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Thinking of becoming a PC gamer

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April 22, 2012 8:27:57 PM

Hello people!
Im currently a console gamer, im getting pretty bored of consoles so i wanna switch it up abit, so i got to thinking...what if i switched to PC??
So i spent some time thinking about it and ive come to a conclusion that yeah, i want to switch to PC.

But a problem popped into my head, how does PC gaming work? Its straight forward in the consoles as everything is there, but in a pc (ithink) its much more conplicated.

So is anybody out there that could help me?
Do i just simply buy game, disc games, install it and go online or is there something else before and after?
What is steam? Is there any other services like this?
How do i communicate with friends? Surely you dont use skype (laughs)

Some help would really be appreciated, thank you in advanced.

More about : thinking gamer

April 22, 2012 8:37:58 PM

You can buy physical copies of games, install them and go online much like you described, or you can buy digital copies of the games on services like Amazon Digital Downloads, Steam, Origin, GOG, Gamersgate, Gamefly Digital Purchase etc. Some of these games attach themselves to the Steam client which is a digital storefront and game-access hub, some attach themselves to Origin which is a similar service from EA, some are independent and simply install and play from their own executable in the start menu, and so on.

You can communicate in some games via in-game text chat, but Vent and Skype are the most common ways of communicating in competitive online gameplay. If you're playing with 4 or less friends Skype is preferred. If you're playing with more than that, usually Vent is used.

As far as which service you purchase a game from, really just depends on things such as if there is a sale going on at one retailer and not at the others, do you care about steam achievements or games-for-windows-live achievements, and so on. Most people just purchase games from the cheapest source, and most often purchase digitally downloaded copies for the sake of convenience.

As far as other things that become pertinent when you're PC gaming, the actual components that comprise your PC (primarily your CPU, GPU, Ram, and to a lesser extent your HDD) become things that have an impact on the quality of gameplay that you will experience, as well as the quality of your peripherals. Unlike Xbox for instance, where the standard namebrand controller is usually the best input device, computers offer you a wide variety of mice and keyboards with different properties. Some revolve around executing their literal tasks more accurately (mice with more accurate sensors) vs. some that offer things that are more and less critical depending on your play style and the type of game you're playing (mice with mediocre sensors but tons of extra buttons). The same applies to keyboards, where you have many lower-quality component keyboards with many extra buttons and macro functions, vs. keyboards with high quality individual physical switches that are designed primarily for typists but also provide better performance for gamers, but often lack the extra buttons and macro functionality.

These are all generalities though, just to get you started on things to think about.
April 22, 2012 9:07:07 PM

Thank you! Thats is the most detailed reply i have ever got since using this site. That answered everything and more.
What brand of peripherals would you say produces the best products for the right price, please give atleast three examples.
And what are the essential things you need to start out? Obviously excluding the actual computer, monitor.
Related resources
April 22, 2012 9:26:58 PM

It's not a brand-specific topic really. The peripherals that I prefer will be different than what someone else prefers. I would just recommend doing research based around what aspects of peripherals interest you most. If you're interested in which mouse has the truest sensor and you research the topic in that light, it will rule out a lot of mice that would be highly praised in the most-buttons/best button layout argument. If that makes some sense.

If you want to know which peripherals I think are the best for their price (this excludes some exotic or just uncommon items), I would say that the Logitech G400 mouse for 35.99 and the Microsoft Sidewinder X4 keyboard are the two best products for their price. They are both made with higher quality components than many of the more expensive products from each company, and in my opinion they are both better from a technical aspect than the products that directly compete with them (the Logitech G series keyboards and the Razer mice, respectively). That is my opinion mind you, but you can do your own research. One of my favorite places to look into peripherals is at the Overclockers.net subforums (they have forums for mice and keyboards). There are some good in-depth reviews there, and a lot of their reviewers actually disassemble the products to examine the quality of components used to manufacture them.

As far as what is essential? Just a mouse and a keyboard that you are comfortable using and a sufficient computer and monitor. Nothing more, mate. As far as audio goes, I prefer to use high-quality stereo headphones with a discrete soundcard to provide the surround sound, and a standard Zalman clip-on microphine, but all of that (including the soundcard) is about 175 dollars. You can find sufficient headsets (the mic attached to the headphones) for far less, as low as 30 bucks. Just don't get sucked into the marketing hype. PC gaming is full of companies charging absurd amounts for products simply because they are labeled as "gamer" gear, which is usually synonymous with poor components and poor quality-control.
April 22, 2012 10:49:21 PM

Thank you very much, i appreciate your help.
This thread is now closed (i dont actually know how to lock it or whatever) but still open for discussion if there is any.
Thank you.
April 23, 2012 4:13:10 AM

Two reasons why you're making an excellent choice:

1.) BF3 on 32 vs. 32 madness
2.) Rise of Flight

good luck mate.
April 23, 2012 3:02:51 PM

Welcome to the good side. Glad to have you aboard;)

Once you get going, I think you'll find it was the best gaming decision you made.

The big negative is that it isn't usually as simple as buying a random pc, installing some games, and away you go. There are some things pc gamers have to deal with that console gamers don't.

- Configuring a gaming pc requires some technical knowledge about what components to buy to maximize your gaming performance (frames per second) for your given budget.

- There are drivers to keep updated to assure you're getting the best possible performance out of your games.

- There are issues that will inevitably arise that cause decreased performance or game crashes, which will require some troubleshooting to resolve.

- There seems to be an increasing trend of games being released in a buggy state on the pc which requires waiting for patches from the developer. This happens because devs are trying to hit their deadlines, and rather than push the deadline, they figure they'll launch with some bugs and patch it after release since it is easy to do this on the pc.

- Higher upfront costs. Price of entry is probably around $500 to have a shot at playing most games, although it will be on medium / lower graphical settings for the newer games. Getting a gaming PC capable of playing the most recent demanding games at max settings is probably around $1500+. (although games are significantly cheaper, especially with the steep sales that are offered through digital distribution channels - e.g. Steam)

- If you go with a high end pc, you'll need to become familar with system temperatures and cooling to get the best performance while assuring long component life (this becomes even more of a factor for those who decide to overclock their components - something some of the more advanced pc gamers do to squeeze some extra performance out of their games).

Not trying to scare you away. Just trying to give you an idea of what to expect. Some newcomers experience some of the above issues and get pretty frustrated with the whole process because they didn't have to deal with those issues on the consoles. Despite some of the drawbacks above, it is all worth it. I was playing BF3 on my brother's Xbox last week. It looked absolutely TERRIBLE compared to running on max settings at resolutions nearly triple than what the consoles are capable of (2560 x 1600). Not to mention the terrible controls of dual analog sticks vs. the precise controls of a keyboard and mouse. In addition, there is soooo much more flexibility on the pc with user generated content that both enhances and adds new content to many games. Just google skyrim mods and you'll see what I mean.

As to your specific questions, Steam is a great service. It is the most popular digital download content distributors out there. There are others though. I prefer to download all my games rather than buy boxed copies due to the ease of doing so, and the fact that your games are automatically updated with any patches that come out. Digital downlaods have become extremely convenient.

You're doing the right thing by asking for feedback in some technical forums. Continue to educate yourself and you'll find that you'll never want to go back to console gaming again.
April 23, 2012 3:31:25 PM

on a side note, why do you resent skype so much? I have quite a few friends that use it for VOIP during gaming. Sure, open mic could be annoying, but it's a cheap and easy alternative if the game doesn't offer in-game voice chat and you don't have your own mumble/vent/teamspeak server.
April 23, 2012 3:49:54 PM

What PC parts are you looking to play on?
April 23, 2012 3:56:39 PM

Robi_g said:
What PC parts are you looking to play on?

I think a better question would be how much money he's looking to spend.
April 23, 2012 8:50:14 PM

yes, you definitely want to go pc. i switched over last year, got my first rig running in june. dont regret it in the least. the keyboard takes a bit to get use to, but its easy to learn. and any troubleshooting needs post here, usually within the hr. the people will have you going again. but ya, good luck. what games are you looking to play?
April 23, 2012 10:13:48 PM

What are you waiting for? Take a brake from the consoles. Here in PC world it is a art to put together a rig that will out preform the Xbox's and PS 3's. And you should know by now from all the post above.

That it is much better in my opinion then consoles. There are only a few good things about consoles out side of gaming. But with PC's you get all that and then some. Good luck to you
April 24, 2012 5:49:40 AM

Toms hardware is good for the hardware side of things, PCgamer is a decent resource on games, reviews, previews, news n such.

I did not have a huge understanding of hardware when I built my first comp, 5 years later i can build *** in my sleep and Overclock crap no problem.

My advice would be don't get overwhelmed. Get the best stuff you can (especially power supply because it will last longer, and you could use it for future builds :D )

Most PC gamers today use digital download services, like steam, amazon, gog.com ect. Steam is great because a lot of people use it, I have all my friends in there and it makes it easy to play with them.

As far as VOIP goes, steam has a voice chat feature but most people use either Ventrillo, Teamspeak 3 or Mumble. I use mumble as its extremely high quality with zero detectable latency. The downside with these is they do require setting up a server to run the VOIP server off of. Doing this yourself can become complex if you have never set up a server before. Its not hard and if steps are followed everything will work great.

If your just talking to a friend though, start w/ steams voice chat as it requires little more than configuring a microphone.

I sold my 360 5 years ago, im just built my second comp (my first being very budget, was not sure if PC gaming was gonna take so I didn't go too crazy, but this time I did :D  :D  :D  ) and have not looked back since :D 

Good luck, welcome to the club bro!
April 24, 2012 7:39:13 AM

welcome from me too!
Long live PC gaming! gaming platform for real men & woman... :D 

consoles?! pff... that's for small children...
April 24, 2012 1:44:21 PM

heids24 said:
Welcome to the good side. Glad to have you aboard;)

Once you get going, I think you'll find it was the best gaming decision you made.

The big negative is that it isn't usually as simple as buying a random pc, installing some games, and away you go. There are some things pc gamers have to deal with that console gamers don't.

- Configuring a gaming pc requires some technical knowledge about what components to buy to maximize your gaming performance (frames per second) for your given budget.

- There are drivers to keep updated to assure you're getting the best possible performance out of your games.

- There are issues that will inevitably arise that cause decreased performance or game crashes, which will require some troubleshooting to resolve.

- There seems to be an increasing trend of games being released in a buggy state on the pc which requires waiting for patches from the developer. This happens because devs are trying to hit their deadlines, and rather than push the deadline, they figure they'll launch with some bugs and patch it after release since it is easy to do this on the pc.

- Higher upfront costs. Price of entry is probably around $500 to have a shot at playing most games, although it will be on medium / lower graphical settings for the newer games. Getting a gaming PC capable of playing the most recent demanding games at max settings is probably around $1500+. (although games are significantly cheaper, especially with the steep sales that are offered through digital distribution channels - e.g. Steam)

- If you go with a high end pc, you'll need to become familar with system temperatures and cooling to get the best performance while assuring long component life (this becomes even more of a factor for those who decide to overclock their components - something some of the more advanced pc gamers do to squeeze some extra performance out of their games).

Not trying to scare you away. Just trying to give you an idea of what to expect. Some newcomers experience some of the above issues and get pretty frustrated with the whole process because they didn't have to deal with those issues on the consoles. Despite some of the drawbacks above, it is all worth it. I was playing BF3 on my brother's Xbox last week. It looked absolutely TERRIBLE compared to running on max settings at resolutions nearly triple than what the consoles are capable of (2560 x 1600). Not to mention the terrible controls of dual analog sticks vs. the precise controls of a keyboard and mouse. In addition, there is soooo much more flexibility on the pc with user generated content that both enhances and adds new content to many games. Just google skyrim mods and you'll see what I mean.

As to your specific questions, Steam is a great service. It is the most popular digital download content distributors out there. There are others though. I prefer to download all my games rather than buy boxed copies due to the ease of doing so, and the fact that your games are automatically updated with any patches that come out. Digital downlaods have become extremely convenient.

You're doing the right thing by asking for feedback in some technical forums. Continue to educate yourself and you'll find that you'll never want to go back to console gaming again.


Very articulately stated.
April 24, 2012 3:35:54 PM

jfizzle4321 said:
Very articulately stated.


Why thank you. :) 
April 24, 2012 4:53:37 PM

wrenaudrey said:
Hello people!
Im currently a console gamer, im getting pretty bored of consoles so i wanna switch it up abit, so i got to thinking...what if i switched to PC??
So i spent some time thinking about it and ive come to a conclusion that yeah, i want to switch to PC.

But a problem popped into my head, how does PC gaming work? Its straight forward in the consoles as everything is there, but in a pc (ithink) its much more conplicated.

So is anybody out there that could help me?
Do i just simply buy game, disc games, install it and go online or is there something else before and after?
What is steam? Is there any other services like this?
How do i communicate with friends? Surely you dont use skype (laughs)

Some help would really be appreciated, thank you in advanced.


Is PC gaming complicated you ask. Well that largely depends on the person. Like anything, if a person has the will to learn something it will come easier to them.

Specifically in regards to ease of use when comparing PC gaming to console gaming, consoles are "easier". But of course easier does not mean better.

For the most part yes, you buy your game (physical or digital), install the game, then play the game. The great part about PC gaming is the user has options. Some people look at options as a "hard" step, where others like myself welcome options and customization.

So yeah, I guess to sum it up, it really depends on you.
April 26, 2012 11:43:09 AM

I am also switching from xbox 360 to PC and about to purchase my first build ( i5 2500K, ASRock Extreme 3 Gen 3, SLI GTX 680's. Corsair Vengeance 8Gb DDR3 1600Mhz) and the best advice i have to you is to find that one game that made you want to go PC ( for me it was Battlefield 3) and look at system requirments and look at Graphic card benchmarks for that game and system that people have specifically put together for that game ( Geforce.com has an excellent BF3 system building guide). and lastly determine how much you are willing to spend. Personally my budget started of at around $1500 and grew to $2000 then $2500 and finally to $3000. Also decide if your budget has to include Monitor and Keyboard + Mouse.
April 26, 2012 2:20:19 PM

3k for dual 680s? or is that triple/quad? otherwise I don't see how it's costing you that much.. oh unless ofcourse you're buying a prebuilt
April 26, 2012 2:38:47 PM

AntiZig said:
3k for dual 680s? or is that triple/quad? otherwise I don't see how it's costing you that much.. oh unless ofcourse you're buying a prebuilt


I would guess prebuild. Most new pc gamers don't want to venture into building their own machine. However, SLI 680s is $1100 right there. He could be adding a lot of peripherals too ($600 monitor, $200 speakers, $150 KB&M, etc.).

Or it may have "Alienware" as a brand name, which would explain it. ;) 
April 26, 2012 2:42:30 PM

Although its possible to spend up and beyond 3k on a PC, in no way will it cost you that much to build a PC capable of handling all games. Just wanted to throw that at the OP so they didn't run thinking the cost was that outrageous.

April 26, 2012 10:04:02 PM

AntiZig said:
3k for dual 680s? or is that triple/quad? otherwise I don't see how it's costing you that much.. oh unless ofcourse you're buying a prebuilt


I'm with you, mine is well above $3k but then again I have 3 monitors and each are 120hz and 3d capable. 2 680s as well.
April 27, 2012 12:30:43 AM

jfizzle4321 said:
I'm with you, mine is well above $3k but then again I have 3 monitors and each are 120hz and 3d capable. 2 680s as well.


Mmmmm.... All to play a 60 dollar game.
April 27, 2012 1:12:48 AM

It is like having a sports car, eveybody has the same basic format of what defines a PC or laptop but they all are different and unique to each and every one of us who uses PCs/laptops etc.

So if I want to buy a 100 dollar CD and drive my unique sports car around the block and play that music loud just so I can show my sports car off with some cool jams. The yes it is worth it.
April 27, 2012 4:20:37 AM

Jprobes said:
Mmmmm.... All to play a 60 dollar game.

Mmmmm.... All to play many 60 dollar games for many many years. people shouldnt comment on this site if they think were extreme nerds or dumbasses because we may go a little overboard on our setups.
April 27, 2012 3:33:36 PM

tjosborne said:
Mmmmm.... All to play many 60 dollar games for many many years. people shouldnt comment on this site if they think were extreme nerds or dumbasses because we may go a little overboard on our setups.


Well stated, some of us like building many things, I have a friend who dumps tons into his Alfa Romeo, including $7k for paint. My other buddy is building an RV-8 kit plane because he wants the WW2 set up instead of the side by side set up in his RV-7 and he wants to have a plane that he built as opposed to the guy who built his 7 who did an excellent job. I use mine as a workstation for video editing, I run a ton of games and it's incredible having 4 screens at your disposal to do projects and such.
April 27, 2012 5:48:11 PM

tjosborne said:
Mmmmm.... All to play many 60 dollar games for many many years. people shouldnt comment on this site if they think were extreme nerds or dumbasses because we may go a little overboard on our setups.


Did I call you a nerd or dumb ass?

Please don't project the truth to my words into your own misplaced sense of self worth.

If you cannot be honest with yourself, then life in and of itself will be miserable.

Truth - I am guilty just as much as the next guy for building 2.5k+ computer just to play $60 games. (Actually Ive found myself playing more and more $10 games over the past year then anything.)

Truth - I've dropped 20x that amount on my Kitchen, and that's just to cook food.

Truth - I've spent well over 30k on my 99Si. (Original sticker price not included) and it is just a car that gets me back and forth to work now. (It's not used to get women anymore.)

Truth - I have two TV's next to each other in my living room. One so i can watch sports or play games while the wife can watch whatever she wants. Most everyone who has come over immediately thinks it is outlandish and a waste of money. Best 2k I have ever spent, never had a disagreement with her since.

Don't even get me started on what I have spent on memories, it makes me cringe.

Putting things into a basic perspective isn't a bad thing, it keeps you humble and refrains you from posting a defensive cognitive response to a statement that was not an attack.

Edit : And yes Wrenaudrey, you should build yourself a computer for gaming, but you should also keep in mind that you do not need to spend $2,000 to achieve a highly enjoyable experience doing so.
April 27, 2012 6:48:00 PM

jfizzle4321 said:
Well stated, some of us like building many things, I have a friend who dumps tons into his Alfa Romeo, including $7k for paint. My other buddy is building an RV-8 kit plane because he wants the WW2 set up instead of the side by side set up in his RV-7 and he wants to have a plane that he built as opposed to the guy who built his 7 who did an excellent job. I use mine as a workstation for video editing, I run a ton of games and it's incredible having 4 screens at your disposal to do projects and such.

can you max games out with your 2 680s? my 570s can only run a mix of medium and high in most games at 5760x1080.
April 28, 2012 2:10:49 AM

tjosborne said:
can you max games out with your 2 680s? my 570s can only run a mix of medium and high in most games at 5760x1080.


Not to sound difficult but "Max" is a very subjective term. I average just above 60 in BF3 maxxed, Arma 2:o A with "very high" enabled and view distance above just above 3.5 Kilometers I'm getting 60+. DC Online in I'm getting well over 120, Dragon Age: Origins maxxed I'm getting about 150, Crysis: Warhead with FXAA enabled in the control panel and everything else maxxed I'm getting between 45-80. Crysis 2 is about the same, never dipping below 40. Rise of Flight looks amazing, Microsoft Flight looks beautiful, shame they butchered the p-51 and left out atc and world population. Deus Ex gets well over 100, Shift 2: Unleashed gets just above 100, Dirt 3 averages over 120 but I think it has that weird microstutter and the game's DLC is a joke so I avoid it anyway.

Not to state the obvious but running a game at 5760X1080 for all intensive purposes is tripling the demand on hardware, especially the video card. I'd imaging games like Arma2:o A that are CPU intensive do not strain it as much as say BF3 because Arma2 is mostly physics and AI computation. While tripling the demand, SLI isn't truly doubling the power of the cards 2 680s do not equal double the production of a single 680. When more demanding stuff comes out and my Rig cannot produce 5760X1080 with framerates of 30+ I'll just add another gpu or maybe two.
April 28, 2012 2:42:12 AM

jfizzle4321 said:
Not to sound difficult but "Max" is a very subjective term. I average just above 60 in BF3 maxxed, Arma 2:o A with "very high" enabled and view distance above just above 3.5 Kilometers I'm getting 60+. DC Online in I'm getting well over 120, Dragon Age: Origins maxxed I'm getting about 150, Crysis: Warhead with FXAA enabled in the control panel and everything else maxxed I'm getting between 45-80. Crysis 2 is about the same, never dipping below 40. Rise of Flight looks amazing, Microsoft Flight looks beautiful, shame they butchered the p-51 and left out atc and world population. Deus Ex gets well over 100, Shift 2: Unleashed gets just above 100, Dirt 3 averages over 120 but I think it has that weird microstutter and the game's DLC is a joke so I avoid it anyway.

Not to state the obvious but running a game at 5760X1080 for all intensive purposes is tripling the demand on hardware, especially the video card. I'd imaging games like Arma2:o A that are CPU intensive do not strain it as much as say BF3 because Arma2 is mostly physics and AI computation. While tripling the demand, SLI isn't truly doubling the power of the cards 2 680s do not equal double the production of a single 680. When more demanding stuff comes out and my Rig cannot produce 5760X1080 with framerates of 30+ I'll just add another gpu or maybe two.

sounds like they are doing pretty good for you. when i built my rig i was focused on getting great framrates on one screen for a few years. it doesnt cut it for surround so i want to upgrade, but then again i dont because i just got these cards in august.
April 28, 2012 2:51:00 AM

I know nVidia is making a big announcement this weekend. Additionally, the cards at the end of the year are going to make a big splash. You may get super fps from one card in 2d or 3d surround. I'm with you on building for one screen, that was my initial intention but I felt like I was wasting the power I had in 2 680s while playing a game in 60hz. it was mainly for shift 2 unleashed and lockon: fc2 that I got the 3 screens for. FC2 is unbearable however and I know it's the way they programmed the game. When FC3 comes out, yeahhhh. You'll probably be able to run it too as it's more cpu intensive.
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