Crysis blew my PC up and taught me a valuable lesson

With Crysis turning 10 years old this week, here Andy relays a horror story from his earliest days of building a PC some years back. He very much knows what he's doing these days.

After years of having a rubbish PC that couldn't run anything made after 2004, I finally saved up enough money to upgrade. The centrepiece of the build was a GTX 460, which I plugged into my motherboard with giddy excitement. In minutes I would be playing proper new games at a blazing frame-rate. And, of course, I chose Crysis as the game to test the new build, as was the custom in those days. If your PC could run Crysis at an agreeable frame-rate, it was probably pretty decent.

I power the PC up. Windows starts. Everything is stable. Then I turn off the lights, fire up Crysis, and prepare to shoot people in a dazzlingly realistic jungle. I go through the opening section where your squad jumps out of the plane. The frame rate is solid. I'm delighted. Dreams can come true. But then I hear a bang, see a flash of blue light, and my monitor goes black. Black as a moonless prairie night. My heart is thumping and a wave of fear crashes over me. Did Crysis just kill my brand new PC?

I was not a wise man back then. This was the first PC I'd ever built myself, and I didn't do as much research as I should have—specifically about power supply units. See, turns out I'd skimped on the PSU. I saved myself a few quid by buying a cheap, unbranded one, and at the absolute minimum voltage my system would (in theory) need. And the GTX 460 pumping out Crysis at almost max settings was too much for it. It literally blew up, creating that terrifying pop and flash of bright blue light.

So Crysis did kill my PC, but it was largely my fault. Okay, all my fault. The GPU was too powerful for the PSU. The PSU was too cheap and shitty. And Crysis was just too damn demanding. I was certain the explosion would have fried my motherboard and RAM, which I read can happen, but when I got a new PSU later that week I was relieved to discover everything was working fine. But I could have easily ruined my system and been without a PC for another few months. And that would've been unbearable.

That night scarred me. Whenever I play Crysis now, I get a twinge of dread when I go through that opening section. Even though my current PC can handle Crysis without breaking a figurative sweat, I keep expecting to hear that bang, see that flash. But this experience taught me a hard lesson. Don't cut corners with your PSU. Buy one made by a reliable, trusted brand. And if you're buying a new part for your PC, make sure it can handle the voltage. These are mistakes I'll never make again. And, after all that, I finished Crysis and thought it was just okay.