While you were lurking on the internet and chuckling at doggos getting bamboozled, you may have come across the term “PC Master Race”. Casually thrown in for just about every gaming meme, it’s usually depicted by a long white-haired yellow guy as pictured above. It was coined by Yahtzee Croshaw, who reviews video games for the Escapist in a satirical series called “Zero Punctuation”, while reviewing The Witcher. The primary intention of the term was to describe the elite bunch of PC gamers who blindly threw money at any new hardware that arrived on the market. Think of them as the same people who comment “first” on every YouTube video. But instead, their first is the first one to buy (and even *shudder* pre-order) the latest 60 core / 120 thread processor. Gradually, this mockery turned into reality when misled gamers started glorifying how powerful their gaming rigs were because it cost more with their unlocked processor, quad-GPU and 128GB of RAM. Little did they know that games such as Assassin’s Creed Unity and Batman: Arkham Knight were on their way to PC to prove them wrong. So much for those big bucks spent on their giant electricity gobbling monsters.
Being part of the PCMR community isn’t simply about buying and assembling all the hardware from an “epic build of the month” video you just watched on YouTube. It’s definitely not about posting pictures of your amazing custom liquid-cooled RGB-enabled tempered glass rig on Instagram with the hashtag #hardcoregamer. Add passion to these theatrics and then we might be getting somewhere. Before we move forward, let’s address the huge misconception that in order to qualify for the community, you need to own an over-the-top ultra high-end gaming rig. You seriously don’t need to! You can be a member of PCMR with just a potato PC. Heck, you don’t even have to own a PC to be welcomed into the brotherhood. It all boils down to your enthusiasm towards learning about PCs and gaming in general. As you watch and learn, you slowly realise several things, which can be deemed as life lessons in the long run. And that’s exactly what we intend to do, by going full Mr. Miyagi on PCMR.
Make better decisions
An expensive gaming rig doesn’t ensure the best performance. Speaking of CPUs, not all the games are optimised to take full advantage of the available cores. So, you could have an eight-core CPU but your game is only restricted to push its workload over to a maximum of four cores. Coming to graphics, inserting your supercharged custom hybrid-cooled GPU into your metal-bracketed RGB-lit PCI-e slot won’t do much for you if the game isn’t optimised with the relevant graphics API. What if you have a dual or tri or quad GPU setup? Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but many games tend to lock down certain graphics features in multiple GPU setups. Sometimes they don’t even scale in quality based on the number of GPUs installed. You’ll come across more of these revelations if you take advice from the community’s elders on matters that concern your spending woes. This will involve learning a lot about compatibility and how to go about picking the right parts for the right use-case. Because you wouldn’t install a GTX 1080 Ti on your grandpa’s PC who only uses it to tag grandma in memes posted on the dankoldiememes Facebook page. By acquiring knowledge about all the factors, soon enough, listing down gaming rigs across budgets will be as easy as destroying the Death Star multiple times. Hence, when you’re shopping for your dream gaming rig, try to make informed decisions about whether you should invest more on an RGB-enabled cabinet or a mid-range GPU. Because expensive impulsive spends like a Titan XP, an i7-6950x, or Pogba, won’t always work out in your favour.
Patience is key
Depending on your level of interest, you’ll find yourself assembling a lot of rigs for your friends or family. You will be THAT guy in the neighbourhood who’s always summoned whenever there’s a PC issue. As builders ourselves, we’ve mentioned several times how therapeutic it is to install PC components one by one. When you start off, it won’t exactly be the same since half of the time you’ll be beating yourself up for inserting the wrong screw or attaching the wrong front panel I/O connector. After having completed the task of putting the components together, you move on to verifying whether the PC boots up. Spoiler alert: It won’t every time. That being said, with a successful boot up, you now face the gruelling task of cable management. If you spend some time rerouting and tying down the cables on the backplate, it not only makes the cabinet look neat, it also improves air flow to an extent. As you regurgitate the previously mentioned steps across many builds, you’ll learn a very important life lesson which is patience. Figuring out the best possible route while assembling a PC, cautiously connecting all the components, tying down the cables in specific zones, watching the PC you built boot up, and listening to people complimenting your cable management can be quite rewarding. This will motivate you to stick to this community for longer and persevere. If you still need a stronger lesson on patience, go ask gamers who are waiting for Half-life 3 or Liverpool fans waiting to win their next Premier League title.
Solve problems easily
Now don’t assume that PCMR members are capable of solving the case of The Hound of Baskerville (some might). But you will certainly be able to deduce why the PC is incessantly beeping out a pulse instead of booting up. Although this particular example could just be a normal hardware error of a poorly connected component, there could be more complicated PC problems. The more problems you come across, the more research and effort you will put in to solve them. Eventually, you will be able to streamline the method by which you deduce an error. For instance, if the PC won’t boot, the first thing you check is whether the main power is switched. Then you move over to check whether the PSU is switched on and verify whether the main motherboard power cable is connected. With no problems here, you then move on to verify whether the cabinet’s power button is connected to the motherboard. If the machine still won’t boot up, you start checking whether the CPU and GPU fans rotate after you push the power button. With these two components working fine, you check whether you’ve properly connected the display cable to your monitor. And suddenly, you realise the dunderhead that you are, and notice that the monitor wasn’t switched on. The possibilities are endless (sometimes genuine, sometimes embarrassing) and there will be days when you sit down with a blank face waiting for the PC to come to life. Another important lesson you need to know is there will always be another way. If one solution fails, there will be another slightly complicated one. A day will surely come when you will be able to deduce and call out the error by just looking at it.
With a heart as clean as your wallet after every Steam sale, if you’re pursuing knowledge in the PCMR community, you will be rewarded with all the glorious wisdom mentioned above. Dedication throughout will surely ensure that you’re up to date with the latest happenings in the PC sector while also reflecting your enthusiasm. News flash: Playing video games also enhances several skills and we’ve already talked about them over at SKOAR!. There’s much more you can learn, and many more skills you can acquire just by maintaining self-discipline in the community. The future of gaming looks bright, and we’re talking about all platforms here, even the smartphone in your pocket. The gaming industry alone brought in more revenue than the music and movie industry combined last year. Take that Kanye and Avengers! It probably won’t happen anytime soon, but we do believe that one day, we will live in a time where console gamers and PC gamers will finally call off their graphical crusade and simply sit down and play video games together.
So what are you waiting for?
This article was first published in the July 2017 issue of Digit magazine. To read Digit’s articles first, subscribe here or download the Digit app for Android and iOS. You could also buy Digit’s previous issues here.