Sacrifice of quality/lifespan made by (many) manufacturers in the name of gaming

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24/04/2011 by The Sorcerer

So I met with few friends yesterday (the usual TE Mumbai people….some of them) so we talked about a lot of good things: Super lanboy, Chieftec cases- and Lian Li.

So here’s more (not really concise) way of saying it but in forums it usually gets lost so hopefully people will keep this in mind. This is something a lot of people said it: Eazy, Deejay, Bikey, Saiyan- a lot. Usually the ones who have their hands on aluminium love since Antec Super lanboy days.

Steel is the way to go (assuming its a thick enough steel). This is something that many have said even with experience, so this is more of a brush up as some of the people I know were talking about it.

I have A70F and I usually install the hardware inside the case and not putting it up as an open bench. If you’re one of those who keep on upgrading your hardware, you’re better off grabbing a steel case. Some cases don’t hold the motherboard tray properly, whereas some cases use very thin sheet at the rear. If those sections do get bent, you can’t properly align the board and properly install the cards.

Also, seen a lot of people not using all the screw holes on the board, especially those who are putting up big coolers like TRUE120E/Venomous-X/U12P-SE2. This applies not just for alu, but also steel. Such mishaps, will end up not only bending the board (irrespective of how many PCB layers/copper sheets there and irrespective of the thickness of the motherboard tray), but the tray and maybe the PCIE slots and the I/O panel area on the case, especially if you have large cards. Use all the motherboard holes to secure your hardware properly, no matter how “silly” it might seem. To secure your hardware properly, you need proper screw drivers. Some of those screw drivers out there are crap, not only the screw heads get damaged and rusted/corroded easily, but also damage the screw heads at the same time (equivalent of a hand drill :P). If you’re regular when it comes to upgrade- whether for your friends or for yourself, investing in a decent enough screw driver kit goes a long way- a very long way.

Also, when you’re buying a case, make sure the screws are good enough. Some companies make decent if not good cases but the screws and standoff is rubbish. Some of those thumbscrews are good enough to secure the side panels, but honestly most of the thumbnail screws that are used to secure motherboards and graphics make an impression that they might just snap. Having a phillips head on the screws pretty much proves it, that you’re better off tightening it with a screw driver. Don’t tight it that hard, I’ve seen some brilliant minds managing to crack the PCB of the board just because they are forcing the screws. Doing so not only damages the threads on the screws and the standoffs, but could make things worse for you in the long run. Most of those plastic “tooless design” is practically useless, so you’re lot better off using screws. Speaking of screws, make sure you’re using the right screws and standoffs for the right job.

SPACE!!! SPACE IS IMPORTANT!!!! A friend said that buying a case is like buying a house!!

Some of those fancy sidepanel extras are more like obstacles in the long run so there ya go!! Some include the dimensions of the actual frame that can be used, whereas some include everything! Limited only to manufacturers? No. Some products of every manufacturers do this.

If you’re thinking this way, most of the cases are kicked out of your list and most of them are made to appeal gamers.

So far, companies have made an impression that most of the products being made primarily for gamers are scrap.

An unknown company came out of nowhere and was brought in by handful of online dealers and did their own viral marketing thing. Sure, they made the hype: Sponsoring the tournaments, having small contests and giveaways. Obviously such people will have a positive feedback and word of mouth travels around: “X” brand rules!!! Yeah: You know which ones I am talking about.

But if you’re paying money for it and after few months you start getting issues, that’s where it rules you the most. Some people bought a wireless mouse and one of those 5.1 headphones. They died after using for few months. RMA was hell that you would feel that the money you “donated” is flushed down the toilet. Some of those gaming mouse/headphones work the way it should only if you install the firmware. So everytime you’re in for lan tourney, you end up wasting time to install and (few of them?) restarting the system. Some tournaments don’t allow you to do that- OUCH!!! Keeping it clean? How? Only they have given some way to. Some of those cans get damaged easily especially if you sweat a lot.

Then there are hardwares that don’t really make sense to have a gamer label with (unless there’s something great like a good Ethernet port, Low cost but good enough quality,   effective) OC): highly binned memory kits, motherboards and power supplies. One of the company reps for a psu said in an international forum ” trust me, the market size is significant!!” but here’s the thing: A lot of gamers (Lan centre folks usually) don’t really care if its 80-90% efficient psu. It should handle irrespective of the brand, quality, etc. That’s how they see things, unless one is a hardware enthusiast who happen to be a gamer.

Why would a gamer want 8+2 phase? Especially if the chip is cool and fast enough on stock that will probably last 2-3 years easily. Not all will appreciate solid caps (Note: all not of those enclosed caps are Japanese caps) and not all will spend 2-3k on a psu, let alone 2-4k on a case.

A company which has a recent history of making good stuff for the enthusiasts in general jumped in the same well. One of the guys wanted to do “something” in gaming. They made power supply and chassis. I said that those 2 hardware will be somewhere in the side: whether its server or systems used to play: once they go to their usual corner they care a damn.They were silent.

Nobody goes to a gaming tournament just because there’s a big company out there (some might if you’re doing something like 3D Gaming surround sound experience, as I am being told by “someone”). They go for the prize- especially cold hard cash.

Keyboards? Don’t get me started. Some are large with bigger-than-usual keys, some have dedicated buttons and well some have decent “bounce” with USB+ audio ports. Lifespan? Rubbish!! Gaming keyboards worth 3-6k lasting for 3 years at max with regular maintenance. There’s just no way you can remove the keys easily and clean the inaccessible part of the board. Don’t deny it, a lot of us eat food over the board. Even some of them come with drivers and user profiles. Sad part is that there’s no way to let the board to do it for you, so what’s the point?? This is more of a preference but many people feel this way.


Not all is THAT bad

Logitech MX518 still rules the show. Despite eventual and significant quality drop since the MX510 days, many people are satisfied with it. They can spend more money if they want to, but then again: Why do you need it if you’re satisfied with it? Not that its going to increase your skills to great heights. Older MX518/MX310 are used even till now. Colour is gone and even the rubber coat, but the basic shape and feel still stays.

Mousepads!! Some of those brands put some sort of a softpaper prints on the mousepad that pretty much spoils everything. Why would I pay for a large/oversize pad with a paper stuck on it for Rs. 500 (and they somewhere around 1k). I have Goliathus Control edition since 2007. The colour is gone, there’s a slight “dip” somewhere in the middle (you’ll barely feel it unless you’re concentrating on it) and the edges around the pad starts to show the usual tear: but the basic feel still stands all thanks to the weave. I have used one of those silk and hard pad mouse so someone else can fill you in.

Cyber snipa and Logitech G13: workable concepts. The game profiles for buttons can be saved on G13 so you’re covered. A decently sized rubber/foam pad is there and its pretty nice. Makes more sense than carrying a huge keyboard around.

Some sound manufacturers keep gaming at the back of their head, but don’t really use it to pitch their products. Not all gamers are sound guys (as many said self-proclaimed audiophiles), but they’ll appreciate the extra punch.

While some gaming motherboards are ridiculously overpriced (and not in the same league as its more for overclockers or bare basic users), there are some handful which makes sense. especially after the Bigfoot NIC. Cost is less and the the board is good enough: mission accomplished. Not all even buy it, but there are those who will appreciate it.

So when some of you are suggesting something to gamers: Keep these points in mind. There’s a lot more we’ve discussed but if you’re lazy not to go forum meets then you’re not going to get a lot of info that will be beneficial. Many things are not/never discussed on the forums/online.


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