PC Gaming Is Far From Hard

A site named Motherboard posted an article complaining that PC gaming is too hard. Read on for my thoughts on the matter.

Recently, the subsite Motherboard at vice.com published an article entitled PC Gaming Is Still Way Too Hard, in which the author complains that trying to build a gaming rig is far too expensive and time consuming for the average person. From the first paragraph:

Here's Motherboard's super simple guide to building your first gaming PC:

Step 1: Have an unreasonable amount of disposable income. Step 2: Have an unreasonable amount of time to research, shop around, and assemble parts for your computer. Step 3: Get used to the idea that this is something you're going to have to keep investing time and money in as long as you want to stay at the cutting edge or recommended specifications range for new PC games. The details, of course, are much more complicated, but that's the gist of what it takes to enter the holy kingdom of PC gaming.

Oh, we're off to a fun start here. Let's take a look at these steps.

Step 1: Have an unreasonable amount of disposable income.
FALSE. You can build a gaming rig without breaking the bank. We'll get into this when we look at the author's choice in hardware.

Step 2: Have an unreasonable amount of time to research, shop around, and assemble parts for your computer.
FALSE. Reddit has a number of wonderful PC communities eager to help (/r/buildapc being a favorite) and sites like PCPartPicker allow you to find the best deal on parts as well as get reviews and build ideas.

Step 3: Get used to the idea that this is something you're going to have to keep investing time and money in as long as you want to stay at the cutting edge or recommended specifications range for new PC games.
NO, JUST NO. The machine I built previous to my last two lasted me 5 years. There is nothing that says you have to stay cutting edge, and if your machine meets a game's minimum specifications, you'll still have a great time playing it.

That is just from the opening paragraph. Let's continue.

From picking parts to putting them together, building a PC is too damn hard, even in 2016.

No, no it is not. Here's where the author shows how clueless he is, right off the bat.

but all the average user should care about is getting the best bang for their buck. ... This makes the 1070 a no-brainer, and its release is a good excuse to build a new PC,

If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, the GTX 1070 is not it. It was just released, and on top of that, its price is inflated. The author goes on to complain about parts being cheaper in different stores (uh, duh) and that having parts coming from multiple sources is an inconvenience. His rationalization?

I ordered everything from Amazon because it delivers quickly, allows me to keep track of all shipments in one place, and because I trust it to take care of me if something got damaged in transit.

Most of my parts came from Fry's and Microcenter, local so I could drive over to get them, or if not in stock, shipped. I ordered a few other pieces from other online shops who also guarantee replacement if something goes bad in shipping. Moot point.

Overall, I paid around an extra $100 to buy everything from one store.

I should just stop right here. That extra $100 should not factor into the 'expense' of the machine just because you couldn't be inconvenienced. Next piece of overpriced hardware:

in the name of convenience is buy one, slightly slower 1TB solid state drive instead of one smaller but faster solid state drive and another smaller, cheaper one. I just didn't want to manage storage across multiple drives.

So, again, personal convenience means that the PC is going to be more expensive than it should be. The author is destroying his own point. This goes on and on, from the choice in case to the motherboard. He followed PC Gamer's high end build guide. One of my favorite gems from this article:

By this point, the process was expensive,

No shit. You're paying way too much because you can't be bothered to take five minutes to read and are under the preconceived notion that you have to have the cutting edge in order to game on a PC. The article continues on with how hard it is to put the pieces together, how the processor instructions should warn that it might sound like you're destroying the thing when installing it (if that's the sound it's making, you might have other issues).

Further on in the article, we have this:

Let's take for example the manual for my—brace yourself—"ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VIII Hero" motherboard. As you can tell by its ridiculous name, this thing is being marketed specifically to people who are building PCs to play games, but there's no easy-to-find "quick setup guide." Instead, there's an inscrutable 160-page manual that didn't help me find out where to plug in anything.

This motherboard is being marketed at a particular segment of people who, in most cases, already know how to build a machine. The fact that the author was dumb enough to buy into the marketing hype (and as such, spent more money on) of this board is dumb enough, but insisting that it should be beginner friendly is downright dumb. It's not marketed towards beginning builders, you can't expect that from an enthusiast board.

But, we get to the real reason behind this article. The author is a Mac fan. Here's the first hint:

This is why people buy from Apple. It designs everything from the trackpad to the box the computer comes in, which unfolds neatly to reveal everything you need. Apple reduces friction to the point where even my mom could upgrade the RAM on her iMac, and it can do this because it controls everything that goes in that box.

Okay. Apples are not designed for gaming. You can game on them, but that's is not their market. If you want to play the my mother / father could upgrade game, I had my 60+ year old father (before he passed away) successfully install more RAM in my desktop. Moot point. Also, guess what? Everything that's in my gaming PC? I controlled what went into it. I know what's there and how it works.

There isn't a company in the PC space that's been able to corral all the different components manufacturers to deliver a comparable experience.

How many companies build Apple-compatible machines? 0. Sorry, bad comparison here. Dell, Asus and Lenovo among others provide machines.

That's why I recommend Apple products to people who aren't tech savvy. They just work. When I'm pushing a water cooler down on the CPU while twisting its radiator into place and screwing it into place at the same time, it becomes clear that PCs don't just work.

See that flying off in the distance? That was the credibility of this author to post commentary regarding PC gaming. Where is Apple's gaming offering? Oh, right, they don't have one. Sorry, but recommending Apple products as a gaming rig is a disservice.

At this point, I stopped reading and just skimmed. He complains that there is no easy entry into PC gaming. He attempted to build a cutting edge machine with no knowledge of how to build a PC, then complains when the process isn't user-friendly and also complains about the price and finally, blows his cover by presenting Apple as the alternative. I had a look at Amazon and found a gaming rig for 1k less than what the author paid for his. That pretty much nullifies his argument in the article that he couldn't find any decent machines because the websites he visited were trash.

In closing, don't believe what you read. And, dear reader, if you want to build your own machine, don't take his words to heart. Set out the goals of your rig, do a little research and build it. If you're not comfortable building it, check with your local computer shop or some of your tech savvy friends.