When Temptation Strikes . . .

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. . . and you feel like you have to lay out a bunch when you really don’t have a bunch to lay out just to stay competitive with all those expensive new computers you see being sold all over the place, just go here

This shows exactly what kind of equipment those who use Steam to play games use.

It’s hardly cutting, much less bleeding-edge stuff.

I grant you, these statistics are skewed a little bit to the old since the survey period ended almost two months ago.

I grant you, these statistics are skewed a bit more since some of the games being played (i.e. Counterstrike) are not resource-intensive, and even the more demanding games like Half Life 2 aren’t big resource hogs.

Nonetheless, it’s very clear from these numbers that the vast majority of players does not have equipment younger than the milk in your refrigerator.

If there are equivalent statistics for other game serving systems, I’d be happy to add them to this article.

Coordinate Your Purchases

With equipment being relatively more expensive than it was a few years ago, it becomes even more important to get the most from your money.

But sometimes, that means spending more, not less.

For instance, a lot of people tend to take a piecemeal approach to upgrading: a CPU here, a video card there.

When it comes to gaming, that may not be the best approach, primarily because of the shift from AGP to PCI Express.

Yes, many have tried to stretch their systems by buying the Last of the AGP Cards, but that’s just what they are: the last.

For those still sitting with Athlon XP or pre-Prescott systems at this point in time, keep in mind that gaming performance is a combination of video and CPU power. Some games rely more on the first, some rely more on the second.

Before you think about buying an expensive AGP video card, you really ought to consider how much of its potential will remain unused because your CPU isn’t maxed out.

Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be that big a deal under piecemeal purchasing because you’d eventually upgrade the CPU/mobo and then plug in the already purchased video card, but that’s not going to be a real option this time around.

If you’re decidedly behind the curve, it may be wiser to live with what you have until you can upgrade both CPU and video (yes, it will cost more, but that’s what banks are for, to save money until you need it), or make do with a less capable but cheaper new video card for the next six-twelve months until something like socket M2 comes out.

Then you’ll at least have a system based on current standards that you can upgrade piecemeal later. 🙂

Ed

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