PC GAMING WEEK: Choosing a console pretty much boils down to three things – price, games and brand.
Choosing a graphics card is far trickier.
With RRPs ranging from £50 to £1,000, price obviously plays a part. Games? Less so, unless there’s a partnership that offers a fancy graphical effect that’s of importance. Brand? That’ll be red or green. We could debate that for ages.
But the choice goes far beyond that. All-out power is the top priority for most hardcore PC gamers, but with power comes heat. With heat comes hardware failures. And let’s not even mention the noise.
Nvidia cards may be perceived as being more expensive, but Steam’s December 2013 Hardware Survey showed that Nvdia GPUs are currently used by 51.67 per cent of the service’s users. That compares to AMD’s 31.23 per cent share.
Green camp members will, rightly or wrongly, tell you that GeForce GPUs are cooler, run quieter and that Nvidia’s drivers are the best around. Nvidia’s SVP of content and technology Tony Tamasi agrees.
“I would say we’re at the top of the performance race, and we have the highest performance without the highest power consumption – and the accompanying penalties of acoustics and heat,” he tells MCV.
“I would say we’re at the top of the performance
race, and we have the highest performance
without the highest power consumption – and
the accompanying penalties of acoustics and heat.
Our focus at Nvidia is to increase the capabilities
of the GPU without increasing power, temperature
or acoustics – we focus on core architectural
innovations that drive performance without forcing
gamers to accept unpleasant side effect.”
Tony Tamasi, Nvidia
“Our focus at Nvidia is to increase the capabilities of the GPU without increasing power, temperature or acoustics – we focus on core architectural innovations that drive performance without forcing gamers to accept unpleasant side effect.”
John Carmack himself took to the stage at Nvidia’s press event last year and told the world that “Nvidia’s support and tools are better than everyone else in the world combined”. The company certainly prides itself on its partnerships which include Ubisoft, Activision-Blizzard, Epic, Warner Bros, 2K Games and Koch Media
Of course, with the growth of games taking the medium onto an ever-growing number of platforms, GPU vendors are looking to spread their wings as wide as possible.
AMD secured the lucrative deal to power both PS4 and Xbox One and is making great strides into entry-level PC hardware gaming with its x86 Kaveri program for laptops, notebooks and embedded devices.
Nvidia, however, has identified its particular target area – mobiles. And what a target market that is.
“Our Tegra K1, the world’s most advanced mobile processor brings our Kepler GPU architecture, as used in the GeForce 780 Ti, to mobile,” Tamasi adds.
“It delivers state-of-the-art features – DX11-class functionality – to mobile for the first time, with performance beyond that of an Xbox 360 or PS3, all in a few watts. It’s a true revolution. There are hundreds of millions of people with mobile devices that are gaming.
“Games like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush are fantastic, but we’re at the beginning of an entirely new era – there’s no reason that mobile gaming can’t advance to include amazing immersive graphics and embrace some of the gameplay we’ve enjoyed over the years on PCs and consoles.”
AGENTS OF SHIELD
Nvidia last year launched its own dedicated hardware in the form of its Shield handheld. The flip-screen device offers full physical and touch controls, support for Android titles and streaming of ‘full’ PC games directly from a user’s machine.
“This was new for us, and for the industry Nvidia’s SVP of content and technology Tony Tamasi tells MCV. “Selling a consumer electronics product directly to the end-user was an opportunity for us to learn.”
When, however, are we going to see the device in the UK? “We had a lot to learn, which is why we launched the device in the US and Canada first. With regard to seeing Shield in the UK? Just wait and see…”