Smart phones, apps, smart watches, Snapchat and filters that make you talk and look like a duck; teenagers in 2016 have access to so much technology that sometimes we as parents can be left with technology overload. All the rage among teenage gamers, talk of gaming computers can also cause our parental circuits to overload especially when price becomes a topic. We’re left with so many questions!
What is a gaming computer? What is a gaming computer capable of and how does it differ from a “regular” computer? And most important, why are gaming computers so darn expensive?
First off, you should know that gaming computers go by a few different names. They can also be called gaming PCs and gaming rigs. Gaming computers are made for gamers in mind and are generally available by custom order as there is a large variety of options for hardware available. The needs of one gamer may vary from another, so getting a custom based system will allow your teen a tailored solution to their gaming needs. There are many companies that build custom order some of the most popular being AlienWare, Falcon, Maingear and Cybertron.
Many PC games require computations that are very demanding that a regular PC can’t handle. A gaming rig has increased graphical and processing power which increases performance and the gamers’ overall experience. The main differences between a standard PC and a gaming PC are the graphics, RAM, and cooling system. In a gaming computer some of the upgrades over a standard PC include:
- High speed, unlocked CPU (Central Processing Unit). The CPU is the brain of the computer where most of the computations are processed. By having a CPU unlocked, it allows the computer to run at a higher speed.
- High end cooling, frequently using water. When you have a faster CPU it can cause overheating so a water based cooling system is a must to avoid lagging, performance issues and even worse, damage to the unit.
- High speed, unlocked GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and graphics card. A good GPU will handle many types of graphics computations including mapping textures and increased pixels.
- High speed RAM (Random Access Memory). Regular PCs used for social media, word processing and internet research don’t need a ton of RAM, but when it comes to gaming RAM can greatly increase load times and game play.
Gaming computers are pricier than standard computers due to the different hardware discussed above.
Keep in mind though that many base model gaming computers can be relatively affordable, but as you add upgraded options the price tag can rise. We chose to combat this by purchasing a base model gaming computer for our son and he upgraded the components himself after saving. First, he upgraded the RAM, then the video card, etc. This was a great incentive program for him!