An interesting thing happened to my gaming PC this year. It started showing its age (I’d be much obliged if you at least feign shock). I began to notice the symptoms the moment I powered up Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm for the first time. My frame rate was consistently plummeting to around 20 frames per second. I was flabbergasted. Why would this be happening, I thought, when Wings of Liberty ran (with the same graphics settings, mind you) at around 60FPS or better?
Then came BioShock Infinite. The (sort-of) in-game performance utility defaulted me to high (very high? something better than medium, anyway) settings and measured an average 40 frames per second. Definitely playable, I thought. Except once I started playing, the game dropped to sub-20 every time a gunfight broke out.
Finally, I fired up the Company of Heroes 2 beta. I should quickly mention here that the original CoH, arguably the greatest RTS in the history of the genre, is one of the best games that I never played. I own it (collector’s edition tin and all), but it launched at the end of my Alienware Area-51’s lifespan. I saw my friends playing the game and it looked so pretty with its vibrant and colorful explosions and detailed units and environments. Mine looked . . . grey and, maybe, brown. Anyway, I’ve been excited to play CoH2 with a system that would actually make the game look decent. But alas, the game defaulted me to sub-medium graphical settings and the game looked, well, white.
I knew it was time for an upgrade, but with a limited budget, I wasn’t sure which component needed the investment. As always, I figured my best bet was the GPU (I was rocking two Radeon HD 5750s), but I wasn’t entirely convinced that was the case. I took to the Internet for advice. I wanted to know how to properly diagnose my PC woes. My cries for help, however, were left unanswered. That is, until I sent a desperate email to Lifehacker.
Lifehacker responded by featuring my message in their “What’s Your Problem” article series. Check it out! You will find there, right below the Photoshopped stock image, my name. It was a proud moment for me. Seriously, I may be sounding hyperbolic, but I was beaming even while I realized I had outed myself as a total hardware newb. Within minutes, the Lifehacker community had swarmed to my rescue in a way that only they can.
I’ll get back to you on what the outcome of their support was, but for now, I just want to make my gratitude known to Lifehacker. Thanks guys. Keep on improving the world one hack at a time.