PC vs. Console- by HiroK

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       Many enthusiasts around the globe fight over which device is better for gaming and which is able to achieve the right frames per second for the perfect game play. This is called the PC versus Console War. This war has divided gamers in many forums on the Internet, but now it is time to settle the score. Which device is optimized for gaming? Is the desktop PC superior? Do gaming consoles by Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo conquer the PCs? We will go over the advantages and disadvantages of both, along with the infamous frames per second ordeal.

       Sony released the successor for the PS3 November 2013, the PS4 at $399, right in time for the holiday rush. For the PS3, Sony designed their own microprocessor (Cell microprocessor) which is made up of one 3.2 GHz Power Processing Element (PPE) and eight Synergistic Processing Elements. Sony for the PS4 chose AMD to develop the processor. Sony’s newest successor  the PS4, has combined the CPU and GPU into one central processing unit called an AMD Jaguar APU with 8GB GDDR5 RAM and a 500GB hard drive for storage. The CPU has 8 cores made up of two quad core x86-64 processors with an AMD Radeon GPU. The PS4 supports photos and videos at 4K, but it does not support rendering games at 4K resolution. It has a new feature called the “suspend mode”, which helps save power. The PS4 also has released a motion-sensing camera, which includes two 1280x800px lenses.

       The same time Sony released their product, Microsoft released their successor to the Xbox 360, the Xbox One also at $399 (November 2013). Compared to the PS3, Microsoft for the Xbox 360 partnered with IBM to develop their triple core IBM designed Xenon as its CPU. For the new Xbox One, Microsoft also has an AMD Jaguar APU but it has an 8GB DDR3 RAM instead of the 8GB GDDR5 like the PS4 with 500GB of storage. Unlike the PS4, Microsoft claims that Xbox One can handle gaming at 4K resolutions. Xbox One for the first time ships with the Kinect, a motion tracking device and voice recognition that can track up to six people at once.

       Nintendo, trying to keep up with the competition, launched its successor to the Wii November 2012 at $349 (which later dropped to $299), one year prior than Microsoft and Sony’s releases. The Wii U was an improvement for Nintendo since the Wii did not support 1080p.  The Wii originally had the IBM Power PC called Broadway, but for the Wii U Nintendo has the 1.24 Ghz  Tri-Core IBM Power PC called “The Expresso.” Nintendo partnered with AMD, IBM, and Renesas to develop its CPU and GPU along with 2GB of DDR3 memory and 8GB/32GB for storage. The most innovative part of Nintendo’s Wii U is the “gameboy like” Wii U Gamepad with a 6.2 inch display (854 x 480) that can be used for additive gameplay or a replacement for the TV display. It features a built in front facing camera and sensor strip along with a built in microphone, and stereo speakers. In addition the Gamepad features a 9 axis motion detection via a three-axis accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, and a three-axis magnetometer, with a rumble feature. 

       Now that we have covered the tech specs for the PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U, many people wonder of the advantages and disadvantages of the consoles over the PC.  The consoles with a lower $299 and $399 price tags you could have a small footprint for LAN parties, on the other hand an equally if not more powerful PC could be built at that price and have better expandability. It may be more expensive, but the PCs can be upgraded year after year and easily repaired when hardware fails. 

       Microsoft and Sony’s newest consoles with their newly developed processors are x86 PCs at their core, but the Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U were definitely a step behind gaming PCs when they first launched in November 2013. The concept behind this defeat is that hardware is constantly evolving and with that the consoles will unlikely ever beat the PC. Now let’s not get divided here! Consoles are great gaming platforms when they are originally released, but since they aren’t evolving with gaming hardware it is difficult to compete with the PC. Consoles may be powerful but it is difficult to upgrade for future gaming. 

       You need to keep in mind that developers are writing their games, they are writing them for PC hardware. Hypothetically speaking, consoles originally released may reach their full potential the first year because of their limited hardware. The perfect example is “Watch Dogs” by Ubisoft. Initially, Ubisoft first previewed this game, with vivid, stunning, responsive graphics. After the game was released recently many gamers said that it did not “live up to its potential.” Later some gamers realized that there were hidden files that unlocked the original potential for the PC. Some enthusiasts have theorized that Ubisoft purposefully handicapped the game so that it could run on past and present gaming consoles.

       A select few of console enthusiasts believe that we don’t need better frame rates since the eye cannot perceive anything over 24 frames per second. They have come to believe that 30fps is enough. This is ENTIRELY not true. Refresh rates are defined in hertz as the number of times per second that the display updates with new information.  If we had a film strip with 30 images and passed them over your field of view in one second, you would see the difference if we passed the same film strip half as fast. It is true that higher frame contributes to smoother game play, but how does the PC process this information? A more powerful graphics card and possibly a second graphics card in Cross-Fire or SLI. Every year the graphics hardware changes as we push the limits to achieve a higher frame rate in our gaming experience. In the last couple of years, 4K gaming was available to normal consumers, which meant more expensive graphics cards with better cooling and more processing cores.

         Who wins in the end? PCs may have the advantage as far as upgradability and performance. PC sales have been on the decline as the industry starts to purchase more tablets. It is theorized that the decline of the PC may get worse. So what do you choose? PC or console? The answer is both. You get the best of both worlds due to the fact that not all games on the consoles release on the PC.

 


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