Is Your Computer Ready For Gaming?

There are a lot of computers competing for attention, but for something as specific and demanding as computer gaming, you'll need to make sure that all of your computer parts are ready for the current and next generation of games. To understand what you need and to help avoid shopping mistakes when looking through well-marketed computers and services, here's a bit of info about gaming computers and computing in general.

What Is A Gaming Computer?

The answer is a lot more complicated than "a computer that plays games." 

Gaming computers are specifically designed to handle the demands of high-definition, complex and file-rich applications/programs known as computer games. In addition to playing games, experienced gamers expect to be able to perform other functions while games are open.

Since games are simply programs that deliver a playable interface in the form of the game, you'll need to support the programs using the same resources as any other program. The processor needs to be fast enough to calculate everything that the program does, there needs to be enough hard drive space to hold the large files in the game, and the random-access memory (RAM) needs to be both fast enough and with enough capacity to transfer information between the hard drive and the processor.

Put simply, you need a fast processor, a big, fast hard drive and a decent amount of fast RAM. How much is fast enough or big enough? Thankfully, you don't need to calculate, since most games have system requirements that give a general idea of what gamers need to play their games. The online game Rift, for example, recommends 4 gigabytes (GB) of memory, a 2.2 gigahertz (GHz) dual core processor and at least 15 GB of storage drive space.

There is one requirement that sets gaming computers apart from other computers: the video card.

The Video Card Makes The Difference

A video card or graphics card is basically a miniature computer dedicated to just graphics. It has a processor called a graphics processing unit (GPU) as opposed to the main computer's processor, the central processing unit (CPU).

Both the computer's general resources and the video card share the burden of a game's performance, though more sophisticated and modern computers are able to heap most of the burden onto the video card. The reason that most high-demand games won't play on a powerful computer game with everything but a video card is because of specific instructions in a game that can only be interpreted (understood and made into action) by a video card, such as a shader instruction set. 

If you happen to have a modern computer that has all of the other resources needed for your game of choice except a video card, simply get a video card that fits your computer. If you need help selecting a card, upgrading other parts of your computer, or want information on getting a dedicated gaming computer ready for current or upcoming games, contact a residential computer services expert.