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Valve: New Intel Microprocessor Will Bring 'Console-Like' Experience To PC
Valve: New Intel Microprocessor Will Bring 'Console-Like' Experience To PC
January 5, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander

January 5, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander
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    36 comments
More: Console/PC



Valve is placing its vote of confidence behind Intel's new "Sandy Bridge" microprocessor, and even designed Portal 2's PC version with the processor in mind, says CEO Gabe Newell.

Intel unveiled the new, second-generation core i7 processor at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, where Newell took the stage.

The Valve boss called the integrated CPU and graphics technology -- the latter of which is reportedly better than 40-50 percent of the discrete graphic cards on the market -- "a game changer".

"This allows for a console-like experience on the PC," he said, according to an International Business Times report.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini said at the company's CES press conference that the focus of Sandy Bridge was "all about the visual experience."

The new 32-nanometer microprocessor includes sophisticated built-in capabilities for 3D graphics, as opposed to previous CPU-heavy Intel chips.

The company claims it performs tasks like Microsoft spreadsheet work hundreds of times faster than the previous generation chip, and comes with several new HD video-friendly features incorporated.

Valve's Portal 2 is slated to launch on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Mac in April of 2011.


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Comments


Chris Remo
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Whoa!!

Shay Pierce
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...Have you posted "Whoa!!" on every single news story posted today, Chris...?



Also, while I'm addressing you, I'm going to call you "Boost", since I always wanted to do that, Boost.

Aaron Truehitt
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Haha, so I'm not the only one that noticed him doing that either.

Peter Christiansen
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Awesome! I've been saying for years that my spreadsheets run much too slowly...

Maurício Gomes
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So, console like experience on PC....







NOOOOO!!! THEY ARE CONSOLIZING THE PC ITSELF!!!! I WANT PC TO REMAIN PC!!!

Jitesh Panchal
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Yes! you are so correct! I really do not get this "console like experience on PC" - PC is way ahead anyway! All these discrete solutions are good only for people who do not wish to spend on additional graphics cards.



It sounds pure marketing to me. "PC is now a console"

Joseph Caddell
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yeah Im not sure where there going with this....im moving to amd for my new build :)

Joseph Caddell
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"people who do not wish to spend on additional graphics cards".....then why do they bother playing on pc?

Chris Remo
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It should be noted that it is overwhelmingly likely Newell was referring to aspects of consoles like the consistency of the technical experience, affordability, and so on. There's no way a CPU could somehow single-handedly introduce the elements of console gaming that should stay away from the PC, like software approval by a single corporation, mandatory royalties, centralized distribution, rare development kits, and so on.

Thomas Grove
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"the company claims it performs tasks like Microsoft spreadsheet work hundreds of times faster than the previous generation chip."



This will be a boon for the servers at Zynga ;)

Hugh Bowen
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that statement is to vague and could mean anything. It needs to be clarified

Joseph Cook
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The Source Engine is already scalable to run somewhat well on current integrated hardware, so I'm sure all he means here is that since the new Core 2011 integrated graphics are multiple times faster than current integrated hardware, it'll allow simple systems with those CPUs to run games with the Source Engine.



Portal 2 was probably just specially optimized to run well on Core 2011 graphics, is all.

George Blott
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[comment about episode 3]

Simon Ludgate
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I find it hard to believe that having a more "console-like experience" on a PC would be a good thing, given that consoles tend to have woefully inferior technical capabilities compared to their PC brethren, in central processing, graphics, memory, and the like. I can't think of a single example of a game released on both PC and Console that looked and played better on a console; in fact, the vast majority of ported games have higher resolutions, graphics options, and other features on the PC that are technically impossible to achieve on consoles. Consider, for example, Devil May Cry 4, which features more monsters on the PC than consoles can handle, or Last Remnant, which features larger parties with higher resolution textures and particle effects.

Chris Remo
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If the PC as a gaming platform were more console-like in the sense that it were more affordable, and more consistent both from a development standpoint and from a consumer standpoint, it would be a better platform without sacrificing any of what you describe.

Javier Chavez
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I thought Newell was trying to say that this new chip will have built-in DRM which will play along with his own software DRM being Steam. It's all great, for big companies like his and for the chips makers, for the rest of the people, not so much.

Jacek Wesolowski
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There are an order of magnitude more PCs than consoles - but not every PC is gaming-capable.



These days, a true Personal Computer is, by default, a portable one. Stationary machines are usually workstations. Your typical laptop doesn't have a real GPU on board, unless it's one of those expensive setups that none of your non-gamer friends and relatives ever bought. As a result, it's hard to sell a new big budget game to your mom, your non-geek SO, and those three 30-something blokes who did renovations on your house last year, because none of them has the hardware to run this kind of product on. That is - unless they have a console.



A hybrid chip like Intel's means that, one day, there may be a fairly decent GPU in every single laptop, and not just the high-end ones. That does sound like a pretty big deal to me.

Wyatt Epp
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What a strange statement. I'll need to look into what this looks like on metal; maybe this is the culmination of the canned Larrabee efforts? I find "better than 40-50 percent of the _discrete_ graphic cards on the market" to be a rather specious claim, given Intel's GPU history thus far, but it's not an impossible task by any stretch. I still see a lot of NV15 and NV30 kit out there (FX5200s were in EVERYTHING, I swear).



I know it's not a PowerVR like the GMA500-series, so that's good at least. I'm getting sick of the driver mess with those.

R G
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I'm uncertain as to what this meant in terms of gaming. What does this do for PC gaming in terms of console influence?

Fábio Bernardon
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So will Intel distribute free chips to everyone that owns a PC? Because if they don't I don't see how it can change the PC as it is... and it is likely cheaper for someone to just buy a graphics card and put it on its own old PC to play modern games rather than change the whole system to have an experience that would doubtfully be better then the add-in card.

Dustin Mellen
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"Console-Like" is it? Good, I always thought my PC was performing too well for games. Now that they're bringing down to a "console-like" level, I can finally enjoy my games at mediocre quality levels as they were intended.

Dylan McCall
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My understanding of “console-like” is the average consumer will be able to easily trust a competently made game to run on his simple laptop. That, I think, would be a very good thing :)

Stephen Chin
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Pretty much the way to take it. If, from here on out, all computers have essentially a low-end GPU in it, that means game developers can assume certain basic technologies are available. More broadly, it also means things like Flash and Java can start to really take off in terms of features such as offloading graphics processing to the GPU (which will always be there). It means that it's harder to leave the audience in the dust as people get new computers will automatically get an upgrade in graphics. It means some level of basic compatibility as CPU/GPU combo will be identical in the event that there's some issue with the discrete graphics card. And so on.



It doesn't mean that GPUs and PCs will stop growing in that direction. PC gamers will always buy a graphics card and developers will probably always develop with them in mind. It, more than likely, will hardly affect PC gamers. The people it will affect will be the casual PC market where most people probably don't have a powerful graphics card; they may not even have a graphics card at all and instead be using integrated graphics. Those people now have the benefit of a full featured (if not fully powered) GPU.

Chris Melby
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"sophisticated built-in capabilities for 3D graphics", try way behind what others are doing WAY better. This whole announcement is insulting, if not scary.

David Paull
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Awesome! Ive always wanted to not be able to upgrade my video card!

Chris Melby
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There should be a flag as spam option!

Jitesh Panchal
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Seriously, this announcement comes more as a joke than a serious statement!

Joe McGinn
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It will be like the console experience eh? Sweet, I love it! It means my PC games will now:

- Require no installation

- Almost never crash or have serious bugs

- Will support a standardized controller layout

- Will run at a consistent frame rate (ha ha! as if)

blake jensen
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Take it easy guys.



Gabe is just pointing out that we are now in a point in history where Intel's integrated graphics that come with every new cpu are equal in power to the xbox 360 and ps3.

That is all he means, that the power is equivalent, not all this other stuff you guys are flipping out about.



And huge LOL at Joe McGinn. You must not have played any console games in the last 3 years if you think all but your 3rd bullet point apply to modern consoles.

Fábio Bernardon
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I really doubt the GPU inside Intel chips will be as powerful as the PS3 or X360. We will be lucky if it is half as powerful as those, and that if it does not vary acording to the chip size (being a GPU for an i3 far inferior then one in an i7, I haven't read anything about it yet).



They will still lack serious capabilities such as frequent driver updates and DX11, just to name 2 of them. Color me skeptical.

Treb Connell
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Given that modern consoles are nearing 6 years old I think it is quite possible that this chip could be as powerful as them.

Mark Venturelli
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The amount of idiocy coming from the "PC IS NOW CONSOLE" comments in here makes me scared as all hell to look at the comments at IGN or something.



You are developers, guys (or at least should be)! Having a standard, higher bar of minimum graphic processing is a GOOD THING. You can't even run 7-year-old games decently with on-board graphics cards these days.

Jacek Wesolowski
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*cough* wannabes *cough*

Aaron Truehitt
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Wow, I was thinking the same thing as I scrolled down through these comments. It's like they are getting up in arms over a "good" thing happening. The PC brand has always had this flaw, and it's nice to see a little change is coming towards trying to fix that.

Jose Resines
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If this means in the way of finally killing Intel's horrendous horrible integrated graphics shit, then OK, not interested but I can see how it'd do a lot of good.



Otherwise, I have exactly ZERO interest in making anything in my PC more console like, thank you very much.

Mark Harris
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That's exactly what it means. The integrated graphic overhaul just gives new comps a much higher baseline for gaming, possibly increasing PC game sales among those who just buy a standard laptop or desktop without a discrete graphics card.


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