Do you need a gaming computer to play PC games?
Gaming is much more than a hobby to a lot of people. It's an identity. They are a gamer. Often that comes with staunch loyalties to a platform, whether that's mobile, console, or PC. But beyond the arguments about what platform is best or which make you a “true gamer”, the only consideration that should matter to anyone is: do you have the hardware to play what you want?
That goes for PC gamers more so than anyone. The hardware you have can make a big difference to the types of games you can play and how good they look while you do it.
So, do you need a gaming computer to play PC games? Not necessarily. There are indie games and older titles that will play just fine on a generic laptop. And there are certainly some workstations with their own dedicated GPUs that will be perfectly adequate gaming machines. But if you want to play modern AAA PC games, or if you want to play at high detail levels and frame rates, then a gaming PC is a must.
What can you play without a gaming PC?
If you really don't want (or can't have) a gaming PC, what exactly can you play? Independent games are a fantastic way to spend your time and there are a whole host of them that you can enjoy whether you're using a desktop PC that's a decade old, or a laptop that's supposed to be for school work.
Here are just some examples of the fantastic games you can play without a gaming PC:
Darkest Dungeon is a fantastically dark and twisted turn-based, tactical roleplaying game that tasks you with delving deep into the catacombs, tunnels, and twisted pathways of your overgrown ancestral estate in an effort to root out pure Lovecraftian evil. It's a huge game that will easily last you hundreds of hours if you let it, and it's very easy on your system resources. All you need to play it is at least 2GB of RAM and a GPU from the last decade. That includes onboard graphics like Intel HD and AMD Vega.
Banished is another wonderful indie game that works great on onboard graphics and low-end GPUs. It's a much more relaxing experience, with your role as an overseer of a band of pilgrims to a new land. You'll have to build a village, manage resources, trade with the wider world and help your people prosper. Or fail.
If you like pixelated gameplay and consider yourself a bit of a green thumb, Stardew Valley is a gorgeously immersive game of managing a farm you've inherited. Its slow pace and whimsical feel offer a less-intense style of gameplay, but with a low demand on your system, non-gaming PCs will play it just fine.
Kingdom: New Lands
Kingdom: New Lands is another game worth checking out if you don't have a gaming PC. Another management game but an overtly simple one, it has but three controls: left, right, and down. But with these you'll manage a warring kingdom against hordes of enemies as they assault your pixellated defences. Just make sure you have a dual core CPU and 1GB of RAM and you're good to go.
But as great as these games are, there are many more that you simply can't play on a PC that isn't designed with gaming in mind. For AAA games and the more popular Esports games, you need at least an entry-level graphics card, and most non-gaming PCs don't have that.
If you play PC games, a gaming PC helps you play more
We’ve already learnt that you don’t need a gaming computer to play PC games, but do you need a gaming computer to play the PC games that you really want to play? Quite possibly.
Gaming PCs come equipped with more powerful hardware, typically processors and graphics cards. For a gaming PC designed for the popular Esports and streaming battle royale game, Fortnite, the Chillblast Fusion Fiend comes equipped with a capable AMD third-generation Ryzen 3 3200G and an Nvidia GTX 1650 Super for excellent 1080p gaming ability.
A gaming computer designed to play an older AAA game like GTA V would need more capable hardware, which is why the Chillblast Fusion Sorcerer comes equipped with An AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and an Nvidia GTX 1660 Super – a much more powerful hardware specification. That added cost also gets you double the memory and much faster and more expansive storage.
For upcoming AAA games like Cyberpunk 2077, it's advisable to have an even more powerful system and Chillblast offers plenty of options to make it look as good as it can, whilst still offering comfortable and smooth frame rates. The Chillblast Fusion Wolf is such a system. Compact, attractive, but supremely powerful, this system packs an Intel Core i5 9600K and pairs it with an Nvidia RTX 2080 Super. This system will pump out high frame rates in any game you throw at it, but if you want even more performance, there's plenty to be had.
What about streaming?
Much has been made of game streaming in recent years, with everyone from Nvidia to Google now offering the option to render the game for you on remote servers, to then send you the visuals on whatever device you want. The idea is to make it possible to play any game you want, within reason, without needing a powerful console or gaming PC to do it.
In many ways, it works very well indeed, with users reporting minimal latency in ideal circumstances, and relatively affordable packages for those wanting to give it a try. But there are some problems with game streaming that mean it will never measure up to using a gaming computer to play PC games.
Latency will always be a problem with remote gaming, and as much as a couple hundred milliseconds might not seem like much, it's enough that you won't ever be able to effectively play competitive games over streaming services without feeling like you're one step behind your competition.
There are also bandwidth concerns, with high-end streams from Google Stadia burning through gigabytes of data per hour. That can quickly churn through data limits – especially if throttling is in place. There's also the issue of purchasing games, where many of these services require you to buy the games on the service, meaning if you ever lose your connection, or stop using the service, you'd have to buy it again to continue playing.
Game streaming has its place, but it will never measure up to using a real gaming computer to play PC games.
Check out this blog for a more detailed look at the best PC set-up for streaming!
The right gaming PC for you
If you need any help with building or selecting the right gaming PC for you, give Chillblast a call. Our system building experts will walk you through the process and can even tailor a system specifically to your needs. We also offer customisation and overclocking services, to make your system unique to you, and offer increased performance for absolutely nothing extra. It's all covered by our inclusive, five year warranty too, so even in the unlikely even that something did go wrong with your new system, you'd be entirely covered.
If you are a laptop user instead but aren't sure if your system can play games, check out this blog about gaming on a non-gaming laptop!