Today is Half-Life 2’s 10th birthday. For those keeping track, that’s 10 years of Half-Life 3 not getting made. Both Half-Life and Half-Life 2 were genre defining games that have left lasting impacts on the industry. PC Gamer has a nice article up on the legacy of Half-Life 2. Below is a video about the lasting impact of the original Half-Life. If you are one of the few people that never played either of these games, you owe it to yourself to finally check them out.
Things are not looking particularly good for the longevity of the current generation consoles. A couple of recent news stories have shown just how underpowered these consoles really are.
First up was an interview over at IGN with Ted Price from Insomniac Games where he talks about how their upcoming game, Sunset Overdrive, is already pushing the Xbox One’s hardware to the limit, resulting in 900p (1600×900) resolution at 30 frames per second. According to Ted, “This is a game with a lot on the screen and we made the choice to be at [900p] because we wanted to push the level of detail, action, the size of the city”. It seems that with the Xbox One you have to make a choice between either complex next-gen gameplay or 1080p visuals. With the Xbox One already having problems like this, it is likely it will continue to struggle to hit 1080p resolutions for the rest of its life. The PS4 has an advantage here with its 1.5x more powerful GPU, but its not all roses for Sony’s new console either.
Earlier this week there was a big uproar when Vincent Pontbriand from Ubisoft mentioned that Assassin’s Creed Unity was locked at 900p and 30 frames per second, much like Sunset Overdrive. Specifically, he said “We decided to lock [both versions] at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff.” Many people read this as the PS4 version was being hobbled to be on par with the Xbox One version of the game. However, it turns out that is not actually the case.
It looks like this is going to be a recurring issue for game developers working with this generation of consoles. Meanwhile, I will just be sitting here with my PC laughing while I run all my games at 60+ frames per second and 1080p+ resolutions. Now is a great time to jump on the PC gaming bandwagon, especially with the “tremendous, earth shattering value from a price/performance perspective” for both the $330 GeForce GTX 970 and $550 GeForce GTX 980.
The last time I upgraded was about a year and a half ago, but that time I was really only adding a 2nd graphics card. I have actually been wanting to upgrade my CPU for a while now, but until now the only real upgrade was the 4770k which was still only 4 cores. Sure, I would get hyper threading but that didn’t seem like a worthwhile upgrade to me. Now that the new Haswell-E CPUs are out, I decided that it was finally worth it. Going from 4 Cores with 4 threads to 6 cores and 12 threads is pretty noticeable in specific workloads, but its not much of a difference for games yet. There are a few games out there that benefit from the extra cores, such as Battlefield 4, but for the most part it doesn’t really matter right now. However, I am starting to see games recommend more cores, and expect this to be the norm once this current console generation is in full swing.
Of course Haswell-E requires a new motherboard and DDR4 ram, so I had to upgrade those as well. The prices for DDR4 are pretty crazy right now, and the motherboards and CPUs are not cheap either. I also got a new CPU cooler, because my old H60 wouldn’t be able to handle the overclocking I plan to do with this CPU.
The build went pretty well for the most part. The only issue I had was due to mixing an older case with a newer motherboard. The 600T has 4 USB2 ports on the case. Add to that the card reader that I have and the USB connection on the H100i and I was a few internal USB2 headers short. So I ended up buying a NZXT IU01 to add some additional internal ports to connect everything up.
All of my old parts are going into a new HTPC that I am building. It should work nicely for Steam In-Home Streaming and media center duties. Once that build is done I will make a post about it as well.
I already posted about one Gaming PC Build I did back in May, but here is another one I helped out with. This friend was still using a PC he built years ago with a Q6600 processor which released in 2007. He certainly got his money’s worth out of that build, but it was time to retire it in favor of something newer. He would like to occasionally play some games, but that was not the focus of this build. He simply wanted something faster and more modern, that might be able to last as long as his previous build did. In the end, we went with a very similar build as the Gaming PC I put together a few weeks earlier, and just swapped out some parts based on his focus and budget.
The specs are:
Corsair Graphite Series 600T
ASUS Z97-C Motherboard
Intel Core i7-4770K
MSI GTX 760 4GB 256-Bit GDDR5
CORSAIR CX Series CX600
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB)
SAMSUNG 840 EVO 120GB
Western Digital Blue 1TB
LG 24X DVD Burner
Corsair Hydro Series H75
Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional 64-bit
The main difference between this build and the Gaming PC build is that we went with a less powerful, but still fairly capable, GPU. Since he wanted this build to last, we ended up keeping the 4770K and the newer Z97 chipset motherboard. We went with 8GB of RAM instead of 16GB, and we also substituted a 1TB WD Blue drive instead of the 3TB Seagate drive. This was because he didn’t need a lot of storage and neither of us are big fans of Seagate drives and their failure rates. The only other difference is that we went with the Corsair H75 closed loop liquid cooler instead of the stock heatsink and fan. My friend lives is California where it can get pretty hot and while he is not going to be overclocking at all that extra cooling should be helpful. Windows 8.1 took a little bit of convincing, but I got him a copy of Start8 which took care of his concerns.
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