What kind of PC would one need to run a game like Killzone 2?

badaxe2

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Looking for a technical, hypothetical discussion here.

This has to be the busiest looking game I've ever seen, even compared to Crysis.

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=1475790&cl=11031809

The amount of stuff happening on screen makes it evident it is a heavily CPU intensive game, leading one to believe a high end quad core would be needed to get good framerates on a PC. Of course a good graphics card would also be needed to take advantage of the higher resolutions/detail settings as well.

http://ps3.ign.com/dor/objects/748475/killzone-2/videos/killzone_full_speed_ahead.html

It certainly sets the bar higher for what to expect from fps games in the future. The action in it makes everything else seem like merely looking at pictures.

So hypothetically speaking, what kind of PC hardware could run a game like this? Of course graphics would be the easiest thing to process since PC graphics cards are always advancing, but on the CPU side in terms of game code and also bus speeds between hardware components I think they still lag behind the Xbox 360 and PS3, even today.

Here's an excerpt from a write up on PS3 hardware at around the time of its launch-

Head to Head:
Bandwidth Assessment:
If there was a diagram showing PC motherboards compared to the bandwidth diagram of the Playstation 3, you might be shocked to see some of the narrow bandwidths provided in PCs. Not that this is a primary concern for some games, because you’d also notice that the bandwidth on top end graphics cards today are already well beyond the bandwidth that the RSX and Xenos have to video memory. A top end GeForce or Radeon card has around 50GB/s bandwidth between the GPU and its video ram, while the RSX only has 22.4 GB/s (maybe up to 48GB/s if it uses the extra bandwidth it can get). This factors in greatly with the texture detail and levels of filtering displayed on PC games as compared to those in console games. On a PC, higher quality textures and expensive texture filters are used liberally to take advantage of this added bandwidth. Many games enable these features for relatively easy improvements in visual quality according to the end user’s graphics card capabilities.

Given the situation that all textures and frame buffer operations mostly stay in video memory, PCs operate visually superior to that of consoles given the higher end graphics cards. However, given the faster communication between console CPUs and GPUs, consoles are generally in a better position to pick up the slack in processing, and possibly bandwidth. On the Playstation 3, the FlexIO bus offers some processing power to be tapped into from the Cell for vertex and possibly even texture filtering. Additionally, because XDR RAM is connected to the Cell, the RSX can use this bus as added bandwidth for various operations that are feasible. In the best case scenario, simply using XDR RAM to handle half of the video memory bandwidth consumption, would possibly double the bandwidth of the RSX to 48GB/s. However, the situation is likely not as ideal as an added bus given that the flow of memory goes through two memory controllers, and is shared bandwidth with the Cell processor.

Bandwidth in the areas of sound processing, networking, hard drive, and other I/O related devices are very low and typically aren’t bandwidth limited generally on either front.

CPU performance:
CPUs on PCs are general purpose. They are able to handle a wide variety of operations on an acceptable level so long as an application doesn’t demand an obscene amount of a computing resource it doesn’t provide a lot of. The mainstream CPUs are all x86 based and are scalar processors – meaning they execute one operation at a time (on a single pipeline per core) on one piece of data. General purpose CPUs have gotten extremely fast at executing instructions, but this improvement has not matched by the rate of which data can be given to it. Due to this, a large part of die space on a CPU is taken up by hardware aimed to hide memory access times. This added hardware dissipates a lot of heat and lowers the overall efficiency of the CPU to keep it running fast. This hardware is needed in the general purpose computing
domain since random accesses to memory and many different types of operations are frequent due to application switching, and even a single application that has many random variables and functions. This general purpose computing speed is not needed as much for games and the extra hardware and heat generated would not be desirable for games.

Intel/AMD are the primary manufacturers of desktop CPUs today and all have huge amounts of die space allocated to general purpose computing and hiding latency. However, to not be completely outdone by the world of SIMD processing, MMX, 3DNow!, and SSE technologies were added to these general purpose CPUs to improve their 3D gaming and multimedia functions. These SIMD instruction sets and hardware are still behind the single VMX instruction set and hardware included in the Cell’s PPE, and even further behind the SPE and VMX-128 instruction sets as they only have 16 registers as opposed to 32 or 128. SSE only recently supported operations that operate between elements in the same vector register with SSE3, although 3DNow! had this functionality from the start. MMX and 3DNow! also share registers with the x86 floating point registers which means they cannot execute simultaneously with x86 floating point code(x87). Since then, this may have been changed to allow for easy context switching, or offering exclusive registers to avoid the switch between scalar and vector floating point operations.

SSE, MMX, 3DNow! don’t even begin to scratch the power offered on a single SPE on the Cell. Not to mention the Cell has 7 of them in addition to the VMX-128 instruction set. For games processing, Intel/AMD CPUs are vastly outdone, and they will not be catching up this generation or the next. Buying newer and newer CPUs will not increase PC gaming performance drastically, and they won’t be catching up to the Cell for a long time.

Full post here-
http://www.ps3forums.com/showthread.php?t=22858


If anyone has more updated information that detail game code advancements made by Intel CPUs, such as perhaps the Core i7, please post it.
 

pr2thej

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ps3's are really bad PC's that are well optimized.
So, an old one put together well.
Theres nothing a console can do that a PC cannot.
 

badaxe2

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I suppose I should've expected some sarcastic and cynical comments towards a thread about a console game on a PC gaming forum. I was kinda looking for a technical discussion, since I doubt the gamespot or gametrailer boards would be sophisticated enough to chime in with any meaningful replies.

Obviously the game is PS3 exclusive. That's why I asked, "What kind of PC would one need to run a game like Killzone 2?" I haven't seen one yet on PC, at least in the fps genre, so yes it's a hypothetical question. The closest thing I've seen to some of the Killzone 2 footage in terms of the amount of effects being processed would be the beginning of the Assault level in Crysis. That seemed to juggling quite a few different processes, evidenced by the framerate drops. People with quad cores are having trouble with GTA IV and that's pretty tame by comparison. Could be from poor optimization, bad drivers, etc. What makes it difficult to estimate is that there have also been people who can run Crysis fine with a high end Pentium 4.

I guess it's just the first time I've been kinda jealous of a console game. It'd make a great shooter on PC. I've gotten away from console gaming because I'm tired of exclusivity and console wars, revised system models, etc. It's becoming more troublesome than PC gaming has ever been. For the few console games that interest me it's still personally not enough to justify purchasing one anymore, at least not until the final "revision" or redesign is out, and usually for less than half the price.

You can be biased all you want but Killzone 2 is an impressive looking game, especially coming from already aging closed box hardware. That's one of the main advantages of console games I suppose: optimization. Although with driver updates and patches this advantage is almost nullified, especially when considering versatility.
Valve is probably the king of optimization for PC.
 

JeanLuc

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Well with any decent FPS shooter your going to need a quick dual CPU (at least a Core 2 Duo at around 2Ghz) at least to get the most out of it however you did compare it to Crysis in which case as with most FPS your going to need a decent video card.

I haven't played the game so I can't compare it to anything else but I wasn't exactly blown away by the graphics as I was with Crysis but they still looked good and the explosions looked nice and colourful. If you had a E7200, 2Gb of ram and a HD 4830/4850 and provided the game was coded correctly I reckon Killzone 2 would run with no problems on the PC. Bear in mind CoD 4 which looks similar, runs at 70-100 fps on a budget gaming PC I can’t see Killzone 2 would cause that many problems. The only problem/question would be is if the game was coded efficiently

Also ignore people who say they run Crysis on high on a P4, look at the benchmarks on Toms and other sites there is no way you can run that game on high on P4 when all current technology struggles with the game. As for GTA IV performance issues I believe these are overstated, people have got the game set everything to medium/high and expected the game to fly. Well if the read what Rockstar said in the development of GTA IV for the PC they stated that it wouldn't be a port and the game would take advantage of the PC's extra performance. High settings on GTA IV are meant for future PC's much like when Doom 3's came Ultra settings couldn't be used right away. However the game (GTA IV) seems to work fine at medium settings for most people which is higher then that of the PS3 and 360 version (the PS3 version suffered/suffers from frame rate issues as well).
 

badaxe2

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Thanks for the insight. I'm sure the graphics end of things in Killzone 2 could easily be handled with probably even a 3870 or 8800GTS. Where the game stands out though is in all the peripheral CPU calculations. The animation, physics, dynamic light sources and AI, and the amount at which it's happening simultaneously in some sections just seems to raise the bar for what to expect technically from an fps game. It's pretty cinematic looking.
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=1475790&cl=11031809

Maybe there's another game out that I've missed that uses these things to this effect. If so please point it out so I can play it!
 

BigMac

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The replies you get are as sophisticated as the posts you make. If you can express yourself clearly as to the intent of your opening post I am sure people would have responded differently (or not all). If you want a technical discussion, ask for it. Merging your first and second post as the opening of this thread would have resulted in what you were looking for.
 

JeanLuc

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Well I don't play much in the way of FPS let alone console FPS games so I couldn't tell you what other games it compares to. What I will say is if you have a PC and haven't played the Left3Dead demo yet do it now, the opening sequence for that is 'busy' for want of a better word (and not to spoil the game), lots of physics, lighting, tracing and A.I is being processed in the background of that game as well. As far as a like for like the closest game that comes to mind is Call of Duty 5 and 4 which just like Left4Dead run like a dream on most two year old PC's.

Don't forget games were having to do all this when single core CPU's were around let alone quad cores, sure games are more supplicated but dual cores still plenty of power even at lower clock speeds. You also have to consider a PS3 will run Killzone at 1024 x 600p in which case that frees more CPU bandwidth to talk to the video card.
 

badaxe2

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The Left4Dead demo is great, but not really the same thing. Other than the amount of enemies coming at you everything else in the environment seems pretty static. CoD4 is still pretty impressive, giving you a pretty good feeling of what a warzone would be like.

I'm waiting to see what Half Life 2: Episode 3 will be like. I hope they're at least updating the Source Engine. My only two complaints about this series are the feeling of movement could be better, and hit detection could be more responsive. It feels more like your character is gliding vs. walking/running. Also, when you shoot enemies they don't seem to react much; especially for headshots, which sometimes takes 2 or 3 depending on the enemy. Those are a couple of things I hope are improved upon.
 

bobwya

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Hi OP,

Left4Dead is left for dead compared to this Killzone 2 game thingy... The lighting and effects in that game are amazing. Has anyone else seen a game where your own gunfire can act as a light source?? Wow!! It looks really sweet. Here's hoping for a PC port (heck they did Gears of War I)...

It's going to be very demanding on a PC - surely a 3Ghz+ quad-core + >GTX 260/4870 can handle it?

Bob
 

JeanLuc

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SSE, MMX, 3DNow! don’t even begin to scratch the power offered on a single SPE on the Cell. Not to mention the Cell has 7 of them in addition to the VMX-128 instruction set. For games processing, Intel/AMD CPUs are vastly outdone, and they will not be catching up this generation or the next. Buying newer and newer CPUs will not increase PC gaming performance drastically, and they won’t be catching up to the Cell for a long time.

Full post here-
http://www.ps3forums.com/showthread.php?t=22858


If anyone has more updated information that detail game code advancements made by Intel CPUs, such as perhaps the Core i7, please post it.
I've had this out with someone else on another forum, the Cell is an impressive piece of kit but what's the point of having such power if know one is prepared but yourselves (in this case Sony) will invest the time, money and resources in trying to understand how it works and how to get the most out of it. About 95% of all PS3 games use just the main PPE and none of SPE’s, the only game I can think of that makes use of half the Cells power is Uncharted Drakes Fortune which I believe uses 3 or 4 SPE’s (Killzone looks as if it uses a handful).

It doesn’t rest there either just because the SPE’s are being used it doesn’t mean they are being used efficiently, programming for multi-core standard processes is hard enough let alone trying to work on a Cell. I’m also not convinced that FPS need anything more then a Dual core CPU, look at Crysis benchmarks there’s hardly any benefit from going from a Dual to a quad core (at the same clockrate) a few frames at best. I’m not saying the CPU isn’t important but the balance of power over the last 6 years has fundamentally shifted importance from the CPU to the video card (notably in FPS games, not so much in RTS games where the CPU is often the bottleneck) and this is where the PS3 and 360 are let down. They can have all the theoretical CPU bandwidth it wants but the consoles will be able to play games as fast as the slowest point allows and that is the video chipset.

Intel and AMD chips biggest advantage is x86, you can have all the SPE's you want but a basic coding standard like x86 does more to help programmers then getting them to learn how a Cell chip works.

BTW what do you mean by "code advancements"?
 

badaxe2

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Interesting points. Basically what I'm trying to learn more about is how much importance a PC CPU would play in a game like Killzone 2. Could most of the things like physics, light sources, AI, etc. be done on the GPU if needed? Maybe a Core 2 Duo would be plenty for a game like Killzone 2 which seems to use these things more than usual, if it's coded efficiently. I guess the main thing I'm trying to understand now is how much different game code is vs. general purpose. Cell would be hell to program for to get it to function as a general purpose; actually it just simply wouldn't be practical compared to other modern CPUs, but it does excel at executing game code, and simulation types of programming. The guy who wrote that bit about PC based CPUs not catching up to Cell for a long time refers to them in terms of running game code.

When I mention code advancements I'm referring to any strides that general purpose CPUs like Core 2 Duos and Quads, Core i7s etc. are making to execute game code more efficiently. Maybe the differences between general purpose and game code aren't enough to warrant all the extra effort put into developing on the Cell. That brings me back to my original point of what kind of Intel chip could run Killzone 2 compared to it running on the Cell chip.

On the other hand, like you said, the video chipset is what is holding the consoles back, so it probably wouldn't matter as much what type of CPU is running the game on a PC since it has so much more resource to pull from on the the graphics side of the equation.
 

JeanLuc

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It's really hard to guess at what kind of CPU you would need to run Killzone 2 on a PC since the game has been designed around the Cell CPU so trying to get a like for like comparison is hard. The only way you can do it is comparing similar games but they all uses different engines. On that basis looking at games that uses lots of physics, A.I etc I still can't see that would need anything more then a fairly decent dual core CPU.

As for physics, on the PC they can be done either on the CPU or the GPU. The two biggest phyics engines on the market are PhysX and Havok, PhysX runs on your video card (currently only on Nvidia video cards) and Havok was doing it's work on the CPU although I seem to remember reading on future revisions the load will be distributed between CPU and GPU. I don't really have an opinion on this but the games I play and like all uses Havok (e.g Half Life 2) but games do run faster if the Physx are worked out by the GPU which says a lot about the power of today’s video cards.
 

pr2thej

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Just a quick one about my post, i did not mean to be cynical.
I was however being lazy, its possible to break down a PS3 in computer terms ie i believe it runs a x3 core CPU, so an AMD Phenom 8xxx on an AM2 mobo. Do that comparison with all the bits and you got your PS3 PC
 

bobwya

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That's so lazy you haven't even bothered to check whether you are breaking down an Xbox 360 or a PS3!! (i.e. a little bit too lazy) :lol:

Bob
 

JeanLuc

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I really don't see what's so special about Killzone 2 I really don't, there are lots of decetn FPS games on the market today for the PC most of which all look better then Killzone 2. I'm sorry to be so brunt but from a technical POV I can't say I'm as taken with Killzone 2 as you are.
 

Heyyou27

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Actually, Killzone 2 is a first party title, and Guerrilla Games has said it will run at regular ol' 720p. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, probably the best looking PS3 game out runs at actual 720p, so it isn't really that unlikely. By the way, Halo 3 only runs at 1152x640, Ninja Gaiden 2 runs at 1120x585, and Call of Duty 4 on BOTH the 360 and PS3 only run at 1024x768. It's not like it's something that only happens on the PS3, although it tends to happen more often on multi-platform releases.
 
...I just thought of something:

The biggest slowdown on a PC is what exactly: The OS of course. We should petition M$ to make a stripped down Windows version just for gamers: I highly optimized OS with all the junk removed. I would expect such an OS to net around a 10-15 FPS increase simply based on optimization...

I can dream, can't I? Seriously, who here wouldn't buy a version of Windows optimized for gaming above all else?
 

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