Neoseeker : News : Valve bringing multiple custom hardware prototypes to CES, including "Piston" prototype from Xi3
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BlackLabel Jan 9, 13
All I can say is I hope Valve don't opt to go with Xi3 as the Xi3 x7a their only gaming ready modular PC is expensive at $1100. What is a bigger concern is that when I say gaming ready it pretty much means it can play games on GOG and maybe some old Steam games like Max Payne. The x7a wouldn't run 95% of the Steam library and Linux wouldn't help much as it's not a case of removing processes, it's a physical hardware limitation.

What I will say is it is cool that Valve seeming have approached Xi3 for a prototype as at the very least it has put Xi3's brand of expensive PC's on the map, but they aren't the candidate for the Steam Box. Valve need to team up with Acer or Dell on this to create a subsidised mid-level gaming rig that will cost customers $400 as they simply won't pay $1100 or more for this thing, at that point they would be better off building their own.
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DedValve Jan 9, 13
I'm on my phone so I can't link it but have just recently made more comments on the steambox. There will phone one in 3 ranges all serving different purposes at different prices.

The stream box will, as the title suggests, only offer game streaming and will be $99 or under.

The standard box (the wording here suggests that multiple hardware companies will come out with their own variation of the steambox) will cost around $300

And the high end steambox will cost as much as the user is willing to pay for. He also gives a comment on modular gaming being met for steamboxes success, if anything ge box we are seeing now is just a taste of things to come.

The steambox isn't a console, just a PC pretending to look like one for user accessibility, this means that dell, gateway, etc. Will all have their official valve branded steambox at different price ranges alongside the "official" valve steambox.

Its certainly an exciting new prospect in the console world and I hope it picks up. I'll get a link up when I'm back home unless reenee or bluexy or whoever made this article beats me to it.
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DedValve Jan 9, 13
I meant to say gqbe Newell, srupid phone.
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Duncan Idaho Jan 9, 13
quote Ded Valve
That is one tiny box though. I bet Nintendo feels silly now severely limiting their CPU (and thus game development) just so they can have a smaller box only to be thwarted.
To what are you refering Gamecube or Wiiu? if the latter go and read an interview with ninja team where they talk about the wiiu CPU
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lKasHl Jan 9, 13
quote Zombie_Barioth
I see his point that the interface could be a turn off for some, which could make someone not want to bother with PCs. Weather or not windows 8 actually has anything to do with the drop in PC sales is something else.
I see that as well but claiming something that actually performs marginally better in games, with full legacy support, to be the death of PC gaming due to an interface shift seems to be a major overreaction.

I personally doubt that the decline in the PC industry is due to Win8, realistically the PC industry has been in decline for years now, theres just no incentive to upgrade and its naive to think a new operating system can miraculously change that. PC's have basically hit maturity, unless you're in multimedia/gaming there is no reason to upgrade since performance is more than adequate for the average user. It's all about portability and gadgets for most people now and pretty sure I read somewhere that Windows 8 caused a massive increase in those fields with touch panels actually selling out.
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Zombie_Barioth Jan 10, 13
IKasHI Very rarely is any one thing the sole cause of something, there are usually other factors and I believe PCs are no exception.

Parts are so advanced now that even the integrated GPUs are enough for the average person, The HD4000 being around the radeon 5000 series and even my AMD E-450 can handle The darkness 2 (some slight jerkiness, but not bad for a 1.6gh duel core w/ 6320). Mobile chips are really gaining speed and even budget tablets are about as powerful as my laptop, further removing the need for regular PCs, to the point most people could get away with a cheap pre-build just for file management unless their job actually calls for more.
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lKasHl Jan 11, 13
quote Zombie_Barioth
IKasHI Very rarely is any one thing the sole cause of something, there are usually other factors and I believe PCs are no exception.

Parts are so advanced now that even the integrated GPUs are enough for the average person, The HD4000 being around the radeon 5000 series and even my AMD E-450 can handle The darkness 2 (some slight jerkiness, but not bad for a 1.6gh duel core w/ 6320). Mobile chips are really gaining speed and even budget tablets are about as powerful as my laptop, further removing the need for regular PCs, to the point most people could get away with a cheap pre-build just for file management unless their job actually calls for more.
Yeah thats basically the point i was making and we're not even getting into the fact that most multimedia apps are using GPGPU reviving older spec builds. Even progress in gaming has slowed to a crawl with most games optimised for outdated console hardware, other than Cryengine 3 games there hasn't really been a need to upgrade from my 5850 (Frost Bite 2 was too optimised to bother). My PC specs are more or less 6 years old and i can get 40fps in most games with the occasional cut on AA.
Hopefully next gen changes something?
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Zombie_Barioth Jan 11, 13
IKasHI Thats true, a lot of people hate to admit it but consoles kinda are slowing things down. The PC industry will always keep the broadest market in mind like any other market but gaming has always been higher end spec-wise.Thats one of the downsides to the console gen lasting so long while sharing so many games. Even Skyrim, a game people build/upgrade PCs for, only requires a 4890 at most.

Thats actually one of the tricky things about building a PC right now, something I've been planning. Spec requirements are so low you don't need a powerful PC to run much yet the new consoles are due out. The next Xbox is rumored to use a 6000 series card which is a nice jump but would require a much better card to keep up compared to now, meaning an early upgrade if true.
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lKasHl Jan 11, 13
Zombie_Barioth I'd say "slowing things down" is a bit of a conservative description, they've basically brought everything to a halt.
I've also been waiting for years for the new consoles to boost gaming hardware requirements to justify an upgrade. The next xbox should be demo'd at E3, actual availability might come much later, but the specs will most likely be leaked and we can buy according to that. Apparently Cryengine 3 and Unreal Engine 4 are fully next gen ready so you can probably extrapolate hardware requirements from that as well. If the rumours are true and its only a 6 series a 7970 should be enough to keep up with it considering the XBOX will have a lower TDP and shader count but PC will have poorer ports.
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BlackLabel Jan 12, 13
quote lKasHl
Zombie_Barioth I'd say "slowing things down" is a bit of a conservative description, they've basically brought everything to a halt.
I've also been waiting for years for the new consoles to boost gaming hardware requirements to justify an upgrade. The next xbox should be demo'd at E3, actual availability might come much later, but the specs will most likely be leaked and we can buy according to that. Apparently Cryengine 3 and Unreal Engine 4 are fully next gen ready so you can probably extrapolate hardware requirements from that as well. If the rumours are true and its only a 6 series a 7970 should be enough to keep up with it considering the XBOX will have a lower TDP and shader count but PC will have poorer ports.
Not necessarily. I know poor ports are partly the reason for higher spec needed to run console ports, but the other reason is that PC is a 40+ process device. I mean I run Windows 8 and currently there are 23 processes Windows requires to run and 37 background processes, much of that is Google Chrome which is taking up about 13 of those processes. Though even with Chrome closed I'm using 40+ processes each utilising CPU, RAM and GPU which bogs down performance.

Xbox 360 is a 2-3 process device as in dashboard mode it's running that, possibly party chat and maybe the music app at any one time. In gaming mode the dashboard is disabled so only the game, party chat and the music app is available. This means any left over power is available to the game which is why Far Cry 3 one of the prettiest games ever made runs at Medium settings on Xbox, yet on PC I'm having to run it on High because my HD 6850 can't keep up anymore.

The Xbox Next may have a HD 6870 or even a HD 7850 but that thing will run like it's a HD 8990 it will provide a super charged gaming experience because all of it will be utilised for the game and the game alone. That's what many people don't realise is PC hardware is under utilised because there are so many processes but there are also an infinite number of hardware configurations a game has to run on. It's why Xbox 360 is still pumping out better and better graphics. Yes it has slowed down PC development but PC has hardly suffered as Far Cry 3 and Crysis 3 are some of the prettiest games ever made and yet they still run pretty well on Xbox, a console with a GPU that wasn't even cutting edge 8 years ago..

PC will see a graphical bump a sizable one at that, if you have seen the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer which was a CG trailer but CD Projekt tend to use their graphics engine for trailers, meaning that was possibly a hint at the graphics PC and possibly next gen console will be at. One thing I know for certain is when the next gen of consoles launch be prepared to have to buy a GTX 7 series card or a HD 8 series card to keep up as next gen consoles will be 15-20x more powerful than the Xbox 360 which can run Far Cry 3, expect the graphical bump to be pretty big.

I won't be upgrading my PC until I know exactly what next gen looks like and how well the first PC ports of Xbox Next multi-platform games run. I wouldn't be surprised if a HD 7870 was the minimum requirement for a game like Star Wars 1313 with a HD 8 series card being the recommended. It's always an expensive time for PC gamers at the start of a console generation as graphics move that fast it's the only time the upgrade every 12-18 months stereotype can become true. I look forward to it.
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lKasHl Jan 12, 13
BlackLabel Sorry my post wasn’t inclusive of processes and low level hardware access, thanks for mentioning it. I'd personally say that TDP and shader count is a bigger issues than hardware access and background processes. Having access to low level hardware and not having to rely on vendor drivers and API’s gives devs room for maybe a 20%-30% increase in effective power (think it was Capcom said this waaaay back when the 360 was considered next gen), which is why I was pretty generous and let a presumably budget 6 series GPU compare to a high end 7 series A 20-30% increase on current hardware though only represents the generation jump between a singular series of GPU’s which occurs on average once every year. This is why, as Zombie_Barioth said, his 4890 can handle newer releases with relative ease, it was essentially 1 series ahead of the 360’s GPU.

If you look really closely console graphics on a technical basis haven't improved for a LONG time, the improvement in graphics has largely come about due to artists being more clever in their implementation of less costly but better looking assets and render techniques. I’ll use DOF as an example since I feel it is one of the most over utilised techniques on the consoles. DOF blurs out objects in the distance giving the perception of depth. On many well optimised PC games its actually a costly technique that calculates the players view angles and relative distances to determine blur quantity, whereas on consoles its more of a blanket blur which is used to limit view distance to allow for seamless model switching to reduce the amount of polygons rendered at a given time. The overall affect is that the game looks better whilst being less costly, but there has been no increase in technical fidelity. This is something that Cevat Yerli and even EPIC have pointed out, consoles reached their technical limit a while back, and everything else is just artist work. That’s not even mentioning that most people make comparisons against PC games 1080p with high AA vs their console counterparts 720p with very little/no AA.

Crysis 3 and Witcher 2 (we'll go with it over cyberpunk since it has actual game footage) look great, but that’s because they are a couple of games in a handful that are built on engines that start with the PC for the ground up. Most other games are completed on console then ported to the PC. That said, even though it used Cryengine 3, Crysis 2 had consolitis until the DX11 patch came along, with tremendously compressed textures and closed environements.

I honestly hope the next gen consoles are that powerful, but I seriously doubt it, they’ll most probably equate to, at the most, current gen high end PC hardware. The jump in graphical fidelity at least is guaranteed (Y)
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BlackLabel Jan 12, 13
lKasHl, I actually hadn't thought of the use of effects to limit view distances and it makes sense now I've read it, but I always thought of it as an effect they added to make it look better as they still had gas in the tank, not to allow the game to run smoother while looking better. I know the Field of View has been getting narrower and narrower on consoles to limit what has to be rendered, but I never considered things like DOF as a resource saving technique as well. Thats a pretty smart idea thinking about it lol.

I actually forgot how poor Crysis 2 looked in comparison at least to what I was expecting from a more linear Crysis 1. I definitely agree that it was the consoles at fault in that area as the DX11 + High Res patches really fixed that game up. It seems Crysis 3 is being built on PC first as that game just looks stunning, one huge graphical leap over Crysis 2 and most games this generation. I hope this year at least at the end of this year and early next year we'll get the massive visual bump we are after, as I still watch The Samaritan tech demo from Epic and hope for games that pretty let alone the tech demo used for UE4.

I hope they are powerful purely for the sake of consoles needing 2-3 years to truly warm up giving PC at least 2-3 years of potential growth. I am hearing rumours that Sony are planning to use the AMD A10 5700 APU in conjuction with a discrete graphics chip of some kind. I know NeoGAF have been speculating the PS4 will use a HD 8000 series chip of some kind, though again it's all rumour.. Last PS4 rumour I saw had the PS4 with a HD 7970 so rumours evolve fast it seems lol.
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Zombie_Barioth Jan 12, 13
quote BlackLabel
I hope they are powerful purely for the sake of consoles needing 2-3 years to truly warm up giving PC at least 2-3 years of potential growth. I am hearing rumours that Sony are planning to use the AMD A10 5700 APU in conjuction with a discrete graphics chip of some kind. I know NeoGAF have been speculating the PS4 will use a HD 8000 series chip of some kind, though again it's all rumour.. Last PS4 rumour I saw had the PS4 with a HD 7970 so rumours evolve fast it seems lol.
I've heard the same thing, though last I heard about the PS4 people were speculating about them either cross-firing or running duel cards due to a rumor it would have two GPUs. Whats interesting is that the Xbox 720 is rumored to have an 8-core CPU with a rebranded 7870 or 7850 being called an 8800 (amd is supposed to be renaming the 7000 series as 8000 series to satisfy companies or something). Don't know about the 8-cores unless its a hyper-threaded 4-core or just a weaker CPU with lots of cores, something like an FX 8000 series but IBM is supposed to be making it.

Of course its all rumors but even if true and they end up around current mid-high level rigs then at least it means they might last a bit better in the long run compared to this gen, and we should have a little elbo room for upgrades by the time they actually release (especially if the PS4 2014 rumor holds any water)

IKasHI Just to clearify I didn't say I have a 4890, I was only using Skyrim's recommended requirements to prove a point.
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magsasaka Jan 12, 13
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BlackLabel Jan 12, 13
magsasaka He said 'Half-Life' so weird as if he was about to say 'Half-Life 3' and then stopped himself lol, that's pretty cool.
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