Sunday, August 12, 2012

Feature: Joining the PC Master Race

So after many years of hearing how gaming on the PC is beyond comparison to consoles and how the "true" version of every game released is the PC version, my roommate and I decided to invest our time and money into making a rig capable of putting our years of console gaming to shame.

We had a budget of about 1,000 dollars to use on whatever we needed for our PC.  But when came to anything PC, we were illiterate.  So basically we had 1,000 bucks and no idea on how to use it, what we needed to buy, or what would make the best combination of parts to create a great gaming rig for considering our budget.  We both spent a week doing research.  We looked up countless websites that gave in-depth descriptions of each major component and what they do.  We asked a bunch of forums on their opinions of the best set-up and we looked each brand, type, and compatibility of each part.  After much search we decided on this set-up:


     Intel Core i5-3570 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637i53570

Price:  214.99

     CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B

Price: 53.99

     ASUS P8Z68-M Pro LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

Price:  119.99

Hard Drive:
     SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Price:  89.99

Video Card:
     EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Price: 219.99

     APEX PC-389-C Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Price: 16.99

Power Supply:
     OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

Price:  74.99

     Hanns-G HL229DPB Black 21.5" 5ms Widescreen LED Monitor 250 cd/m2 Active Contrast 30,000,000:1 (1000:1) Built-in Speakers

Price:  129.99

We bought all of the parts from and considering shipping, promotion codes, and sales, the whole deal came out to about 920 dollars.  Other things such as a keyboard, mouse, a desk, and Windows 7 will be acquired once the equipment actually arrives.

After a few days of eager anticipation, we finally received the parts in the mail! We immediately opened up the boxes, reluctantly refused to play with the packing peanuts, and began assembling the PC.  We followed this guy's method in putting it together.  It was all very easy although we did get stuck on a few stupid parts like how we couldn't fit the video card into the motherboard (we tried and we tried and on one random attempt it fit.  We still don't know what we did differently.)  

After booting our not so genuine copy of Windows 7 Ultimate , I installed the motherboard and graphics card programs, connected to the internet and everything was ready to go.  I imported my Steam account from my laptop (gaming on a laptop, I know) and installed a few of my games.  Half-Life was the first game I tried out.  Not exactly the most appropriate game to test out the graphical power of our new machine, but it did prove that it ran perfectly compared to playing the laggy and glitchy version on my laptop.  

I would eventually download Team Fortress 2 and Just Cause 2, and I was amazed at how fluid and gorgeous everything played and looked. Sonic Generations blurred by in a beautiful haste just as older games such as Fallout played flawlessly.  I now believe what everyone said about how consoles hold back the graphical potential of the industry.  I also downloaded a bunch of emulators including Dolphin which plays Gamecube and Wii games in 1080 HD.  I have to say that playing Wind Waker in beautiful HD is breathtaking. 

 The PC is definitely an investment worth making if you're serious about video games.  Each port I played looked much better than its 360/PS3 counterparts and while a keyboard isn't always the greatest when it comes to control, there are many different styles of usb controllers out there to fit your needs.  With a console, you are limited to what the companies offer, but with a PC there are no limitations; play anything, mod anything, do anything.  I see myself devoting a ton of time with this machine, so here's to a glorious two years of high-end performance.

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