PC is the Best and Worst Gaming Platform
I will always be a proud member of PC Master Race.
I love building computers. I love that anxious, uncertain feeling of pressing the power button for the first time after hooking up all the components. I love that fresh scent of plastic after taking a new piece of hardware out of its box. I love running gaming benchmarks before and after an upgrade to see how many extra frames per second my new purchase netted me.
I love my PC, even though it has its finicky little challenges and quirks from time to time.
But goddamn, sometimes, those little challenges and quirks make me want to throw my rig out the fucking window of my 26th floor apartment so I can bask in sweet, succulent satisfaction as I see it slowly plummet to its demise with, what I like to imagine, would end in a fiery explosion of electronic angst and rage.
Sometimes, PC life makes me want to blow my fucking brains out.
I present to you, discerning reader, a narrative case study demonstrating why PC is both the best, and worst, platform to ever consider gaming on.
Join me, as I paint the picture for you so we may commiserate on the woes of PC life together.
2:33am – Wednesday, July 19
A certain website author who shall remain nameless makes a late-night decision to purchase an Nvidia 1080 ti graphics card. Was it the combination of beer at happy hour, wine with dinner, and whiskey before going to bed that drove this decision, or was it a calculated, well-researched upgrade after using a 660 ti for the past 5 years that required manual UNDERclocking to prevent random crashes while gaming? We may never know, but the important takeaway is that the video card was ordered, and it was scheduled to arrive the following Monday.
12:07pm – Saturday, July 22
I’m eating lunch and my phone buzzes with a notification. A text from UPS… what is this about? Please tell me there isn’t a shipping issue with my order. Wait… what? “Your package has been delivered.” Apparently, UPS decided to work a few extra hours and crank out an early delivery on a Saturday. Yes! My anxiously awaited upgrade has arrived, and a full two days early. Perfectly timed for my weekend enjoyment.
I quickly finish my lunch and
inform my wife that the errands, chores and activities we had planned for the weekend have been postponed. There’s a new priority in town, and it’s sitting in our apartment mailbox on the first floor. She rolls her eyes and lets out a sigh. “Seriously?”
Lucky for me, my birthday was the day before, so as I look through my hand of cards from our Marriage: The Grumbling™ deck, I realize I have a one-time annual use birthday creature to play. Its ability allows me to selfishly usurp the remainder of the weekend all for myself, and even better, it has Haste. I throw down the card and immediately tap it.
I explain this clever analogy to my wife, reminding her that the reason the analogy is so good is because it mirrors mechanics found in the card game, Magic: The Gathering. As I begin to explain Haste and why it allows me to immediately use the card instead of dealing with summoning sickness, she interrupts with “It’s fine, just go play with your computer thingy… whatever will get you to stop talking about that stupid card game.” And that’s all the affirmation I need. Time to embark on some sweet PC gaming action.
Computer is powered down, unhooked, and laying on the kitchen counter. I remove the side of the case revealing all the components. I’m a surgeon performing a transplant who just made the incision and sees the organ they need to replace. My eyes are locked on the 660 ti that I’ve scorned for the past 2 years and I’m ready to cut it out.
God, this upgrade will be fucking sweet. I bet this 1080 ti won’t even drop below 80 fps on ultra for most games. Maybe not even below 100 fps.
My phone buzzes. Another text, this time from friends. “We’re jumping online to play something, want to join?” I reply that I’ll be joining in 15-20 minutes, as soon as I swap out this card. I smile to myself as I send them a picture of the 1080 ti box, secretly making me feel more justified about the completely irrational and unnecessary purchase I’ve made.
Old card removed, new card in the PCIe slot, and all that’s left is connecting the power. I start thinking about the 144 Hz refresh rate on the new G-Sync monitor I bought the week before. Man, I bet it will be silky smooth. I look closer to see what power connections are needed… this card requires two 8-pin cables. I have one of those, so I plug it in. I dig through my unused power supply cables looking for another 8-pin, but can’t find one. The only other video card power cable I have is a 6-pin, but between that and the shitload of spare Molex connectors I have, I’m confident one of the adapters included in the box with the new video card will bridge the gap for me.
I open the baggy containing the two adapters that shipped with the video card. The first turns out to be an adapter converting two 6-pin adapters into one 8-pin. Since I only have one 6-pin remaining, this is a no-go. In the back of my mind, a thought creeps in… “What if the other adapter doesn’t work either?” I quickly dismiss it. Surely the other adapter is different, and even if not, I’ll find a way to make it work.
I inspect the second adapter. It, too, appears to convert two 6-pin into an 8-pin. The same as the other adapter. Surely I’m missing something. I take a closer look at both adapters, convinced I’ve overlooked something simple that will make this work. After another inspection, I confirm that I really do need two 6-pin cables to make these adapters work, and my power supply just doesn’t have them.
Not to worry, I tell myself. I’ve been building and upgrading computers for over 10 years. I’m confident I’ll have a spare Molex to 6-pin adapter laying around, or some other adapter to finish the upgrade. A slight delay, but I’ll be gaming with sick new graphics soon.
What do they say are the five stages of grief again? Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance? At this point I’m well past denial, now operating in a cocktail mixed with a heavy base of anger and splashes of bargaining and depression. Acceptance? No, fuck that. I’m too hard headed and will find a way to make this work.
I’m standing outside our storage facility as it closes in five minutes. At this point, I’ve scoured the apartment for the adapter I need and found nothing to help. I went to our storage unit (we recently moved) and literally went through every fucking box containing any computer parts I own and couldn’t find anything useful. I’m ready to go back to the apartment and follow through on that idea to toss my computer out the window, secretly hoping some touristy jackass picks a fight with me on the walk back so I have somewhere to channel my rage.
Fuck PC, this is why people game on consoles.
I know that I can order the adapter I need and get it here in a couple days, but the graphics card has arrived, I have spousal consensus to spend the weekend gaming, and I want it to work now, goddamnit. I look for a PC repair or electronics store nearby… nothing. I live in downtown Seattle and don’t own a car, so the thought of spending $40 on an Uber to a store in a nearby suburb that may or may not have what I need seems too risky.
Just when I’m ready to take a soldering iron to the adapters I do have, which surely would’ve resulted in me burning down my entire apartment building, a light bulb turns on. In service to Amazon’s ultimate quest to turn us into the fat people slurping 64 oz beverages in futuristic Hoverounds depicted in Wall-E, I launch the Prime Now app on my phone.
While none of the power adapters I need are available on Prime Now, there is actually a pretty decent selection of power supplies. I consider my current 610 watt power supply that was purchased as part of a new build back in 2008. It’s served its time, done its job, and exceeded my expectations (shout out to PC Power and Cooling for making great products), but I can have a new 850 watt modular power supply delivered to my door by 7:00pm? Oh, and it has four 8-pin power connectors? Yes please, place that fucking order NOW.
A knock at the door, and my new power supply is delivered. I spend 45 minutes hooking it up and zip tying cables, much to my OCD’s satisfaction, then plug in the two 8-pin power connections needed for the video card all along. I reassemble my case, hook it back up, and bask in the soft white glow of the LEDs on my video card as it powers on with the rest of the system.
A quick driver update, some settings changes to enable G-Sync and crank the refresh rate to 144 Hz, and I’m off to the races. I kickoff some benchmarks and sit back in my chair as I watch them run. Damn, they look good. My friends aren’t even online any longer, but I fire up some games, turn the settings to ultra, and watch the fps soar well past 100 fps.
Fuck consoles, this is why people game on PC.
I would love to hear your PC frustrations, glorious moments, and funny stories! Leave a comment here, on our Facebook page, or Tweet at us and let us know why you continue to roll #pcmasterrace or why you just couldn’t take it anymore.