There was a time when PC gaming was tied to the desk. Every game, from puzzling adventures to heart-pounding shooters, could be enjoyed only from the same, stodgy, often uncomfortable position. The classic joke of a PC gamer playing from the corner of a basement had a bit of truth to it. It was a hobby that required isolation.
Thankfully, that has changed in recent years. Computers like the MSI Trident, Alienware Alpha, and Zotac Zbox have bridged the gap. They all fit comfortably alongside a PlayStation 4 – many are smaller, in fact – and they offer all the perks of a PC. These console-like computers can be a gamer’s best friend and their worst enemy.
The performance is unparalleled
The PC has always enjoyed a performance edge over console hardware, and it’s not restricted to big, heavy desktops. Zotac’s Magnus EN1080K, for instance, packs a seventh-generation Intel processor with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080, a graphics chip that pushes almost nine teraflops of raw computer power. That easily bests even the upcoming Xbox Scorpio, and it’s about five times more powerful than a standard PlayStation 4. Even Alienware’s Alpha, the most modestly equipped of its peers, beats the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 in raw performance.
Visually, it pays off. PC titles usually offer more detailed textures, better post-process effects, superior anti-aliasing, and more realistic shadows. Despite that, games usually run more quickly on PC. Consoles almost always target 30 frames per second, while the PC can regularly flex its muscles and obtain 60 FPS or higher. The net result is more attractive, more fluid gameplay.