Console vs. gaming PC

How we justify all that high-dollar hardware.

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Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:00 pm

A gaming PC for $600/$700 would not be any better than Xbox 360 or PS3.
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Re: Need some advice for gaming pc parts.

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:42 pm

michael_d wrote:A gaming PC for $600/$700 would not be any better than Xbox 360 or PS3.


Go away and stop giving this poor chap lousy, incorrect advice! Do you even read the TR articles? Here's a quote from that article, showing a slide from EA DICE Chief Architect Johan Andersson's keynote speech:
"Low [Graphics Options] = Lowest possible. Similar visuals to consoles, lots of stuff disabled"

Here are the numbers from the article. The HD6850 in the $600 TR econobox build gets:
40-50 FPS on HIGH detail running at 1080p
60 FPS on MEDIUM detail running at 1080p

Now, having seen the XBox360 running this, I think I'm optimistic in saying that the old console manages:
30 FPS on MINUMUM detail running at 720p


In what world is the $600 TR econobox "not be any better than Xbox 360 or PS3"?
I'm guessing it's the same world where people thing Intel X4500 Extreme graphics are good for gaming.... :roll:
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Re: Need some advice for gaming pc parts.

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:36 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
michael_d wrote:A gaming PC for $600/$700 would not be any better than Xbox 360 or PS3.


Go away and stop giving this poor chap lousy, incorrect advice! Do you even read the TR articles? Here's a quote from that article, showing a slide from EA DICE Chief Architect Johan Andersson's keynote speech:
"Low [Graphics Options] = Lowest possible. Similar visuals to consoles, lots of stuff disabled"

Here are the numbers from the article. The HD6850 in the $600 TR econobox build gets:
40-50 FPS on HIGH detail running at 1080p
60 FPS on MEDIUM detail running at 1080p

Now, having seen the XBox360 running this, I think I'm optimistic in saying that the old console manages:
30 FPS on MINUMUM detail running at 720p


In what world is the $600 TR econobox "not be any better than Xbox 360 or PS3"?
I'm guessing it's the same world where people thing Intel X4500 Extreme graphics are good for gaming.... :roll:


Take a chill pill. He will decide for himself. Consoles cost twice as less than your econobox. The econobox is an absolute minimum, low end PC with very few upgrade options. What if he decides to get a more potent video card next year? That PSU will have to be replaced. The low end dual core CPU has no future either due to multithreading. IMHO a decent gaming rig will set you back by about $1000/$1200 and more. Why spend money on something that will have to be replaced soon. He could save a few hundred dollars and play games on console then buy a better PC.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:18 pm

I've split this console trolling out to a separate topic.

Let's try to keep the PC build topics focused on helping the prospective system builder.

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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:23 pm

For general reference, the Xbox 360 is using essentially a down-clocked HD3870. So pretty much anything that would be an HD3870 will give you better visuals.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:51 pm

I generally think of a PC as costing whatever the graphics card costs. You are going to own a PC at your home anyway, so all most people need to play recent games is decent video card. The argument that consoles are cheaper than gaming PCs always conveniently forget that you already own the PC.

Another thing to factor in with cost of gaming for PC and console is the price of games. There is much better value in PC gaming than console gaming. Even if you write off all of the free to play stuff (like the immensely popular League of Legends) and the free additions to games you own (mods) PC still provides a better value. Steam sales have made even relatively recent games much cheaper on PC than on consoles. If you're willing to wait a year or two, you can get any game on PC for close to free (excluding CoD, which doesn't price drop on consoles either).

People can spend a lot of computer parts if they really want to, but it's really not necessary. My brother in law is playing Skyrim with a 5400 X2 and a Radeon 4830. The latter of which is practically free on eBay right now.

Personally, I can't really stand playing shooter games on a console and strategy games are also boring on consoles. I mostly play shooters and strategy games, so I don't buy many games for my console. I have a PS3 for its Blu-Ray player and Rock Band, but it's inferior for most everything else.

There are four compelling reasons to buy a console:
1.) You are a young child with siblings and cannot afford multiple computer. Consequently, in order for everyone to play at the same time you need to have a console.
2.) You are intimidated by computers. You wish that you could go back to the good ol' days before them computers, internets, and googles complicatin' everything. The idea of a console is appealing because you can't tell that it is indeed a computer.
3.) You have some sort of disability that prevents you from sitting up straight. PC games are difficult to play while lying down, which is all that you can do. Console games are the only way that you can play video games.
4.) All of your friends fall into one of the previous three categories and therefore if you don't buy a console you won't know anyone that you are playing with.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:51 pm

michael_d wrote:A gaming PC for $600/$700 would not be any better than Xbox 360 or PS3.

that may have been true 5 years ago, but not today
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Re: Need some advice for gaming pc parts.

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:54 pm

michael_d wrote:Consoles cost twice as less than your econobox.

I died a little bit inside.
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Re: Need some advice for gaming pc parts.

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:04 pm

michael_d wrote:What if he decides to get a more potent video card next year? That PSU will have to be replaced. The low end dual core CPU has no future either due to multithreading. IMHO a decent gaming rig will set you back by about $1000/$1200 and more.


Eating marketing materials for breakfast much?

Most games have HARD time hammering more than 1 core, mostly because developing parallel algorithms and applications is pretty damn hard, unless it's ray-tracing or video processing.

And PSU, common, when I read marketing materials it seems that I would need a 1200W for any decent card. It's just so wrong on so many levels. I had my 300W PSU powering whole PC and a card that requires 450/500W+ PSU for years, until I had to replace PSU because I needed more connectors. No ill effects, everything runs just fine, because actual power draw is not really that high. See - http://techreport.com/articles.x/21850/8 ~250W max, http://techreport.com/articles.x/20957/9 ~310W max, http://techreport.com/articles.x/20889/9 400W/550W max, but remember these are the hottest and loudest cards available that will be replaced with a 200W/300W cards next year. And the loads are for the whole system with a mean CPU.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:37 pm

Furthermore, the draw on the DC output side of the power supply (where its capacity is rated) is about 18% lower than the AC draw from the wall shown on those charts because of the less than 100% efficiency of the power supply. We can ignore that so that we buy a PSU that runs in its best performance range of 20-80% load.

The very inexpensive Antec Basiq BP-430 power supply that I recommended in the original build thread provides up to 32 amperes (384 watts) on the +12 V rail. The EarthWatts EA-380D in the system guide provides 28 A (336 W). That should be enough for a system using a Core i5-2500 and a single Radeon HD6950.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:18 pm

To get this thread back on topic, I guess the real question is whether you should buy a console if you have any reason to want an HTPC

Consoles are great for the kids, and those ever-so-rare platform exclusives, but otherwise I'm finding myself using the XBox360 for less and less these days. I've not bought anything for it for over a year, because every cross-platform game that appeals to me gets purchased on Steam or (can you belive it,) actual retail DVDs.

My HTPC is now really rather spiffing, but lets pretend it's still the same leftovers and outdated parts that it was last week:
  • E8400 Core2 duo underclocked to 2.3GHz on an old P965 board
  • 2GB of uninteresting, non-enthusiast RAM
  • A cheap 9600GT with low clocks, a big quiet cooler and cheap DDR3 istead of GDDR
  • A battery of four Samsung EcoGreen low-RPM hard drives in a RAID5 (slow writes, but improved reads)

Anyway, before you make big puddles of drool over that incredibly expensive and high-performance set of PC components, THIS is why I haven't bought anything for the XBox for a year:
  • The PC runs games better than the console. Don't forget that the XBox is only 720p, and that even a lowly 9600GT is more capable than that.
  • The PC loads games faster than the console. Slow desktop disks are stil better than an XBox with a 20GB laptop drive from 6 years ago.
  • I can plug an XBox360 controller into the PC, but I can't aim at anything on the console using a keyboard and mouse.
  • I can run lots of games that just don't exist for consoles (WoW, Supreme Commander, Starcraft II, Quake Live)
  • I can emulate loads of cool 16-bit and 32-bit classics, as well as my healthy collection of MAME roms. (4-player drunken Wario Ware hotseat for the GBA on a 46" screen is epic)
  • ALT-TAB for interwebs! Browse using a keyboard and mouse, rather than squinting at my phone and worrying that I'm paying data charges because it has dropped off the WiFi again.
  • I'm trying to think of a console exclusive that I want to play. There aren't, but that's because the list is tiny, and most of it is Kinnect-related. Apparently they're even making that for PC too.
  • Games I purchase on the PC can also leave the house on my laptop, move to the study if Mrs Chrispy_ wants to read quietly in the living room etc.
  • I'll still have my Steam games long after the XBox is gone. A Windows PC will be a Windows PC in 10 years time. I'm not so sure I'll still have access to my XBLA games then though.
  • My XBox is a hot, noisy media player with a bastardised interface and some awkward joypad-based input. Give me a mouse to click buttons or the MCE remote any day.
  • Blu-Ray. I don't actually have a BD drive, but I could, if I felt like it.
  • My XBox can't pause, rewind or record Live TV. Nor can it stream media with codecs it doesn't agree with, unlike VLC or MPC. It also doesn't correct anything that's not a standard aspect ratio.
  • My 13th reason is that, unluckily, my first XBox became a large plastic paperweight with a glowing red ring on the front. PC's die too, but one easily-replaceable part at a time.

So, there's the biased opinion of an obvious PC enthusiast. Is there anything I've missed that consoles are just plain better at?
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 8:56 pm

I can't answer all thirteen of those points, but I do have a few observations in favor of the console.

It was a breeze to replace the original 80 GB 5400 rpm laptop hard-drive in the PS3 with a 320 GB 7200 rpm drive that I took out of my gaming laptop. If I used the PS3 as much as I do the laptop, I could have installed the SSD or the new 750 GB drive in it, instead.

The Playstation 3 can use a standard PC USB keyboard and mouse for some things, but not inside any games that I've tried. I don't have an X-Box controller, but I plug my DualShock 3 controllers into the PC's USB ports and turn on X-Box controller emulation for them when I encounter particularly egregious console ports that don't understand mouse interface design.

The PS3's internet browser is horrid.

Exclusive console series that are worth playing: Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank. Rock Band and Guitar Hero aren't exclusives, but they work well on the big screen in the living room.

The DualShock controller works fine for manipulating Blu-ray playback, assuming that I can remember the button assignments (or at least remember to pull up the on-screen diagram that shows them). The PS3's Blu-ray controller is easier to decipher for someone looking for a conventional home theater remote. Since it's bluetooth, it's more reliable than my infrared MCE remote.

The PlayStation 3 plays Blu-rays even better than my HTPC/DVR does.

The PlayStation 3 can play back media from my PCs' shared libraries (including TV that's recorded by Windows Media Center on the HTPC/DVR).

I haven't had any problems with my PS3 (Motostorm 80GB edition). My father's PS3-slim had a hardware failure. Sony sent him a shipping box, paid freight both ways, and replaced it under warranty in less than two weeks.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:24 pm

Heh, thanks for that. So what you're saying is basically the PS3 is a better console for the HTPC fan? I can believe that. If I had nothing, the 360 would be okay as a media player. In fairness to Microsoft, it does an adequate job with the common formats.

I only bought an XBox for Rock Band and Guitar hero. Both of which justified the console's cost in terms of smiles per $.

My main problem I think is that investing in an old console feels like a bad idea when console ecosystems have limited lifespans compared to the seemingly limitless lifespan of PC's I know PS3's can play some (or all?) PS2 games. I'm not sure if the 360 can play old XBox games, but you can bet there will be limitations.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:34 pm

It really depends. If you are just a casual gamer who likes to split screen with friends and you don't really care about immersion or precision then sure, get a console. However, for a few hundred more you get a much more complete experience. Compare BF3 on a console and BF3 on a decent system (6850, low end quad core, etc.). The difference in graphics is like night and day. Plus, the precision of a mouse and the versatility and options you get with a keyboard just can't be compared to the simple controller.

Both types of gamers hate on each other for silly reasons. It's just two different ways to game.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:28 am

My main problem I think is that investing in an old console feels like a bad idea when console ecosystems have limited lifespans compared to the seemingly limitless lifespan of PC's

I know, it totally sucks how console games just magically stop working and delete all the data on the discs and fry the hard drives every five years. I love that I can still use my old Black Cauldron floppies in my i7 rig, though.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:03 am

The thought of old-consoles reaching a built-in obsolescence timed self-destruct made me chuckle, as did the idea a a floppy disk from that long ago still working :D

Seriously though, Your i7 can still run DOS games from the 90's, even if it requires a little bit of compatibility tweaking with apps and emulators from the internet.
Sure, my Sega Genesis would still let me play Sonic The Hedgehog too, if I still had it, but I don't. To play all my old console games, I'd need a storeroom with every platform whose successor wasn't backwards compatible, and who's to say that Microsoft won't phase out the XBLA service in the future to push their latest and greatest replacement, just like they urinated on XP users wanting DirectX 10?
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:04 am

There are just too many console-exclusive games to go completely PC-only, just like there are too many good PC exclusives to go console-only. I'm not going to get into Xbox vs PS3 vs Wii exclusives, though those exist, as well, but I find owning one console (PS3) and a good gaming PC gives me plenty of variety and choices to play. Having just a PC or just a console would shut me out of games that I have spent lots of hours on. No PS3 means no Disgaea 3 and 4, Heavy Rain, inFamous, and probably most important to me, no MLB The Show. No gaming PC means no Starcraft II, Diablo III (down the road), SupCom, World in Conflict, and more. Other games I have spent a lot of time with I can play on either.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:11 am

To play all my old console games, I'd need a storeroom with every platform whose successor wasn't backwards compatible

You mean, a closet? A dresser drawer? How many Neo-Geos did you own?

who's to say that Microsoft won't phase out the XBLA service in the future to push their latest and greatest replacement, just like they urinated on XP users wanting DirectX 10?

Who's to say that [generic large powerful entity] won't do [action that results in something considered negative] to [PC's] at [undetermined point in the future]? FUD much, my friend? :)
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:22 am

SPOOFE wrote:You mean, a closet? A dresser drawer? How many Neo-Geos did you own?

Now you're just being obtuse. A NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Master System, Genesis, PS1, GB, GBA, and Game Gear put together all take up more space than my laptop which has emulators for all of them. I never actually owned a Neo-Geo, though back in the day I wish I had.

SPOOFE wrote:Who's to say that [generic large powerful entity] won't do [action that results in something considered negative] to [PC's] at [undetermined point in the future]? FUD much, my friend? :)

But I still have a PC just like I did 15 years ago, exactly becuase the platform has survived, supported, for at least that long. Find me a console from 15 years ago that is still supported and I'll listen.
I lack the ability to predict the future, so I'm comparing epirical data between PC's and Consoles from the last decade instead. Speculation is speculation, but we can make educated guesses at least rather than wildly assuming the world with turn to crap in the future.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:38 am

It's not like the console just stops working when the next one comes along. PC games from 15 years ago need help to get installed and running (we're talking about 1996 here - many PC games were DOS games that were just more friendly to the Win95 environment, and those that ran in Windows 95 generally don't do so hot in Windows 7.

My Genesis (got that in 1994), Saturn (1999), and PS1 (not my first one, admittedly) fire right up. The PSOne is still supported today on the PS3.
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Re: Need some advice for gaming pc parts.

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:56 am

Meadows wrote:
michael_d wrote:Consoles cost twice as less than your econobox.

I died a little bit inside.

I came across your reply as I was deciding whether to remark - thank you!
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:03 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:My Genesis (got that in 1994), Saturn (1999), and PS1 (not my first one, admittedly) fire right up. The PSOne is still supported today on the PS3.


Yeah, this isn't my problem, you need to re-read my post. I live in a capital city where storage space is at a premium. I have 6 storage crates to hold my XBox360, Wii, PS2, an eyetoye, more cables than I can shake a stick at, and the RockBand instruments. That's more space than both my snowboards and a Downhill bike frame put together.

Of course consoles don't just self destruct.

As time goes by though, support, availability of parts and availability of games for them gets worse, whist emulators for them get better. Playing Wario Ware on the big screen is brilliant. IIRC, playing two-player on one GBA with it's blurry LCD screen and battery-gobbling habits was less fun.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:18 pm

No argument about emulators getting better, at least not from me. What I'm finding, though, is that it doesn't have the same charm as the real thing plugged into an old CRT, and nobody cares about your space problems. :p
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:43 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:nobody cares about your space problems. :p


Damn you americans and your big open spaces :D
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:06 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Now you're just being obtuse. A NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, Master System, Genesis, PS1, GB, GBA, and Game Gear put together all take up more space than my laptop which has emulators for all of them.


All of which will fit on a shelf or two.

Literally. A friend of mine has all of those, and more, on a couple of shelves in his basement.

Chrispy_ wrote:I never actually owned a Neo-Geo, though back in the day I wish I had.


He has two MVS cabs too, they each take up a corner of the room. Really not even all that bad.

chrispy_ wrote:But I still have a PC just like I did 15 years ago, exactly becuase the platform has survived, supported, for at least that long. Find me a console from 15 years ago that is still supported and I'll listen.


The software you are running on that PC from 15 years is not supported either. Same with the emulation you're using to run them.

If the old PC software doesn't work, has bugs or emulation issues, too bad. Whereas you can always, at the least, just buy another old console.

chrispy_ wrote:I lack the ability to predict the future, so I'm comparing epirical data between PC's and Consoles from the last decade instead. Speculation is speculation, but we can make educated guesses at least rather than wildly assuming the world with turn to crap in the future..


You're not doing anything of the sort.

Chrispy_ wrote:Yeah, this isn't my problem, you need to re-read my post. I live in a capital city where storage space is at a premium.


Downtown Tokyo?

You have room for snowboard[s] and bike frames, sooo...

I mean, I accept the argument that space isn't infinite, but I think you're exaggerating your storage crisis here.

Chrispy_ wrote:I have 6 storage crates to hold my XBox360, Wii, PS2, an eyetoye, more cables than I can shake a stick at


You can fit all of that in like one milk crate. Maybe two, if you're pushing it.

Chrispy_ wrote:and the RockBand instruments. That's more space than both my snowboards and a Downhill bike frame put together.


Oh, ok, so the problem with your old consoles is that the peripherals for the new consoles take up 5 times as much space?

What compelling "evidence" for your "point." :roll:

Chrispy_ wrote:As time goes by though, support, availability of parts and availability of games for them gets worse, whist emulators for them get better.


My friend has like a stack of working NESes, and there are plenty of hobbyists you can find online that'll repair them. He has a NES001 that's like, what? 25 years old now? Still works.

Emulators get "better" sure, but you can always stick a NES game in a working NES and just play. You can't assume a late 80s era PC game (IBM Compatible!) will do the same on your working "PC."

This is why people reject the longevity argument for PCs.

Even PC games that are under a decade old can have graphical errors under drivers for new cards that don't have old ones. Who supports that? No one.

In 2006 my college roommate bought commandos 1, a 1998 video game, off of steam. It was unplayable because of speed issues. Who supported that? Not Valve. Not Eidos. It was a battle getting his money refunded.

Chrispy_ wrote:Playing Wario Ware on the big screen is brilliant. IIRC, playing two-player on one GBA with it's blurry LCD screen and battery-gobbling habits was less fun.


And my console-collecting friend is an avid emulator. We've spent many an hour doing exactly what you describe. This isn't about console purism.

It's about rejecting the ridiculous argument that you can't store a GameBoy Advance, which will fit in your pocket, in your "Capital-City" domicile.

I mean, come one. Just tape it the back of your RockBand drum pad and stop making up ridiculous arguments for the "longevity" of PC gaming.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:12 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:nobody cares about your space problems. :p


Damn you americans and your big open spaces :D

Indeed, but what I've found is that the amount of stuff you have grows proportionally to the amount of space you have, and stuff:space is always a ratio > 1.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:05 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:Indeed, but what I've found is that the amount of stuff you have grows proportionally to the amount of space you have, and stuff:space is always a ratio > 1.

It's more like thermodynamics. While the ratio may be temporarily and locally brought below unity, the energy expended in doing same ensures that the ratio will quickly balloon beyond its prior over-unity point.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Captain Ned
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:58 pm

But I still have a PC just like I did 15 years ago, exactly becuase the platform has survived, supported, for at least that long.

So you can help me get Black Cauldron running? BXMF!!!
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:57 pm

Let me chime in. I grew up during the golden age of PC gaming where there were fantastic turn based strategy, RPGs and simulation games. Back in the day you took what you could get hardware wise and graphics were mostly sprite based but we were happy. We could *ahem* backup our games onto multiple floppies (fair use) and DRM was unheard of. I was constantly upgrading and gaming on my PC back then.

Then sometime around the middle of the PS2 release EA happened. They bought up quality game studios and kept churning up more franchise crap (NBA, FIFA, NFL, etc). All the RPG studios closed down and since I wasn't a huge FPS or sports fan I had to migrate over to consoles to get my JRPG fix. Only thing that kept me going back to the PC was Blizzard and it's Diablo series. Never saw the need to upgrade my PC during this period because web surfing didn't require crossfire configs.

Until they get rid of this stupid DRM crap and start churning out more quality PC titles that is not battlefield or EA sports based I won't go back to PC gaming. Facebook and flash games excluded of course.

Edit: typo
Last edited by kitsura on Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Console vs. gaming PC

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:25 pm

Consoles offer a solution in a box with a software distribution system attached to it. Nothing more. A computer will provide more bang for your buck software, hardware, and productivity wise. You can easily hook one up to a big screen TV in this day and age and you don't need to spend a lot of money on one to play the latest games on the highest settings (because the highest settings are almost always designed around consoles). A small mini-itx system with a mid range graphics card is actually a fairly attractive option now and could easily replace a console. Steam is essentially the game software distribution system that rules them all and it's fairly easy to use from a couch. A lot of games even allow you to hook up a xbox controller to it (which is sad), but at the same time it allows you to use the game essentially the same way you would if you were on a console.

One of the only reasons I could think of buying a console is because you enjoy the feel of it, your friends are all on it (social draw is very powerful), or you're buying a Wii. A Wii is really the only console that is actually a 'console' in my opinion and a computer would have a hard time replicating that experience (as well as the games). PS3 and X360 are all glorified computers.
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