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Friday, January 27, 2006

PC Gaming sucks

Don't get me wrong, I'm no fanboi or anything. I have had my fair share of fun with PC gaming especially playing RTSs (which is the one genre I have yet to see properly implemented on a console), but fun can only cost so much in time, effort and money before it stops being fun. Let me explain: Last week one of the guys at work downloaded 3DMark 06 which, for the uninformed, is the latest version of benchmarking company Futuremark's 'gamers benchmark'. It is the de-facto standard in PC stats bragging, basically the tool of choice in the hardware pissing contest that PC gamers are so fond of. It runs a series of tests on your machine that place the same kind of strain on it as a current-technology game would, determining how well your various PC components live up to the task and providing you with a single, all-encompassing '3DMark score'. This single score is used on forums, at LANs and in any other gamer meeting place you can think of to illustrate how much more powerful one person's machine is than everyone else's. It's the digital age version of bicep-flexing or arm-wresteling.

Anyway, I ran this benchmark on both my home machine (a Mecer notebook with a P4 2.8GHz processor, 1Gb of system RAM and a Radeon 9700 Mobility with 128 Mb of onboard RAM) as well as on my work PC (a 3.2GHz machine with 1Gb RAM and a GeForce 7800 GT with 256Mb RAM). These machines earned scores of 347 and 3411 respectively. Now these scores alone mean very little to me, what does matter is that my notebook (which is not that underpowered) gets 0-1 fps on each of the tests and my work PC gets between 8 and 20 fps. The level of hardware needed to run this benchmark properly is apparently a system with a dual-core CPU, two high end graphics cards and a (yet to be released) physics processing card. All that adds up to about a R15000 machine (at least). How many people can really afford to spend that on a gaming machine.. especially considering that it will be outdated within 8-10 months (my work PC would have been a top end rig 8 months ago)!? It really is rediculous.

Thanks, but at that kind of cost, I would much rather 'invest' in one of the new consoles coming out, enjoy games at the same quality level (or higher) as current-generation PCs, and know that for the next five or so years I will be able to play games as they were intended to be played, on exactly the same hardware that the developers tested them on. No setting down detail levels just to be able to run the game at a steady framerate on my year old machine, no worrying about whether a machine will even run on my rig, just pop in te disk and play!


Sci said...

I was suprised I managed to score just over 4000 points with my current setup & a bit of overclocking. The main 2 tests that really eats at your system is hdr rendering & physics. Even with a 7800gtx the hardware hdr is still not complex or fast enouph for the full rendering levels. The physics is another story all together, we will need that chip even sooner than we thought.

Flint said...

Bah humbug! Physics card? Overclocking? That's too much work for me thanks, I just want to play! ;)


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