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GAMING COMPUTERS: HOW TO WASTE MONEY ON A GAMING COMPUTER

Forget style, set aside bragging rights. High-end game PCs are massive overkill at stratospheric prices. If all you want is to brag to your buddies that's okay. Just remember: Six months or so you'll have to lay out thousands of dollars or someone else will pass you.

And it is thousands of dollars. $5000 is common for a 'high end' game PC. Some of them go for $10,000 or more. Some graphics cards cost over $1500 and even fancy cases can cost $300.

Gaming Computer SkiBoot

The $5000 ski boot!

Do you really need that kind of PC to play games? Clearly no.

  • Even some people in the industry are starting to agree. According to one NVIDIA executive, gaming machine companies are pushing expensive machines rather than less expensive, but perfectly adequate computers, and hurting the PC gaming industry in the process.
    Dell Gaming Computer

    Dell Gaming Computer...kinda looks like a $2000 Precision with red lights to me...

  • NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang is even more blunt. Buyers of high-end game PCs aren't gamers, he says. ''They're enthusiasts''. And he compares them to the people who buy $250,000 sports cars.
    Gaming Computer

    So what do those inside fire lights do for me?

  • $10,000 'God boxes' may be great for the computer makers, but they hurt the gaming industry. Not to mention what they do the poor gamers who buy them.
  • And the gamers are suffering. When a big new game comes out gamers flood the forums bemoaning the need for expensive hardware to run it.
    Gaming Computer Overkill

    $10,000 and you can be a Dark Lord on a Dark Throne

  • Worse, these super gaming PCs are totally unnecessary. If you're spending more than about twice the cost of a basic computer for a gaming machine, you're overpaying. If you're spending more than three times the price you're really overpaying.
  • Does anyone really believe a case with flames on the outside and blue LEDs on the inside makes games run better? If you want to be cool, find an airbrush artist who can customize your case for you.
  • The one thing you're virtually guaranteed to get with an extreme gaming PC is trouble. From drivers to strange incompatibilities, gamers forums are full of people seeking help with high-end machines. They don't call it the ''bleeding edge'' for nothing.
  • Even if you're not immersed you very likely can't tell the difference between a scene rendered with the latest graphics features and one or even two or more generations back -- unless you put the screens side by side and examine them closely. ExtremeTech couldn't find any difference in quality when they carefully compared the DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 versions of Bioshock. (Well there was one difference. The game ran 20 frames a second slower on DirectX 10).
    One Mean Cat Gaming Computer

    $3000-$5000 - For that price, can this cat feed itself?

  • More to the point: Do you really care that the grass looks more realistic on a $6000 machine with a $1000 graphics card?
  • The easy way to improve game play on a less expensive machine is to lower the resolution. If the game is any good you'll be too wrapped up in the experience to notice the difference.
  • You probably don't need the frame rate these machines produce either. A $600 graphics cards can crank out frame rates of 50 or 75 or even more. But you've grown up looking at frame rates of 30 frames a second or less. Movies are only 24 fps. Generally 30fps is all you need for a game.
  • Buying for the future is usually a waste of money. The time lags are too long and the price drops are too steep. Maybe in six months there will be a game that really uses these new features. Of course in six months you can get the same capabilities cheaper when there are more than two or three games available that use it.
  • Save your money and spend it on games. You'll get a lot more buying more games instead of a system loaded with stuff you don't need.

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