PC gaming is mocked for being prohibitively expensive to enter. The fact is that PC gaming can be done on a budget. The problem is that there are so many “shiny toy” goods linked to PC gaming that it’s simple to overspend on things you don’t need.
In this post, I’ll cover five things that PC gamers frequently purchase that may or may not be useful, as well as how they are (or are not) justified.
1. RGB Lights
It’s easy to mock PC gamers for their obsession with RGB lights. RGB lights are just decorative additions to custom gaming PCs and gaming setups and serve no functional use. The most significant disadvantage of RGB lighting is its high cost.
RGB RAM, RGB power supplies, RGB motherboards, RGB enclosures, and anything else with RGB lighting usually costs far more than conventional components without RGB lighting. As a result, every dollar spent on RGB lighting is a dollar that does not contribute to the overall performance of your system.
No, not at all. At least, not if you believe RGB lighting is nice.
Building bespoke gaming PCs and amazing Battlestations is a big part of PC gaming culture. RGB lighting allows gamers all around the world to create the settings they choose. It’s really no different than folks getting bespoke paint jobs on their cars or updating the landscape in front of their house for aesthetic reasons.
Adding RGB lights to your setup will not help your system run faster or offer you higher framerates, but it will make your battle station appear cooler, which may make your experience more pleasurable.
And that is all that is truly important. RGB lights may not be “practical,” but if you believe they look great and have the additional cash to invest, I say to disregard the critics and add RGB lighting to your setup.
2. Racing-Style Gaming Chairs
I’ve recently evaluated a few different racing-style gaming seats and one thing I’ve noticed is how much certain members of the PC gaming community trash them. The popular argument is that racing-style seats are not ergonomic and, as a result, are uncomfortable to sit on.
The fact is that, despite a few ergonomic faults, racing-style gaming seats aren’t that much worse to sit-in than the identical office chairs at comparable price ranges.
This implies that, at the price points at which PC gaming seats are accessible (usually between $100 and $400), there aren’t any office chairs available at those same costs that provide perfect ergonomics.
So, unless you want to spend close to a thousand dollar on a high-end office chair, you’re going to have to settle with a less-than-ideal chair anyhow.
A nice-looking gaming chair, like RGB lights may elevate a PC gamer’s battle station to the next level. So, if you don’t want to spend a substantial amount on a high-end ergonomic office chair and want something that looks hip, purchasing a gaming chair isn’t as awful as some would have you believe.
3. Liquid Cooling
But, in truth, I could have purchased a high-end air cooler and had a comparable cooling performance for a fraction of the price.
But I invested a couple of thousand dollars on my most recent computer build, and I wanted it to look nice. And, in my perspective, AIO coolers are more visually appealing than air coolers.
And I couldn’t be more pleased.
Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?
Yes, on average, liquid cooling outperforms air cooling in terms of cooling. However, the performance margin isn’t as large as you may assume (at least between AIO coolers and air coolers). Furthermore, in terms of price-to-performance, air conditioning provides a little better value in terms of performance.
Custom water-cooled systems can provide exceptional cooling, but they are also quite expensive. Moreover, bespoke loops are generally intended for either severe overclocking or for aesthetic considerations.
However, this is similar to RGB lighting and racing-style gaming seats… If you can afford it and want the aesthetics that an AIO cooler or custom loop can provide, go for it. If you have a limited budget and performance is your primary aim, it makes more sense to go with an air cooler and use the money saved on a faster GPU, CPU, and/or more RAM.
As a result, I spent extra money on an AIO cooler to achieve the desired appearance. Actually, I merged two unrealistic things into one… an AIO liquid cooler with RGB lights.
4. Multiple GPUs
The notion of integrating several graphics cards in one system appeals to many gamers. Isn’t it true that the more graphics cards you have, the better?
Well, sort of…
The truth is that utilizing several graphics cards does not result in the same multiple performance increases. When you start adding more graphics cards to your system, the returns start to decline.
And, because your graphics card is likely to be the most costly component in your system, adding another one (or two, or three) will simply increase the overall cost of your setup.
Of course, if you have a limitless budget, this is perfectly acceptable. However, if you have a limited budget and are contemplating whether to add a second graphics card or upgrade other components, you should reconsider installing the second graphics card.
Another issue with multiple GPUs is that not all games support SLI or CrossFireX setups. So, although your dual GTX 1080 Ti system may allow you to run one AAA title at 60+ FPS on a 4K or 1440P 144Hz display, the same may not be true for another AAA title—the second card may provide no increase at all. In the worst-case situation, it might potentially cause issues.
5. Huge Power Supplies
One widely held belief in the PC building community is that purchasing a low-cost power supply is a poor idea. And this is absolutely correct.
However, some first-time builders and PC gamers may take this to its logical conclusion and spend a little fortune on a 1000W 80Plus Titanium power supply for a single-GPU system.
In fact, unless you’re running several graphics cards and/or trying to break an overclocking record, you generally won’t need a power supply with a wattage rating of more than 600-700W. (at the most).
That is not to say that any 600-700W (or less) power source will suffice. You must still ensure that you select a high-quality power supply. However, most single-GPU configurations will never require enough power to warrant purchasing a monster 1000W (or greater) power supply.
As a result, it’s always a good idea to utilize an accurate power supply calculator (I use the OuterVision calculator) to get a fair estimate of the sort of power your system will need, and then pick a power supply with a little bit of headroom over that figure.