ReSpec: A column about the confusing, glorious tech behind PC gaming

respec intro featuredimage 2
Featured image from the ReSpec series introduction.

If you’ve ever built your own gaming PC, you know that tinkering with hardware is half the fun. But increasingly, much of the battle for performance and high frame rates is on the software side.

DLSS, RT, FSR and dozens of other acronyms are all waiting for you behind your game’s innocent settings menu. Add to that the growing trend of highly anticipated titles like Ring of Elden ship with massive technical issues, and you’ve got a bit of a mess.

And that’s what ReSpec is all about: breaking down the games you play, the software that powers them, and the hardware that makes it all come together so you can get the most out of your gaming PC.

What you can expect from ReSpec

A normal map and a depth map next to each other in Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

ReSpec is a column on PC gaming minus gaming. It focuses on the hardware and software that make games work, as well as different ways to get the most out of your gaming PC. Although I talk about specific games from time to time, like when I added ray tracing in Ring of Elden — I will not focus on gameplay, mechanics, progression or anything like that. This column is about technology rear the games we all love.

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It’s an opportunity to delve deeper into computer hardware, gaming technology, and how they intersect to produce the images you see. My goal is for you to understand why Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) is getting obsolete before buying a new graphics card, and how Unreal Engine 5 is a seismic change for game graphics before the first UE5 game is released.

It is also an opportunity to learn. There’s a lot to know in the world of PC gaming, especially as unique technologies like 3D V-Cache and Intel XeSS emerge. As I’m sure many of you do, I want to learn more about the games I play and the hardware I use, so hopefully we can learn alongside each other.

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Understanding new technologies is good, but I don’t want to build something that isn’t important just for the sake of a column entry. Along with explaining new technologies, you can expect editorials, experiences, and advice on gaming PCs.

If you want to follow our views on day-to-day news, you can follow the Digital Trends IT page. ReSpec is set to provide takeout even months after the news cycle

a little about me

A photo of Jacob Roach.

My name is Jacob Roach and I will primarily write the ReSpec columns. About 15 years ago, I bought a Sony Vaio laptop at Best Buy on the advice of a salesperson (the model escapes me, for good reason). I wanted to play Crysis, and I didn’t know any better. After trying to disable Aero in Vista and dozens of other optimizations, I realized the machine wouldn’t run anything in The Orange Box, leave alone Crysis.

As misguided as I was, I’m glad I was headed in the wrong direction. I built my first gaming PC soon after. Since then, I’ve researched frameworks, dissected hardware, and always asked questions about PC gaming and how to get the most out of it.

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I still ask questions and I’m still curious. I hope you are too.

This article is part of ReSpec – an ongoing bi-weekly column that features in-depth discussions, tips and reports on the technology behind PC gaming.

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