This deserves its own thread. Basically we are back to the old times when PC specs were a mess.
The first news is that AMD is now really at war with Nvidia. Every two weeks a new videocard comes out, or prices are readjusted. If they keep up like this for 6 months we’ll have a card four times more powerful than a PS4 for half the price.
The issue here is how AMD is playing the war: whereas Nvidia cards have a stock clock and a boost clock, so that the gaming frequency goes from stock to the max of the boost clock, AMD instead now does the opposite. They have a max clock and then as temperature and noise rise they lower the frequency to the point where noise+temperature target is matched.
So basically if you set your card to sound like a JET TURBINE, then you can go to the maximum clock. Otherwise the card is chocked.
This led to a situation where AMD carefully selected cards to send to reviewers, ending up with retail cards that performed NOWHERE like the benchmarks, simply because the noise and temperature throttled the “ideal” frequencies. Basically the 290X is a card pushed to the extreme. That’s how AMD is trying to win the war, they just squeeze the maximum possible juice.
To consider, though that (1) AMD is saying these cards can run at 95° without a problem. (2) they claim the problem of the retail cards are not normal and trying to analyze & fix in upcoming drivers.
The bottom line:
the piece of hardware is the same, they are trying to juggle it through drivers and settings. The latest beta driver gives the r9 290 a BETTER performance of a GTX 780. The 780 costs something like $500. The r9 290 costs $400. It sometimes is faster than a Titan, for the price of a 770 till a week ago. But to make the card reach that performance they turned it into a really loud LAWNMOWER. They hugely increased the performance of the card by pushing UP the thermal and noise ceiling, not by making more powerful hardware.
Ultimately there will be scenarios where this is acceptable – namely, anything where you don’t have to hear the 290, such as putting it in another room or putting it under water – but on a grand scale those are few and far between. For most buyers who will simply purchase the card and drop it into their computers as-is, this represents an unreasonable level of noise.
So, despite all this, the r9 290 is a monster of a card that almost reaches the performance of a Titan. It costs $400. Right now it’s too loud, but right now AMD is forcing the default model with stock cooler. Within a month it’s possible that custom coolers will come out around the same price that would BOTH make the card silent AND reach the maximum frequency. Basically AMD is waiting Nvidia response while preparing for the final blow.
The second news is about “recommended” specs of PC games. First there was the case of Battlefield 4. It “recommends” 8Gb of memory and has a 64bit exe by default.
The problem is that accordingly to reports BF4 NEVER exceeds 2.5Gb of memory. So having 8Gb or more memory onboard is COMPLETELY USELESS as far as the game is concerned. This is valid for both single and multiplayer, with the game running at 1080p and max settings. On top of this it’s even likely that the 32bit exe would perform better without any disadvantage whatsoever.
Bottom line: “next-gen” PC gaming is only a label on the box that makes feel good those gamers who’d like to see their new hardware purchase justified. There are people out there who even buy 32Gb memory “for gaming”. The PC market is being targeted by game developers as “Premium”, where the BIGGER the specs, the happier gamers are. It’s becoming an elitist, niche market where hardware requirements on the box are being ARTIFICIALLY INFLATED to require or justify new hardware purchases.
Add to the same scenario the fact that Nvidia is pushing all sort of “exclusive” effects on new games in order to justify new hardware. Or AMD dropping barely 3/4 years old videocards into “legacy” so that new drivers won’t work with those cards, and games will not run. Leaving you with bugs and problems to force you buy new hardware.
AMD released new legacy drivers a couple of weeks ago, so you’d think it’s at least decent support? Nope. This is just a new package containing drivers released in April. Exact same version. The April drivers were also old drivers that contained one fix for one specific game, nothing else. So the most “recent” drivers were (and still are) released in December 2012. Also including problems with Firefox hardware acceleration that messes up the screen.
All this while users actually open those drivers are are manually updating them to fix bugs and enable new versions. All things that AMD is refusing to do just to make you buy new hardware.
Third news and most ridiculous: Call of Duty Ghosts.
This game, unlike Battlefield 4, doesn’t simply make the idiotic claim on the box. But if you try to launch the game with LESS THAN 6Gb RAM onboard, the game FAILS TO LAUNCH with an error.
“Your system memory (RAM) does not meet the minimum specification for running Call of Duty: Ghosts”
Not only this is a shitty-looking game compared to BF4, but it pretends to use all those 6Gb. It will fail to launch. And maybe it would be fine, just a shit of an engine and another crappy PC port to add to a long list.
People who can actually run the game are reporting that the game’s memory usage “is usually around 1.1 – 1.8 GB”.
At maximum settings, 1080p.
So not only this game completely fails to launch, but it won’t even allow one to use lower settings to meet the target. The 6Gb requirement on the box is neither recommended, nor maximum. It’s the minimum requirement. For a game that, completely maxed, can’t even use 2Gb and would probably run PERFECT on Windows XP.
It can’t use even 1/3 of the memory it pretends. Maybe soon we can expect a patch that adds a memory leak so huge to actually justify 6Gb?
This is next gen PC. All fake smoke and mirrors. Forced upgrades like cockblocked new DirectX exclusive to Win 8 to make you upgrade to a shitty new OS. 64bit exes that runs slower than 32bit ones. Inflated hardware specs and hardware makers playing all kind of tricks.
Also, in case you were concerned:
Dog hair is coming in a patch according to Andy (Nvidia rep).
Call of Duty: Ghosts – DEFINITIVE PC VERSION
With a NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card, PC players benefit massively from high-quality, high-precision NVIDIA HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion, NVIDIA TXAA temporal anti-aliasing, and in a forthcoming game update, NVIDIA GPU-accelerated animal fur, and NVIDIA GPU-accelerated PhysX effects.
NVIDIA GPU-accelerated animal fur will add high-quality, realistic, dynamically-reacting fur to Riley, NPC wolves, and multiplayer attack dogs.
Some reports running the game through a debugger are saying Call of Duty Ghosts does nothing with the memory, but it is pushing artificially beyond the 32bit address as a way to prevent cheating.
Basically the game starts addressing memory after 3Gb of empty block, to push it out of the 32bit range.
That’s why the Windows Task Manager reports it’s not using memory, as it’s actually truly empty.
(this because people are trying to hack the game to change the FOV, since the game has it fixed at 65, lol)
Also interesting about the sales:
Black Ops: “an estimated sell-through of approximately $360 million in North America and the United Kingdom alone in the first 24 hours of its release”
MW3: “has become the biggest entertainment launch ever with an estimated sell-through of more than $400 million in the first 24 hours of its release”
Black Ops 2: “has achieved an estimated sell-through of more than $500 million worldwide in the first 24 hours of its release”
Ghosts: “the company sold more than $1 billion of Call of Duty®: Ghosts into retail stores worldwide as of day one.” … “Although it is too early to assess sell-through for Call of Duty: Ghosts”
But now they have more important metrics:
” Fans around the world shared their excitement in social media, with Call of Duty-related terms trending an astounding 20 times globally on Twitter in the last 24 hours. “