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Welcome to the true home of PC Gaming. After hours, we play games! Consoles need not apply.
The GTX 260 SLI continues provide superb gaming performance but a couple of new games now want DX11. During the latest hardware refresh we acquired several new components. SLI is a popular way to improve game performance.
If you need backwards compatibility its possible to dual boot Windows XP and Windows 7. Windows 7 is now main gaming OS and remote desktop is used for the Hyper-V virtual machines. Hyper-V even supports Linux.
We are continuing to test games with Windows 8. We have found a large number of our games are incompatible. Windows 8 is proving to be unsuitable for PC games. Recent titles seem to be less problematic.
Download the new Live client package first before installing any Games for Windows Live titles on Windows 8.
Security should never be taken for granted.
Thanks to those who have helped keep this site alive! Thank you!
The GTX 780 is another 28nm graphics card so it looks like the expected 20nm cards will be delayed.
We also bought a USB3 case for a notebook disk. The new model is a snap together design making it more convenient. USB3 has adequate power so the USB cable can power the disk fine with no need for extra power connections. The old USB2 cases we were using had 2 USB plugs to provide extra power.
The ST2000DM001 hard disk will provide lots of space for modern games. The old ST3750525AS is still OK but modern games are bigger than ever so a capacity boost seems prudent. We also have a ST2000DL003 in the server but that disk is a slower green series model, which is ideal for a backup target. The ST3750525AS will be moved to the server.
Our EVGA GTX 260 has been a minor nuisance. The card was running far too hot and upon inspection we noted that the thermal grease was compromised. The card now runs much cooler after regreasing the card. We are also now watching the temperatures on both cards so that if the BFG card gets too warm then it can be regreased. The card is simply a provisional solution while we await the upcoming 20nm lineup. Searching with Google, we found many threads over regreasing cards damaged by the 196.75 driver.
Some online game company has been busted for bitcoins embedded in their putative anticheating module. Bitcoins are now under constant attack as miscreants move in to make as much money as they can hijacking other people's computers.
The new Radeon HD 7990 is now available. Its a dual GPU based on the same GPU in the HD 7970 card. It features a whopping 8,200 GFLOPS of performance which is better than the GTX Titan or GTX 690. The card will be released at $999 with retail prices all over the dial if recent history is any indication. The AMD Radeon HD 7990 video cards are part of the Never Settle Reloaded game bundle promotion, so you get: BioShock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Hitman Absolution, Sleeping Dogs and Deus Ex Human Revolution.
The GK110 ships with 2880 cores but the Titan has one dysfunctional shader unit giving it 2688 CUDA cores, 6 GB DDR5 and it is able to do 3-way SLI. See the NVIDIA speculative roadmap for more information.
We often see remarks that our TX850V2 is overkill. Even with 2 video cards we have excess capacity. The reason, overclocking can increase power consumption significantly. Remember everything in the gaming rig depends on the PSU. Overclocking our Phenom II X4 965 to 4GHz increases the power consumption to almost 150W maximum.
Mainstream 28nm video cards are not being offered with performance gains. The main focus instead has been on power consumption. At the top of the line performance has improved incrementally.
The HD 7770 has the same general performance the BFG GTX 260 we have but we need a significant boost in performance to be able to play games cranked up. NVIDIA is more expensive with the GTX 660 and higher needed for SLI. GTX 660 SLI is very powerful and able to run Metro 2033 at over 100 fps at 1920x1080. Extreme video cards are better exploited with high-end motherboards. The GTX 260 is now 5 years old and still can play demanding games at lower resolutions. With the dual slot board we can consider using pairs of cards if needed to be able to play modern games at 1920x1080. A few games are CPU sensitive so overclocking seems almost mandatory.
Updated the article on the new Frostbite 3 engine which will be used with Battlefield 4 this fall.
All kinds of problems with the new SimCity. EA badly underestimated the server load needed.
If you are experiencing problems with game performance since updating your drivers etc. It may be time for a clean install of Windows. Windows can get mangled with conflicting drivers and game problems. The advantage is game not being actively played will be removed which frees up space for new games.
GameSpy has posted a goodbye on their site saying they are now closed. A total of 12 people were involved in running the site. Uninstall GameSpy, GameSpy Arcade and GameSpy Comrade as they are all defunct. Games using GameSpy are now single player only and multiplayer is permanently disabled.
We tried the unsupported 64-bit mode for Rage and to our surprise and relief the framerate went from < 30 fps to a solid 60 fps. Crysis exhibits a solid 50% speedup with the 64-bit engine. Clearly we are spinning our wheels with 32-bit games.
DICE is clear that the next version of the Frostbite engine will need a 64-bit processor and 64-bit Windows to run. An X4 processor with Vista x64 with 8 GB of RAM or better should suffice.
Intel is getting out of the desktop motherboard sector. They are instead going to rely on 3rd party manufacturers as they exist today. Intel is a small player in the motherboards and instead they are going to be more like NVIDIA with reference designs for various platforms. We like Asus as their products are very durable and well made.
New consoles are expected this year. DirectX 11 is the most obvious and likely an 8-core CPU will be driving the machine. RAM is so inexpensive that providing 8 GB or more is not unrealistic. The GPU will likely be a mid-range model from the PC perspective. This is the perspective for upgrading our platform so that we can play all of the next generation titles.
We are rebuilding the site to be full screen for HD panels as most PC gamers now have a 1080p panel. Pages may be misaligned but we are fixing everything as fast as possible. The cheapest HD panel we found was $99 for a basic 21.5" panel but we chose a better quality IPS model as monitors are durable and are not replaced often. We now have the Asus PA238QR LED IPS LCD panel for the workstation.
SSD prices are down sharply from last year and this trend will continue as long as semiconductors can be made smaller. 2 TB SSD drives are now starting to come to market and we expect a flood of new models to be available soon.
THQ has become bankrupt. More recently Atari has started looking for a buyer given their stock is < $1 now. The sector has become feast or famine. The slowdown due to upcoming consoles is adversely affecting the whole industry. The rise of mobile devices has fragmented the market even more.
Checking out some free games on Steam we ran across Sony. Planetside 2 and Everquest are both run by Sony. We are deeply concerned with Sony after they managed to lose 23 million PS3 accounts including everyone's credit card number. Its a real nuisance to get a new credit card and change all of your accounts with the new card number. We recall a reporter on CNBC who said his credit card was being used in Chicago to buy $7 and $9 items when the reporter lives in New York.
NVIDIA has released a new program called the GeForce Experience. Its a beta and it will help fine tune your game settings relative to your rig to have a better gaming experience. You need a GTX 400 series or better to optimize games.
Testing some of the more demanding games showed a big improvement with the Phenom II X4 965 BE processor. This suggests the old Athlon64 X2 4200+ was the primary bottleneck to gameplay. See our CPU page.
GameFly wants to get into a subscription plan with all games for a monthly fee. They are promoting it with the original BioShock. We have BioShock 2 already. Worse this would be the 4th game client cluttering up main memory and slowing the system reboot. We removed Origin and Steam from the startup to improve system boot times. A month after the deal for BioShock we noticed Metro 2033 was being offered.
We installed Brink after we upgraded the CPU to see if it would work any better. With the Phenom, Brink is now much more playable which reinforces our view that this game is a poorly optimized console port.
We are still considering more titles to expand the collection. Fewer upcoming games limit the selection somewhat but that is driven by the new upcoming consoles. Games can take 18-24 months to develop. Lots of older games are now available for $9.99 or less. Playing Quake 4 is actually not bad with the game patched for 1080p and the game play is excellent.
We have seen several published reports that now see online distribution of games has exceeded the sales of games on DVD. We prefer to buy games on DVD simply due to the vast collection of PC games we have accumulated over the years. We have more than 1 TB of games easily. We have a pair of 248 disk binders full of PC game disks. Currently we use a 750 GB hard disk and more than adequate for the range of games we have now. If anything we likely will continue to use a hard disk due to capacity issues.
We are assembling a GPU-Z gallery so that users can look over various display adapters and specific information on features. The goal is to allow readers to make more informed choices.
Upcoming games are mostly stalled while consumers await new consoles. We expect new consoles for 2013 and at that time new games will likely flood into the market with a vengeance. PC hardware vendors will undoubtedly be ready for a new upgrade cycle as well. EA reported they a reducing releases from 67 to 22 for 2013.
AMD is back with a vengeance in the DDR3 business with a new modern version of RAMdisk. It works with Vista and higher. There is a free version that is limited to 4 GB but that is perfect for a browser cache. If the program detects AMD DDR3 it boosts the memory limit. RAM is 10,000x faster than SSD or hard disks. Given how cheap DDR3 is, it makes sense to leverage it for perking up game performance. AMD is also evidently also getting into the SSD business.
This year another excellent crop of PC games are available. Watch out for last year's Rage though, that game is brutal and a single GTX 260 is definitely hurting. The 2011 catalog has many bargains, 2012 is current and a few announced games will be out in 2013.
Now that TSMC is finally getting their 28 nm line production up, the price of the new generation video cards is finally starting to ease. For several months the GTX 690 was priced far above the suggested retail price. Prices are still rather high and swing around frequently. Late next year we expect TSMC will be launching their 20 nm line.
7554 is now available. If you want to get it with PayPal use Emobigames.vn, it costs 400,000₫ (đồng) which is about $20 which is a good deal for a FPS. They are using the Amazon EC2 to fulfill PC downloads. The game publisher accepts PayPal and they send the game key by email. 7554 is in Vietnamese with English subtitles available. Other Vietnam period games have frequently featured native dialogs.
We now have a separate page for the free to play games.
Upgrading the gaming machine is another expensive undertaking. High performance power supplies are vital.
Video cards are another expensive component. Benchmarking will require at least 30 different gaming grade video cards.
Added a new page on the Windows Support Lifecycle so that everyone can see at a glance how long they have until Windows updates stop being released. Added a new page in Game Performance as well. Another new page with Game Patches.
AMD has been having problems with marketing. We would like to have graphs of 15 different gaming Radeon cards all playing the same benchmark from a couple of blockbuster games so that users can see what an upgrade can do. Metro 2033 is one of our favorite benchmarks.
We now are offering an NVIDIA driver blog. The goal is to summarize problems, if any, that we identify with games. Obviously we do not have every games out there but we have many popular titles that can help identify issues.
We also have updated our NVIDIA speculation page with roadmap information. We apologize for the corporate video, but we will interpret for gamers.
We are now benchmarking some of the games with the intent on building tables with various display adapters for a given game. Benchmarks are becoming a core interest among avid gamers. We will need several gaming video cards to be able to provide charts and graphs.
Metro 2033, Crysis Warhead and Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason are the 3 most demanding games that we presently use for benchmarking. Darkest of Days has a PhysX benchmark that we may use as well. Even though Metro 2033 is an older title, it still holds up as a very demanding game that can beat up on the latest HD 7970 and GTX 680.
We occasionally grab games from discount bins simply as we lack funds to buy everything in sight. Each year we plan to make a new catalog, so over time older pages will have discounts galore for those who have a more modest budget. We have already accumulated a lot of PC games and we plan to acquire many more titles.
You can save a bundle with many games from the 2011 games catalog now reduced to under $10 and even a few now reduced to under $5.
We acquired an HD 5450 video card which allowed us to deploy the M4A77D motherboard. We then created a new virtual machine for the web server to better exploit the performance boost.
The server load is now better managed with the Athlon64 X2 4200+ processor. Modernizing the server is a priority given the larger workload. Primarily more RAM and storage are the big demands for our server. Once we acquire a new AMD CPU the Phenom will be available for the web server.
Moving to DDR3 will allow us to use larger capacity memory sticks but most lower cost boards with integrated graphics only have 2 memory stick slots. We are continuing to explore options for the server looking forward.
We installed DNS Server along with IIS on the web server. This has helped a lot with the DNS problems however overall internet saturation has led to some bottlenecking.
Google by far is the largest source of traffic here. Bookmarks are the next largest block. Web site referrals are now a very thin piece of the pie chart.
Intermittent DNS problems have been a long term problem. Part of the problem is that our registrar has had technical difficulties galore. Other internet servers and routers are also saturated which means routes are continually being modified. We hope they can resolve the problems but assembling a stable server is complex. The TK domain is now the 3rd most widely used as its free to register a domain. There are now some 220++ million registered domains across all top level domains world wide.
Hardware occasionally fails and it needs to be replaced as well. Our Corsair TX850V2 was a replacement for a failed PSU. Chassis fans are constantly in need of replacement. Ball bearing fans are quieter and last longer.