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  • Picking a Processor and Challenges of Playing old Games on Modern Hardware
  • Picking a Processor and Challenges of Playing old Games on Modern Hardware


    Hosts: Dennis Garcia and Darren McCain
    Time: 30:23

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    Originally recorded May 2021

    Show Notes

    Picking the Right Processor
    As a hardware enthusiast I really hate watching people buy the wrong components because they are either strapped for time or money.  Sure, budgets play a key role in any project but, when that budget drives the selection process into the wrong direction you are left with an inferior product.

    A good example of this is choosing a processor for your build and in this episode, we do some comparison shopping for Intel 10th or 11th gen processors under $400 dollars and you would be surprised how many CPUs fall into this category.

    For us, the goal is to get the best gaming performance and while we would normally pick a K edition CPU and call it a day we started exploring other options including TDP for heat production, number of cores and total frequency beyond the Core and Boost clocks.  As it would turn out the Non-K edition Core i9 appears to be a better processor than the Overclockable K edition Core i7.  Not only does the i9 have a lower TDP but it comes with more cores and a larger L3 cache which should increase overall performance due to lower thermal demands.

    It will be interesting to see what processor Darren ends up buying.

    Challenges Playing Old Games
    It is no secret that advances in technology tend to leave holes between where something was and where it will end up going.  For early games this hole is 3DFX and OpenGL.  These technologies were the corner stone for what made games playable as they started exploiting the hardware acceleration capabilities of new graphics cards.  Technologies like DirectX eventually supplanted these old technologies and in the interest of progressing forward they were eventually removed.

    Sadly, when 3DFX was purchased by NVIDIA the popularity of the game feature had declined, NVIDIA had already beaten them using OpenGL performance and due to incentives from Microsoft the OpenGL code got lost to history.  So, what happens when you want to play one of these old game titles on a modern system?

    If we use Quake as an example, you can play it through Steam and while GLQuake is available you will find that Steam is coded to use WinQuake due to the lack of an OpenGL driver.  This forces the game to run in Software mode which not only looks bad but is also missing many of the texture smoothing and glowing effects that enhanced the game.

    Another example would be Quake 2, this is also a 3DFX accelerated game that runs in Software mode on Steam and when NVIDIA released a special version supporting RTX features they also decided to “pull an NVIDIA” and change a bunch of other features that didn’t need to be changed)

    Sure, RTX does make the game look nicer but, it doesn’t make me want to play through the campaign and is maybe one of the strongest arguments for having an older system around just to play certain older games the way they were ment to be played on hardware it was intended for.

    Related Links
    The Evolution of the Graphics Adaptor

    Episode 124 featured music:
    Little People - Start Shootin' (http://www.littlepeoplemusic.com/)