News, Views, and Reviews
The soft, green glow of my PC’s fans gently illuminate the room. Resting on a metal wire shelf, the lights from the front fan, the top fan, and a fan on the bottom, are free to shine in each of those directions. That was on purpose. Some five feet way, I sit on the couch, facing my 37″ screen. I’m also illuminated by green light, this time coming from a green “Afterglow” Xbox controller. The green light matches the PC; that’s also on purpose. Weeks of studying system specs and nearly two more weeks of waiting for the UPS truck have paid off. I’m playing Crysis 3 on a 1080p screen, high settings, with over 60 fps, and I don’t care that there is a foot of snow on my car outside and I can’t go anywhere. I wouldn’t want to, anyway, I want to finish the campaign mode so I can write some reviews: one for Cyrsis 3’s campaign, one for its multi-player, and one for my new PC.
I got some good PC building tips from my friends and peers: which parts to include and even who to buy from. When the time came to make the final decisions, I went with cyberpowerpc.com and the build I described in this blog.
Maybe in the future, I’ll work on building a PC myself (or more likely, upgrading this one) but for now, I just wanted someone else to do it. Instead of detailing the ins and outs of my PC, I think it would be more interesting to defend my choices. For example, the choice to include a top of the line CPU, the i7 3820, instead of saving about $100 and getting a cheaper CPU, like the i5 3500. Some would say the key component to a gaming PC is the GPU, the graphics card. Using the handy “customize your own” feature on the cyberpowerpc.com website, there is evidence to support this. As you go down the page, selecting each component from a list of options, you can see, in real time, the effects those choices will have on playing a graphics-intensive game. Switching the graphics card from a GTX 650 to a GTX 660, for example, bumps the potential from 101 fps to 162 fps! Changing the CPU, as claimed, has nearly no effect. But, I see this purchase as a long term investment, and I don’t want to have to worry about upgrading the CPU for a long, long time. That’s really my defense for a lot of the choices. At some point in the future, I could add a second graphics card, but that would mean I’d also have to get a heftier power supply – so I just bought the bigger power supply now. Multi-tasking requires RAM, and I could have gotten away with 8 GB of RAM. At the moment, probably nothing really requires the 16 GB of RAM I purchased. But who knows? A few years from now, I might be glad I have that much RAM. I could upgrade up to 32 GB of RAM if I really wanted to. To top it all off, I also paid extra for more fans in the case, “professional” wiring, and a liquid cooler for the CPU. In most situations, I would have been fine with stock fans and a normal CPU fan. The wires are neatly tucked away to optimize air-flow…and it just looks better that way.
As it sits on the metal wire shelf, with its excessive amount of glowing-green fans illuminating the room, my new PC can be summed up in one word: Overkill. I’m playing THE most graphically demanding game on the market, and everything is running buttery smooth on a big screen TV. Any other game will run even better. But then, everything in my case can be overclocked. Now THAT would be Overkill!