So, you’re not sure whether to go down the Gaming PC road or the Console route?
With both highly-anticipated next gen consoles like the Xbox One and the PS4 now sitting on etailer’s shelves, games as we know it are about to change. The console market has, for a number of years, dictated how the graphics in modern games is developed and in many cases, the PC was left with games that high-end models could run with their eyes shut – if PC’s had eyes that is.
Thankfully, both the new consoles have received beefed-up specifications that will only help to give game visuals a much-needed boost, driving development forward with this being a good thing for both console and gaming PC owners.
However, while the new consoles are significant leaps ahead in terms of raw processing power and design from their predecessors, it may come as a surprise that PCs are already much more powerful and capable of producing even better graphics in games.
The PS4 uses two quad-core CPU modules, clocked at 1.6GHz, similar to comparatively low-end models found in current budget PC’s and laptops. So in terms of raw processing power, even comparatively low-end PC processors are actually just as fast or faster than the PS4 and Xbox One, which sports a similar specification. However, it’s the graphics side of things that’s of more interest. AMD has designed custom Radeon GPUs for both new consoles, but both are similar to AMD’s Radeon HD 7870 – a mid-range graphics card that following the release of AMDs latest range of graphics cards such as the R9 290X, is now comparatively old when it comes to the hardware available for the PC.
Then there’s the issue of 4K. PC’s are already gaming happily at 4K – the successor to 1080p or HD, and while you need a pretty pricy PC to do it – easily seven times the price of a PS4, this will come down drastically in future as PC hardware manufactures gear their products to deal with the new ultra-high resolution.
There has been much speculation about 4K support on both the Xbox One and PS4 but most reports say that while 4K video playback is likely on the cards, 4K gaming may at best be upscaled, while PC manufacturers are already selling PCs able to output full 4K detail in games that support it.
The PS4 and Xbox One are cheaper than a high-end PC, but using AMD’s desktop APUs instead of separate processors and graphics cards will limit the price of a PC to around that of the PS4 and allow you to play many games at 720p or 1080p. For example, combining an AMD A10-6800K, 4GB of RAM and a modest-sized hard disk but still opting for a good case and power supply will keep the cost to well below £400. In addition, you can then easily upgrade the PC in the future if you need to.
The PC does lack the lounge-gaming fun of a console and while PC’s are certainly getting smaller, a console is a very compact way of playing the latest games and most people already own a TV, whereas a decent large gaming monitor is likely to be an additional cost.
That said the PC is still the ultimate gaming platform and thanks to its support for 4K, regular hardware launch cycles and the continuing support of game developers, The PC will reign for a long time to come, especially as the knock-on effect of the new console launches will mean PC game graphics will get even better in future.
Still can’t see the difference between night and day?
Then watch this clip which shows PC and Xbox running the same tasks: