The ninth generation of gaming consoles is almost here. For a time, details about Microsoft’s and Sony’s next-gen machines were scarce. But we’re in the home stretch now, with both consoles set to launch next month.
For a brief moment, I considered making the generational leap with a Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X. However, for me, the appeal of consoles has continued to wane. In previous generations, console-exclusive titles have driven me to invest in new hardware. But this generation’s upcoming titles seem to be more console-agnostic than ever. Microsoft’s excellent Xbox Game Pass on PC will allow me to play most big-name Xbox releases on Windows. And as for Sony exclusives, many are set to release on PC as well.
It’s an exclusive, but not really
In addition to the PC’s widening game library, I’ve always enjoyed the higher in-game performance ceiling. Running games at a buttery-smooth 60+ FPS is truly blissful.
However, with a rapidly-aging GTX 1060 3GB graphics card, my next-gen prospects weren’t looking so hot. My PC was already struggling to maintain stable framerates while playing last-gen games like Far Cry 5 (2018) at medium settings. And I considered myself lucky to get 60 FPS in populated areas while playing World of Warcraft.
If I was going to embrace the next generation of games, my mid-range PC would need a serious upgrade. So I started shopping around for a new PC.
To Build or Not to Build
I know building PCs yourself is considered a rite-of-passage in the PC gaming world. But with only a few hours of free time a day, I didn’t want to spend the next month ordering PC components à la carte, putting the thing together, and troubleshooting any potential problems.
So, I decided on NZXT’s BLD service, which offers a streamlined approach to ordering customized pre-built PCs. Simply choose your PC’s innards from their available inventory, choose a shipping destination, and NZXT will take care of the rest. NZXT also includes a generous warranty on parts and labour, so if anything goes wrong with your build, you’re covered for up to two years.
My NZXT BLD PC showed up less than a week after ordering it, which was really fast. I’m in Canada, so for NZXT to build the thing, ship it out from the US, have it clear customs, and arrive safely in under a week is nuts. Clearly, they’ve got their efficiency and logistics game down (but would you expect any less from a team of PC engineers?).
I did the math via PCPartPicker.com, and even with tax, labour, and shipping fees, the NZXT BLD I ordered only cost a few hundred dollars more than buying all the parts myself. Not bad at all!
Due to budget constraints throughout my teen years and early twenties, I’ve always owned mid-range PCs. But this time around, I was able to go all-out and get a high-performance machine that should age gracefully over the next few years. I’ve listed the specs below, with an Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU being the real star of the show.
- Case: NZXT H710 (BLACK)
- CPU cooling: NZXT Kraken M22 liquid cooler
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX Z490 E-Gaming
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 – GIGABYTE EAGLE OC 10G
- CPU: Intel Core i9-10850K 10-Core 3.6GHz
- PSU: XPG Core Reactor 750W Gold
- RAM: G.SKILL TridentZ RGB 3200MHz 16GB (2 X 8 GB)
- SSD: Samsung 970 EVO Plus (500.0 GB)
- HDD: Seagate Barracuda (1.0 TB)
- OS: Windows 10 Home
I’ve never owned a high-end gaming PC, so the performance of this NZXT BLD has really blown me away. It was jarring to max out Far Cry 5’s settings and see that I was only using 3-4GB of 10 GB of available VRAM. For comparison, my old GTX 1060 had 3GB of VRAM, so that’s more than triple the amount.
So far, I’ve enjoyed playing both Far Cry 5 and World of Warcraft at ~144 FPS on my 144hz monitor. WoW’s framerates aren’t as consistent (especially in populated areas), but they’re high enough to impress.
Overall, I’m really happy with this NZXT BLD. The PC was built with care, and the efficiency of NZXT’s service was remarkable. Of course, I’ll have to see if I encounter any problems down the road. But for now, NZXT’s BLD service gets a glowing endorsement from me.
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