Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to Prepare your PC for the 8th Generation

It's just part of the industry.  The mass of gaming revolves around that which sells.  And in turn, the masses develop around that which sold.  For that reason, we have seen very little improvement in graphics, as developers are programming for older gen systems.  So its logical to think the PC will continue to be crippled by the consoles as the next line of consoles are released.

So the rumors are abound related to the next-next generation of consoles, or Gen 8.  Specifically I'm talking about Xbox 720 & PS4.  And I emphasize rumors, but here's what we think.
  • Hardware will be off-the-shelf.  
  • CPU will be eight cores. 1.6GHz clocks.  AMD Jaguar.
  • Video GPU of PS4 will be between AMD HD 7850 & 7870.
  • Video GPU of Xbox will be a bit less with a AMD HD 7770.
  • Memory goes 4Gb for PS, to 8Gb for Xbox.
  • Most likely will have dual GPU, but the secondary will be a lesser type, likely HD6550.
  • Wii U has even lower specs
  • Sony & Microsoft will have a 2013 release date
So, if your thinking of building a new gaming system, its best to make sure you'll stack up to the next gen systems.  The good news, its really not that hard, nor expensive.

If you go minimum specs:
  •  Quad core CPU (FX Series if AMD)
  •  8 GB Memory 
  •  Dedicated GPU - ATI HD 7770 or NVIDIA GTX 560
  •  DVD Drive (Blue-ray not needed)
  •  Windows 7 64bit (Windows OS on  Mac hardware is an option)
  •  Fast internet'll be fine for another 5-8 years of gaming. Now if you go the minimum, you're probably not going to be using the highest of high settings.  However, its not like that experience will be show stopping.  The console OS tends to be optimized for gaming and very little else, so they can utilize the hardware better then the equivalent PC hardware.

More good news though, the minimum cost will be very little, as the GPU's listed will run you $150.  GPU have a way with dropping in price every 6 months.  You really don't need to SLI/Crossfire (dual them), unless your planning multiple screen gaming, 3D gaming,  or some crazy high resolution for that 30" monitor.

"If you need high-end graphical immersion, go play outside." - Unknown

Q: Will windows 8 improve my gaming experience?
A: For the traditional gamer, not at all. In fact, Win 8 could make things worse while the OS works out the kinks.  If you're only a casual gamer (angry birds, farmville), then Windows 8 has potential, but this guide is not designed around that particular market.

Q: So based on the specs, there's no reason to go any higer, even if I see a sale or small price difference?
A:  This guide represents minimal specs on settings that will eventually degrade to medium over the course of 8 years.  By all means go with greater hardware if the budget allows.

Updated: January 2013

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