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PC Games (Games) Hardware

NVIDIA Quad SLI Disappoints 427

Posted by Zonk
from the just-buy-sins-of-a-solar-empire-and-casual-games dept.
Vigile writes "While the death of PC gaming might be exaggerated, it's hard not to see the issues gamers have with the platform. A genre that used to dominate innovation in the field now requires a $1200 piece of graphics technology just to participate, and that's just plain bad for the consumer. NVIDIA's SLI technology was supposed to get a boost today by going from two GPUs to four GPUs with the introduction of Quad SLI but both PC Perspective and HardOCP seem to think that NVIDIA drastically missed the mark by pushing an incredibly expensive upgrade that really does nothing for real-world game play and performance. If PC gamers are left with these options to save them from consoles, do they even have a chance?"
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NVIDIA Quad SLI Disappoints

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  • Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:27AM (#22857876)
    You hardly need to spend $1200 to save your rig from the years-old consoles. Quad SLI is nvidia's top offering, not entry level PC gaming. A $200 card (and a $300 core 2 duo) can easily trounce anything the xbox 360 or ps3 can do.
    • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Woy (606550) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:32AM (#22857978)
      Indeed, the death of the PC as a gaming platform is the new "year of desktop linux" prophecy around here.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by neocrono (619254)
        But... has Netcraft confirmed it?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by RazzleDazzle (442937)
          Also, BSD is dying. BSD has been dying for a long time. This is the first I personally have heard about PC gaming is dying. Oh well, join the club, it's a really long and slow path to extinction.
      • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rucs_hack (784150) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:11PM (#22858610)
        The pc gaming and console gaming crowds are quite often the same people, which a lot of these doomsayers miss.

        I do get the impression from high street games shops that consoles are the new wave. Pc games are mostly relegated to a few shelves, or one small section.

        This actually shows something entirely different from that which is apparent at first glance.

        The old way of games purchasing is dying out at a rapid rate for pc gamers. We don't need to go into shops, we have steam, or play.com, or amazon, to name but a few online locations. Most polls that talk of reduced pc game sales aren't taking these online sources into account. It's been several years since I bought a game in a shop, a bargain bin copy of Rise of the Middle Kingdom.

        Console gamers have online shopping systems, but those are very much first generation, and in my opinion, not that good. Give it a few years of work and we might start to see high street console game purchasing dropping. What will they say is the new thing then? Mobile phone games probably.
        • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

          by irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:36PM (#22859038) Journal

          The old way of games purchasing is dying out at a rapid rate for pc gamers. We don't need to go into shops, we have steam, or play.com, or amazon, to name but a few online locations. Most polls that talk of reduced pc game sales aren't taking these online sources into account. It's been several years since I bought a game in a shop, a bargain bin copy of Rise of the Middle Kingdom.


          I think the biggest reason is for the most part PC gamers know what they want already. Console gamers see some pretty screenshots and art on the box and think hey, this Orange Box looks like a good deal.

          PC gamers played TF back in 1998 and have been waiting for tf2 ever since, only to pre-order orangebox once it was available on steam and start playing the beta a month early.

          Due to mod-ability and better multiplayer, PC games seem to last longer so you're more inclined to stick to the one you know and ride it out longer, whereas on consoles you're stuck taking more risks on whatever is available because you beat all that there is to beat on the game you have.

    • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:40AM (#22858080)
      Yeah, this is among the most ridiculous things I've heard on here. Quad SLi is for the consumer just like a super computer is for the consumer. NVidia puts this sort of thing out to maintain its reputation as top dog in the graphics arena and to offer specialized niche users (read people that spend their entire day doing 3d modeling of some sort) an extra boost. This obviously isn't intended for average consumers when the motherboard you have to buy to support Quad SLi costs about half as much Joe Schmoe even wants to spend on his eMachine (not to mention the power supply and the cards themselves.)
      • Nvidia's QuadroFX series are the ones that are good for 3D modeling, etc.

        The current crop of "quad" SLI and Crossfire are only for gaming ($1100 for 2 dual gpu cards). Remember that the size of PC screens and resolutions have been going up at a brisk pace and many gamers have 24" or 30" monitors. That's 1920x1200 to 2560x1600 pixels. Even the most cutting edge solution gets less than 30 FPS from Crysis on even 1600x1200 and the minimum framerate dips below 12 FPS. (And that's without AA or AF enabled). Unli
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by moosesocks (264553)
      The other bits of the computer are also kind of important as well :-P

      It's not exactly like I can just throw a Core Duo and a new card into my 4-year-old computer that is still perfectly adequate for every task apart from gaming.
      • That's a bit subjective, and I personally wouldn't use a single-core CPU for any kind of work. I've been forced to use a single-core machine at my job this last month and it's so unresponsive when multitasking that it feels like it's 1995 all over again.
    • A $200 card (and a $300 core 2 duo) can easily trounce anything the xbox 360 or ps3 can do.
      How many PCs do you have to buy for four players? A console can accommodate more than one player per machine, either by splitting the screen (e.g. Goldeneye) or by using non-first-person game designs that put all players on the same view (e.g. Bomberman). This works in part because unlike most PCs, consoles come with instructions to connect them to a 24-inch or bigger TV monitor.
      • by Smidge204 (605297) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:09PM (#22858574) Journal

        How many PCs do you have to buy for four players? A console can accommodate more than one player per machine, either by splitting the screen (e.g. Goldeneye) or by using non-first-person game designs that put all players on the same view (e.g. Bomberman). This works in part because unlike most PCs, consoles come with instructions to connect them to a 24-inch or bigger TV monitor.
        A PC can accommodate more than one palyer, too, if the game is designed for it. Most PCs come with at LEAST four to six USB ports and console-style controllers are not expensive at all. You can also hook your computer up to a TV too, especially with newer TVs that have compatible inputs.

        And while you can get console-type controllers for your PC, not all consoles adequately support a full keyboard and mouse. Arguably a keyboard and mouse provide much better, or at least more flexible, controls in certain situations.

        There's a reason consoles have been becoming more like PCs, rather than gaming PCs becoming more like consoles.
        =Smidge=
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        First, the instructions for hooking up a computer to a large TV are easy to obtain, especially for the new fancy TVs with VGA/DVI in. Also, everyone playing on the same screen ala goldeneye is not the the same as everybody having their own screen, like networked on computer games. You get a low resolution section of an already low resolution screen (even 1080p is lower than a lot of the current PC monitors). With a Quad SLI setup, it would probably be feasible for there to be 4 separate monitors all hoo
      • by profplump (309017)
        For games with a single display, it's trivial. Just buy more keyboards and map the different players to different portions of the keyspace. I've played 2-player games that are designed to run this way even with only 1 keyboard. But console systems require you to buy extra controllers to play 4-player games, so I don't see why that would count as an extra limitation on PC systems.

        As far as split-screen play goes, if you only wanted to give each player a 120x110 pixel display I'll bet any graphics card on the
    • Only problem is... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by oneTheory (1194569)
      ...that an Xbox 360 pro (HDMI, hard disk, wireless controller) only costs $350 USD and already includes everything you need to play games. Your $200 card, $300 CPU will also need a case, mobo, RAM, keyboard, mouse, and now you're at $800 or so to "trounce" whatever the consoles can provide.

      I think a lot of people just don't have the time to set up and maintain a rig anymore or they just don't want to go through the hassle, and contrary to the way things were in the N64/PS1-2 days consoles really don't seem
      • by darthflo (1095225)
        Yeh. Also, a console does everything a PC does and the games aren't more expensive at all. Thanks for that insight, film at 11.
    • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:53AM (#22858274)

      You hardly need to spend $1200 to save your rig from the years-old consoles. Quad SLI is nvidia's top offering, not entry level PC gaming. A $200 card (and a $300 core 2 duo) can easily trounce anything the xbox 360 or ps3 can do.


      And PC game developers are silly to make anything like that a requirement to even play their game at a decent level.

      After all, if they concentrate on only the high-end market, their customer base will be quite small. And unfortunately, the higher end the market, the greater likelihood of piracy. As explained in an article about videogame piracy [slashdot.org], if you develop for the largest market, then you can ignore the pirates.

      After all, once you've shelled out $1200 for a kickass card, you want something to run on it. Yet, you don't want to pay the $60 for a game you'll use as a tech demo, so you'll probably pirate it, go "wow, nice graphics", and that's it.

      Go after the people with requirements that an Intel GMA950 can fulfill (basically every machine dating back a few years), and you'll sell a lot of copies, and if it gets pirated up the wazoo, well, don't worry about it. (Also, don't try to sell to markets filled with pirates - e.g., China - why spend all the money translating when you won't make it back. Let the pirates do it for you!).

      Sort of how the Nintendo Wii is doing so well - they don't cater for the traditional gaming crowd too much (they do, but Nintendo doesn't focus there), but instead on the non-gamers. The Wii can't compete against the PS3 or Xbox360, so it doesn't. It goes after a bigger market segment of non-gamers. Which is probably why "casual gaming" type games are skyrocketing - non-gamers can play, even their 5-year-old work PC can run it decently, etc.
    • Smart shopping will run you $600 for an entire PC that can handle the majority of current games. If you want to re-use old components - and learning how to do that will save you money in the long run - you can spend much less.
    • You hardly need to spend $1200 to save your rig from the years-old consoles. Quad SLI is nvidia's top offering, not entry level PC gaming. A $200 card (and a $300 core 2 duo) can easily trounce anything the xbox 360 or ps3 can do.

      I would like to see the list of games you can play without a motherboard, RAM, hard drive, keyboard/mouse, and a monitor. All things considered you are quadrupiling the price of the entry level Xbox360 for the machine you are talking about.

      Plus PCs don't have the creature

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Nos. (179609)
        And I'd like to see how many games you can play on your console without a TV. Now, if we don't include displays, one can easily put together a reasonable gaming machine for $750 (and probably a lot less). Sure, that's more that your Xbox 360, but I can do a lot more with a PC then I can with a gaming console.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076)
      But the point of [H]'s article was that compared to the next set of video cards (the Geforce 8800 GTX SLI and the ATI Radeon 8730) the difference in performance doesn't justify the cost. Its not comparing the PC to the console but rather you'd get more bang for the buck for a card slightly lower on ladder.
    • by vimh42 (981236)
      I agree with your statement but I think the disappointing Quad SLI illustrates a different point. NVIDIA is pushing the whole multi-card thing too much. They need to focus on single card solutions to provide top performance. I suppose the argument is that if what card kicks ass, through another three into the mix and you kick more ass but it all just seems to me to be a waste of energy (not talking just about power consumption).
    • I think the complaint was that the quad SLI is of almost no benefit above and beyond dual SLI. This was the problem with dual SLI for some time, it took a while for it to be worthwhile. Except as a curiousity, and for developers, there's not a point to using quad SLI right now.
    • by node 3 (115640)
      With a $200 video card and a $300 Core2Duo, where do you plug them into each other? How do you view and hear the game? Control the game? Even going with relatively cheap components, you're still about $300 short of a complete computer, and at least $200 more for the display. Now we're at $1,000.

      While price is in the favor of the console, that's not PC gaming's biggest problem. PC gaming depends on having a desktop computer, but the vast majority of people prefer a notebook to a desktop. A gaming console dep
    • I wish I could mod this comment even higher, because frankly, this story reads like it was submitted by Sony or something. This generation of consoles was basically behind the technology curve either right as they were released, or they were within a year. Already a $200 gfx card can outperform, and this is years before we see the next gen of consoles.
  • Fishy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qoncept (599709) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:27AM (#22857886) Homepage
    There's something very fishy about the graphics card market. Using a substantially faster video card in a PC doesn't provide nearly the performance of a slower spec'd console. The console isn't burdened by nearly as much overhead, but that should not affect the GPU noticably. The only factor that I can see in play is that games can be better optimized when the developers know exactly what hardware will be used (as is the case with consoles), but surely having twice the power should be enough to negate that.
    • If anything all the consoles need to bundle a "mouse". With all the FPS on the consoles already, adding a mouse would render PC gaming dead permanently. I don't believe WOW cannot be done on consoles with a big hard drive. There is no reason to keep upgrading for eyecandy.
      • If anything all the consoles need to bundle a "mouse".

        My console doesn't just have a mouse-equivalent; it has thwii of them.

        With all the FPS on the consoles already, adding a mouse would render PC gaming dead permanently.

        By "PC gaming" do you mean "major-label PC gaming", excluding indie games and indie mods of major-label games? As I understand it, it's a lot more expensive for a smaller developer to develop a game for a console than to develop and self-publish the same game on Windows.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by innerweb (721995)

        How about a bus that allows mice, trackballs, and other attachments to be hung on it. Then, put some more oomph in the console in memory and allow basic applications. With the new displays being sold, you could have your PC migrate to the console.

        I do not see that coming. What I see coming is the PC, the console, the DVR, the DVD Player, etc all melting into an appliance that provides everything that the normal family wants/needs. It will feed multiple displays (with slots or bus attachments available

    • Re:Fishy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RingDev (879105) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:42AM (#22858116) Homepage Journal
      Actually, most console versions of PC games have watered down poly counts and lower resolution textures. They've been able to get away with sub par graphics for years because standard def TV is only 640x480 at 24 FPS. Compare that to people running PC games on wide screens at 2048x1024 and pushing 60+fps.

      As HD TV penetration rises, consoles will have to package more hardware to push the same picture quality. And thus the reason why we're seeing console going for $400-600 instead of $100-200.

      -Rick
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
        Actually, most console versions of PC games have watered down poly counts and lower resolution textures. They've been able to get away with sub par graphics for years because standard def TV is only 640x480 at 24 FPS. Compare that to people running PC games on wide screens at 2048x1024 and pushing 60+fps.

        I don't think that is really true of *current* console games. I don't have a PC game rig, but PS3 games look VERY nice on a 1080p projector.
        • Re:Fishy (Score:5, Informative)

          by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:17PM (#22858706)
          The 360 and PS3 are a bit slower with a little lower settings than my 18-month old mid price PC. The PC was a $500 upgrade of my 4 year old system (which was in turn a $500 upgrade of my 6 year old system, etc), and is about 1/2 the speed it would be if I spent $180 to put in an 8800GT. On my PC, Oblivion has 16x more pixels in each texture than on my 360 and PS3, draw distance is much higher than on my 360 or PS3, resolution is 1600x1200 (vs 720p or 1080p on the consoles, I'm not sure which mode they render in Oblivion), and I'm forcing AA and HDR to be on. The framerates are about the same between the systems, with a slight edge going to my PC, especially outside.

          I alternate between the three systems. I'm currently in a 360 kick, and honestly when I'm console gaming it's almost always 360, but I'm sure I'll swing back to the PC within a few weeks now that I have it set up to output to my 52" LCD. PC Gamers with high end systems will always have a graphical advantage over consoles and midrange systems will have the advantage through 3/4 of the console product cycle. The important difference to me isn't graphics; it's games. Mass Effect was the original game that started my recent console binge, and then I played a bunch of rather low quality but still fun games like Halo 3 and Gears of War and then a lot of Oblivion on each system, just to compare them. Good PC games tend to beat good console games for quality of writing and nuance of gameplay, but at least half the time I just want a popcorn blockbuster game where I sit back and watch 1-dimensional characters do something simple. I'd hate to give up either type of gaming permanently.
        • by nobodyman (90587)

          I don't think that is really true of *current* console games. I don't have a PC game rig, but PS3 games look VERY nice on a 1080p projector.

          I don't doubt that, when you compare your PS3 to the gaming PC that you don't have, the PS3 fares much better. However, those of us with both a pc and a ps3 know the truth.

          Let's take a current console game: Half Life 2: Episode 2 [wikipedia.org]. On the PS3, your running at 1080p@30fps with anti-aliasing turned off. Of course, on the PS3 the frame rate has dips but let's give you t

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Khyber (864651)
        Standard Def TV in the USA is NTSC at 29.97 FPS with 525 horizontal lines of resolution, NOT 640x480 @ 30FPS (30 FPS was dropped to 29.97 to adjust to the post WWII color standard.)
        • by RingDev (879105)
          There are like 8 different NTSC standards for "standard def" broadcast TV. Getting into significant detail on them was not the goal of the post. The mention of the lower standard was only to give an idea of scope difference between the two arenas.

          -Rick
          • by Khyber (864651)
            No, there is only one NTSC standard - NTSC M, which has 525 lines, 60 fields, a 15.734 KHz horizontal frequency, 60 Hz Vertical frequency, Color Subcarrier Frequency of 3.579545 MHz, Video Bandwidth s 4.2 MHz, and the Sound Carrier operates in 4.5 MHz range. There are many broadcast standards, but NTSC by itself has no variations. You're thinking of PAL, which has 6 variations, or SECAM, which has seven variations.
        • Re:Fishy (Score:5, Informative)

          by Quietust (205670) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:31PM (#22858940) Homepage
          While NTSC technically does render 525 scanlines, only about 486* of them may actually be visible - the rest are used for the vertical blanking interval (which includes stuff like closed captioning), and some of the "visible" ones might get covered up by the frame around an old TV's CRT; thus, the vertical resolution is really only 480. Horizontal resolution, however, is somewhat indeterminate - I've seen numerous values, including 640, 704, and 720.

          (* - this is the number Wikipedia quotes, and it mostly agrees with numbers I've seen elsewhere)
      • Standard NTSC television is 720 x 480, with a psuedo frame rate of 60 fps.

        It's a little more complicated than that - basically, half the lines on the screen are drawn 60 times per second, so you get 30 actual frames per second, but with the visual impression that it occurs much faster. A gaming console rendering 30 fps could see minor action improvements if it rendered at 60, but nowadays, the difference is hardly noticeable.

        With the persistence of vision about 1/20th of a second, there isn't much g

        • Yes, technically NTSC has 525 scan lines... but not all are visible on the screen. Hence, 720 x 480 is a good approximation.
        • by PitaBred (632671) <[gro.sndnyd.derbatip] [ta] [todhsals]> on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:20PM (#22858760) Homepage
          The persistence of vision is 1/20th of a second. But that's ONLY vision. If you don't render faster on an interactive system, your control inputs will lag, because we compensate for the "slow" vision by being able to predict movements according to the rules that are set out. How else could a pitcher catch a ball hit directly back at him? Point is, there IS a very valid reason on games to do faster than 20fps. On movies, not quite so much, but anything interactive definitely so.
    • by homer_ca (144738)
      Consoles run at much lower resolutions than PC monitors. 720p is equivalent to 1280x720. My 2 1/2 year old 7900GT has about the same GPU power as a PS3 or 360, and it can still easily run any game at that res.
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      The console has a finite resolution with a self imposed limit. The PC does too but it covers a much larger range. A console with use only one resolution and use additional hardware to scale it to the device it is conected to. This would be a regular TV or a 1080P with the playstation 3.

      This allows quite a bit of tuning in drivers and so on along with not having to do more complexed math for different resolutions such as scaling textures. I guess with a HDMI output, you might have a wider ranger of resolutio
    • by brunascle (994197)
      huh? perhaps i misread, but it sounds like you're saying a console has better performance than the top of the line gaming rig. quite dubious. you're gonna need some stats to back that up.
    • Re:Fishy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @01:02PM (#22859528)

      Using a substantially faster video card in a PC doesn't provide nearly the performance of a slower spec'd console. The console isn't burdened by nearly as much overhead, but that should not affect the GPU noticably.
      Like pixels?

      The XBox360 (which I own and love too), sortakinda does 720p. That's 1280x720. I say sortakinda because checking framebuffers on launch titles revealed some of them weren't even managing that... They were rendering fairly significantly lower resolutions and then upscaling to fill 720p in order to keep their framerates up.

      Compare that to a $200 8800GT that laughs at 1280x720 for most games. Sure, there are some games with graphical effects WAY beyond anything I get on my console... but I can switch it down to console levels and play at full 1080p and beyond (I play most games at 1920x1200 on a 24" widescreen with the vast majority of settings maxed out).

      Now it's true... An optimized system will always out perform a generalized one with identical parts when asked to perform identical tasks.

      However, consoles also have absolutely zero room for upgrading over their five to ten year life cycles whilst PCs sit there benefiting from Moore's Law.

      At launch, high end PCs usually match the console but for significantly more money. A year later, mid range PCs match the console for more money. A year after that, low end PCs tend to match the console for hardly anything more. From there on out, the only real arguments in favor of console performance come from comparing frame rates between a low resolution console with no AA (Forza, I'm looking at you) and a PC at dramatically higher resolutions, AA and AF maxed and a whole bunch of cool new graphical tweaks that aren't even an option on the optimized console version.

      Both paths are equally valid. The PC, by going generic, has the ability to keep up with Moore's law and not wait on five plus year release cycles. Consoles, by going heavily optimized, can get the best bang for the buck at launch, translating in to greater profits for the makers/lower prices over time, and providing a single environment for games to be optimized for.

      The bigger issue, however, is more likely how easy it is to download NOCD hacks, etc. for the PC and have one set of disks passed around a whole group of friends. Console gamers tend to need mod chips and, with Microsoft and Sony controlling the keys to the kingdom, can screw you the moment you go online and get the next forced patch. Game companies factor that in and would rather sell 2-5m units at $60 of Halo 17 with 3-6m turning up with copies etc. than sell 500,000 copies of Doom 18, at $30 a piece after Best Buy slashes prices, with 5-10m copies out there.

      As a hardware medium, they're simply different choices. One gets more rewards up front, one pays them out over time. As a business medium for game makers, Microsoft and Sony tightly holding the keys to going on line makes consoles a FAR better investment.
      • At launch, high end PCs usually match the console but for significantly more money. A year later, mid range PCs match the console for more money. A year after that, low end PCs tend to match the console for hardly anything more.

        The first two are right, but the last one is wrong. This in fact brings up the point that the "PC gaming is dying" crowd is making- the low end never catches up. This is due to integrated graphics. Sure the CPU power and RAM size might increase for the low end over the years, but

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bobartig (61456)
      Console graphics really aren't that impressive compared to current PC games. The number of polys they can push, and the kinds of lighting effects they kick out is severely limited compared to modern GPUS. Couple that with a (for the most part) max resolution of 720p, along with framerates that tend to hover and dip around the mid 20's, PC GPUS really are kicking out much greater graphical performance. Running 1600x1200, ~40 fps with some FSAA and AF, with much higher poly count is doing multiple times the w
  • by Neil Watson (60859) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:29AM (#22857922) Homepage
    This is a very narrow view of gaming. There is more to success than graphics. Themes, genres, plot, interface and repeat playing all affect how popular a game can be. While most of these points are available on any platform the PC still has an edge on interface. Keyboards, mice and flightsticks all offer a more advance UI than thumb levers.
    • by edwdig (47888)
      While most of these points are available on any platform the PC still has an edge on interface. Keyboards, mice and flightsticks all offer a more advance UI than thumb levers.

      If you stick to FPS and RTS games, sure. Try playing anything that requires precision running and jumping. Or a fighter.

      If you play an FPS with a Wiimote + Nunchuck, you've got aiming on par with what a mouse offers but far better control of your character's movement.
      • Really? So I guess we'll see FPS players migrating to Wii now, huh? Seriously, what kind of mouse do you use if you think the wiimote is on par with a mouse? The And what keyboard setup do you use if you think those buttons compare to a keyboard?

        But yeah, fighters, I'll give you that. They're mostly about doing specific combinations as fast as possible, and for those games, consoles are great.
    • by kamapuaa (555446)
      Any video game that's remotely clever or interesting regularly fails to sell well, while any bland FPS shitfest with zero plot simply can't be put on shelves fast enough. Remember when LucasArts used to make witty adventure games with engaging plots? Remember the fantastic voice acting in Grim Fandango? Of course you don't, you're a brainless dullard who hoots and gibbers while mashing the button to skip the plot cutscene. - Your Webcomic is Bad and You Should Feel Bad. [blogspot.com]

      I don't mean *you* specifically, of c

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RonnyJ (651856) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:29AM (#22857928)
    What on earth has Quad-SLI got to do with 'saving us from consoles' ?

    You don't even need a single top-end card to provide an alternative to a console, let alone *four* top-end cards.
    • by eebra82 (907996)

      What on earth has Quad-SLI got to do with 'saving us from consoles' ? You don't even need a single top-end card to provide an alternative to a console, let alone *four* top-end cards.

      More interestingly, the Playstation 3 has shown that we aren't very picky about HD gaming when most games don't even play in 1080p, but considerably lower resolutions. Additionally, far from all titles play in optimal frame rates.

      With a PC, you can do this at an added cost because what's new inside the console will eventually be replaced by faster PC hardware.

      PC:s will always be better at high-end gaming, because consoles are unified pieces of hardware. You don't want to see a sticker on a game sayin

  • by caerwyn (38056) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:29AM (#22857936)
    As someone still quite enjoying PC gaming, I've got to take issue with "now requires a $1200 piece of graphics technology just to participate". You can play modern games on some very inexpensive hardware just fine. Yes, you *can* spend $1200 on graphics alone, easily, but the vast majority of us, I think, realize the futility of it.

    Tech like quad-SLI is there for people with more money than sense, or at least more money than they know what to do with- and at that point, fine, if they want to spend that money and basically support the graphics companies' development costs, let them. The rest of us can continue as we have, working with normally-priced hardware that does everything we need it to. No, we can't play the latest games at 200 FPS on a 30" monitor with everything turned on- but then again, most of us don't even *have* 30" monitors, so... who cares?
    • by (H)elix1 (231155) *
      I'm gaming on a single 30" monitor, in addition to using it for work (with another monitor paired up). 2560x1600 with current games does tax the system, but I was able to play most things with a 7900gtx if I turned the eye candy off. Updated to a 8800gts (512), which goes a long way to turning on some of the graphics. I'm in queue with EVGA's setup up program for the 9800gx2, which should be enough for a 'normal' game experience that I have with a lesser resolution.

      Not saying that $1200 for a pair of vid
  • 1200 dollar card to participate? IS the poster really that stupid?
    I have a 150 dollar card I bout 2 years ago and it runs everything pretty damn well.
    • $10,000 says you can't run Crysis in a nice setting on a 1920x1200 or above settings.

      Yes you can run at a pretty crappy resolution with low textures on a $150 board, but then why bother?

      After I upgraded from a 21" CRT to 24" LCD and put in some very nice equipment the "Uhh look at that effect" factor went skywards. Yes you can have fun at $150, but having the latest and greatest actually does quite a lot for the gaming experience.
  • by damburger (981828) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:34AM (#22857986)

    No matter how much cheaper and prettier consoles get, they still won't be fully fledged computers that you can do with as you will.

    With only consoles as viable games platforms, the modding scene will essentially die. Seeing as this is the primary source of independent games these days, then expect the standard of games to plummet as publishers have no real incentive to produce quality.

    Furthermore, console makers have this tendency to lock you into their proprietary games networks, and unlike the PC it is not possible to get around this.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      Furthermore, console makers have this tendency to lock you into their proprietary games networks, and unlike the PC it is not possible to get around this.


      http://www.techlore.com/article/14302/ [techlore.com]

      You're welcome.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:34AM (#22857988)
    Someone released hardware that has yet to be taken advantage of! It must be the death of PC gaming forever! No successful industry has ever released a single product that flopped because it was before its time! clearly the failure of a single Nvidia product to deliver massive speed boosts to games that weren't made with it in mind, spells the doom of not only PC games, but the PC itself.

  • It would kick just about everything's ass in performance and visual quality, because people could develop games to that spec. But its on a PC, and no developer in their right mind would ever write something optimized for 4 graphics cards unless they're writing a tech demo. Nvidia and ATI are trying to push multiple cards on people to get more performance (a decision which obviously helps their bottom line), but I'm sure in a year or so their single-card solutions will end up being better and far far cheaper
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:40AM (#22858084)
    I'm not sure I'd say P.C. gaming is "dead" but I have my doubts about long term viability. As P.C. become even more connected to the outside world and more and more of your collateral exists in digital form on your P.C. The need for security and reliability increase even more. To circumvent the security in order to get good performance for games means that hackers can circumvent the security for their purposes as well.

    A console who's sole purpose for existing is to play games doesn't need to (a) be a general purpose computing system and (b) contain anything particularly sensitive. It can dispense with operating system security. There is no way a P.C. can ignore the very real threat of intrusion, data theft, and risk of hijacking.

    So, if a video card for your computer costs as much as a whole gaming system, what's the benefit of the video card? More over, if you have to jeopardize the security and integrity of your system to play games, is it worth it?

    I can't say, I'm not a gamer and besides a little solitaire, I don't play games on my computer. So, in the abstract, I can't see the advantage of playing games on a computer when good/cheap consoles exist.
    • A console who's sole purpose for existing is to play games doesn't need to (a) be a general purpose computing system and (b) contain anything particularly sensitive. It can dispense with operating system security.

      That just isn't true anymore. Many (most?) consoles have on-line capabilities these days. They can connect to the web, log into your webmail account, facebook, perhaps even your bank account. Many consoles have on-line marketplaces where you can purchase and download software. And they're gener

  • Misleading article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:42AM (#22858120)
    You don't need to spend 1200 dollars to be competitive.

    9600 GTs went on sale for 130 bucks recently and they can play crysis at a modest detail level.

    A decent gaming machine isn't expensive nowadays:

    $100 processor
    $100 mobo
    $50 case
    $150-200 videocard
    $70 RAM
    $50 PS

    Bam you got yourself a gaming rig.

    ~600 bucks and that's not including the corners you can cut with upgrading.
    • by tangent3 (449222)
      You left out the hard disk drive...
    • by Zelos (1050172)
      Plus ~$200 for Windows. Plus a day setting it all up, downloading drivers and updates. That puts you nearer $1,000 (depending on how you value your free time).

      I think the more interesting comparison is between a normal PC (Intel graphics, low end CPU etc.) and a gaming machine. It's probably something like $200-300, round about the cost of a current gen console.
  • by Cornflake917 (515940) * on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:46AM (#22858170) Homepage
    I have to call B.S. on the article summary. The problem with PC's and gaming aren't because of these ridiculous high end graphics cards. Those are for the morons (like me) who like spend 3x the money to get a 20% boost increase. It has always been like this. I can't think of any games that require cards like these. If there are, the creators of that game are pretty dumb if they want it to sell. The real problem is the crappy Intel graphics cards that are put into many of the mainstream store-bought computers. The people who buy those computers will get screwed in terms of what games they can play. I think it's silly to say that the high-end graphics card is problem. That's like saying "Microsoft just released a new, more powerful, XBox-Super-Elite 360 for twice the cost, but it only adds 10% more detail to all your games. The original 360 is doomed!" No, stupid, you just keeping playing your games on your regular 360 and don't buy something you don't need.
  • $1200-1300 was the price tag of SLI 8800GTXs right after they were released. With the 9800gx2 you get almost that much performance with a single slot at half the price. Hell, you can buy SLI 8800GTS 512s (the current price/performance champ) for like $500 and get better performance than a 9800gx2. Quit whinging about how the absolute bleeding edge is unaffordable, asshole.
  • Office computers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by colmore (56499) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:48AM (#22858214) Journal
    The peak of PC (& mac) gaming was the early 90s. Games like tetris, civilization, sim city, lemmings, kings quest, red baron, played fine on standard issue office computers, and the platform was targeted at adults rather than the under 25 crowd. At what point in the 80s did Apple IIs stop getting ports? Since grownups outside a dedicated fanbase generally do not care about the next iteration of graphics and twitch style play, this meant that games had to use either innovative gameplay, storyline, or compelling simulation to compete.

    It was also wonderful that games had small enough budgets and man hours of development that games could be signed by individual creators. Virtually nothing made by committee is as interesting as the enthusiastic work of a dedicated artist.

    All the "are video games art?" questions amuse me. Because the answer is: they used to be, now they're straight Hollywood, with opening weekends and everything, and if that qualifies as art or not really depends on individual taste. But they aren't terribly compelling art as storytelling mediums (Chrono Trigger is the only non-adventure story game I've ever played that might make a decent non-licensed-property paperback) and they don't match film for visual spectacle. Interactivity is the fundamental nature of the art. Tetris is ten times the work of art that Final Fantasy is.

    While I'm complaining: what's with the totally jockish attitude toward games. I have so little interest in proving my skill against testosterone drive 15 year olds, I can't even begin to describe it. Competitive online content, which is seeing the most energy and creativity on both PCs AND consoles, is a turn-off to most people.

    Rhythm games are interesting because much like adventure games, they have a basic interaction model that is dirt simple, but they appeal based on the surrounding context. If you'd told me at the time that Parappa the Rappa was one of the most important games ever made, possibly more so than Street Fighter II, I'd have thought you were nuts.

    There's a lot of innovation on the PC these days though. It's all in Flash. If you haven't played Desktop Tower Defense, you're way missing out (say goodbye to your productive time and sleep schedule though, 100 level challenge is basically impossible but you just keep wanting to try). I'd relearn actionscript (haven't played with it since Flash 4) to make some games if I wasn't very well aware that any good game takes hundreds of hours to write and under the hood if you aren't using complicated physics or AI it isn't very interesting programming. I'd rather invent a language or fork Minix or something.

    On the other hand, MMORPGs are very interesting. Though I worry that WoW defined the success model too well and experimentation is going to fall off (given the huge investment it takes to launch an MMORPG this isn't so much a worry as a certainty).

    Back to the main topic: it's no accident at all that WoW runs playably well on 8 year old graphics cards. Games that require specced out systems have a bright neon sign that says "hobbyists only." If you want a game that crosses over, make it run on whatever piece of crap integrated graphics they put in $500 laptops these days. Hell make it run on OLPC. Graphics can scale down much farther than the currently do, and most people don't mind. Most games could be reduced to Halflife 1 level graphics and still convey the important ingame objects and map features. One thing that I'm constantly bewildered by is that designers use all these polygons not to populate worlds with more interactive objects, but to dress up the same low moving object count we've had since Quake 1. Halo would play perfectly well with 500 polygon characters.

    Or maybe I'm just bitter because 1991 era action puzzle games were the last genre I was any good at. I beat Oh No More Lemmings! as a 10 year old, a fact that I'm still damn proud of.

    But don't worry, PC gaming isn't anywhere near as dead as arcade games.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheSoepkip (612477)
      I agree with some of what you say. I'd like to point out that the "desktop tower defense" is leeching of a fairly substantial mod community in the War Craft 3 "scene" that build on one of the add-ons that came with the game (I don't know what WC3 is using as a source of "inspiration"). In that respect, I'd agree more with your statement if it said: "There's a lot of innovation, it's all in flash or coming from mods".
  • The fact that anybody needs four video cards is disappointing in itself.
  • Beaten by Radeon (Score:5, Informative)

    by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @11:55AM (#22858308)
    Beaten by ATI Radeon: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/geforce9800-gx2.html [xbitlabs.com]

    "If you have a 30-inch monitor that supports 2560x1600 resolution, then your choice is clear: ATI 4-way CrossFireX
    outperforms the similar solution from Nvidia or runs at comparable speed offering acceptable gaming performance
    in such titles as Battlefield 2142, BioShock, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and ompany
    of Heroes: Opposing Fronts.

    Nvidia GeForce 9800 GX2 Quad SLI platform, however, leads in Call of Duty 4, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of
    Chernobyl and Tomb Raider: Legend. In other games, both quad-GPU configurations either work incorrectly or
    cannot provide acceptable performance in 2560x1600 resolution.

    So, the total score would be 5:3 in favor of AMD/ATI that offer better compatibility, scalability and fewer technical
    issues for the users."

    ___

    So, beaten by Quad Radeon in some games.

    However, anyone willing to bet on the Linux 3D performance on Radeon? I'm not...

    • by Khyber (864651)
      When you look at the titles mentioned - you EASILY notice something - all of the games ATi wins at are D3D, whereas the other games where nVidia wins are OpenGL. This is like comparing apples to oranges. Let's see games hat have both D3D and OpenGL renderers so we can get a REAL idea of performance.
  • If I want to look at high-res, high-FPS content, I'll just go outside in the real world, thank you very much. In addition that $1200 you didn't spend on a GPU could probably make for some quite nice "real life" experiences as well..
  • am I missing something here ?
  • graphics != game (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:30PM (#22858924) Homepage Journal
    The summary assumes that it's the graphics cards that cause the disappointment with current PC games.

    I couldn't disagree more. What's causing this gamer to be fed up isn't graphics quality, it's game quality. From the plethora of patches, bugs, crashes and incompatabilities that plague PC games, to the sheer fact that most games are just badly done reshashes of successful predecessors.

    I'd gladly take NWN2 with less fancy graphics if in return it wouldn't be a constantly crashing piece of apeshit, for example. I put down most MMORPGs after an hour or so not because the graphics weren't good enough, but because the gameplay is highly repetitive and I've seen it all before.
    On the other hand, GTA didn't have the best graphics of its days, but it was addictive because it had great gameplay with good-enough graphics.

    PC gaming could be great, especially where consoles lack. Morrowind, for example, was a better game than Oblivion for one simple reason: The compromises that Bethesda had to make on Oblivion so that it would work on a console.

    And for the final nail in the coffin of the summaries argument, consider the Wii. Is it the winner of the 3rd generation console wars because it has the best graphics, or because it's more innovative and provides more fun than the two other "look, ma', bigger and more expensive than before" competitors? Heck, the PS3 is losing to the PS2 in sales figures, and I'm sure we don't have to discuss which of them has the better graphics card.
  • If I could use a keyboard and mouse on a console across most games control config, I would be all over a console without hesitation.
  • by Morrigu (29432) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @12:47PM (#22859254) Homepage Journal
    Here's the little gaming box i spec'd out earlier today from Newegg [newegg.com] for $752, including shipping and promo code discounts, and not counting mail-in rebates:

    It's not an uber gaming rig, but it'll play most games fairly decently, and it's only $200 to $300 more expensive than an Xbox 360 or PS3 + accessories. You could drop the 8800GT card down to a 8600GT and save another $110 off the total price, bringing it down to $642.

    By comparison, an Xbox 360 Halo 3 Edition [newegg.com] is $415 with shipping, or a PS3 40GB [newegg.com] is $413 with shipping.

    It's an apples-to-oranges comparison, but $1200 is not the entry point for PC gaming, and you'd have to go back to the mid to late 1990s to find the last time that it was.
  • SLI Disappoints (Score:4, Informative)

    by Deorus (811828) on Tuesday March 25, 2008 @04:16PM (#22862166)
    As the owner of a 2-way SLI system I can claim that everything about SLI disappoints. As far as my experience is concerned, it only makes a difference at higher frame rates (i.e.: if the game is running at 40fps you can expect it to jump to 60-70fps). That's the case of Oblivion, which fluctuates between 50fps and 250fps on my system (it used to do only 30-140fps with one card). Crysis, however, which was the game that made me upgrade, doesn't benefit the slightest bit from SLI because the areas where I was having 15fps and needed a performance boost the most keep running at 15fps with two cards.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

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