Podcast #172 - 1.6TB PCI-E SSD from OCZ, the Battlefield 3 beta, a PCI GT520, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 29, 2011 - 11:31 AM |
Tagged: podcast, pci, nvidia, Intel, gt520, gaming, battlefield 3, battlefield, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #172 - 9/29/2011

Join us this week as we talk about a 1.6TB PCI-E SSD from OCZ, the Battlefield 3 beta, a PCI GT520, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:10:45

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:32 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:28 OCZ Z-Drive R4 1.6TB PCIe 2.0 x8 SSD Full Review - 8 SF-2200's Can't Be Wrong!
  6. 0:17:11 Battlefield 3 Beta Performance Testing and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1
  7. 0:32:41 AD BREAK
  8. 0:33:36 Intel Core i7 2700K Will Cost More Than 2600K
  9. 0:35:00 Internet Machines' PCI-Express Patent Lawsuit Targets Numerous System Vendors
  10. 0:37:53 ZOTAC Announces A75-ITX WiFi
  11. 0:40:52 ZOTAC Expands Value GeForce GT 520 lineup
  12. 0:44:54 PC Gaming to Surpass Console Gaming in Revenue by 2015
  13. 0:52:04 Don’t touch my wife! VIA sues Apple for patent infringement
  14. 0:55:25 FeTRAM is higher and lower; gives the best of both worlds
  15. 1:01:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Battlefield 3 Beta - gets you some tomorrow!
    2. Jeremy: ZOTAC AMP! GeForce GTX 560
    3. Josh: Nice, inexpensive speakers that sound real good:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290203
    4. Allyn:  Blue Man Group
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. Closing

Source:
Author:
Manufacturer: EA

The Battlefield 3 Beta

Update 2 (9/30/11): We have some quick results from our time on the Caspian Border map as well if you are interested - check them out!

It was an exciting day at PC Perspective yesterday with much our time dedicated to finding, installing and playing the new Battlefield 3 public beta.  Released on the morning of the 26th to those of you who had pre-ordered BF3 on Origin or those of you who had purchased Medal of Honor prior to July 26th, getting the beta a couple of days early should give those of you with more FPS talent than me a leg up once the open beta starts on Thursday the 29th.

My purpose in playing Battlefield 3 yesterday was purely scientific, of course.  We wanted to test a handful of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA to see how the beta performed.  With all of the talk about needing to upgrade your system and the relatively high recommended system requirements, there is a lot of worry that just about anyone without a current generation GPU is going to need to shell out some cash.  

screen06.jpg

Is that a justified claim?  While we didn't have time yet to test EVERY card we have at the office we did put some of the more recent high end, mid-range and lower cost GPUs to the test.  

Continue reading our initial performance results with the Battlefield 3 beta!!

Battlefield 3 Beta Releasing Next Week On All Platforms

Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2011 - 03:12 PM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, beta, battlefield 3

PC Perspective’s own Scott Michaud has been eagerly awaiting the launch of Battlefield 3, and was kind enough to keep me in the loop on the important aspects of the upcoming multi-platform multiplayer shooter. One aspect that many gamers (including myself) worldwide are likely salivating over is the imminent Battlefield 3 beta launch next week. Specifically, the Battlefield 3 beta will be available for download starting September 29th, 2011 for the general public and the 27th for those who pre-ordered or purchased the Limited/Tier 1 edition of Medal Of Honor.

The beta will be available on all major platforms, including PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. In order to play the beta on the Xbox 360 and PS3, the game will show up automatically in the Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Network respectively. On the PC side of things, gamers will need to download EA’s Origin client first, and then download the Battlefield 3 beta from the free games section of the Origin client.

The open beta will last until October 10th, and until then there are no caps or time limits regarding how far you can rank up or how often you can play. The map in question will be the “Op: Metro” map from the Alpha. Unfortunately, any ranks or stats you gain from the beta will not carry over into the final game.

While many gamers will be playing the beta on Xbox 360 and PS3, there will likely be a good number of gamers who will play it on the PC for the PC experience. During the EuroGamer expo, DICE General Manager Karl Magnusson spoke to NVIDIA, and stated that 1.5 million copies of Battlefield 3 had been pre-ordered and that DICE was happy to be back on the PC. Further, he stated that they are enjoying the feedback from gamers and whether it is the visuals, audio, or game play that they are enjoying, “all the feedback we get is really freakin’ cool.”

The minimum (and recommended) system requirements for the PC are as follows: 

  Minimum Recommended
OS Windows Vista SP2 32 bit Windows 7 64 bit
Processor 2 GHz dual core  quad core
Memory (RAM) 2 GB 4 GB
Hard Drive 20 GB 20 GB
Graphics (GPU) DirectX 10 with 512mb RAM DirectX 11 with 1GB RAM
Sound DirectX compatible DirectX compatible
Peripherals Keyboard, mouse, DVD-ROM Keyboard, mouse, DVD-ROM

 

Have you been following the development of Battlefield 3 and are you looking forward to the open beta? Let us know in the comments.

Source: EA

PC Gaming to Surpass Console Gaming in Revenue by 2015

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 22, 2011 - 11:26 AM |
Tagged: skyrim, rage, pc gaming, diablo iii, consoles, battlefield 3, batman

During a conference call with NVIDIA this week some interesting information from DFC Intelligence, "a strategic market research and consulting firm focused on interactive entertainment and the emerging video game, online game, interactive entertainment and portable game markets" according to their webiste, was revealed that paints the world of PC gaming in a much more positive light than previously expected.  By anyone's account, the coming fall and winter release schedules are going to be packed with fantastic releases:

games1.png

Courtesy NVIDIA

Several of these games, including DOTA 2, Diablo III and The Old Republic are going to be PC-only titles with others (like Battlefield 3, RAGE and Skyrim) that will without question look better and play better on the PC.  This sets up a great time for hardware companies like NVIDIA and AMD to sell system upgrades in order to maximize user experience in these titles.  

And while most gaming pundits have been telling us for years that PC gaming is dying, the report from DFC tells a different story:

games2.png

Courtesy NVIDIA

Based on revenue alone, estimates show PC gaming to surpass the sales of console games by 2014 with steady growth.  How can this be?  Have you stopped by your local Gamestop or Best Buy and seen the shelf space devoted to PC games compared to that devoted to the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii?

games3.png

Courtesy NVIDIA

Here is the key and it is something we have always suspected but haven't really been able to nail down: packaged sales are dying while digital distribution methods and new monetary game mechanics are increasing.  Because the industry's most prolific digital sales platform is notoriously tight with sales numbers (Valve's Steam), we have to depend on third party reports from DFC and others.  According to this chart, the digital sales of gaming on the PC are skyrocketing and will take PC revenues past consoles in just a few years time.  

One note here: this does NOT just include downloaded games in the traditional sense.  Instead, new pay models like the monthly subscriptions of World of Warcraft and "free to play" models that charge for upgrades and additional features are really going to be pushing the industry forward.  Looking at titles like League of Legends that claims 15 million PC gamers worldwide and others like World of Tanks and World of Planes, this trend is growing and though it differs from the "traditional" PC gaming mentality, it appears to be dominating our future.

games4.png

Courtesy NVIDIA

Many a PC gamer has lamented about the "console port" generation of games and this graph demonstrates how the power of the PC and the power of the current generation of consoles have diverged over the years.  By NVIDIA's estimates we are now about 8-9x the performance level of the Xbox 360 when compared to the GTX 580 that currently sells for about $450.  But if you look at the quality difference between something like Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the PC and the consoles, you do NOT see anything close to that kind of improvement.  Game developers have always had their hands tied by having to develop for the lowest common platform and while the PC market (when dominant) meant an upgrade cycle of 2-3 years we are now hitting a 6th year of static console gaming power.

games5.png

Unreal Engine

If we want to see games that look like THIS, a screenshot from the Unreal Engine Samaritan demo, then we need to boost the baseline and soon. 

But the numbers that DFC Intelligence provided give hope to those die-hards in the enthusiast and PC gaming community that with the expanding reach and positive growth of the PC market as a whole, developers will see this as their chance to move the medium forward beyond the status quo. 

Source: PCPer

Battlefield 3: This is what the PC players will be enjoying

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Shows and Expos | August 19, 2011 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: gamescom, battlefield 3

DICE was at Gamescom in Germany showing off an assortment of new Battlefield 3 details through their booth and a short keynote speech. The vast majority of the keynote consisted of the two speakers playing Battlefield 3 co-op on the console. Aside from the live co-op demo there was a trailer from a more classic Battlefield map inhabited with 64 players and fighter aircraft. Check it out below, preferably in high resolution and fullscreen. You can then check out the unofficial BF3Blog for the complete weapon list with claymores and mortar launchers.

So Call of Duty was leaving a bar and the pub server asked, “Gotta jet?”

It was also recently revealed that Battlefield 3 would be locked to 30 frames per second on the consoles which drew fire from Activision who runs their game at 60 FPS. Their claim was that the added framerate is required to have a more responsive experience. Unfortunately as our previous article reporting on Mozilla’s stance on responsiveness shows: it is not as simple as 33.3ms versus 16.7ms latencies. Even under the assumption that the framerate is at its maximum you cannot tell the exact duration between input and TV draw without the use of a high-speed camera looking at both player-controller and monitor. Many frames could go by without even looking at the input loop and all the other dependent code on parallel out-of-sync threads that finally alter the state of the threads that draws what you should see. Be careful what you read folks; while yes, higher framerate gives the higher potential for lower latency between press and draw it is not necessarily the case. All of that said we will be on the PC which has its own set of methodologies for how to handle multi-process (there are still latencies inherent with any multiprocess game, but with different limits) and thus this is entirely irrelevant to us, but still a good learning experience regardless.

Don’t shoot the megaphone: Battlefield 3 Alpha benchmarks

Subject: General Tech | July 31, 2011 - 10:17 AM |
Tagged: battlefield 3

A non-disclosure agreement is created for those times where certain people need to receive information, get demonstrations, and so forth before the organization wishes to release to the public. We respect the wishes of the individuals and organizations that provide us with information that assists us with our jobs. Currently Battlefield 3 is undergoing private Alpha testing for a select number of invitees – I am not one of those invitees (at least, as of the time of this writing) and thus have no obligation to keep silent on information that was leaked to the public. That is convenient, of course, as some information leaked out on system benchmarks with a wide variety of video cards and processors pitted against DICE’s upcoming shooter.

battlefield3-collapse.jpg

The first thing to realize, and one of the main reasons for the non-disclosure, is that development builds are development builds: optimizations will be made that will speed things up; enhancements will be made that may make things possibly slower but better for some reason or another. Do not assume that these numbers will even closely reflect the finished product, just the state of the game as it exists right now.

That said and in mind: to expect a smooth experience at 1080p you should anticipate having a GTX 460 or Radeon 5830 as your minimum and a GTX 560 Ti or a Radeon 6950 if you want to hover at around 60 FPS. The GTX 590 actually fell well below the GTX 580 and even fell below the GTX 570 which means that SLi is not yet supported… which should be no surprise for an unreleased game! On the CPU side of things, while no Sandy Bridge processors were tested it looks like performance will hit a bit of a plateau around the 6-core Phenom IIs, upper Core i5, and lower Core i7 parts. Battlefield 3 Alpha really looks as if it appreciates four or more cores thumbing its nose at all the dual core offerings tested. If you would like to see more, check out GameGPU’s page.

Source: GameGPU.ru

Battlefield 3 Battlelog: Call of Dutied all over Call of Duty

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2011 - 05:31 PM |
Tagged: battlefield 3

Battlefield has to my knowledge always allowed services to track your statistics to some degree and display them on their site. While I was off in the Unreal, America’s Army 2, and Halo PC universe during the age of Battlefield 1942 I was very active in Battlefield 2 upon its launch in 2005. Members of the couple clans I played with spent quite a bit of time browsing each other’s stats tracker pages from various services including BF2S. Call of Duty’s announcement earlier this year was that they would bring a deep level of stat tracking for a subscription fee, and now DICE announced that Battlefield 3 will roll a lot of that tracking which formerly was piped to independent services into their official web services.

battlefield3-collapse.jpg

Battlefield can topple buildings, but can it topple Call of Duty?

P.S.: That Helicopter is screwwwwed.

The blog Battlefieldo found a few screenshots of Battlefield 3’s online service and posted them before the official German Battlefield site removed them. One of the largest advancements is to the inter-player chat which appears to transcend inside and outside of game similar to Steam’s service and, again like Steam, allows you to join on a player’s server directly. There are no screenshots showing the depth and detail of statistic tracking however what we can see suggests they are at least as detailed as what is currently available through third-party services in the previous Battlefield games.

Do you care about statistics? Comment within.

(Registration not required to comment)

Source: Battlefieldo

Battlefield 3: No plans for mod tools

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 7, 2011 - 09:29 PM |
Tagged: mod, battlefield 3

The Battlefield franchise has had a somewhat indecisive history with the mod community. Battlefield 2 was developed in part by a mod team for the first game, Battlefield 1942, and mod tools were provided for several of their releases. Recently they shifted their focus on to the console spinoff, Bad Company. While the second in the franchise was created for the PC neither featured mod tools. Now that DICE has returned to the original canon with Battlefield 3 there were hopes that mod tools would return with the franchise but according to DICE that is not the case.

These tools are hard, just look at the destructibility, you wouldn’t like it

German gaming site GameStar met up with DICE’s CEO Patrick Soderlund to discuss Battlefield 3. Soderlund answered an array of questions from the community about the Bad Company 2 friends list, alternatives to the commander mode, and the potential future of Mirror’s Edge. When questioned about the mod tools: Soderlund did not rule out the possibility of mod tools in the future but might as well done so. He contends that Frostbite 2 is too difficult to deal with for modders (which historically means: “the tools barely work for us, we are not going through the effort to polish them for public use”).

Surprisingly, to those who know me, I can agree with DICE’s stance on the issue. If your mod tools do not fit your level of polish required to release, then do not release them; provided, of course, you do not actively harm the creation of mods. With that in mind, the mod community is what will keep your game flowing with new content, for a little upfront cost. If your tail is shorter than you anticipated: this should be the first place to look.

Source: GameStar

Battlefield 3 footage looks impressive, will it appease PC gamers?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 28, 2011 - 08:36 AM |
Tagged: graphics, battlefield 3, battlefield

Got 12 minutes to spare?  No, how about at least a few?  I promise you'll be pretty impressed by what you see.  I think I am late to the game in posting this but EA released a 12 minute video showing gameplay of the upcoming Battlefield 3 game.  While we don't know anything about the minimum specifications of the game yet, we can assume that it will indeed take advantage of some of the latest graphics hardware.  

Take a look!  And if you are really tight on time, just to the 2:30 mark.

Considering that many people were disappointed in the appearance of the recently released Crysis 2, the considerable work being put into the Battlefield 3 PC game is going to be well appreciated.  In fact, this quote from developer DICE really proves our point that "building for consoles" is stupid:

"So for our target of what we want to hit, we are now using the more powerful platform to try and prove what we see gaming being in the future rather than using the lowest common denominator, instead of developing it for the consoles and then just adding higher resolution textures and anti-aliasing for the PC version. We’re do it the other way around, we start with the highest-end technology that we can come up with and then scale it back to the consoles."

Source: YouTube