A Console Gamer Gets a Gaming PC

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 2 min read

I grew up with Macs, continued to use them as an adult, and then switched to the iPad. Needless to say, I haven't done much PC gaming in my life.

So when I looked into replacing my 8 year old Mac mini, I decided to go with something a lot better at playing games. I love my PS4 and Switch, but there are sometimes games that are either exclusive to PC, cheaper on PC, or have some more advanced visuals on PC.

So here's the relevant specs for what I'm using right now:

  • Intel Core i5-9400 @ 2.9GHz
  • NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
  • 16GB RAM

From my relatively basic understanding of PC hardware, that's a decent CPU, okay RAM, and a kickin' GPU. And my experience so far (it's only been 3 days) has been pretty great!

Getting games is simple enough, although I've had to install almost a half dozen game launchers so far. I've got Steam, Xbox Game Pass, Epic, and installed, and I just realized as I write that that GOG probably has one I will end up getting down the line... But once these are installed, it's as simple as you'd expect to find the games I want to play, and Xbox Game Pass is a god-send for getting some great stuff with no risk. It's $4.99/month for the PC version ($14.99 if you want to get console access as well) and has already let me install Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, Slay the Spire, with tons more available when get finish these.

And do these games play well? Oh, yes they do. I'm playing everything with every graphical setting turned up and at my monitors max resolution (1440p) and refresh rate (60Hz), and every single game plays at a completely locked 60fps. These include:

  • Gears 5
  • Forza Horizon
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Fortnite

Those aren't exactly easy games to run, and this thing handles them like they're no big deal. It looks like if I had a 144Hz or 4K monitor I'd want to tone things down a bit to hit that frame rate, but as a simple console gamer, this is already an upgrade from what I'm used to, so color me thoroughly impressed.

I also picked up an Xbox One controller from Target for just over $20, which was an amazing deal, and I really like this controller. It feels very similar to the Switch Pro Controller, which I also enjoy, but has a textured surface for grip and just looks really sharp (I got the white standard one). My two complaints are that the damn thing uses 2 AA batteries which feels insane in 2020, and that the A/B and X/Y buttons are exactly reversed from the Switch controller, so my brain has to do a mental conversion to hit the right buttons every time I sit down. In fairness, I think this layout makes more sense than Nintendo's, but I had gotten used to Nintendo's first, so it's a me problem.

Finally, it's a bit shocking to me how big some of these games are. Modern Warfare takes up 147GB on my drive and used up 15% of my monthly bandwidth to download. I get that these fantastic visuals take up space, but some of these numbers are just astronomical.