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  #51 (permalink)  
Old January 28, 2012, 12:16 PM
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Comparing general purpose, almost-lego, PC hardware to specialized purpose-built hardware is an apples to oranges situation.

The anxiety here is clear: implications for PC gaming. But it's just not relevant.

I'm really interested to see how an APU-like design performs when not burdened by legacy issue like the PC is. Consoles have never been about the most powerful hardware possible, but about elegant design and the best performance for the desired price point.

For this coming generation, price is a bigger consideration that ever -- not just from a consumer perspective, but also from the perspective of manufacturers and developers.

PC gaming has its own issues that shouldn't be part of this discussion.
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Old January 28, 2012, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Desiato View Post
Comparing general purpose, almost-lego, PC hardware to specialized purpose-built hardware is an apples to oranges situation.

The anxiety here is clear: implications for PC gaming. But it's just not relevant.

I'm really interested to see how an APU-like design performs when not burdened by legacy issue like the PC is. Consoles have never been about the most powerful hardware possible, but about elegant design and the best performance for the desired price point.

For this coming generation, price is a bigger consideration that ever -- not just from a consumer perspective, but also from the perspective of manufacturers and developers.

PC gaming has its own issues that shouldn't be part of this discussion.
I don't think you are understanding the situation. We don't care about consoles other than the fact that console gaming holds back PC gaming. It is extremely relevant especially when you look at the garbage companies are putting out now *Cough* MW3. Console are also burdened with other processes and regardless new games that aren't made for PC first aren't going to be up to par with PC gamers standards.

I can't even play MW3 on Xbox after playing BF3 on my PC and I am not even maxing out the graphics.
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Old January 28, 2012, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JJThomp View Post
I don't think you are understanding the situation. We don't care about consoles other than the fact that console gaming holds back PC gaming. It is extremely relevant especially when you look at the garbage companies are putting out now *Cough* MW3. Console are also burdened with other processes and regardless new games that aren't made for PC first aren't going to be up to par with PC gamers standards.
How well custom hardware might perform in a commodity Windows PC is irrelevant. The PC can be an awesome general purpose device, but it is always far from efficient. Console hardware is so tightly integrated that there are no reasonable comparisons such as "the Xbox 360 has the same power as a GTX xxx." Statements like that will only be true in vague, very general way and therefore are effectively worthless. How the hardware is utilized is too different.

PC gaming is a topic on its own. I don't believe that consoles "hold back" any PC games. There is no "what if" scenario; if gaming consoles didn't exist today, they'd be invented tomorrow to solve the abundant flaws in developing, supporting and playing games on a PC.

Don't get me wrong: I love PC gaming. But at the heart of PC gaming isn't Giant_Publisher_X, Big_Game_10 or GPU_10000GTXSETi. The heart of PC gaming is the freedom for devs and gamers to be disruptive by trying new things that may not be possible for purpose-built gaming hardware.
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Old January 28, 2012, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Desiato View Post
How well custom hardware might perform in a commodity Windows PC is irrelevant. The PC can be an awesome general purpose device, but it is always far from efficient. Console hardware is so tightly integrated that there are no reasonable comparisons such as "the Xbox 360 has the same power as a GTX xxx." Statements like that will only be true in vague, very general way and therefore are effectively worthless. How the hardware is utilized is too different.

PC gaming is a topic on its own. I don't believe that consoles "hold back" any PC games. There is no "what if" scenario; if gaming consoles didn't exist today, they'd be invented tomorrow to solve the abundant flaws in developing, supporting and playing games on a PC.

Don't get me wrong: I love PC gaming. But at the heart of PC gaming isn't Giant_Publisher_X, Big_Game_10 or GPU_10000GTXSETi. The heart of PC gaming is the freedom for devs and gamers to be disruptive by trying new things that may not be possible for purpose-built gaming hardware.
Again you completely ignore the fact that consoles are currently holding back many games. Look at Skyrim, it is a DX9 game and while looking good, it could be much better and should have been DX11. Mass Effect 3, is another one. If the consoles were of higher spec then it would be looking better (at least from what I have seen as they have decided to gear it towards the 360 for performance). Now the big issue isn't really that the consoles are lesser performance wise, it is that the developers design the game for the consoles then port to PC. If they went the other way and built for PC then ported to the consoles we could get the graphics that the high end PC is capable of and have it scaled down for lower end systems and consoles.

Our issue here with the rumors regarding the type of chip that the new xbox may use is that even with the low level access it will still be very much low powered and by the time it is released it will not even be competing with low to mid powered PCs. So again if the developers build the games like they are now with building on console and porting to PC, then we will certainly be suffering lower quality games than we should be getting. But then again if they can actually get their **** together and build for the highest end system and port down, we can all be happy.
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Old January 28, 2012, 10:10 PM
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Again you completely ignore the fact that consoles are currently holding back many games. Look at Skyrim, it is a DX9 game and while looking good, it could be much better and should have been DX11. Mass Effect 3, is another one. If the consoles were of higher spec then it would be looking better (at least from what I have seen as they have decided to gear it towards the 360 for performance).
I don't ignore your claim; I dispute that consoles hold back PC gaming. Games like Mass Effect and Skyrim have extremely large budgets that are made possible by the large number of console gamers. They exist as they do because of the large console gaming market.

Modern games require extremely large budgets to develop high detail content. Increasing the level of detail not only requires more people (coders, artists, management, support), but also new hardware, software and infrastructure. There are also very big training and scaling challenges across the board.

So it's impossible to imagine what Skyrim and Mass Effect would be without the market muscle of console gamers funding them. If they had greater detail, there would be significantly less content. In any case, they would probably be completely different.

I'm speaking generally. There are obvious exceptions such as Blizzard. But PC gaming has never been large enough to support dozens of Blizzards. Even Blizzard releases games with very moderate specs which aren't showcases of PC power.

The truth is, PC gaming is held back by its inherent flaws which make it too inconvenient and expensive for most users and publishers. Therefore the market is relatively small, catering primarily to niche communities and genres that don't work well on consoles. Eventually, most of the best PC Dev teams simply outgrow the market.
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Old January 28, 2012, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Desiato View Post
I don't ignore your claim; I dispute that consoles hold back PC gaming. Games like Mass Effect and Skyrim have extremely large budgets that are made possible by the large number of console gamers. They exist as they do because of the large console gaming market.

Modern games require extremely large budgets to develop high detail content. Increasing the level of detail not only requires more people (coders, artists, management, support), but also new hardware, software and infrastructure. There are also very big training and scaling challenges across the board.

So it's impossible to imagine what Skyrim and Mass Effect would be without the market muscle of console gamers funding them. If they had greater detail, there would be significantly less content. In any case, they would probably be completely different.

I'm speaking generally. There are obvious exceptions such as Blizzard. But PC gaming has never been large enough to support dozens of Blizzards. Even Blizzard releases games with very moderate specs which aren't showcases of PC power.

The truth is, PC gaming is held back by its inherent flaws which make it too inconvenient and expensive for most users and publishers. Therefore the market is relatively small, catering primarily to niche communities and genres that don't work well on consoles. Eventually, most of the best PC Dev teams simply outgrow the market.
I semi-agree with you at this point PC gamers would not se any games if it were not for console. At the same time Microsoft could put the Xbox 720 in mass production right now with an i3 2100 and a 6670 and make a large profit at the $500 they will probably sell it at, at release. In a year an a half why would I buy this crap hardware when I can buy a much better PC for $500 and play games in higher quality. The botom line is shitty Xbox hardware will hold PC gamers back, hell something designed to run on a 6670 will hold my GTX 560 ti back today let alone 1.5 years from now.
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  #57 (permalink)  
Old January 29, 2012, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Desiato View Post
I don't ignore your claim; I dispute that consoles hold back PC gaming. Games like Mass Effect and Skyrim have extremely large budgets that are made possible by the large number of console gamers. They exist as they do because of the large console gaming market.

Modern games require extremely large budgets to develop high detail content. Increasing the level of detail not only requires more people (coders, artists, management, support), but also new hardware, software and infrastructure. There are also very big training and scaling challenges across the board.

So it's impossible to imagine what Skyrim and Mass Effect would be without the market muscle of console gamers funding them. If they had greater detail, there would be significantly less content. In any case, they would probably be completely different.

I'm speaking generally. There are obvious exceptions such as Blizzard. But PC gaming has never been large enough to support dozens of Blizzards. Even Blizzard releases games with very moderate specs which aren't showcases of PC power.

The truth is, PC gaming is held back by its inherent flaws which make it too inconvenient and expensive for most users and publishers. Therefore the market is relatively small, catering primarily to niche communities and genres that don't work well on consoles. Eventually, most of the best PC Dev teams simply outgrow the market.
I bolded the part that is just not true. For example you are creating textures for X game, you have a choice of creating them at 4096x4096 or 512x512. Since you are making it for a console you choose 512x512. Now when it ports to PC it is way lower than it could be. If you had just done it at the larger size it would only need to be scaled down for the lesser consoles. Not only would this increase the visual quality of the game on a PC, but most likely on the console as well. Will this take more time? Maybe slightly as yes your artist may have to put in slightly more fine details, but you are not going to be hiring other people or needing better infrastructure.

I'm not discounting the effect the consoles have had on gaming in general, and like you say they are allowing some of the bigger budgets that we might not see otherwise, but that is not an excuse for forcing crappy ports down the necks of PC gamers. You can still make a cross platform game and I really have no issue with that, but you should be developing for the highest end system you can. You can always scale down but you can't scale up to the same degree. Frankly I would be extremely surprised if you did not see much better console games as a result.

Now how this pertains to the topic of this thread? The card getting put into the 720 (if this rumor is right) is already outdated. Yes if it was released today and has the low level access, then it could seriously compete with high end rigs, but by the time it does get released we here in the PC world will have the next two generations of GPUs out and will be leaving it in the dust. Remember when back in the day a new generation of consoles would come out and they would be better than a top end PC. Then PCs would start gaining ground and passing them only to have another console generation come out that passed it. Yet with this GPU in the 720 it will not be up with the high ends, but down with the low-mid end. Now from all standpoints this should not be acceptable to anyone. I know if I was an xbox person I would be annoyed knowing that my brand new console will not look as good and my friends computer he built months before.
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Old January 29, 2012, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Desiato View Post
I don't ignore your claim; I dispute that consoles hold back PC gaming. Games like Mass Effect and Skyrim have extremely large budgets that are made possible by the large number of console gamers. They exist as they do because of the large console gaming market.

Modern games require extremely large budgets to develop high detail content. Increasing the level of detail not only requires more people (coders, artists, management, support), but also new hardware, software and infrastructure. There are also very big training and scaling challenges across the board.

So it's impossible to imagine what Skyrim and Mass Effect would be without the market muscle of console gamers funding them. If they had greater detail, there would be significantly less content. In any case, they would probably be completely different.

I'm speaking generally. There are obvious exceptions such as Blizzard. But PC gaming has never been large enough to support dozens of Blizzards. Even Blizzard releases games with very moderate specs which aren't showcases of PC power.

The truth is, PC gaming is held back by its inherent flaws which make it too inconvenient and expensive for most users and publishers. Therefore the market is relatively small, catering primarily to niche communities and genres that don't work well on consoles. Eventually, most of the best PC Dev teams simply outgrow the market.
I dont know if I remember properly as its been a while but wasnt the cards in the 360/PS3 much better compared to what was out at the time then the 6670 will be next year?


either way, I am looking forward to DX11 being widespread and not having to use DX9 anymore.
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Old January 29, 2012, 02:26 AM
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I bolded the part that is just not true. For example you are creating textures for X game, you have a choice of creating them at 4096x4096 or 512x512. Since you are making it for a console you choose 512x512. Now when it ports to PC it is way lower than it could be. If you had just done it at the larger size it would only need to be scaled down for the lesser consoles. Not only would this increase the visual quality of the game on a PC, but most likely on the console as well. Will this take more time? Maybe slightly as yes your artist may have to put in slightly more fine details, but you are not going to be hiring other people or needing better infrastructure.
I'm not going to pretend I'm a game developer, but I do know a little bit about texture design and I don't think it's as easy as you think. It takes a lot of time to get it right. How one approaches the design depends greatly on the target resolution. And it's vital to be as efficient as possible.

What you're describing often happen within an acceptable range of resolutions, but the range you present is unreasonable. It would be literally more than twice the work.

Have you noticed that the credits at the end of games keep getting longer? Most development teams are huge these days. Upcoming games will be even more sophisticated and require even larger teams. Many studios fail with each new generation of consoles because they can't scale well.

I've already expressed the factors I think are shaping the next generation of consoles. Price will probably be the most important consideration.

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Originally Posted by Agafaba View Post
I dont know if I remember properly as its been a while but wasnt the cards in the 360/PS3 much better compared to what was out at the time then the 6670 will be next year?

either way, I am looking forward to DX11 being widespread and not having to use DX9 anymore.
All we have now is tabloid-like speculation. But the architecture of consoles is so different than PCs that specs cannot be compared out of context. It has been widely speculated for a while that Microsoft wants a tightly integrated solution which would limit the thermal characteristics of the GPU. This rules out anything with a big cooling apparatus. Some have speculated a custom AMD APU.

If an entire platform was designed around an APU from the ground up, it could have substantial advantages over a traditional Windows PC using the same chip.

The links below go into detail about the design of the Xbox 360. If you read through them, you can appreciate how different gaming consoles are to PCs. For example, did you know that the Xenos GPU is also the Northbridge?

Beyond3D - ATI Xenos: Xbox 360 Graphics Demystified
http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~milom/cis501-Fall08/papers/xbox-system.pdf

Easy to digest:
AnandTech - Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PS3 - A Hardware Discussion

Brief summary:
Details of ATI's Xbox 360 GPU unveiled - The Tech Report - Page 1


I think that in many ways, the pace of PC GPU development has now out-paced the ability of large dev teams to adapt to regularly. This is the case for PC only games too. But AMD and nvidia need to sell us something new every year regardless.

My hope for PC gaming isn't that we get version 10 of the same old crap, but that developers innovate and do something new - something disruptive that eventually changes mainstream gaming like PC gaming of the late 90s has.
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Old January 29, 2012, 07:55 AM
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It was funny... I forgot how bad console graphics were... Until I saw my buddy playing BF 3 on his console. LAMO, it really doesn't have that much eye candy, no AA, and everything just looks so basic!

Still, you need to remember that for console gaming they can program to hardware and fix bugs as they go because it will only be 1 hardware configuration for every machine. With this process, they can can go from drawing (let's say) about 4000x to drawing 20,000-30,000x triangles! Just because the GPU seems really weak for the computer, doesn't mean it is as weak for a console. The Direct X API as a lot of overhead that causes substantial performance loss. As computer gamers, we'll probably have to just deal with it for the sake of compatibility.

I do agree though that having lower performing parts hurts the high end computer gaming segment. Sure, there still are companies that cater to high end PCs, but the majority of games these days ARE console ports and very little effort is made to push them (graphics, etc) when brought to PC. Heck a lot of games SHOW you xbox controls on the menus and BS like that!
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