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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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        ControllerErgonomics4

          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 May 14, 2019

            8 Replacements for Google Notebook

            8 Replacements for Google Notebook

            Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

            1. Zoho Notebook
              If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
            2. Evernote
              The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
            3. Net Notes
              If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
            4. i-Lighter
              You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
            5. Clipmarks
              For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
            6. UberNote
              If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
            7. iLeonardo
              iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
            8. Zotero
              Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

            I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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            In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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