue of controls. Because these titles are being aimed at consoles, many of them even after being ported to PC, have horrible control issues because the limitations of console controls are poorly translated to PC controls. This is a development issue--not something that has to be, but it is something that is.

    The real irony is that many of the best games for PC, don't need much in the way of hardware at all. Most of the best PC games I've gotten recently could have been done for a 286.

    Consoles are about simplicity and peace of mind. Ironically though, I hardly use mine for gaming anymore. I use it mostly for streaming video.


    But on the issue of games, there are plenty of games that have no (legal) PC port, and likely never will. The Disgaea series, Valkyria Chronicles, the Altelier Alchemist series to name a few. And those that do, the PC version is usually the least playable. Consolitis is only a problem in the PC version. On the consoles, it's invisible.
    Last edited by Resonance; 04-20-2014 at 09:11 PM.

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    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Cost of an equivalent computer is going to be around 2k.
    Okay, let's say you're just trying to buy a normal gaming PC and you don't need to have a diamond studded USB powered scrotum warmer (approximately $1500). What does it cost then?

    But seriously, a gaming PC costs like $500. The early 00's called and they want their PC vs console argument back.

    Why is this Osito, you ask? It's because consoles are pretty much just stripped-down gaming PCs. There's little difference these days.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osito Polar View Post
    But seriously, a gaming PC costs like $500. The early 00's called and they want their PC vs console argument back.
    That's not a gaming PC. That's a word processor that costs too much and has hardware it doesn't need.

    A gaming PC is going to run about like so:

    GPU $200-300
    CPU $150-250
    PSU $100-200
    mobo $125-200
    case $100
    HDD $80-150
    RAM $150-250
    DVD/BD $50-75
    input peripherals $100-200


    I've left off the monitor cost just as I left of the monitor cost for a console. I've truncated to the nearest $10.

    Allow me to explain my numbers:

    GPU $200-300:

    This allows you to purchase solidly in the middle of the road of current GPU solutions. This allows for a happy framerate, and one that might continue to be happy for the lifecycle of a current gen console (thanks to knock on effects of console development). Going cheaper is going have sub-console framerate/texture performance. The consoles may have lesser GPU's but they have better more streamlined drivers too. They may look stripped down, but they're stripped down and tricked out.

    CPU $150-250

    This allows you to get a CPU that is in the upper band of current gen CPU technology. This helps to future proof your build because CPU sockets change more frequently than RAM or GPU sockets. It's reasonable to expect that a CPU upgrade of any note is also going to mean a new socket type, which mean a new mobo--so this is a place to buy big, but not crazy.

    PSU $100-200

    You can get PSU's for much cheaper. But this is the price point that is most likely to provide clean power and not crap out on you. You'll save money in the short run with the $10 Sparkle unit--or whatever came with the case--but it's also much more likely to fuck up your other components, if not itself. It's also a good place to 'future proof' yourself. Of all the components you buy, a good PSU is the one most likely to transfer from one build to the next. It's also the one most likely to end up being a 'surprise' upgrade when some other component you tried to upgrade ended up having power requirements that slipped out of the PSU's specs. If there is a component to buy crazy on, it's the PSU, but the range I'm talking about isn't crazy. Crazy is over $300.

    mobo $125-200

    The motherboard is the trickiest component of the lot, and should actually be the core component of your build--it will have the biggest long-term impact on what your machine can be. That said, I usually choose the processor first, then select the best mobo I can from the current offering for that CPU socket type.

    This price range will be enough to keep you out of the shitty mobo's without going into crazy town. It's usually the price point where you find the greatest steals--as in mobo's that are almost exactly like the ones found in crazy town, but don't have the crazy-town label on them. A little research into the manufacturer will reveal which of these fit that. For example ASRock is a sort of 'off-brand' subsidiary of ASUS, and they usually have cheaper versions of ASUS's big guns that are largely identical, but use cheaper (larger tolerance) components. That said, I usually end up finding a good buy in 'on-brand' boards in this price range.

    case $100

    If you go cheap on anything, the case is where to do it. I wouldn't, but other people can. I won't do it because I like being able to build without cutting myself. I like the little case luxuries that make cable routing easier, and that reduce the amount of time I spend with a screwdriver in my hand. So, I'm willing to pay a little more to have those luxuries. You can get a sub $100 case, but I probably wouldn't unless it was on sale.

    HDD $80-150

    Currently, this price point can net you decent multi-terabyte drives. It won't get a nice SSD, but I'm going to treat SSD's as scrotum warmer niceties. I would not build a machine today with a non-SSD smaller than two terabytes, or with an SSD smaller than 125GB and a non-SSD of at least 2 terabytes. It would be stupid.

    RAM $150-250

    This price point should get you at least 8 gig of good RAM. This isn't crazy territory, it's smart territory. RAM (after SSD's) are your biggest most clear display of general machine power. It is the component most likely to be the difference between a machine that feels zippy, and one that feels hungover. It's also the component you're most likely to find good deals on--but do your research and try to stay within the QVL for your chosen mobo--your mobo is your dictator in selecting RAM.

    When I say do your research, I don't just mean look at the QVL, I mean look at the part numbers in the QVL. Often, the RAM I want to buy isn't explicitly on the QVL, but that's just because the particular SKU of the packaging I'm looking at wasn't sent in for testing--but the RAM sticks themselves were tested. It isn't obvious, it takes some digging to sort out. But it's worth it.

    DVD/BD $50-75

    If you build a modern PC without one, you're placing more faith in the cloud than I'm willing to. You also have less of a software legacy than I do. In any build I do, the first day is just installing things from DVD. You can probably skip on the BD, but I don't see a reason to.

    input peripherals $100-200

    This won't get you great gear, but it will get you good gear. You can get a mouse and keyboard for under $20
    pretty easily. They will almost certainly be shit compared to what you'd get if you expanded your budget. For the record, I'm assuming a $50-$75 mouse. Spending more than that on a mouse has rapidly diminishing returns.

    The remaining budget can get you anywhere from a cheap shitty rubber dome keyboard, to an expensive shitty rubber dome keyboard, to a good mechanical keyboard--and these days you can even get a type of Topre keyboard for a little over $100! The keycaps are subpar (by Topre standards) but the allegedly the keybed is still stellar. Not that a Topre is necessarily a good choice for a gaming PC as compared to the equivalently priced Cherry MX based alternative--but it's a damnsight better than your average 2-key rollover keybed you'll find on most rubber dome types.

    This gives a budget range of 925 to 1725--and assumes good shopping skills. The more you spend, the longer that build will be in a happy spot. If you go with the low end throughout, you'll be planning on upgrading within the lifetime of a console. The upper end is most likely to survive a console life-cycle.

    This doesn't include some of the niceties like aftermarket heatsinks, fans, case fans, mem-coolers etc. It's just a vanilla build for console equivalency--or as close to it as you can get.

    I mean... the Cell processor is fucking amazing, and way way advanced for it's time. We don't even come close to exploiting it, much like Nintendo's move to 64-bit architecture proved extremely premature.

    Console manufacturers take a loss on hardware. PC manufacturers (or parts suppliers) do not.

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    a fool on a journey pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    I built my PC for a little over $600, not including monitor, and when I built it it could run 99% of current games at 1080 with everything on ultra. It still runs everything coming out on pretty good settings. Logical increments is a great site for putting together a build and you can see that you can easily put together something decent for $500 or even less.

    Seriously though, $150 for 8 gigs of RAM? What the hell are you smoking? Also there's really no reason to ever spend more than $100 on a mobo unless you're making some crazy build with multiple GPUs or something, you can get a solid, reputable PSU that's overkill for most systems for $60, and mechanical keyboards are a gimmick.

    As far as console equivalency, I'm pretty sure you can put together something for $500 that will beat the hardware they've chosen for the next-gen consoles.

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    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    A gaming PC is going to run about like so
    I guess if you think that stuff's fun then you enjoy it. I mean, great. But for $2000? That's like a top-end Alienware rig. Have you ever looked at the build guides on Ars Technica or a similar site? $600 gets you a really nice PC.

    Spending $300 on a video card is unnecessary unless you want to brag to your friends or something.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathogenetic_peripatetic View Post
    Seriously though, $150 for 8 gigs of RAM? What the hell are you smoking? Also there's really no reason to ever spend more than $100 on a mobo unless you're making some crazy build with multiple GPUs or something, you can get a solid, reputable PSU that's overkill for most systems for $60, and mechanical keyboards are a gimmick.
    You're right about the RAM. I had a number in my head from the last time I went RAM hunting, the numbers for contemporary gear are pretty invariant. The problem was I forgot I was entertaining the idea of a 16+ GB build.

    I disagree on mobo. I find that the price point I gave yields fewer DOA's. I've also had bad luck with north bridge coolers on cheaper mobo's. My time is too valuable to fuck around with RMA's and tiny parts like that.

    The PSU issue is debateable. Much depends on your long term goals. My build numbers are based on dozens of builds. What I'm describing is what it would take to make me satisfied I've met or exceeded a console.

    Mechanical keyboards aren't a gimmick, but they are an aesthetic choice. I vastly prefer them. Domes are mushy, and scissor switches are just terrible. There is a definite haptic feedback difference.

    I'm not saying that they will make you a better gamer or a better typist. I am saying I like using them more.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osito Polar View Post
    I guess if you think that stuff's fun then you enjoy it. I mean, great. But for $2000? That's like a top-end Alienware rig. Have you ever looked at the build guides on Ars Technica or a similar site? $600 gets you a really nice PC.

    Spending $300 on a video card is unnecessary unless you want to brag to your friends or something.
    I started by comparing a top end console to a top end PC. What's your point?

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    DOA Space Invaders Champion Neville's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osito Polar View Post
    Okay, let's say you're just trying to buy a normal gaming PC and you don't need to have a diamond studded USB powered scrotum warmer (approximately $1500). What does it cost then?

    But seriously, a gaming PC costs like $500. The early 00's called and they want their PC vs console argument back.

    Why is this Osito, you ask? It's because consoles are pretty much just stripped-down gaming PCs. There's little difference these days.
    Quote Originally Posted by pathogenetic_peripatetic View Post
    I built my PC for a little over $600, not including monitor, and when I built it it could run 99% of current games at 1080 with everything on ultra. It still runs everything coming out on pretty good settings. Logical increments is a great site for putting together a build and you can see that you can easily put together something decent for $500 or even less.

    Seriously though, $150 for 8 gigs of RAM? What the hell are you smoking? Also there's really no reason to ever spend more than $100 on a mobo unless you're making some crazy build with multiple GPUs or something, you can get a solid, reputable PSU that's overkill for most systems for $60, and mechanical keyboards are a gimmick.

    As far as console equivalency, I'm pretty sure you can put together something for $500 that will beat the hardware they've chosen for the next-gen consoles.

    You guys could just put your money where your mouth is and post a build.

    http://pcpartpicker.com/

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    a cantori Perdix's Avatar
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    I use a 7990 for both gaming and mining cryptographic currencies. Worth it, so worth it.

    ---

    My build ATM

    32 gigs of RAM
    7990 graphics card
    1 TB solid state raid array for my operating system + 30 TB HDD external array for media.
    4.2 GHz CPU

    Housed in a Coolermaster case.

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    a fool on a journey pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal View Post
    You guys could just put your money where your mouth is and post a build.

    http://pcpartpicker.com/
    I linked to logical increments which has builds at every price level.

    Here is an article that compares the CPUs in the PS4 and XBone to laptop CPUs and the GPUs to the 7870 and 7790 respectively - $150 GPUs. That's pretty underwhelming and not even close to "high end". People on PCs are commonly playing at 1440p and the XBone is putting out games that can't even output at 1080p. It's pathetic.

    There's no reason at all to buy a console right now except for exclusive titles, and even if you couldn't get a better PC for the same amount of money or less than a console that price difference goes out the window when you're spending $60 on every game versus prices for PC games which are much lower.

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