Last year, I started a limited edition mini-series called “Diaries of a PC Noob” where I covered my journey from lifelong console player to PC gamer. And yes, like you may have assumed just from reading that first sentence, I am in talks with HBO Now to turn that series into a limited TV run. I will be played by my celebrity look-alike, Jason Segal, and my love interest will be played by none other than Martha Stewart.
Here’s the 3 entries of that series if you would like to go back and look at how shitty of a writer I used to be (still am, but less shit):
I had a DM recently asking if I would do an update to that series now that the next-gen consoles have been announced and their stats have been leaked. At first, I thought, no. I will not go back to that place. I had to go full-on Super Saiyan nerd to write that series and women didn’t speak to me for 6 months. But alas, Q&A month is upon us and I am bound to my word. So fuck it, leggo.
First, let’s briefly recap some things. Consoles are really just a different form of a computer. From a hardware perspective, they’re made up of many of the same components:
Central Processing Unit (CPU) – This is the brain of your entire machine. When you click your mouse or start a program, this is what makes it happen. The important thing to note when choosing a CPU is how many cores and threads it has. These are like your CPU’s little “oompa loompas”. The more you have, the more candy you make until one day your boss gives the entire empire over to a fucking child who has no idea how to run a business and most likely died of diabetes. Asshole.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) – this is what turns that green coding shit from the Matrix into sunlight shining off Abella Danger’s oily ass. The GPU is probably the most important component of a machine at this point in time. Many college laptops are capable of running games like Fortnite and CS:GO, but they’re held back due to a weak GPU. Again, the more powerful the GPU, the nicer everything will look.
Random Access Memory (RAM) – The fourth studio album by French electronic duo, Daft Punk.
Also, RAM is what helps your computer multitask. It works in tandem with your CPU to manage the ridiculous amount of Google Chrome tabs that you refuse to close (I currently have 12 open and I’m pretty sure my Surface Pro is about to launch into space).
Storage (HDD and/or SSD) – If you never used one of those little memory cards to save your games as a kid, you’re too young and probably shouldn’t be reading this blog kiddo. Thank god we upgraded from those; I cannot tell you the number of times my save files would get deleted by my asshole sister so she could create her 5th Animal Crossing character. Nowadays, all game data and save files are stored on a console or computer’s internal storage. There are two types of storage right now: hard drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD). Hard drives are your classic computer storage systems, while solid-state drives are a newer form of technology. More on this later.
Motherboard – This is what you plug all the above components into, so you could say that it has alot of holes. Just make sure it has enough holes for everything and you’re good.
There’s more stuff to consider like your power supply, your case, cooling, all the fancy shit like RGB lighting, transparent glass panes, a 1/8 replica of Cortana; but the components I highlighted above are ususally the meat of every gaming machine.
So now that we’ve browsed the Nerd Dictionary, let’s get to the stats.
Ok…I’m a nerd and even I’m cross-eyed looking at that shit. This is all we’re really gonna look at:
So let’s just cut to the chase: these two machines are going to be very similar. The CPU is almost the same, the Memory (RAM) is the same, the memory bandwidth/speed is pretty similar. Like I’ve said before, the difference between these two machines comes down to the GPU (Xbox has a more powerful one) and the SSD (Xbox has more storage space but PS5 is rumored to be faster).
But what about a gaming PC? How does this all compare to a gaming PC?
Well…we don’t know yet. Here’s the thing about these next-gen consoles: they’re unbelievably powerful. Like when this stat sheet first dropped I texted one of my PC building buddies from YouTube (shoutout Toasty Bros) and we both were like “this thing is gonna cost over $1000.” But, in reality, I think we’re being slightly deceived by marketing tactics.
Remember when I said that CPUs are measured by the number of cores and threads they have? Well, where are those listed above? Because I can get a 4 core 8 thread weak ass bitch CPU that runs at 3.8GHz for like $100 and I highly doubt that’s what’s being put in this machine.
The same goes for the GPU which is being benchmarked in TFLOPS. TFLOPS (teraflops) is the dumbest way to gauge how powerful a graphics card is. It literally tells you nothing. I’ve compared it in the past to horsepower for a car engine; it’s interesting but how fast does the car go vroom and how loud? The real test of a GPU is the benchmark test of frames per second, which we won’t know until the graphics cards themselves are publically released (apparently sometime this month).
So how do we accurately compare a gaming PC build to an unreleased console?
By cheating. Because that’s what we do on PC you fucks.
Using the recommended specs for games coming out this fall, I built this gaming PC using PCPartPicker.com. Here are the components:
Now you may look at that price tag and shudder to think about spending over $1000 on a gaming PC, but again, this is “recommended specs”. You could easily spend less and still be able to play and stream simpler games like Fortnite and Fall Guys. But if you’re trying to experience Cyberpunk 2077 in all it’s ray tracing glory this November, this is probably the cheapest way to do it.
So which is better: the gaming PC or a next-gen console? Well first, remember that we don’t actually know what the price of these consoles will be yet. I originally thought $800 would be the price point with the Digital Only versions being like $600, but now people are starting to think the cost will be $500 for the main edition and $400 for the digital edition. I’m not buying that. I still think it’ll be around $600-700 for the base version of the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
“Ok let me get this straight nerd: you’re saying that I can get a next gen console that is probably more powerful than your PC build here for $300-400 less?”
Yes I am. Next-gen consoles are going to be a steal IF they truely are what they say they are. And that’s the last thing I’ll say about gaming PCs: at least you know when you build them whats inside. With consoles, you never truly know what they’re capable of until years after launch. With a gaming PC, you choose all your components and can swap them out rather freely whenever you want.
So yea, you wanna be a cheapo? Go for a next-gen console. You want true freedom and access to literally every game on the planet not made by Nintendo or Sony first party studios? Go with a gaming PC.