The future—aka 4K gaming—is made up of very, very small pixels. After spending the past two weeks checking out games on Samsung's U28D590D 4K monitor, I'm still going to call 4K gaming the near future rather than the present. Yes, you can play games at 3840x2160 pixels right now. Yes, 4K monitors are becoming more affordable. But are they worth it? After spending a couple weeks using one, I can comfortably say: no, not yet. Even for a high-end graphics card (or two), 4K is too demanding for max settings and high framerates. If you're willing to play at 30 frames per second, though, 4K is a different story.
It's The PC Gamer Show! For episode one, we talked to Tripwire Interactive about upcoming shooter Killing Floor 2, played a high stakes game of Nidhogg with serious embarrassment on the line, and got our hands on a new Samsung 4K monitor.
Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Halo PC survives the death of Gamespy.
I lost the entire summer of 2004 to Halo on the PC. While my family PC was still an aging Pentium 4, my best friend (who lived a convenient five minutes away) scored a beastly gaming rig powered by a 2.8GHz AMD CPU and a 128MB ATI 9600. It could play anything, and in the summer of 2004, our game of choice was Halo on the PC. We'd take turns playing multiplayer for days straight, honing our pistol skills to get those crucial three-shot kills. Servers hosted CTF matches that lasted for hours. Today, Halo: Custom Edition still has a small but active playerbase thanks to a Bungie patch (11 years after release!) that replaced Gamespy with new master servers. The patch also added support for resolutions up to 4800x3600. You know what that means—it's time to Pixel Boost.
I’ve ditched Google’s Chrome browser and actively chosen to have Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as my default browser. Yes, you read that right, I’ve made the move back to Internet Explorer, the browser I always replace with Google Chrome the instant I install a new operating system onto a PC. And the reason is simple, I’ve been testing Asus’ latest 4K monitor, the PB287Q, and the only way I can keep using it as my main monitor is to ditch Chrome.
In a perfect world, the hardware experts at PC Gamer would accompany you on a shopping trip to pick up your next graphics card. We'd happily share our experience and tell you what to watch out for, what to avoid, and what you need from a GPU to squeeze the highest number of frames per second out of your gaming rig. Then again, would you really want to spend an afternoon with our posse of hardware-obsessed game addicts? The good news is you can receive the same benefit by reading our new buyer's guide below. When you're done, you don't even have to shake our clammy, mouse-worn hands.
Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: our favorite bald assassin's first outing in Hitman: Codename 47.
2012's Hitman: Absolution brought Agent 47 back into the assassination business, though not in the way we hoped. Gone were the sprawling levels that made up Blood Money's brilliantly intricate murder simulator. Six years before IO Interactive perfected the Hitman formula, though, it tapped into that first spark of brilliance with Hitman: Codename 47. The first Hitman introduced the series staples that its sequels would build on: disguises, hiding bodies, observing guard patterns. Codename 47 doesn't love modern Windows, but with a few simple setting changes (thanks OpenGL!) it runs like a champ, even at 4K.
Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: the enduring Legacy of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines.
It's incredible that Vampire the Masquerade is 10 years old, and the fan community is still patching it to make it a better game. That's dedication. And Bloodlines is a game worth being dedicated to—the writing is up there with other RPG masterpieces like Planescape Torment. And there's vampire politics! Insane Malkavians! Unfortunately, Bloodlines was a buggy mess 10 years ago, and even after a decade of fan patches and fixes, it can be a challenging, intimidating game to run on modern Windows. But it can be done, and I've compiled the most helpful instructions and mods to make Vampire: the Masquerade Bloodlines run, even in 4K.
Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.
When it comes to Star Wars games, they don't make 'em like they used to. In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Dark Forces and Jedi Knight series married fun first-person action—full of iconic weapons and sound effects—with stories and characters from a larger fictional world. Kyle Katarn! Mara Jade! Luke Skywalker! They were all there, and the games they were in were good. After the first two Dark Forces, LucasArts handed the reigns to Raven Software, who amped up the lightsaber combat and multiplayer. All of the Jedi Knight games are available on Steam, so I relived my childhood Star Wars fandom with Jedi Outcast and took 25 4K screenshots in the process.
Twice a month Wes guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each Pixel Boost guide comes with a free side of 4K screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Unreal Tournament 2004 turns 10.
Unreal Tournament 2004 turned a decade old in March. There's still nothing as thrillingly tense as an Instagib match on Facing Worlds, nothing as smooth and satisfying as snatching up a Flak Cannon and instantly turning someone into flying giblets with a spread of molten shrapnel. It's just as much fun as you remember, and the online scene still has active servers hosting fast-paced multiplayer matches today. Even better, Unreal Tournament 2004 installs and runs like a champion on modern Windows, and I've got 34 4K screenshots to prove it.
Wes and Tyler reveal the secrets of how they record ludicrously high resolution video and screenshots on the Large Pixel Collider.
All week long, we're peering ahead to what the future holds for the PC gaming industry. Not just the hardware and software in our rigs, but how and where we use them, and how they impact the games we play. Here's part four of our five-part series; stay tuned all week for more from the future of PC gaming.
We dream of futuristic graphics cards with chrome Hot Rod piping and names as cool as The Pixelator. In reality, future graphics cards won't be human-sized or be styled after 1950s automobiles, but they will be faster than what we're running today. More importantly, APIs like AMD's Mantle will let our computers talk directly to our graphics cards, delivering better performance through more efficient coding. And we're going to need that performance, since 4K monitors are already on the horizon. Here's our look at the 2014 GPU landscape and the future of (entirely too expensive) 4K displays.
Back at the beginning of December I got excited about the prospect of actually affordable Ultra High Definition (UHD) screens coming to our desktops in the very near future. As well as announcing the 24-inch UP2414Q - a lovely IPS IGZO panel with a hefty price-tag - Dell also hinted at a sub-$1,000 28-inch 4K screen.
That sounded perfect for PC gamers hoping for affordable 4K screens in future. Sadly it looks like this particular screen was a little too good to be true.
As funny as this sounds, when we built our absurd gaming supercomputer, the LPC, we actually hadn't picked out what displays we were going to use. We knew that 4K was our minimum goal, but many companies remain at the prototype stage for their 4K monitors.
Good news, everyone! Soon 4K monitors are going to start being actually affordable. Dell have just announced details of their new UltraSharp UHD range of monitors with price tags that might not give you a heart attack. It's hardly cheap, but we could soon be seeing a proper 28-inch 4K 3840 x 2160 Ultra High Def monitor for less than $1,000. That's cause to celebrate when When you consider that the only 4K monitor I’ve actually been able to get into the labs is Asus’ 31.5-inch PQ321Q, which costs around £3,000 in the UK, that’s a pretty hefty saving.
With Asus announcing pre-orders for their PQ321Q 4K PC monitor - at a wallet-sweating $3,500 - just how prepared are our rigs for 4K gaming? The answer, coming out of a quick benchmark test over at AnandTech, seems to be ‘not very.’
Well, unless you’re already rocking an ultra-enthusiast graphics card...or three.
Got three and a half thousand bucks weighing down your coin purse? There are lots of ways to lose it. Charitable contribution, perhaps, treating loved ones, paying off debts OR, if you want a sharp wall-sized flatpanel that will set your GPU on fire, you could put in a pre-order one of Asus' ginormous PQ3210 monitors.
As will probably be the way with 4K monitors for the foreseeable, the Asus PQ321Q is a pro-level 10-bit screen. That professional positioning will likely keep prices higher for 4K monitors than you’ll see in larger 4K TVs. You can already pick up - admittedly probably pretty weak - 4K TVs for around $1,200, for example.