Cost of PC Gaming Versus Console Gaming

My PC

I stumbled across this interesting post which compares the cost of PC gaming and the cost of console gaming. In it, the author specs out a PC rig that delivers a similar high-quality gaming experience as the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

I don’t have loyalty to any one platform; I’ll game on just about anything. I will say that it’s far more comfortable to game from my sofa than at my computer desk.

The PC I built almost five years ago with the help of a friend is barely chugging along, and generally not reliable for much. One thing that I dislike, in the aftermath of building my own PC, is the troubleshooting. Perhaps if I was more technically-minded and if I had more patience for having to constantly Google search for help when something went wrong, it would be fine. I mostly just find it irritating.

I’m using a laptop as my primary computing machine at home. I bought it a year after I built my PC, and it’s still holding up very well. I bought it from an online store, after choosing the specs I wanted. I took advantage of warranty repair service twice before it ran out. It was a relief not to have to do any of that myself.

The next time I’m in the market for a gaming PC, I’m just going to buy something off the shelf with a decent warranty. It’ll cost a bit more, but to me, it’s worth it because I think it will save me headaches in the long run.

The entire cost exercise was interesting to me because it’s been such a long while since I kept abreast of the latest PC gaming standards. Predictably, the article concluded that building your own PC will cost you less than purchasing a console, however not by that much.

  16 comments for “Cost of PC Gaming Versus Console Gaming

  1. thefremen
    21 February 2010 at 10:06

    I’m really glad I was able to build my gaming laptop for $800, able to run all the games out these days, game on the couch w/logitech laptop slab thingy, and I can watch stuff on Hulu while doing dishes, (some) cooking and folding laundry.

  2. 21 February 2010 at 10:58

    Yeah, I bought an HP for a gaming laptop. It runs pretty well… but we have our PCs setup with tables so we can use them on the sofa and our loveseats. Kind of like mobile PC centers… we watch online shows, Netflix, and play games from our laptops. Plus I love being able to check imdb for that one actor. We rarely turn the TV on for ourselves anymore.

  3. Xugumad
    21 February 2010 at 11:39

    I note a few problems with the comparison in the article; that it’s assumed you’re buying a 50″ screen exclusively for playing console games with (50″ would dwarf our living room, and the TV is there for, erm, TV, anyway). Also he seems to have forgotten motherboard, case and PSU. Oh, and the graphics card is second hand and… 3-ish generations out of date. Counterpoint, much of the hardware could be done for much less…

    In terms of troubleshooting new PCs – I’d consider myself fairly techy (I’m not a Windows expert, but I am doing a PhD in Computer Science), and troubleshooting new systems bugs me a lot too, if it makes you feel any better :)

  4. 21 February 2010 at 13:36

    @ thefremen, Ravious: Unfortunately, we don’t have room in our lounge for more hardware. Plus, our HDTV is much bigger than my PC monitor, so games and films look great on that.

    @ Xugumad: Yeah, the article isn’t a perfect one-to-one comparison. Plus, there are advantages that a PC has over the standard home entertainment setup, like the fact that one can use it for a lot of other tasks. :-)

  5. 21 February 2010 at 18:56

    Nice Blog you got here. Im more of a PC guy. The downside of PC console is the prices of its parts everytime you upgade it. But if you are really into PC gaming, then you have to do anything for it.

  6. Kevin
    22 February 2010 at 17:47

    At my previous job, I had a boss that was a complete wizard at building computers. From picking the best video cards to selecting the right case, he made it look so simple. The price was absolutely amazing, saving hundreds of dollars over the cost of purchasing from a retailer. However, when my comp finally gave up the ghost, I actually got an out-of-the-box product for an extremely great price at Office Depot (of all places). I only had to replace a few components. Probably just a timing thing but when it’s time to upgrade, I certainly won’t jump into building my own until I’ve explored all of the obvious choices. Great blog!

  7. Jason
    24 February 2010 at 01:25

    My brother and I are crazy about gaming. We enjoy playing PS3 but the problem is we hate to share screens.

    Thats why we came to bought out own Dell XPS gaming laptops. Been using them for months, still Tip Top Condition. :)

  8. Laurentius
    26 February 2010 at 05:56

    Two things :1. Pc Hardware- it’s complicated, almost looking like serious science : sites like tom’s hardware, anandtech or xbitlabs -hundreds of articles and reviews, tons of graphs and spreadsheet analysis etc. – pleasure for those interested in it and nightmare for the rest. Conclusion – buying console is an easy task , getting gaming PC is certainly not.
    2. At this moment i would say that consumer (PC gamer ) situation is very good :there are plenty of pc components in all price segments, giving more then stisfactionary performance. So building satisfactionary PC gaming desktop is definietly not that expensive.As it’s not like it is often presented: entry level, mid-range, top.It’s more like you can build satisfactionary gaming PC desktop for 500$ and then for every additional 50$ (550$,600$, etc) you can gave upgrade here or there. – Conclusin: for decent price it is possible to build nice gaming machine, often outpreforming current console generation.
    ps. gaming laptops – it’s a little bit differnt story.

  9. 27 February 2010 at 11:20

    @ Laurentius: It does seem like PC gaming can be more cost effective, depending on your choices, but with that there’s a knowledge and labour factor that consumers probably have to account for as well.

  10. Laurentius
    27 February 2010 at 14:07

    ^
    Most definietly, personally i don’t think i would be advocating buying gaming desktop over the consoles, but if someone has decided to do so, or wants to get it as an additional gaming platform, it can be done at reasonable price but of course at expanse of mentioned factors.

  11. Chris Carter
    1 March 2010 at 11:26

    I think both the option are equally good as they have their own qualities but most probably I would like to go for the console to enjoy complete gaming experience..

  12. 1 March 2010 at 13:56

    I was just thinking about this post today, because I bought a $10 copy of Flotilla this morning to play on my laptop, which is a two-year-old Thinkpad T61. I spent a lot on the laptop when I bought it, but these days I tend to buy mostly indie games, which means that the individual titles cost less, run on older hardware, and I think more of that money goes to the individual developers. So I can see where console gaming is cheaper from one point of view, but I see the initial cost of my PC as an investment in a thriving, quirky, budget-friendly indie scene. I’m glad they both exist.

  13. Vince
    16 March 2010 at 09:13

    I guess since I didn’t have a computer until I was in my teens its, its hard for me to play games on a PC. The only game that I am willing to play on a PC is Chess. Sony has changed the way we think about gaming consoles. I do agree it is easier to play a video game from the couch.

  14. 18 March 2010 at 19:24

    Nice blog, I personally use video games as a therapeutic tool to deal with my stressful job.

  15. Fergie
    5 April 2010 at 09:01

    I love playing games on my Pc but it does get a bit tedious when you have to check the game against the spec of your pc just to make sure it will run. I’ll be sticking to a gaming console in the future

  16. Dave
    5 April 2010 at 09:07

    Can you really build a decent gaming Pc for less than the price of a console? Perhaps but in reality I would not expect it to last that long as any game evolves to take advantage of current technology so quite possibly just within a few months you may find yourself having to dig deep for a better graphics card. Not a problem you have to face with a console

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