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What’s better for gaming, PCs or consoles? Find out here.

What’s better for gaming, PCs or consoles? Find out here.

So you want to be a gamer. How do you go about becoming one? The answer to that question is more difficult to answer than you might expect. Traditionally, those entering the gaming world usually buy a console, which today would mean picking up either an Xbox One or PS4. While those are both great devices, most are unaware that there is another option: PC gaming.

People shy away from PC gaming for a number of reasons, the primary one usually being the high initial cost. But what most never come to realize is that what lies beyond that initial barrier is a near infinite amount of gaming potential. That’s not to say, however, that consoles don’t have their benefits.

Below, I’ll break down the PC vs console debate into several categories, and you’ll be able to make the decision for yourself.

1. Cost

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    There’s no question that consoles are, initially, the cheaper option. The PS4 and Xbox One are both priced around $350-$400, while your average gaming PC might cost upwards of $800 (less if you build your own PC using a site like newegg.com). If you opt for a gaming laptop, you could be paying even more upfront.

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    What is important to remember, however, is that there are long term costs you need to be aware of as well. Console games traditionally cost much more than PC games. This is mainly because PC gamers have access to services like Steam, where games that are $60 on consoles regularly go on sale for 50-75% off. During Steam’s famous summer sales, you can often purchase five or six awesome games for the price of one console game.

    As a PC gamer, you tend to recoup your initial losses over time, especially since online multiplayer is free on PCs, whereas it’s an additional $50-60 a year cost on the consoles. That’s not to say consoles don’t have the edge in some instances, such as if you only buy a handful of games a year, and aren’t too fond of online multiplayer experiences.

    And lastly, what you also need to consider is if you use a PC or laptop for school or work. If so, buying a gaming PC or laptop is probably more cost-effective than buying a work PC or laptop and a console.

    2. Performance

    TitanPerformance2
      Just one of these GTX Titan graphics cards are worth several consoles in terms of computing power.

      There’s no getting around it: consoles are weak by modern computing standards. Indeed, any decent gaming PC from around 2010-2011 will likely be more powerful than the Xbox One or PS4. That is how they are able to sell the platforms at such a low price — the hardware inside of them just isn’t close to being bleeding edge.

      Even the most average gaming PCs of 2015 are ahead of the consoles by leaps and bounds, something that is definitely evident in the games you play. More power means higher resolution, smoother framerates, better looking graphics, and faster load times. The question you have to ask yourself is whether these bells and whistles are worth the extra cost to you. If yes, then PC gaming is truly your only option. If you are someone who doesn’t really care about the particulars of a game’s graphics and performance and just wants to enjoy good gameplay, consoles will probably work just fine for you.

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      3. Exclusives

      LichKingExclusive3

        As a fan of the Halo series, and a part-time PC gamer, I often find myself in a bit of a conundrum. Do I buy the Xbox One for Halo 5? Or do I wait, since buying an entire platform for one game is a bit of a waste? It’s a question many PC gamers find themselves asking, as consoles often have the best exclusive games. While PCs have exclusives of their own, none are as high profile as Halo, Gears of War, and Uncharted.

        I will say however that PCs do win in one major department, and that’s in massively multiplayer online games, like World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, and Mount and Blade: Warband. These games simply wouldn’t work on consoles, due to both their control schemes and their network requirements.

        Whichever way you go, you’ll be missing out on something. What you need to decide is which batch of exclusives you want to play more. Are you more Halo, or World of Warcraft?

        4. Controls and Ergonomics

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          I often hear the argument that console gaming is better because you can sit on your couch, use a controller, and play on a big fifty inch plasma TV. While that’s true, you can also use an Xbox controller with your gaming PC, giving you the exact same experience you would get on a console. You can also connect your PC to an HDTV using an HDMI cord, allowing you to game on your couch in front of a big TV if that’s what you prefer.

          It is true however that consoles streamline this process, allowing you to essentially plug them in and play. Also, not all PC games (like the Mass Effect trilogy for instance) have gamepad support, so in those instances I would say that consoles win out in terms of controls. The mouse and keyboard control scheme works incredibly well for most games, but in some, it falls a bit short.

          5. Customization

          BuildPCcustomization5redux

            As far as customization goes, the PC is king. You can open them up, tear them apart, buy new parts, and rebuild them from the ground up if you want to. With consoles, you are stuck with the same machine until Microsoft of Sony releases the next version five years down the road. With PCs, you upgrade when you want to upgrade. Of course, the cost of this freedom is your hard-earned money. Most PC gamers I know upgrade their machine every two years, though recently that gap has been growing as computing hardware has hit something of a wall of diminishing returns. Indeed, a great gaming PC from 2012 can still hold its own incredibly well even today.

            But customization goes far beyond mere hardware. PC games are also far more customizable in terms of in-game options. You can tune your games to look exactly how you want them to look visually, and tweak a number of other settings that aren’t available to console users. Additionally, PC gamers have access to mods, which are essentially player-developed downloadable content that can add loads more to your gaming experience.

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            One game where modding works incredibly well is Skyrim. I’ve added about one hundred mods to my version of the game, and thus it’s nearly unrecognizable compared to the version I used to play on my trusty old Xbox 360. Some mods are so vast that they can add several hours of content, keeping your game fresh far beyond its natural expiration date. Even better, most modding communities stay active for years, even decades sometimes, meaning you can expect something new for your copy of Skyrim until at least 2020.

            Closing Thoughts

            As someone who has been both an avid PC and console gamer, I can say that your platform of choice will depend mostly on how you play. If you are a hardcore gamer who enjoys customization, modding, increased computing power, and massively multiplayer online games, then the PC is likely for you. If you are a casual gamer who wants to experience games in the comfort of their own living room, and values plug-and-play gameplay and AAA exclusives over customization and visual bells and whistles, then consoles are probably for you.

            In the end, you can’t go too wrong with either choice, as either way you’ll have access to some great content. Of course, you always have the option to splurge and enjoy the best of both worlds by buying both a gaming PC and a console. But of course, that would be cheating…

            Featured photo credit: Day One/Steve Petrucelli via flic.kr

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            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

            Joe’s Goals

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              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

              Daytum

                Daytum

                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                Excel or Numbers

                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                  Evernote

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                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                    Access or Bento

                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                      Conclusion

                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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