American technology company Nvidia recently announced their new PC video cards, named the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. Of course, PC hardware junkies love these intimidating technical names, but the truth of the matter is that both these new cards are seriously powerful.
Actually the flagship GTX 1080 (which retails for $599 in the US) is more powerful than the last-gen Titan X, the former most powerful card in the world which is priced at $1000. The GTX 1070 shockingly also outperforms the Titan X, and gives the previous mid-range king, the GTX 970, a serious run for its money.
Both the GTX 1080 and 1070 come equipped with 8 GB of video memory (as much as a PS4 has for everything, including graphics) and suffice to say that both cards are leaps and bounds ahead of the PS4 when it comes to graphics horsepower.
Bethesda’s upcoming Doom game was even shown running at a stunning 200 frames per second (at 1080p) during the announcement event, showing what these new cards are capable of. Never mind the fact though, that the human eye really cannot appreciate the difference between a video game running at 200 or 60 frames per second (or even 30), and the fact is that the recently released Uncharted 4 looks prettier than Doom running on NVidia’s flagship card.
Digital Foundry at eurogamer.net published an analysis of Naughty Dog’s latest game and reached the conclusion that the game is a “technical powerhouse”, stating that “this is the real deal”. Regarding the level of detail in Uncharted 4’s graphics, Digital Foundry said that the game delivers “the best image quality we’ve seen in a console game to date”.
So how is it that Uncharted 4 running on a PS4 is a graphically superior game to Doom running on a cutting edge PC with a graphics card that costs way more than a PS4 does? It’s called optimization folks: developer Naughty Dog has built a game (Uncharted 4) specifically for one machine (the PlayStation 4), making the most of the console’s hardware to deliver some of the best graphics seen a game to date.
The PC version of Doom, meanwhile, has to run well on a variety of PC configurations fitted with different models of processors, memory and graphics cards, meaning it is not optimized to make the most of any specific machine.
And one has to wonder whether it makes sense to spend thousands on a PC equipped with the latest bits and pieces of hardware, when Uncharted 4 can look so sumptuous on a 2013 console like the PS4.
But still, PC gaming is great in many ways, from the great Steam Store to the PC’s infinite backwards compatibility, and the fact that the PC version of multiplayer games tends to be the best-looking, plus is usually the only one to support mods. And although it is a good thing that companies like Nvidia are advancing the cutting edge of graphics hardware, game creators Naughty Dog have shown what a lowly PS4 can do, and how gorgeous a game like Uncharted 4 can look when a dev makes the most of console hardware.