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Letters to the Editor: PC Gaming Is Still Way Too Hard

I'm going to be straight with you: It was hard to talk about anything but Pokémon Go this week.

by Emanuel Maiberg
Jul 16 2016, 3:00pm

mage: Flickr/Per-Olof Forsberg .​

I'm going to be straight with you: It was hard to talk about anything but Pokémon Go this week. We obviously got a few letters about the mobile game sensation, but they all essentially asked the same question: How do you catch 'em all?

You should read our Pokémon Go Tips and Tricks story, as well as this story about spoofing GPS locations if you're sneaky. But the short answer is that you just have to go out there and be the very best.

Image: Our inbox.

Then there's the other story we got a lot of emails about. Last week I wrote about how I think PC Gaming Is Still Way Too Hard and it made people angry.

The thrust of the story is that building a PC is difficult and that the industry hasn't done enough to address that. As a result, PC gaming can seem inaccessible to newcomers. Many of our PC enthusiast readers felt that the piece exaggerated the difficulty of building your own machine, but I think they're missing the perspective of people who are totally new to this concept.

"I was surprised at the virile reaction from readers to this article," Motherboard managing editor Adrianne Jeffries said. "I know the basic components of a computer and even volunteered for a nonprofit building low-end PCs from donated parts. I'm playing Fallout 4 on PlayStation and would love for it to be faster and smoother, so the idea of building a PC is appealing. However, it seems terrifyingly complicated. Even the guides that are supposedly for dummies and beginners are basically impenetrable. It's like reading the tax code, or looking up words in the dictionary where every definition contains a new word you don't know."

The emails from readers who agreed to participate in our Letters to the Editor section, and whose emails contained more than just swearwords, are published below, followed by my replies.

However, there's one thing all of these emails had in common that I'd like to address here at the top. A lot of readers got the impression that I was advocating for Apple and game consoles over PCs.

Here's the deal: I have never in my life owned an Apple computer because my interest in computers and technology in general was always inspired by games. The Apple laptop you see in those pictures in the article is my girlfriend's Macbook Air, which I used to Google questions and watch video guides while I was building my PC. I also have a Macbook in the office that VICE gave me, though I much prefer to work on my tower PC at home.

I do recommend Apple products to people who need a computer but aren't very tech-savvy and don't care to be. My mom buys a Mac once every three years, and it just works. Buy it, turn it on, and done. I of course don't recommend Apple to anyone who wants to play games, because there just aren't enough games on that platform.

I've also primarily played games on PC my entire life. I've owned consoles, of course. Consoles are great, but I'm a PC gamer at heart, which is why I ended up writing for PC Gamer so much when I was a freelance writer. As I've said in the article, PC is by far the best place to play games, but the barrier to entry is so much higher than it is with consoles, and I wish there was pressure from the community to close that gap.

I know a lot of people who like to play games, but don't care to invest too much time, money, and effort before they can get started. They're used to coming home and turning on Netflix. They're used to buying Apple products that work out of the box and require no tinkering. I know all of them would love the wild world of PC gaming, but they can't be bothered to sort through PC Part Picker and figure out what build is right for them and figure out how to put it together. Instead, they'll go buy an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, because it's easy, and I totally understand that choice. If there was a more convenient way to get into PC games I would recommend it to them, but there isn't, and I think that's a bummer.

Below are my exchanges with a bunch of readers who emailed me about this story, followed by a few more emails Motherboard received this week.

***

RE: PC Gaming Is Still Way Too Hard

If an idiot tries a task too hard for them, because they failed to do the most fundamental research - they will certainly find it too hard.

Building a gaming PC is a 3-step process:

1. Pick a decent, mid-range "consumer" PC. Something like $200-300.

2. Pick a decent, mid-range gfx card. Something like $100-200.

3. Install the card.

In $300-$500, you have a decent gaming rig.

If, instead, you go about getting the best of the best and assemble everything from scratch, you are in for a long, arduous process only enthusiasts of the process will enjoy. You will spend a long time on research, a longer time on shopping, and still a long time on assembly.

And you'll end up with a machine way overpowered for common gaming. It will be a rig for show-off. It's only purpose is extending one's ego.

No. PC gaming is not hard at all.

Building custom monster machines that are too powerful for normal gaming is hard.

Leon Wilk

***

Hey Leon!

I agree that buying a PC takes some research, which is what I said in the article. I spent most of my time researching the video card, reading multiple reviews and listening to people I trust say that the 1070 was a great card to get if I was looking to build a PC on the higher end, which I was. I did a little bit of research for the rest, but I mostly trusted the PC Gamer build mentioned in the article, which I was told would be a good fit for the 1070.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted a higher end rig, and have saved up money to get one for about two years. I gave myself a budget of $2,000, which is about exactly what I spent.

You can definitely get a fine PC for $500, though let's not forget that if you're starting from scratch, you'll also need to buy a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and that those can get pretty expensive too depending on what kind of quality you're looking for. For example, I'm currently rocking a $100 Logitech G502 Proteus Core because I have big hands, I like a heavy mouse, and it's never going to make me feel like I lost a match of Overwatch because the CPI wasn't up to snuff. You could get a cheaper mouse, sure. I went through some cheaper Logitech mouses and even a R.A.T 5 before I landed on this one. It's the most I paid for a mouse ever but also the best. That's kind of where my head was at with this build in general, but I don't think that $500+ is cheap either.

Like you say, I wanted the best of the best, I just wish that paying a premium price felt like a premium experience. That's not the experience I had building the PC, shopping for parts, or even trying to buy it from sites like CyberPower (which are also more expensive).

I disagree with you that a PC like this would be just for show. Trust me, it's not like I wanted to spend $2,000 just for the hell of it. Yeah, I could play most games on a $500-$600 machine, but would I be able to play all those games on the highest settings? Would I be able to play VR games on the highest settings? Would I be able to play on these settings and capture footage at the same time? Would I be able to plug in multiple, 144hz monitors? Hell, even the GeForce GTX 1080, which is more expensive and more powerful than my 1070 can barely handle games at 4K, which is definitely something I'd like to try over the next year or two. I specifically bought a rig that would be able to do these things, or that I would be able to upgrade to do these things in the near future.

Needless to say, all of this is much more difficult than buying an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, which of course don't do as much, but mostly just work. I think this is why most people choose to play AAA games on those consoles instead of getting into PC gaming.

Thanks!

Emanuel Maiberg, Motherboard Weekend Editor.

***

In your article about building a pc and how difficult it is I think you failed to mention something really important. Building is optional. There are many companies who will build for you for peanuts. The cost may still be slightly higher than consoles, but these aren't consoles.

They are work machines.

They are consoles.

They are TVs.

All rolled into one product. Stating that pc gaming is too hard to get into without mentioning pre built machines is ridiculous. Saying that things haven't changed without mentioning Steam machines and the push by the largest games platform on pc is just pain sloppy What it comes down to is one individual who attempted an unnecessary method of becoming a pc gamer. Trust me, ask me to build a games console and I will have the same experience. But I don't need to do the, I buy it pre built.

Thanks For reading,

SirWalrus Gaming

***

Hey SirWalus!

I do mention pre-built PCs in my article, specifically CyberPower and Falcon NW. When I tried to buy the same parts in my build from CyberPower or parts of equal quality, the CyberPower option was $300 more expensive, and on other sites that price was even higher.

I have tried this option before. In 2005 my little brother was getting a new gaming PC and we tried another pre-built PC supplier, iBuyPower. For whatever reason, the video card was dead on arrival. I don't know why. But what you'll discover at this point if you bought your PC from one of these companies is that it's crucial that they have great customer service and return policies. These vary a lot from company to company (requiring another level of research), and no matter what you do, you're still going to be navigating a call center, shipping out defective parts (or the entire computer!) and waiting for replacements. I've been there. It sucks.

Thanks!

Emanuel.

***

First off, I'm a bit disappointed that I'm seeing this article coming from a website called "motherboard". This is some propaganda I would have expected to come from IGN, if anywhere, let alone a website named after one of the central required components to a PC. If you are going to spew filth like this, consider changing your name to something like "PaidJournalism" or "We <3 IGN".

So you built a PC. Congratulations, seriously, on a great achievement. (Not being sarcastic there.) Everyone should be able to do this, especially if you've touched a Lego at some point in your life and have the reading comprehension of at least a 6th-grader. However, to copy a build from a well-known gaming PC website which you can clearly see has a very high price tag, then write an article based on that build and only that build? You are dealing with enthusiast parts, some of which require at least a base level of knowledge. I'd love to see the bizzaro universe you must have slipped into where every new computer builder has $2000 to blow on parts and just orders what looks cool online.

People love to constantly say that as soon as some new tech-related thing comes out, someone is already working on making it obsolete. The article you picked from was over a year old. Clearly you have an "unreasonable amount of disposable income" (please see the potato-masher PC build.) You must also have an unreasonable amount of time as well, as your 5 hour build time shows (really shouldnt have taken more than two, even for a new builder.) You could have taken 3 seconds to follow your own step number 3 and keep on the "cutting edge" without buying parts on a list that has been out-dated for a year.

I beg of you, next time you write something PC related, erase what you wrote and go back to your console. Our community has a hard enough time keeping individuals from making us out to be bad guys and jackasses without minor publications adding their filth to the fire.

Please remove this article. I can tell you with some authority that it is the work of a blithering idiot.

ScrumTool

***

Hey ScrumTool!

Okay, I'm going to bullet point this one:

-- I met some of the people at IGN, they are very nice, and they love PCs. I don't know where this idea that they hate PC comes from but it's just not accurate.

-- I think I have what counts as a "base level of knowledge" in regards to building a PC. I've installed hard drives, graphics cards, RAM, and even network and sound cards, back when those were still a thing! I just never did the whole thing from scratch.

-- The PC Gamer article was first posted a year ago, but like I say in the article, it's updated frequently, most recently after the release of the GeForce 10 series.

-- I didn't want to buy a $500 machine that could run most games just fine. I wanted to play VR, be able to upgrade to 4K, and to future-proof as much as possible.

-- Five hours for a build is a long time. I was expecting two hours as well, but there were a couple of things that really slowed me down. The first is the water cooling system. It wasn't clear if I needed to use thermal paste for the water cooler I bought or not, and since the instructions that came with the water cooler weren't clear about that, I spent some time researching to be 100 percent sure I wasn't going to fry my CPU. Then, installing the water cooler was way harder than I imagined. The tubes are very rigid, so you actually have to apply a surprising amount of force to keep it in place while you're screwing it on top of the CPU. Personally, I find it pretty scary to apply a lot of force to a motherboard, so I did it slowly and as gently as possible. Also I made the dumb mistake of installing the radiator to the case before installing the fans to the radiator, so I essentially had to install it twice. Was it a dumb mistake? Sure!

The other thing that took time, as I mention in the article, is troubleshooting the case fans which didn't spin (it was a loose SATA cable that, in my case, connected behind the motherboard), and an ethernet cable my PC didn't recognize (I downloaded the wrong driver).

These problems are exactly the kind of things I think makes PC games not very accessible. Not a lot of room for mistakes with a console. Mostly, you just turn it on, download an update, and go.

Thanks!

Emanuel.

***

I just read your article on Vice about building a PC.

It is truly a shame that such a prominent website allows such blatant misinformation to be published. I figured I would email you and try to set the record straight.

First, let's start with your 3 step guide to building a PC:

  • Step 1: Have an unreasonable amount of disposable income.
  • Step 2: Have an unreasonable amount of time to research, shop around, and assemble parts for your computer.
  • Step 3: Get used to the idea that this is something you're going to have to keep investing time and money in as long as you want to stay at the cutting edge or recommended specifications range for new PC games.

Step 1: You can build a perfectly viable gaming PC for a similar price as a console. "The Crusher" build found on the PC Master Race subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/wiki/builds#...) is testament to this.

For just a little over $400, you get 60fps gaming at 1080p. As a comparison, the Xbox One and PS4 games mostly run at 720-900p at 30fps. This is both a reduction in graphical quality AND framerate, for the same cost! It also seems ironic that you would complain about the expenses involved in building a PC, then recommend Apple products which are by and large some of the most overpriced electronics on the entire market. You chose the most expensive products in the hobby PC market, then complained about it. This isn't PC gaming's fault, it's yours.

Step 2: Most of the research is already done for you. PCPartPicker, PC Master Race, and Logical Increments have plenty of build guides to refer to. I can make a mild concession here simply because there are indeed a multitude of options to choose from when building a PC; I definitely see this as more of a blessing than a curse, but I'm sure opinions vary. Regardless, no matter what product you're buying, any intelligent consumer will be well-pressed to do some research on what they're purchasing, and there are plenty resources available that distill the information into something far more digestible. It sounds like to me that you simply couldn't be assed... again, your problem, not PC Gaming's. But I guess if you want something plug-and-play the console still wins... I dunno, just a tiny bit of effort in order to get something objectively and substantially better for the same price sounds good to me.

Step 3: The nail in the coffin - the aforementioned Crusher build will last as long as the consoles at better-than-console performance (again, for the same price). Though, using the Crusher as an example, I could upgrade that GTX 950 to a 970 or beyond for less than the price of upgrading to the next generation of consoles. Have fun buying your Neo/Scorpio for $499 (more than the cost of a GTX1070 which will last years at 1080p/120fps - try that, consoles!) and still be unable to keep up. This point might have had a bit more weight before Microsoft and Sony basically admitted that they can't keep up with PC hardware. Though, again, I can't have much sympathy for you, because you are choosing to remain at the CUTTING EDGE, when that is wholly unnecessary for quality gaming over a long period.

tl;dr: You chose to get the highest-end hardware you can, without doing any research, then complained about the expense while insisting you remain on the cutting edge. Nice move. (God, and then you go on to talk about bang-for-buck? Seriously?)

You spent $2000 on parts you frankly did not need and then complained about the price.

i7 is overkill for gaming. i5 would have saved you over $100.

You got one of the highest-end motherboards, again, overkill.

Water cooled, even. Overkill. Are you even planning on overclocking?

You bought an expensive case that you don't even like. Why not buy one that was actually aesthetically pleasing to you? (Oh yeah, because you're too lazy to use Google.)

Then you went to build it. Oh boy, a 160-page manual! Again, have you ever heard of Google? Are you aware of the over 54 million results that show up when you search for "how to build a pc?" There's even Youtube videos that go over every facet of building your PC from start to finish, if you aren't the reading type. BTW, have you ever tried to upgrade anything other than RAM on a Mac? You can't. Good luck (and have fun complaining about the cost of your bad decision making some more).

Now, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt a bit. I understand that the PC market can be intimidating to newcomers. I agree that pre-built gaming PCs are overpriced (that's why we build them ourselves, but with your mentality on spending I'm sure you would have been fine buying an Alienware or something). But it doesn't take much more than, maybe realistically an hour of reading to get a baseline understanding of everything going on under the hood. But I guess that's an hour better spent playing GTAV at 30fps on a console. I guess I understand? Some people just want things handed to them. I guess I can't blame them, and PC gaming just isn't for those people.

Really though, opening your article with such misinformation and then advocating inferior options is pretty irresponsible journalism. I hope next time you actually... do some research.... but by your own admission, that's not gonna happen. (So did I waste my time? Maybe. But at least I enjoyed writing this.)

Enjoy the rest of your day :)

Christopher.

***

Hey Christopher!

Let me address these steps.

Step 1: I think The Crusher is a cool build, but it's not what I was looking for. I wanted something way more powerful for VR and 4K.

Step 2: I do mention the PC Master Race and Build a PC subreddits as great resources where people can get help. I didn't mention it in the article, but I did actually run my build through PC Part Picker because I made some slight changes to the PC Gamer build and I wanted to make sure I wasn't creating compatibility issues. My point, however, is that the prospective PC gamer does have to do all this research to get started, whereas a console is something you can, for the most part, just buy and use.

Step 3: I agree that the incremental console iterations that Sony and Microsoft are talking about seem like that they could potentially be confusing as well, while not providing the same power and flexibility as a PC. To me, it doesn't sound like the best idea, but those aren't on the market yet so I can't tell you how those will stack up against PC yet.

You say that: "Some people just want things handed to them. I guess I can't blame them, and PC gaming just isn't for those people."

I mean, yes. This is basically what I'm saying. A lot of people love games. PC is the best place to play games. I wish that there was a way to get those people into PC gaming that was as easy as a console.

Thanks!

Emanuel.

***

Your recent article about building a gaming PC is extremely misleading and damaging to the PC community. Period.

Instead of actually doing any research at all -- you mentioned PCMR without, apparently, even going there -- you just bought the most expensive parts you could without reason. Why? Are you going to overclock? Are you planning on running a 6-monitor surround setup at 60FPS? Are you planning on overclocking the processor to the extent that a water cooler is actually required? Probably not, by the sounds of your article.

I am extremely disappointed. A lot of the arguments you made are the same old arguments the console manufacturers have been spewing for the last decade -- despite being proven categorically wrong. If you had looked at the Why PCMR? article, you would have seen many builds for way less money that handily beat consoles. The fact that you didn't is a disservice to your readers.

Also, the smart-ass crack about the name of PC Master Race -- did you even bother to read this? No, of course not, your article shows you didn't bother to actually look into things, you just blindly marched into a retailer with $2,000 and they sold you top-end parts, laughing their asses off in the back room after you left, I imagine.

PLEASE at least edit the article by adding an addendum showing that you DO NOT need a large amount of disposable income to easily trounce modern consoles. You can build an HTPC which will sit in the living room, or you can pick up a Steam Link to get the couch gaming experience while still handily beating consoles, and being future-proofed way beyond the lifetime of a console.

Thanks.

Aurelius R.

***

Hey Aurelius!

I'd like to respond to two of your concerns here.

I'm familiar with the origins of the term "PC Master Race" and I totally understand that it was conceived as a joke...but at same time, the community has ran with it. As I say in the article, it's still pretty elitist and insular. A good example of this would be the response to my article, which has been vitriolic. I am not sure why people see it as an attack, and I am still not sure why PC gamers aren't pushing for more consumer-friendly options in order to grow that community.

Also, as a Jew and descendant of Jews who fled Europe because of the Nazis I, personally, am not offended by the term "PC Master Race" on its face, but like, could we not rally around a better term? Why cling to this? We could do better.

Thanks!

Emanuel.

***

Dear Emanuel,

It seems like you and I were in similar positions recently with regards to building a PC for the very first time, yet after reading your article on Reddit I found myself upset and completely misrepresented as a recent console convert myself. I'm not sure if your article will have any sort of impact on others interested in building their own PCs, but for their sake I hope your article never reaches their innocent eyes and cluttered newsfeeds.

Let me explain why.

Several weeks ago I played Overwatch at a friend's house and instantly got hooked. Like, really hooked. I needed to get my own copy as soon as I could, but the most recent system I had to play on was my Xbox 360. So I made the decision to build my first-ever gaming PC with the SOLE intention of playing one single game, Overwatch. If the thought of buying a gaming system for one game sounds ridiculous to you, that's fine because it sounded completely ridiculous to me as well. So being on as tight a budget as possible was my first goal for this new build since it was so one-track minded.

When I read your article I was amazed that you dropped $450 on your graphics card alone. The one I picked up (XFX Radeon R9 380) cost $170 after mail-in rebate and can run Fallout 4 on Ultra just fine. My horror continued to rise as you mentioned that you put zero effort into bargain-hunting and ordered everything off of Amazon. As a typical broke college student, finding deals was my top priority and I'm sure that many others looking to break into PC gaming are of the same mindset. One simple trip to PCPartPicker.com could literally have saved you hundreds of dollars through aggregate price comparisons and rebate notifications. How could you list Step 1 of PC building as "Have an unreasonable amount of disposable income" then turn and say "I could have saved a significant amount of money bargain hunting, but this was an inconvenience I was happy to avoid for a price"? Sounds like entitled bullshit whining if you ask me.

You go on to list unnecessary components for a first-time build such as a water cooling system and a solid state drive (I'm using an HDD and stock cooling, easily saved ~$80 right there and a shitton of time/stress), then describe the arduous process of building the actual PC. Except it's anything but arduous. When I got all of my components I watched ONE single Youtube video from Newegg on how to build a PC and followed their steps exactly. The process took less than two hours from start to finish, and when I finished I actually turned to my dad and said, "Huh, I didn't expect that to be so easy." It was basically snapping in Lego pieces into a case. Sure some parts were more frustrating than others, but it was nowhere close to the monumental task you described in your article.

The "insulated" community of r/buildapc was my most valuable resource throughout my process. But seeing as how you lumped it in with the meme-filled wasteland of r/pcmasterrace in your article, I doubt you actually spent any time utilizing the community to help you out. R/buildapc was nothing but friendly to a first time builder like me, and made several suggestions as to how I could improve my performance for marginal costs of $10 - $20 here and there. PCPartPicker.com, which I mentioned above, was also a great resource and literally stopped me from getting a case that wouldn't work with my motherboard (it was something about the case not having the proper cut-out slots for the board, amazing right?).

All in all my build cost $500 and took far less time and effort than you described in your article. For the price of your GPU and change I built a PC that can not only run Overwatch but also other next-gen games on way better specs than could ever be achieved on a PS4 or Xbox One. This is why I believe your article is patently false, misleading, and overall a low-effort piece of garbage "journalism." You did nothing to help out potential people interested in PC gaming and simply did a write-up of your terrible efforts to make a PC as quick as possible without any regard for price or research. I sincerely hope the only people that read your article are the ones on r/pcmasterrace who already have a PC and are currently laughing at how awful your "article" really is.

Regards,

N.P.

***

Hey N.P.,

Thanks for writing in. I, too, really like Overwatch. It's a great game, but not very demanding in terms of hardware!

In fact, we just ran a story about how Overwatch was specifically designed to run on low spec PCs, even PCs without a dedicated GPU.

I personally wanted a computer that A: would be able to run VR games at the highest settings possible, and B: would be fairly future proof, with room to overclock and upgrade.

I said in the article that the PC Master Race and Build a PC subreddits were useful resources. You can definitely buy a lower end PC for much cheaper, but then it wouldn't be able to do all the things a PC can currently do, and parsing out these differences is one of the things that makes PC gaming so much harder than playing on consoles.

Thanks!

Emanuel.

***

RE: All the Reasons to See 'Independence Day 2'

First, let me say that I went to see this movie with my 26 yr old daughter, visiting from Maui, who says she never gets to see scifi movies with anyone but me, on a Wednesday night at a multiplex theater in Azusa, Ca on July 6, 2016. I am 63, and a lifelong scifi freak, both film and literature. IDII was playing in two of the

theaters, one in 3D. That show had started at 7pm and we had planned to attend the 8pm showing, which was not 3D (I didn't know it was playing in 3D at all, didn't really

care ; it was the timing that fit the rest of our evening) We were the only two people attending the 8pm showing that night.

Outside of blockbuster movies, scifi can be a lonely life. Too many geeks, not enough people "with lives", not enough people get that scifi is best when it explores the effects of tech on people, not just bug-eyed monsters and ray guns. I'm not a joiner, and I tend to treat music and books like personal discoveries. No one else ever seems to believe the way I do, and the ones who do are like me - they largely keep to themselves about it all. Otherwise, you can wind up both attracting and repelling the wrong people. I avidly read opinion and discussion and editorial content about scifi, to stay on the right track and stay fresh in my personal knowledge, insights and opinions.

IDII is easily dismissed as kitsch and an attempt at cashing in on the summer blockbuster paradigm. In the context of films like Blade Runner, or Minority Report, it is a goofy roller coaster, just like its predecessor. But I never saw either film as pretending to be anything other than what it was, and as such, I sat back and enjoyed. You should always give power only to people that don't want it, and maybe we should give imagining aliens only to people who don't believe in them. The special effects were great (though I think the alien mother ship, even at 3000mi wide, was shown too large compared to the Earth). There were many production design details that I didn't get enough of, e.g. the internal ecosystem of the mothership (a dark swamp with weird plants), the Moon Tug with its big mechanical arms that double as landing gear, the alien prison, and the other alien race that came to warn us. As I said, I've been into scifi since I was a kid, and I have learned to look for the good and praise it if only because there was no CGI in my formative years, and all rocket launches seemed to be created from grainy WWII footage of Nazi V2's. Nowadays, ANYTHING can be made to look real and wonderful, which puts the onus right back onto the writing, which, when it's good, can always overshadow a lot of bad, low budget special effects. IDII is a fine example of modern scifi movie CGI, and my scavenger's orientation makes me dismiss most of the writing (the fast and loose plot, holes and all) and just enjoy the visions of a united Earth, humbled and brave humans that now see themselves in the context of the universe, and the notion we might have friends as well as enemies out there.

I can't defend movies like this to hostile critics; it won't hold up. But I have a secret jones for this franchise, and hope they make the right moves in IDIII.

Charles M Britzman

***

Just got back from the local movie house after seeing Independence Day resurgence.. I thought the movie was well done for about the first 50/minutes, yes no doubt visually stunning I guess that's one thing we got right after 20 years .....after that a descent into who gives a crap... gratuitous mish mosh of lame jokes, dumb dialog, sappy "/I've been there bromance, nerd needs a girl crap, perhaps more.appropriate. for.saved by the Bell.than a alien invasion disaster flick... And what the hell.was.the rest of the world doing while we were going toe to toe with an arguably more implacable for??? How did Jasmine earn.the white lab coat? I thought you was a stripper and it might have been a better plot feature to have her running a nightclub or a ballet instructor... The lack of character depth was apparent everywhere... Judd Hirch being pursued by a giant Alien while driving a.school bus? Gimme a break...the most distressing, and foreboding part of this movie is the threat of a sequel.." where as one character put it "....we go ( presumably to their house via Interstellar travel) and kick some alien butt.."...Sorry, I'll pass I have to give the cat a bath...

This is Mike Manieri reporting 4 Acme movie reviews..

***

RE: Bitcoin Is Unsustainable and Bitcoin Could Consume as Much Electricity as Denmark by 2020

Hi there,

I am studying the circular economy with Bradford Uni and have decided to examine whether Ethereum will help or hinder the key principles of a Circular Economy at local scale.

Looking at examples like Callicoon—where the Community supported agriculture scheme is using ethereum as a closed loop decentralised token system to exchange generated resources (apples to Kw's) within their community...

But reading the Motherboard article on Bitcoin being unsustainable from an energy consumption POV got me thinking about whether Ethereum would be as energy hungry or whether the ETH architecture is somewhat different?

Has anyone run a calculation on the energy consumption patterns of ETH?

Any thoughts/guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Best,

Tom Harper

***

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the forward, it's interesting. A quick estimate of the current Ethereum electricity consumption ends up at about 10% of the Bitcoin network (40 MegaWatts, assuming 4 TH/s total hashrate of the Ethereum network and 500 Watts to power a 50 MH/s Radeon graphics card). But growth in the Bitcoin hashrate may be dented by last weeks block-halving, so Ethereum would indeed be 'catching up'.

The big game changer for Ethereum would be the planned switch to a Proof-of-Stake protocol by 2017 (?). If hashing is no longer required, the PoS approach would practically reduce the power-draw to zero. That would truly lead the way to sustainable applications of Ethereum :)

I'll reply Tom on his mail with the reflection above. I'm not sure on a follow-up story on Ethereum though. Because of this possible switch to PoS there is no use to saying anything about trends, while analyzing the current situation may become yesterday's news just too quickly. I'm very interested to hear your thoughts though!

Cheers,

Sebastiaan, Motherboard Contributor.

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+1 to what Sebastiaan said, it's hard to forecast consumption if there's a planned switch to proof-of-stake, since that isn't as energy intensive.

Seb, are people actually mining eth on graphics cards? That's a pretty inefficient way of doing it. I haven't looked into the technical side of it much. If all the fallout from the DAO (D'OH) can't be fixed with a hardfork, would PoS still make sense given that the 'bad actor(s) would control so much of the supply?

I suppose what I can add here is that from everything I've seen, blockchains of all types are by definition more resource-intensive than centralized ledgers/databases, since almost everyone is storing a full copy of the entire ledger.

So to me, the question is "what is the given blockchain solution enabling that is sustainable, does it outweigh the inefficiencies introduced, and could it just be done with a centralized ledger?"

A recent piece on MB about the DAO thoughtfully poked holes in some overhyped claims about "code-as-law" and "trustlessness" we've seen in blockchainland, so I suppose that's another angle--any circular economy solutions need to involve human governance by design, instead of trying to remove them entirely.

Chris Malmo, Motherboard Contributor.