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post #1 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Next-gen game consoles not what you expected? Or maybe looking to supplement your console gaming experience with PC?

If you are thinking about gaming on a PC and coming from a console perspective, then this is the thread for you. What you probably heard is true: you can build a decent “next-gen game console” on a Windows PC – it’s pretty easily, and not too expensive.

Yet there are many pros and cons to be aware of, so feel free to participate in this thread and ask/answer questions or offer suggestions for PC gaming hardware, software, building, buying, configurations, cost, etc.. What follows is a lengthy Q&A covering some questions or misconceptions that consoles players may have about switching over to gaming on a PC.

The tl:dr version...

consoles:
  • easier / streamlined
  • same-room/screen mutliplayer ability
  • cheaper initial cost

PC:
  • games look better
  • more options (mods)
  • greater variety of games that are frequently much cheaper.
  • customizable and expandable


---

Q&A:

Q: “PC Game Console”? What are you talking about?
A: Video gamers have historically been divided into two camps – those that play on game consoles, and those that play on PCs. Console gamers usually played in the living room via a TV, sitting on a couch with a gamepad controller, while PC gamers played sitting at a desk via a computer monitor, and controlled games with a mouse and keyboard, or sometimes with a large joystick. Generally speaking, console games were often thought of as simpler “twitch”-oriented games like platformers, while PC games were more complicated strategy, puzzle, flight, or fast-action first-person shooters with a greater variety of options.

That was before. Now PCs and Consoles are merging and blurring into a middle ground -- there are many console games that resemble PC games, and vice versa.

So for clarity, a "PC Game Console" is a Windows gaming computer designed to operate as close to a game console as possible - on a TV with a gamepad controller.

Q: So why game on a PC instead of a console?
A: That’s the point of this thread, but the simple answer is this: variety and quality. On a PC, there are many more games available, the games look and run better than on consoles, have more options, and give you more control over the experience. The typical modern PC plays most of the same games available on consoles at 1080p and 60 frames-per-second with no problem.

Q: But I don’t want to play games at a desk!

A: Good news – PC games can now be played on a TV via HDMI, with a wired or wireless gamepad. No longer do you have to give up your couch or comfy chair to play PC games.

Q: Yeah, but with one of those big, loud PC towers in my living room?
A: Most quality PC cooling fans, power supplies, video cards, CPU coolers and drives can be assembled to make minimal noise - quieter than many PS3s or Xbox 360s. If a near-silent PC is desired, that's a noble quest and if you put effort toward this task, it can be done.

As for form factor, a tower is recommended for a novice build. But if you can't stand the size of an ATX tower near your TV and/or AV equipment, there are HTPC form factors mentioned in post #2 that are much smaller, albeit trickier to assemble.

Q: What about in a home theater, through an A/V surround receiver and in 3D? Do I need a special sound card?
A: HDMI-out on modern PC videocards include sound. That one magical HDMI wire is all you need for games to look and sound great, and it's fairly easy to set up Windows for surround sound - no sound card needed. So much easier than the days of Sound Blaster! smile.gif

3D might require a bit more tweaking, but it’s available if you want to go down that road.

Q: Is mouse+keyboard required? I don’t want to have to control a PC from my recliner or couch with anything other than a gamepad.

A: Many PC games control great via gamepad* (Xbox 360’s gamepad is the popular choice, wired or wireless), but remember you are limiting yourself from many other games.

Also, navigating Windows is best with some sort of a pointing and typing device. There are gamepad Windows UI control software solutions, but recommended is a wireless keyboard/touchpad like the Logitech K400. Or even better, figuring out how to use a mouse and keyboard from your preferred gaming position for the Windows portion, and switching to a gamepad while gaming.

With all that said, if simplicity and a gamepad-oriented User Interface from boot-up is of primary importance, sticking with consoles might be your best option.

*see the “Bad Console Ports” question below.

Q: I’ve played computer games in the past, and spent more time configuring the game than I did playing!

A: That’s not a question, but here’s a response: it’s better now. Cross-platform PC games resemble their console counterparts very closely, except having more options to dial graphics to suit the PC. Launching a PC game for the first time involves adjusting a few things, like changing resolution to 1080p. Got a high-end rig..? Dial everything to “ultra” or “extreme” settings and enjoy. Older PC? Try "High" or "Medium" settings, which brings down the Anti-Aliasing (AA), draw distance, and shadow details, but still looks pretty damn good - better than consoles in many cases. You should be gaming at 1080p @ 60fps with your gamepad within a minute or so of first launching a game.

If you have an nVidia card, there’s optional software called the “Geforce Experience” to automatically set video options in games based on your hardware. Tweaking beyond that is up to your level of OCD.

Q: So I'll have to upgrade my PC every year with expensive video cards and whatnot?

A: You can if you want! biggrin.gif

But no, constant upgrading to play the latest PC games is another thing of the past. A mid-level gaming PC from a couple years ago can still hit 1080p/60fps almost all of the time. And today's gaming PC should last a few years longer than that.

Just because something newer and faster is available doesn't mean it's necessary, as tempting as it might be.

Q: Aren't PC games hard to play on an HDTV, with small text and whatnot?
A: Many strategy games (the Civilization series or StarCraft, for example), especially the older ones, aren't "TV friendly" - in addition to not being gamepad controllable, often the text is too small to read from 10 feet away. Newer strategy games are being developed with a "10-Foot Experience" in mind, but for the older games, sitting closer and/or playing on a computer monitor is recommended.

Also remember, a PC gives you the option to play many of these strategy games that are unavailable on consoles. wink.gif

Q: What about multiplayer games, and chat, friends list, and matching services like on Xbox Live and Playstation?
A: “Multiplayer games” can refer to two different things: 1) more than one person playing on the same screen against or with each other, and 2) more than one person playing the same game at the same time on their own screen, either connected via LAN, or more commonly via Internet.

The answer for #2 is easy – PCs invented LAN and Internet gaming. The level of options and control over multiplayer games on PC is much more broad, but can also be more complicated. The answer to #1 is harder – multiple gamepads aren’t really supported well on PCs. There are some games that will allow one player to control via a gamepad and another to control via a keyboard, but this isn’t a PC’s strong suit. If multiplayer simplicity and/or playing with your buddy sitting next to you on the couch is important, sticking with game consoles is recommended.

As for matching/friends list and chat services, there are many options on PCs. Steam has friends list built in, and others like raptr.com work great.

Q: Isn’t it expensive to game on a PC?
A: Initial cost is more expensive, yes. If you buy a lot of games, the cost quickly goes down because games are cheaper – often much cheaper – on PC. Scroll down to post #2 to see Marafice Eye’s suggestions on good PC builds to get started.

Q: Cheap games? What is this “Steam” thing?
A: Valve’s Steam (http://store.steampowered.com/) is the most popular way to buy and launch PC games, and it rocks. PC gamers don’t buy discs anymore - it’s pretty much all digital downloads. Steam is both a store to buy the games, and software to launch games, manage the game library, plus connect to friends, message boards, etc. And you haven’t experienced joy until you go on a buying frenzy during the legendary seasonal Steam Sales.

There are other places to purchase codes to download and install games via steam, like Amazon and Green Man Gaming (http://www.greenmangaming.com/). These place often have their own sales and discounts.

Q: What is Steam Big Picture?
A: Once Steam is running and active in Windows, there’s a icon in the upper right to launch Big Picture mode. (Tip – if you have a Xbox gamepad and Steam running on startup, press and hold the big middle X "guide" button for 5 seconds to launch Big Picture.) Big Picture is a slick TV-oriented UI to navigate through Steam, launch games, etc., and it works great with gamepad.

Q: What is Steam OS and Steam Machines (formally "SteamBox")?

A: Valve is planning on releasing console-like PC boxes with controller for the living room based on their upcoming gaming-oriented Operating System "SteamOS". They have a lot of money and resources wrapped up in this, so this could be a big thing! It will go into beta soon, and planned to release sometime in 2014. This thread will be covering the release of this product, so subscribe and stay tuned!

Q: How do I keep up on all those damn patches for each PC game?
A: That's mostly a thing of the past. With Steam, games are automatically updated in the background every time there's a new update.

Q: Doesn’t Steam have restrictive DRM?
A: Games bought through Steam or a third-party that downloads via Steam are digital downloads restricted to that gamer’s Steam account. So yes, these games are only available to play on that individual’s account, and it is recommended that there be an active internet connection. But this is a PC after all, so having an active connection shouldn’t be that big of deal.

Q: So Steam is a monopoly and gets all my PC gaming money?

A: Steam is the popular and solid service with a massive user-base, even difficult-to-please hardcore gamers.

There are other options – Origin, GOG.com, Amazon, etc., and there thousands of indie games, many are DRM-free. Some of these allow you to buy Steam codes to download and play through Steam, others offer a separate download/launching service.

Q: I’ve been hearing about Linux for gaming – what’s the deal?
A: Valve seems to be pushing Linux for future gaming, so this remains to be seen. For now, it’s suggested to stick with the Windows platform and wait to see how this Linux thing unfolds.

Q: What about Achievements like on Xbox and/or Trophies on Playstation?
A: Steam has it’s own Achievements with many games, and so does other services like RAPTR, just like on Xbox or Playstation.

Q: Ok, then will I miss all the great console games?
A: Depends, but for the most part, no. If you are a hardcore Nintendo fan, then you are mostly out of luck (not counting emulators like Dolphin, which are out of the scope of this Q&A). And Sony and Microsoft have their console-exclusive games to help sell their systems. But the console-exclusive games are becoming fewer as publishers try to sell to the largest audience possible. Almost all triple-A multiplatform console games are available on PC, most on day 1, and some a few weeks/months later.

Q: What about DLC and mods?
A: DLC (Downloadable Content) for PC games is pretty much the same as it is on consoles, and can be purchased and installed automatically via Steam, or codes purchased legally on other sites and installed via Steam.

Mods (game modifications) are a different story. Steam has a Workshop to create and download mods for select games, but modding games is a big topic - one that is probably too advanced for this Q&A.

Q: Do PCs crash or get viruses?
A: Crashes happen - PC gaming isn’t beyond the occasional configuration SNAFU. Most issues are solved with a quick Google search. But if you absolutely hate games crashing, locking up, or not running exactly right 100% of the time, sticking with consoles might be best for you. But if you use popular recommended hardware and keep Windows lean, game crashes or lockups should be a rare thing.

Viruses are a result of unsafe computing, and beyond the scope of this Q&A, except to say it’s pretty much non-existent these days if you don’t click on suspicious websites and emails.

Q: What is this I hear about “bad console ports” on PC?

A: Yeah, many consoles games of the past had some pretty sloppy conversions to PCs, mostly involving missing or poorly implemented gamepad support. This was common enough to give PC gaming a bad name when it came to multi-platform games. Also, some versions of games, for example Bioware titles like Mass Effect and Dragon’s Age, are built from the ground up for mouse/keyboard control on the PC.

Thankfully, bad ports are pretty much a thing of the past. Most triple-A titles have excellent gamepad support, and are usually superior to the console counterparts. For example, modern PC games usually display proper on-screen prompts/icons depending on control method, which switch on-the-fly if you change from gamepad to mouse/keyboard. For the older games, third-party software like Pinncale Game Profiler can help control many older games with a gamepad. But keep in mind it’s best if games have good built-in gamepad support because of the on-screen prompts and auto-aim for FPS. A good idea is to Google “(game name) gamepad support” before downloading an older game.

Q: Alright, I'm convinced - so how do I go about obtaining my "PC Game Console"?
A: Yay! smile.gif Decide if you want to buy a pre-built gaming rig, or build one yourself. Most people here will push for the later - it's cheaper, easy, and you'll have more control over the parts. Plus, there's a great deal satisfaction creating the beast yourself.

If you've never built a PC before but want to give it a try, there are hundreds of YouTube videos that show the process - like this one. And there are knowledgeable people here on AVS that can help with the process of picking parts, putting it together, and any configuration issues. AVS's Marafice Eye has some great suggestions in the next post, so read on and share your results!


Sub-1080p/60fps is not next-gen.


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post #2 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 11:01 AM
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Ok, so PCs fall into a few categories. (Please note all part lists were generated by my account on PC Part Picker, and therefore include shipping costs/taxes based on my zipcode. Your results may be different and the price could change higher or lower.)

- Prebuilt (both standard and 'gaming' variety.) -

If you don't want to build it yourself, don't know anyone who can do it for you, or just can't be bothered, this may be for you. But fair warning, you will be paying more than the parts are worth.

- Laptops -

Laptops come in all shapes and functions. From ultrabooks to desktop replacements. If all you do is very light, non intensive gaming, most in the $500-700 range will suffice. Desktop replacements are usually $1000+ are quite heavy, and are not meant to be toted around, but can game far better than the rest.

- Entry Level -

Building an entry level gaming PC is cheap. If you aren't looking for serious eye-candy and can live with console level visuals, you can build one for $500-600. Of course your choice of case will change that, and can change it quite dramatically.


http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1W3lU

This is what I would consider an entry level gamer. The AMD A10-6800K APU (CPU with integrated GPU) can run Skyrim at 1080p, medium detail with 2x anti-aliasing at 30+ FPS. That's already higher res than the consoles (including next-gen) would run it at, and possibly better visuals overall. This build, without a case (so many to choose from it's up to the buyer what they want.) Is under $500 including the operating system. And if you don't want Windows 8.1, Windows 7 Home Premium is $10 less.

Console level performance, at console prices.

- Mid-range Gamer -

This is where you move away from an integrated GPU to a discreet card. This will generally be about $800-1000. Again, not including a case.

For an Intel build, I would go with something like this.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1W3JU

This takes advantage of a great CPU, probably the best bang-for-your-buck- GPU as well as giving you the SSD for the OS and a secondary 1TB drive for games that won't benefit from an SSD. This also moves to an after-market CPU cooler as well, a worthwhile addition. A setup like this, which is approximately twice the cost of entry level, will easily game much better. Better visuals, better framerates across the board. You can also swap out the Intel CPU for a similarly priced AMD CPU such as the FX-8350 and keep a similar price.

AMD build -

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1W3Tp

You can swap in an AMD GPU as well in place of the Nvidia GTX760, but in terms of price for performance value, I personally don't think it can be beat. But a similar cost as the 760 would get you a Radeon HD 7950

- High-end Gaming -

This will generally be anything between $1000-3000. My current rig cost about $2500, but it cna also play any game on the market (with 2 exceptions) at higher than 60fps @1080p with all settings maxed (again, very few exceptions). A rig at this level is almost a set-it and forget-it. Start the game, set the resolution, turn all the settings to max, and go. And in quite a few games, you can run visual enhancers like ENB mods and SweetFX

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1W4dA

That is my current system (without the case) for about $2k. With the recent price drops on Nvidia GPUs, the price has come down $150.

A build like this gives you more SSD space, 6TBs of extra storage, a top-of-the-line single GPU, Windows Professional (7 or 8.1, price is about the same), as well as an All-In-One liquid CPU cooler. This also gives you the best Intel quad-core CPU on the market (Mine is currently overclocked to 4.3Ghz stable. I could push higher with more voltage, but that's going into much more detail than this thread is intended for.

Generally at the price range above $1000, you won't be considering AMD CPUs, they just can't realistically compete with Intel from a gaming standpoint in this range. For GPU you can go either side. AMD's new R9 290X card rivals the 780 in my build, but it also generates a LOT more heat (20-25 degrees Celsius more under a gaming load)

There are so many options in this price range that I can't even begin to list them. In this range you can go SLI or Crossfire and run more than 1 GPU, you could run Surround gaming, 3D gaming, etc etc. If your budget is in this range, start asking questions of us here on the forums and we'll be happy to help figure out what's best for you.

Some screenshots from my lightly modified Skyrim. 1080p all settings max, Seasons of Skyrim ENB, water and texture overhaul, and 2K textures mod. And the game still runs at 60fps or more. NOTE: These shots were taken with Steam's screenshot function, they have NOT been edited at all. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)









- The "More Money Than God" Gaming

This is just what it sounds like, this is for $5000+ rigs. If you build a rig in this range, you won't have any issues running games at their absolute MAXIMUM quality at resolutions higher than 1080p (IE 1440p, 1600p, and 4K) WITH graphics mods and overhauls.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1W4zK

This build is $6500 before a case. It also has 2 GTX Titans in SLI, dual 1TB SSDs, dual 3TB drives for additional storage, 64GB of RAM, a 1500W power supply, and uses the most powerful and also highest priced Intel CPU.

Really though, if you're building something like this, You're not interested in gaming on a console (except maybe for the exclusives right?)

With a build like this, you're set for the better part of a decade when it comes to gaming, if not longer. And 4K? pfft, this thing will eat that, and your mods. You'll also probably be dropping another $1000 or so on a custom water-cooling loop to keep a monster like this cool. It also won't realistically fit in a case that's HTPC chic. You need a lot of room for this gear.


The range of PCs for gaming runs a wide gamut, from something in the price range of a console with better capabilities, to a multi-thousand dollar monstrosity. There's something for everyone.

Cases also run the gamut from USFF (Ultra Small Form Factor) to small buildings (not really but they can be HUGE.)

That entry level machine could easily fit into a USFF or SFF case, or a case designed as an HTPC case.

For example, according to the specs, that entry level build (And possibly even the mid-range) would fit in a case such as this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163174

Giving you the HTPC form factor.

Or something like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163206

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post #3 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 11:14 AM
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+2! I'm in. Great start DaverJ. My first post is simple. I switched to PC for next Generation gaming because PC Gaming is headed in the direction I want to go. Plus it is more flexible...albeit more expensive. But the expenses can be amortized over time by PC's innate backward compatibility combined with its continuous improvement DNA. There are always great deals on all thing PC gaming. A well constructed PC can be rebuilt like a cyborg very cheaply (on an ongoing basis). And frankly it is just more fun to me. There is always so much going on between games and technology. It's the platform of choice for the serious gamer IMO.
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post #4 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 11:33 AM
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I'm in.

No 'next batch of consoles' for me. Noooo thank you.
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post #5 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 12:55 PM
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A registry cleaner/repair tool with a startup manager are your friends. A little maintenance goes a long ways, and is much cheaper than hardware. Many programs these days have a simple button you push that does all the work for you. A clean PC is a happy PC.
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post #6 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 01:16 PM
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I'll be doing some example builds in the second post that I reserved after I get home.

Something to note. If you'd really like to not use a mouse at all, you can use a mapping program to make a thumb stick on a controller into your mouse. Not as smooth obviously, but it is possible.

I'll need to check progress but someone was also working on a driver for the 360 chat pad to be a functional keyboard, or at least having it be recognized as an input device. At last check a couple months ago, it was still an alpha driver.

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post #7 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 02:19 PM
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You can also configure your gaming computer to automatically boot Steam at startup and also set Steam to start in Big Picture mode. In this setting, one shouldn't need anything short of a gamepad for it.

Also. There should be mention of form factor. Most people expect a tower in their living room. Many advances in cases for gaming (and small form factor) has made it possible to have an awesome gaming pc and be small and/or easier to match with other living room tech.
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post #8 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 02:19 PM
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For any of you with long distance setups. I'm looking to move my PC further from my desk. I want to keep my keyboard, mouse, monitor all sitting on the desk.

Already have a long cable for the monitor.

Would you recommend extension (male-female)cables for USB mouse/keyboard? Or a long, USB(male-male) cable going to a hub?


No wireless.

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post #9 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurkor View Post

A registry cleaner/repair tool with a startup manager are your friends. A little maintenance goes a long ways, and is much cheaper than hardware. Many programs these days have a simple button you push that does all the work for you. A clean PC is a happy PC.
I'm pretty sure registry cleaners tend to do more harm then good. I don't recall ever having a positive experience with any kind of registry cleaner / spyware removal type tools.

Start-up manager for sure though. Every app and their dog seem to want to run something on your computer at startup. NO THANKS ADOBE READER I DON'T NEED YOU ON 100% OF THE TIME.

If you want a clean PC the best thing to do is simply learn to love the occasional reformat. Yeah, it takes up a full night of your time, and then some, but you always come out on the other side with a zippy clean PC and learning a little bit more about your PC and what you are installing on it every time.

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post #10 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

You can also configure your gaming computer to automatically boot at startup and also set Steam to start in Big Picture mode. In this setting, one shouldn't need anything short of a gamepad for it.

Also. There should be mention of form factor. Most people expect a tower in their living room. Many advances in cases for gaming (and small form factor) has made it possible to have an awesome gaming pc and be small and/or easier to match with other living room tech.

Good point on the form factor - maybe Eye can include a good, small HTPC form factor as an option in his build recommendation? EDIT: I included noise and form factor in the Q&A.

As for the Steam launching, I don't believe there's a way to get to Big Picture mode without at least one click of a mouse or pointing device. Am I wrong? confused.gif


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post #11 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post

Good point on the form factor - maybe Eye can include a good, small HTPC form factor as an option in his build recommendation?

As for the Steam launching, I don't believe there's a way to get to Big Picture mode without at least one click of a mouse or pointing device. Am I wrong? confused.gif


Just a one time set up in the settings.

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post #12 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

Just a one time set up in the settings.


Just tested that out, and it works great - thanks! It's smart that when exiting Big Picture, they give the options to return to desktop, reboot, shut down, etc - all can be done with a controller. cool.gif


Sub-1080p/60fps is not next-gen.


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post #13 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 03:09 PM
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Computers are awesome. cool.gif

My Dual 18" LLT subs 120dB down to 10hz

 

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post #14 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 04:06 PM
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PCs have been extremely trouble-free for me since the end of the days of having to fiddle with IRQ assignments and fledgling drivers. That said, I do have a certain nostalgia for those days.

We are at the point where things easily work with very little effort. What does take lots of effort is making a modern OS installation so bloated that it affects performance; keeping things lean should come natural.
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post #15 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 04:06 PM
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Ok fellas, post is updated. Will continue to update it as necessary.
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post #16 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

Ok fellas, post is updated. Will continue to update it as necessary.

Fantastic job Eye, thanks!


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post #17 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 05:18 PM
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A few things I'd add.  You can launch big picture mode by holding the xbox home button for a few seconds, even if the steam window isnt active.  

 

The quest for a silent PC is a noble one, but another solid option is to just have it in another room where you simply can't hear it.  The only thing better than a gaming HTPC is a gaming HTPC that also doubles as a gaming desktop.  Best of both worlds!

 

And even though most games give you the opportunity to fiddle with a million graphics options, they almost always have simple low, medium and high settings.  Set it to your resolution of choice, start at high and drop it if you dont feel the performance is acceptable.  Just because its configurable doesn't mean it's difficult, it usually doesnt have to be if you dont want it to be. 

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post #18 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 05:19 PM
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For any of you with long distance setups. I'm looking to move my PC further from my desk. I want to keep my keyboard, mouse, monitor all sitting on the desk.

Already have a long cable for the monitor.

Would you recommend extension (male-female)cables for USB mouse/keyboard? Or a long, USB(male-male) cable going to a hub?


No wireless.

 

Long cable to hub, definitely.  Make sure the hub is powered, that solves a ton of issues.


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post #19 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 06:14 PM
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Perfect timing for this thread smile.gif I just installed 3 games on my htpc but as a noob gamer i had to do a lot of research. Games are running fine and the system is holding up as expected. My next order of business is the controllers... Tell me about controllers please... A little how to- for wireless, wired etc..Do i need RF receiver, usb adapter?? I have both xbox360 wireless and original xbox wired controllers. Really glad to see this tread smile.gif forgot to mention, I'm using win7 64 and already installed steam. Will Xbox controllers work with win7 or do I need mapping software?
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post #20 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by wpbpete View Post

Perfect timing for this thread smile.gif I just installed 3 games on my htpc but as a noob gamer i had to do a lot of research. Games are running fine and the system is holding up as expected. My next order of business is the controllers... Tell me about controllers please... A little how to- for wireless, wired etc..Do i need RF receiver, usb adapter?? I have both xbox360 wireless and original xbox wired controllers. Really glad to see this tread smile.gif

- A wired Xbox 360 controller is the easiest way to do it. It's plug-n-play

- A wireless one will work, but you need to get the USB receiver for it Official one from MS on Amazon

- Logitech makes controllers similar to the Playstation controller (The F310/F510/F710 for instance)

- As far as I know, the PS3 controller will work with a Bluetooth adapter.


You have a few options, but seeing as you already have a wirelss 360 controller, I'd recommend snagging the wireless receiver for $17, plugging it in to the back of your PC so it's hidden, and using that to play.

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post #21 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

Ok fellas, post is updated. Will continue to update it as necessary.

Excellent Post Marafice. Now all we need is a primer for A-D level monitors/displays...Sound...Headphones etc. And a person can get a superb snapshot of total cost outlay to enter. Perhaps you can amend your post to include it. Or BD2003 could be persuaded to take on that part. Because he too is an excellent writer and extremely knowledgeable about the subject. Afterwards we can have a really free swinging free for all on the subject matter. And from any direction.
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post #22 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 07:52 PM
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Yeah, I personally wouldn't recommend anything that's not Xinput compatible anyway though. Too many games expect Xinput these days for anything else to really make sense, in my opinion.

That would leave you basically with the three Logitech models listed above (F310, F510, F710), or the Xbox 360 wired or wireless controller.

I believe there's software emulation of Xinput for things like the PS3 controller, but unless someone already has those controllers sitting around, it just doesn't make much sense to me.

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post #23 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrelbelly View Post

Excellent Post Marafice. Now all we need is a primer for A-D level monitors/displays...Sound...Headphones etc. And a person can get a superb snapshot of total cost outlay to enter. Perhaps you can amend your post to include it. Or BD2003 could be persuaded to take on that part. Because he too is an excellent writer and extremely knowledgeable about the subject. Afterwards we can have a really free swinging free for all on the subject matter. And from any direction.

Well I think most people here would be using a gaming PC in their theater, which should already have the screen and the sound :P

For those that don't/won't, ASUS, LG, Samsung, and BenQ make fantastic monitors. Dell also makes some very good 30 inch 1440p monitors. Then there are the Korean companies for 1440p and 1600p screens. 1080p Screens run about $150-250 depending on size and refresh rate. 1440p/1600p screens are typically 27 or 30 inches, and run from $350 from the Korean makers, $500 from ASUS, and up to to $800+ from Dell.

Sound, there are quite a few options too. Creative still makes Sound Blaster cards, ASUS has the Xonar series, then there are more expensive high end ones. Prices range from $100 to more than $300.

Headsets is going to be a tough one. They range from $10 bucks for a cheapy, to a few hundred for better ones. Like the way Scott does it in his theater is NOT using a headset, just a mic for voice chat. There are many options. I use the Logitech G930s which are wireless and faked 7.1, and routinely on sale for $100, but there are more expensive and better ones.
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Yeah, I personally wouldn't recommend anything that's not Xinput compatible anyway though. Too many games expect Xinput these days for anything else to really make sense, in my opinion.

That would leave you basically with the three Logitech models listed above (F310, F510, F710), or the Xbox 360 wired or wireless controller.

I believe there's software emulation of Xinput for things like the PS3 controller, but unless someone already has those controllers sitting around, it just doesn't make much sense to me.

Yeah, I was just laying out the real options. There are programs like Joy2Key that allow the mapping of keyboard/mouse functions to a controller, that work fairly well (used J2K before) but for ease of use, the 360 controller is where it's at.

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post #24 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

- A wired Xbox 360 controller is the easiest way to do it. It's plug-n-play

- A wireless one will work, but you need to get the USB receiver for it Official one from MS on Amazon

- Logitech makes controllers similar to the Playstation controller (The F310/F510/F710 for instance)

- As far as I know, the PS3 controller will work with a Bluetooth adapter.


You have a few options, but seeing as you already have a wirelss 360 controller, I'd recommend snagging the wireless receiver for $17, plugging it in to the back of your PC so it's hidden, and using that to play.
Nice smile.gif thanks for the heads up.
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post #25 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bd2003 View Post

A few things I'd add.  You can launch big picture mode by holding the xbox home button for a few seconds, even if the steam window isnt active.  

Damn, second thing I learned about Big Picture today - thanks bd! Updating Q&A.
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Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

- A wireless one will work, but you need to get the USB receiver for it Official one from MS on Amazon

I'm using one of those MS USB wireless dongles with the Xbox 360 silver "transforming" controller - works great. But it should be known that there's a good chance those dongles aren't really official, legit Microsoft products because MS doesn't sell the dongle separately.

Yet Amazon continues to sell offer them, and the dongles work great, so it might be a non-issue.
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I use the Logitech G930s which are wireless and faked 7.1, and routinely on sale for $100, but there are more expensive and better ones.

In true "console-style", I use the TV's speakers for gaming most of the time. redface.gif But when I want some good surround sound and immerse experience and not disturb the wife, I also vouch for the Logitech G930s. For the price, they have good sound, range, surround, battery life, and are fairly comfortable. In fact, I'm now using them for work, too.


Sub-1080p/60fps is not next-gen.


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post #26 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post


I'm using one of those MS USB wireless dongles with the Xbox 360 silver "transforming" controller - works great. But it should be known that there's a good chance those dongles aren't really official, legit Microsoft products because MS doesn't sell the dongle separately.

Yet Amazon continues to sell offer them, and the dongles work great, so it might be a non-issue.

They actually did sell them separately. When I got mine years ago (long since broken lol) It was an official Microsoft product in the typical 360 style packaging. Not saying the ones NOW are, but they did in-fact sell them separately.

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post #27 of 570 Old 11-01-2013, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marafice Eye View Post

They actually did sell them separately. When I got mine years ago (long since broken lol) It was an official Microsoft product in the typical 360 style packaging. Not saying the ones NOW are, but they did in-fact sell them separately.

Ah... well, the ones being sold now are in a plastic bag. Doesn't seem like official MS packaging anymore.


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post #28 of 570 Old 11-02-2013, 12:14 AM
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Great thread - Subscribed! ... I jumped from console to PC about a year ago, I'd wanted a rig forever but just couldn't afford it. Finally was able to sink some cash into the machine, and ended up selling my PS3 because of it. Funny thing, I initially just intended to replace my old PC case with a new one, and ended up replacing EVERY single component in the space of about two months. Also, overclocking was a ton of fun to figure out! it's a hobby in and of itself. In any case - I love it. It's great having absolutely everything at your fingertips - movies, music, internet, games, apps etc.

One question, most PC gamers swear by wired mice and keyboards for online gaming. While I've had no problems with any games - I've yet to really try games like Battlefield and COD on the PC. I use 2.4hz combo from the comfort of my couch ( PC's connected to the 60inch plasma in the living room / home theater ) - I wonder if it will be alright or will indeed be laggy for the aforementioned?

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post #29 of 570 Old 11-02-2013, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post


Ah... well, the ones being sold now are in a plastic bag. Doesn't seem like official MS packaging anymore.

 

I bought the receiver separately on amazon, and while it looks exactly like the real deal I have to install the drivers manually.  Windows doesnt recognize it, I need to choose the driver from that huge list of all devices so Im assuming it's fake. It def didnt come in official packaging. Works perfectly after that though.


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post #30 of 570 Old 11-02-2013, 01:36 AM
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Quote:
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Great thread - Subscribed! ... I jumped from console to PC about a year ago, I'd wanted a rig forever but just couldn't afford it. Finally was able to sink some cash into the machine, and ended up selling my PS3 because of it. Funny thing, I initially just intended to replace my old PC case with a new one, and ended up replacing EVERY single component in the space of about two months. Also, overclocking was a ton of fun to figure out! it's a hobby in and of itself. In any case - I love it. It's great having absolutely everything at your fingertips - movies, music, internet, games, apps etc.

One question, most PC gamers swear by wired mice and keyboards for online gaming. While I've had no problems with any games - I've yet to really try games like Battlefield and COD on the PC. I use 2.4hz combo from the comfort of my couch ( PC's connected to the 60inch plasma in the living room / home theater ) - I wonder if it will be alright or will indeed be laggy for the aforementioned?

 

Modern wireless mice/kb have as much lag as wireless controllers, almost imperceptible.  I'm sure it's theoretically a bit of lag, but nothing to be concerned over. The bigger issue is range, the quoted specs can be very optimistic.  

 

I also started getting back into PC hardcore about a year ago.  Initially I built a smallish machine that I would literally carry from my office to my theater, but that was kind of a PITA.  Eventually I bought super long HDMI and USB cables, and now I've got it permanently connected to both, which is soooo much more convenient. I'm looking forward to some sort of streaming solution to close the loop and give me an easy way to pipe it to my living room, but at that point I'm prob going to go all out and build a full/mid-tower super rig that can serve multiple rooms with ease. And man, I really wanna try that steam controller. 


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