PC Hardware will trail new consoles for some time?

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#51 Posted by connerthekewlkid (1843 posts) -

@believer258: Well now im sure you couldve condensed it a little bit now couldn't you?

#52 Posted by Mirado (1054 posts) -

@funkydupe said:

It is very interesting to see how the PC market responds to the Octo-cores of PS4; and I'm assuming that the XBOX will follow up with something very similar in order to compete both on the hardware and the price fronts.

Steam Hardware Survey: January 2013


1 CPU: 4.96%

2 CPUS: 48.78%

4 CPUS: 41.57%

OTHER: 4.69%

According to the biggest archive of empirical stats available for PC users compiled by the Steam service on regular intervals, the most popular/common cpu configuration involves dual-cores. That is almost 49% of all Steam users still running two physical cpus. Of course, the current generation games have only began to properly utilize the power of multiple cores, but most games coming out this year probably will, and the trend will continue in that direction of course. It will take quite some time for the PC standard to reach the level of what the new consoles are bringing to the table, considering that DDR5 is not even available as PC system memory yet; as DDR3 not long ago in relative terms took over as the ram standard for DDR2 for most PCs built to play games.

I love PCs, and pretty much enjoy any platform; as the games themselves decide where I play and I don't specifically belong to any camp. It is interesting though as the "Master Race" taunt that PC gamers receive quite a bit isn't really going to be backed up by the hardware power for quite some time if we're talking in generalities, as in truth that's normally what the Master Race refers to when it stereotypes PC gamers as the smug ones always looking down on consoles when it comes to pretty much any aspect of gaming. Well, the new consoles will pack a lot of computing power now going forward; still the PCs will be able to match them, at least in terms of CPU cores and SLI GPUs; but at a very hefty cost. The price exceeds the reality of what most PC gamers are willing to pay, so unless the prices are dumped, which of course they won't be, PC will continue the slow transition its currently on.

What do you think about the current hardware status of the PC platform, and do you think it'll progress faster than what I think in terms of moving from 2CPUS/4CPUS to 8 cores and beyond?

You are grossly overestimating the relevancy of direct console-vs-PC hardware comparisons, and grossly underestimating the computational leaps that PCs have made in the past few years. You are also mistaking a few terms:

  • The PS4 has ZERO DDR5, as DDR5 doesn't exist yet. It has 8GB of GDDR5, which is commonly used in all mainstream PC GPUs and is based off of DDR3. Your reasoning that the PS4's usage of GDDR5 vs a PCs usage of DDR3 (for main system memory) is a positive for the PS4 is therefore in error. The PS4 pools its graphical and system RAM together, whereas a PC (usually, unless using an integrated GPU) does not. While this arrangement can be construed as a positive, on the whole the PS4 has far less total RAM then a normal PC (mine, for instance, has 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 8GB of GDDR5 split between two GPUs).
  • The "PC Master Race" meme is meant as a sarcastic joke by PC gamers against the idea that the PC is somehow superior. For years (and even currently), the death of PCs due to the influence of consoles has been contemplated and predicted. That meme is both a reaction against that and against people who somehow view a choice of platform as "superior" as nothing is ever that black and white.

We've reached a point where a sub $1000 PC can swat away a PS4 with little effort. Some things to keep in mind; the PS3 had eight cores (and that meant very little due to the difficulty of programming for it), and a current $200 GPU can go toe-to-toe with the GPU in the PS4 right now, let alone what would be available in two or three years.

Consoles are right for some people. I myself may get a PS4 at or near launch. But a comparison against even a mid-range PC is laughable from a pure hardware standpoint, and mostly irrelevant from a performance standpoint, as the differences between the two (x86 based or otherwise) is not an insignificant factor in the actual on-screen performance.

Until you see the results in hand, or better understand the actual underlying components that make up the the two (even I doubt I'm 100% correct about this shit all the time), it might be best to avoid sweeping generalizations. Just a tip. :D

#53 Posted by Crysack (348 posts) -

@tourgen said:

The memory speed in the PS4 along with the low-level hardware access (closer to the metal than OpenGL/DX11) will give the PS4 a huge advantage over current-tech PCs. The low-level access alone is very significant. I don't see PCs catching up for a year or two.

On the other hand, the 6-series and high-end 5-series cards out-strip the PS4's graphics processing power already and the clock speed on the PS4's CPU isn't exactly what I'd call 'lightning fast'. It also remains to be seen how much of the RAM is divided between the OS, GPU etc. Naturally, as you say, the low-level hardware access gives the PS4 an advantage - but it's the same advantage that comes along with every console and which allows the PS3/360 to still vaguely compete with PCs with cards that are almost a decade old.

The other thing to consider is that, even if the PS4 had superior specs to modern PCs, we won't see devs utilise even a quarter of the machine's resources for a few years yet.

#54 Posted by Vertrucio (149 posts) -

It's incorrect to say devs to utilize all of a system's resources early on. Any developer will strive to make use of all of a system's power, and really do so. However, the better explanation is that they get more efficient at working with a system later in a cycle, knowing its very specific quirks that allow them to use tricks or design their game very specifically to work with it. So games at launch will use almost all of a system's power, but it's usually a more blunt force approach until they figure out the architecture.

Another problem is that all these parts that people are saying out strip these next gen consoles already are also still pretty expensive, added all together still costs more than the expected price of next gen consoles. By the time that this situation changes, the next gen developers will have learned how to get the best performance out of the system.

I think that these arguments are mostly moot. The PC platform is not a static thing that you can compare against anything. PC tech changes all the time, but so do the costs and requirements.

I also don't think it's a hardware competition, there's benefits for both sides. Anyone who games on the PC cannot deny that this current generation has done a lot of nice things to lock down graphics tech, driving down the costs of gaming on the PC as much as it might be holding back developers from trying really new things due to the need to make it run on 5 year old consoles.

The 360 and PS3 have set the bar for PC hardware for a long time now, as such there are 4 year old PCs that can still run games released today very well.

I'm more excited for how the PS4 and next Xbox will do the same for the coming years, but also force developers to really make use of the interesting tech that is already in PC graphics cards, but woefully underutilized.

#55 Posted by BigBoss1911 (2543 posts) -

Of course the PC will trail for a year or two, it happens with EVERY generation. Computers will technically be more impressive in terms of specs, but consoles will still outperform for a fair bit due to the lack of any OS ties. People seem to forget that using windows, OSX, or even linux uses a certain amount of memory, CPU, and GPU power at all times. That power threshold doesn't exist on consoles, hence the term "coding to the metal".

Pretty much hit the nail on the head.

#56 Edited by bitcloud (646 posts) -

@mirado: Without going to deep in here, the PS3 had a single core processor with 7 co-processors and only 6 could be used for gaming. It is nothing like the 8 core PS4 we have now and the SPUs were pretty much used to beef up the graphic processing since the PS3's gpu was weak. This worked out for Sony in the graphics department, so at least it had that.

Think of the PS4's cpu more like the single core PPE being replaced by the 8 core processor and everything else on the GPU. Even that explanation is pretty rough, but you get the idea.

There are certainly a lot of differences this generation compared to last if you look at a PS4 to what the PS3 launched with. The PS4 isn't getting the tail of a hardware generation before graphic cards pretty radically changed and the system memory is staggering. Forget the noise surrounding the whole console vs PC topic. Developers love every bit of this new system from the architecture, to the ease of development and how far coding to metal from that baseline will get them. The previous generation never had the foundation that we are seeing with what the PS4 has.

More time can be spent on making the game look and run great instead of wrapping your head around the hardware.

Just a side note of what happened to the $500-600 cards that came out during the PS3's launch and some older from the 360s.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/1996/5 Oblivion-2006

http://www.gamespot.com/features/crysis-hardware-performance-guide-6182806/?page=5 Crysis-2007

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