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Reader Comments (56)

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 9:16AM Aetrix said

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I think it depends on the game. When I worked at one of the big box electronics retailers there was a steady stream of mouth breathers wandering in the door whose only requirement for their new PC was that it could play World of Warcraft.

In said game, the vast majority of people I've spoken to on the subject either flat out don't know computers, or THINK they do but then exhibit a very loose grasp on basic vocabulary and a lackluster understanding of what the different components of their hardware and OS actually do.

In 5 years, I've met exactly two there who really do know what they're talking about.

On the other hand, there are a few games out there where having a functional brain is a requirement for entry, and the players' general aptitude for all things technical improves greatly as a result.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 9:37AM Pingles said

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Been building my own PCs since my Celeron 300a rig. I love the hardware.

It's the networking stuff where I go running for help.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 9:47AM Stormwaltz said

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I know enough to know what I'm not capable of.

I can buy fully-compatible parts for my own computer and assemble them reasonably well (my cable organization is weak). If it doesn't work correctly when I boot it, I ask more knowledgeable peers.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 10:04AM alinos said

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my cable management is crap too. But then i don't buy case's with fancy glass walls so i don't really care unless it's gonna create bad airflow.
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Posted: Oct 25th 2010 9:58AM Firebreak said

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My computer is a is a magic box that makes the little TV thingy glow and then I can play my games. All kidding aside I know enough to know that I should not touch the guts of my machine either the soft or hardware. I have several friends that owe me enough that when I call they come over and help with any problems I might have at the time.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 10:02AM alinos said

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hey hey eliot there's nothing wrong with sticking a plug in a socket and hoping it doesn't blow up

as an uni student in the 3rd year of a electronic and comm's engineer degree. i still regularly still get to the point where i'm not 100% sure i've done what's asked correctly and just whack the power into it. sure the equipment's not as expensive nor is it coming out of my pocket. but theres no way to garuntee it will work until you try to blow it up :P

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 11:31AM Scuffles said

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The true spirit of an engineer :)

I remember one of my instructors sayings that really stuck with me.
"Electronics are all run on smoke and they'll work until you let it escape"
Or something to that effect.
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Posted: Oct 25th 2010 11:59AM Pan1 said

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That is so very true. :)
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Posted: Oct 25th 2010 10:05AM bylthe said

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I have build many desktop computers over the years and feel very confident about doing it. I however do not feel comfortable about laptops. I ended up buying a alienware m17X for my mobile gaming. Despite the guy's comment above, the laptop is awesome for mobile gaming. I have had it six months with no problems. Still prefer my desktop I recently build for home use and my 55inch led monitor.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 10:37AM Alpha Gamer said

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I've been building my own gaming towers for years (I have 4 atm - wife and two kids are gamers too), and have built several for friends. Aluminum cases, LED fans, windows in the side, pretty cables, etc. Business was slow about 12 years ago so I took a bunch of IT (MCSE, A+, etc.), electronics (basic to advanced) and Programming courses at a community college after work. Ended up with a couple Associates degrees and a bunch of certifications I don't use for work. I've even done some soldering on a bad motherboard and gotten it working properly again. I don't always know the latest hardware off the top of my head but catch up every couple years when I build a new tower.

I also have an Alienware m17x for mobile gaming (though I prefer to play on my desktops). It plays the latest games just fine though. Which reminds me, I've also pulled a friends laptop completely apart (all the pieces), and put it back together. He got drunk and puked into the keyboard so the whole thing needed cleaning out and the LCD replaced, hehe.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 10:43AM Heraclea said

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I've rebuilt computers out of spare parts. but generally am somewhat leery of starting from scratch with new parts. Spare parts are essentially free: you use them or discard them. New parts represent real money, and I'm not that confident in my tinkering ability.

The one thing I've always made certain to do is to buy every desktop machine locally, without a name brand, from essentially generic and compatible parts. My current game machine resides in a box that is at least 12 years old. The box is the only part that dates from when I got it. There have been at least three different motherboards, several video cards, two power supplies, and many other changes made to it.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 10:49AM Lateris said

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A few months ago I was in gamestop with my kids and somehow I started talking to the sales guy about a development cycle using SCRUM at my work. He asked if I played consoles or PC games. I told him I play both but mainly MMORPG's. He then said "You MMO gamers really know your games and computers". I thought it was a very cool compliment. I have been building my own desktops since the 486 days.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 10:54AM Torch Light said

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Proud to say I've built my own computers since I was 14 and they have been the most stable machines I've used.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 10:56AM Valdamar said

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I'd say unabashedly clueless, as that's how I feel when something goes seriously wrong and it takes me ages to diagnose, but I have parents for whom email is still confusing and who panic when they get a pop-up about a software update - and for every person I know who knows more about PCs than me, I know at least 20 who know less than me.

So no, I'm not clueless - just average - I've been using computers since the early 1980s, PCs since the early 1990s, so I've picked up a few things along the way. I keep my PC in fairly good shape, but when something goes badly wrong luckily I have expert friends I can call on, who work with PCs every day as their job.

While it would be handy to know more about PCs I just want computers to be like my car - I don't need to know how to fix that, or what's going on under the bonnet/hood, to be able to use it - and like my PCs my car generally runs reliably for a couple of years at a time with just minor/easy maintenance I can do myself, without needing an expert to poke around inside it.

I would like to build my own PCs, but I'm one of those people who build up a lot of static charge - despite always earthing myself when I do go inside a PC I have static-fried RAM chips twice before - one of my friends describes me as a human tesla coil :p - so I try to avoid going inside a PC case and still pay others to build my PCs for me or get friends to fit my upgrade parts.

Posted: Oct 26th 2010 1:10AM (Unverified) said

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im moderatly alright with them.
Any problems a slight kick to the side cant cure, then its off with the sides! Take it apart, poke a few bits, look blankly, shrug shoulders, take bits out, put bits it, blow dust around (dont use a hoover, bits fall off), then when it doesnt work, google it on the other pc.
sorted.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 11:01AM Necromas said

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I've built my own computer, do overclocking/undervolting, know my way around the BIOS and stuff, and have disassembled and repaired laptops and xbox 360's. So I guess I'm above average.

The best advice I can give to anyone who feels like they're in over their head with something technical is to have good google-fu and check more than one source before deciding what to do and how to do it. And go slow and methodical, especially with delicate hardware.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 11:20AM Azimn said

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I used to really be in to computers, and I did upgrade/ frankenstein my old pc quite a bit. However I had so much damn trouble "fixing" that machine and with windows breaking on me I bought a Macbook Pro for my next machine. I don't want to start a Mac vs Windows debate, because I know many people hate macs just out of principle but I do love my machine. I will add that it sucks most MMOs are Windows only, and I HATE the mac store because they figure because I own a mac I must be tech retarded and talk to me like like I am stupid. But I really do love my Macbook, and it least I can play Wow, DDO, STO, and Guild wars without a reboot and I don't have to worry about Windows breaking on me.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 3:11PM (Unverified) said

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I'm tier 3 support at a casino. Being that the casino is a 24 hour situation, with all servers being mission critical I'd say that I'm pretty on top of my hardware troubleshooting. Especially on home use pc's. Also I act as one of our DBA's and do .net development, software and databses don't worry me either.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 11:20AM Clemalum07 said

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I am above average I have built my last three computers and trouble shoot minor issues for the company I work for.

Posted: Oct 25th 2010 11:23AM Justpotatoes said

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My husband has a graduate degree in computer science, so I usually prefer to have him handle computer stuff, though I can do most things myself. I did take some CS classes in college... mostly just to meet smart guys (hehe), but they were all software (C, data structures, etc.).

I've swapped out memory sticks and put in new network and video cards. I put in a new power supply once. I'd never buy a packaged computer system, preferring to build my own. However, if there's a network issue, then I'll have my hubby take care of it. I guess I'm okay with possibly screwing up my own machine, but I hate to screw up the network for the rest of the family!

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