Recently, I’ve had the desire to build my own PC for gaming and streaming. This comes from playing pretty resource intensive games like PUBG, Overwatch, and wanting to play games like Star Citizen. While in the Facebook groups and forums for Star Citizen, I noticed a trend among many of the members who were miffed that the newest update for the pre-alpha version of the game was unplayable by their computers.
The Star Citizen complainer in his natural habitat posts the statistics of their PC builds often, almost bragging at how expensive it is. The next sighting of this species is when they complain about how the computer they spent a year’s worth of my rent for runs Star Citizen at 4-5 frames per second. It’s one of if not the most resource intensive game ever. I noticed a pattern in most of these game monkey’s PCs. The CPU.
If you want to skip the jargon and explanation of how CPUs work, skip the next two paragraphs. I’m a nerd, so if you’re reading this for a talk on expectations, it’s there. Just gotta understand where I come from.
Let’s just say I’ve looked at gaming PC builds for a long time now, scheming and plotting which build I’ll use. There’s a commonality among most of them. They skimp on the CPU. I’ll explain using Intel, because they’re the most widely spoken of. An i3 processor, even with the same or close to the same amount of Ghz (Gigahertz, or, how many times the processes of the computer can compute by the billions per second) is nowhere near the same amount of power an i7 can push out.
The number next to the Intel’s chips are a relative power number. Like how Vegeta calls out a relative power level for Goku (IT’S OVER NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAAAND!), we call out relative power level numbers for Intel’s CPUs. It has nothing to do with how many cores the CPU has or what Ghz it runs at. Although, there are patterns to how the different level of CPUs perform when you look at i3s to i7s. An i3 CPU will bottleneck a top of the line GPU (Video card) guaranteed, meaning it doesn’t have the power or resources necessary to process the amount of commands the GPU is throwing at it. Most people prefer the GPU to be bottlenecking the CPU, but recent trends are stating that it doesn’t matter what CPU you have when you play video game.
It may be true that a few years ago video games weren’t very CPU heavy. They mostly relied on the memory of the GPU. Nowadays it’s not the case. Most games are heavy on the amount of information being thrown at your computer. This brings me to my point.
When making anything, you need to have some sort of expectations as to how it’s going to turn out. I’m not talking about how many views or likes you get, the social media aspect is completely separate to this concept. I’m saying that with any project, we must expect the outcome to be a certain way. Whether it’s building a lightsaber and expecting it to be able to hold a sound card and LED light powerful enough to make it look as good as you expect it to, or building a computer with enough power to run a game you want to play at 60 fps with 4k resolution. If a computer build someone else made says, “This plays anything you want!” That’s their expectations and goals for their build. For you, you might want less on the video card end, or maybe more on the CPU end. Of course better parts are always welcome, but to do what we want our computers to do and still eat, we sometimes have to spend less on some parts and more on others.
For games like Star citizen, a powerful CPU (i5-7 processor or its equivalent), lots of RAM (32GB), and a bossin’ video card (1080 Ti) are required for me to play. If your expectations are to have more than 25 FPS in this game, your computer’s specs should probably be around that. We can’t complain that a game doesn’t work anymore when our parts don’t match the required specifications. Not only our parts matter, either, but how we treat our computers is an important factor as well. Optimization is almost as important as the part itself. If I have loads of unchecked background processes and updates running nonstop, my expectations for gaming don’t match my actions at that point.
This works for other things as well. Our performance should be measured by our expectations, not society’s or another person’s expectations. Again, keep these realistic. If I’m playing Overwatch, I can’t have the expectation to “win the game.” I can imagine the win, and my goals can be there, but my expectation has to be simpler. I can make an expectation as a healer to keep my teammate’s health in check at all time, keep myself in a safe position with eyes on all of them, and land more shots that I control this game than last. When making expectations, don’t focus on the outcomes of other people. You shouldn’t grade yourself as bad because you lost a game due to a team effort. Make your own little goals and work up your expectations from there.
I had an experience in Thailand as a missionary where we, my co-worker and I, had a goal to teach 14 people in one week. This was… Well, if you don’t know missionary culture in Thailand, this was hard to say the least. After the week was done, and we had taught 2 people, I was really hard on myself. I thought it was because of me, and my lack of dedication to the effort that caused this outcome. I was reminded by a close friend that I set my expectations on the free will of others. I can’t control what other people do, namely whether they’ll listen to us and want us to teach them or not. I shouldn’t burden myself because I failed an unrealistic expectation. The next week I had set the expectation for myself to talk to a certain number of people, and to focus on giving my co-worker attention and room to talk. I expected myself to not interrupt people as much, either.
These expectations made life a whole lot more satisfying. I felt progress constantly, and I noticed my mannerisms changing and my goals being fulfilled. When making expectations for ourselves, we may forget where we’re going with them, but as a whole we can only get better if we use them properly. Don’t think that you’ll be perfect at fulfilling these expectations right off the bat, but continue to think about them and focus on fulfilling them and you’ll be on the right track to becoming a better person and planner. Keep making them. Your life won’t feel so held back, and you’ll feel that wonderful, full feeling of accomplishment on a daily basis. I promise that.