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Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming. Build advice from Digital Foundry
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Pill Monster
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Default Future-proofing your PC for next-gen gaming. Build advice from Digital Foundry - 07-28-2013, 14:54 | posts: 24,518 | Location: NZ

Interesting article... just ignore the references to 8GB UMA on the consoles....

Component upgrade and new build advice from Digital Foundry.


Quote:
The arrival of next-gen consoles could well prove to be a double-edged sword for PC owners used to enjoying the best gameplay experience. On the one hand, it's extremely good news: developers no longer need to create engines for multiple hardware types with little common ground - console and PC development will all be based on x86 computer architecture. By extension, the need to use brute-force processing power to overcome unoptimised PC ports will hopefully become less of an issue, leaving gamers to enjoy the more positive aspects of the platform - upgrading, customising, shaping the experience towards their own requirements.

On the flipside, PlayStation 4 in particular offers a substantial challenge to the PC as the top-end gaming platform - a state of affairs that may surprise many. Sony's new console has often been described as a mid-range gaming PC in terms of its overall technological make-up. Rip apart the various components and the claims have some merit, but with the benefits of a closed box design and a unified memory set-up, the new console has certain qualities that could even give high-end PC rigs a run for their money.

All of which leads us to the point of this article. If you own a PC now, what upgrade paths are available to keep your rig competitive with the next generation of consoles? And if you're planning to buy or build your own gaming PC, what components should you choose to ensure that your hardware provides an excellent experience in line with the capabilities of the next Xbox and PlayStation 4?
Buying new - choosing a platform

Should you upgrade your CPU?


This Crysis 3 frame-rate comparison gives you some idea of how CPU performance scales across generations, and how Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad and its AMD contemporaries are finally running out of steam after a great innings. Generally speaking, CPUs tend to have more longevity than graphics cards.

What is also noticeable is that even modern day dual-core Intel and quad-core AMD chips are starting to look a little weak, something we can attest to when we revisit our 300 Digital Foundry PC, where achieving 60FPS gameplay is becoming an ever-increasing challenge (1080p30 is much, much easier to attain with good quality settings). Now is a good time to invest in CPU technology, as performance on upcoming replacements is taking a back seat in favour of power efficiency - both AMD and Intel are only suggesting 5-15 per cent performance gains in their next line of CPUs.

The Intel Core i5 3570K and the AMD FX-83xx remain the best two choices in terms of power vs. price-point. The Intel chip is faster on most existing games, and it's more power-efficient - as well as being an overclocking monster. However, the AMD chip's eight-core layout is a good match for next-gen console and its prowess in highly threaded applications is already coming to the fore in key titles whose engines are designed with next-gen console partly in mind.

If you're using an older platform, consider motherboard and CPU choice carefully. Overclocking isn't particularly daunting these days but it relies upon buying an unlocked processor, a good quality motherboard and a decent after-market heat sink and fan.

Intel or AMD? Since the arrival of Intel's Core 2 Duo processors, AMD has struggled to remain competitive, remaining in the game by offering its higher-tier parts at very competitive prices. In recent years it has bet the farm on multi-core performance - its latest flagship, the FX-8350, offers eight cores at 4.0GHz with no overclocking restrictions, while its Intel competitor - the Core i5 3570K - offers four cores at 3.4GHz. In a world where single-core performance still dominates, the Intel offering is still considered the better buy - it's certainly more power-efficient and has more overclocking potential.

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.

Perhaps it's not entirely surprising -
Crytek's Crysis 3 is a forward-looking game in many ways, and as these CPU tests by respected German site PC Games Hardware demonstrate, not only does the FX-8350 outperform the i5, it also offers up an additional, minor margin of extra performance over the much more expensive Core i7 3770K - a processor that's around 100 more expensive than the AMD chip.
Only the six-core Intel Core i7 3930K - a 480 processor - beats it comprehensively.
Continued.
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/di...c-for-next-gen

Last edited by Pill Monster; 07-28-2013 at 15:04.
   
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Fender178
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Default 07-28-2013, 15:15 | posts: 1,777 | Location: Pennsylvania

Very interesing article. Also they should have done the same benchmark test but with the CPUs OCed and post those results as well. Because those enthusiaists usually OC thier cpus.
   
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Pill Monster
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Default 07-28-2013, 15:20 | posts: 24,518 | Location: NZ

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Originally Posted by Fender178 View Post
Very interesing article. Also they should have done the same benchmark test but with the CPUs OCed and post those results as well. Because those enthusiaists usually OC thier cpus.
Yeah I'd like to see more reviewers compare overclocked CPU performance.

It's hard to find any real comparisons....

Last edited by Pill Monster; 07-28-2013 at 15:22.
   
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Default 07-28-2013, 23:15 | posts: 2,434 | Location: canada

Good read... thanks for the article Pill

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Originally Posted by Pill Monster View Post
Yeah I'd like to see more reviewers compare overclocked CPU performance.
Same here...
   
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yasamoka
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Default 07-28-2013, 23:59 | posts: 3,379 | Location: Lebanon

Something I really really like is how the developers think that the FX8350 will be the way forward instead of the Core i5 3570K. This will really enable us to have truly multi-core CPUs scaling above 4 cores and wouldn't need to always have fast cores screaming @ high overclocks like 4.8GHz - 5.2GHz which are often accompanied with very high voltages.

Would be good if AMD CPUs become top gaming choices at prices lower than their Intel competition. This would be the break AMD's looking for.
   
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Default 07-29-2013, 00:24 | posts: 26,886 | Location: Hampshire, UK

yeah, I wouldn't mind switching to the next generation of AMD chips at all. if the cores are utilized properly and the performance is ok, I can see myself doing it. I'm actually a little bit worried about how my 4 cores will cope a year from now.
   
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-Tj-
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Default 07-29-2013, 00:26 | posts: 8,522 | Location: Urban`Jungle

All i see here is buy FX8350, its a better choice vs 4core IB.


Well doh if they're gonna compare to intel then compare to same scenario with 8 threads ie 3770k.

Then at the end he trolls 3770k and how its 100 more, etc



IMO its both cpu - 8 threads would be ideal and very strong gpu, for example U4E needs 3-4tflops to run properly.
   
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Default 07-29-2013, 00:35 | posts: 4,658 | Location: Israel

Core I5 I7 and FX8350 and on will be on par with multicore performance at games, maybe maybe intel will lead again
   
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Default 07-29-2013, 00:51 | posts: 26,886 | Location: Hampshire, UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by -Tj- View Post
Well doh if they're gonna compare to intel then compare to same scenario with 8 threads ie 3770k.
doesn't work like that I'm afraid, you compare against the competition in the same bracket. 3770k and 4770k cost a fair bit more than 8320 or 8350.
   
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Default 07-29-2013, 01:04 | posts: 4,658 | Location: Israel

the only way for intel to lower prices, if any would be if AMD next cpu will be better than intel cpu at all tasks... as it stand now, my current cpu 2700K was the best cpu i ever bought, 300USD is quite a cost, but u gain way more.
   
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Default 07-29-2013, 01:36 | posts: 3,379 | Location: Lebanon

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Originally Posted by eclap View Post
doesn't work like that I'm afraid, you compare against the competition in the same bracket. 3770k and 4770k cost a fair bit more than 8320 or 8350.
It could.

There's HT between the i5 and the i7, the question is how much of a performance boost does HT bring to properly-threaded games? I've seen a "20%" for Crysis 3 somewhere, but it was not reflected in that German benchmark. It might have been a 20% in the cases where the i5 was maxed out.

I struggle to find other titles that really benefit from HT (does BF3 benefit? Maybe a bit?). In cases where the benefit from HT is 0, i5 = i7 obviously.

That makes things tougher to compare I guess.
   
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Default 07-29-2013, 02:15 | posts: 26,886 | Location: Hampshire, UK

I meant to say in the same price bracket, the 3770k is a 100 more in the UK than the 8350.
   
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yasamoka
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Default 07-29-2013, 02:42 | posts: 3,379 | Location: Lebanon

Definitely. The performance could be compared or extrapolated.
   
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Default 07-29-2013, 08:59 | posts: 24,518 | Location: NZ

Quote:
Originally Posted by clawhamer View Post
Good read... thanks for the article Pill



Same here...
Glad you liked it.
   
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Default 07-29-2013, 09:35 | posts: 9,413 | Location: Toledo

"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."

Really? I'm not going to sit here and say unified memory isn't an advantage (although how much of an advantage it will be has yet to be seen once latency is factored in), but this is a joke. A massive cop out of the largest scale. I really want them to disclose the "source" that supposedly fed them this "information".

This part also made me lol:

"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."

What is it with game developers and this retarded focus on 720P? They should be coding for 60fps in 1080p. Oh, but the "architectural challenges" are obviously preventing that, right?
   
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Pill Monster
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Default 07-29-2013, 09:37 | posts: 24,518 | Location: NZ

^Yeah well I guess we've had consoles to thank for that....hopefully the new Xbox/PS4 will improve things. (Hopefully).

Last edited by Pill Monster; 07-29-2013 at 09:41.
   
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Pill Monster
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Default 07-29-2013, 09:55 | posts: 24,518 | Location: NZ

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pill Monster View Post
^Yeah well I guess we've had consoles to thank for that....hopefully the new Xbox/PS4 will improve things. (Hopefully).
^Of course since PC's are constantly evolving in 3 years time we will be back in the same predicament. It will always be like this as long as games are developed for consoles first then ported to PC.

Last edited by Pill Monster; 07-29-2013 at 09:58.
   
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Darkest
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Default 07-29-2013, 12:25 | posts: 7,887

Quote:
Originally Posted by IcE View Post
What is it with game developers and this retarded focus on 720P? They should be coding for 60fps in 1080p. Oh, but the "architectural challenges" are obviously preventing that, right?
While there can be problems for some games running over the 30 FPS mark, such as animations and the like, I wouldn't call it an architectural challenge. That comes across as a cop out to me, seems they don't want to upset the people behind certain up coming games by being totally honest. But then anything to do with games journalism is often skewed in one way or another.
   
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