As PC games become faster, more interactive, and more processor-intensive, system builders focusing on this market have flourished.
By Sharon Florentine
Far from being obsolete, desktop and laptop PCs have found a niche with hard-core gaming enthusiasts. The market for customized, souped-up machines with lightning-fast processors, enhanced video rendering capabilities, and other high-end technologies has opened up lucrative opportunities for system builders who might otherwise find demand for desktops and high-end laptops dwindling.
“The way we see it, computer gaming is driving the entire industry technologically,” says Sergey Uroff, co-founder of Centaurus Computers, a system builder specializing in high-performance custom gaming PCs with offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
If it weren't for games like the new Starcraft, for instance, computers would have stopped evolving...
“If it weren’t for games like the new Starcraft, for instance,” Uroff says, “computers would have stopped evolving, because you don’t need a lot of new technology to check your email, write a document, make a spreadsheet, [or] connect to the Internet.”
It was this constant pushing of the proverbial envelope that spurred Uroff and his business partner, Alex Raven, to start Centaurus in 2003. And as PC games evolved to become faster, more interactive, more realistic, and more processor-intensive, the opportunities in the space have expanded and business has flourished, even though sales slumped during the recession.
“It became really slow about a year and a half ago, but we adjusted our prices and focused on what we found to be the sweet spot for customers—around $1,200 to $1,400 machines,” says Raven. “We always offer free overclocking to boost performance by 20 percent to 30 percent, and we’ve seen great success with a 3D system package that includes 3D monitors, 3D glasses, and a machine to support that technology. It’s not really cheap, but everyone we have built this package for has been blown away.”
In addition, Uroff and Raven say they’ve had great success upselling customers to higher-performance video cards and state-of-the-art cooling systems for the entire system and the CPU.