TAY Open Forum

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Open Forum, which is hosted by Kotaku's reader-run blog, TAY. This is a place to talk about life, video games, or anything else, so feel free to hop in and join in the topic discussion, or comment about anything. Then, when you're done, feel free to peruse the articles onTAYandTAYClassic. Is this your first time on TAY or the Open Forum? Then check out this handyTAYTorial!

Let's give a big thanks to UI 2.0 who took it upon himself to make the TAY Open Forum this morning. Unfortunately, while I did have the TAY Open Forum ready to publish earlier today, I decided to publish it at work so that I wasn't rushing this morning. Obviously, this turned out to be quite a bad idea. I got stuck in a traffic jam, and as soon as I got to work we had a huge meeting with a partner company (which dragged on for an extraordinarily long time). I'm going to queue the Open Forum next time, that way I don't have to worry about releasing it manually. Once again, let's give UI 2.0 a round of applause for being such an awesome human being.

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you're having a good one! Christmas is right around the corner and to be honest... I've been very excited for this holiday season. I mean, quite a couple of things are going great in my life. One thing that does suck though is getting gifts for everyone! I don't mind the actual act of getting gifts; I just don't know WHAT to get my friends sometimes. I hope you all are having much better luck with this than I am. I am quite interested to know what you are getting yourself and others for Christmas this year.

As for gaming news in Gran's life, it's going quite well. To be honest, I'm moving much more to the realm of PC gaming. This is mainly due to the (slow) decline of my obsession with owning things in physical format. I don't play games as much as I used to. Therefore, there really is no reason for me to buy everything in a physical format. Buying all my games in a physical format would mean that I would have to pay more for them; yet, I may not get around to playing them all. The good news is Steam and other digital distributors make great games easily accessible for a very low price. This is a great option which lets me save money. However, I will continue to purchase the games which I love in a physical form (and with great box art!). Most of my gaming is taking place on the PC now. Sadly, my PS3 is not getting much love, other than being used exclusively for Netflix.

Halo 4 is a game which I am now constantly playing. I used to play it religiously. Unfortunately, after I sold my Xbox 360 for the PS3 I couldn't continue to play what I deem to be one of my favorite gaming experience of all time. Now that my friend got the Xbox 360 Holiday console bundle (which I'm thinking of getting myself), we play almost every night. I don't play the story; I only play multiplayer SWAT mode because it's a favorite of mine. That, and my two best friends and I are quite amazing at it. We almost always rank in the top three of any given match. It's the only game in which I get really competitive, but not to an obscene extent.

Also, I started playing Bioshock Infinite when I got it on the Steam Winter Sale on the cheap-cheap. It's an amazing marvel of a game. The atmosphere, the story, the dialogue, and the combat are spectacular, and it's a game that's becoming harder and harder to put down. It took a bit of time to meet Elizabeth, so the beginning was more of an introduction to the visuals and combat, but now the pace is kicking up to top speed. Needless to say, I can see why it has gotten so much praise. What I do get frustrated with is playing with a mouse and keyboard. I'm so used to playing with a controller that playing with anything else is alien to me. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but it's nowhere near my favorite way of playing games.

I've been meaning to build my own desktop PC rig for a while now, and I've started to save up for it. I know I bashed the Steam OS on my last TAY Open Forum, but I was originally confused by that operating system, not gaming PCs as a whole. Anyway, this will be my first venture into building a PC from scratch, and I'm quite excited but a bit nervous. I should be fine though. I have the knowledge for this kind of thing, but since I know some of you already have custom built PCs, I want to ask you for some tips, tricks, and pointers for a first-timer like myself. Aside from this, I also do have a couple of direct questions:

1.) Is it okay to have a PC built primarily on Intel hardware and just have the GPU be AMD? Will there be complications if I do this?

2.) People tell me that I should go AMD for most of my internals in order to save money. However, I really care about performance and power consumption so I'm considering buying Intel parts. What is your take on this never-ending debate?

3.) When it comes to games, I know the GPU is the most important factor to take into account, but how important is the CPU? Are those Intel i7 Extremes really worth it or necessary? Some people do crazy things with i5 processor. What's the deal?

4.) I really care about music and sound quality. I'm quite the audiophile. I want to invest in a good soundcard to get the best studio quality output from my (future) studio monitor speakers. What are the main things I want to look for in a soundcard?

5.) Considering this rig will be primarily for gaming, other than the GPU and CPU, what else should I take into account to ensure top-notch performance? What is the Viagra of PC computing if you will? ;)

6.) Given the chance to build your own custom PC without having to worry about the price, what would be your specs?

I would love to hear what the TAYtion (TAY nation) thinks about this. As always, you don't need to succumb to helping me. Go ahead and speak your mind in the comments below. I want to wish you all very special holiday and that you have a great smile on your face. Especially you UI 2.0! You beautiful soul, you! Please eat a lot, have a smile on your face, hug those you love, and those you don't! Happy Holidays!