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There’s been a recent stir on the internet about Battlefield 3. This stir has been about how gaming consoles are getting a diluted game – weaker graphics, maximum 24 players, 720p and 30FPS.
I wouldn’t really have a problem with this if there wasn’t a problem with console gamer’s complaints. But there is. The problem happens to be that their arguments are invalid. They say about how the consoles (Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3) are being duped and how they are perfectly capable of running a 2011 engine (at full pelt) on 6-5 year old hardware. First off, I’m just going to make a point- if Electronic Arts and DICE could run the Xbox at full pelt- why wouldn’t they? Surely they would hurt sales via the consoles by diluting the game. Remember: these are game developers, computer engineers, sales executives, marketing specialists and the fat cat publisher EA here- they wouldn’t try and lose sales on a game that’s supposed to be competing with one of the biggest selling fps franchises of all time - Call of Duty.
RAM The specifications are 2GB. The Xbox’s RAM speed is 700MHz and it has 512MB. Remember here that it is shared between the GPU and the CPU. The PS3 is at a roadblock here, as cannot share the RAM between the GPU and the CPU. It is halved into 256mb on the GPU and 256mb on the CPU (however it may use some of the HDD as a cache, though this is pretty slow). If you have a game demanding 512 MBs of VRAM and 2GB of RAM at minimum and you want it to run at a minimum of 30FPS, DICE must be pulling miracles to get it to run at all! CPU
The CPU is less of a problem, as its clock speed on the CPU is 3.2Ghz for all three of the cores. Unfortunately for DICE, the system was comparable to a 2 core system on a PC a year after release. The architecture is also 6 years old. However, the requirements are at least a Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.0GHz, so the Xbox may be just up to scratch on that one. Unfortunately for the PS3, it only has 1 core and simulates 7 usable cores. It runs at the same speed as the Xbox: 3.2 GHz.
Goal: >30FPS, 1080p, 64 players, “Ultra” PC settings
Minimum: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.0 GHz
PS3: 1 core (7 simulated) @ 3.2 GHz (5 Y.O Architecture)
Xbox 360: 3 cores @ 3.2 GHz (6 Y.O Architecture)
PS3: 256MB @ ??? (Possibly 600 MHz, uses caching w/ HDD)
Xbox 360: 512MB @ 700 MHz (Shared between CPU and GPU simultaneously)
PS3: 256MB (Possibly 600 MHz, using caching w/ HDD)
Xbox 360: 512 MB @ 700 MHz (Shared Between CPU and GPU simultaneously)
Quartering of the game’s resource use at the minimum. Impossible to run without heavy optimisation and tweaking.
Result: 720p, 30FPS, diluted textures, polygons, etc.
Remember that a 5-6 year old PC or even a PC purchased now at the cost of a console is assured to be unable to play the game. So be grateful for what you got.\
I meant to mention this earlier, but despite that this is supposed to be as accurate as possible, things such as parallel use of resources (heavy OSs and background processes) and such do factor in. However I still stick by my point that consoles won't be able to run the full game.