Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2011 - 06:19 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: skyrim, PC, gaming
Although most of you are busy blasting away at Battlefield 3, there are likely quite a few that are also interested in the RPG genre, and in that vein Kotaku has recently gotten their hands on and released the minimum and recommended system requirements for the upcoming Elder Scrolls: Skyrim PC game. Keep in mind when looking at the recommended system requirements, that they are for running the game at "High" graphics settings and not "Ultra" which will require more powerful specifications.
The minimum system requirements for Skyrim are as follows:
|CPU (Processor)||Dual Core @ 2.0 GHz|
|GPU (Graphics Card)||DirectX 9c compatible w/ 512MB RAM|
|RAM (System Memory)||2GB|
|OS (Operating System)||Windows XP, Vista, or 7 (32 or 64 bit)|
Those are fairly tame, and most computers around today should be able to at least run the game, with some concessions. The recommended system requirements bump things up a bit for those that prefer shinier graphics in their RPGs.
|CPU (Processor)||Quad Core Intel or AMD|
|GPU (Graphics Card)||DirectX 9 compatible w/ 1GB RAM|
|AMD 4890 or Nvidia GTX 260 or higher|
|RAM (System Memory)||4GB|
|Sound Card||DirectX compatible|
|OS (Operating System)||Windows XP or 7|
Interestingly (though not surprisingly to some), Windows Vista doesn't make the list for recommended specs, which may or may not be a mistake. As you can see, even the recommended specifications aren't too high, at least compared to other (more demanding) new releases this year. Is your PC ready for Skyrim?
Subject: General Tech | October 20, 2011 - 11:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xbox, PC, gaming, ea, dice, bf3, battlefield 3
Battlefield 3 is nearing its October 25th release date and information about each platform's release is starting to pour in. One notable piece of information concerns the optional hard drive install for the Xbox 360 version of Battlefield 3. We reported earlier that the FPS would come on two DVDs for the Xbox 360, and a BF3 producer had been quoted in stating that the DVDs could be installed to the system to enable "optional high resolution textures." At the time, I had assumed that the optional install would merely boost the (already) HD (high definition) image; however, according to Shack News the game will be only standard definition without the hard drive installation.
The PC will always have HD resolutions available, assuming your rig can handle it.
Executive producer Partick Bach explains that Battlefield 3 is based around a streaming texture engine where the terrain, textures, and content are all streamed in, and is a new way of doing things on the console (though not the gaming industry as a whole). Unfortunately, it looks like the concern many gamers had in regards to the Xbox 360's DVD drive not being able to stream high quality textures fast enough have been realized. Both the PC and the Playstation 3 on the other hand, are able to stream the necessary HD textures from the hard drive (PC) and Blu-Ray disc (PS3).
Mr. Bach further explains that because there are so many Xbox 360s with either no hard drives or (nearly useless) 4 GB drives, the company had to develop the Xbox version such that even a system with no hard drive could at least play the game, even at the expense of image quality. "You could call it a 'standard-def' version for the 360 if you don't have a hard-drive." What is still unclear is what exactly he means by standard definition. Whether that means the game will be limited to a 480p resolution without the optional hard drive installation or high definition (720p+) resolutions with relatively lower resolution textures is not certain (though likely the later rather than the former, if I had to guess).
What this means for Xbox 360 gamers, in the end, is that the game will be quite a bit more expensive than previously thought if they want the full experience after factoring in the cost of an (outrageously priced) Microsoft hard drive. Are you planning on buying the Xbox version?
Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2011 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, bethesda, elder scrolls, skyrim
For those anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next instalment of the Elder Scrolls, Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has something you might want to see. Not one, not two, but three whole previews of the game as one of their lucky reviewers plays through a few hours of the game. This latest instalment features our hapless previewer sneaking around in a cave full of bandits in the hopes of determining if that object he saw in the corner of the cave was indeed an anvil. Did he succeed? Read on to find out.
"Last week, I played three hours of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, at my leisure and free to go and do whatever I could. I’m telling a series of anecdotes based on what I saw and did; here’s the first, here is the second and below is the cowardly third."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- "I think they're mad": Inside a 48 hour battle to build the best video game @ Ars Technica
- Star Wars: The Old Republic flashpoint, warzone details announced @ Ars Technica
- Battlefield 3: Desktop PC Platform Recharged @ Benchmark Reviews
- A Look at Beamdog's PC Game Digital Distribution Service @ Techgage
- Ace Combat: Assault Horizon @ HEXUS
- Wot I Think: Might & Magic Heroes VI @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Monumental: Kairo @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Week in gaming: indie developer offices, Forza 4 review, Aliens: Infestation @ Ars Technica
- Rage Against the (Benchmark) Machine @ AnandTech
- Skylanders: a toy-based RPG for kids (that adults will love) @ Ars Technica
- FIFA 12 PlayStation 3 @ Tweaktown
- Forza Motorsport 4 Review @ Tech-Review
Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2011 - 11:55 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, batman, arkham city, PhysX
"NVIDIA’s GeForce.com has posted the first footage from the PC version of Batman: Arkham City. Included are general shots of the game running on a GTX 560 and several side-by-side scenes showing the Hardware Accelerated PhysX effects enabled and disabled."
Keep an eye on the floor as that is where most of the paper fluttering and dust stomping action happens. You can also get a play by play of the action at GeForce.com, which points out what the CUDA cores are doing during the gameplay footage. You'll have to wait until November 15th to try it for yourself.
Subject: Processors | October 17, 2011 - 05:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: bulldozer, fx-8150, crossfire, gaming
One of the questions we have been asking about Bulldozer is how much it effects game play performance. We know that for non-multithreaded applications th FX-8150 falls behind the top SandyBridge processors and barely breaks even on heavily multithreaded apps. That doesn't necessarily mean that it will lag behind SandyBridge in gaming as many games do not utilize the CPU enough to make a huge difference, though that premise needs to be proved. Enter Tweaktown who have taken the top Bulldozer and SandyBridge CPUs along with three Sapphire HD 6970 video cards, and placed them in a Maximus IV Extreme-Z and Crosshair V Formula motherboard respectively. With that much graphical power, it is possible to see the performance difference that the CPU and the motherboard chipset have on performance. Read on to see how Bulldozer fared.
"We've already provided a fair bit of coverage on the new FX-8150 CPU from AMD and it hasn't all been favorable for the team over at AMD. If you haven't looked yet, I highly recommend you check out our other pieces that cover the VGA testing side of things and my editorial Shi**y Marketing Killed the Bulldozer Star which has really gained traction over the last few days.
Today we test the video card side of things a bit more and see what goes on when we start to make use of CrossFireX on the 990FX platform. The 990FX chipset shows some good potential and it's going to be interesting to see what happens when we start to make use of all those PCIe lanes that are on offer."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Bulldozer has an evolutionary uncore @ SemiAccurate
- AMD FX-8150 vs. Core i5-2500K and Core i7-2600K CPU Review @ Hardware Secrets
- KitGuru Lite examines AMD’s Bulldozer
- AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer 2600MHz DDR RAM Overclocking @ Tweaktown
- Power Consumption: FX 8150 v i5 2500k v i7 2600k @ kitguru
- Bulldozer Has Arrived: AMD FX-8150 @ X-bit Labs
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Everything You Need to Know About the HyperTransport Bus @ Hardware Secrets
- Intel Core i7 2630QM @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2011 - 10:23 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC, gaming, caspian, bf3, beta, battlefield 3
The Battlefield 3 open beta is almost over; however, the full experience of a 64 player map with vehicles has not been accessible to the general public. Until now, that is. EA has announced that the once password protected Caspian map will be available this weekend to stress test the servers. To give you an idea of the map, PC Perspective was able to get onto one of the Caspian servers during our live stream.
The EA representative noted that the beta may be prone to crashes and network issues, and that they are (likely) not indicative of the final product. They are currently experiencing a bug where users may be kicked from the server with a message indicating it was due to an administrator's actions. The representative noted that the message does not mean that the user was kicked by an administrator but rather was due to being dropped from the server (due to network issues). Starting Friday afternoon, PC players will be able to log onto the Caspian maps, which will be available until the end of the beta on Monday, October 10th.
Have you tried out the Caspian Battlefield 3 beta map yet?
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 01:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rage, gaming, battlefield 3
This has been a busy week for the gamer and the game reviewer as we have seen the (partial) release of two long awaited games. The first to arrive was the beta for Battlefield 3, delivered via a new delivery system called Origin which is like Steam only not as good. The beta has received good reviews for the gaming portion but the game browser and the entire process to just get into a game has not, as you can read about at The Tech Report. As reviewers we cannot just play a game however, it needs to be benchmarked for performance to ensure that you know what to expect in the way of framerates as well as how the image quality stacks up. At PC Perspective we've also made some recommendations on the best parts to buy depending on the resolution you wish to play at, which has sparked a slew of comments on our choices.
Then, the long anticipated Rage hit and proved worthy of it's name. Those who could manage to get past the many causes of the instant crash to desktop on launch were disappointed as to the quality of the Mega Textures that we were promised. This has caused upset in many places, [H]ard|OCP providing some unfiltered feed back here, which is being reflected on many other sites. Ryan went so far as to slow down game play so you can see the console-tastic texture fill rate as well as the incredibly limited graphics settings in his article on rage.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- New Voxatron trailer shows off voxels, level editor, joy @ Ars Technica
- Ars at the Tokyo Game Show: the best titles from a world away
- Mass Effect 3 – Expo Preview @ Guru3D
- Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard Review @ ThinkComputers
- Migrating Your EA Games from Steam or Retail to Origin @ Techgage
- Nexus: The Jupiter Incident Sequel? Maybe @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Albion The Bridge: X Rebirth @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Gears of War 3 - Xbox 360 @ HEXUS
- Aliens Infestation Game Review (Nintendo DS) @ HardwareHeaven
- Dark Souls (XBOX 360) Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 10:18 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: rage, PC, id, gaming, carmack
Many of the PC Perspective staff members have been testing out RAGE this week, and were among the countless fans that had been waiting impatiently for id software’s RAGE (to be released) since the first Mega-texture screenshots surfaced of the first person shooter a few years ago. As the game finally unlocked (on steam) on Monday night; however, the game’s enemies were not the only thing catching fire. The Steam Users Forum started lighting up with numerous complaints, bug issues, crashes, and graphical woes and rolled into an uncontrollable wildfire.
id Software's RAGE, when it's working
The major issues of RAGE include the trusty “CTD,” a crash to desktop, after the initial cut scene in the campaign as you emerge into the game world, screen tearing, mouse super sensitivity, and texture pop-in. According to Maximum PC, Bethesda has stated that this error is caused when using AMD’s Battlefield 3 Beta performance drivers. I experienced this issue myself when testing out RAGE, and switching to these RAGE performance drivers fixed that particular crashing issue. There are also reports of crashing during other parts of the game; however, they are more varied than the previous crash issue and do not manifest themselves on all systems. On the mouse super sensitivity front, using a mouse on in game dialog menus can be problematic as well. The mouse sensitivity seems to skyrocket, making it difficult to hit the “accept” and “decline” options compared to the mouse speed when using guns or walking around in the game world. The same physical motions seem to be greatly magnified on the in-game menus, as shown in the video below.
The remaining major issues do not necessarily affect gameplay; however, they can be distracting and certainly can interrupt the immersion factor of the game. Specifically, there is currently a texture streaming problem such that when the player turns too fast (or at all in severe cases), the textures of the game “pop in.” What this means is that the game looks blurry and missing detail until the engine is able to “catch up” and present the gamer with the (correctly) detailed textures. Bethesda indicates that this texture lag/pop in problem is due moreso to driver issues than problems with the engine. It remains to be seen whether updated drivers will be able to fully fix the texture streaming issue, however. The video below shows the texture pop in issue quite well.
The texture issue is not only a PC issue, however. Giantbomb noted in their Quick Look of RAGE that the Xbox 360 version of RAGE also experiences the texture pop in issue, though not to the extent of the PC. Beyond texture pop in, the PC version also succumbed to screen tearing issues. As an example, when entering the Wasted Garage level, the left two-thirds of my screen became filled almost completely with a solid yellow color where the image was torn in multiple places. This image below is of another user’s screen tearing experience which was less severe than mine but still enough to cause problems in playing the game.
GameFront is having RAGE screen tearing issues as well.
Finally, RAGE does not play nicely with FRAPS, which saw a massive slowdown in framerate when recording (much more than the normal dip experienced in other games). (UPDATE: the new AMD driver (updated Rage Performance Driver) seems to have fixed this for the most part.)
Some of these graphical issues may be attributable to the automatically adjusting nature of the game’s graphical settings as the game may not be able to cache/reuse textures it has recently loaded if the engine determines that the graphical settings need to be lower or higher, resulting in the engine needing to reload textures, and thus having what feels like lagging textures even in areas you’ve recently looked around. The extent to which it happens though is likely caused by a number of factors, that many hope a patch will mitigate. On the other hand, Bethesda is indicating that the texture issue is not due to the engine but rather is due to graphics drivers.
Either way, gamers are not happy with RAGE and are waiting impatiently for drivers and/or a patch to fix the various issues, whichever the case may be. It may be prudent to take a "wait and see" approach to the game before jumping in, if you haven't already purchased it of course. Are you running RAGE right now, and if so what sorts of issues (and hopefully solutions) have you run into? Vent your rage about RAGE in the comments below!
Although id Software’s RAGE and DICE’s upcoming shooter Battlefield 3 have been getting all the attention around the PC Per office lately, Portal 2 is about to receive some free DLC that just might hold gamers over while they wait impatiently for their Battlefield 3 and RAGE pre-orders! Dubbed “Peer Review,” the upcoming DLC has been delayed several times and missed its original “summer” release date; however, it is finally releasing and will be available on October 4th.
The Peer Review DLC (download-able content) will be available on the PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. According to Digital Trends, the free content will include new co-op modes for Atlas and P-Body in addition to new single play puzzles. Unfortunately, the single player puzzles will not extend the overall story of the Portal universe. Leader-boards and a new Challenge game mode will also be featured in the DLC.
One can be assured that GLaDOS is waiting. Whether gamers will finally get the promised cake is another matter, however.
Subject: General Tech | September 29, 2011 - 02:31 PM | Ken Addison
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!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 0:00:32 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
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- 0:01:28 OCZ Z-Drive R4 1.6TB PCIe 2.0 x8 SSD Full Review - 8 SF-2200's Can't Be Wrong!
- 0:17:11 Battlefield 3 Beta Performance Testing and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1
- 0:32:41 AD BREAK
- 0:33:36 Intel Core i7 2700K Will Cost More Than 2600K
- 0:35:00 Internet Machines' PCI-Express Patent Lawsuit Targets Numerous System Vendors
- 0:37:53 ZOTAC Announces A75-ITX WiFi
- 0:40:52 ZOTAC Expands Value GeForce GT 520 lineup
- 0:44:54 PC Gaming to Surpass Console Gaming in Revenue by 2015
- 0:52:04 Don’t touch my wife! VIA sues Apple for patent infringement
- 0:55:25 FeTRAM is higher and lower; gives the best of both worlds
- 1:01:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- Ryan: Battlefield 3 Beta - gets you some tomorrow!
- Jeremy: ZOTAC AMP! GeForce GTX 560
- Josh: Nice, inexpensive speakers that sound real good: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290203
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