I purchased a Lenovo gaming laptop last year. While I’ve been gaming on PC for a good chunk of my life, I’ve never owned a ‘proper’ rig for the job until I got my hands on this laptop. So, I guess I can say that it’s officially been a year since I’ve been a true PC-gamer. My experience has been interesting, to say the least.
While I do enjoy having a proper gaming PC, I still have quite a soft-spot for game consoles.
As I just mentioned, PC gaming has been a part of my life for quite a few years now. While my earliest gaming memory is playing a Nintendo 64 back when I was three years old, I didn’t actually own a console until 2010 when my parents bought a Wii for my younger brother and I. Within that timeframe, all of my gaming was down by means of different computers.
The PCs that I gamed on through my childhood and teenage years were definitely not totally built with that task in mind. The oldest one I can remember is a Gateway desktop from the early 2000s that had an Nvidia graphics card. That GPU allowed me to play games relatively well, but as the years went on it its limits were increasingly being strained. Eventually,that PC died and my dad bought a Toshiba Satellite laptop. Lacking dedicated graphics, this machine was really meant for business purposes. Even so, I made use of it for gaming anyway.
Not too long after that, my mom was gifted a Dell Inspiron laptop. It was a bit newer than the Toshiba, but still only had an Intel HD integrated graphics chipset. Somehow, I slowly ‘inherited’ this laptop (aka: I nagged her enough until I eventually had it in my possession most of the time), and that’s when I turned it into a ‘gaming machine’. It was the first computer I ever ‘upgraded’; in this case that upgrade was merely bumping up the RAM from 4GB to 8GB. During my time with this laptop, I really came to understand what PC gaming was all about. That led me to make a decision: I needed a real gaming PC. Thus, the hunt commenced early last year. Eventually, I finally landed on the Lenovo Y700.
Hello there, beautiful…
I spent months searching for the right computer. It was interesting search since there was a lot of things going on in my life. The main thing was that not only was I looking for a new computer, but I was also preparing to move off to a new country on my own. That influenced the type of PC I was looking for. While I had already figured out that desktop PCs offer the most in terms of raw power and customization, I came to the conclusion that getting a gaming laptop would be the best option since they’re built with the ability to be carried around easily. It was painstaking going through all the different models that were out there, but eventually I found the Lenovo Y700 and the rest was history. I liked the design of the machine and its specs weren’t half bad either; a Nvidia GTX 960M, Intel Core i7 6700HQ and 8GB of RAM. This was definitely a huge step-up from that Dell Inspiron I mentioned earlier.
Buying the Lenovo was a pretty big deal for me. Not only was I excited about getting a PC that was truly meant for gaming, but it was also the single biggest purchase I’ve personally ever made to date (I’m only 19, cut me some slack). Coming to nearly $1,000, I had to save for months in order to afford it. I’ll be coming back to this point a little bit later. In any case, what really made this purchase special for me was the fact that it was finally a machine that was all mine: no longer was I mooching off my parents. I researched it extensively, saved for it over the course of months, working multiple jobs—it was a big undertaking. Going through it gave me a sense of pride, I suppose.
Having the Y700 for the past 12 months has definitely been exciting. Unlike in the past, I have yet to encounter a game that I want to play but don’t fully meet the system requirements in order to run it. On top of that, this laptop also does a great job for my video projects, much better than the past machines could ever dream to do. It’s really been great having access to this power; now I have a slight idea as to how the ‘real’ PC elitists feel. I said “real” because I’m referring to the enthusiasts out there who have massive rigs with truly bleeding-edge components. That right there is what’s so great about PC gaming—being able to get a machine that has the power to do exactly what you want. Ironically, that’s also the biggest reason to be annoyed with it all.
While I can definitely say that most of my gaming life has been spent on PCs, I prefer consoles due to their simplicity. I really don’t care that there are PCs which can run circles around the latest consoles. As much as I love my Y700, I’ve encountered some headaches with it that are pretty much nonexistent on consoles. Problems like driver issues, software/OS failures, games misbehaving—all of these are problems that are pretty much exclusive to PC. These issues are to be expected; after all, no system is perfect. Even so, this is where the line is mainly drawn between console and PC gaming; ease of access.
While PCs are sweet, my heart still burns for game consoles.
Aside from the exclusives, the main reason why consoles have always had a place and will very well continue to have a place in the industry is due to the fact that they’re simple, streamlined machines. All you have to do is put the box underneath your TV, plug it in, turn it on and that’s about it. While these systems have become more PC-like over the years, they still aren’t nearly as complicated as a standard computer. For instance, the average consumer isn’t going to have to worry making sure they have the latest drivers for their console, or if it meets the system requirements for the newest games.
Now that I’ve been able to enjoy ‘real’ PC gaming alongside consoles, I can definitely say that I value having the ability to experience both worlds. There are things I like and dislike about each side, so neither is truly ‘superior’ in my eyes. I honestly don’t believe in there being a ‘PC Master Race’. You either have the money and technical know-how to get into the big rigs of PC gaming, or you want a more casual and simplistic experience and just game on a console. That’s really what it all boils down to. Speaking of having money, I did mentioned a little while ago that I would be coming back to that point.
I think the one pet-peeve I’ve really come to have with PC gaming is how much your budget controls your experience. You really do ‘get what you pay for’ most of the time when it comes to PC gaming. My Y700 cost me nearly $1000, yet it’s only considered to be a ‘mid-spec’ system. Not to mention the fact that computer hardware advances so quickly that it seems that as soon as you can grab a decent upgrade, there’s something better waiting just around the corner.
High-end PCs are great…except they cost a small fortune to own. If your system isn’t powerful enough, then you’re just left out in the cold.
For instance, I can’t tell you how weird it was to be both excited and infuriated when Nvidia announced the GTX 10-Series cards. Why would I be infuriated? Well, the GTX 10-series cards are virtually the same across both the desktop and laptop variants. Since my GTX 960M is noticeably less powerful than its desktop counterpart, seeing the 10-Series cards swoop in and just casually close a gap that’s existed for years right after I buy a 9-series card was rather disheartening. But hey, that’s just how this market works.
Overall, I do enjoy PC gaming. Putting aside the gripes I have, it really is nice to own a machine that can do just about anything I want it to do. My Y700 is definitely not the most powerful PC in the world, but it fits my needs rather well. I’m glad it’s my first ‘real’ performance PC and I look forward to advancing in the future. Even so, I will always be a gamer that believes in duality: PCs x consoles—always.