Prelude To A New PC

Thursday, January 28, 2016
I've been out of the PC gaming ring for too long. In the eight+ years that I've been writing for Somnambulant Gamer I've played most of my games on consoles. Sure, a number of the indie games I've played have been on the PC, most of the AAA titles I've played have been experienced solely on consoles. My gaming roots are with the PC and I'm finally taking steps to go back to them. I'm not buying any pre-built tower, laptop or Steam machine. It's time I built my own.

I'm no stranger to homebuilt PC's. I've built a number of them for other people over the years, but I haven't ever built one for myself. When I was a teenager, I got a Voodoo 3 card for my birthday (so I could run Quake III Arena) and installed it into the motherboard of my parents' AMD tower. It was my first upgrade and taste of PC hardware. I was hooked.

I won't go into the minutae of the build I'm putting together, but I will mention some of the key parts. My planned build features a 4.0 Ghz i7 CPU with 32 GBs of RAM and a GTX 980 Ti graphics card. I weighed the possibility of running dual 970's in a 2-way SLI, but found the performance to be very close to that of a single 980 Ti. My plan is to start with the single 980 Ti and possibly add a second one somewhere down the line. As it stands, I expect to be able to run most games at high-very high settings without taxing the hardware much at all.

Aside from the TV and our various mobile devices, I don't have an HD monitor in the house. While shopping around, I came across the ASUS ROG Swift, a 27" 1440p monitor with a ton of other bells and whistles. It's been rated very well, and with the inclusion of Nvidia's G-Sync to get rid of pesky screen tearing, I expect the experience will be quite nice. I don't think I'm ready to make a move to 4k as I just don't have a need or desire for it at the moment. To be honest, I was hesitant to move beyond 1080, but after weighing options and costs, decided the upgrade to 1440 was well worth it.

The innards are really what make the PC work, but it's the case that turns an ordinary PC into something special. At PAX last year, i got a look at the Mastercase Pro 5 from Coolermaster. the number of options available to me in that single case are incredible. I immediately fell in love with it's modability and modular design. If you're not familiar with it, check out the site, and this review from Linus Tech Tips. It's a beautiful case that I hope to mod a bit into something even more gorgeous. I'm not water cooling the system yet, but if I decide to make that leap down the road, the Mastercase is more than capable of adapting to my needs.

Needless to say,I am very excited to set it up. When it's finished, I expect to be doing most of my gaming on PC. It's a move I've meant to make for a while, but hadn't had the hardware to make it feasible. Will I be abandoning my consoles? No. There are still plenty of games that I will be buying for console, especially those that I hope to play with friends. What I am most looking forward to is having a machine that is truly my own. Now I just have to figure out what games I want to put on it first.