The PC: Leading the way in home-based graphical immersion
There has been a lot of buzz lately, around the consoles - Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii, as to offering the ultimate gaming experience. Virtual environments, whilst not games, depend on the same hardware performance. So, which platform does offer the best development point for high-end worlds? Is the humble personal computer a thing of the past?
Even the most advanced home use computer cannot yet provide anywhere near the truly required level of interaction at this time. However, the beast that comes closest, is the humble PC.
The humble top-of-the-line PC that is,not your average desktop office machine. The PC has the unique in home computing ability to be pulled apart, and new pieces slotted in, accelerating the speed at which it performs.
Yes, the PC is depressingly primitive when you pull it apart and look inside; it has thousands of absurdities in it's design, mostly as legacy leftovers from earlier days. None the less, it is a relatively powerful set-up when upgraded well.
This kind of upgrade does not come cheap.
A quad core Intel PC with a 16mb cache memory, running PCI-X with twin graphics cards for full stereoscopy, and four gigabytes of 1 ghz SDRAM - at the high end of the PC experience - can cost more than £2,000, or the price of six Xbox 360s.
Nvidia's flagship graphics card, the 8800 Ultra, designed specifically for complex realtime, 3D environments, alone costs more than £400. A cut-down version, the 8800 GT, costs from £120, about the same price as a Nintendo Wii.