Improving the PC as a gaming platform: the hardware

So, we meet again. Last time, we were, ahem, discussing religion: the 10 commandments of PC games. That article focused on the oft-encountered annoyances in PC games themselves. Now, we’re going to look at something a bit broader. We’re going to explore how the PC can be made a better gaming platform, starting with the hardware.

Even die-hard PC gamers will recognize the, shall we say, essential issue with this platform: it’s often far too difficult to (a) buy a gaming PC, (b) pop in a disc and play a game. For all their faults, consoles do many things right in this department. As a the quotation goes, "Good artists borrow; great artists steal." So let’s see if we can’t steal a few good ideas, shall we?

A hardware baseline

One of the main reasons people don’t game on their PCs is because their graphics card is often more anemic than Kate Moss on a diet—and all hail Cthulhu if the processor doesn’t play second fiddle to that. It’s pretty hard to get excited about games when they run like molasses.

Old enough to remember computing in the 90s? That time when most computers only produced strings of beeps as sound, when 640×480 was a good new year’s resolution (that pun is as old as SVGA, so I’m entitled to it), and when having an optical drive was a lustful pecadillo. Things we take for granted today, like spoken word and videos, were rare and exotic attractions. When technology advanced, the industry came up with a certification specification to ensure punters didn’t miss out—and consequently spent more on better PCs. That spec was called MPC, short for Multimedia Personal Computer. The first version of the MPC spec said, in simple terms:

  • Thy computer shalt be blessed with a sound card and speakers.
  • Thou shalt be provided a CD-ROM drive in which to receive silver discs.
  • Thy processor shalt not be completely crap.

At the time, this spec meant a lot—and, to be honest, I think it worked marvelously. We need something like that again. People wanted MPC, everyone sold the better hardware, and everyone was happy. Let the powers that be come up with a new baseline specification. Call it MPC-HD or whatever acronym the marketing Nazgûl want to give it. I’m fine with whatever, as long as it gets the job done.

The new spec would clearly involve some compromises, since you can’t simply step up and demand that every new computer feature a Radeon 7970, 32GB of RAM, and a six-core CPU with Hyperthingamabobs. However, let’s take a page from our own System Guide’s Econobox. MPC-HD could set the bar at, say, a Radeon 7770 graphics card ($120 or so) and a Core i3-3220 processor (around $130). Those components provide solid gaming performance at 1080p in the vast majority of titles, even with anti-aliasing enabled. They would be a perfectly reasonable baseline to aim for—one that provides many times the horsepower of current-generations consoles.

Setting a baseline would make life easier for developers, as well. Let’s imagine MPC-HD has multiple levels, and when publishing your game, you can simply state that the minimum requirement is MPC-HD Level 1. That’s easy for developers to code for, easy for buyers to follow, and easy for manufacturers to advertise and profit from. One can only wish.

Proper performance comparison mechanisms

Since I might as well ask for a unicorn, here goes another crazy idea: we need something akin to SPEC benchmarks for consumer hardware. There, I said it. Any moment now, I expect someone to kick in the door in and take me to the loony bin, tires screaming and sirens blaring.

In Wikipedia’s words, the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation is a "non-profit organization that aims to ‘produce, establish, maintain and endorse a standardized set’ of performance benchmarks for computers." SPEC benchmarks are used chiefly in server and workstation computing, and they come with very strict sets of rules and procedures. Now, Futuremark and friends already offer synthetic gaming benchmarks, but there’s room for improvement. We need more true-to-life workloads and an emphasis on inside-the-second frame latencies.

I’m not advocating that SPEC itself take up the reins in the consumer space. The markets are fundamentally different, and the consumer space evolves and morphs at a much faster pace. However, if the gaming industry could come up with its own standards body, buyers would have a much easier time comparing different CPUs and graphics cards. Speaking of which…

Stop the numbering circus act with the graphics cards

Discrete or integrated, nobody knows what graphics solution to choose anymore. No, I’m not talking about people like you and me who actually read hardware reviews. I’m talking about the vast majority of the market, composed of regular, non-technical people who simply want to buy or upgrade a computer. That apparently simple task has become an ordeal. I mean, you know there’s a problem when even my most computer-literate friends come to me for clarification—and I often can’t help without looking at Scott’s graphs.

Imagine yourself as a typical shopper. You don’t read reviews, you don’t know what’s what, and you have no recourse except for asking the sales clerk—a move as wise as looking Medusa in the eyes and complimenting her hairdo. You read the labels around you: 7970, 560 Ti, 5850, etc. You go for a 5450, thinking you’re getting a good deal. Surely it’s better than the 4870 in your friend’s old computer; it even has more of those gigabyte things. Except you unwittingly bought a piece of crap (for gaming, anyway). When the disappointment kicks in, you’re going to throw your hands up in the air and say, "Why didn’t I just buy a console?"

Sometimes, people don’t even look at the model numbers. They think, "Ooh, an Nvidia graphics card with 2GB of memory," and they leave it at that. Those people inevitably end up with a weaksauce-flavored model packed full of RAM chips to trick the unwary. But it’s not the buyer’s fault, guys.

To the graphics cards manufacturers: get a grip. Here are three things that should, nay, must happen. (And yes, I know I’m asking for a lightsaber to go with the aforementioned unicorn.)

  • Model numbers ought to make sense in terms of performance, especially when going from one generation to the next.
  • Lower-end models ought to be clearly marked as such, so as to avoid confusion.
  • Card makers ought to stop packing huge amounts of memory onto otherwise useless cards.

The status quo might help you push low-end cards, but I’m very doubtful it’s healthy for the market in the long run.

Stop the circus with CPU model numbers, too

When my friends bring up Mulholland Drive and sing its praises, I always challenge them to summarize the plot on a piece of paper for me. In the same vein, please explain Intel’s model numbering scheme. Make it a pretty story. Couldn’t figure it out, either, huh?

This ends up being a rehash of the graphics card situation. Model numbers never seem to match up with performance, so people have to look at other attributes like clock speed or core count. We then end up with talk like, "But this one here has four cores, surely it must play games better than the one with two"—or the good old, "But this one has more gigahertz!"

Sigh.

GPU makers need to get their act together on the driver front

Yes, I know, this is technically a software topic. However, graphics cards and their drivers are symbiotic.

I won’t mince words: graphics drivers need work. Far too often over the years, I’ve run into bugs and compatibility issues. Insufficient testing often seems to blame. Way back when, before game-specific optimizations became the norm, testing wasn’t too difficult. However, GPU makers’ obsession with inflating benchmark numbers or FPS scores in the latest triple-A games has led us down this path, where driver issues have become the norm rather than the exception.

For example, I remember spending many, many hours troubleshooting an apparent overheating problem with a Radeon, only to find out that the driver’s Catalyst AI (snicker) had a memory leak in Unreal Engine games. No, I hadn’t fiddled with any settings there. I also had to play Civilization V in DirectX 9 mode for months because Nvidia’s drivers decided to crash every time another civilization stopped by for a chat. To this day, a thread in our forums about AMD’s aspect-ratio upscaling still gets hits because AMD hasn’t fixed the problem. Similarly, my gamma settings still aren’t applied reliably at bootup on my GeForce-powered system.

Many problems, so few solutions

It’s 2012. PCs have been entrenched in homes for the better part of two decades, and these ridiculous problems persist. Does it really have to be this way?

These are tough nuts to crack, but they ought to be cracked sooner rather than later. PC gaming is in a position of strength right now, since current-gen consoles are stuck with circa-2005 hardware. However, the next generation is upon us, and it may offer enough of an improvement to make folks reconsider the value of their complicated and prickly gaming PCs.

My ideas are wild and crazy, but rarely do easy solutions appear for difficult problems. What are your thoughts?

Comments closed
    • tanya93001
    • 6 years ago
    • mollywilkso00
    • 6 years ago
    • christianlez001a
    • 6 years ago
    • kathyx039x
    • 7 years ago
    • grndzro
    • 7 years ago

    I am pretty sure the author missed the upgrade as you need it method of PC computing……

    • Dingmatt
    • 7 years ago

    If someone goes out and buys a Wii only to bring it home and complain about how its graphics look a mess when compared to a PS3 then its their own fault, they should have had the sense to know what they we’re buying.

    Similarly if someone goes out and buys a PS3 with 3d glasses only to find out that their old CRT doesn’t support them then its again their own fault as they should have checked that everything was compatible.

    Its the same with a PC, the only people who are having issues are people that buy before thinking; I say leave them to the consoles.

    • Gastec
    • 7 years ago

    Here is another wild and crazy idea for a whining improvement of gaming: the prices of computer components are too high. But don’t get me wrong, I for one have a lower than 1500 coins/month income so I have no problem in paying 500 coins to get 50 fps in my games. Absolutely no problem, whatsoever. Cross my heart and hope you die.

    • Joerdgs
    • 7 years ago

    One thing I’d like to see on the hobby PC front: an industry standard for a cable-less PC case design. Just plug in your components and go. Look at this iMac and tell me you’re not getting jealous: [url<]http://puu.sh/1Gofp[/url<]

    • Mocib
    • 7 years ago

    Please remove the gamepad from that header image.

    • yankee1776
    • 7 years ago

    Well come now. People in Walmart take the time to hit the dressing room to try on an $8 shirt. If you are going to drop $100-$500 on a graphics card…have a care! Do the Google, look at a review.
    The numbering conventions are not that difficult. The higher the number, the faster the card, and the ‘7’ series replaces the ‘6’ series replaces the ‘5’ series so forth and so on.
    If you can’t…or won’t take 10 minutes to find out what you are spending a c-note or better on, step away from the graphics card. You obviously have no business removing the left side panel. For you..
    …X-box 720 will be here soon.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    IMHO, both hardware and software have somewhat hit a wall. I’m talking about CPUs and game software algorithms. GPUs are pretty much a matter of cramming more and more ALUs on a piece of silicon, and is pretty much constrained by process technologies. CPUs, however, have struggled to improve IPC while games have struggled to make use of multi-core processors as more and more cores became available to them, which chip makers have resorted to because it’s a lot easier than making faster individual cores. In effect, both seem to have stalled in complementing one another.

    The 90’s was the golden age of performance scaling as Intel, AMD, Cyrix, Nexgen, MIPS, PowerPC, Sun, etc. each had a lot of new tricks to put into their designs to make them faster and there was a lot of headroom left to keep raising clock speeds.. It wasn’t uncommon to see IPC improvements of more than 20% from one generation to the next. Today, as I’ve noted, things have literally hit a wall ever since multi-core computing became the norm back in 2005 and as CPUs failed to scale to higher frequencies without resorting to exotic cooling. Sure, dual core became common pretty quickly, but each successive iteration (4, 6, 8 cores, etc.) came in more slowly than the last. Games seem to be the class of software that was hit the hardest and unable to scale to as many cores as other apps such as transcoding apps can. If devs can somehow make use of as many cores as the chip makers can cram in a piece of silicon or chip makers can somehow go back to the days when Moore’s law was more consistent, then PC gaming will again continue to progress. This is of course assuming foundries can offer AMD and Nvidia finer processes to allow them to cram in more ALUs into their designs.

      • nafhan
      • 7 years ago

      It’s interesting that you mention 2005. Current mobile computing platforms are similar to desktop platforms from that time period. On top of that we’re nearing the tail of the current generation console’s life cycles, which also started in 2005 (Xbox 360 release). Mobile continues to improve at a breakneck pace and a new generation of consoles will probably be released this year. Expect performance targets to increase significantly, soon!

      Another thing to note: post P4, a pretty good chunk of our Moore’s law progress has been spent on improving power usage. This is true from the server room to the cellphone.

      • deb0
      • 7 years ago

      Hardware, especially cpu, has not hit a wall and is not the blame for the lack of performance scalability with games. Most games today, are either console ports or designed in a way to rush the product to market, with no desire to make these games hardware scalable. Developers today simply don’t care about putting in the extra work to make games exploit multiple cores and threads. Instead, their money is dumped in to marketing and anti-piracy systems.

      And when you look at so-called flagship games like BF3, COD blackops2, there is no reason to beleive that developers will ever improve.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 7 years ago

    I’m not the most educated on these matters, but based on what little I know, each platform has a different way of doing graphics. PS3 (unique), 360 (bastardized DX), DX 9/10/11 (DX9 is still being targete as a base as far as I can tell), OpenGL 3/4 (which has little support), and no clue on the Wii. I don’t think it’s easy for developers to move across platforms, either.

    I imagine if they all used one standard (like M$ open up DX or use OpenGL, since ES is getting popular for mobile games) then I imagine things would get better. But most PC gaming has to use DX which has a lot of overhead. I use Valve’s work as an example. Once they ported the Steam engine to Open GL calls (as far as I know it’s intercepting the DX calls and translating them in the engine for what I gather on Phoronix) they saw an increase of frame rates on Windows and Linux was even faster. But consoles are not that great at GL rendering. As an example for the 360/PC issues, there was some game 5 years ago that was a 360 port (it had snow in it, that’s all I can remember) that was crap on the PC even though the graphics capabilities, by the numbers, were much better at that point. Since consoles are where the money is then that’s what they work with. EDIT: I’ll use the iOS line to point to an example where a standard resolution and hardware have a positive affect on gaming. In addition to being the best gaming chip in mobile devices in their class, it’s far more efficient at getting pixles pushed through, too.

    The moral of the story is this: this hurdle isn’t going to be crossed unless consoles and PC’s get on the same page.

    • wtburnette67
    • 7 years ago

    Best way to have a good experience with computer gaming is to take the time to get at least a basic education in computers. As someone said, it’s not rocket science. Anyone can learn the basics fairly easily. Once you have the basics and take the time to read some reviews / user reviews, you should be able to make informed decisions and have a good gaming experience. This applies to pretty much anything you would buy, TV’s, stereo equipment, smartphones, etc. A lot of things these days are too complicated to buy and “expect it just to work”. You have to educate yourself to make sure the product will fit your needs, be a good value for the money, not have serious defects or issues, etc. Computers are complex devices and I don’t see an easy way for end users to buy them without taking on some responsibility for educating themselves. If you want to buy something and just have it work, get a console.

      • DragonDaddyBear
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t disagree that it would be better for everyone, but that the average consumer expects tech to “just work” and they have voted with their dollars to convince companies to do that. Companies like Apple have made a name for their products “just working.” It’s a nice dream but a dream all the same.

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 7 years ago

      It is a failure on the part of engineers and designers when something doesn’t “just work”.

      In the old days I had to write custom batch and config.sys files in order to get my games to run properly on my 486. Ten years ago I had to manually patch games and hope that my servers were also kept up to date. In cases like Battlefield 1942 or Company Of Heroes, patches were an absolute nightmare.

      Now patching is automatically handled by services like Steam and Battlenet. Do the same posters here wishing for continued complexity on the PC side pine for the old days of badly designed patches and custom batch files?

      On the hardware side things have gotten so simple now. It is literally the EASIEST it has ever been to assemble a PC and install an OS. Even Linux is easy to install and got working for chrissake. There is no reason why things should remain as complex as they are with needlessly arcane (and often misleading) naming schemes by hardware companies.

    • Antias
    • 7 years ago

    My most common reason for buying or not buying a game revolved around multi monitor capabilities.
    Skyrim, Mass Effect 3 etc all do not natively support multi monitor gaming.
    YES – i know there are tools (such as those at the WSGF) – i’ve tried them ALL and none of them work on my 3 identical model monitors (Lenova 22″ x 3).
    Fortunately my MMO of choice (DDO) does support the higher resolution (5040×1050).
    But after countless hours/days trying to get skyrim to work with every fix under the sun – my side monitors still turn off when game is enabled.
    I have a high end liquid cooled SLI gaming rig that never seems to be driven to its full potential..

    Whats that about graphics drivers?

    • Peldor
    • 7 years ago

    I can solve this one for you pretty easily. Forget the model numbers, forget the benchmark schemes.

    Does your CPU cost at least $100? Does your graphics card cost at least $200? If yes and yes, you’ve got a reasonable gaming system.

    At the end of the day, retail price is the great equalizer among benchmarks and marketing.

      • bluepiranha
      • 7 years ago

      This is an awesome idea. It cuts right through the pea-soup fog of number-encrusted nomenclature that marketers love slinging about.

      +1

      • Joerdgs
      • 7 years ago

      Well then there’s still the issue of WHERE you’re buying it. In some shops you still see ancient hardware laying around for launch prices because they didn’t bother to clean their stock.

      • TheTechReporter
      • 6 years ago

      Not a bad idea, but even this has its flaws.

      What if a high-performance card doesn’t sell well for some reason, perhaps something you don’t care about? The price will get drastically reduced, but the performance won’t.
      Obviously, this could work the other way around, too (a low performance card jumping up in price for some crazy reason).

      It is even conceivable that a seller _somehow_ gets a specific card for much more/less than it is actually worth and prices it accordingly.

      Perhaps an item on sale isn’t marked as being on sale, but does show the sale price.

      Also, professional graphics cards are notoriously expensive, but only help with things like CAD, 3D modeling, etc., _not_ games.

      TLDR: You don’t always get what you pay for.

    • Grimmy
    • 7 years ago

    PC Gaming should be as easy as consoles.
    Just enjoy playing.

    For those who want to build and modify your gaming PC.
    Spend hours at finding the right components and troubleshoot config problems. please do.

    I just want to PLAY GAMES autoset at the best performance/detail level.

    I wish someone could take lead in HW PC Game development.
    Make the “Game PC of the Year” every year. Pushing HW innovation.
    Like the new Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone.
    And not like the current PC OEMs. Expensive pre-builds, no innovation.
    And pushing Game development for more realistic Physics (object weight and effects), smarter enemy AI, user AI and “friendly’s” AI. Better Story telling involvement (multiple choices & consequences, e.g. like first deus ex fight/sneak/talk solution/option), more Natural Motion, better interaction with NPCs, and of course better more realistic Graphics.

      • odizzido
      • 7 years ago

      While I agree for the most part, I think that everyone has a different idea of what the best performance/detail level is. Personally I don’t like to drop below 60FPS and I scale back accordingly. To me, consoles run so choppy the games are sometimes almost unplayable.

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 7 years ago

      The thing is that software companies like Valve have already improved this tenfold through Steam. Other services like Ninite have streamlined the downloading and installing of numerous software packages.

      It is hardware companies and OEMs that have dropped the ball bigtime. If they could get their act together in terms of communicating better to the customer then it would help the PC as a gaming platform tremendously.

      I have loads of technical knowledge, been assembling PCs for almost 20 years, was writing batch and config.sys files to get my games running well in DOS, and I think it is nonsense that PC gaming is still relatively the realm of the “techie”. Anyone who wants hardware companies to continue down their current path is being elitist for no reason, and they shouldn’t complain when the platform continues to get sidelined by consoles and now tablets and phones.

      It pains me to say that because while I love iPad gaming in particular (German board games and deck building games are fantastic on it, the PC is still my main gaming platform. The more people on it, the more resources developers will give to it, and the better for all of us.

    • Mopar63
    • 7 years ago

    I am not sure we need so much anything from the hardware side but rather the software and feature side of hardware. Lets all be real for a moment, right now a $100 video card and $100 processor can give you a good gaming experience at 1080 and an amazing one at 720 resolutions, both well above anything a current console can do. Hardware is so far ahead of software right now it is nuts to upgrade if you have anything bought in the last 2 years.

    Instead of new hardware we need new features, new ideas and new support. I think in 2012 kudos needs to be given to NVidia for what they have done with their web site, helping people find the best way to play games with the settings and the release of the beta for the Geforce Experience is a move in the right direction, support the end gamer.

    I also agree that we need to weed out the various models offered by the GPU and CPU makers and simplify the market place. Look at the current i5 selection for ivy Bridge, 9 models all within a $30 price difference and next to no difference in gaming experience.

    The biggest issue with PC gamer today however is the enthusiast market. Hardware enthusiasts are 90% of the time gamers and that is cool but they forget that more like only 10% of gamers are hardware enthusiasts. I know a ton of hard core gamers that know NOTHING about the tech in their PC and they have no need to know. Their jobs are not dependent on that knowledge and with the exception of gaming, computing does not figure into their other hobbies. They want to play their games and not worry about the hardware and that is cool. However the snobs in the enthusiast community shun anything that simplifies the system for them so they can get the most from PC gaming. THAT is why they usually end up on consoles instead.

    • WaltC
    • 7 years ago

    The joy of computing for me since the time I began my own odyssey decades ago is to learn how and why computers do what they do. If you’re too lazy lazy to learn, and stuff is “too hard,” you’ve already missed half the fun. Here is a solution for you in six easy steps:

    1) Use your brain
    2) Read
    3) Hands on
    4) Join the right Internet forums
    5) Ask dumb questions (caveat emptor)
    6) Rinse and repeat as needed, which will probably be often…;)

    Computers are complex little beasties that are under constant development and refinement. An important thing to remember is that when you blue screen and the OS identifies a particular driver as being the culprit–that might not always be the case at all. I once had a pesky blue screen that kept identifying a gpu driver as the culprit, but in actuality I had a dimm with a bad ram chip. Soon as I replaced the dimm the blue screens stopped–permanently. Another time (these events are separated by years) I again encountered a baffling blue screen that the OS laid at the feet of my gpu–but *this time* the problem was a hard drive which was intermittently failing. Soon as I took that drive out of the loop, no more BSOD’s. GPU in both cases was fine even while running the same drivers the OS had been incorrectly labeling as the culprit.

    Point is that when you get BSOD’s (I cannot remember when I had the last one, frankly), don’t believe what the OS is telling you without investigation. Rather, start testing all of your major components because you might be surprised with what you find. Components in a system are like Dominoes, one goes down and it affects another then another then another until the cascade causes a BSOD. It’s even odds on whether the OS will identify the culprit driver correctly. There is no replacement or viable substitute for human intelligence & experience between chair & monitor.

    That being said, the question is: To Compute or Not to Compute?

    You might well be one of those happier with a push-button appliance–like a console or a cell-phone. Just beware: when trouble comes a callin’ with either of those devices, there is little to nothing that you can do about it yourself. With a computer, though, you can actually do everything required, up to and including replacing components (unless you’ve done something horrid like bought a laptop, but that’s another story.) Good luck, and here’s hoping things clear up for you. They will if you simply hang in there.

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      Computers are not a primary source of income for most people. Time spent on decoding fancy numbers is better spent on studying books in the areas that you actually work in.

      I doubt you’ll study the tire compounds at the molecular level every time you need to get new winter tires. The same applies to the computers.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        Yes, nobody should have a hobby…spend all that time only doing your one vocation.

        • paulWTAMU
        • 7 years ago

        So I should only work? Fah. Screw that. I like having fun, and building PCs is fun.

          • TakinYourPoints
          • 7 years ago

          Limiting PCs to the realm of the hobbyist is [i<]damaging[/i<] to the platform. Just because we know what these numbers mean doesn't mean that the average person does. And honestly, it isn't rocket science, I know all this stuff but it doesn't make me a super genius. It certainly doesn't make WaltC one, just closed minded and elitist. Making things like PC parts clear to the average consumer is only a benefit to keeping the platform popular and vital.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            The average person does not care what the numbers mean, they just want people who understand it to tell them what to buy. To think it could possibly be much clearer is ridiculous.

            • TakinYourPoints
            • 7 years ago

            How about if more companies did a better job making things clear for customers? It would be much better, yeah? Seeing something crap like a GT 520 with 2GB of RAM (omg lots of RAM!) completely obfuscates this from someone who might want more performance but doesn’t know that there are much faster GPUs out there.

            It should [i<]just work[/i<] and make sense. Defending hardware companies for usually unclear and sometimes outright dishonest naming schemes doesn't make any sense to me.

        • WaltC
        • 7 years ago

        Did you have to get a degree in electrical engineering along with a minor in computer science before you could comfortably turn on your computer? Of course not. It’s silly to make this out to be so “hard”….;) It’s only “hard” if you’re too lazy for computing and you just want a push-button appliance which is capable of an extremely limited number of tasks. There are a lot of people like that. Nothing wrong with that.

        A computer is a computer is a computer–not a dumb smartphone, and not a dumb console, etc., ad infinitum. Wishing that computers were not computers is like…I don’t know…like wishing you didn’t have to go to school to learn how to read. Wishes like that and [s<]$.25[/s<] $.75 will buy you a cup of coffee and that's about it.

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 7 years ago

      Another useless and overwritten WaltC special that completely misses the point. Congrats.

      EDIT: [quote<]unless you've done something horrid like bought a laptop[/quote<] You are beyond help, jesus christ

        • WaltC
        • 7 years ago

        Happy New Year…;)

        Do me a favor and simply shut up if you have nothing of significance to contribute. Whoever you are, you are tedious beyond belief.

        You must be desperate to get me to respond to your posts to write something like this. Congrats, here I am…:D

        (Is this a useless, overwritten response? I think not. Ciao…;))

          • TakinYourPoints
          • 7 years ago

          I don’t expect nor do I care for a response, nor do I expect you to stop writing your standard overlong posts that are among the most technologically uninformed/conservative/biased/elitist that I’ve seen. Seeing consistently idiotic posts from you taking up nearly a [i<]full browser page[/i<] on most tech forums out there gets [i<]old[/i<]. I know brevity is the soul of wit and you clearly have neither, but if you're going to spew idiocy everywhere then at least try do it with fewer words. 😉

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    hardware naming schemes and marketing schemes suck.

    • Marty_man_X
    • 7 years ago

    Valve is I think going to be releasing a “steambox” which is going to be a PC made up of components around the same spec as in the article, this if successful could boost interest in PC’s if affordable over their console counterparts. It sounds exactly like what is described here.

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 7 years ago

      Yup, I’m all for it even if it only adds a couple hundred thousand extra users. Those users are people who otherwise want to play PC games but are held back because hardware companies and OEMs aren’t serving them properly. They are failing.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Wow, no, a hardware baseline is a ridiculously terrible idea for the PC. It’s a great way to stifle innovation and force a certain graphical subset on users. Essentially what consoles do. Also what the Steambox does and why I find it so objectionable. What makes the PC such a great platform is the fact that it doesn’t have a hardware baseline. You don’t need to have great hardware to play a certain game too. As long as the game runs well at lower graphical settings it shouldn’t matter. If you want a better graphical experience, upgrade.

    That’s the way it always goes. A lot of PC games now days look like console games on medium or low settings too. You don’t ‘lose out’, you simply can’t max out your settings.

    Adding functionality to aid this as I mention in the Steambox and ‘big picture mode’ news posts is definitely a plus to this. Nvidia is attempting to do this already, but Valve can do this a whole lot better. They can improve functionality for the PCs by leaps and bounds, yet they’re set on producing another console and labeling it a ‘PC’ simply because it has better stats then a seven year old console.

    That brings me up to what I also said, about Valve being able to mine data and then analyze pretty much every PC configuration in existence because they have access to such a huge swath of users. This allows them to offer upgrade advice, allow users to compare performance with better or worse system on the component level, show a user what sort of performance they can get out of a video game in their current computers state (along with easy to read indicators red/yellow/green), and allow users to diagnosis their system if they’re getting worse then average (or threshold) performance in a game. Since Valve has such a huge repository of hardware information and statistics based on these configurations (all they have to do is add a FPS logger) they could do ALL of this.

    The level of accuracy and zoom a user could do on a system from a indicator to showing performance tweaks based on hardware upgrades of a specific level (8 to 16 gigs of memory for instance) could be based completely off how much data they’re able to mine. This could even be taken to settings level if enough information is provided. It could also allow users to view statistics on performance averages for their systems and automatically adjust settings for a specific baseline that user wants (like a minimum of 40fps).

    There are so many different ways Valve could analyze and parse their data to make all of this happen.

    Valve could even help users into the living room. Big picture mode is a start, but giving easy to find tutorials on how to hook your computer up to a TV and perhaps a wizard would definitely aid this in the process. Some users don’t even believe they can simply hook their computer up to the TV. It’s a completely foreign concept to them as the computer has always been relegated to it’s own little room.

    They could offer build guides as well or partner with a tech website to offer build guides. Based on games people are playing they could make outright recommendations for brand new systems based on a users desired level of performance. I mean this is a completely different sector that would take Valve to the next level. They could most definitely profit off of this if they partnered with a hardware manufacturer for prebuilt systems, instead of trying to lock in the entire PC industry into their stupid Steambox BS.

    I don’t really have problems with drivers and haven’t for quite some time. I agree the hardware ‘name scheme’ is silly, but if Valve did something like the above users wouldn’t even need to know exactly what sort of hardware they’re getting unless they look for it (which could also be provided in addition to easy to read system).

    Pretty much everything that is wrong with PC gaming Valve could EASILY fix. MS could fix this too, but they have other interests since they would be shooting themselves in the foot as far as their console goes. Hopefully Valve doesn’t start feeling the same way.

    • Madman
    • 7 years ago

    In my opinion, DRM is a lot worse.

    Every time I buy a game with DRM, I’m getting severely punished. Either by install counts and not being able to install the game while servers are down for a maintenance, either by not being able to select if the forced auto-update is changing the game mechanics in the way I like, and in all cases, they leave me with a feeling that I have zero rights after I paid for the “lease”.

    This is the reason why I’m only playing old games that are available on GOG.com nowadays, DRM free. Unfortunately, I’ve bough all titles that I find interesting there, which is more than I can play in a few years, but which are mostly dated. Even all of the new POP/AC/Witcher/Alan Wake/HOMM games I brought there, are looking old.

    And yes, I have a list of games that are under my instant buy list, but I can’t support them, therefore I have to ignore them until they appear on GOG.com after 10 more years:

    – Skyrim, BG:EE, Max Payne 3, Crysis, Torchlight 2, XCOM, etc.

    Given all this, I was thinking about getting a gaming PC with a good hardware, but there is no reason to buy anything even remotely powerful if I cannot play any games on it.

    Voting with your wallet sucks 🙁

    Luckily, many of the GOG titles are really fun, and with all the titles I brought, I still have a lot of games to play.

    Oh, and by the way, sound cards are missing from your hardware list. They are a real PITA, every single time, even though they are getting obsolete by now.

      • odizzido
      • 7 years ago

      I feel the same way, but I am willing to buy newer games with crap DRM for the right price. Rental prices. That’s all you’re doing anyways is renting the game, so if you pay about $5 for them I think that is fair. Sure I won’t be able to play them anytime I want, but if it’s cheap enough I can accept it.

      Oh and BTW, TL2 is DRM free off the TL2 website. No need for steam.

      • Voldenuit
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]In my opinion, DRM is a lot worse. ... And yes, I have a list of games that are under my instant buy list, but I can't support them.[/quote<] Do I take this to mean that you will not support *any* game with DRM? Or are you just not enamored of Steam? If you don't support DRM whatsoever, does this mean you aren't running Windows? After all, Windows has DRM - it requires activation and periodically dials home to check its authenticity. While I do think DRM is too intrusive these days, and there are DRM schemes I personally try to avoid (Uplay, Uload, GFWL), I'd say the situation today isn't much worse than it was in the early 2000s. Remember SecuROM? Starforce? Safedisc? All those protection schemes were buggy, unreliable and circumvented the user's control and management of their PC.

        • Madman
        • 7 years ago

        Yes, pretty much. And I think Steam is actually not so bad compared to all other DRM options out there. But still, it’s a DRM, and as a result, it’s something I don’t want to support.

        I have a few games that have a DRM, for example, DeusEx:HR on Steam being one of them. But I regret the decision that I paid around 40EURs for the “lease”.

        The game was awesome, the first DeusEx was legendary. But after a while, I feel it was a bad decision not to ignore the game. I want to support developers who make awesome games… And great games almost make up for the DRM… Almost…

        And, yes, I run Linux Mint almost exclusively nowadays. I game through Wine (most games work really well at ultra high settings). And for some super extra few rare ones that don’t work, I have an OEM Windows license that was on the PC when I brought it.

          • odizzido
          • 7 years ago

          Just wait till the price drops to like $5 and it’s a lot easier to stomach.

          • Voldenuit
          • 7 years ago

          I have to applaud you for your dedication, it surely can’t be an easy thing to do.

          • TakinYourPoints
          • 7 years ago

          I don’t completely agree with you but at least you are consistent in your actions, using Linux as your main OS and all.

          It seriously bothers me when people complain about closed systems but do all their computing on Windows. There is serious hypocrisy from most “techies” out there. Again, at least you are consistent, kudos.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      I have to crack most of the non-steam games I buy to avoid the DRM infestation making my gameplay horrible.

      What doesn’t help is that I have three gaming machines and switch between them regularly. By far the most intrusive thing I have to crack is actually not DRM though – it’s GFWL. Honestly, I wish the person responsible for greenlighting GFWL to go to his own special hell. Normal hell wouldn’t be punishment enough….

    • ZGradt
    • 7 years ago

    Don’t see what the big deal is. Most games have an idiot button to choose the right graphic settings for you…

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    There is a baseline spec. It’s called consoles. They are the baseline by which all games are made. Games rarely exceed their capabilities. And when they do, it’s usually in the form of high resolution textures that take up a little more room in the exceedingly beefy GPU memory. That’s what MOST developers are targeting. I think the min specs on the box are a pretty good indicator of what is needed to run most games nowadays. They are certainly better than they used to be when the min specs often didn’t even run the game at all…

    GPU drivers need to improve? True. And I shouldn’t have to reboot Windows every five minutes because MS decides to release and then un-release and then re-release the same damn update. Or Razer shouldn’t have me rebooting to install an updated mouse/kb driver. I think if they could improve the driver, they would. nVidia and AMD are probably doing the best they can. In particular, AMD really is a skeleton crew at this point. You can’t expect much more than they’re already doing, right?

    CPU names seem mostly okay to me. It’s GPU names that are ridiculous. There should be a warning on the box that tells you to look at the second number in the number series rather than the first. The first digit being higher only matters if the second digit is at or above a certain number (6 for nVidia, 8 for AMD). More to the point, I think video card companies could be wholly honest about what a given card line is for (660 is for mainstream gaming, 670 is for high end mainstream gaming, 680 is for wasting your money on super high end minor performance gains). Put that on the box.

    “660 Ti or higher for gaming,” with a grid that shows you all the 660 ti or higher cards and compares them, giving you a highlighted portion for the card you’re currently looking at. They could include lower than the x60 Ti series on the grid by coloring it red and having it say, “Buy these only if you want a simple HTPC or very light gaming. Anything more than Angry Birds, go down to x60 Ti or higher.”

    But what would happen? AMD could try and do the same, but most likely they’d take advantage and advertise their lowest of the low end as more capable than they are. Honesty would die and we’d go back to where we’re at now. No, the best we can hope for is that the low end and the horrible cards die from the existence of great iGPU’s that make those low end cards superfluous.

    Good news? That’s probably going to happen with Broadwell.

    We do need a real metric for games and gaming.

    • theadder
    • 7 years ago

    Please never ever use the word ‘weaksauce’ ever again. Otherwise, great.

    • Ashbringer
    • 7 years ago

    How I think gaming on PCs can be improved.

    #1 Drivers, and I don’t mean making them better and faster. Linux is around the corner to become a mainstream gaming platform and drivers are a mess. Open Source works better then closed source, but is far slower. Proprietary drivers are faster but a mess of bugs and glitches. Sometimes even slower then Open Source. Ether open source needs to be faster, and AMD Nvidia should be helping, or closed source should work perfectly. Closed source should also have better longer support for legacy devices.

    #2 Make is easier to hook up a PC to a TV. Again graphic card issues, but also software. Just love increasing the resolution on my TV and then going crazy to adjust text and dpi so everything isn’t small. There should be a better way to do this. Then some TVs hate certain resolutions and you go crazy with what fits the screen.

    #3 Make better looking cases. Very serious here, cause the majority of cases look like giant metal towers of death, and I happen to have one sitting next to my TV. If PC gaming does move into the living room it should look like a device that belongs there. Should look more like a gaming console, but have enough room for decent hardware. No low profile crap either please.

    • Xenolith
    • 7 years ago

    My gripe of the moment… no Eyefinity support in Linux.

      • SonicSilicon
      • 7 years ago

      TripleHead2Go DisplayPort?
      [url<]http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/gxm/th2go/displayport/[/url<] At least a prior version was made to run under Linux : [url<]http://wiki.hackspherelabs.com/index.php?title=Matrox_DualHead2Go_%28and_possibly_TripleHead2Go%29_on_Linux[/url<] I doubt an update would be necessary using a Windows system, but setting the resolution very likely could be. A hack, but closer than nothing?

    • wierdo
    • 7 years ago

    Maybe a SPEC-like entity can pass out ratings on products that relate to a year, for (rough) example a Radeon79xx/GTX670-680 would be tested and rated Tier-2016, Radeon78xx/GTX660 Tier-2015, Radeon77xx/GTX650 Tier-2014 etc.

    Next year the mainstream product will probably perform similar to last year’s higher end solution, so – after testing – a hypothetical Radeon8970/GTX780 would be Tier-2017, Radeon8950/GTX770 Tier-2016 etc.

    This would then be something you can stick on a game’s system requirements page, so maybe something like Doom3 would have:

    Required:
    PC: Tier-2002, Video Card: Tier-2000
    Recommended:
    PC: Tier-2004, Video Card: Tier-2005

    Something like that, kinda hard to balance all these variables every year and do proper testing to figure all this out though. Not to mention having a group do all this work basically free – otherwise people may not trust their numbers if funded primarily by a given corporation etc.

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 7 years ago

    The real problem is the computer companies. Dell puts the worst possible discrete GPU in a system, then calls it a “gaming computer.” A normal $500 computer from Dell paired with a $200 graphics card is sold for $1200.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    Consoles should have never adventured into FPS teritory. Those controllers were invented in the era of platformers they have no advantage or equal footing compared to a mouse+keyboard….and yet since devs give consoles priority we, the PC gaming crowd, have to suffer through those aweful ports that don’t have even the minimum settings for controls or video options.

    It’s kind of infuriating to be treated like a 2nd class citizen when you clearly spent more money on your rig then a kid has on his console, when you clearly know your rig is 10 times more powerfull than a console, when you have the better controls than a console and yet YOU are the one getting the short end of the stick. Video settings now for games are close to “On” or “Off”, it’s ridiculous. Mouse accel that can’t be disabled with ingame options, keys that can’t be remaped, lack of basic options like ADS toggle etc. etc. It’s just…..sigh

    /rant

      • RenatoPassos
      • 7 years ago

      Somehow, your rant reminds me of this: [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1ZtBCpo0eU<]If Quake was done today[/url<]. And yes, I agree with you. 🙂 [edit: damn typos...]

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        Best video ever!

    • axeman
    • 7 years ago

    Thank you for pointing out there are issues with graphics drivers with both the green and red team. Most people don’t have a big enough sample size, and fixate on the one issue that annoyed them to no end, proclaiming that NVidia is the one true driver (or vice versa, but less often, people have long memories about ATI drivers of yesteryear). I’ve built a lot of PCs both at my day job, and for friends and family, at least in the hundreds, if not over a thousand. In recent years, I haven’t dealt with any issues with AMD Catalyst drivers in Windows except for the rare app that used OpenGL, but have dealt with some serious issues with NVidia driver related instability, not to mention the pain that is Optimus. Other people with different configurations, running different applications, have had the opposite experience, and I don’t discount that.

    I’ve had a lot of headaches with fglrx drivers in Linux, but have had significant issues with NVidia’s binary, too.

    Make some GD drivers that actually work instead of trying to win at benchmarks already! Both NVidia and AMD need to get their head out of their ass in this respect. At least AMD has decided to stop releasing monthly drivers “just because”. And NVidia, get a grip and get some version numbers that make sense, for starters.

    On the hardware model numbering scheme, tinfoil hat me is convinced this is confusing on purpose. I’m sure the margins on the low end garbage cards (small die size) with 2GB of ram (ram is cheap, especially when it’s plain old DDR3 on many of these cards) is probably quite high, and these are probably higher volume parts sold to OEMs to check off “feature options”, and clueless customers.

    • rwburnham
    • 7 years ago

    Intel builds very impressive hardware, but I do not understand their naming. At least with AMD I can look at the model number and know the core count at a glance.

    Let’s look at two six-core CPUs:
    Intel Core i7-3930K
    AMD FX-6300

    There is nothing in the name of the Intel CPU to indicate six cores. The AMD model name at least has the number six in it. What’s the deal, Intel?

      • mganai
      • 7 years ago

      Funny thing is that it’s pure marketing in AMD’s case. Those are just 6 integer cores, the rough equivalent of 3 multithreaded cores.

      • jihadjoe
      • 7 years ago

      Core2 made sense!
      Core2Duo and Core2Quad

      Went all downhill since the i-series.

    • brute
    • 7 years ago

    lots of complaining about marketing.

    model no.s serve to separate product generations. the nomenclature is very easy, actually.

    4870 vs 5670 –> first number is generation. the next # is the tier in its generation. higher=better. next # is relative performance in a tier. really easy to understand. yes, lots of #s. be glad that they offer a wide product mix instead of GTX 5 or GTS 1 “Pink Pony Edition” for $600 and $30, respectively. same with CPUs.

    confusing nomenclature is a necessary evil in a diverse market.

    if you want to whine about unnecessary #s, look no further than the “luxury” car market.

      • Arclight
      • 7 years ago

      and yet i clearly remember the 6870 losing to the 5870…..

        • axeman
        • 7 years ago

        Yep, it’s roughly the same, but the 5670 was inferior to the 4670 in most games, especially older titles with less emphasis on shaders. Maybe they could use a model number, then a alpha moniker like the old times.

        Geforce 12 GS
        Geforce 12 GT
        Geforce 12 Ti
        Geforce 12 GTX, etc.

        Nah, that’s too easy.

        AMD Radeon XX51950 XTX Super OC Platinum FTW Edition!

          • Arclight
          • 7 years ago

          There is value in both points of view. Yes we shouldn’t have to be deceived by vendors with confusing nomenclatures, but since there are workarounds (review sites) we can deal with the hassle.

          If anything it has empowered us to make more informed decisions when purchasing components, but it’s also true that the average Joe like be tricked by the naming schemes.

            • brute
            • 7 years ago

            there’s no trickery. they have to name their products.

            Average Joe is better served by naming schemes than by “2.2B transistor, 500GB/s memory fill rate, 2GB GDDR5 PCI-E 2.0”

            the names serve to help buyers differentiate by relative performance within a generation

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            [quote=”brute”<]there's no trickery. they have to name their products.[/quote<] Agreed, thus i said "There is value in both points of view. Yes we shouldn't have to be deceived by vendors with confusing nomenclatures"..... But we knew this since nvidia pulled the rebranding of the 8800GTS and yet it got worse with time despite of us not wanting that. Realisticly speaking, just because we want them to be honest won't solve the branding issues.....

            • brute
            • 7 years ago

            there is really no way around it. unless they start slashing price points, they will have to name like this.

            the GTX FTW N00bPWNAGE Edition crap is the same as Turbo, Sport, Type-R, GT, SS etc of the car world. it’s there to advertise that it’s better than the regular, cheaper version, and that you should spend more money on it because it looks cool and is faster.

            the numbers serve to differentiate the cards/gpus. the other stuff serves to sell the cards/gpus.

            HD7870 tells you the generation, tier, and performance relative to other cards in the tier. HD7870 OC tells you the card is not just any old HD7870. etc. it’s really quite simple. i think!

            • MrJP
            • 7 years ago

            The problem is that “normal” people who don’t read hardware reviews have no idea what the absolute performance level of a 7870 is. You can probably guess it’s better than a 7650, but by how much and, more importantly, how far up the product lime you need to go to get something that will run new games a year or two from now.

            • Madman
            • 7 years ago

            I’m a software developer, I’ve been doing shader heavy real-time rendering on programmable GPUs, and I have no clue what those weird numbers mean. Sorry…

            The only way I could figure out which card to get was by looking up techreport.com and videocardbenchmark.net

            IHMO, what people need, is GPU feature generation (not the stupid gimmicky DX11/11.1), but usable feature generation, kinda like OpenGL version numbers. And a performance metrics in some benchmark, like the second page does.

            This approach would still tell that Intel HD4000 still has feature-capped GPUs and is a poor choice, and it would allow users to pick a card based on budget and performance characteristics. Simple as that.

            • brute
            • 7 years ago

            that’s an inherent problem with a lot of products, and there are far too many variables with PCs for mfrs to guarantee a baseline of performance. the current naming scheme is really the best. the 7870 is absolutely a better performer than the 7850 or 7770. all they can really do is indicate relative performance.

            it’s largely inescapable.

            • Voldenuit
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]there are far too many variables with PCs for mfrs to guarantee a baseline of performance[/quote<] Meanwhile, manufacturers keep putting out terribly unbalanced systems such as dell XPS with an i7 processor (~$300) and 7570 GPU ($50). Who's making PC gaming inaccessible to the mainstream? It's the OEMs.

            • brute
            • 7 years ago

            i was talking about component mfrs, not OEMs.

            PS remember MSoft trying to do their windows experience index deal? that was our universal performance score. how well has that been goin?

        • brute
        • 7 years ago

        the #s only apply within a given generation. can you think of a 6870 losing to a 6770? what about a 4870X2 losing to a 4850?

          • Voldenuit
          • 7 years ago

          There are rare cases where the 660 Ti loses to the 660 because of its different shader:ROP ratio. Overall, the 660Ti is substantially faster, so the numbering (and pricing) makes sense. However, the numbering shenanigans become problematic across generations, especially when AMD or nvidia rehash/repurpose last gen cards as current gen cards (eg, the 6770 and 6750 were rebadged 5770 and 5750 cards). Heck, this hasn’t even been consistent within generations – the Radeon 9600Pro was significantly slower than the 9500Pro.

          Most people don’t upgrade within a single generation, so cross-generation comparisons are very useful. But the sticking point remains that you have to research your components before buying, which not every consumer is capable of or willing to do. PC OEMs are more interested in shifting product than making your computing experience better (the only reason the 67xx series existed was to move an older model by misleading people into thinking that it was current-generation), so we are unlikely to see any drastic changes in the current practice of obfuscating specs and real world performance from the consumer.

          EDIT: ok, so the 9600Pro is a pretty old example, but for more recent examples, the 4770 was faster than the 4830, and the 5850 was faster than the 6850. If you don’t pay constant attention to the GPU landscape (and few people outside of enthusiast circles do) it can be a very confusing prospect.

        • ThorAxe
        • 7 years ago

        Not really they were virtually equal and the 6870 scaled a bit better in crossfire.

      • heinsj24
      • 7 years ago

      Yet these magical numbers mean nothing when comparing the current desktop generation with the current mobile versions, where a desktop HD 7770 beats a mobile HD 7870 with ease.

        • brute
        • 7 years ago

        they don’t mean nothing. the numbers work very well in apples to apples comparisons.

        if you think there’s a better, more simple/logical way to name these cards, i’d LOVE to hear it.

    • Parallax
    • 7 years ago

    Agree, with a few modifications/exceptions:

    [quote<][b<]A hardware baseline[/b<][/quote<] This should be based on the performance metrics of the next section. Just supply minimum performance stats and feature set. Please do not put "HD" in the name of anything! It's completely overused. Call the baselines MPC-L001 and increment the number as new performance tiers become available. [quote<][b<]GPU makers need to get their act together on the driver front[/b<][/quote<] Yes please! I can't speak for everyone, but personally in exchange for a perfect driver I'd be willing to accept a 50% reduction in video performance across the board. Just take all the effort that goes into optimizing drivers for individual games now and add bug-free support for things like: plugging-unplugging displays, usable color profile support, organized driver settings, removable output port clock limits, etc.... I know I'd probably start upgrading my video cards on a regular basis instead of dreading finding out that bugs render many games/software unusable with the new hardware. [b<]DRM[/b<] Yes, I know it's software, but so are drivers (and this wasn't listed in the 10 PC game commandments). I've had problems with DRM in the past rendering hardware (disc-drive) unusable and other conflicts. Now I only buy (yes, BUY) games without DRM, with the exception of < $5 games on steam that have no other DRM. That is the only way I've found to keep a PC stable in the long-term without regular OS re-installs. Oh, and now I need to find ways to work "marketing Nazgûl" into sentences.

      • I.S.T.
      • 7 years ago

      HD is a familiar marketing name though. Calling the baselime with a model number like that just serves to alienate non-techy folks. It’s just a random model number, not a real name.

      • MrJP
      • 7 years ago

      +1 for the DRM comment. It doesn’t work and it annoys paying customers.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 7 years ago

    That option already exists: buy a Wii for low quality graphics or a PS3/xbox360 for high quality.
    If it wasn’t for World of Warcraft, PC gaming would have pretty much died 5 years ago.

      • brute
      • 7 years ago

      preach it brotha!

      • Lee_144
      • 7 years ago

      Thanks to consoles, complexity in gaming has become a lost art. Most of today’s games focus only on what is directly in front of you because that’s about all a console can keep track of. So much attention is placed on how a game looks and how quickly you can press the “fire” button that actual game play has suffered.

      I guess I’m an out of touch nerd, but I hope the new Simcity takes pc gaming to the next level by seriously utilizing the multi-threading capable and pure calculating power of our multicore cpu’s. I like a game that makes me think and plan. Maneuvering through a scripted battlefield or race track gets boring too quick.

      • paulWTAMU
      • 7 years ago

      Coming from you that sort of silly statement is a surprise.

      There’s enough of us that prefer it on the PC to keep it alive. It’s not the head and shoulders leader anymore but meh.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      It’s not like you HAVE to have either one or the other. Having both options is cool.

      • aspect
      • 7 years ago

      The way I see it Steam has done more to keep PC gaming alive way more than WoW has ever done.

        • alienstorexxx
        • 7 years ago

        yes, steam (digital downloads), indie games, free to play games… valve, blizzard..

      • Glycerin
      • 7 years ago

      Huh.. I didn’t know gaming hardware from 2006 was considered “high quality”. That makes a PC what? Crazy-ass high quality?
      And WoW is a game i have never played because I think it’s stupid, and so are you for making those statements.

        • eofpi
        • 7 years ago

        You had my upvote until the ad hominem.

    • kathyes7309
    • 7 years ago
    • Darkmage
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]At the time, this spec meant a lot—and, to be honest, I think it worked marvelously. We need something like that again. People wanted MPC, everyone sold the better hardware, and everyone was happy.[/quote<] What a marvelous idea! You can call the new version a "Steam Box" for that catchy marketing-speak that the suits love so much. Patience, young Skywalker.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      That’s what I was thinking, too. I love the idea of a Steambox recommendation updated once a year, and maybe in two flavors (one entry-level to midrange, and one high end)

        • alienstorexxx
        • 7 years ago

        Once upon a time grapics cards market where that simple… but you know, money is all that matters.

        • jihadjoe
        • 7 years ago

        But I hate all DRM! Including Steam.

          • khands
          • 7 years ago

          Then build your own using the recommended specs?

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