The Most Pointless Hardware In PC Gaming

Catharsis comes in many forms. But there’s none so satisfying as a good old fashioned sweary rant. Hell, I’m not even talking about a pseudo-Charlie-Brooker-but-not-nearly-as-witty polemic. More shouting obscenities into the wind. The time has come for me to unload on my top ten most cursed ruses in PC gaming hardware. In truth, the following is not entirely devoid of practical insight. But you have been warned. It ain’t pretty.

1. LCD monitor response rates
Ya know, the measure of how fast pixels change colour and thus how sharp or how blurry a monitor looks when rendering moving things. Whether it’s grey-to-grey, black-to-white or rise-fall, don’t believe a word of it. That’s because there is no universally adopted metric for LCD panel response, so screen makers can take liberties. Think about it. 1ms response? That’s a thousandth of a second. So why the hell is there any visible blurring? It’s all smoke and mirrors.

2. Dynamic contrast
Contrast ratios are simply a measure of the darkest blacks versus the whitest whites. These days 3,000:1 is genuinely possible with LCD tech, but ‘dynamic’ contrast as another classic monitor kludge. The ruse here involves parsing the image data as it arrives at the screen and dynamically adjusting the backlight to suit. The result? Utter gibberish like a-million-to-one contrast ratios. The subjective experience never comes close to the objectively true but practically pointless specification. There’s no substitute for a quality panel with excellent inherent contrast.

3. Cheap video cards with lots of memory
Perhaps a little less popular these days, thank goodness, but still chicanery of the very highest order. Yes, the latest games do generate huge demands on the memory subsystem. But that’s an academic observation if the GPU is too weedy to process all that data or the memory bus is too slow to move it about in good time. The crowning turd on this particular bullshit pie is often graphics memory that’s clocked slower than the standard card (because it needs to be dirt cheap) and in turn a premium card that’s actually slower.

4. GPU branding
While we’re talking graphics, can AMD and Nvidia please, please stop with the wilfully disingenuous video card branding? Putting a new badge on an old chip is a tawdry move and just leads to consumer confusion. A series of video cards like, say, the GeForce 700 series should all be from the same architectural family. In other words, all Nvidia Maxwell cards should be part of the same number series. Admittedly, it’s a bit more complicated with AMD’s minor revisions to its GCN graphics tech. But AMD could still do better. It used to and so did Nvidia, more’s the pity.

5. New Intel CPU sockets
You know those new Intel CPU sockets that keep appearing on the basis that ‘new’ CPU features require them? Frankly, I can’t keep track – LGA1155, 1156, 1150, as I write these words I can’t quite remember which one is current, imminent or recently toast. But it matters for nought. I’m quite sure Intel could have maintained the same socket. It just helps sells chipsets and motherboards to give it a quick tweak and break backwards compatibility. What a load of poppycock.

6. New versions of Windows
They usually exist primarily for the sake of having something new to sell. It’s classic marketing claptrap. OK, sometimes they’re desperately needed, like Windows 7 versus Vista. But that’s only because Microsoft shamed themselves so thoroughly with Vista in the first place. Windows 8 to Windows 10 isn’t quite as essential, but the latter is mostly about returning to what worked in the first place. Just make your existing operating system work, ferchrissake.

7. Gaming laptops with terrible screens
This is one of my absolute pet hates. Despite having a pretty good idea what I am about to experience, I am constantly staggered by catastrophically awful LCD panels in a lot of gaming laptops. I’m talking antediluvian TN panels with zero contrast and catastrophic viewing angles. Even premium brands costing thousands like Alienware have an awful record in this area. Meanwhile, you can buy a tablet with a nice IPS screen for about 50p. It’s madness. It’s also symptomatic of gaming laptop culture among the manufacturers that’s focussed on perfunctory box ticking rather than actually delivering a great experience.

8. Stupid-fast RAM
In this age of integrated memory controllers and heavily sand-bagged CPUs, memory bandwidth just ain’t a performance issue for CPUs. Well, it might be for the integrated graphics that can now be found on-board most CPUs. But who the hell wants to use that? Fast memory has become little more than willy waving. As for what speeds you actually need, the default frequency for your motherboard and CPU is plenty, its that simple.

9. Bazillion-DPI mice
I’m braced to be called out on this one, but I defy any of you to really tell the difference between one of those crazy-DPI mice and something with more mainstream. 8,000 dots per inch versus 12,000 dots per inch? Come off it. It might technically be a real feature, but we’ve gone past diminishing returns and sailed straight into the the sea of meaningless numbers.

10. Extreme ‘overclocking’ features on motherboards
I’m talking primarily about guff like voltage check points and similar features that seem to exist to help along nonsense like overclocking with liquid nitrogen. About six people in the known universe use these features and for the vast majority of us that makes them absolutely pointless, even if the functionality is real. More to the point, if this kind of tat is included on any motherboard you buy, you’ll end up paying extra for it. Painful.

Needless to say, these are merely my top 10. No doubt many of you have your pet peeves. Unleash ’em below.

192 Comments

  1. Dizrupt says:

    Maybe less ignorant article next time RPS?

    • Asurmen says:

      Which bits are ignorant?

      • Dizrupt says:

        5, 6, 8, 10.

        • Premium User Badge

          Wisq says:

          Maybe less vague comment next time?

          Listing the numbers without any explanation isn’t really an improvement.

          • Dizrupt says:

            I’m only reacting appropriately to the vagueness of the article itself.

            If you don’t know what is the reason, then there’s no point of discussion, because it doesn’t concern you honestly.

          • rexx.sabotage says:

            the logic is infallible.

          • quarpec says:

            laffo, way to be a contrarian dickhead just for teh sake of it

        • rexx.sabotage says:

          can’t argue those facts.

        • Whelp says:

          I disagree on #5, there’s too many different fucking CPU sockets nowadays, Intel or AMD.

          • Siimon says:

            Really?

            Afaik theres only one Intel socket you need to worry about if buying new (haswell). If buying used, the previous socket supports both ivy and sandy, and anything older than that isn’t worthwhile.

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          OK, number 8, RAM speeds, can you point to a single situation where having fast RAM makes a noticeable difference over just buying whatever your CPU/motherboard supports? Because I’ve never seen a benchmark that showed more than 5% difference, and the price difference involved made that increase pointless.
          Case in point if you’re buying RAM for a new i7 you’re looking at quad channel DDR4. The cheapest kit I see is 16GB of 2666MHz for £200, 3000MHz is £345 and 3200MHz is an eye watering £460. For the £250 price difference you could buy a whole graphics card (or a half decent monitor, or a full watercooling kit etc) but the difference in RAM speed will get you a few extra frames per second at most.
          As Jeremy says, spending more money on faster RAM is idiotic.

          • Freaky says:

            If you really want to spend a bit extra on something better, most people are probably better served looking at a Xeon instead of an i7, and ECC instead of LED-spangled EXTREME EDITION memory. It’ll perform more or less identically, but you’ll be eliminating a significant cause of crashes and data loss instead of just making extra heat for the sake of another 1.5FPS.

          • Unclepauly says:

            To phuzz
            link to forums.atomicmpc.com.au

            This is not the only game which shows improvement. It’s a rare thing to see this much improvement but most open world games which are cpu limited show gains with faster ram.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            One important thing about RAM is that the most of the faster ones cost about the same nowadays no matter their rating, with the only exception of the absolute fastest one. 2133 might easily cost like a 1600, and possibly even a version with some seriously tight CAS. Maybe 5% more money, at least here.

            The only way to really save a lot of money with slower ram is to get the very cheap and crappy ones that don’t even try, but then at that point one would absolutely deserved a burned stick or two.

          • Premium User Badge

            phuzz says:

            Well huh. I’d not seen that ArmA 3 test before, that’s the biggest difference I’ve seen with different RAM speeds.
            I still maintain that the same amount of money would give you bigger gains if you spent it on your graphics card, CPU (especially as that test was deliberately set up to be CPU bound), or even cooling so you could OC. However, I’m more willing to look at faster RAM if it’s not way more expensive.

          • sicemma says:

            From what I remember from looking into it last time (for a haswell setup), the sweet spots were 2400 @ CAS 9 and 2666 @ CAS 10. Once you deviated from that you start seeing weird things like 2800 @ CAS 12 performing essentially identically to 1866 @ CAS 8.

            Ah here’s the chart –

            link to anandtech.com

          • Cropduster says:

            I never thought I’d hear the words willy waving and pointless in the same sentence.

            As the proud owner of the 2400 ddr3 ram pictured in this very article, let me tell you it’s a whole new world. When I bring girls back to my flat to watch me play eve online, they certainly don’t think it’s pointless. “How fast does it go baby?” , “800 Mondozenons faster than the other boys sweetheart” .

            Also it’s red. No need to be jealous.

          • v21v21v21 says:

            “or a full watercooling kit”

            at first I read “watercolouring kit” an’ I thought to meself “damn, Art is expensive”.

            : P

        • Unclepauly says:

          100% agree and I will expand on my agreefulness(SPELLCHONK).

          5. new sockets are needed for power requirements. Power requirements are needed for new features integrated into the new CPU’s.
          6. Mostly true, but dx12 is going to change the game and arguably needs a new version of windows to happen.
          8. Stupid fast ram I used to believe was pointless but in real world testing(also can be replicated in benchies) has actually improved many aspects of my machines. Arma 3 anyone? open world games anyone(yes gtav improves with fast memory)? CPU limited games anyone?
          10. Maybe only for hardcore overclockers but the trickle down of features and hardware from these boards has made the average mobo very solid in overclocking which used to not be a reality.

          Arguably number 9. but the high DPI only really comes into play on 4k screens otherwise without them you’d have to move your arm 7 feet to get the mouse across the screen. When I run my 1440P screen with supersampling at 2880P I have to use around 4000 DPI just to comfortably move around the screen.

          • gunny1993 says:

            In some cases that’s true about the sockets, but it has been found on several occasions that old sockets could be modded (google it, plenty of threads and videos) to work with newer CPUs, so there is at least some evidence to say this is at least partially manufactured.

          • gunny1993 says:

            Also Arma 3 should never be used as a metric to discover the value of something, its a terribly optimized outlier

          • Siimon says:

            In reply to gunny1993

            While Arma 3 shouldn’t be the only source of metric, surely it should be used. If I can buy Slow RAM vs Fast RAM for a minor price difference, and A3 performs better (not insignificantly so), then that faster RAM -does have value-. There are people who spend dozens, hundreds, even thousands of hours in A3. I have roughly 120 hours in the game, and the performance upgrade of getting DDR3-2400 vs DDR3-1600 was well worth the $10 difference.

          • dylnuge says:

            I agree with some of the article, though I don’t get the hate for Windows version numbers now that they’ve announced 10 will be a free upgrade to current 7 and 8 users. I don’t know any Windows user who isn’t a current 7 or 8 user, so Windows 10 being free and all, it’s just a (very large) software upgrade, no?

          • SuicideKing says:

            Yeah, there’s a point in faster RAM till DDR3-2133, after that it’s sort of diminishing returns. CPUs like lower latency, though (for CPU bound scenarios).

        • thedosbox says:

          Nonsense.

      • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

        I found it more arrogant than ignorant. Maybe I want to try out the new version of Windows? Fair enough I regretted it for 8, but I don’t need your fucking ‘pff’s and ‘psh’s thanks very much.

        • pepperfez says:

          I quite enjoy doodling landscapes in the margins of documents and to hell with anyone who tries to stop me.

          It’s still pointless, though.

        • quarpec says:

          guess what, some people strongly dislike upgrades for the sake of it.

          why would anyone ever switch to win8 when win7 still works great even with win9 or 10 or whatever their marketing division is calling it, right around the corner

        • Archonsod says:

          Unless they’ve significantly changed the kernel, there’s no reason to release a new version of Windows – any of the changes could easily be patched into the previous version. The only reason for most Windows releases is money.

          Although probably the major piss take from Microsoft isn’t so much the bi-annual version release, it’s the different versions of the release (Home, Premium, One-legged-Pensioner et al).

    • cdx00 says:

      I completely agree with you. This article serves no merit. Let’s all build mediocre ‘gaming’ PCs, shall we?

      • airmikee says:

        LOL

        If you think you can’t build a powerful gaming rig that lacks any of the pointless features listed in the article, you’ve never built a powerful gaming rig.

    • marano says:

      You’re the ignorant one if you think these facts aren’t real. Your contrariness is pointless and make you look like a fool who’s fallen for blatant, useless marketing strategies.

      Nice article RPS.

      • Dizrupt says:

        Contrariness, common term used by pseudo-intellectuals on this site it seems.

        You clearly have no idea how R&D works, then you also probably think that everything in this industry is manufactured for gaming, tailored for gaming.

        This has nothing to do with marketing.

        Maybe stop being fucking sheep and educate yourself on the matter.

        • souroldlemon says:

          It’s refreshing and unusual to see good common sense based on experience and technical knowledge – a good article. Obviously people who have been brainwashed by marketing and “educated” themselves by reading online magazine articles are going to be self-righteously offended.

    • OmNomNom says:

      I agree, there isn’t much sound advice / information in this article.

      But really, RPS isn’t a hardware site so their hardware related things do tend to be far from the mark and lacking in empirical evidence but I suppose that is to be expected. I enjoy their opinion based game reviews, especially the indie ones I would not have heard about elsewhere.

      I personally wouldn’t come here for hardware information / advice but then RPS probably suits the more casual gaming fanbase that maybe wouldn’t visit some of the more ‘hardcore’ hardware sites.

      • Dizrupt says:

        Yes, it seems like it. I shall refrain from commenting on hardware articles on this site.

        • Cederic says:

          Well, it did start with an admission it’s a rant. Treat it as entertainment, and respond in kind.

          e.g. I own the pretty keyboard pictured, and was expecting mockery about the pretty blinkenlights. But it’s a darn fine keyboard even with the lights switched off and my cats LIKE pastel baby pink backlighting that turns blue on a keypress then gently fades back to pink.

  2. vorador says:

    Everyone is entitled to it’s opinion. Even if it’s WROOOOONG :-P

    In any case, i do agree with something. That RAM speeds are mostly bull nowadays. With current processors and operating systems, you get barely a 3% of advantage on FPS, or even less.

    Oh, and monitors. If you can, better to see in person before buying. I recently got a 4k monitor that is considered to have pretty bad ghosting, and never noticed any myself. So your mileage may vary.

    • vorador says:

      BTW i’m joking on the first phrase. Better clear that up.

      • gunny1993 says:

        ARMA 3 is hardly a supportive argument, show some games that aren’t terribly made with significant increases with better RAM, then you have an argument.

        • Unclepauly says:

          Far cry games, GTAV, Thief, rts games. If I get some time I’ll dig for a few benchies but I’m not gonna spend hours trying to prove a point.

        • Unclepauly says:

          Also just because arma 3 isn’t the best coded doesn’t disqualify it. It is a game, and it’s the reality of people who play that game. There are literally HUNDREDS or even thousands of games on PC that are shoddily coded that have had large fanbases. Another aspect of games that fast ram helps is streaming of game assets, whether it be textures, geometry, meshes or whatever. Anytime you are loading during gameplay the combination of fast ram and an SSD can improve hitching or slowdowns related to that.

        • sicemma says:

          IIRC Starcraft 2 actually shows one of the largest improvements of any game with faster RAM. Badly coded?

        • Yglorba says:

          The problem is that lots of games are terribly coded; one thing we need decent hardware for is to handle them.

          (In fact, I’d argue that graphics technology has mostly plateaued to the extent that any really comptently-coded game should look and run decently on any remotely-modern PC with a not-complete-crap graphics card — you’re much likely to have graphical issues with a shoddy console port or with a badly-coded FPS than you are to have trouble with something well-made, so it actually makes more sense to worry about them. It’s totally reasonable to focus on how your PC operates in the worst case rather than the best case.)

          • Cinek says:

            There’s no link between “badly coded” game and how much it benefits from faster RAM. It’s something clueless readers made up. There are numerous well optimized games that significantly benefit from faster RAM, notable example being StarCraft 2.

          • Geebs says:

            One day, somebody bitching about how some game is “badly coded” will understand how graphics programming and game logic actually work. This is not that day. Not holding my breath for tomorrow, either.

      • iainl says:

        How many real-world situations are there were buying super-fast memory at twice the price is a better bet than just buying twice as much regular memory, though? Not many, I’d imagine.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Indeed, but when you shop for quality sticks, at least for DDR3, the prices are more or less aligned unless you get the fastest one possible.

          If you’re spending half the price for the same capacity, and i really doubt it’s going to be easy to find such a deal, you’re essentially buying the crappiest thing in the universe. Good RAM has lifetime warranty too.

          So no, if you’re shopping for a decent stick you can absolutely pick a fast one without even thinking about it.

  3. gi_ty says:

    How about mechanical “gaming keyboards”. Like I can understand that some people (myself included) enjoy the tactile feel of clickety keys, but the marketing around some of these is absolutely awful. As if I am suddenly going to be a pro CS player because my keyboard actuates more precisely. For that matter 90% of “gaming” peripherals are generally no better or only marginally better than standard stuff. Why does it all have to look like a neon transformer to have lots of buttons and programmable features!?

    • PancreaticDefect says:

      I bought a mechanical keyboard for one reason, and one reason alone. It’s built like a brick shithouse. Every non-mech keyboard I’ve owned I’ve destroyed with one punch after getting angry at a game. This thing (and all it’s mechanical ancestors from my childhood) simply laugh at my bruised knuckles and pointless, childish rage.

      • gi_ty says:

        Oh I am not saying there aren’t advantages to mechanical keys longevity and durability are big pluses, I’m just saying that the gaming marketing for them irritates me to no end.

        • Xzi says:

          Agreed. It was naturally going to happen, though. Gaming is a big market, so there will of course be marketing campaigns that target it, even if the product itself has no discernible use for gaming in specific. I’d say some older (non-mechanical) gaming keyboards have some helpful features, such as volume/media controls, extra USB ports, and macro keys, but those rarely cost more than $50 on the high-end. There are also other (non-gaming) keyboards with the same features now, but the “gaming” branding helped push things in that direction. So a double-edged sword, I’d say.

      • mforww says:

        A little off-topic, but if you’re punching your keyboard you really need to get your shit together. It’s just a game dude.

        • vlonk says:

          Virtual game, real emotions. I’d take those rushes of violent anger very seriously. Its a bad sign and it can be massively improved over time. It can also lead to very real physical health problems, heart problems for instance.
          I’d say manage your expectations and try to gain insights into the sources of your frustrations and tackle those head on.

        • Jediben says:

          Yeah well how about you shut up or I’ll come over and start punching you instead, huh!? HUH!!?? Yeah I didn’t think so. Mind your own goddamn business. If he wants to batter the fuck out of his qwerty, who the hell are you to judge?

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      It’s true that they don’t need to look all fancy and neon, but there’s a certain logic to it:

      1. Gaming keyboards do need some quality improvements over normal ones — specifically, you need to make sure that either there are no chording/ghosting issues whatsoever, or that they only affect keys not typically pressed together at the same time in gaming.

      2. Quality improvements require extra design and work. That costs more money.

      3. If your hardware costs more money, you want to sell a lot of it. So, you add marketing features to make it “cool”.

      Now, yes, the marketing features do drive up the cost even more, but I suppose someone somewhere crunched the numbers and found that the extra sales make up for that. Or maybe even that you need to have those features to be considered “legit” for gaming. Who knows?

      In any case, they’re not actually as pointless as they seem. Only the fancy marketing parts.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I bought a mechanical keyboard. It’s really nice. Really, really lovely to type on, but I’m considering taking it into work (because I do more typing there) and going back to my £15 dell keyboard for gaming because it makes no difference to me in games.

      • OmNomNom says:

        I actually find the opposite, my mechanical keyboard makes it slightly harder to type but feels much better in games

    • pepperfez says:

      Gaming-branded anything bears a very high likelihood of awfulness.

    • OmNomNom says:

      But this is the thing, the hardware is usually sound. It’s just the marketing that is BS… But really isn’t that the same with ANY product? Manufacturers are just looking for a way to make their item stand out so they add silly features like RGB lighting or some gimmick that another manufacturer won’t have.

    • xfstef says:

      I absolutely agree on this one. What does “mechanical” even mean ? Those rubber holders under your key work on GUESS WHAT … mechanical principles. MINDBLOWN !

    • -Spooky- says:

      And all the shiny, fancy, bling bling mech kb are all based on the Cherry MX. Grab on of the cherry series and you´re good to go anyway – and way cheaper to buy.

    • wengart says:

      I’m still using a Dell keyboard from 2006 on my newest gaming PC. I’ve considered changing to mechanical or something but I don’t think it would actually improve anything dramatically, and you can’t really beat the reliability of this Dell keyboard.

      Most importantly i can spill liquid on it and it will keep working whereas a mechanical would just eat it from that.

      • tetracycloide says:

        Mechs are more reliable, that’s basically their primary advantage over domes.

      • tetracycloide says:

        Spilling a liquid isn’t going to ‘eat’ a mech. Harder to clean maybe.

    • loldrums says:

      Gaming keyboards do offer meaningful features beyond your folks’ 1999 Dell PS/2. Aesthetically I love backlit KB’s and if you aren’t convinced by Corsair’s K70 RGB, I have nothing more to say to you. Ever.

      Anti-ghosting, or maybe it’s called 104ish key rollover, is important as well. If you play games with somewhat complex control schemes (BF, GTA, MWO, CS, etc.) you want this feature. It’s what enables you to press more than 3 buttons at the same time and have every input register. Not sure what I’m referring to? Move forward and to the side while holding crouch or sneak and try to reload at the same time. If you can do it, thank your manufacturer. Some keyboards only offer the feature around the WASD cluster but me being left-handed, I require basically the whole ‘board to function when I ask it to.

      You don’t have to pay a lot extra for important features, either. I used a Microsoft Sidewinder X4 for a while that ran me just under $40 that had backlighting, 26-key anti-ghosting, and media and macro keys. Since graduating to mechanical keys I spend quite a bit more on a keyboard these days but the “gaming” premium doesn’t add that much cost to the package, relatively speaking. Chances are if you’re comfortable spending $80+ on a keyboard, you’re the kind of person who will spend an extra $20-$30 to ensure you get the features you want.

      • MikhailG says:

        CS and complex key input? Yeah nope mate sorry not buying it, literally 15 keys including the mouse stuff for me and you’ll never use more than 5 at average. Go try a flight or space sim then call me about complex key inputs.

    • MikhailG says:

      Also anything with the label ‘gaming X’ costs about twenty times more than the cheapest equivalent. As you said, its not going to magically make you a CS pro player, but some do promise that.

  4. Siimon says:

    > Changing socket:

    Because new tech requires it. Ex: Haswell vs Haswell-E – where E has new tech.

    Haswell is a mainstream chip with 2-4 cores.
    Haswell-E is an enthusiast chip with 6-8 cores and additional PCI-E lanes, among other things.
    If you upgrade your CPU, do you really want to be on the old motherboard? Not likely. As seldom as users need to upgrade CPU, the likelihood of other components being aged is high. Besides, they put a lot of money in R&D why not try to make more money with motherboards as well?

    >Extreme ‘overclocking’ features on motherboards

    Then don’t buy one with it. Each manufacturer has a dozen or more current mobo models, just pick one of the cheaper ones or non OCX ones.

    >Stupid-fast RAM
    Define “stupid-fast”, please. Because DDR3 2400 vs 1600 makes a difference in some instances (and I’m not talking IGP).

    >Gaming laptops with terrible screens
    Then pay for one with a good screen? Tablets with “Good IPS Screens” would NOT be suitable for gaming, plus, they’re also smaller.

    >Windows 8 to Windows 10 isn’t quite as essential, but the latter is mostly about returning to what worked in the first place. Just make your existing operating system work, ferchrissake.

    W10 has a lot of new features, and underlying tech. W10 sales allows MS to make money on things that they don’t sell, e.g DX12.
    W8 was release in 2012… And they’ve done a lot to fix it since then (8.1 etc). Its not like they come out every year. W7 will be supported for a long time to come, so just stick to that if you don’t want to upgrade?

    >Cheap video cards with lots of memory
    >Dynamic contrast
    >LCD monitor response rates

    Absolutely agree on these ones! :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      >Stupid-fast RAM
      Define “stupid-fast”, please. Because DDR3 2400 vs 1600 makes a difference in some instances (and I’m not talking IGP).

      I imagine we’re talking about tight timings rather than raw speed? My understanding was that you generally just wanted to make sure your RAM speed was equal to or higher than your bus speed, and most of the optimisation beyond that point would just be the latency timings.

      • Siimon says:

        Perhaps, but CL timing isn’t something the “average Joe” is going to look at, plus if it is CL9 or CL12 the price difference won’t be that much. It is much more of a non-issue as opposed to other “sales tactic” things like globbing on a ton of shitty slow DDR3 on a low-end graphics card to “trick” people into thinking its more than it is.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        That’s some older stuff you’re mentioning, nowadays you’re never in synch with the bus anyway.

        As a general rule any step up in speed ( say from 1333 to 1600 ) brings a little higher improvement than a little drop in CAS ( From 10 to 9 for example ). You still want the latter to be low, off course, but nowadays the more you can go crazy with the speed, the merrier.

        At the end of the day your bandwidth depends on both things combined, it’s just that CAS latency feels more “techy” and more about “finesse”, which makes some people wet.

      • sicemma says:

        I think you have to look at it in context – it’s “a waste of money as compared to …” ?

        A K model CPU with a 12% overclock?

        An OC/Golden sample graphics card?

        Because depending on the context those can actually deliver less than a 5-10% increase in performance in an application, with less scope of apps for the speed improvement, and cost more than more expensive RAM vs bog standard 1600.

      • teppic says:

        You have to go out and look hard to find any cases where RAM speed makes a big difference, unless you’re using RAM under 1600MHz. It’s not too surprising, since CPUs try to use caches as much as possible and graphics cards try to use onboard VRAM. Memory benchmarks are affected by memory speed, but on the whole, nothing else.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      If you upgrade your CPU, do you really want to be on the old motherboard?

      Certainly. Changing the motherboard would likely gain me nothing.

      • plsgodontvisitheforums_ says:

        You might have mistaken looking at the calendar but opposite day is not for another fortnight.

        • Premium User Badge

          Don Reba says:

          Right, because in reality the motherboard is the first thing one would consider changing to get more performance. :)

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            I guess you don’t want the newer protocols then, that’s good for you but don’t claim there is no gain, especially if you don’t have an M.2 slot or NVME support.

            I’m still on PCI-E 2 myself, but sooner or later i’ll absolutely want the newer stuff. It won’t change much unless you are forced to use 8x/8x on powerful SLI setup, but the part about SSDs is exceptionally big. At the end of the day a new motherboard allows your PC to be better in many regards, and gaming is not the only thing.

            In sum, your corrected sentence would be “I don’t care about the many advantages it brings”, which is absolutely respectable.

          • Premium User Badge

            Don Reba says:

            An M.2 slot would come in handy if I decided to get a new hard drive, not a new CPU, though. Yeah, getting newer equipment is useful, but I object to the claim that changing motherbards is likely to be of any significant benefit in itself, or that I would necessarily want to do it at the same time I get a new CPU.

          • Siimon says:

            What TacticalNuclearPenguin said is very true, but I’d like to add that changing CPU isn’t something most people do very often. For example, the i5-2500k is still a decent CPU and it was released in the 1st quarter of 2011 and most people probably (shouldn’t) won’t upgrade from a 2nd gen to a 3rd/4th gen CPU, perhaps not even 5th gen.

            Yet the list of changes even just between those are many, for example:
            The differences include USB3.1 vs USB3 or even USB2. Better on-board audio and LAN. Support for faster DDR3 and/or DDR4. More PCI-e 3.0 x8/x16 slots. More native SATA 6gb ports. More PCI-e lanes to the CPU (for PCI-e SSD, for example.) More efficient power handling (and overclocking). M.2 and NVM. And much more. And all these are already in place on an upgrade most people won’t be doing yet.

            It has been over 4 years since SB came out. Buying a new motherboard every 4-6 years isn’t exactly a big deal, how long do you expect them to last?

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            And indeed i’m still on Sandy Bridge myself, what i meant is that if nowadays you can keep such a CPU for a LOT of years, it’s extremely possible that you’ll want the motherboard aswell that’s 6 years newer and has a lot of nice extra things.

            But yeah, no, definitely don’t change the mobo alone.

    • Chalky says:

      On Windows 10 – even Microsoft realizes it’s not a particularly essential upgrade, which is why it’s going to be a FREE upgrade from windows 7 and 8 when it’s released. Ironically, this basically does make it an essential upgrade because if you miss out on this free upgrade during the first year you’ll end up having to fork out money for a new OS sooner or later.

  5. zind says:

    I was going to call BS on the mouse one, but then I read the whole paragraph, and I have to agree. After using an 8400dpi mouse for a while I found it difficult to go back to a 4000 (and the 800s at work are literally painful), but after using a 12000dpi mouse for a while I eventually turned it back down to around 8000. Found my ceiling.

    I also kind of wanted to call BS on the OC features and RAM speeds, because I know several people who really enjoy pushing their machines to the limit, but as this ranticle was about things that are pointless to GAMING, I again must agree.

    • Siimon says:

      The issue is that a lot of high DPI mice just use post processing to get that DPI.

    • Continuity says:

      Don’t confuse DPI with sensitivity setting.

    • xfstef says:

      Am I the only one who fucking uses 2400 dpi (on full hd) and I’m very happy with doing so !?!? I don’t get it. I really feel more comfortable with ~2600 dpi while doing everything on my PC, from web browsing to competitive cs:go.
      I don’t like light, high dpi mice. I hate them. It’s very funny that pro gamers should use such crap products.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        1150 DPI here on a Sensei!

        At the end of the day the only thing you care about when shopping for a mouse are hugely technical and in depth reviews, because even if you don’t want a truckload of DPI you might still care about a great sensor by itself, good electronics and so on.

        • Premium User Badge

          Wisq says:

          Plus DPI is so subjective anyway. Ultimately, what really matters is, is your DPI high enough that you can set your in-game sensitivity low enough that you have enough precision to do what you need to do?

          Pretty much every step of that question is subjective. What is it you need to do? Do you need pixel-precision, or just enough to land within a decent radius? Are you playing mouselook-based (e.g. FPS) or cursor-based (e.g. strategy) games? How far do you prefer to travel with the mouse to move the cursor across the screen / turn your character 180º?

          High DPI really only comes into play when you need tight precision and yet you also prefer to get tons of movement out of small mouse movements. And even then, yeah, it’s diminishing returns beyond ~5000ish, assuming you can even set the in-game sensitivity low enough to handle those higher DPIs.

  6. Continuity says:

    The DPI of the mouse isn’t so important, its mostly a marketing figure, however there are many very important metrics that simply don’t get considered, like lift off distance (how high you need to lift the mouse before it stops tracking), maximum tracking speed (how fast you can move the mouse before it stops tracking or goes into negative acceleration, or malfunctions altogether, very important if you play FPS at a very low sensitivity), correction or prediction (software interpolation) etc.. DPI just needs to meet a minimum for your screen resolution, even for a 4k screen 3500DPI is fine at a high sensitivity never mind a low sensitivity.

    • Christo4 says:

      Exactly. I had so many problems with a mouse that was a pretty expensive “gaming” one, but had such shitty max tracking speed that it always malfunctioned when i was moving the mouse too fast. After that i started looking into mice and it’s just as you said. Unless you have something like 4k television, you won’t need a mouse with more than 2000 dpi imo, unless you like it very fast, but i can’t see how people can have any accuracy like that.

  7. Zenicetus says:

    I thought one of the big points for high-DPI mice was the ability to quickly switch back and forth, for “sniper mode” when you wanted more precision and slower movement in a FPS game, then back to your normal rate for general movement and shooting.

    I’m using a Corsair mouse that does that, but I never use the DPI switch-on-they-fly feature because the button is in an awkward place behind the roller wheel, and most games slow down the motion when you look through an actual sniper scope anyway. I just didn’t find it useful, but I didn’t buy the mouse for that anyway. I bought it for the weight and comfy design. Most meece are too lightweight for me unless I buy a “gaming” mouse.

    • Continuity says:

      DPI is essentially the fidelity of the sensor, an increase or decrease in sensitivity as you change DPI settings is a side effect, not the main point. You’re supposed to adjust the DPI to suit the sensitivity you play at to achieve zero pixel skipping whilst also maximising your tracking speed. However the vast majority of gamers can’t tell their arse from their elbows when it comes to mouse sensitivity, so the point is rather lost.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        To me the funnny thing with high-dpi mice is that they really only provide increased accuracy to help compensate for setting the mouse sensitivity very high, to the point where a twitch of the wrist sends the cursor from one side of the screen to the other.
        Now controlling everything with a flick of the wrist may seem comfortable, but it can lead to carpal tunnel, and it’s also much more difficult to be accurate than if one were to use one’s entire forearm. Which is why you’ll see competitive cs players toting oversized mousemats and surprisingly basic mice.

  8. yii says:

    Visible blurring on your LCD? That’s because your still sitting at 60Hz.
    Here are some infos on .

  9. cylentstorm says:

    Channeling Peter Griffin? “You know what really grinds my gears? You, America–FUCK you.”

    Hmm–pointless PC gaming gear? Dunno…standard keyboard layouts make terrible game controllers, but that’s more of a quibble.

  10. freiform says:

    I can see how a new windows version is the most pointless hardware in PC gaming.

    Also, was anyone bored? Deadlines not met? General approach went drunk, set itself on fire and threw itself overboard? On a related note: Please don’t do sensational, poorly written and unsubstantiated (while most of those points could have been made properly) lists anymore.

    Signed
    a concerned reader.

    • Unclepauly says:

      Idk, I think there could be some pretty interdasting counterpoints to be made on the validity of windows 10 as hardware not being pointless. I mean, maybe if they shrink the process node and add some L2 super fast mem to it there wouldn’t be any reason to fear steamOS or linux or whoever. For some reason my windows 7 won’t cool down without water cooling so idk.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        That’s because SteamOS is steam cooled, hard to beat that.

    • Elliot Lannigan says:

      I rather liked it, even if it’s not 100% neutral and unbiased…but the headline does sound like it came from unused Kotaku notes…

    • Cederic says:

      Please do continue to post this type of article.

      It’s clearly subjective, and it’s led to a lot of (beautifully mannered) discussion and debate that’s informative and offers a range of perspectives.

      I read RPS for information and entertainment, and the article+comments are achieving that.

  11. Muzman says:

    Yeah CPU sockets are a pain. By the time the top end CPU has come down a bit in price they’ve invariably brought out a new socket so any thought of a quick upgrade goes out the window. All the locally available boards and chips rapidly switch over to the latest thing and you have little choice but to stick with the old stuff some time longer and do a full job in the future.
    I doubt changing it as often as they do is entirely necessary. The industry could make hardware’s lifespan a little longer if they wanted to and still let you be a home build enthusiast. But it’s probably not what they really want (and enough enthusiast types don’t care).

    • montorsi says:

      On the other hand, you can build your new gaming PC around a years-old CPU and it will perform very admirably. 2500k/3570k are good enough to power any gaming rig for the foreseeable future, making socket worries a little strange. There’s never been a better time to build a gaming PC.

      • epeternally says:

        There’s valid reasons to want a beefier CPU, though, futureproofing for one and emulators like Dolphin and especially PCSX2 will take as much juice as you can throw at them. Some of the more difficult to run games, such as Xenoblade Chronicles, still struggle on extreme high end hardware. That said, the Phenom II X4 3.4Ghz that I got for $90 five years ago is still doing an admirable job of keeping up with recent games. For just general gaming, it’s definitely frequently viable to still be using an older CPU, the rate at which CPU demands increase isn’t nearly as quick as the rate at which GPU demands do. My only concern would be running into bad port, which if we’re being honest (and I say this as someone with a huge Steam library) is at least 1/3 of PC gaming. Those are apt to require much more powerful hardware than they by any right should, and leave people with solid but not high end machines out of luck.

        • Cinek says:

          If I build a new PC from ground up – I usually spend most money on CPU. This way I am future-proofed from the beginning, and upgrade GPU and/or add RAM / SSD / other stuff. Even if they’d stick with the same socket for over 5 years – it wouldn’t make much of a difference for me.

  12. Immense Being says:

    This may fall under 6, but my personal quibble with every version of Windows is there’s not much new innovation. One thing I’d like to see is multiple keyboard and mouse support, like each device is recognized as individual direct input devices or something. I tried to program a multiple mouse program once and it was not easy.

    Come on, it’s been 20 years since Windows 95. Get something innovative in there!

    • ZeDestructor says:

      So….. you mean a mainframe terminal? Or UNIX? Or X.org on *nix?

      You know why we’re killing in *nix land because it’s a pile of trash that should have been killed 20 years ago? X.org. You know why we’re killing it? Mostly because of all the multiuser legacy crap it had in. Multiuser will still be around on the *nix, but it will effectively be limited to the basic commandline ore SSH rather than full GUI, because of how much GUI wants GPU power and the resulting one GPU per user aproach this ends up with.

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        Er, no, IB’s not asking for multiuser support. Just support for treating each input device separately. They can still all multiplex together onto the same desktop in normal use.

        This is actually a decent idea and has implications beyond gaming. For example, what if you were a designer and wanted two mouse-like devices for different kinds of work? Sure, “two mice” isn’t so useful (if you just want different sensitivities, get a DPI-switching mouse). But maybe some combination of a mouse, a trackpad, and/or a trackball, with different settings and sensitivities and etc for each.

        Multiple keyboards is a bit more niche, but it actually has one major use case — pair programming. I type in Dvorak. Do you know how many of my fellow programmers also do so? Not many. In order to pair program on the same computer, I needed to buy a hardware Dvorak-to-Qwerty converter that I plug my USB keyboard into and then plug into the computer’s USB port. This could’ve been avoided if any of the OSes had multiple keyboard support and you could set the layout on each keyboard separately.

        And then, finally, we get to local co-op. You can plug as many gamepads into a computer as you want, and they’re all recognised separately. So why can’t we plug multiple keyboard+mouse combos into a computer and have those treated separately? Sure, if the game dosen’t support your new “multiple input device” API, you can default to having all the keyboards/mice show up as a single input. But the first step is actually making that API so interested parties can take advantage of it.

        • Geebs says:

          While they’d at it, it would be lovely if MS could finally set it so that the window under the mouse pointer gets focus for scrolling gestures without having to be the top window, like any sane, normal OS should.

  13. JohnnyPanzer says:

    Most of this is too technical for me, but I agree with the DPI nonsense. I guess it’s a matter of taste, but I reached my limit long before 8000dpi. Anything higher than 2000-4000 is just annoying to me, and if it’s higher than 6000 it’s damn near unusable.

    Being able to move the pointer from one side of the screen to the other just by thinking about the mouse while in another room is in no way a plus for me.

    • Cinek says:

      This article is actually not technical at all. It’s very basics, and as some people pointed out – it’s basic to the point where it just gets some stuff wrong.

  14. fish99 says:

    I do find in annoying that so few laptops have good screens. IPS and 1920*1200 have become standard in tablets but laptops are still stuck with crappy TNs and 1366*768. Then there’s the integrated GPUs. The laptop market is just a chase to the lowest price with anything that’s actually useful or decent quality selling in such low volumes that they’re way overpriced.

    Dynamic contrast is purely for paper specs to impress clueless people. If your screen has it, you should turn it off, or at least set it to low. It gives better black depth but crushes any dark detail.

    • OmNomNom says:

      This is one of the (many) reasons to stay away from laptops for gaming. They’re overpriced, underspecced and for the most part unupgradeable.

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        I would say, if you like to play the latest 3D games (particularly first- or third-person), don’t have a laptop as your sole gaming platform.

        As someone who has a beefy Windows gaming PC but does all their day-to-day work on a Macbook Pro, I can say — I’m actually frequently surprised by how much the MBP can run, and how well. Pretty much every indie title works fine, but also anything Source Engine, or some older titles like Borderlands 2.

        So that’s why I say, I think the key is to have a baseline gaming station at home — somewhere you can play the titles that really do need it, when you discover it doesn’t run smoothly on your laptap — but laptop graphics (at least on good work laptops) actually have reached the point where you might be surprised what runs smoothly on them.

  15. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    You forgot to mention the rule of having a PSU that’s 250% more powerful than needed.

    With a quality 750 watt you can power 2 Titan X and an overclocked i7, it simply needs to be the high end one of some serious manufacturer, like Seasonic as a random example. The “rule” is even more stupid if we consider that the much flaunted efficiency rating reaches it’s peak at around 80% usage, which means that oversizing with a cheap PSU makes you lose efficiency TWO times; first because it’s crappy in the first place and second because it’s not working at the level it should.

    • Person of Interest says:

      Ooh yes, this should have made it onto the Top 10. Replace #5, which as commenters point out is only sometimes ridiculous (server vs. desktop segmentation) but often justified (moving voltage regulators from the motherboard to the processor).

  16. racccoon says:

    Windows Upgrades are needed and are cheap..
    In regards to Windows Upgrades its costs next to nothing. I went from windows 7 pro to windows 8.0/8.1 pro for $40! and the new windows 10 is free for a year or more and that’s going to low priced too.
    Windows happen to have it right this time…if you buy first then follow through you do not have to pay through the nose anymore, so the windows upgrade is needed and its a beautiful thing.

    I also noticed you missed out the crucial one
    why do we need cd rom drives anymore??
    why don’t the devs sell games as thumb drives?
    why are the devs so out of touch.?

  17. amateurviking says:

    The scientist in me would really love to know how strong the correlation between owning items on this list and violently objecting to the article is. My gut feeling is ‘strong’.

    FWIW the mouse dpi can deffo be an issue on high res screens. And having a dpi you can change on the fly helps a tonne if you play something locked at a lower res. Not sure it’s worth all the LEDs and nonsense industrial design and marketing for ‘gamer’ (boak) peripherals though.

    • ZeDestructor says:

      “The scientist in me would really love to know how strong the correlation between owning items on this list and violently objecting to the article is. My gut feeling is ‘strong’.”

      Not really?

      See my other comment way down where I take apart the poorly-written and even more poorly researched points.

  18. Ejia says:

    Why is the nVidia Shield up there? Something to do with #7? Come to think of it, why is (what I am assuming is) an SSD there? Unless that image has nothing to do with the article and simply illustrates “Hardware!”, in which case carry on.

    Actually, gamer/gaming marketing in general annoys me. It makes me cringe. Both the marketing and design are so unbelievably tacky.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      Yeah, the marketing thing is downright embarrassing.
      I recently bought (then returned due to awful quality) an Asus ROG Swift monitor. The box was downright juvenile.
      I’m 41 years old; I don’t need pictures of robots on the box for a monitor and multiple instances of the word “XTREME”, all in fonts that make Comic Sans look positively sophisticated.
      A nice, plain brown box with maybe a picture of the monitor on it, the model number and a boxout with the most prominent specs would be fine.

  19. Raoul Duke says:

    Everyone is whinging about the others, but the LCD response times one is the one that bothers me here.

    Sure, the metrics used might vary, but there are some common ones (e.g. grey to grey time) and there are plenty of websites which test using consistent methodology. And lower (real) response times absolutely do make a huge difference to the experience.

    • sicemma says:

      Yeah it seems a few (9 8 3 2 1?) are basically “I don’t like this metric” rather than “the concept of this hardware is dumb”. I guess what would help would be if there was some kind of profession whose role it was to dig into this stuff and somehow make it available on some communally accessible thing.

    • fish99 says:

      Yeah but they get nowhere near the advertised speeds. My 2ms TN screen has very noticeable blur on it constantly.

      LCD monitor tech seems to come down to just a few basic principles, TN is faster to IPS/PVA/MVA, and if it has overdrive it’ll be faster than without (but with reverse ghosting). Everything else is just marketing. No one has actually made the crystals react quicker. LCDs will always blur.

  20. Frank says:

    (1) Windows is not hardware.

    (2) Windows 7 is oh so much better than XP; it’s crazy. If I had to go back to a time when I couldn’t dock windows with Win+arrow keys, I would cry.

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      Windows 7 is also not very much different from Vista. It is mostly just a bit of a facelift.

      • Cinek says:

        By that logic – Win 8 isn’t that much different from Vista either.

        • drewski says:

          It’s all Win2K basically.

        • Premium User Badge

          Don Reba says:

          Vista introduced a lot of internal changes to the Windows NT kernel — it was the first (and last) major version upgrade since Win2k. Windows 7 added a bit of polish to it. Windows 8’s contribution was Metro apps, and Windows 10 is another spit-and-polish release aimed at Metro.

  21. headless97 says:

    Want to know what irritates me?
    Mail-in rebates need to die. I stopped shopping at TigerDirect because every discount was from a mail-in rebate. Newegg at least gives the savings up front.

    Intel processors never go down in price. I expected sandy bridge would go down when ivy bridge came out, but it turns out even core 2 duos cost the same as when they were new.

    Macs. You seriously expect me to believe that a mobile GPU and 4GBs of RAM is worth a grand and is effective at using industrial-grade software? That’s a one-thousand dollar facebook machine.

    Touch sensitive panels. My monitor (technically a small HDTV that I pilfered) has touch sensitive panels instead of solid buttons. It’s extremely unresponsive and impossible to operate in the dark. At least with buttons, I know that the power button is the first on the right and will turn on when I push it; with touch panels, I don’t know where the “right” is and it will only turn on if my finger is in the exact right spot for a few seconds.

    All of a motherboard’s rear ports should be up front. What’s the point in having ten USB ports when they’re all stashed behind a desk? The case’s headphone/mic jacks don’t work because I have a discreet sound card, and cases wouldn’t need ports if the mobo’s were up front anyway. The only thing the front of my case has is one huge power button.

    • ZeDestructor says:

      CPU’s don’t come down in price because all you’re seeing nowadays are old stock, since Intel no longer makes the old chips for their price to go down. Same goes for basically every other piece of cutting-edge, high-performance tech.

      Ports at the rear: I use 8 out of my 10 rear ports (4 of which I added using a bracket!) for stuff like card readers, mouse, keyboard, wheel, joystick, DAC/headphone amp and other similar things. In comparison, the front ports get used once every 3 months or so when I need to get new installer media for a machine I’m maintaining. Also, do you really want your thick monitor/video cables and power cables to come out the front? I think not. Next time, just get a case with more USB ports, or get a drive bay extension to add in a bunch more ports, or get a hub, since clearly you only care about USB. As for front panel audio: get a soundcard that supports it instead of some old crap. My older X-Fi Titanium supports front panel audio just fine (as well as it’s own internal drive bay expansion).

    • Moraven says:

      Last PC I built had like 6 rebates from Newegg.

      They are easy enough to do. I just do not prefer them since you have to return/exchange a lot of items with the box.

  22. Snargelfargen says:

    15k rpm hard drives are missing from the list.

  23. cpy says:

    I have to agree with all points here. Ram speed = IGP use nothing else, everyone claiming it helps: show me proof you believer sheep.
    Mouse DPI i always thought that higher dpi = more accurate tracking, but reality is, higher dpi = faster moving mouse, and it’s fast enough for 2.5k monitors at 2000DPI so what the fuck?
    Wish that stupid mouse vendors invented mouse filtering so you have 12k dpi that have filtered movement by factor 10x so you have speed like 1200dpi with much better accuracy, too bad it does not work that way.

  24. Wedge says:

    Thankfully Intel hasn’t actually made seriously relevant improvements to their processors since Sandy Bridge anyways.

  25. Stevostin says:

    6. New versions of Windows

    This bit is nonsens. Windows 7 brought sensible improvement over XP (didn’t get Vista). Windows 8 brought touchscreen which has been as bashed as Steam initially and may just become as much as a killer piece of feature than Steam now is. Moreover just the non touch parts are already a clear improvement over 7 (task manager, search, launcher, faster start).

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Ï have a W

    • SuicideKing says:

      The search was horrible at launch, and the Start Screen is miserable. Also, Windows 8 hibernates by default (and OEM machines have that rapid boot thingy enabled), which lets it boot faster. Cold boot times + POST are almost the same as Windows 7.

      • OmNomNom says:

        Out of the box Win 8 actually boots a lot faster (non hibernate). You can get to similar speeds if you slipstream your Windows 7 install but it is never quite as fast.

      • Moraven says:

        Win8 on a HDD on my old PC feels like it boots just as fast as my SSD on my desktop. Even the laptop on Win8 boots rather quick.

        Almost worth it for that. Boot into desktop anyway.

      • Stevostin says:

        If updates matter then what it was before update doesn’t matter enough to obfuscate what the update improve. As for the rest, read above replies :p

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Heh, sorrry about the previous typo.

      I have a tablet running windows 8 (Surface Pro 2) and I have to say that sadly their implementation of touch into the OS sucks.

      There is no consistency between the Metro and Desktop design, so it’s like running two competing OS’ with completely different design philosophies. I would like to use Metro, but all my work applications, games and utilities use desktop mode, so everything is far too small and finicky to comfortably use with a touch interface instead of a mouse. The Windows store is woefully underpopulated, so I can’t get metro-compatible versions of most programs. Which is just as well, since paying for the same program twice, just so it will run properly on the same operating system is ludicrous.

      The Metro apps that do exist suffer from outdated mobile design. Processes halt when minimized or in desktop mode, making multitasking difficult, and simple tasks such as playing music in the background impossible. This can be worked around by snapping programs into seperate frames but tablets don’t exactly have a lot of space on the screen to begin with.

      One can only hope that Windows 10’s implementation of touch is better thought out.

      • JohnnyPanzer says:

        I fully agree, in particular about how it’s basically two completely different user interfaces that needs to be used in tandem. The thing is, since it’s made for touchscreens, it’s more or less made for pads, and to me pads are number one on any list of “utterly useless hardware”. They are too small to view movies on (the monitor or TV is better, and if you’re traveling and don’t min watching movies on a small screen, the phone works just as well), they are far too large to be carried around everywhere you go and the lack of a keyboard means they’re unable to compete with laptops when you’re traveling but still need an actual computer instead of just a smartphone. They basically have the worst features of everything, without a single good feature.

        As for touchscreen-monitors, I doubt they’ll replace regular monitors. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t imagine that the vast majority of people would prefer to sit with their entire arm outstretched at all times, just to be able to cover up 50% of the screen with their own hands.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          Despite all my gripes about the OS, the Surface Pro 2 has been my only computer for half a year now (and the the Pro 1 for a year before that) and they have done the job brilliantly. Microsoft’s hard keyboard covers are actually quite good, and the result is I have an exceptionally light and compact ultrabook with touch capability.

          All that said, decent ultrabooks are priced out of the range of most people (I was only able to afford mine through work), leaving consumer laptops and tablets in a race to the bottom in quality and price.

          • JohnnyPanzer says:

            True, but I was thinking of desktop PCs. Microsoft is under the impression that touchscreen is a viable option for a desktop gaming rig, and I think they might be on LSD.

      • Stevostin says:

        Everyone can see the inconsistency with actually two OS working together so everyone feels smart saying “oh, I noticed it”. I think though that from an informed perspective they did actually the best possible compromise.

        Windows is of no use over other OS except for the fact that it does run all those apps you need (and the other don’t, except to a large extent OSX). Now all of those apps (Photoshop, Maya, Visual Studio, Word, name your poison) are ultra heavy piece of codes that would need years to be redone for the best. Not only on the code side but on the UI design. UI that is totally designed for keyboard, mouse and large screen, with decades of polish to work really well for that input and no other.

        OTOH tablet are well made for touch screen but out of apps directly thought for this type of input, they’re useless. Actually by design (small screen, no keyboard so you have to get all the action called by real estate screen spend on buttons) those simply can’t handle “rich” tools. It’s not a CPU issue, it’s a matter of size of fingers vs size of screen. That won’t change.

        Now it happens that SOME of the very common uses are just fine, and even better on tablet. Namely browsing, social networking, and even emails and some word processing. And then there is this border where it stops to be relevant (let’s call it “the excel barrier”). Passed that point, you need a computer.

        So either you get one tablet and one computer. Or you get one computer that also can be a tablet. But you don’t expect something to be at the same time tablet optimized and mouse optimized, because that would be like wanting a wheel that goes on the perfect bike and the perfect car. Can’t exist, sorry. Once you understand that you realize you want an OS that can do both and that’s exactly what Windows 8 is.

        It’s not perfect, granted. Drag’n’drop especially could work better with fingers without the need for an extra input. But to evaluate it you compare the touch bit to other touch OS and the mouse bit to other mouse OS. Browsing with metro IE is already way better for me than any tablet browser. Editing your pref is way better, both in term of what you can actually do and just the general thinking of the part that is handled through metro UI that I claim to be far superior to what I see in iOS. It’s simpler, prettier, and more ergonomic. Then you also have the full access the even Android doesn’t provide. So as a tablet, it’s just better than other tablet.

        And IMO if you ask me same goes as a mouse based OS. Sure one can argue OSX is better – I do prefer Windows over OSX essentially because less time wasted on floating windows and substantially better file browsing but sure one can argue. What’s sure though is that Win8 is just better than Win7 as a mouse OS. Better task manager, better search (at last as good as OSX one) and yeah, the app launcher is just like the old start menu except that it’s better on every level. Old start menu is small for no reason and yet when loaded it’s too big to read anything. Problem beautifully solved by tiles. Sure, I still have the old start menu but I am not mad. I never use it anymore (after using it for what, 15 years ?).

        It may be some are too stuck on their habits to see a change for the best when there is such a blatant one. Yet it’s the first windows I see where there is an app launcher that actually makes sense. BTW OSX doesn’t even have this. And Tablets have a lesser version of this.

        It’s very possible than in the future Microsoft, not understanding this, actually try to metro everything, thinking it’s just a matter of users being conservative on the old scheme. My bet is that each time they’ll try that they’ll fail and have to backpedal. Tactile mode and mouse mode within the same OS is here to stay a while IMO. And OS that do only one will always appear to be inferior to such combo in my opinion. That’s what I meant with my

        • Stevostin says:

          … above post :P

        • Geebs says:

          Most defenders of the start screen use the “I just hit the windows key and type the name of the application” argument, which is dumb. There’s absolutely no need to take over the entire screen just to enter text into a box in the upper right hand corner. While we’re at it, making the completely useless Charms an edge gesture is a terrible idea when the only good thing about Windows’ actual windowing system is Aero Snap.

          Then again, this is the company that’s so proud of the innovative new ability for concurrently-open documents in Excel to occupy separate windows that they actually mention it in the bullet points on their website.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          IMO Windows needs to be smarter at detecting what input people are trying to use, and adjusting it’s UI accordingly.

    • MikhailG says:

      Have you USED win8? Cause its horrible, and everyone I work with and I know as friends claims its horrible. I know exactly one person besides you that claimed ‘it was alright’. Not good mind you, just didn’t outright cry ‘omg burn this with fire’.
      Also let me tell you troubleshooting anything with win8 is a nightmare.

      • Stevostin says:

        I use it every day, as well as Win7. I miss Win8 pretty often when I use Win7. I absolutely never ever miss Win7. And I really like Win7. It’s already better than XP which I sticked to for what, 8 years ? I am not a sucker for new stuff, but I am also not a hipster posing on the internet. I want efficient stuff. To that regard, 8 is better than 7. If it’s not for you, it’s your fault as a user IMO.

        • MikhailG says:

          The amount of how many times I had issues fixing some problem that win8 caused in my company exists. None of the people running win7 ever came to me because explicitly had an issue with the OS itself.

          That said, I always say whatever floats your boat. Also hipsters would be using XP you’re confusing me with someone.

  26. Noss says:

    5.1 7.1 etc headphones! Wtf you have two ears! Total balls. Stereo headphones give perfect positional audio.

    • Nereus says:

      Got to disagree. They do have some use in gaming in that they emulate surround sound. Are they as effective as actual surround sound? No, but they do offer some benefit and that benefit does differ between games. Having said that, I greatly prefer the sound stage on my 7.1 headset because it produces sound more like sitting in a room than having two speakers strapped to my ears. This has benefit more in listening to music and other audio such as podcasts, but it also benefits in gaming. Spoken words sound so much nicer from my Logitech headset than my ATH-m50x.

  27. SuicideKing says:

    I’d disagree about the Intel sockets in the sense that I know *why* they’re different and new. I do agree that they can be a bit confusing – and Intel does need to do a better job of relating processor “Generations” to chipset numbers, though they do try.

  28. ZeDestructor says:

    Some good points, so poor points and a whole lot of insufficient information… so here goes:

    1. Response times in the industry are always panel response time, grey to grey, from anyone competent at least. In practice though the latency can be a lot higher because of in-monitor processsing. A few sites like tftcentral.co.uk and prad.de measure both and publish the results, so you know what you’re getting. On the other hand, agreed with the pointlessness: I’ve yet to see anyone complain about the 64ms of (measured vs CRT) latency of my old Dell 2408.

    2. This should never have made it out of the marketing dept.

    3. Agreed, though there are a few ,very niche cases where this is quite appropriate It’s been a loooooong time since memory was the limiting factor.

    4. Annoying, but not hard to figure out thanks to two excellent pages with full listings on Wikipedia. You’re buying a GPU, do your damn research.

    5. While I agree there are too many sockets, they were very necessary due to changes in power delivery to the CPU and IO. The alternative to that would be the clusterfuck that is LGA775, where you need to match motherboards and chipsets to the CPU you’rew getting, otherwise the system just won’t work. In comparison, with a lot of sockets, it’s a case of “if it fits, it works”, and honestly, I prefer it as it is now to how it used to be with LGA775 or even Socket 478.

    6. Windows 10 is a free upgrade to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users, no exceptions. Quit whining.

    7. it’s a lot better nowadays, thanks to users beginning to understand panel quality and what to look for.

    8. One of those niche use cases. Gamers shouldn’t worry. Video editors and sysadmins should.

    9. dpi is one of the less important part of mice. Shape for exmple is much, MUCH more important. The fact that my G700s has 8200dpi is just a nicety.

    10. Lots of more mainstream boards out there. The point of the uber high-end boards is to supply them to the vendor’s internal overclocking team to show off at competitions and/or trade shows, and that apparrently translates to better sales overall (otherwise they wouldn’t bother). The fact that some people buy the extreme overclocking boards as well is a mix of “I want the best” and “I have my own source of LN2 for hobbyist overclocking”, much more the former than the latter.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      6. Windows 10 is a free upgrade to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users, no exceptions. Quit whining.

      Technically: Like a lot of things in life, it’s only truly “free” if your time is worth nothing.

      Also: Knowing their track record, it’s hard not to see “free Windows 10” as being either “we’re sorry we fucked up WIn8’s desktop UI so badly with all that tablet crap” and/or “we know it takes decades for you people to finally upgrade to the latest Windows (because we screw them up so often that you don’t trust us any more and frequently skip entire shitty versions based on their sour reputation) so here’s a freebie, please actually upgrade this time”.

      A nice gesture perhaps, but Microsoft is not a charity, and I’m a cynical person. So if they start offering something for free, I start wondering why.

      However, back on topic: I do agree that the actual point in the original article — about new versions of Windows being “pointless” — is a bit daft. Windows 7 was 2009, Windows 8 was 2012, Windows 10 will be 2015. Three years between major OS versions is not excessively fast by any standards.

      I agree that you don’t always need to be running the most recent version, but there’s frequently a good reason to, given the rate at which hardware changes. For example, Win8 finally natively recognised SSDs and stopped doing stupid / pointless / actively harmful things to them, whereas Win7 required that you tweak settings and turn off automatic defrags and whatnot. A lot can change over three years.

      I would agree with the original article, in that skipping one Windows version is fine. But I’d also say that skipping two is iffy, and anything beyond that means it’s definitely time to upgrade. Modern software development and hardware driver development shouldn’t have to be held back by stupid things like “oh some people are still running WinXP over a decade later” — and much as I may have liked XP, I’m glad Microsoft and many others finally stopped supporting it.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Looking at the direction MS took with Windows 8, and seems to taking again with Windows 10 (I’ve been reading not-so-nice things about the latest Insider build), I’d actually suggest skipping versions till it’s clear they’re not fucking something up on purpose and ignoring user feedback.

      • MikhailG says:

        “A nice gesture perhaps, but Microsoft is not a charity, and I’m a cynical person. So if they start offering something for free, I start wondering why.”

        This. So much. I can’t agree with myself if this freebie stunt is meant to generate good PR, shove in some DLC like microtransaction shit in, or they are just really desperately holding onto their market share. Either way I am suspicious to the max.

      • Consumatopia says:

        “Windows 7 was 2009, Windows 8 was 2012, Windows 10 will be 2015. Three years between major OS versions is not excessively fast by any standards.”

        It’s definitely a “be careful what you wish for” thing. If you like 7/10 and hate Vista/8, it’s easy to say that there should be half as many Windows versions. But Vista/8 were the ones that introduced major changes, 7/10 were the fixes in response to those changes. So fewer released Windows versions means keeping Vista/8, skipping 7/10.

    • MikhailG says:

      “6. Windows 10 is a free upgrade to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users, no exceptions. Quit whining.”

      Actually, I am going to whine. What about people who still use XP? Linux people who want to try a windows? Someone who is getting into computers the first time? They are going to hear ‘free windows’ and then be confused as hell when they have to pay for it?

      Also microsoft can burn in hell. But hey thanks to them I have a job repairing windows and the office suite all the bloody time.

  29. piphil says:

    ”It used to and so did Nvidia, more’s the pity.”

    When did nVidia not much around with rebranded old chips? Back in the days before I knew anything about building PCs, I bought a Packard Bell PC from PC World (I was young….) which contained a Geforce 4 MX440. Which, as I later found out, was merely a rebranded Geforce 2.

    I was even more annoyed when I recalled there was a similar PC that was actually cheaper with a Geforce 3 Ti, but the salesperson had pushed me towards my more expensive box because the GPU was “more up to date”.

    So when was this mythical time when nVidia didn’t engage in such practices? I bought that PC in 2002….

  30. Wowbagger says:

    Well you’ve gone and poked the nerd nest with a flaming stick here haven’t you OP?

  31. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I think “The crowning turd on this particular bullshit pie” is a beautiful turn of phrase.

  32. xfstef says:

    A brit going all out against consumerism ?!??! Anarchy in the UK.

  33. Marclev says:

    Microsoft Windows is hardware now?! I’m no journalist, but would have thought that it’s general best practice for the content of an article to actually match the title.

  34. Lanessar says:

    This type of article really isn’t good journalism. I could see this as an editorial, but a featured article?

    First, zero facts. In many cases, the facts aren’t supported (even though there are several points that could be argued for the sake of the author’s point. Research was once part of real journalism, but that seems to be a lost art in this day and age.

    While I tend to agree with most of the points made, I actually did the research on each of the conclusions and would probably have included the reasoning behind each point, rather than just saying “this is stupid”.

    As an example, response time and dynamic contrast – for the most part, gaming at 60 Hz, you’re correct. As long as you’ve got at least an advertised 6ms response time, it doesn’t matter. However, there ARE tests that make it visible on your monitor about ghosting, blur and transition from GtG. It’s as simple as watching a fast-moving UFO or race car. Try Blurbusters to actually see visibly those things that you say are invisible.

    That much research I did put into buying a new monitor. And, I can certainly tell you, it’s a visible difference between an old HP 1080p @ 60Hz and say, an Acer predator or an Asus ROG Swift.

    I come to RPS for at least some sort of journalistic integrity, a blunt review or two on newer games, or maybe a game I haven’t had hit my radar. And as of late, I’m seeing not much of the first. Feel free to blog this type of Op Ed, but don’t label it as an article without actually working.

    Personally, I’d love to get paid just to spout out what I think of something without having to actually read up on the things I’m writing about. Can you hook me up? I can type 180 wpm of baseless and fairly useless articles that don’t inform your reader base about why those things are marketing drivel.

    Oh, but I would take the time to make sure each point is actually hardware, not OS. I have some integrity.

  35. Alfius says:

    How could you overlook the absurd fad for discrete physics processing chips from 2005/06?

  36. drewski says:

    The whining in the comments is more amusing than the article tbh.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      I think it hits a nerve for a lot of people who’ve invested a lot of time and money into researching components for their gaming PCs, so it’s understandable.

      The PC hardware industry exploded around 1995 when PCs were really catching on worldwide and there was a lot of innovation. The needs of software were outstripping the pace of new hardware releases. In the space of 5 years or so we went from 66Mhz being pretty fast, to 1Ghz being about standard for a processor and from 8MB of expanded memory being quite a lot, to the need for dedicated graphics memory and 3D hardware.

      Has PC hardware continued to accelerate at the same pace since then? I would say not. I built a top spec PC in 2007 and didn’t have to upgrade it until 2012. Add to this the fact that more games are designed to be accessible to players with lower spec PCs and you have a bit of a problem for an industry that used to confidently rely on people needing to upgrade their PCs every couple of years to even be able to run the latest word processing software.

      So maybe that’s why we have so much bullshit now? Gaming PCs, gamer grade kit, factory overclocked specs, etc – maybe the idea of having a little bit of an edge over everyone else, or just simple gamer peer pressure drives purchases now more than the necessity of having it in order to simply make the latest games run. Because PCs generally have more than enough power to get the job done, there’s more room for cheaper hardware with bullshit features to exploit people’s desire to feel they have something extra powerful or special.

  37. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Its not a peeve, but more a kind of “why?”. For those with an eye on aesthetics: When you buy a new graphics card, the marketing shots always show you images of the cooler and the fans. Some companies put enormous effort into those fans, with guys like ASUS seeming to employ an entire industrial design dept, producing some striking designs. Beautiful in fact.

    Then you install it in your rig … fans down. With that nice cooler facing the floor. Depending on the likely elevation of your computer, you are going to see a) an uninspiring backplate or, if you bought from a bunch of stingy rotters like EVGA – b) no backplate, just a circuit board, or finally c) the side of the cooler.

    I’m sure there are good practical reasons for having the fans point down, but the convention of never-to-be-seen again masterpiece coolers has always baffled me (at least if you are building in a standard mid / tower config, I guess there are case layouts that will let you see them).

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      Interestingly, I’ve got TJ11 case which has a flipped+rotated motherboard (the back of the cards is at the top and the bottom-side coolers face the front) and a large case window. So I’m actually staring at one of my two nVidia coolers right now.

      On the other hand, I don’t have any case lighting in there, so yeah, all I can really make out in the darkness is … the tops of the cards, and the big blazing green “GEFORCE GTX” letters on each card.

      So, yeah, the non-exception that proves the point, I guess. :)

    • MikhailG says:

      Agreed, mine looks brilliantly designed, and I even have one of those case windows, and yet its just a REALLY long black block. They funnily put a button on its side (the hell I know what it does I never pushed it) that is lit up with a small led and makes the button shine lovely blue as a sapphire logo, so at least that looks nice. Until I go to bed and the striking blue dot pisses me of more than my neighbors renovation attempts at night.

  38. teppic says:

    The cheap video cards one is generally a good point, but some ‘cheapish’ cards can make good use of high amounts of memory for newer games with high res textures. A heavily modded Skyrim for example needs >2GB.

    Windows – well, DirectX restrictions of course, but that’s the problem with proprietary systems. Hopefully OpenGL/Vulkan can make a difference here.

    Some good points, but overall it comes across as a random rant without backing things up.

    • BalkanOkami says:

      Regarding #3, what’s the best way to avoid picking up a GPU that has needlessly padded memory amounts? Just keep from purchasing below a certain price point?

      • teppic says:

        It’s difficult to generalise, which is a problem with anything like this. Budget cards aren’t going to be powerful enough for sure – but some older high end cards that have 1-1.5GB VRAM simply aren’t up to the job for games with high res textures. It’s not so much a problem now because pretty much all decent cards will have 2GB or more. We’re now seeing games that will use 4GB VRAM to use maximum textures, so it’s not as simple as it used to be.

  39. Ada says:

    No-one’s yet mentioned those stupid seventy dollar fancy-looking fan arrays you can attach to your sticks of ram, to keep your stupid ram cool.

  40. bstard says:

    Wonderful article. Love to see the trolled peasants in disguise. But isn’t gaming about willy waving, and this hardware pc master race thing just extension of that?

  41. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Windows 8 generally has better memory management than Windows 7, but that’s less of an issue considering everyone has gobs of RAM laying around.

  42. MikhailG says:

    A few pet peeves of my own:

    -Gaming mouse/keyboard/motherboard/HEADPHONES???/anything. Its almost always ridiculously overpriced (sometimes up to 20 times more than a sensible alternative) and offer marginal improvements. I’d like some of them just for the looks or one of the extra features but I am not willing to put in like 50 euros extra to “feel like a gamer”. Also the most hilarious ones are who have on their box written how you’ll magically turn into a pro FPS/moba/rts player through its features. Extra bonus points if they are signed by some bloody “pro” player from yesteryear’s e-sports scene. They are just shamelessly marketed at the knows nothing teenagers and the occasionally confused adult.

    -Sli/Crossfire. Ask any industry professional. Driver issues, hardware issues, software issues, game issues. Sure, in some cases they are going to work fine and maybe you’re lucky and the couple games you play work fine with double cards. But if you play like more than three games and have the money to blow on two cards, do yourself a favor and just just buy one big beefy, reliable card and don’t think too much about it.

    -Picking up a reliable/good screen has become a nightmare with all the smoke and mirrors the marketeers are throwing at you. As mentioned in the article, dynamic contrast is an outright lie, response times are a nebulous thing, and none of it really tells you if the screens going to throw a quality picture at you, with vibrant colours and good looking sharp edges. Personally I bought my screen because I saw it turned on in a shop as the browsing screen ie. it wasn’t one of those really pretty preview videos/pictures, and it looked alright so I got that one.

    -PC cases. When did it become standard that an ugly big black block is the standard look for PC cases? There is so little diversity in cases, no wonder the PC modding case scene is big. Also you have cases that cost just as much as a fully built quality PC. WHY? WHAT DOES IT OFFER? IS IT GOING TO COOK DINNER FOR ME AND WASH MY CAR? NO IT SITS UNDER MY TABLE MOSTLY UNSEEN. For crying out loud its down there cause its so boring to look at. Take a hint from laptops case designers please. Or just go nuts, hire some monkeys to do it.

  43. dogwithglasses says:

    I think this ‘sweary rant’ would have been much improved with some actual swearing.