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Op Ed

The Tech Report - Improving the PC as a gaming platform: the hardware.
The new spec would clearly involve some compromises, since you can't simply step up and demand that every new computer feature a Radeon 7970, 32GB of RAM, and a six-core CPU with Hyperthingamabobs. However, let's take a page from our own System Guide's Econobox. MPC-HD could set the bar at, say, a Radeon 7770 graphics card ($120 or so) and a Core i3-3220 processor (around $130). Those components provide solid gaming performance at 1080p in the vast majority of titles, even with anti-aliasing enabled. They would be a perfectly reasonable baseline to aim for—one that provides many times the horsepower of current-generations consoles.

Setting a baseline would make life easier for developers, as well. Let's imagine MPC-HD has multiple levels, and when publishing your game, you can simply state that the minimum requirement is MPC-HD Level 1. That's easy for developers to code for, easy for buyers to follow, and easy for manufacturers to advertise and profit from. One can only wish.

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24. Re: Op Ed Dec 30, 2012, 06:12 Reckless
Jensen wrote on Dec 30, 2012, 02:41:
I hope Apple releases one and pushes other companies towards using higher quality panels. I think their usage of high quality panels in the recent iPhones and iPads has help push the mobile industry in the right direction.
So you think that a TV with marketing bullshit like "retina display" will be any different than the afore mentioned HD moniker? The question here is the lack of a clear and concise statement about how good something is.

The only example I can think where this is done as best it could be is cars. You buy one on engine capacity, number of cylinders and fuel type. To give you some form of comparison manufacturers provide max speed and torque values together fuel consumption figures across a number of levels.

Sadly a PC is a collection of bits that work with each other. Throw in the fastest graphics card available in a machine without the best CPU and you'll probably not get the maximum out of the card. Upgrade the RAM when you don't need to and it'll make no difference. Obviously if you're constantly running out of physical memory then the PC will gain overall performance with more but it will not be shown as quicker in a rating like the Windows performance index.

CPU and GPU branding is the worst given they're the primary items that make noticeable differences in performance. For each you really need to have a multi-game benchmark mapped to a consistent result scale. The price point between models is simply too small as there is simply too much "choice" these days.

I wouldn't see any benefit in PC's being sold like consoles (fixed spec). A PC has always been more than a gaming machine and whilst their place has been eroded by consoles, phones, tablets and anything else that provides some form of interactive usage it's simply not yet possible to achieve what you can on a PC with any of the replacements.

Simply put - those who want fixed hardware configurations may as well buy a console, ignore PC gaming and not worry about the issue. Those who want better marketing in terms of labelling, performance indicators and pricing may as well give up and buy a console 'cause it isn't going to happen anytime soon
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