Half-Life Devs Say New Processor Will Bring "Console-Like Experience" To PCs

Intel showed off today a new processor called "Sandy Bridge". Awful name, but it's a promising piece of technology. So promising, in fact, that the boss of Valve was on-hand to pat it on the proverbial back.

With the studio developing Portal 2 with the "Sandy Bridge" specifically in mind, Valve boss Gabe Newell took to the stage at the Consumer Electronic Show and said "It's a real game changer for us. This allows for a console like experience on the PC."

What he means is that the chip, which is so powerful it combines a regular processor's functionality with that of a graphics card, goes a long way towards doing away with PC hardware specifications. If you've got a Sandy Bridge (God I hope the product's final name is less creepy to type), it's hoped that you'll be able to drop in a game and play without having to worry about your CPU, GPU, etc, just like console owners can do.

Emphasis on hoped.

Intel Unveils Sandy Bridge [IBT][image credit]


    So is he saying that all PCs will be alike, and the only way to increade video preformance is to replace your CPU/Computer as a whole?

      I think consoles should be more like PCs and not the other way around.

        yes your right but what i assume he means is that it will give non tech heads a way into the PC market via the chip, as they aren't trying to figure out all the different stuff because technically it should all be there

        it would also help them do something along the lines of what i have mentioned before

        you have a min spec, medium spec and maximum spec and every 12-18 months medium spec drops to min and max drops to medium, meaning you can keep buying the cheap low end ones every 12-18 months(which there would be even cheaper used ones on Ebay and what not from those who are upgrading) or buy the high end and have it last 3-4.5 years.

        would result in more graphically current titles as they would know where the tech should be instead of accounting for as many as they can or pissing people off because Civ V actually needed some grunt

        You mean like how you have to worry about wether you'll be able to play a game because your computer/graphics card/drivers isn't good enough? I'd pass on that thanks.

          Drivers aren't good enough? Could you think about what you type prior to hitting the submit button.

          Why is it that the stupid comments all come from the console side of fanboyism?

          PC fans tend to say "keep them separate"

          Console fans say "PC is crap we should all use consoles"

        Really? You don't like the prospect of streamlining CPU, GPU etc. into one 'chip', so you don't have to worry about your PC's specs?

        I think that's way better. Like right now I'm looking forward to Shogun 2: Total War, but to play it properly I'll need to spend a few hundred dollars upgrading my PC I got at the same time I got my PS3 in 2007...

          And Shogun 2: Total War is going to look alot better than a PS3 game, isn't it?

          The reason PC gamers like being able to upgrade certain components when they want is that it means games can be produced for the best hardware available, not hardware that has been superceeded several times since its release (Like the Xbox 360 and PS3)

    sexual inuendo is priceless. sandy bridge *snicker*

    Yeah...till the Sandy Bridge 1.2 comes out, then the 1.3a...

    How is the Sandy Bridge concept any different to the situation on Macs, were the specifications are set in stone by Apple. Macs still suffer from games that will work on X but not Y.

    It is easier to target performance on the developers side but this does not pass down to the user not having to worry. They will still need to check that their card meets the min spec. It will be easier but it is definitely not buy without thinking.

    I think it's also liked because reports I've seen are that the chipset will help reduce piracy (at least in the movie industry, I would expect potentially similar for the gaming industry)...

    "Intel worked with major US and India film studios, including Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Yash Raj Films and 20th Century Fox to craft copyright-guarding technology into the chips"

      It's got built in codecs which check that video is licensed, similar to what's built into modern DVD and Bluray players to check a disc is original. This won't (And probably can't) be extended to games.

    No he's saying that everyone will have a better computer cause the CPU will be a major part of the graphics, meaning you won't have to dish out as much money for a graphics card and those that don't have a one will still be at console level specs.

    It'll do away with crazy system requirements, it will just require you to have this specific system and then everything will work fine.

    Uh... isn't that basically what the system requirements are?

    I hope not, that sounds horrible,
    i enjoy my PC experience thanks

    I can see that it'd be quite useful in laptop computers, however those aren't always well supported by game developers even though theres less differing hardware specifications compared to PC.

    Maybe Intel can also bundle a sloppy maths processor with it too heh.

    I can't think of many things worse than the console experience on my PC...

    If you want case in point of the confusion on the nmatter of specifications you should have seen the steam forums when the Alien Swarm made its free debut. People bemoaning why they couldn't run a game requiring a dedicated video card with thier on board video 'which can play flash games just fine'.

    As for sandy bridge. The on board video is a fantastic leap forward and will do wonders for thin clients etc but look at any benchmark where they try to run games with the thing on anything other than the lowest settings with the resolution dropped a down a few times intel's new on board video starts falling apart.

    Hey, you know what's also a pretty cool thing Gabe?

    *shakes fist*

      Well, a lack of Half Life games is a traditional console experience... but now, we're all enjoying a lack of Ep 3 and HL3 equally! See???

    Omg I dont want a console experience on PC, that's why I have a console and a PC. Away! away you fool!

    But I love my PC experience! All the crashes and errors and upgrading drivers which introduce new problems (NEVER BUYING AN ATI CARD AGAIN) and software conflicts and things not working out of the box.

    Yeah, I really don't want any of that to go away, it's simply MAGICAL and AMAZING.

      Your right because every PC player has to put up with that.

      Could be worse, things COULD work out of the box (like linux) and then magically be taken away for no reason at all, without any explanation.

      Just because you don't know how to use a computer, it doesn't mean the rest of us should suffer.

    "sandy bridge" yea whatever terrible name but how does typing it creep you out? I don't get it

    This is more for company profit as opposed to us, though thats not a bad thing. An example is that if they release a game with a high spec level, they lose consumers due to their systems being undergraded. But if they can make an even playing level for everyone like a console then they will make more of a profit. More money, more or better games, that simple.

    Be like consoles in that after a year or two it will fall behind a shitload. Then when you want to upgrade you need to get a new cpu and gpu when all you need is a gpu. And if either of them bust your %100 fucked.

    I think it's more that everyone will be able to play at a default level of graphicalness, but having a separate but more powerful gpu would still be available to you. I see it as having onboard graphics as good as consoles.

    Okay everyone, put those knees down. The Sandy Bridge Integrated Graphics Processor is pretty much on par with any other IGP, as in pretty pathetic. But it sets a nice minimum spec performance goal for developers and an easy path in for non-PC gamers who are intimidated by spec sheets.

    The proof is in the benchmarking http://www.guru3d.com/article/core-i5-2500k-and-core-i7-2600k-review/19
    While the IGP is very underwhelming, all other performance benchmarks from these chips are spectacular.

      But will it offer a better experience for developers? Unless the hardware is left unchanged for long enough that it can become a standard, there won't be anymore uptake than existing GPU's.

    Speaking as someone who just had to learn about clock speed, integrated chips, Pixel Shaders and RAM requirements just to figure out whether to buy The Sims 3 for PC or double up and get the Xbox version for my wife - I can tell you - anything that simplifies the whole 'system requirements' situation for people is a good thing and will actually draw more gamers to the PC

      PC gamers dont want it to be easy for noobs, and lets face it this chipset was designed with "all in 1 touchscreens" and "notebooks/laptops" in mind.

      As a Electronics Engineer I disapprove. As someone who also works part time retail selling computers I r so happi!

    Why the hell should a PC gamer want a console experience? That's the antithesis of PC gaming. Intel can go take a jump on a stiff shaft.

      Intel never said it will make PC use more like a console, that was Gabes interpretation of the demo.

      If the mundane operations of video processing can be couple to the CPU I could only see it as a step forward.

      To make a theoretical leap and assume they allow each processor core to also independently process video (or to be coupled with it's own video processing core) it will make multi tasking even smoother and significantly speed up process switching.

      I'm Big Kev all over this Sandy Bridge.

        I don't see where you're getting the idea that CPU core = GPU core in this thing. If anything, it's likely to just be another CPU with a GPU core slapped on top.

        Forgot to mention, that I also see absolutely no reason to consolidate a GPU with a CPU. As was pointed out earlier, this means either the CPU will become obsolete WITH the GPU, or PC games will be made to suit the lowest common denominator.

        That means no more bleeding edge in games, which means you're just stuck updating your CPU with your GPU simultaneously to play games with simple polycount and shader increases - not even including texture increases, which will require a standard RAM upgrade.

        Basically, it's just a repackaging of the same concept: downgradable graphics quality through software. In the mainstream PC market, it would be suicide for a developer to create games that don't take advantage of new features. We're not even going to see increased stability through this, because there's absolutely no way the high-end graphics market is going to go belly-up to an underpowered integrated chip. That means all of the inconsistencies associated with universal platform support will STILL be present.

        Newell's just backing it because he's hoping the PC market will expand as a result from the new marketing scheme.

    Some how i dont see this taking off any time soon, intel couldn't make a decent graphics in the past, its ray tracing chip flopped so i cant see how combining a graphics chip and a processor together would be any better unless we have to so-come to accepting console grade graphics on the PC.

    Valve will back it because they want more people playing their games.

    but the idea of pc gaming is so we DON"T get the console experience....

    sigh... Sandy Bridge is the name of the new architecture of i3/i5/i7's, just like how current intel CPU's are Nehalem based. Besides give intel a year or so and the 22nm versions AKA Ivy Bridge will be out.

    Customer Service: Ah, hello, my friend, purchasing Portal 2?
    Customer: Yes, but I'm not sure if it will run on my hardware.
    CS: Well, do you have a Sandy Bridge?
    Customer: ...

    I am glad, because with this, I don't have to worry about getting the latest v-card and shit :|. Probably hard drive space but that's about it.

    As long as I can Linux.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now