Choosing Your Platform: DVS Edition

When it comes to new gamers, or even veteran gamers choosing a platform to play on can be intimidating. You can be faced with a variety of choices, even as a parent choosing one for their child. This guide can come in handy by helping you narrow down your choice without feeling overwhelmed or pressured by irrelevant parties that tend to be a bit biased with their opinions. I mean let’s be honest, gamers can be the worst fanboys and their views might not be aligned with your best interests. In light of this I am going to break it down by covering each current generation system along with their advantages and disadvantages. These systems will be the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X, PC, and I will also touch upon the Classic editions of retro consoles.

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The Nintendo Switch was released on March 3rd of 2017, and made a huge comeback for the company since the Wii U console that was largely unsuccessful due to it’s limitations. Part of what made the console so successful is the fact that it was immediately open to 3rd party titles and support, and also has a unique design for home console and as well as portable, and the exclusive titles that were strong candidates for 2017 Game of the Year.

However, why should anyone choose this console over the others? Firstly this console is well suited to those whom are mostly on the go. Any full time employee that has limited time for gaming can easily take this console with them to work. The Nintendo Switch is a handheld console that has the a docking station that enables it to be play on a TV making it also viable as a home console, and has a platform that allows coordinating game play with other remote players. This capability is very well suited for those who often travel as well as the homebody. This console is an excellent choice for families, as Nintendo is mostly known for popular family oriented games like Super Mario Brothers, Pokemon, and even goofy games like Arms. Gamers with a budget can also benefit from picking the Switch since it only costs 299.99 instead of spending 499.99 like the other console choices.

For gamers that do not care for playing on the big screen, the Switch Lite version is available at 199.99. Though additional accessories can be expensive, you still get everything you need just buying the console by itself. The other big plus is you’ll have access to Nintendo exclusive games that will not be available on any other platform, such as Mario Odyssey, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The Switch also now features live services to play online games with others such as Splatoon 2 and Overwatch, and the subscription is much cheaper than other services starting at 3.99 a month.

That being said there are some downsides to going down this route. A lot of accessories are sold separately, such as a protective case and screen protector. The screen for the Switch is plastic and easily scratched up. Some of the accessories, like additional joy cons for family events are expensive, as a pair of joy cons costs 69.99 USD and you will need to get a separate docking station. Another factor to consider is that the joy cons are extremely small, so for those with bigger hands will probably end up dropping another 59.99 on the Pro Controller. Additionally, you will also probably end up buying an SD card since the console only offers 32 GB of storage. Going along with the storage dilemma, it must be said that not all games will auto save to Cloud storage. Lastly, if you want to play in full 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, this is not your console. Nintendo has never been about being the latest and greatest, they hold value in their games and are more invested in their consumers instead of performance.

Nintendo Switch Shortage | Coronavirus Limits Switch Production
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The Playstation 5 is Sony’s newest console which released on November 12th of 2020, and made remarkable improvements from their Playstation 4. It is the best selling new generation console so far with 4.5 million units sold and 47.4 million subscribers. This system is sold at your local stores for 499.99 for the disc edition, and 399.99 for the digital edition making it a pretty hefty purchase. Which is why I am narrowing down the pros and cons to help you decide if this is the best choice for you.

First and foremost, I always say base your console choice on what your friends play on if you play online often. It can be pretty lonely for those who base their choice off of internet or local peer pressure, and we all have ran into elitists at your local Best Buy or GameStop that have their own opinions that may differ from yours. However if you genuinely don’t care about playing with your friends, there are still a number of great reasons that the PS5 can be well suited for you. First and foremost we all love Sony exclusives such as Bloodborne, Spiderman, Ghost of Tsushima, and God of War. While these exclusives are making their way to PC, not everyone has that budget, and you may have to wait years until new releases launch on that platform, IF they ever do.

This console is also more geared toward single player gamers with Japanese Style and Action Adventure RPGs respectively. You also get powerful performance from the PS5, with the ability to play new titles in 4K resolution and 60 frames per second, add their 3D audio support and controller that uses haptic feedback.

Nevertheless there are some downsides to this platform. Chiefly the storage size for their SSD, which is only 825GB, and the system is just not as powerful as the Xbox Series X. So for those who want the most powerful console, you might want to look at other options. Another downside is that while their backwards compatible list is impressive, it does pale in comparison to the available Xbox selection that goes as far back as the original Xbox’s titles. The overall design for the console is also extremely huge compared to other consoles, which might prove inconvenient for those with limited space. That being said, the console is a great pick for the gamer more geared towards single player RPGs, or those who absolutely love Sony’s exclusive titles that are almost always Game of Year candidates.

PS5 review: a hardworking beefcake - Polygon
https://images.app.goo.gl/BwPYT3K76VAD7Tnk8

On November 10th, 2020 Microsoft released it’s Xbox Series X, the most powerful console of this generation. While the console was remarkably improved from the last entry, the launch did not do well, like previous console launch. That being said, the Series X is still an excellent option for gamers that love multiplayer games, Microsoft exclusives, and the most powerful performance that doesn’t bust the budget, and a great choice for those who love PC gaming, but need a break from traditional PC play. This console is a beast, running up to 8K resolution, the 12 Teraflop AMD RDNA 2 GPU and runs at 120 fps with 16 GB of RAM. The Series X is also usable as a home theater system to watch movies or stream in general. You can gain access to exclusives (also on PC) such as Halo, Gears of War, and Sea of Thieves, making this console perfect for players that want to make the most of a multiplayer experience.

If higher performance isn’t as important, you can also step down to the Series S. This is just a less powerful and cheaper option for those who care more for the multiplayer aspect and don’t want to fork out 499.99 USD. At 299.99 USD the Series S console still suits online gamers that need to budget but still care about pure performance. There aren’t as many of the more popular its counterparts, but it is cross compatible and cross save with PC, and allows for the use of the Xbox Game Pass, which carries over to PC as an app. With this option you can start playing on an Xbox machine, save, and literally pick up where you left off on your computer. You can also play with PC key and mouse friends who don’t have an Xbox.

Xbox is also know for its backward compatibility, so most of the original Xbox or Xbox 360 titles can be played on various Xbox consoles in upscaled resolution and frames. While the Xbox Series X has amazing perks, there are things to consider. There are a lack of many new titles available because of a poor launch and horrible performance shown for Halo Infinite. Also since Xbox Game Pass is compatible with PC, it might be more expeditious to do PC gaming if you have the budget and are not concerned with having a console, especially one you might find inconvenient or visually unappealing.

When is the Xbox Series X restocking at Best Buy, GameStop and other  stores? - CNET
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Last but not least, classic PC gaming has limitless options, and can prove to be the ultimate and most powerful experience with varying costs. You can buy a prebuilt computer, laptop or make your own build. However, to get the best performance despite what biased opinions might say, you will be spending at least a grand if not more especially with current surge in demand due to the huge influx of online education and employment brought on by Covid.

PC gaming is the best avenue for those who want the most customization for their gaming and performance experience. You can get apps and download games from almost any major gaming company like Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and EA. You also get great platforms like Steam that have excellent bundles and a massive collection of various games dating back to the Stone Age. You’ll also find apps for customizing your accessories and parts, i.e. Razer offers headset, mouse, keyboard, and even mousepad customization; AMD will offer you a performance customization app for your motherboard, GPU, CPU, and more.

A personal computer can be updated as needed and can last a lot longer instead of having to upgrade often with new gaming consoles. These serve as great examples for players looking to maximize their performance and have total control over how they choose to play. However there are downsides for going down the computer route, such as price. You can spend less to play, but those players will find you won’t be playing in 2K nor 4K with limited frames depending on your settings. Even with a smaller budget you will be looking $800 at the bare minimum.

Those looking to build will also find that the market is totally off the charts with GPU and CPU prices. Tt might be far better to buy preowned at this point in time. Portable gaming laptops are great if you are on the go a lot, however they have a tendency to run hot because of the graphics which tends to give them a shorter life span. PC’s also have a learning curve, because unlike consoles you generally have to adjust your game settings to reach the quality you want. Not all games available have an automatic optimization setting for your build. You’ll also end up needing to learn how to use different apps to monitor your performance or adjust your peripherals. Lastly, operating systems can be quite expensive and literally a pain to deal with. Windows 10 nearly always releases bad updates in need of patches which can lead to minor issues such as audio problems all the way to random crashes.

The 10 best prebuilt gaming PCs | Dot Esports
https://images.app.goo.gl/fVkmrsJ4xQwpuq3F7

Lastly and briefly I want to touch on the Classic Editions of retro consoles. Gaming companies have been releasing new classic mini versions of retro consoles like the NES Classic, Sega Genesis Mini, and the Playstation Classic. These mini consoles come loaded with old bangers like Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Metal Gear Solid. These are great options for collectors, retro players or for those who just want to buy a quick console for the family for a few hundred dollars. A downside to these consoles is how fragile they are and that you are limited to the preloaded games, but they still are great buys for the price and love of nostalgia.

Best Retro Gaming Console 2020: Play Retro Games on These Mini Consoles -  IGN
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It can be a struggle for gamers to find the right gaming console or computer that best fits their needs or play style. As a gaming fan that has owned nearly every platform, I hope this article serves as a guide that helps players veteran and new find the platform that best suits them.

A DVS PC Building Guide: Pandemic Edition

The year 2020 leading into 2021 has definitely proven difficult amongst all gamers across the globe. Newly released computer parts have in addition to last-gen have become either scarce or overpriced due to the increased demand and of course scalpers. Even new generation consoles are being picked off by them. However, though it may be a rough time to build, that does not make it impossible. Here I will go over available parts, good budgets, and overall what to look for when trying to build a PC during the pandemic.

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When building a PC it can seem overwhelming, but with a guide or help you will come to realize it’s not all too hard at all. We just need to start with the CPU for the computer. A CPU, otherwise known as the Central Processing Unit or Processor, is the part of the computer that executes instructions that make up the computer program. This part of the computer can pretty much be compared to the human brain. It delegates and executes tasks just as our brains tell us what to do, think, and say. There are two major brands which are known as Ryzen and Intel. I won’t go into the major differences between the processors, more so give you a comparison when necessary because debating processors would be opening a whole new can of worms per se. Intel Processors come in the i3, i5, i7, and i9; but Ryzen will come in the Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 9. You base your choice in the processor on what you would be using the computer for, and how demanding you need your specs to be. Whether you’re a hard-core gamer, or just an anime binger these all tie into your choice for your parts. As far as availability though in my honest opinion performance-wise during this pandemic, the Ryzen 5 3600x is the best for not only your wallet but mid-ranged performance. This processor can hold over the average gamer and be consistent in your day-to-day tasks. This processor has 6 cores, 12 threads, runs at 95 Celsius, and maxes clock speeds of 4.4GHz. Another great bonus with Ryzen Processors is that they come with a fantastic CPU cooler known as the Wraith Cooler, saving you the time and energy to find a decent cooler for your CPU. This can be bought online or in stores such as Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, Microcenter, and other various stores for on average $250 give or take depending on store choice.

From here we can go into your CPU cooler quick, and I say quick because from this particular build I’m recommending during the pandemic we would use the cooler that came with the Ryzen 3600x. CPU coolers are important, and the name says exactly why. Your cooler is what keeps your CPU from overheating and damaging your system or just plain not turning on. Your computer will in fact shut off if temperatures skyrocket to hopefully prevent any permanent damage. These coolers come as fans, AOIs, or water pumps. For the sake of budget during the pandemic, I encourage fans. Fans are very efficient and extremely low maintenance and cost anywhere from $10-100 on average unless you use the CPU fan that comes with. However, for those that want another good option and have some more money at their disposal AOIs (All In One) are another good option. They are an all-in-one water cooling system that combines the water block, radiator, tubes, fans, fittings, and pump into a small package. Not only do they look cool, but they are also low maintenance. The only downside is that they will need to be replaced with a completely new AOI every 6 months. Water cooling, on the other hand, can be extremely expensive and high maintenance but can be the best method of cooling your computer. Depending on the liquid you use you will be cleaning it every 3 to 6 months. AOIs are generally more budget-friendly averaging around $200, while full Water Cooling systems can average around $600. For this article’s purpose, however, I will stick with the Wraith cooler as recommended.

Your next step is to choose a compatible motherboard, which is why we start with the CPU because other parts will only be compatible with certain CPUs. Your motherboard is a printed circuit board that allows communication between crucial components such as your CPU and RAM. This part can be compared to the nervous system of the human body. It is important when considering a good motherboard that you keep in mind available slots for your m.2 drives, transfer speeds, whether or not you want LAN or wifi, and any other additions such as RGB, available ports, the cooling on your chipset, and more. Good motherboards can be tricky to find due to pricing and wanting all the bells and whistles, but I found that the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E is absolutely great for middle ground. It comes with PCIe 4.0, WiFi 6 and gigabyte LAN, active cooling for your chipset, Gen 4 M.2 slots with 64 GB transfer speeds, both USB type A and C with HDMI, Display, and more. Also, a good plus is the RGB so for buyers such as myself, you’ll be filled with endless color. This particular motherboard is also decently priced at $300 USD. You can find it at similar stores previously mentioned when we covered the CPU.

Following the motherboard, we can pretty much dive into anything else such as your random access memory (RAM), GPU, hard drives, case, and PSU. I will continue with RAM next because RAM is extremely important for any PC build. Your RAM is your extremely fast and temporary storage space that your computer will need at the moment or in the next few seconds. This is what allows multitasking functions such as the number of windows that you can keep open and running high-demand games. As an example, I am sure everyone here has experienced windows randomly closing out on them, and that is because your computer does not have enough RAM to keep your multiple tasks at hand. RAM features generally come in different sizes such as 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, and so on. My recommendation for the average gamer would be to go with 16 GB RAM and for the average user per social media and streamer at least 8 GB RAM. There are a variety of great brands, such as Corsair, Trident, Kingston, and HyperX, but my recommendation is the Corsair Vengeance LED. The specifications for this set are great for the price with DDR 4 and speeds of 3200 MHz. The price point is a bit more than your average RAM, but Corsair is always very sturdy, has great performance, and is overall just reliable. You will need a BIOS update to his the speeds for 3200, but the quality makes up for it. Corsair also tends to always run great sales depending on where you buy. Right now you can find them on sale for $229.99 on Corsair’s website.

Image Credit at http://www.corsair..com

Proceeding onward, I will briefly cover the PSU and hard drives. Your PSU is honestly an easier choice to make because this is your Power Supply Unit. Not as much thought is needed to go into this particular part. You just need to make sure you find a good wattage that will power all of your components without the risk of damage. I recommend the one I use personally which is the Corsair CX750M because it’s quiet, fairly powerful, and reasonably priced. It runs on average around $100 and can be found at your normal retails as previously mentioned above. There are other good brands such as Asus and Thermaltake, but I found that this particular model is solid in price, wattage, and overall performance. You won’t break the bank and overkill your needs, but you also aren’t sacrificing crucial performance either. In addition to the PSU, we will need to look at hard drives. I always recommend a solid-state drive (SSD) for any computer.

An SSD is a solid part rather than your standard HDD which is a spinning disk. They have low failure rates and increase loading speeds exponentially. That being said they are a lot more expensive than your standard HDD so I generally go by the rule of thumb of getting at least 1 to load your operating system on and any important documents or games that you want better loading times on. Then get an HDD for extra storage since they run extremely cheaper. For this, my recommendations are to get a Samsung 860 Evo 500 GB. This gives you enough room for your OS like Windows 10 (which eats up space) and maybe some important games that you revisit often. This model not only gives you great performance and reliability but also is greatly priced around $75 to $100 depending on the vendor of your choice. For your HDD I generally recommend Western Digital. They are more reliable than your standard Seagate and you can grab 1TB storage for around $50.

We (unfortunately) have no arrived at the barren wastelands of graphics cards (GPUs), which have been completely raided by scalpers for both the new generation and last generation. Your GPU is one of the most important parts of your computer. This is what will allow your computer to play in 1080, 2K, 4K, and so on. Usually, I would say base your graphics card on what you prioritize, but with the scarce availability, beggars can not be choosers. Your top brands are usually Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, and so on, so for what is available I generally say attempt to look for the best brands you can. So with this in mind, I would bite the bullet and get the GTX 1660 if you are not able to wait. This will be the cheapest option that will last you long enough to hopefully get your hands on a 30 series. It will cost the same as a 3060, which is around $599.99, but you can always try to sell it to someone for some money back when the 30 series roles around. The only other option I can say is to wait for the 30 series. Any other GPU will be outrageously priced, while the GPU is only around $200 over the normal price. You could step it down, however then you will be on minimum requirements for most new releases.

Your last choice will be a case for your computer. You’ll be basing this on size, color, and fans. Generally, you want to pick between a mini, mid, and full tower. There are other sizes but they are mostly for business purposes and pre-built. I personally had no recommendation on your case because that is a pure preference for how you want it to look, and most cases allow you to add more fans or change them if you want different colors like platinum or RGB. I love Corsair and Fractal Design personally, however, my case is actually the NZXT 510 Elite which I was not a huge fan of. I say do research and see what you want in your case for this, then go from there. You will also get to pick out monitors and peripherals which are also usually a personal preference unless you like competitive gaming. Usually, for a monitor, I like to go with MSI, Asus, and BenQ. MSI and Asus are usually better for your wallet, but if you have the extra money BenQ is a fantastic brand to go with. Your peripherals include a headset, mouse, and keyboard. I love Razer personally as far as grip, customization, and performance. The Applications to customize performance are very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Corsair and Kraken are also great go-to go to as far as customization and performance.

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Building a PC can be an exciting experience, even during the pandemic. Though the prices are high and availability for certain parts is at an all-time low, this is a way to make the most of an incredible experience. PC gaming opens a whole new world for any gamer, and ultimately is a teaching experience for players around the world for what performance really means. Just like this guide, a good budget for a decent PC during COVID and scalpers will probably run you around $1500 for all the parts before the monitor and other peripherals. For those looking to build, I hope this guide can serve you during these hard and stressful times.