Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

Summary: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC? Chances are that unless you'd carried out some significant upgrades in the GPU/CPU or RAM departments, or were willing to put up with a poor graphics experience, you wouldn't even bother. But if you play on a games console, then you are doing just that.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC? Chances are that unless you'd carried out some significant upgrades in the GPU/CPU or RAM departments, or were willing to put up with a poor graphics experience, you wouldn't even bother. But if you play on a games console, then you are doing just that.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 was released in November 2005, while Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Wii were both released in November 2006. While the makers have in that time made some changes to the design of the console (Microsoft and Sony specifically, Nintendo hasn't made much in the way of changes to the Wii since it was released), the consoles are all relics from a different era. An era where PCs had a 1GHz single-core CPU, under 1GB of RAM and a GPU that's positively ancient by today's standards.

It's fair to say that things have moved on a LOT in 5 years. Not only are processors more powerful, but they offer more cores to spread the workload. GPUs are also a lot more powerful, energy-efficient and versatile, and RAM is cheaper and offers greater storage capacities. Consoles on the other hand, because of the desire on the maker's part to build an ecosystem and turn a profit, don't go through anything near the aggressive update cycle that PCs go through. Sure, these consoles were pretty high-spec when first out ) well, OK, that's a questionable statement to apply to the Wii, which was more innovative than high-spec), and all three have certainly aged well, but it's now also fair to say that a console developed now would be far superior.

But why do we need, refreshed consoles? Surely if they work, why disrupt the ecosystem?

Because of the ever-growing gulf between consoles and desktop PCs. It's a huge gulf too. Truly massive.

The difference in power between a high-end gaming rig and a games console is incredible. Sure, unlike a PC a games console only has to do one thing (play games), but it doesn't do that particularly well any more. In almost every category - graphics, overall performance, game load time (except possibly possibly simplicity) - consoles are lagging behind desktops. Only the other day I was playing the PS3 version of a relatively old PC game (Oblivion: Elder Scrolls IV) and I was struck by the long load times and how long saves took compared to the PC version. Also, the graphics seemed blockier and nowhere near as smooth. Considering I was playing the game on a console purchased a few months ago, and the last time I played the game on the PC was a few years ago, that's not a good thing. It underlined to me just how old the PS3 really is. And the Xbox 360 and Wii are no different.

Sony and Microsoft might have bought some extra time for themselves as far as needing to come out with an upgrade was concerned by releasing motion-based controllers, but will this be enough come the holidays ... or Holidays 2012? I doubt it.

So what do new consoles need? Well, it's mostly obvious stuff really:

  • Faster processors
  • Better GPU
  • More RAM
  • Faster drives, with option for solid state drives
  • Backward compatibility with current titles (not the sort of confusion that Sony caused before the launch of the PS3)

What do you think? Do we need updated consoles or are the current lineup good for a few years?

Topic: Hardware

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54 comments
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  • POWER!

    I don't know about this. Yeah sure it would be nice if my games loaded a little quicker, but once it's up and running then I have no problem. My 4 year old Xbox still works well. I'm not that worried about having the best graphics. All games run smoothly. I don't think we need a console refresh for another couple years.

    PC games will always be on the cutting edge, but that's exactly why I'm interested in them.
    General C#
    • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

      @General C#
      When you said that, I had a flashback to Back to the Future 2 when Griff Tannen was yelling at McFly that he needed more power for the hoverboard to work on water.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsMr0Rqk6tU

      lmao.
      hoaxoner
    • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

      @General C#

      Since the move towards consoles there isn't really that much revolution going on, it's contained to better graphics. The worlds they create aren't much richer than they were 5+ years ago. Especially AI hasn't really evolved. They don't bother anymore, everything is scripted or very basic. I like RPGs, but it starts to be really boring when you realize that np characters just wait for you to interact with you and their routine involves staying at one place until you arrive and then tell you 5 awfully written sentences. Then you read that the game cost $50 million and you have to ask yourself what did they spent it on. I have some experience with guys from 2k Czech (mafia 2) and even though they're obviously capable they don't really have what it takes to do much more. They should collaborate with universities, most of them have serious troubles getting even small grants for their projects and here we have game developers with tens of millions to spend. I'm pretty sure we'll see some real progress (e.g. AI) if they throw couple hundred thousand dollars towards leading universities.
      CarboneCZ
  • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

    Consoles are better for both developers and gamers. Developers have a stable system to develop for instead of a myriad of possible configurations; gamers do not need to worry about getting the latest CPU or graphics card or about finding new drivers, etc.
    photis_stav
  • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

    ... Yet PC gamers get the short end of the stick in terms of quality. Most of the popular titles anymore are just half-assed console ports. Look at MW2 and how much that REEKED on the PC. It was a deplorable disaster to say the least in terms of overall gameplay.

    Thankfully, Battlefield 3 will change that :D
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • It's all about the games...

    I mean, sure, multiplatform games that do come out on the PC look and perform better. On the other hand, there are precious little quality experiences that justify forking out the cash for a decent rig. <br><br>I do have a good PC, but I only play strategy games and MMOs on it.

    EDIT: Then there's the issue of code optimization. Consoles force developers to squeeze the machine for every drop of power they can get. PC developers, on the other hand, used to rely on hardware upgrades to solve performance issues. Now that consoles have essentially established a technological plateau, PC hardware gives you more bang for your buck.
    Dismiss
    • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

      @Dismiss Hah... I thought I have already posted my comment in here. I've got to wonder why my comment got deleted. Pardon my off-topic post.
      Grayson Peddie
  • I quit buying games for the PC

    PC games took some huge steps backwards in recent years. They became both demanding and unstable in terms of hardware, and the DRM schemes became draconian and obnoxious. I bought one game for my high-end laptop, only to find out that it required a CONSTANT internet connection to the mothership for the game to function in any mode. Obviously not a good thing for a person on the road 50 percent of the time.<br><br>Consoles have benefited from a decent second-hand market for games, as well as being relatively stable and predictable compared to PCs. They have also evolved to new functions, including online gaming, movie viewing and media sharing. And of course the PS3 still gets as much recognition as a Blu-ray player as it does being a gaming console.
    terry flores
    • It is getting better again

      @terry flores

      Game companies have learned a very hard lesson on DRM on the PC and the experience is much improved.

      As far as the second hand market goes for consoles the developers absolutely hate it. They are working very hard to kill the second hand market for consoles. EA's 'Project Ten Dollar' comes to mind.
      dragosani
    • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

      dragosani --<br><br>It's precisely those kinds of control-freak tactics on the part of publishers that will make me stop buying games, or restrict myself to independent games whose publishers aren't so maniacal about retaining a monopoly on all sales.<br><br>I generally boycott any media format that denies me my right of first sale, fair use, etc. We've enjoyed those rights for all preceding media. I can see why content providers of digital media want to stamp out those rights, but as consumers we shouldn't let them succeed.
      Churlish
  • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

    The problem here is not the power or a console, have you seen Killzone 3? Looks Epic. There's a ton of amazing games out there and there are 2 things that consoles have that PCs don't:
    1. they need only be concerned with running games, there's no need for a resource hog OS in the background.
    2. They're relitively cheaper than an equivalent PC for the average user.

    This being said, I recently moved back to PC gaming for two reasons:

    1. modding, which not being allowed on console is completely stupid, just block the equipment mods that allow unfair online competition
    2. upgradability. If I can't play Crysis, I just buy a better Graphics card.

    The upgradability thing isn't that much of an issue with consoles as programmers have to use good programming practices to ensure proper resource use. You also state that the tech is dated, dated tech is relative to how it's used. Put the same tech from an xbox 360 in your pc and play the same elder scrolls 4 game, it wont work, which tells me that the tech works fine for the console. And remember, ES4 was an early game, all console games get better the more they are programmed for.

    Furthermore, I'm completely fine with not having new consoles right now. There are 3 companies making consoles. That's a whole lot of money to drop on gaming when I could sink less into an awesome gaming rig. Sony said the ps3 would last 10 years, that's good because I wasn't going to pay $600 for it when it came out. Now that it's $300, I'll be picking one up soon.

    One Final note: I do think that at the very least, RAM should be upgradable on consoles. I don't see why one of these manufacturers doesn't just allow upgrades like a PC, eventually A new console will come out, nut the lifecycle will be far longer than your avarage PC lifecycle with upgrading.
    KBot
    • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

      @KBot Nintendo 64 had the expansion pak, which was a RAM upgrade. Of course, it also served as a deterrent to buying games that required it.
      Aerowind
    • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

      @KBot
      There are issues with upgrading RAM in a console. Take the PS 3 for example: How much does Rambus DRAM cost? And how can Sony make sure that the end users doesn?t just stick in DDR2 RAM complete screwing up the system? I believe that Sony uses Rambus DRAM in order to keep up with the Cell Processor, the first 8 core processor made. Right now the fastest processors you can get in a pc are 6 core, and these are just expensive. While it would be nice to upgrade the RAM in a console, the cost might just be prohibitive.
      Rick_K
  • Try a relatively new game developed for the PS3

    Instead of playing a relatively old PC game ported to the PS3, try a relatively new game developed for the PS3. It will perform and look much better.
    PS3 developers continue to exploit the PS3's power, taking better advantage of its still powerful non-graphics processors... its CPUs.

    Likewise games on the PC suffer when they are mere ports, in which case the high graphics *potential* of the PC is underutilized. I say *potential*, because the fact remains that, regardless of how fast the latest graphics cards are, few PCs have them. In fact the Xbox and PS3 are still faster then today's most sought after personal computing platforms: tablets and smartphones.
    Spatha@...
    • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

      @Spatha@...

      You must be a very patient or boring dude! The author was referring to load, save and wait times. Not so much graphics. I play the Oblivion: Elder Scrools IV and I agree. The loading, saving and waiting for the next screen level is absolutely ridiculous! In fact, lately I don't even turn the PS3 on anymore knowing how slow it is for gaming.

      I don't play PC games, although I have a few high tech computers (i5, 16GB ram, latest 1GB NVIDIA, etc etc. I hate playing a keyboard for games and haven't found a controller that is similar to the PS3. One little difference is a burden and a distraction.

      We need a PS4 now!!!!
      SpankyFrost
      • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

        @SpankyFrost You know, except for the part where he said Oblivion's graphics were blocky. Also, just pick up an Xbox 360 wired controller. It works natively with pretty much everything.

        And like other people have said...Oblivion is a PC port. It's not optimized properly for console play.
        Aerowind
      • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

        @SpankyFrost

        oblivion slow load times? download the game to ur console and the load times are cut considerably.
        KBot
  • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

    Consoles being updated would be nice, it would give the developers a new platform to work with. Oddly though, I find myself playing older games (DOS era) on my new laptop more so than any newer games.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

      @Loverock Davidson

      That's because you are stuck in the 1980's with MS-DOS 2.1 mentaility.
      SpankyFrost
      • RE: Would you try to play the latest games on a 5 year old PC?

        @SpankyFrost

        its called old school, dude. Pacman, mario bros, donkey kong, all of these games are timeless and still fun. people who don't realize this aren't true gamers.
        KBot