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Mr. Freeze

$300 PC runs Crysis, Resident Evil 5 and Far Cry 2 at Max Settings

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Mr. Freeze said:

Who says PCs are too expensive to maintain as a gaming platform?


Only console fanboys and their respective companies CEOs might ever have said that. However try and compete with a console's hardware capabilities at the time of release for a similar price and/or without some serious market research, DIY and parts recycling (e.g. how many actually factor in the cost of a new case and monitor into the equation? Plus disk storage, up-to-date OSes etc.)

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Maes said:

However try and compete with a console's hardware capabilities at the time of release for a similar price


That's because they're sold at a discount. Microsoft and Sony, just like Sega and Nintendo back in the day, are losing money with each console they sell. They make up for it with the game sales, which is why console versions are usually at least $10 over the cost of the PC version.

Let's say a console and 30 games vs. a PC and 30 games. You may save money on the console's price, but you're losing at least $300 on the games.

That's not even going into the issues of backward compatibility, such as playing Xbox games on a 360, or PSX/PS2 games on a PS3. With a PC, you can still play all your old games; with a console you have to buy them again.

Suppose also you have a good but already slightly aging PC. To play the latest gen game, you may need to buy a new graphic card, but again, you may not need. With a console? You have to buy the entire new thing.

And of course, you can also use your PC to write your doctorate thesis, but you can't with a console. So with a console, you're going to need a PC anyway, even if you can go for a cheap one that can't really run modern games.

Putting all these things into the equation, it ends up being cheaper to get a gaming PC you upgrade from time to time than a work PC plus a constantly-growing collection of consoles.

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This "debate" is old and tired, however let me throw in a reminder of how the hardware situation used to be back in the day.

E.g. comparing a SNES with the best PC you could buy at the time of release (and that includes Amigas), the SNES beat the PCs squarely at platformers, having at least VGA-quality video output, hardware sprites, hardware rotation, acceleration chips, and fully digital multichannel audio.

An Amiga would come pretty close (even though the pre-AGA models just couldn't handle 256-color output without using HAM modes), and the audio would be literally half as powerful, with half the channels and no hardware DSP effects.

On the PC world? You just couldn't come close to the power of SNES unless you threw ridiculous amounts of money on a 486 with a GUS and the best VGA card money could buy, and then again you would have little or no hardware acceleration and most importantly, no software that could use it to any useful degree. And the price differential could reach ratios of 10:1 if compared with a PC, not just $10 or $30. If someone wanted to play good arcade-quality games AND own a general purpose computer, an Amiga made much more sense back then.

Fast-forward a few years: when the PSX came along it had the benefit of a RISC CPU that easily smoked most desktop chips, including early Pentiums, 3D acceleration (which was almost unheard of and unsupported on PCs, most games still had software rendering or consumers had to pick between incompatible and cumbersome early 3D APIs like Glide or early Direct3D), a true audio DSP (which never became standard on PCs) etc. etc. and all of that for a fraction of the price. You needed a top-of-the-line Pentium (or even perhaps a Pentium II) with the most expensive VooDoo 3D accelerator to even match the processing power of a PS one, and the PC ports of the same games, when available, usually sucked ass. By then, Amigas were a dying breed and stayed out of that kind of game market anyway, so they "don't count" anymore from now on.

OK, fast forward a few years still and you find that the PS3 is still designed with a hardware excellency philosophy (Cell CPU and all), while e.g. the XBox actually chose a more stock approach (it's nothing more than a PC in disguise), and the Wii uses much more tame hardware in comparison. There are now much less initial differences in processing power and even hardware designs between consoles and PCs, but that's more because consoles are starting to become more like PCs themselves, with OSes, hard disks and all.

In the past, a console was a raw, bare piece of hardware with the minimum necessary circuitry to boot up and a shitload of super-custom accelerator chips that could literally blow any general purpose PC out of the water for a fraction of the price, and not just because of bean counting trickery.

However, none has mentioned The One Thing that safeguards a console gamer: the manufacturer and their software/game developers will support That Same Console you bought years ago for a much longer timespan than any PC game company will. PS2 games are still made after a decade of the console lying around, and any successful console of the past has also had a similar, if not longer lifespan. With no upgrades in the mid.

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I think you're exaggerating Maes. The PS1 isn't exactly a beast. Pretty much every game has crazy polygon "swimming", think software renderers on a PC.

I remember getting an N64 emulator way back in 1999 that could run games fine, and I didn't exactly have a ninja PC (64mb RAM, 8mb Intel Graphics FTW.)

You're right about the support side of things tho, I love my PS2 he he

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Kind of misleading when the definition of "maxing" is no AA or AF and a framerate of just over 30 fps is considered acceptable. (Not that it's a bad build or anything, better than what I have right now.)

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Most console games run at 30 FPS (or use Vsync to fool your eyes into thinking it is running smoothly, ala Modern Warfare 2), so that's pretty solid for $300.

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caco_killer said:

Most console games run at 30 FPS (or use motion blur to fool your eyes into thinking it is running smoothly), so that's pretty solid for $300.

Fixed that for you. The modified Idtech III engine all the CoD games use do in fact have a framerate cap of 60 instead of 30.(Except the PS2/Xbox 1 CoDs, most likely.)

On the main topic at hand, I'm going to have to have a close look at what this guy built his computer from when I have a chance, could be a good reference for when I go about upgrading my desktop.

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A 486 could totally destroy a SNES when it came to 3D games and still have room in its memory to run games with some complexity. Old consoles were all about the type of hardware acceleration that allowed for types of games anticipated by their engineers. The only way a SNES could run Doom was to put more chips in the cartridge, and even then it was a pretty crappy port.

Consoles had distinct advantages for some types of games for a long time, but they were almost always pretty crappy computers.

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Crysis is a three year old game.

Hardware that was top of the line three years ago is quite cheap now!

HOLD THE FUCKING PRESSES.

Sure it's still a demanding game, but it's not exactly hard to make it run well any more.

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The Far Cry 2 claim is the only one that vaguely impresses me. I can't run Far Cry 2 on my Pentium D 3.0 GHz, 2 GB RAM, Geforce 8800GT 512MB machine - and I have no idea what the bottleneck is. Likely the CPU, though.

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WildWeasel said:

The Far Cry 2 claim is the only one that vaguely impresses me. I can't run Far Cry 2 on my Pentium D 3.0 GHz, 2 GB RAM, Geforce 8800GT 512MB machine - and I have no idea what the bottleneck is. Likely the CPU, though.


Memory can also become a bottleneck on such old machines, especially if you still have old DDR memory (which might not even be running at 200/400 MHz).

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Aliotroph? said:

A 486 could totally destroy a SNES when it came to 3D games and still have room in its memory to run games with some complexity. Old consoles were all about the type of hardware acceleration that allowed for types of games anticipated by their engineers.


Yup, the same situation also arised when comparing Amigas with PCs: the Amiga handled most types of 2D and bitmapped graphics very smoothly and effortlessly, while a 486 could hardly keep up with an A1200's performance in purely 2D games. The situation was dramatically reversed when games that needed complex computations rather than bit-blitting & sprite handling operations appeared, namely most 3D titles.

Back to the SNES, if you took a title like Donkey Kong Country or Sonic the Hedgehog on the Mega Drive and compare it with the best possible platformer the PC had to offer at roughly the same time, feature wise (that boils down to Jack Jackrabbit ) there was still a lot to be desired on the PC side.

And yes, there WAS an enormous disparity in raw CPU power (we're comparing two 16-bit systems to 32-bit PCs running in protected mode, here) and yet apparently "simple" things like parallax scrolling, smooth sprite animation etc. were beyond the grasp of most PC developers at the time, and most frame-buffered (S)VGAs were simply terrible at this sort of use. Terms such as "blitter", "hardware sprites", "hardware scrolling" etc. were virtually unknown in the PC world.

EPIC Megagames were a brilliant exception, by no means the norm. Some later titles like Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands Enhanced were coded downright terrible and couldn't keep up with the much older Amiga and Atari ST conversions in term of performance per "computron".

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DoomUK said:

Show me an inexpensive PC running CoD: Black Ops properly, and you'll have my attention.


Black Ops has significantly lower requirements than Crysis, lol

I mean, I can run Black Ops at max resolution (2560x1600) with everything on high and get a constant "smooth" FPS on a computer that is 5 years old now, with no upgrades except for RAM (doesn't matter cuz Black Ops is 32bit) and a $100 video card (HD5770.)

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Mr. T said:

Black Ops has significantly lower requirements than Crysis, lol

I mean, I can run Black Ops at max resolution (2560x1600) with everything on high and get a constant "smooth" FPS on a computer that is 5 years old now, with no upgrades except for RAM (doesn't matter cuz Black Ops is 32bit) and a $100 video card (HD5770.)


Then you're one of the fortunate ones.

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That's weird. It's not like I have an exotic config or anything. Besides, the people who can't play it aren't missing much.

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Craigs said:

That's not really all that hard considering they fixed that issue in a patch.


If you say so.

I shelved the game a while back after a previous performance "fix" failed to do what it was supposed to do; it seemed to work for some hardware configurations but not others. But if you're referring to a patch that has been released within the last few weeks then I stand corrected.

EDIT: Have a browse through the applicable Steam forums and you'll see that there's a considerable number of people still complaining about shitty framerates in the game. People with quite adequate systems.

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What a crappy game. It runs at a great framerate with max settings on my average-by-2011 standard PC, so the problem is with the game itself not people's hardware. TBH I get a worse frame rate in Bad Company 2 (another crap game BTW)

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Mr. Freeze said:

Who says PCs are too expensive to maintain as a gaming platform?


It doesn't have to be expensive, but it does require you to be really ambitious and educated on the subject of PC hardware, and have the patience to put it all together which equates to money value (to an extent). Unlike someone like me, who would like to play video games without having to give a shit about that.

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Dragonsbrethren said:

Kind of misleading when the definition of "maxing" is no AA or AF and a framerate of just over 30 fps is considered acceptable.

Indeed. Technically speaking, I can 'run' Crysis on max settings on this box. It's just not playable. :P

Joking aside, I'm a bit of a stickler on framerates. I'd much rather tone down the graphics quality a bit and get 45-60fps than have it look pretty and get around 30. Unless I'm playing vanilla Doom, anything around the 35fps mark looks like a slideshow to these eyes.

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DoomUK said:

If you say so.

I shelved the game a while back after a previous performance "fix" failed to do what it was supposed to do; it seemed to work for some hardware configurations but not others. But if you're referring to a patch that has been released within the last few weeks then I stand corrected.

EDIT: Have a browse through the applicable Steam forums and you'll see that there's a considerable number of people still complaining about shitty framerates in the game. People with quite adequate systems.


You don't think, maybe, that this is a problem with the program, not with the hardware? It's not the fault of the PC itself if the game you're trying to run is having memory leaks and the like, but you're trying to make it sound like getting a better PC is supposed to fix shitty programming.

If I write a rendering engine that decides to purposely get stuck in an unresolvable loop in certain circumstances, there is no legitimate PC upgrade in the world that can fix that.

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40oz said:

It doesn't have to be expensive, but it does require you to be really ambitious and educated on the subject of PC hardware, and have the patience to put it all together which equates to money value (to an extent).


Sorry but your argument is pretty much utter bullshit. This information is available all over the internet and it only takes a quick search on Google or Youtube to find out how to make a relatively cheap gaming computer. Hell, just watch the video Freeze posted. He names the components he used.

As for actually assembling the PC, it really doesn't take any more patience than say, putting together a model, and honestly, it strikes me as a lot simpler too. Also Doom Marine helped me put together my computer in just a couple of hours.

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Fisk said:

You don't think, maybe, that this is a problem with the program, not with the hardware?


I don't question it. I see no obvious reason why this game runs like turd on my machine, when it plays Modern Warfare 2 just fine and dandy.

But people with high end machines seem to be less susceptible to getting shitty performance. The implication being that the "required" specifications are just way higher than they ought to be.

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I've got an XFX Radeon HD 5770 with an AMD Phenom II x4 (Originally x3) at 2.8GHz and I still can't run Crysis at decent settings without my frame rate dipping into the 20s.

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Whoo said:

I've got an XFX Radeon HD 5770 with an AMD Phenom II x4 (Originally x3) at 2.8GHz and I still can't run Crysis at decent settings without my frame rate dipping into the 20s.


What do you classify as "decent?"

I get 60fps on a vanilla 5770 with quad-core Core 2 Duo (actually 2x Xeon but whatever) and Win x64 with high settings and 8xAA

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1024x768, everything on high, no AA, 25-40FPS. I'd like to go to a higher resolution, but it simply kills the frame rate.

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