Most, if not all, gamers will have experienced the painful need for an upgrade, even after spending hundreds of dollars on their system. Whether it’s low FPS counts or graphical setting compromises being made to appease your game time, eventually we get fed up and buy ourselves a new CPU, GPU, or increase the RAM, or storage.
An upgrade is usually less intense on our bank accounts but, of course, that depends on how ancient your system was to begin with. I thought it might be quite interesting to ask round the WePC office and found out if any of my esteemed colleagues have run into this issue and what game, in particular, was the cause!
Shaun Conroy: Squad
I have always been into my competitive FPS titles, never needing much graphical power and always favoring the settings on lowest to achieve the highest frame rate, gaining what little edge I could. As I got older my Steam library grew and I soon realized my ancient, toaster-like computer needed an upgrade, well, more like several.
A few friends put me onto Squad and while the game was pretty decent fun, the dreadful performance from my Ivy Bridge i5-3470, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and mighty 1GB GTX 1050 Ti GPU meant even on low it was a struggle. Even though the majority of games I still tend to play require as much computational power as a laptop, I ended up going for an i5-8600 CPU and got hold of a second-hand GTX 1080 Ti, basically giving my new rig the power to play anything that pops up in the near future.
The new system tackles most titles in maxed out settings with the only compromises now being made to increase the frame rate or if I ever move to a 1440p resolution monitor. My current PC is a literal breath of fresh air and I can’t believe I went all those years pretty much just making do.
Chris Murray: Crysis
But can it run Crysis? A meme I think most gamers will be familiar with by now but an actual dilemma I faced back when the game was released. Crysis was an incredible game, I mean, the graphics, the mechanics, the physics, just a mind-blowing game and I needed to have it.
Just to run the game, I was using 1024×768 (not even the same aspect ratio) even though I had a 1280×1024 display. I tweaked a lot of the cvars, following guides to get good graphics with little impact on performance. Despite the fact I was barely hitting 20FPS with low settings, I still wanted the graphical fidelity the game boasted. This was all while running the game using a Sapphire ATI Radeon 1650XT GPU, a card I was previously happy with until Crysis came along.
Shifting to the Nvidia 8800GT was night and day, I could now set the resolution to my full 1280×1024 monitor’s resolution and could crank a lot of the settings up. This was all whilst achieving well above 30FPS. I think it hovered around 40FPS most of the time, but I never used frame capping tools as I would now to lock it to a solid 30.
Paul McNally: Elite Dangerous
I won’t lie, I’ve always enjoyed any game that lets me potter about in space, so when I saw Elite Dangerous with its VR compatibility, it felt like Christmas. I bought the game without hesitation, which caused me a small amount of pain down the line. At the time, I had the Oculus Rift and the game was virtually unplayable (no pun intended). The text was really blurry and the only way to clean it up was to supersample it in the graphics options and doing that with the existing card just made it stutter.
At the time I was running the game off my Nvidia GTX 770 and tried upgrading to a GTX 970 assuming it would provide me with the performance upgrade I desperately needed. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with the GTX 970, it just wasn’t good enough, so I almost instantly upgraded to a GTX 1070.
Finally, I could sit back and relax in my virtual cockpit, getting the increased upscaling for my Oculus. I didn’t stop there though, I went on to add a HOTAS joystick into the mix, along with some custom made bass shakers built into the chairs and I know what you are thinking but thankfully I was already married by then.
Lewie Procter: Half-Life 2
Anyone who was lucky enough to have a gaming PC in the mid-noughties knew that Half-Life 2 was a huge title set to be released. I was really looking forward to this game, probably more than anything before it (and for some time after too).
As mentioned, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this game and I wanted to ensure it ran smoothly and looked as good as possible when It eventually came out. At the time I was running an Nvidia 3 Ti 200 GPU and knew it just wasn’t going to cut it for HL2. There was a cross-promotion running at the time advertising the new ATI Radeon 9800XT and it seemed like the perfect option.
Unfortunately, the game got delayed and didn’t actually come out until later, so I had my download key sat ready to go for months. It wasn’t the end of the world though, I was enjoying playing older games at higher settings in the run-up to the release of Half-Life 2, but I was still just mostly anticipating HL2. When it finally came out, I downloaded it over several days with my 56k internet but the game did not disappoint.
Talha Qureshi: League of Legends
I began gaming on what would be considered now to be an old Apple Macbook. I moved over to a regular old office PC, a Dell Optiplex 790 to be exact and while it was slightly better for gaming, I experienced sluggish gameplay, low FPS, and terrible graphics.
I was used to everything being generally slow from work to games but as I took a shine to League of Legends I got more and more fed up with turning everything to the lowest possible graphical settings. Moving away from the quad-core i5-2400 and its integrated graphics, I got myself an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 CPU and an RTX 2060 graphics card.
Playing on my PC now is an absolute joy and I have loved every minute of it since upgrading, it’s worth every penny since I use it pretty much every day. Now I have scope to use my PC for other things, such as games I wouldn’t have even thought of playing on my old computer, and most importantly, my gameplay on League has significantly improved.
Mike Tomlinson: Cyberpunk 2077
My current system has brought me a lot of entertainment value since I built it and the specifications have always had me covered, even recently. With an i5-6600K, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a GTX 1070 GPU, I’ve never really struggled to get some half-decent performance out of most games.
While I could have upgraded for RDR2, I rolled with the punches and still enjoyed that title but with the system requirements for Cyberpunk 2077 being released, I decided to save and make sure I had a cracking system for when that game finally comes out. I didn’t strictly upgrade just for Cyberpunk 2077 but it was the kick up the backside I needed to finally bite the bullet.
With my upgrade I went for AMD’s Ryzen 7 3700 and paired it with an RTX 2080 Super, pretty much giving me all the performance I’ll need for quite a few years to come. While I wait for the release of Cyberpunk 2077, I can enjoy every title I currently own, only with maxed out graphics.