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Thread: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

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    Default Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming



    Will a dual-core PC still hack it when PS4 hits? What should you look for in a graphics card upgrade?

    CPU - Intel or AMD?

    Digital Foundry investigates.


    CPU:
    We approached a number of developers on and off the record - each of whom has helped to ship multi-million-selling, triple-A titles - asking them whether an Intel or AMD processor offers the best way to future-proof a games PC built in the here and now. Bearing in mind the historical dominance Intel has enjoyed, the results are intriguing - all of them opted for the FX-8350 over the current default enthusiast's choice, the Core i5 3570K.
    So in theory, chips from both vendors should easily outperform the next-gen consoles, but AMD has the potential to offer more performance at the same price-point - as Avalanche Studios' Chief Technical Office, Linus Blomberg, tells us.

    "I'd go for the FX-8350, for two reasons. Firstly, it's the same hardware vendor as PS4 and there are always some compatibility issues that devs will have to work around (particularly in SIMD coding), potentially leading to an inferior implementation on other systems - not very likely a big problem in practice though," he says.

    "Secondly, not every game engine is job-queue based, even though the Avalanche Engine is, some games are designed around an assumption of available hardware threads. The FX-8350 will clearly be much more powerful [than PS4] in raw processing power considering the superior clock speed, but in terms of architecture it can be a benefit to have the same number of cores so that an identical frame layout can be guaranteed."
    "This (Sony) approach of more cores, lower clock, but out-of-order execution will alter the game engine design to be more parallel. If games want to get the most from the chips then they have to go 'wide'... they cannot rely on a powerful single-threaded CPU to run the game as first-gen PS3 and Xbox 360 games did. So, I would probably go for the AMD as well, as this might better match a console port of a game... based on what we know so far."
    GPU:
    "I think we can assume that most games will use a majority of the 8GB for graphics resources, so I'd go for as much GDDR5 on the GPU as possible," says Avalanche's Linus Blomberg.

    "For the CPU I'd say at least 8GB DDR3, depending on how much stuff you'll have running in the background. But this is a tricky one! In Avalanche Studios' upcoming titles we'll use a lot of tricks that take advantage of the unified memory layout. But on high-end GPUs there will be ways of compensating for that, to some extent at least."
    Others sound a more cautious note:

    "Replicating the 8GB unified ram of the Sony console will be impossible," another well-placed source tells us.

    "The problem with Windows is that there is always a DirectX type 'layer' between the game and the actual hardware. This marshals and controls the movement of textures/shaders/vertices from the main PC memory to the memory on the GPU. Unless PC games programmers get direct control of the hardware (very unlikely), you will always be fighting against this issue. You never know where your textures are and when they will be uploaded to the GPU, which can cause stalls or micro-stutters in a frame as resources are shunted between the memory types."
    And again, similar to the CPU recommendations, we see consensus from all of our sources on how to best future-proof your PC in this respect - buy a graphics card "with as much memory as you can afford".
    "Not all games will provide you with the option to go from 30 to 60FPS, as it's an architectural challenge too and usually comes with other drawbacks," says Avalanche's Linus Blomberg. "But if they do, it will always be a trade-off between resolution and frame-rate. A PC card will most often have higher FLOPS, but you'll also typically run at a higher resolution. If you'd stick to 720p, as on most console games, then 60FPS should definitely be feasible. In my opinion 720p at 60FPS provides a superior visual improvement compared to 1080p at 30FPS."
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/di...c-for-next-gen
    Last edited by Lil' Dead; 21-04-2013 at 22:29.

  2. The following users thank 3 For this above post:

    calemus (22-04-2013), Doctor_Death (22-04-2013), realneil (21-04-2013)

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    It is going to be interesting how much the 8GB of GDDR5 will affect PC gaming. The PS4 GPU and CPU aren't all that powerful relative even last years top end stuff, but that 8GB GDDR5, if something similar is in the next Xbox too will push memory usage up by a lot.

  4. The following user thanks Lil' Dead For this above post:

    realneil (21-04-2013)

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    hm
    so 8 gigs for GPU
    does that mean that 2 GTX 660 in sli will only be half "good enough"?
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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by calemus View Post
    hm
    so 8 gigs for GPU
    does that mean that 2 GTX 660 in sli will only be half "good enough"?
    No, the amount of ram is not at question. GDDR5(faster and more expensive than DDR3) is regulated to GPUs on the PC side.. it will be interesting to see it use for the OS as well.

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    Kevin, DDR3 and GDDR5 are two completely different types of memory, system and GPU

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor_Death View Post
    Kevin, DDR3 and GDDR5 are two completely different types of memory, system and GPU
    Sony is using GDDR5 as system ram for PS4. This has never been done before.

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    I think it's cool they recommend the 8350. Glad I have one!
    2nd Rig: AMD FX-8120; Corsair H105 ; Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3; 16GB G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 1600MHz; 2 x PowerColor HD 7870 Myst. Ed. (Tahiti LE); Fractal Design Arc XL; SeaSonic X Series 850W
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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    The GDDR5 ram may be the hardware game changer, does anyone happen to know if the 720 will have GDDR5 also?

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by PoLoMoTo View Post
    The GDDR5 ram may be the hardware game changer, does anyone happen to know if the 720 will have GDDR5 also?
    Rumor has it they are sticking with 8GB DDR3 but will be using 32MB ESRAM to offset the speed difference

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    I hope the box will be as good or better the the ps4
    You Raise The Blade You Make The Change


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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Lil' Dead View Post
    Rumor has it they are sticking with 8GB DDR3 but will be using 32MB ESRAM to offset the speed difference
    Oh God, the comments in that article of all the people who do not understand the tech, consoles, or why consoles perform a lot stronger with the same hardware.

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    I don't have a lot of knowledge when it comes to console hardware, and I opt to make it stay that way. The only thing I know is that I always prefer PC over consoles. If only I had the money to buy a better pc now :/

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by AverageNinja View Post
    I don't have a lot of knowledge when it comes to console hardware, and I opt to make it stay that way. The only thing I know is that I always prefer PC over consoles. If only I had the money to buy a better pc now :/
    Have to agree with you, gaming on a PC will always be better !

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    True as that may be PC gamers very seldom get games that are made for our hardware.. its mostly console ports. I understand developers want to go where the money is at but it sucks.. but with the release of these new consoles this year I can see PC games benefiting too. Think about it.. PS3/360 didn't even have 1GB of ram! Now that consoles have 8GBs of ram I believe these multi-platform ports will look a lot better in the texture department, among other things.
    Last edited by Lil' Dead; 23-04-2013 at 15:59.

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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by MattyMatt View Post
    Oh God, the comments in that article of all the people who do not understand the tech, consoles, or why consoles perform a lot stronger with the same hardware.

    i honestly do not understand the difference.
    i know a console with MUCH less hardware often looked much better than a PC game in the past.
    can you explain this so i can understand in 30 words or less?
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    Default Re: Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Lil' Dead View Post
    True as that may be PC gamers very seldom get games that are made for our hardware.. its mostly console ports. I understand developers want to go where the money is at but it sucks.. but with the release of these new consoles this year I can see PC games benefiting too. Think about it.. PS3/360 didn't even have 1GB of ram! Now that consoles have 8GBs of ram I believe these multi-platform ports will look a lot better in the texture department, among other things.
    Not just that, they are both x86 now, so the code base wont even be that different.

    Quote Originally Posted by calemus View Post
    i honestly do not understand the difference.
    i know a console with MUCH less hardware often looked much better than a PC game in the past.
    can you explain this so i can understand in 30 words or less?
    30 words? No. It is simple really though. If you are writing a program on PC you can access the GPU via dx11 or opengl or similar tech. On a console, you can directly access the gpu. Removing that abstract layer allows you to create more efficient code. This is not the only layer as often you will code in cpp or another high level language, which is another layer of abstraction within itself, then you have runtime environments and libraries... and because everything is involved with layers you have no control over, you lose more and more performance. On consoles, you are creating your own libraries or using others that are coded directly to metal, so the only loss is a result of bad programming and since you have more control, it can be fixed with your own methods.

    On PC this has become worse and worse, because performance is abundant, more and more languages are becoming so abstract that they lose a lot of performance, but they are a lot (like tenfold) faster to develop in. For normal software it doesnt matter. For things like games it still does.
    What they do is leave it up to the compiler (the thing that turns code into an executable) figure out the best way to solve problems. I cannot find a better way to explain that bit.
    I am going to stop before I rant anymore.

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