Here’s my problem: I’m at the point where I’m thinking of getting a new computer, and all things being equal, I’d like to get something that’s tricked out to a reasonable degree, so I can play all the ginchy new computer games at near-max frame rates; which is to say I want a gaming rig. What keeps me from buying a gaming rig, however, is that almost without exception they look absolutely idiotic, like pimped-out nerd versions of rice burners. And just as I don’t need neon runners on my car, neither do I need my computer to glow extraneously. I want it to run programs, quietly, efficiently and without throwing off any more electromagnetic radiation than is absolutely necessary.
As an example of this problem, note the picture above, of CyberPower PC’s “Lan Party Commander.” Leaving aside the name of the PC, which screams “I am encrusted in the residue of Cheetos and Mountain Dew,” this rig is one of the more subtly-designed of the gaming rigs CyberPower puts together, and it still looks like a cooling tower at Chernobyl. If I walk into a room and something is glowing like this thing is, my first instinct is to dive toward the lead shielding.
This is not to bag on CyberPower in particular — as it happens, my current computer is a CyberPower rig, and it’s given me fine service for almost three years. They make good gaming computers. But three years ago, when I bought this rig, it was still possible to specify the computer get put into a tower that didn’t telegraph that the owner’s complete inability to find and keep compatible sexual partners. It really doesn’t seem to be the case any more.
Nor is it just CyberPower — every gaming rig maker houses them in ridiculous towers that glow and/or look like alien skulls and/or have silk screened pictures of exploding ewoks (or whatever) on the side. The only one that really doesn’t is Falcon Northwest, who gives their computers (relatively) understated brushed metal towers, as long as you can overlook their oversized logo. But Falcon Northwest is also under the opinion that $2,000 is a fine starting price for their “budget” rig. If I wanted to pay that much money for a brushed aluminum rig that didn’t make me feel like I was riding on the aesthetic shortbus, I’d just get a Mac Pro and have done with it.
To be fair, I understand that the primary market for gaming rig makers are 20something dudes with more credit card bandwidth than aesthetic common sense, so it makes sense for them to build their rigs this way. But it’s not really that much to ask for to have a single “bland box” tower option available for those of us don’t actually want their desks and walls bathed in a neon glow. I know, I’m boring. But I’m boring and I also have money to give to a PC company that doesn’t force me to look like a gaudy asshole because I want a gaming rig with decent frame rates. I’m too old for that now, and I say that proudly.