Leenock has been making a huge splash in recent weeks with his incredible run at MLG and his semi-final performance against MVP. He is definitely going to be put to the test as he faces off against Jjakji in a ZvT best of 7. I will definitely be watching this series closely as ZvT is easily my weakest matchup.
Personally hoping for Leenock to pull through 4-2!
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Edit - That was actually a very satisfying finals series, considering most finals from the GSL have been absolute landslide victories for one player. It is awesome that the finals lasted longer than 40 minutes this time around! Hopefully future GSL finals will be just as exciting as this one.
I need to admit first and foremost that I am not the biggest Star Wars fan. As a kid, I watched the movies with friends but never anything really beyond that. When I heard about SWTOR from a friend, I was really skeptical. Thus far, there hasn’t been a single game <-> movie series that hasn’t been terrible. I dismissed SWTOR as another typical WoW clone that would have some nice gimmicks but fall flat on its face after those gimmicks wore off. My only exposure to the game prior to the beta weekend was some early Alpha footage demonstrating basic gameplay mechanics. After this beta weekend though, I can definitely see why my friend was so excited for the game.
As always, right click > view image to see a larger version of the pictures.
Lore and Questing
One of the first things I worked out was that each class had its own specific quest line. My friends all picked the Sith Inquisitor and I picked the Imperial Agent, which meant they all got to do their beginning quests together and I had to do mine alone. In order to deal with congestion, there are separate instances for quests and the first player to enter determines which instance is initiated.
I managed to unite with my friends after leaving the starting area, and I was pleased to find that my individual class quest had not completed. Unlike other MMO where everyone congregates on a common greater good storyline, you continue your own individual story while experiencing new areas and content. When my friends and I hit a new area, we all had our own respective class quests in specific locations, but also had some common quests to complete as well.
The quests themselves are nothing out of the ordinary. Players are told to go to different places to kill mobs, collect things, or destroy things. More often than not, players are placed in situations where a conflict of interest is present, and the ultimate mission decision will reward light or dark side points. For example, there is a quest where players are told to eliminate people who are stealing medicine. Once you get to the final room, you find that the medicine is being stolen to help aid the sick who aren’t able to afford it through conventional means. Killing the medicine thief anyways will yield some dark side points, and sparing him will yield light side points.
All of the interactions with NPC have voice acting. Thankfully, unlike Age of Conan, all the NPCs seem to have their audio scripts in tact even beyond the starting area. As with the classic Bioware experience, there are good guy, neutral, and bad guy responses through interactions with various NPC.
A new dynamic introduced is the multiplayer conversation choices. When players are grouped together and share a common quest, they all get to select dialogue choices as normal, and an automated roll takes place to decide which player’s choice is acted out. I think the rolls are done such that it is more or less a round robin style where every player will eventually have their choice selected. This makes for a rather humorous progression of dialogue as you can imagine.
My two friends playing the Sith Inquisitors were going for the standard evil / bad-guy approach while I was attempting to be the Good Guy Sith. As a result, all of our dialogue choices were constantly conflicted, though typically more in favor of them than me. I offered to save someone’s life if they provided me with information, and my friends would elect to kill them right after. There is definitely much room for trolling friends here. Fear not though, as long as your character selects the appropriate dialogue choice, you will earn the light or dark side points regardless of who wins the roll.
As part of the starting quest line, you eventually get a companion of some sort. I am not sure if they are randomized or not, but this seems to be the case. For my Imperial Agent quest line, I ended up with Kaliyo, who is basically the SWTOR version of Jack. She hates authority and absolutely enjoys chaos, which conflicted with my Good Guy Sith approach to things. It was pretty funny for me to constantly see Kaliyo’s picture pop up with a -1 affection constantly while I did good deeds endlessly.
Having a companion with you unlocks a whole world of possibilities. It makes doing some of the group quests by yourself possible, expediting your leveling experience. Seeing this system in place and thinking back to the days of FFXI where I would spend up to 2 hours looking for a group to grind exp sure brings a smile to my face. Balance is maintained though, as your companion will disappear if there are two or more player characters within your vicinity.
General Improvements to Life
There are several things that I think should be universal in MMO that SWTOR has brought to the table:
As you can see, these above features aren’t exactly ground shattering, but it is evident that Bioware understands the MMO experience and has found a way to make life easier without jeopardizing the content difficulty.
Player vs Player (PVP)
I managed to try out three different PVP modes, each of them requiring team work to achieve a common goal. For those familiar with WoW, one of them is similar to Arathi Basin. The idea is that turrets are spread out at three points of the map, controlling them allows your team to shoot at the enemy war ship. Whoever runs out of energy first loses. The games are pretty high pace with players scrambling around to various parts of the map vying for control of the turrets.
Huttsball is basically soccer with SWTOR themed elements. You are supposed to bring the ball across the enemy’s baseline to score a point. The biggest problem I have encountered thus far is that people aren’t aware of how to pass. There is a pass ball action under the “General” tab in your spell book (hit P to open it). Littered around the map are fire traps on a timer and air ventilation shafts that shoot you into the air (I have no idea how to reliably go a specific direction). In case of a tie, being in possession of the ball when the timer expires will also net you a victory.
The third map is similar to the rush style of game play in Battlefield 3, or Strands of the Ancients from WoW. There are two points of entry for each segment, and the objective for the attacker is to go through three of these segments and download some sensitive data hidden at the very end. The objective for defense is obviously to prevent the attackers from advancing. In my experiences thus far, it is pretty difficult for the defensive team to win. There is almost always a congregation of all players at one point of entry and 1-2 people manage to sneak to the other.
Aside from leveling your PVP ranking, it seems that PVP is a pretty reliable way to level your character as well. For completing each instance of PVP, players are awarded experience points, money, and valor points. Thus far, I have not found any items which are usable below the level 50 cap, I guess there is lots of time to save up.
Suggestions for Retail
In the above picture, I am stuck in the floor and my friend is unable to res me.
There are some things I would love to get fixed prior to the game’s launch on December 20th:
I am walking away from the open beta weekend very impressed with the game that Bioware has put together with Lucas Arts. I am definitely eating my words about SWTOR being just another half-assed WoW clone. Having said that though, there always seems to be one big flaw that comes at the game’s actual release. I’m really hoping that SWTOR does well and skips the traditional huge flaw and just impresses from the get go.
I have not covered everything there is to cover in SWTOR as I want to leave at least parts of the experience untainted. Reading details and being excited about features and content is great, but nothing beats experiencing it first hand with a mind unclouded with preconceptions.
The one downer in all of this excitement for me is that HK is not going to be part of the cool group that gets early access to the game for pre-ordering. What’s worse is that a lot of local game stores still have no word on the exact ETA or pricing of the game. Theoretically, HK should have enough market presence for them to import the game here, but thus far everyone is remaining quite tight lipped. Pre-ordering the game and attaining early access looks like it is going to be a PITA.
It was just a week ago that Leenock made his incredible run at MLG Providence to take the grand prize, and we already have the next event to enjoy. Dreamhack went live earlier today and the games are as action packed as ever. Dreamhack is being broadcast in HD for free, and you can find one such stream over at Day9’s twitch.tv account. Boasting a 120 Gigabit internet connection, Dreamhack’s investment totals around $45 million just in their network infrastructure alone! It looks like they are trying to shatter not only their own attendance record, but the world’s biggest capacity utilization record as well.
Get your snacks, your drinks, and your living room TV ready. This is going to be one heck of a weekend for Starcraft 2 fans. Personally going to be rooting for Sen and Grubby to make some noise this time =)
Hardware enthusiasts are constantly looking for ways to maximize the potential of their systems. Their reasons range from work related needs all the way down to simple bragging rights. Traditionally, overclocking has been the primary approach to squeezing out more performance. Millions of people around the world overclock their CPUs, GPUs, ram, and everything in-between. While these feats are impressive, without FPS counters or benchmarks, most of these improvements would go by unnoticed. The average user would probably have a hard time differentiating between a 2600K clocked at 3.8 and 4.5 ghz for every day usage, which is where the SSD comes in. The SSD offers a real world boost that users at all levels of technical proficiency can experience and enjoy. A single digit boot time requires no technical terms to explain and would be appreciated by most.
Traditionally, I have recommended against users purchasing SSDs in their systems for the following reasons:
Current offerings on the market
Sandforce - SSDs that utilize the Sandforce controllers are typically the highest performing when it comes to speed. On models that utilize the Sandforce-2200 controllers, 550MB/s and 500MB/s read/write speeds are possible where SATA 3.0 6GB/s connectivity is present. Unfortunately, the newest generation of Sandforce controllers have been experiencing problems with crashing and data corruption, leaving many consumers hesitant.
Sandforce announced on October 17 that they have identified the cause of the BSODs and have remedied the problem, providing a fix for all users to download. It has barely been a month since their announcement, so there hasn’t been much real world data to go on just yet. Assuming the problems have been fixed, this would again make the Sandforce drives very competitive.
Intel - Slightly slower than their Sandforce counterparts, Intel’s SSDs pride themselves on reliability. Intel SSDs tend to experience far less problems with crashes and breakdowns, and the pricing reflects this.
Marvell - Traditionally, Marvell has been seen as a “budget” controller for SSDs where consumers go to when they lack the appropriate funding for Intel or Sandforce based SSDs. Thankfully, this time around, they are very competitive on both the pricing and performance fronts.
Crucial M4 SSD
I picked this drive up prior to the announcement of the 009 firmware, so it came with 008 firmware which advertised read and write speeds of 415MB/s and 175 MB/s respectively. Forum goers have been raving about this model for months, with enthusiasm similar to that of G.Skill Eco modules when they hit the market a few years ago. Right away, we can see that the theoretical speeds are still slower than the Sandforce controllers, with the write speed offered being less than half.
The packaging is simple and compact, just the way I like it.
The process to upgrade the firmware from 008 to 009 is very simple, requiring a bootable USB and several minutes in DOS. Remember to do the upgrade before installing your operating system!
Following the upgrade, I did several runs of AS SSD Benchmark, most of the speeds floated between 495 and 505 for sequential reads, and 199 for sequential writes. I did not bother with trying an OS install prior to flashing the firmware so I cannot provide a before/after experience.
A lot of my initial concerns about the SSD still ring true today. For starters, the pricing model has largely remained unchanged, with the top performing 128GB drives commanding a price of over $250 USD (~$1950 HKD). Thankfully, there are more models on the market now like the Crucial M4, offering very good performance for a fraction of the price. When the budget is tight though, this is still the first area I would cut in the majority of building scenarios.
With regards to longevity, good usage habits can go a long way. As long as you are not constantly writing data to your SSD, you should not be experiencing performance hits or degradation any quicker than that of other components in your system. Make the extra effort to do the little bit of reading and just use the drive as normally as possible, remember that even mechanical drives have the chance of dying prematurely.
I’m actually very happy I picked up the Crucial M4. Prior to using it, I was running a raid-0 setup with two Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200RPM drives. I bought into a lot of what I read online: that a raid-0 setup with 7200RPM drives could keep up with a SSD. The F3’s definitely offered decent performance, but there is no replacement to having a SSD in your system.
Championship Sunday is currently live in Providence, and a host of amazing games are going to be broadcast today. At the time of writing, Leenock vs Boxer is over and MC vs DRG is about to commence. Looking at the incredible production quality and intensity of the games, it is easy to see just how hard they have been working to improve the overall experience.
Something really cool that MLG has brought around this time is live streaming over Youtube!
Do go check it out!
Steam has had their forums defaced and databases potentially compromised. Gabe has released an official statement which all users should see upon their next login. Here’s a quick run down :
1. The steam account credentials as well as credit card information could have been compromised, but thus far there is no evidence to suggest that this has taken place.
2. The forums were defaced and it is recommended that all forum users change their passwords for safety purposes.
3. Steam account credentials and forum credentials are separate, but Gabe urges users to consider changing both just to be safe. This is even more important if you are someone who uses the same password for multiple purposes.
The 285.62 drivers from Nvidia offered decent performance for Battlefield 3 for the most part, and the 285.79 drivers look to improve upon that. They aren’t officially out yet but were posted on Battlelogs. Users can manually navigate to the beta drivers section of the Nvidia website to download them. As always, right click and view image to see a larger version.
Compared with my previous 285.62 drivers, I have noticed a marked improvement. Even on a single GTX 460 at 846 mhz, I had no problems sustaining a constant 60 FPS (minus micro-stutter from my 2600K). This works out for the best as I am now able to play Battlefield 3 on one GTX 460 and fold uninterrupted on the other.
The microstutter seems to occur in systems where a CPU supporting hyperthreading is present. In some situations, disabling hyperthreading helps to eliminate the microstutter completely. Unfortunately in my system, I am still experiencing microstutter regardless of whether hyperthreading is enabled or not. I hope this isn’t one of those bugs that never gets addressed like the ones in Bad Company 2.
Nevertheless, this new driver update is definitely a step in the right direction for Battlefield 3. The WHQL version of the driver should probably be released next week.
Asus’ successor to the Asus Transformer, the Transformer Prime, has been pushed back to a December release. The official reason cited is that they are trying to get ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) running out of the box and are working closely with Google to achieve this.
After all the hype surrounding ICS when it was first demoed just under a month ago, it would be great to have it come pre-installed as opposed to having to wait for the traditional upgrade path. Having ICS come installed also prevents scaring new users away who aren’t familiar (or are uncomfortable) with rooting and custom roms without sacrificing the performance benefits.
Meanwhile, I will continue to hope that I can get ICS on my SGS before I upgrade phones next year when my contract expires.
It is no coincidence that Thanksgiving is held in the month of November. It is the one month every year where we are thankful for all the incredible games that come out, by buying more incredible games.
Titles I am looking forward to:
Modern Warfare 3 - 11/8
The Elder Scrolls V:Skyrim - 11/11
LA Noire - 11/11
Arkham City - 11/29
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Part of me really dreads this time period every year. On one hand, there are tons of awesome games to play. On the other hand, the Steam Christmas sale is just around the corner as well. This is going to be a really expensive stretch coming up.
Ever since the original GTA 3 came out for PC all those years ago, I have been a big fan of Rockstar as well as the GTA series. The GTA franchise defined the sandbox style game that we see so many other companies try their hand at these days. Controversial issues, hilarious parodies, and a gripping storyline always made me want more. Rockstar released a slight sampler of our next fix, the next in the GTA storyline which appears to take place in Los Angeles.
Click here to view the trailer
With the unveiling of ICS and the Nexus Prime just under two weeks ago, it seems like everyone is eager to get their hands on a port of ICS to their device. Thankfully, the guys who are responsible for MIUI decided to try their hand at doing just this for the i9000. The build is currently in development status, and since source code won’t be release until mid-November, I don’t think we should be expecting much just yet. Still, it is very exciting to see what could potentially be running on all our phones in the coming months.
On page 11 of the thread are two working youtube videos demonstrating just what type of progress is being made on the port.
For the lazy, here’s the second video which shows the basic UI.
The public beta left a mixed set of reactions several weeks ago. Players were complaining about everything from map selection to the countless bugs still left in the game. Some friends who had pre-ordered cancelled in fear of Battlefield 3 requiring months to be patched into a playable condition. I was initially on the fence as well, but decided it would be worth the risk based on my previous experiences playing BC2.
If you pre-ordered from any store here in Hong Kong or via Origins, you were guaranteed a “Limited Edition” of the game. The main bonus to preordering was the inclusion of the Physical Warfare Pack. This pack includes several bonus weapons which normally wouldn’t be released until much later to the general public. There are also other extra doodads included such as the use of Mass Effect dogtags and access to some bonus content.
Graphics and Performance
As stated in my open beta impressions, the game looks amazing. Everything from lighting to weapons looks great. Thankfully, my second 460 returned from Asus a week ago, just in time for me to crank up the eye candy in my experience. There are some new WHQL drivers released just in time for Battlefield 3 available on Nvidia’s website. I have installed them and there doesn’t seem to be any performance difference from the beta 285.33 drivers I previously tried. Thankfully, SLI works out of the box.
The lighting is the first thing that grabs my attention in this game, it is blindingly bright. It doesn’t matter if it is the flashlight addition on weapons or the street lamps littered throughout the zones, everything gives you a reduction in visibility. This type of attention to detail really lept out at me when I first tried the darker maps in multiplayer. I found it incredibly difficult to spot people when looking towards sources of lights like the sun or lamps. The trade off is that I now find it much easier to find the seemingly infinite number of snipers that are laying prone around the map.
As with the previous Frosbite 1 engine, I have to lower my overclock in order to avoid driver crashes while playing. Where most games as well as my GPU3 F@H client allow me to enjoy 930 mhz on the core, I have to drop all the way down to 800 in order to ensure absolute stability. This is one tough engine, but the graphical display is clearly worth it.
The actual frame rate I get varies depending on the environment I’m in. In the very brief bits of single player campaign I played, I managed to attain almost constant 50+ FPS. In the multiplayer sections, I averaged mid 40’s for the most part and found occasional drops to the mid 30’s in fire fight situations combined with weather effects on the map. Some review websites have posted their experiences testing various cards in the single player campaign. I would definitely take their results with a grain of salt when attempting to extrapolate multiplayer performance numbers.
In terns of latency, the 64 player servers are incredibly fun. The only complaint thus far is the insane amount of rubber banding that occurs in most of the 64 player servers. We haven’t worked out whether the lag is caused by the server not being able to keep up or simple latency issues. We have theorized that it is a server side problem as we have been playing in HK servers which report 14 ping in Battlelogs but rubber band like crazy when it is full of players. Hopefully this is one something that can get worked out either with upgraded server hardware or a patch to make things run more efficiently.
For some reason, I have incredible difficulty differentiating between teammates and enemies without the indicators. As a result, my reactions are typically delayed for a second or two, which is plenty for the enemy player to pump me full of virtual bullets. Minor complaint as none of my other friends seem to have any issues in this regard, sucks to be me I guess!
I have managed to put an hour or so into the single player campaign and I think that it is definitely worth checking out. I don’t want to spoil the storyline too much, but there is definitely a little bit of everything for everyone. Infiltration, rambo, dogfighting, you name it. I’m attempting to play through the campaign on hard, but I might have to drop the difficulty down to medium if things continue at their current pace.
One thing that I was surprised to see was the implementation of quick time events (QTE). QTE is where the player will have to react to the commands on screen and their character will perform a move (or get their ass kicked) depending on how accurately and quickly they do the inputs. For example, the E key might flash and a player has to hit E in order to avoid being stabbed by an enemy soldier.
A slight complaint I have is that your AI is really good, too good. In situations where you have to press forward in a given area, simply not dying is enough to get through and proceed to the next checkpoint. It removes a degree of challenge I think, but I am sure there are areas later on where such an approach is not possible. I did buy the game primarily for the multiplayer and co-op aspects, so I don’t know if I will get that far into the campaign.
Battlefield 3 is incredibly fun in a server filled with other players regardless of their skill level. Unfortunately, the inverse is also true. I have only played one night thus far, but most of the maps seem to be very big, which makes servers with less players essentially unplayable. In a 15 vs 15 player setting on a map as large as Caspian Border, it is possible to spend 5 minutes running or driving between nodes while not being able to encounter a single enemy.
This time around, there is also the option to complete some co-op missions with a friend. You can log specific scores based on how quickly you complete the mission, your firing accuracy, and so on. These scores are updated to Battlelogs so you can compete with friends for e-glory. I plan to try the co-op at some point, most likely after I unlock the UMP in multiplayer.
Most people run around like headless chickens as they try to learn the new maps and get used to the game. It is hilarious to see a humvee full of players suddenly careen off the edge of the road and into the river below. I am also hoping that I will be able to put some decent time in and level my character a bit before everyone starts getting flashlights and infrared add-ons for their guns, making it impossible to see.
Battlelogs moves the whole server finding and communication experience of Battlefield out of the game and into the browser. For those of you who are old enough, you may remember playing games on “The Zone” back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. You launch instances of the game when you select a server to join or campaign mission to start. Many people seem to be against this transition, but I definitely welcome it as a step in the right direction.
Not being a hardcore Battlefield player, I have not been exposed to the franchise until well after BC2 was released. I have never been a huge FPS player, and typically only play when I have a group of friends to play with. The server joining process in BC2 was extremely sluggish to me. Every screen transition required some time and trying to refresh my server list was painful. With the transition to Battlelogs, everything is much faster, when it works.
The big drawback to Battlelogs is that it doesn’t work on a consistent basis. There have been countless times where I have attempted to join a multiplayer game, either by myself or with friends, and the BF3 client will launch but the game won’t actually load. I know for a fact that I am not the only one experiencing this either. Having to go through this process several times in order to successfully join a server, the new Battlelogs system can frequently feel just as sluggish as its predecessor from BC2. Being a hardware enthusiast of sorts, I have no qualms with trying to solve my own problems. I tried clicking the help link and it leads to a dead end. These are the type of annoyances that really take away from a game.
In its current state, Battlefield 3 has lots of problems with pretty much every element of the game. Here is a brief list of all the problems I have encountered thus far:
Whether the game is worth the $390 HKD asking price is completely subjective. I personally think that the game brings many cool things to the table in the Frostbite 2 engine as well as Battlelogs. Unfortunately, the latter is still not working properly, and it significantly hampers on the overall gaming experience. If I only have an hour to play games, I do not want to spend 20 minutes end tasking the game and attempting to join a server.
Those who are not die hard Battlefield fans would best wait for several patches and a price drop before picking the game up. In its current state, the game might scare you away from playing what would actually be a pretty awesome experience if everything worked well.
In case you aren’t a die-hard Battlefield fan and forgot, tomorrow is the long awaited launch date for Battlefield 3. It is already quite late in the day as I write this, but please do try to be as productive as possible today as the next few days most likely aren’t going to be.
HK stores should get their supplies of Battlefield 3 some time between 2 and 3 tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully you pre-ordered a copy if you are interested in the game, as stock is expected to run out quite fast. It still isn’t too late to pre-order on Origins, as the physical collectible items are extremely rare in Hong Kong.
Things to keep in mind:
- There will be a zero day patch, try to get this early
- If you ordered on Origins, try to pre-load the game before the servers get spammed beyond capacity
- Nvidia GPU users, update to beta 285.33 BF3 drivers, there might be a new WHQL driver just for BF3 tomorrow as well
- It is not too late to get a last minute GPU upgrade just to play BF3 with more eye candy
- It is also not too late to get a rage proof mechanical keyboard and mouse in case you didn’t play the beta and get completely dominated
For the last several years, AMD fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Bulldozer. Consistently battered in performance benchmarks, AMD fans took refuge in knowing that the Phenom II line of processors offered slightly better value than their Intel counterparts in most gaming scenarios. The transition from Deneb to Thuban also brought about a much stronger IMC (Internal Memory Controller) as well as the introduction of Turbo Core to AMD’s processors. These implementations helped improve Thuban’s performance, but still relegated AMD to compete on the value front. Bulldozer had a lot of expectations and hopes to live up to, and the long wait finally ended two weeks ago.
From the perspective of the overall market, Bulldozer seems to me like it is in limbo. AMD themselves have stated that the FX-8150 Zambezi processor is intended to compete with Intel’s 2500K, again conceding the high end to Intel. This announcement alone isn’t so bad as Thuban was originally designed to compete with the i5 750/760 as well.
Thankfully, the FX-8150 does trade blows with Intel’s 2500K, depending on the application being run. The 8150 follows an all or nothing type of performance curve; if the applications are able to fully utilize all of its processing power, it is worth every penny of the original $245 USD asking price. Because of the way the processor is designed, the opposite is also true. The FX-8150 will fall behind even its predecessor the 1100T in single threaded scenarios.
BD’s Product Placement
Prior to its release, Bulldozer was marketed as the next coming of the original Athlon 64 processors which completely demolished any competition from Intel back in the day. This set the expectation bar quite high prior to Bulldozer’s release. All the hype and fanfare was present, the logos, the FX branding, and all the eager AMD fans bought into it. Even Intel fans wanted AMD to do well this time around, as competition would ensure Intel’s continued pursuit of advancements.
We recently found out from an ex-amd employee that AMD themselves weren’t actually responsible for the original Athlon 64 processor. In addition, everyone responsible for the Athlon 64 had left the company by 2007. Essentially, AMD themselves were never actually responsible for the Athlon 64, and someone had managed to scare everyone who was involved with the project away.
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With the amount of hype that was going into Bulldozer prior to its release, anyone who knew the actual performance figures had to know that the launch would be a filled with criticism. Regardless, there was tons of miscommunication between AMD and the rest of the general public. Whether this was intentional or not is up in the air, but the end result is the same. When compared with its predecessor, Bulldozer makes sense because it lays the foundation for much improved multi-threaded performance. Several years ago, a dual-core processor was the norm, and a quad-core was considered future proof. Nowadays, a quad-core is the norm as is 8GB of ram, so who knows where we will end up several years from now.
I liken the Bulldozer launch to that of Windows Vista’s. While Vista introduced a slew of new features and services, many people couldn’t run them because their systems were dated and they were not familiar with the concept of having to upgrade. The public wasn’t ready. Those of us who did have systems powerful enough to run Vista most likely found that it wasn’t as bad as the initial negative media perceived it to be. With regards to Bulldozer, the opposite seems to have happened. The multi-threaded performance while not exceptional, is still decent. Some have said that the new instruction sets won’t be fully utilized until Windows 8 arrives. Whether this is true or not, AMD has released a product that doesn’t fit into the current market’s needs. Hopefully later revisions of the Bulldozer architecture will have much improved efficiency and processing power to help AMD stay competitive. They definitely took a huge beating with this launch.
For the average gamer, AMD’s Bulldozer will largely be a forgettable step in their quest for a budget gaming machine. A 965 or 1055T with a 990FX motherboard is probably the safest bet for those of you who aren’t squeamish when it comes to overclocking. If you absolutely need to build a new mid-range performer now, it is hard to go wrong with a 2500K and an Asus/AsRock variant of the Z68 chipset. Those who need a slight bit more should wait for the release of the 2700K later this month.
Championship Sunday is currently live at MLG, and man is it insane. The few games I have managed to tune in to have been incredibly close and went down to the last second. I will refrain from actual match discussion since there is already plenty of that over at SCR//TL.
One of the new features being introduced this MLG is the Quad View. As the name implies, users are able to watch 4 live streams concurrently, similar to Teevox. Even without a premium ticket, all users are eligible to try the quad view service which is currently in open beta. Of the four possible streams, non-premium subscribers will be able to tune in to the standard red and blue streams on medium quality settings.
As I continue to watch MLG, I am constantly reminded of how much each event improves over its predecessor. With constant attention to community feedback, MLG has been introducing a slew of new features and upgrades to their streams. With the bar being constantly raised as 2011 winds down, it leaves me feeling incredibly optimistic for the world of e-sports come 2012.