WHETHER IT’S AN indie hit like Minecraft,
;rst-person military game like Call of Duty or massively multiplayer online role-playing game like
World of Warcra;, PC gaming is hotter than ever.
In fact, some computer gamers are so good that
players compete internationally in broadcast tournaments—raking in big money in “e-sports” prizes
and sponsorships. ;ese tournaments are viewed
by millions around the globe. Need proof? Last
year’s League of Legends world ;nals competition
attracted roughly 36 million viewers, compared
with the 31 million who tuned in to watch game
seven of the NBA ;nals between the Cleveland
Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors—and that
was the highest viewership for an NBA ;nals game
on ABC in 18 years!
Whether you’re a casual computer gamer or
practicing to be a pro, consider the following if you’re
itching to upgrade your gear to a new machine.
What to look for in a gaming computer
While you don’t need a powerful PC for basic
tasks like web browsing and word processing, you’ll
need one with souped-up speci;cations to handle
the latest games. Of course, it will cost a little more
than a value-priced computer, but consider it future-proo;ng your investment.
In regard to the processor—which can best be
described as the engine that drives your computer’s
performance—go with an Intel Core i7, if you can,
or at least a Core i5. For system memory, don’t buy
a gaming computer with anything less than 8 giga-bytes (GB) of RAM. If you can, try to go with 16 GB,
32 GB or 64 GB of RAM for a serious performance
boost. Seat belt not included!
Look for a computer with a dedicated (
stand-alone) graphics card, such as one from the NVIDIA
GeForce family, as opposed to on-board graphics
(built onto the motherboard).
And when it comes to storage, you can go with a
solid-state drive (SSD), which is like the ;ash mem-
ory in your smartphone or tablet, or a hard disk drive
(HDD). SSDs are great because they’re smaller,
lighter, faster, more durable and better on the battery
than an HDD. On the ;ipside, an HDD o;ers higher
capacities, such as a 2-terabyte hard drive (more than
2,000 GB) as opposed to up to 512 GB of SSDs.
For gamers, a bigger screen is always better, but
keep in mind that it will take up more space (
desktop) and weight (laptops). Today’s monitors are
more dynamic than ever for games, as they support
4K picture quality. Games look stunning in 4K.
Multiple options to play
It wasn’t too long ago that computer gamers
only bought stationary desktop towers, as they had
way more power than laptops. Plus, with a desktop
you can easily swap components in and out, like
upgrading your video card or adding more RAM or
a second internal hard drive. A growing number of
space-saving desktops are called “all-in-ones,” as the
computer is built in behind the monitor itself and
therefore does not require a separate tower.
But gaming laptops are gaining fans, as they’re
catching up to desktops’ performance—and you get
the added bene;t of portability. Call it gaming on
the go, if you will. Meanwhile, some desktops have
shrunk in size, to become more portable.
Casual gamers might want to look at two-in-ones, which straddle the line between laptop and
tablet. ;ese versatile touch-screen computers have
a screen that can bend back 360 degrees for use in
tablet mode. In some cases, the screen on a two-in-one detaches altogether, so it can be used as a tablet
without a keyboard.
An upgrade to a powerful gaming computer
will let you fully enjoy today’s dynamic games, while
being able to accommodate new technologies that
are emerging in gaming, such as virtual reality.
Game on! C
N Game on!
PC gaming is hotter than ever
Check out your local Costco
warehouse or Costco.com for
a wide assortment of gaming
computers to suit your individual tastes and budget.
Marc Saltzman, a leading
high-tech reporter, contributes
to more than three dozen
appears on radio and
TV, and is the author of
16 books. He’s on Twitter
Saltzman will answer selected
questions in this column.
He regrets that unpublished
questions cannot be
Please include “Marc Saltzman
Q&A” in the subject line.
Q&A with Marc Saltzman
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
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