In an age of sloppy console ports, Battlefield 3 is a huge relief for PC gamers. Not only is the PC a “lead platform” for DICE’s flagship modern shooter, but we’re getting all the good stuff: 64-player maps? You won’t find ‘em on a console. DirectX 11 graphics? Only on a PC, Sparky. Indeed, Battlefield 3’s Frostbite 2 engine brings fully destructible environments, ambient occlusion, MLAA, and full DX11 support—and it reaches its full potential only on the PC. But with great power comes great power requirements: DICE’s minimum recommended GPU is a GeForce GTX 560 or AMD Radeon HD 6950, and performance scales up from there. That means a lot of us are going to have to go get new videocards—or a whole new rig.
Any Neanderthal can slap together a $3,000 box and play Battlefield 3 like a dream, but that’s out of reach for most people. So we decided to build a machine that can play BF3 as nature intended—at 1920x1200 resolution, with all settings at Ultra—and do it for less than $1,600.
Before Rage was released there were a lot of unanswered questions floating around. Could Id make another genre-defining shooter? Would the six-plus years of development and the much-touted Id Tech 5 engine yield a sufficiently impressive result? While these are certainly appropriate questions for both reviewers and gamers to be curious about, we found ourselves haunted by another, seemingly trivial, question: What does the title Rage mean? Only after playing completely through could we truly understand.
My December column defending Diablo III’s always-on DRM generated as much hostility as anything I wrote since I called Doom III a hollow, clichéd piece of garbage. The responses were a mixture of insults and reasonable commentary (mostly insults), with complaints falling into three categories.
Not many of us could convince our bosses that we’re most efficient when working slowly. But then, we aren’t microprocessors. For decades, researchers have known that processors achieve peak energy efficiency when their transistors operate at very low voltages near the threshold between their on and off states.
The technology is called near-threshold voltage (NTV) computing and it could be Intel's trump card in the power saving game.
It’s easy to become jaded when you review as much cutting-edge hardware as we do. We try not to be curmudgeons, but we do get grumpy when next-gen hardware fails to make a leap in performance—or worse, when it falls behind the gear it’s intended to supplant. So we’re happy to report that benchmarking Netgear’s new WNDR4500 left us grinning from ear to ear. This is the fastest router we’ve ever tested, and it’s packed with new features.