I upgraded my PC this month. I’d been saving to this end for a little while now, but it still came upon me sooner than I expected it to. Three years is about the cadence I upgrade to typically, as this relates to a few generations of CPU and generally two generations of GPU. This is the third year since my last upgrade — but it doesn’t actually cross that mark until September.

But the savings were ready now, and it turns out, I wasn’t prepared to be as patient as I thought I was going to be, and here we go! New PC! My main justification being that the Samsung 49″ behemoth of a monitor (5120×1440) is a beast to drive. I got it back in 2019 when I had an nVidia 1080ti, and that thing struggled. In fact- I think it is fair to say that this one monitor has now been the driver for two whole PC upgrades!

Ignore the wallpaper from the 80’s (or even 70’s?) in the background.

Although… *cough* …It’s entirely possible I’ll also end up replacing the monitor itself now.

The super ultrawide Samsung monitor is an amazing piece of tech, don’t get me wrong. The one I have is now several generations out of date, and it’s still fantastic in many respects. As a productivity/home office monitor, I don’t think you’re going to do better.

But as a gaming monitor…

Well, I already mentioned it’s tough to drive. Technically, it’s easier than a 4K 16:9, but not significantly.

The other issue is that the super ultrawide 32:9 aspect ratio is very poorly supported. Still. When it does work? Unbelievably amazing. The closest thing you’re going to have to peripheral vision in a game without making the leap to VR.

But altogether too many games either letterbox or — and this option is by far the worse — horizontally crop the image such that you’re not seeing any wider a view across the length of the monitor, you’re just seeing far, far less of the vertical content. This can range from simply giving games a very claustrophobic appearance, to rendering the game utterly unplayable without forcing things down to a lower res in a window.

So I’ve been considering my options to replace it. 21:9 is still on the table, but equally so is jumping all the way back to 16:9. If I did go down to 16:9, it would have to be a full 4K. If I go for 21:9, then I’d likely go for 3440×1440.

I would also quite like to go for an OLED monitor. If you’ve not been keeping up — so far as gaming and media displays go, OLED panels are essentially considered the holy grail at the moment. The main benefit is that they don’t rely on backlighting to work, so when a full black is called for — they can actually do it. The contrast possible as a result is fairly insane, as is the ability to maintain visible detail in darker scenes.

Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the games that does handle 32:9 pretty well. And it even runs fairly well now! Not something I could say on the previous build, certainly not at max settings.

The major downside is ‘burn in’. Solid usage of a single colour (particularly a bright colour) can eventually cause burn-in, where the shadow of that image becomes permanently present. OLED technology is used in TVs too and has seen images with this for the likes of CNN or other news network logos or scrolling update bars.

The second major downside is that the text display can be a tad wonky. OLED TVs use a different pixel layout from a typical LCD screen. ClearType, Microsoft’s tech for displaying fonts cleanly doesn’t (yet) support any of the OLED formats, so you can see colour fringing around the outline of text sometimes.

As I expect is the case for a lot of people these days, I work from home a lot more than I used to pre-COVID.

About half my time on the computer is doing ‘office work’. Possibly more. So a monitor that threatens to render text annoyingly or get the taskbar burnt into it doesn’t greatly appeal. Neither, honestly, does going back to 16:9 — even if it is 4K.

But then for gaming…!

One of these things is going to suffer. Or do I compromise on both fronts by way of a Mini LED screen? That’s also possible. I just don’t know yet.

In any event, the specs for the system I’m now writing this to you on are as follows:

Item CategoryPC Parts
CaseLian Li O11D EVO Reversible Black ATX MidTower Gaming Case (+ Vertical mounting kit)
Cooling – CPUCorsair iCUE H150i Elite LCD XT Liquid CPU Cooler 360mm Radiator
Cooling – CaseCorsair LL Series LL120 RGB Dual Light Loop PWM Fan 120mm (2x 3-packs, 1x single)
CPU – IntelIntel Core i7 13700KF CPU 16 Core / 24 Thread – Max Turbo 5.4GHz
Hard Drives – Solid StateSamsung 990 Pro 2TB M.2 NVMe Internal SSD
Hard Drive – SATAWD Black Edition 4TB 3.5″ Internal HDD SATA3 – 7200 RPM – 256MB Cache
MotherboardASUS PRIME Z790-A WIFI-CSM ATX
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows Home 11 64-bit English USB
Power supplyASUS ROG Strix AURA Edition 1000W Power Supply 80 Plus Gold
Video CardGigabyte NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Gaming OC
Item CategoryAccessories
KeyboardLogitech G915 LIGHTSYNC Wireless RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
MouseLogitech G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse
Mouse PadLogitech POWERPLAY Wireless Charging System
HeadsetSteelseries Nova Pro Wireless (PC & PS version)

For the first time, in a very, very long time — probably 20+ years — I had the PC built for me. I almost did with the last one, but then changed my mind and took the parts home and assembled them over the course of a weekend.

Now… I just don’t have time for that. I didn’t want to invest the energy involved in the physical build and troubleshooting phase. So I just didn’t.

Warframe — Been a while since I jumped into this one. Seems to have picked up some visual updates along the way!

And I think that might just be one of the best decisions I’ve recently made.

I’ve had it at home for a bit over a week now, and it is running fantastically, without any issues either in stress tests or in actual games. I was a bit worried about that. Particularly with a vertical riser/PCI-E extension cable being required for the 4090 to even fit in this case.

But it has been humming along beautifully.

I even took the time to remove everything from my desk — including the giant monitor — dust everything down, and then reset the positioning of everything such that I can get the PC up on the desk rather than down on the floor. I had it raised off the floor by way of a slab of smoothed-over wood — but it was still closer than I would like and managed to pick up a fair degree of dust over time.

My hope is that will be significantly lessened up here!

In any case, I realise I’m running long — so I’ll wrap this month’s journal up here. I would’ve liked to still do a gaming time breakdown for March, but, uh, I made two errors.

  1. I didn’t install ManicTime on this new PC immediately. Lost nearly a week of time from this issue.
  2. I formatted the previous PC without getting the earlier March data off it first. Whoopsie.

As for reading? Going back to older works that I’ve enjoyed in the past has done wonders. I don’t feel stuck anymore. I’ve made it through the first of Mark Lawerence’s Broken Empire trilogy, and am now well into the second. It’s good to be reading again. :)


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

2 Comments

WCRobinson · April 1, 2023 at 9:43 pm

Wowzas, that panoramic set-up looks insanely cool. Impressive all around!! Interesting about the fonts not being properly supported in that format, that’d be a huge pain for graphic design.

I hope you can continue to find epic games that support the new format well!!

    Naithin · April 2, 2023 at 2:58 am

    The super ultrawide (32:9) pictured and what I have now is fine from a font perspective. The one I have is a fairly standard LCD.

    OLED (the type I would really want, at least from a gaming/media perspective) has sub-pixel layouts which are a bit off from the usual.

    Still no idea what I’ll do here yet! But I figure if I do end up replacing the super ultrawide screen at home, I’ll try lug it off to work and use it there. xD

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