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

logitech g pro x mechanical gaming keyboard.
digital trends

Leave it aside, friends. It turns out that you may have every possible advantage as a gamer – the most powerful PC, the fastest gaming monitor, the lightest in gaming mice, and the lowest profile in gaming keyboards – but if you’re still not good enough Well, none of this makes much difference.

I really hoped that would happen. I’ve been trying my hand at some competitive FPS (first-person shooter) games on my PC lately and I’ve decided to give myself every step of the way to manage my combined salary and review sample back catalogue. And although I’m sure it helped, I didn’t get the benefits I was hoping for.


Let me set the stage for you. I’m a mid-30s, typically single-player PC gamer who hasn’t taken up competitive gaming seriously since launch. rocket league, I used to play unreal tournament 2004 In my teens, with half life mod, some counter strike 1.6and a little halo When we can get enough original Xbox and TV together. Just recently, I tried my hand at the weird Call of Duty single-player campaign – and I loved it evolve While it lasted – but I haven’t played much of a PVP (player versus player) FPS game for a decade or more.

That said, I am a regular gamer. When my kids allow it, I play RPGs and strategy games. I also enjoy some first-person survival experiences, which are closer in perspective to competitive FPS games, even if they aren’t quite as difficult.

So, while I don’t consider myself a good FPS gamer or even an experienced recent player, I’m not a newbie either. My hand naturally sits in a WASD claw shape on a keyboard, I know how to use numbers for weapon switching, and I’m not above toggling my DPI to get an advantage on a slow-moving turret. .

but i know i’m not Good, So, when I had to run some eSports performance testing for , I decided I’d like to dip my toe in the competitive scene again, just to see if I’ve still got it. But I’m not a cash-strapped teenager ut 2004 Attack map now on my Athlon 64 and CRT monitor. Now, I’m struggling with money Father With access to lots of tasty hardware from my various writing jobs. It’s time to show these kids what a dad can do when he brings some real gaming hardware to the table. Or so I thought.


John's latest gaming and work machine.
Bonus points if you see LED glove-hand reflection. Image used with permission of the copyright holder

To start, I built myself a brand new PC. Anyway it was time to upgrade my old 5700X and 3070 Ti – that was the excuse I gave myself (and my wife). I was lucky enough to be sent a pile of the latest hardware from all the major camps by some of the companies I write for, so I had the pick of the litter. Ultimately I agreed to the following:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7950X3D
  • Cooler: msi mag coreliquid 360r
  • Motherboard: Asus ROG Crosshair X670E Hero
  • to hit: 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 answer

For those of you raising some eyebrows, I want to say that yes, I have updated all the BIOS to be safe, and I know I could have used faster memory. I was keen to use the hardware I had whenever possible, so I saved a bit by using this slightly slower RAM. I thought about using the RTX 4090 instead, but the old Athlon fan in me liked the idea of ​​an all-AMD PC, and after all, the RTX 4090 clearance in my mid-tower case was tighter than I expected, so I went with XTX instead.

It’s not the most powerful gaming PC money can buy, but it’s close enough. I paired it with the Asus MG279Q gaming monitor, which may not be the fastest in the world anymore, but it still has a 144Hz refresh rate. After playing on a faster monitor, I’ll be honest: I can’t really tell the difference above 160Hz anyway.

I used a Logitech G Pro wireless mouse with a LightSpeed ​​gaming mat for wireless recharging and a Logitech G915 low-profile gaming keyboard with 1.5mm actuation depth and fast tactile switches.

I connected it all to a fast modern router with a Cat 6E Ethernet cable, enabled AMD anti-lag (before AMD removed it), turned on Smart Access Memory, changed my in-game performance settings to Used DT computing author Jacob Roach’s guide. , and with every advantage I could think of, sat down for some serious gaming.

It didn’t go well.

Legend…of the awesome gamer

Testing smoke physics in CS:GO 2.
The new smoke physics aren’t making my job any easier. John Martindale/DigitalTrends

Spawn, dead. Spawn, dead. Spawn, dead. This was my experience during my attempt gives importance to things Performance testing. “Yeah, this game isn’t for me,” I said to myself. It’s not me, it’s this game that’s wrong.

On something I’ve at least played before. counter attack 2, I’ve played a few rounds of de_dust2 in my time, so certainly with my newly built monster machine, I’ll be able to hold my own a little more. And I did, but boy I don’t react that fast to this game. I played for a few days taking performance results taking Taking the game more seriously than my fun gives importance to things,

But whether it was the early rounds with the pistol and smoke, or the later rounds with the shotgun and rifle, I could barely last half a round. i got a little better with it Some? Practice, and I can definitely see myself reaching a level of competence Very of practice, but I was beginning to draw a conclusion beyond the best counter attack 2 Settings: The benefits I had given myself at the beginning of this journey were not making much of a difference.

The high frame rate, high refresh rate and anti-lag software tweaks were not allowing me to react faster than the enemy. My gaming mouse may be very light and not a hindrance from cable dragging, but that doesn’t stop my accuracy from being awesome. Gaming keyboards don’t do much if I die while I’m already pressing the W key.

My only real victory came in testing Fortnite, I won my first round! I had one of those iconic Victory Royales that all the kids were talking about for a few years. I even did a silly dance to celebrate.

It turned out that the entire game was full of bots. Absolutely it was.


So, I’m not a very good competitive FPS player. Maybe I never was, though it’s clear why pro gaming is so dominated by people with young eyes and sharp reflexes. However, what is completely clear to me is that you can change your system until your input lag is almost zero, and until you react fast enough to take advantage of it. Can do, it doesn’t matter. You can have the highest frame rates in the world, but if you don’t know what you’re doing tactically and strategically, you’re going to have a bad time.

It’s probably still worth making the change if you can, and if you take your games seriously or are legitimately good at them, a faster gaming PC will help a bit. It may make you a slightly better gamer, but it won’t make you a great gamer. I learned that the hard way.

I also reminded myself why I don’t play eSports games. It’s not just that I can’t be bothered with toxic chat – us parents with young kids cringe at it a lot – it’s that that style of game is too fast paced and not for the kind of casual gamer. It’s too demanding for him as I’m morphing. As I grow up. However, I’m not abandoning this genre completely. This recent phenomenon of shooters has rekindled a real joy in that kind of fighting game. I just want something slower and more purpose focused.

So, I’m playing let hell loose, I’m still pretty dying, but at least I get to spend a few minutes crawling through the hedgerows first.

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