PC Owners Thread (21 Viewers)

Register Today to see less ads! It's Free!

yourbeliefs

Thread Starter
Something Profound
Pub Member / Supporter
Sep 20, 2007
13,170
274
Northeast
I just realized that there's a Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft owners thread, but no PC owners thread. So here is one to discuss PC games and other PC Specific things.

To start off on a light note, here's a Steam "Review" of 3DMark, which for those that don't know, is a PC Benchmarking program that gives you a score based on system performance. The higher the score, the higher/better the performance of the machine.

HNAD4Rq.png
 
Register Today to see less ads! It's Free!

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
Nice. The only benchmarking I need is how many FPS can I get at 1080p on whatever game I'm currently trying to play. I'm not shooting for 100+ like lots of the people in the Steam forums either. I shoot for 60 and can pull that in with most games.

I recently found out with Shadow of Mordor that I would rather play with everything turned all the way up at 30FPS than sacrifice some of the visuals for 60FPS. It turns out that I don't see much difference between 30 and 60 as long as it's smooth. It's the variations up and down that bother me. The problem with Shadow of Mordor turned all the way up was that I was constantly bouncing between 45 and 60. That was jarring to me because it wasn't smooth. Locking the FPS at 30 was better even though it never would have gotten that low if I left it unlocked.
 
Register Today to see less ads! It's Free!

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
The PC games I've recently been playing are Shadow of Mordor and Transistor. I tried out Shadow of Mordor a few times because I couldn't resist after I bought it. I've been trying to hold off on getting to bogged down into any big games like that until I finish Dragon Age on PS4 though.

I am about 35 hours into DA and I don't feel I'm close to the end. I'm probably closer to the half way point. From time to time I need a break with something smaller. Sometimes that's Advanced Warfare multiplayer or the short story mode of Injustice on PS4. Last weekend it was inFamous First Light. Recently I have been turning to Transistor on PC. I really like what I have seen so far and depending on how social plans go I might finish it this weekend.

I've also been playing XCOM Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within. I like strategy games from time to time and this is one of the best. When I finish DA and I'm waiting for Gamefly to send me Far Cry 4 I will tear into either Shadow of Mordor or South Park on PC.
 

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
So I'm loving the performance of my new GTX 970 in Far Cry 4. The game looks great and more importantly it's a hell of a lot of fun to play.

Strangely, I've spent more time at my desk with my old Radeon 7850 than on the couch with my new GTX 970 since I made that purchase. I'm afraid I've fallen down the MOBA rabbit hole. I've wanted to try them out for a long time but hearing such negative things about the DOTA 2 and League of Legends communities kept me away.

I heard about Smite coming to Xbox One so I decided to look into it. From what I read, the game is much better about showing new players the ropes than LoL or DOTA is. The tutorials are actually helpful and there are lots of game modes besides the traditional 5 vs 5 MOBA with 3 lanes and a jungle. Each god also specifies what type of abilities they have and whether they are easy, medium, or hard to play as.

The other big thing for me is that this is setup to play more like a 3rd person action game. The other major MOBAs are all top down isometric games. This is much more visually appealing to me and it's easier to see what is going on. This is probably more personal preference than anything else though. I'm more used to playing games with an over the shoulder camera than a zoomed out top down view.

There are several different game modes with different amounts of players and lanes. Playing more simple stuff like 1 lane 3 vs 3 is a much easier way to get a feel for combat with a few gods than the traditional 3 lane 5 vs 5 MOBA setup.

I have played all the game modes now and I can usually hold my own when I get matched with players with similar experience. There are people playing second accounts (they're free) or people who came over from other MOBAs who will destroy me but for the most part the matchmaking is pretty good. I have had a couple people who are clearly high level players playing on a second account come into low level games just to harass new players. They probably aren't good when they play their actual rank so they like to come mess with new people. For the most part I get matched with other new players who either don't talk at all or are friendly and helpful.

The game is free to play. You get a set of 5 gods when you make an account that are yours to keep. There are also always 5 gods on free rotation. My understanding is that these are changed every 2-4 weeks but they haven't been changed since I started playing. You can play as much as you want with a choice of 10 gods for free. There is no pay to win stuff going on here.

There are two forms of in game currency. You can buy gods so they are permanently unlocked for you as well as cosmetic stuff with either of these currencies.

First is Favor. You earn this every game you play. You get bonus Favor for earning enough XP with a god to move to the next level and you also get a bonus for your first win of the day in each game type. You don't spend real money to buy Favor. In the first week of play I earned enough favor to buy permanent unlocks for 2 gods.

The second currency is Gems. These you can buy with real money. If you really want to play as a specific god but don't want to wait until you earn enough Favor you can purchase gems with real money and then buy the god in the game. You also get rewards for logging in on consecutive days. The first 5 days I got increasing amounts of Favor and then the next 2 I got gems. It seems to reset at 7 days though.

They are currently running a special where you get all 52 gods that are available now plus any future gods that are released for $30. Apparently, new gods are released on a semi regular basis. They have also said that players would be able to transfer their unlocked gods and progress over to the Xbox One version when it is released. They weren't clear on whether you can have all your gods on both platforms of if this is a one time transfer.

Basically you can look at this $30 as getting rid of the free-to-play model and turning it into a traditional game purchase. Since I have been playing this a lot and will maybe try to get friends to play on Xbox One later I decided to just buy this god pack a couple days ago. From what I read, compared to other MOBAs this $30 is a great value for getting every character ever released for the game including future additions. Surprisingly, they gave me back the Favor I spent on the 2 gods I bought prior to buying this god pack.

If anyone is interested in trying it out let me know and we can party up. I've only played a few rounds of the full 3 lane game but my long post shows that I'm clearly hooked. I'm no expert but it would definitely be better to go in with a friendly player helping to show you the ropes than going in on your own. Not only that but I think there is some kind of referral program where I can get some player skins or something if someone uses my email as a referral when they create their account.
 
Last edited:

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
Wait... isn't the 970 not really 4GB? Nvidia is currently being sued over that card for false advertising.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2887...dvertising-suit-over-gtx-970-performance.html

I spent a ton of time reading all about that before I made my purchase so I did know what I was getting. I won't pretend to know how GPUs work but here is how I understand it. The 970 does have 4GB of VRAM but they still lied in their marketing. Basically 3.5GB is super fast VRAM and the last .5GB is much slower. This means if a game uses over 3.5GB of VRAM there is a potential to see random framerate drops but this depends on the game. Apparently very few games can use more than 3.5GB of VRAM unless you are playing at 4K. Hell the minimum for Far Cry 4 is still 1GB and the recommended is only 2GB.

Because I was thinking about this issue I've been running a program called HWinfo while I play Far Cry 4 with Ultra settings. This shows basically everything you could want to know about your hardware. The main things I look at are CPU usage percentage for each core, RAM usage percentage, GPU usage percentage, temperatures, and my GPUs VRAM usage. This shows the min, max, and average values for all of these things. The max VRAM usage I have seen in Far Cry 4 at 1080p is about 2.8GB.

Here's the thing though, I read tons of benchmark results for FPS in various games before making my purchase. The GTX 970 basically always outperforms the 4GB Radeon 290 in 1080p and usually in 4K. The GTX 970 also outperforms the Radeon 290x (the best AMD GPU available without using dual graphics) at 1080p in the vast majority of games.. Even Shadow of Mordor, a game that uses over 3.5GB of VRAM if you download the Ultra texture pack, supposedly has an average FPS of around 72 on the 970 in the benchmarks I read. This shows that it can still perform well when it's using more than 3.5GB of RAM depending on the game.

I did read results showing that the 290x often passes the 970 when you get into 4K gaming. The 290x also passes the $550+ GTX 980 on those same games though. The 980 is faster than the 970 and has a full 4GB of fast ram. I'm sticking to 1080p and didn't have the 980 in my budget so I went with the second best thing for 1080p. The Radeon 290x also requires about 100W more power and runs way hotter.

I definitely wondered if I was making the right decision but the benchmark results were pretty much universal even with the stunt Nvidia pulled.
 
Last edited:

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
This talk got me curious about my GTX 970's VRAM so I fired up the only game I own that can be forced to use over 3.5GB. That game would be Shadow of Mordor. The game made some waves when they announced that you would need a GPU with 6GB of VRAM to use the ultra textures. Since no one has GPUs that have 6GB of VRAM they put these textures on Steam as free DLC instead of including them in the base download. If you choose ultra textures without downloading this pack the game just uses the high textures that ask for 3GB of VRAM.

I have also read on sites that do graphic's comparisons that the ultra textures are just an uncompressed version of the high textures. A common theme was that it's almost impossible to tell the difference between high and ultra textures even at 4K except in the performance hit you will get for trying to use ultra on cards that don't have enough VRAM. They did say that these VRAM requirements were overstated and that cards with 4GB were able to get good fps with ultra textures. Even if these ultra textures are unpractical for every day gameplay they were useful for the purposes of testing my VRAM.

I fired up Shadow of Mordor with the ultra texture pack on and all in game settings at their maximum and played around for a little bit. Fraps had my framerate between 72 and 75fps pretty much the entire time in normal play. On the in game benchmark with these settings it dipped to a low of 58fps when it was doing the explosion test. Basically, if I turn the VSYNC on to limit the fps to the refresh rate of my TV I will be locked at a pretty solid 60fps.

According to HWinfo the VRAM usage got up to 3.62GB with these settings. That means that even though my 970 had to dip into the last .5GB of slower VRAM the performance was still very good. Maybe if it had to get closer to the max 4GB line performance would take a bigger hit. It sounds like some games have more trouble using the slower .5GB than others. Shadow of Mordor appears to be fine with it.
 

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
To be clear, the GTX 970 does have 4GB of VRAM. There is some truth to that video though. They did screw with the last .5GB to make it slower to widen the gap between the 970 and the 980. They couldn't charge $200 more for the 980 if they didn't.

I admit that when I first read that news I completely wrote of the 970. It didn't make sense to buy one considering the Radeon 290 is $40 cheaper and comes with 4GB of VRAM that wasn't screwed with. Then there was also the Radeon 290x with 4GB of VRAM for the same price as the GTX 970. If you just look at numbers the Radeons have a full 4GB of fast VRAM and the 970 has 3.5GB of fast VRAM and .5GB of slower VRAM.

There are other numbers to look at though. That would be fps in games. The fact is that the 970 outperforms the 290 and 290x despite the gimped .5GB of VRAM. Check out this comparison on GPU Boss to see why. Game benchmarks tell the same story. The 970 puts out more fps than the 290x.

http://gpuboss.com/gpus/Radeon-R9-290X-vs-GeForce-GTX-970

The GTX 970 beats the 290x in literally every one of their benchmarks.

The 290x has more GFLOPS, shading units, texture mapping units, a wider memory bus, and more render output processors. I have almost no understanding of what any of that stuff means but those are the things in favor of the 290x.

Check out this part of the comparison though. The 970 numbers are on the left and the 290x numbers are on the right. Mine has an even wider gap than that because I bought one of the higher factory overclocked models on the market. In addition to all that the 970 requires half as much power and runs cooler.


Better passmark score 8,619 vs 6,877 More than 25% better passmark score
Significantly higher effective memory clock speed 7,012 MHz vs 5,000 MHz More than 40% higher effective memory clock speed
Higher clock speed 1,050 MHz vs 1,000 MHz 5% higher clock speed
Significantly higher turbo clock speed 1,178 MHz vs 1,000 MHz Around 20% higher turbo clock speed
Significantly higher memory clock speed 1,753 MHz vs 1,250 MHz More than 40% higher memory clock speed
Better passmark direct compute score 4,115 vs 3,101 Around 35% better passmark direct compute score
Significantly lower TDP 148W vs 300W 2x lower TDP


The bottom line is that the 970 is a better GPU than the 290x even with the gimped .5GB of VRAM. I would have loved to have a 980 with all the benefits of the 970 minus the gimped VRAM but I wasn't willing to spend $560 on a GPU. The Radeon 300 series that is supposed to be released in the next month or two will probably put AMD cards back on par with Nvidia if not a little ahead but they won't be sold at the deep discount the 290x is selling for right now either.

Edit: ignore the pricing on the top of that comparison. It says those are prices available on Amazon but neither card is listed as low as they say it is. In reality they are both around $340.
 

yourbeliefs

Thread Starter
Something Profound
Pub Member / Supporter
Sep 20, 2007
13,170
274
Northeast
Recently it's come to light that Sony's customer support is rather, lacking. However, one company that isn't lacking is Valve, because they're certifiably awful. Valve has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, with a very high # of claims they never bothered responding to.

On the plus side, Valve understands that they need to do better and have pledged to do so. Exactly what that entails, we shall have to wait and see. It's just a little disheartening that a beloved company like Valve drops the ball so much when real help is needed.

http://steamed.kotaku.com/valve-is-not-psyched-they-got-an-f-in-customer-service-1691308332
 

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
Recently it's come to light that Sony's customer support is rather, lacking. However, one company that isn't lacking is Valve, because they're certifiably awful. Valve has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, with a very high # of claims they never bothered responding to.

On the plus side, Valve understands that they need to do better and have pledged to do so. Exactly what that entails, we shall have to wait and see. It's just a little disheartening that a beloved company like Valve drops the ball so much when real help is needed.

http://steamed.kotaku.com/valve-is-not-psyched-they-got-an-f-in-customer-service-1691308332

I'm not trying to say Valve doesn't deserve any blame for this but I think it makes sense when they are selling PC games. There are so many variables to a computer that can cause a game not to run properly. It's not like a console where everyone has the same set of specs. There is also malware and other bloatware crap that comes with the openness of the PC platform.

Some people bring it on themselves for buying games when they are below the system requirements and other times it's the developers fault. In either case Valve really isn't the one to blame. I'm sure there are customer service complaints that are directly Valve's fault but many of them wouldn't be.

Valve support trying to troubleshoot issues with the thousands of different games they sell on thousands of different hardware configurations just isn't practical. When people try to get help from Valve for an issue with a game there really isn't much they can do. The only way I can see for them to improve this is to copy Origin's 24 hour return policy. I don't think that is even offered for every game on Origin though. For whatever reason, return policies on digital downloads across all forms of media are pretty rare.
 

yourbeliefs

Thread Starter
Something Profound
Pub Member / Supporter
Sep 20, 2007
13,170
274
Northeast
GoG also has a return policy on games, in that if you can't get your game to work within a week (which is more common of a problem than you'd think) they'll give you your money back. But if you look at the article, another big issue is keys not working properly, which is something that really is just an issue on Valve's end, as opposed to just the problem of having to support multiple hardware configurations. So really, their negative rating is not just stemming from people who don't understand computer requirements. I remember I bought Monkey Island 2 Special Edition a while back, a game my machine is VERY capable of running, but I never got it to work (always crashed on launch.) But since there's no return policy or any real "true" support, I'm just SOL on a game I was really interested in playing (seriously the Monkey Island games are classics.)

As I said, at least Valve recognizes they have a situation that needs to be resolved.
 

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
So, if you've been following the video game deals thread you'll know I picked up Assassin's Creed Unity at Target for $19.99 today. Only the PS4/Xbox One versions were part of the deal but when I returned the PS4 copy I had purchased just an hour before because Amazon was offering the PC version for $19.99 they offered to price match.

This is the first retail PC game I have brought home in a long time. When I got home and opened up the case I was surprised to see 5 DVDs inside. I guess this makes sense considering that all modern console games are on much larger Blu-ray Discs but it still made me laugh. I'm just going to activate the CD key in uPlay and download instead of using these discs so I don't have to switch them out every few minutes. Hopefully doing it that way will bring in all the patches at once too.

[GALLERY=media, 78]AC Unity by king3pj posted Mar 23, 2015 at 7:30 PM[/GALLERY]
 

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
http://www.pcgamer.com/half-life-2-update-is-a-community-made-enhancement-mod/

Half Life 2 got the remastered treatment. It's not what you would expect though. This remaster job was done by the community and is available as a free mod in the Steam Workshop for anyone who has the game in their library. It will be live tomorrow. It sounds like it's mostly improved lighting, particle affects, shadows, and fog instead of brand new textures. It looks pretty sharp for a game released in 2004 though. You can read more about in the article I linked or just watch this embedded comparison video.

 

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
Sure enough, my second GTX 970 just showed up at my door. If you want to read about the craziness that lead to me having two 970s you can check out this thread.

I also received an email from Amazon Support today going into more detail on my refund. It says, full refund in the amount I paid back in February. The reason for refund is listed as "account adjustment due to missing parts". I tried to explain on the phone that there were no missing parts but I was talking to people from India who clearly had no idea what I was talking about. I have confirmation in writing that I will not have to return either of the 970s so I guess I'm free to put them both in my PC running in SLI.

Here comes the downside to all of this... My current motherboard doesn't support SLI because I never planned to throw enough money around to ever have two GPUs in my PC. My current CPU is also 3 years old and would be the bottleneck in a system with two GTX 970s. It's CPU socket is also end of life, meaning there won't be more modern CPUs that would fit the same motherboard if I waited a year or two to upgrade that part.

For those reasons I need a new motherboard that supports SLI and I'm going to upgrade my CPU. I decided to go with an i5-4960k CPU and an MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard. On Amazon these two parts cost $386 together. Luckily I found a local shop that has them bundled together in stock for pickup today for $294.98.

But wait, there's more! My current 600W power supply was not built with the intention of running two GPUs. Nvidia recommends a minimum of 650W for a system with SLI 970s and that seems to be backed up by what I read over at Tom's Hardware forums. I'm going to go with a 750W power supply just to be safe and allow me some room for overclocking my CPU. That's another $100.

Now this free $350 GPU is going to end up costing me about $400 to bring the rest of my system up to the same level. Part of me thinks I should be smart and just sell it instead. The part that looks at these benchmarks wont let me do that though. We're talking about just a few fps lower than a GTX Titan Z in most games and SLI 970s actually beat the Titan Z in some games. That is a $1000+ GPU and I will have about the same performance as that.

I will never have a system that powerful (relative to its era) again. This should be a long term PC upgrade that won't need to be touched again for years to max out games at 1080p/60fps. As long as I'm playing on a TV I don't need anything more than that. Upgrading to 4K would make everything so small it would be unreadable from the couch.

Also, currently VRAM is mirrored when you SLI two GPUs. This means that if you put two 4GB GPUs in SLI you still only get 4GB of VRAM because it's mirrored, not doubled. DirectX12 supposedly fixes that problem. This means that for DirectX 12 games I will have 7GB of fast VRAM and 1GB of slower VRAM (due to a quirk with the 970s VRAM system). Again, this system should be able to keep up with high end single GPUs for a long time. The tech geek in me can't pass that up even if I would have never done this without Amazon's huge screw up.
 

yourbeliefs

Thread Starter
Something Profound
Pub Member / Supporter
Sep 20, 2007
13,170
274
Northeast
It is quite the tempting offer. On one hand, you get a super powerful machine, BUT you need to spend money on it. The alternative could be that you sell it and then you're set for games for like 2-3 years.

Also, does this mean you got some extra game keys? Aren't buyers of the GTX 970 entitled to free copies of Witcher 3 AND Arkham Knight?
 

king3pj

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Jun 7, 2009
9,469
1,730
Michigan
It is quite the tempting offer. On one hand, you get a super powerful machine, BUT you need to spend money on it. The alternative could be that you sell it and then you're set for games for like 2-3 years.

Also, does this mean you got some extra game keys? Aren't buyers of the GTX 970 entitled to free copies of Witcher 3 AND Arkham Knight?

Yes. I haven't received the email yet but I should be getting codes for Witcher 3 and Arkham Knight soon. It said they would be sent out within 7-10 days of the GPU shipping. I actually already have both games pre-ordered so I have no need for the codes. If I sell both of those, even if it's only for $25-$30 each, I can re-coup a little of this cost.
 
Register Today to see less ads! It's Free!

Users who are viewing this thread

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 0, Members: 0, Guests: 0)

Latest posts

Top