Confession: even with the best gaming hardware, I still suck

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Logitech G Pro X mechanical gaming keyboard.Digital Trends

Give it up, guys. It turns retired you tin person each imaginable advantage going for you arsenic a gamer — nan astir powerful PC, nan fastest gaming monitor, nan lightest of gaming mice, and nan astir low-profile of gaming keyboards – but if you conscionable aren’t very good, nary of it makes overmuch of a difference.

I really hoped it would, too. I’ve precocious been dabbling successful immoderate competitory FPS (first-person shooter) play connected my PC and decided to springiness myself each limb up my mixed net and reappraisal sample backmost catalog could manage. And though I’m judge it helped, I didn’t person nan advantage I was hoping for.

The man

Let maine group nan shape for you. I’m a mid-30s, typically single-player PC gamer who hasn’t taken competitory gaming earnestly since nan motorboat of Rocket League. I utilized to play Unreal Tournament 2004 in my teens, on pinch Half Life mods, immoderate Counter-Strike 1.6, and a small Halo erstwhile we could get capable original Xboxes and TVs together. More recently, I’ve dabbled successful nan overseas Call of Duty single-player run — and I loved Evolve while it lasted — but I haven’t played overmuch successful nan measurement of PVP (player versus player) FPS games for a decade aliases more.

That said, I americium a regular gamer. When my kids let it, I play RPGs and strategy games. I besides bask immoderate first-person endurance experiences, which are person successful position to competitory FPS games, moreover if they aren’t precisely arsenic taxing.

So, while I don’t spot myself arsenic a bully FPS gamer, aliases moreover a precocious knowledgeable one, I’m nary noob. My manus people sits successful a WASD claw style connected a keyboard, I cognize to usage numbers for limb switching, and I’m not supra toggling my DPI to get an advantage connected a slow-moving turret.

But I cognize I’m not good. So, erstwhile I had to do immoderate esports capacity tests for Digital Trends, I decided I’d for illustration to dip my toed into nan competitory segment again, conscionable to spot if I’ve still sewage it. But I’m not immoderate cash-strapped teen playing civilization UT 2004 Assault maps connected my Athlon 64 and CRT show anymore. Now, I’m a cash-strapped dad pinch entree to a batch of tasty hardware from my various penning jobs. It’s clip to show these kids what a dada tin do erstwhile he brings immoderate existent gaming hardware to nan table. Or truthful I thought.

The machine

Jon's latest gaming and activity machine.Bonus points if you spot nan LED gloved-hand reflection. Image utilized pinch support by copyright holder

To commencement with, I built myself a full caller PC. It was clip to upgrade my aging 5700X and 3070 Ti anyhow — that’s nan excuse I gave myself (and my wife). I’d been fortunate capable to person been sent a stack of nan latest hardware from each nan awesome camps by a mates of companies I constitute for, truthful I had nan prime of nan litter. I yet settled connected nan following:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7950X3D
  • Cooler: MSI MAG CoreLiquid 360R
  • Motherboard: Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero
  • RAM: 32GB Kingston Fury Renegade 5200MHz
  • Graphics: PowerColor RX 7900 XTX
  • Storage: 1TB Samsung 980 Pro, 2TB WD SN770
  • PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 850GT Gold
  • Case: Fractal Design North

For those of you raising a mates of eyebrows, fto maine opportunity that, yes, I did all nan BIOS updates to play safe, and I’m alert I could person utilized faster memory. I was keen to usage nan hardware I have, erstwhile I could, truthful I saved a spot by utilizing this somewhat slower RAM. I thought astir utilizing an RTX 4090 instead, but nan aged Athlon instrumentality successful maine liked nan thought of an all-AMD PC, and ultimately, nan RTX 4090 clearance successful my mid-tower lawsuit was tighter than I’d like, truthful I went pinch nan XTX instead.

It’s not nan astir powerful gaming PC money tin buy, but it’s beautiful close. I paired it up pinch an Asus MG279Q gaming monitor, which mightiness not beryllium nan fastest successful nan world anymore, but it still has a 144Hz refresh rate. Having played connected faster monitors, I’ll beryllium honest: I can’t really show nan quality supra 160Hz anyway.

I utilized nan Logitech G Pro Wireless rodent pinch Lightspeed gaming mat for wireless recharging, and nan Logitech G915 low-profile gaming keyboard pinch its 1.5 mm actuation extent and accelerated tactile switches.

I hooked each that up to a accelerated modern router pinch a Cat 6E Ethernet cable, enabled AMD Anti-Lag (before AMD removed it), turned connected Smart Access Memory, utilized DT Computing writer Jacob Roach’s guideline to tweak my in-game capacity settings, and sat down to immoderate superior gaming pinch each advantage I could deliberation of.

It didn’t spell well.

The fable … of nan unspeakable gamer

GO 2.The caller fume physics are not making my occupation immoderate easier. Jon Martindale / DigitalTrends

Spawn, dead. Spawn, dead. Spawn, dead. That was my acquisition during my effort astatine Valorant capacity testing. “Yea, this game’s not for me,” I told myself. It’s not me, it’s nan crippled that is wrong.

On to thing I person astatine slightest benignant of played before. Counter-Strike 2. I’ve played a fewer rounds of de_dust2 successful my time, truthful surely pinch my recently built monster machine, I’d beryllium capable to clasp my ain a small more. And I did, but man do I not respond accelerated capable for this crippled either. I played for a fewer days taking capacity results, while besides taking nan crippled much earnestly than my dalliance pinch Valorant.

But whether it was nan opening information pinch pistols and smokes, aliases a later 1 pinch shotguns and rifles, I could hardly past half nan round. I sewage a small amended pinch some practice, and I could decidedly spot myself reaching a level of competence pinch a lot of practice, but I was starting to tie a conclusion beyond the champion Counter Strike 2 settings: All nan advantages I had fixed myself astatine nan commencement of this travel were making nary discernible quality astatine all.

The precocious framework rates, precocious refresh rate, and anti-lag package tweaks weren’t letting maine respond faster than nan enemy. My gaming rodent mightiness person been ace lightweight and unimpeded by cablegram drag, but that doesn’t extremity my accuracy from being terrible. The gaming keyboard doesn’t do overmuch if I dice while I’m already flooring nan W key.

My only existent triumph came successful testing Fortnite. I won my first round! I had 1 of those coveted triumph royales that each nan kids person been talking astir for a fewer years. I moreover did a stupid creation to celebrate.

It turned retired nan full crippled was afloat of bots. Of course it was.

The takeaway

So, I’m not a very bully competitory FPS player. Perhaps I ne'er was, though it’s clear to spot why pro gaming is truthful dominated by those pinch younger eyes and faster reflexes. However, what is abundantly clear to maine is that you tin tweak your strategy until your input lag is almost zero, and unless you tin respond accelerated capable to return advantage of it, it doesn’t matter. You tin person nan highest framework rates successful nan world, but if you don’t cognize what you’re doing tactically and strategically, you’re going to person a bad time.

It’s astir apt still worthy making those tweaks if you can, and if you return your games earnestly aliases are legitimately good, past a faster gaming PC will thief a bit. It mightiness make you a somewhat amended gamer, but it won’t make you a bully gamer. I learned that nan difficult way.

I besides reminded myself why I don’t play esports games. It’s not conscionable that I can’t beryllium bothered pinch toxic chat — america parents pinch young kids get yelled astatine capable arsenic it is — it’s that that style of crippled is conscionable excessively accelerated and excessively demanding for nan benignant of casual gamer I’m morphing into arsenic I get older. I’m not ditching nan genre entirely, though. This caller spate of shooters has rekindled a existent joyousness successful that benignant of combative game. I conscionable request thing slower and much nonsubjective focused.

So, I’ve been playing Hell Let Loose. I’m still dying a lot, but astatine slightest I get to walk a fewer minutes crawling done hedgerows first.

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