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Written by Olin Coles   
Friday, 09 March 2012

Next Generation Game Consoles Will Revive PC Gaming

Electronic video games have come a long way since the Golden Age of Video Arcades to become an industry generating nearly 1-trillion dollars in annual revenue (according to Gartner - 2011). Once video games made the leap from quarter-gobbling cabinets to console and later PC, home entertainment turned into big business. That business was dominated by the desktop PC platform for decades, later shared with Windows notebook computers. But once seventh-generation Sony PlayStation and Microsoft XBOX gaming consoles debuted, PC market share quickly diminished to a point where software developers were forced to shift platform priority. Now many years later, modern mobile devices such as SmartPhones and UltraBooks are poised to grab the market away from what little remains of the competition. As fate would have it, I believe PC gaming could be revived as a direct result of updated gaming console platforms such as the XBOX ONE and PlayStation 4.

It's no secret that console systems have made desktop PCs a difficult proposition for new buyers, especially those who primarily use them for playing video games. Even some of those few remaining die-hard performance-hungry enthusiasts have a problem swallowing the pill with each new hardware launch, and seek refuge within the lengthy product lifecycle of the console platform. Making matters worse, video game developers are in this business to turn a profit and therefore favor the platform of choice among consumers - and that focus has been on game consoles for the past decade. This puts PC hardware manufacturers in an awkward position, as they're forced to increase marketing efforts that help convince consumers they should buy new hardware to play the latest games - even when those games are coded to utilize outdated technology.

Most agree that high-performance hardware is only as impressive as the software designed to utilize it. Since gaming consoles demand so much developer attention, PC hardware manufacturers must discover ways to create market relevance. This means that while companies such as NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel may each produce impressive technologies for the PC platform, they must also generously support software developers with massive resources if they want their hardware features included. Battlefield 3 is an example of NVIDIA's influence, which helped produce one of the most visually stunning games of recent time. PC gamers are keenly aware of the technologies relevant to their time as they actively seek the advantage of their features, such as DirectX 11 that was launched as part of Windows 7. So it's understandably upsetting to have a blockbuster FPS game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 debut with 2001-era DirectX 9 graphics simply because developers were interested in matching the performance profile of game consoles and not PC.

So you're probably wondering: how does the next generation of consoles restore PC gaming? Consider that the Microsoft XBOX360 came to market on May 2005 (approaching seven years as of this writing), featuring an ATI/AMD Xenos graphics processor developed during a two-year period prior to launch. Sony's PlayStation 3 debuted back on November 2006 with NVIDIA's RSX 'Reality Synthesizer'GPU based on their GeForce 7800 (NV47) architecture from June 2005. Unlike prior-generation consoles that maintained a five-year product lifecycle, these two examples are forging a ten-year cycle likely influenced by a slowed economy. The lack of official news regarding upcoming eighth-generation game consoles further supports this extended product cycle. Despite this, the details I've shared should illustrate that current-day graphics technology generally takes at least 1-2 years before they're packaged into a gaming console, meaning that PC graphics technology announced in 2012 could realistically become integrated in the console of the future.

If you consider past historical evidence, it's possible that 8th generation game consoles such as the Microsoft XBOX ONE or yet-to-be-announced Sony PlayStation 4 could potentially launch sometime in 2013-2015. If this estimation is accurate, then it's also feasible to expect AMD Tahiti and NVIDIA Kepler graphics technology available in 2012 to also find its way into these new game consoles. Presuming this happens, the console gaming market could then promote DirectX 11 era graphics in their video games, and thus PC. It used to be that PC games were 'ported' to console, but now it's exactly the opposite. PC gamers, regardless of preference for desktop or notebook platform, must patiently wait... for game consoles to make PC gaming better again.

This article is part of our Opinion & Editorials section at Benchmark Reviews. Your feedback is always welcome!


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Comments 

 
# wont happen.....unlessweston 2012-03-09 14:38
.............and then one year later DX12 will hit when these consoles hit and PC gaming will die once again......sorry but no one cares about us hardcore PC gamers except the mmorpg community and the massive RPG community, other then that all we get are junk ports and games with little attention to give us the full experience that we can have......i mean a pc built 3-4 years ago at a measly $500 beats the xbox 360 in power by a ton.....its not even funny. I think that truly the only thing holding people back is that they see all these components for the computer such as the variety of video cards and freak out when they dont know what to do......they see a 360....it guarantees to play the games made for the system......i am waiting for a company to make a hybrid console where instead of releasing new consoles every couple of years we buy upgrade packs to play the next big thing.......make the components easy to swap in and out all at once.....so instead of spending $600 for a new console you spend $100 every 3 years to upgrade your current one to keep up more with the current technology.....until this hybrid type of system exists there will be no love for the PC community as it was before the wii/ps3/360 days....aka 2005
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# Dejavu?Luay 2012-03-11 00:40
That sounds like a PC.
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# Funny for outdated people to disagreeMichail 2012-10-02 01:50
Mr won't happen, what you say is funny and outdated! You know things happened more than decade ago. Well, we are in 2012! PS3 is more than 6years old and probably is more powerful still than the computer you have, except if you have a... monster! Something that you did not have on 2006. Now, in 2012, most computers have 2 cores and the strong ones, 4 cores. Playstation 3, that came out on 2006...
7 cores man? Hell yeah!

And anyway, PC will never hit consoles in gaming. They will never see most of amazing titles, except if they will wait more than a decade for an emulator.
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# You are incredibly ignorant.Michael 2012-11-28 16:42
Did you even read the article? Console hardware trails behind PC hardware by two years upon console releases, then stay stagnant for 5-10 years of their lifetimes while PCs continue to advance constantly. And "PC will never hit consoles in gaming. They will never see most of amazing titles..."????? What? Do you mean the very few console exclusives? They are usually # in comparison to PC exclusives. Not only that, the PC has entire genres that either don't exist on consoles or fail miserably on them (such as RTS's and mmorpgs). In fact, the only console exclusives that actually interest me are Nintendo games, which does attract me for innovation. And to conclude, the PV also receives all the third party games, with superior graphics, performance and gameplay (particularly with mods).
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# Re:Dingo 2012-03-10 05:07
^^
Why do you care soo much primley about 'graphics'' surely when the Next-gen consoles come out and yes PC's will prob have DX12 the graphics and performance will be good enough!!?

Consoles are the lead platform commercially so developers cater for that more than PC's thats just the way it it.
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# are you dumb or naive?leignheart 2012-03-15 03:38
why do you think graphics are unimportant? your either unintelligent or have no grasp in reality. are you going to spend 50k on the most technilogically advanced car and then have the outside have no paintjob and be rusted out, just because the car runs great? dont be a fool. graphics are definately important, just as gameplay, they complement eachother, and as long as you say one of the two are unimportant then you are holding everyone back from advancing, and you person are the weak link in the chain that holds gaming to together.
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# RE: XBOX720 and PS4 Consoles To Revive PC Video GamesBill 2012-03-10 13:31
I agree 100% and have been saying this exact thing for the past 2 years. It's good to see that consoles will soon pick up their slack again.
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# RE: XBOX720 and PS4 Consoles To Revive PC Video GamesFreddy 2012-03-10 21:09
Given the leaked specs for the 720s graphics card, it appears to me that the "next gen" consoles will be further behind PC at launch day than the previous generation.
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# its equal to today's integrated graphicsgodrilla 2012-03-11 13:36
when trinity will launch integrated graphics on pc will be even more superior 1-2 years before next gen consoles. by then we will have Maxwell gpu with haswell cpu!
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# RE: its equal to today's integrated graphicsclaydough 2012-03-15 07:05
Maxwell + Haswell == A console with enough power to generate worlds beyond todays realm of experience. Truley enough distance to blow people away. That it's release will be for all intensive purposes current with the next generation of consoles could seriously be the hugest timing blunder in the history of gaming.

My 7800 gtx was released about the same time as xbox 360. But cannot even run Bioshock at 10 fps.
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# dx9 card dx10 gamegodrilla 2012-03-15 07:10
My old gts 8800 320gigs maxed it and @ 60fps at launch 5 years ago
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# RE: dx9 card dx10 gameclaydough 2012-03-15 08:02
Exactly,
That xenos/xenon is capable today of running Bioshock just fine. Where the distance between one generation... the 7800 and 8800 makes a huge difference. Huge steps like between gtx 500 fermi and kepler/maxwell and small tick/tocks between gtx 400 and 500 represent easy timing distances to appreciate once in meteo 2033.
But then again the article mentions that the SONY ended up using technology based on that same NV47 chip technology in the PS3? I imagine the custom modding of the architecture went a long way in improving the graphic power compared to the card I suffered with. Likewise, hopefully there would be huge advancements made to current fermi era chips if kepler/maxwell era power did not make the final release.
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# RE: RE: its equal to today's integrated graphicsclaydough 2012-03-15 07:10
( sorry, a blunder assuming they "will not" use presently researched technology like Haswell and Maxwell levels of power but instead use the aformentioned rumored 560ti levels of power )
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# A Lesson To All From Nintendo On Moore's Law.Luay 2012-03-11 01:08
The problem is that Sony and MS spent a ton of money on building bleeding edge high-tech consoles at the time, and still haven't recovered financially. They have to stick to their consoles and make as much money for as long as they can or it's game over.

They should have built a mid-end console, and plan on profiting within 5, not ten, years!

1) A console built five years after that will be much more powerful than a 5 year old console with a 10 year life span.

2) Game developers will respond more flexibly by broadening their vision, upgrading their tools etc. every five, not ten, years. Now the cycle is like "chase the technology, then get dragged by it, get tsunamied, repeat". Keep it up and all gamers will convert to the PC.
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# RE: A Lesson To All From Nintendo On Moore's Law.David Ramsey 2012-03-11 08:30
Um, no. The XBox become profitable for Microsoft in 2008. In 2011 , the Playstation division at Sony had a profit of $435 million. Recall that in each case the company makes money from game sales, royalties paid on third party games, and online gaming. The consoles themselves may be sold at a loss (like the Kindle Fire) but overall generate huge profits.
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# http://rogerklado.web.officelive.com/default.aspxclaydough 2012-03-15 02:16
Had a heated discussion with some industry veteran recently.
What scared me the most is that some most likely had early access to design concerns via the ps4 sdk. Although it is unclear which predictions if any were accurate. There were more than one comparson to 560ti levels of graphics powering the next gen.
Considering that 28nm is current technology ( hell, you could even say that Maxwell is being developed now, and is therefore current technology ).
Even if the new 448core version of the ti was being used for comparison, I would say that, that technology would be a severly limiting ball and chain. Especially for PC enthusiasts. Sounds like lowest common denominator console level nightmares all over again.
Consider the 448 core 560ti review linked from this site ( to Vortex ):
Where Batman only runs @ 47 fps ( even with AA off! ) at a normal 1920x1080 HD resolution.
As an enthusiast who run Arkham Asylum on three 27inch monitors in 3Dvision and NV Surround, Although I run Ultra settings I still have to turn Physx down. And Frame Rates still can take a dive from time to time.
Considering I currently use three gtx 480s in SLI the thought of being chained to future console preduction economics that is powerd by technology that is weaker than my current system...
sounds like a very depressing 8 to 13 years to me!
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# http://rogerklado.web.officelive.com/default.aspxclaydough 2012-03-15 02:17
Had to split this comment up...
( even though the symbol count showed I was within the limit? )


47 frames a second is certainly playable. But considering Maxwell technology will be realeased in about a year and a half ( 2014 ) I look at that as technology as being current to the release of the new XBOX 720!
( Maxwell wil only be at the most one year after the next Xbox! Considering the 10 year ball and chain, That is certainly current technology considering they are simply two technologies that are being researched now! )
Any console released without leveraging 28nm powered research woul be a slap in the face as far as I am concerened.

Very painful considering the dates are so close?
Even if the new Xbox could not economically be feasibe with top tier Maxwell tech. ( I know that all 3 supposedly signed off with AMD but just for comparisons sake... ) the same mid level that a 560ti represents would probably be the "sweet spot" for generating games without compromise for the next ten years without crippling PC Ports with undue compromise!

At 20x the power of fermi...
Maxwell is just so close to release and represents uncompromising power!
4X fermi levels of open world imagination == yawn.
20x fermi levels? == nirvahna
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# RE: XBOX720 and PS4 Consoles To Revive PC Video Gamesclaydough 2012-03-15 02:30
#benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17219&Itemid=23

link to the 560ti 448 core review.

Where Batman is "playable".
and a game that pushes the PC boundries of hardware power.
Is not acceptable at all. ( unless u turn everything off. yay! )

Hopefully not representing the next 10 years.
But then again, Maybe after 8 years the industry would again learn a new bag of tricks at the end of the cycle to make sure they could stretch out the usability.
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# RE: XBOX720 and PS4 Consoles To Revive PC Video Gamesclaydough 2012-03-15 02:39
Damn I wish there was an edit button! sorry fer mispelling.
The unplayably game that pushed current hardware boundries in the review was metro 2033.
( of course )

benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17219&Itemid=23
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# RE: XBOX720 and PS4 Consoles To Revive PC Video Gameswhynotv2 2012-03-15 03:32
I know this topic comes up every few years and I've always sided with the PC for gaming for the ability to swap out a component in a matter of minutes for an upgrade...until recently. I now have no preference really to which I game on except in one area that the first poster mentioned and that's RPG/MMORPG games. Fighters, scrollers, puzzle, strategy, action, etc. I can go either way on (usually default to my PS3 because the screen is larger). I believe that the PC and console can coexist at least for a little while longer and then the PC will go away completely.

Yes I said it, the PC will go away completely. It won't be the console that kills it, it will be tablet and "smart phone" that will ultimately kill the PC. That is another discussion entirely :)
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# RE: RE: XBOX720 and PS4 Consoles To Revive PC Video Gamesclaydough 2012-03-15 07:22
As the telephone and tablet race is in some ways more heated with a lot more money involved and people are even more obnoxious about upgrading to the next big thing more so on phones than even on PC ( for the most part ).

The phones and Tablets might some day be more powerful than consoles today. And even if it would always be more possible to make a more poweful console given it's roomier format... The phone would lend itself to more frequently and economically pressing pressure for frequent upgrades. At this point your mobile device would "simply be your console".

( console wins by subterfuge )
An overpowered device that wirelessly is available on any HD within Range. Dressed in sheeps clothing. Is it butter or is it DX12 enabled?
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# Consoles...Just Die Already!Hatetank 2012-03-15 04:22
First off, @clay...the 560ti 448 is a gtx480, so your concern over the 560ti 448 powering a console thats weaker than your gtx480's makes no sense. Secondly, most pc's and def consoles are only as fast as there slowest component, which would be unequivocaly the mechanical harddrive. Ssd,solid state discs, will def power the new consoles. You could actually squeeze a lot more performance out of your current consoles by just swapping the hsf to a ssd, right now! You would see the actual potential of these consoles. With all that said, I think consoles are dead. With pc's being so easy to build, tablets, laptops,cell phones all playing games and useing emulators, wtf would you throw hundreds of dollars down the drain to buy old, proprieterytechnolog y when all you have to do is spend maybe half of that every couple years to upgrade your graphics card in your pc and your in tip-top shape again?!? When you boil it down, consoles are the very definition of insanity. Def forget about plugging along for ten years with it, even 5 years is a long time in technology, and still paying 60.00 for a game....thats just outstandingly stupid!!
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# RE: Consoles...Just Die Already!claydough 2012-03-15 06:48
actually, the 560ti 448 "IS more powerful than one of my gtx 480's".
But I am not comparing it against one card? But in TRI-SLI.

Besides starcraft II, the only game out of the 50 or so I have installed, everything is faster with 3 GTX 480's in SLI. and with multi monitor and 3dvision enabled the scaling on all 3 cards is leveraged nicely. All together a lot more powerful experience than I am going to get with that single 560ti.

As for the SSD upgrade, It's not even an upgrade if I replace my crucial c300 raid with crucial m4's considering at different file transfer sizes the c300s are still faster ( although rarly ) in other words, why would u assume I would not already be sporting ssd?

Consoles are only as fast as their fastest component? ( I am hopeful that they will not bind their graphics )

I am an enthusiast, I suppose that is why I give the benifit of the doubt with the Batman benchmark for instance... Giving the overclocked result ( of 47 fps instead of further accurate 44 fps result )
But even heavily watercooled and overclocked I can easily cripple my system depending on what compromises I do not wish to make. Game design is far from an exersize in bliss.

I suppose I could upgrade to ivy-bridge e when an extreme cpu comes out. But even then the current quad-core results anand posted this week do not show much of an improvement ( As far as I know my heavily overclocked i7-980x will not cpu bound my tri-sli setup further than anything available till possibly haswell )

(cont.)
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# RE: RE: Consoles...Just Die Already!claydough 2012-03-15 06:49
again symbol count ui is broken so I split the comment:


Certainly Maxwell and Kepler are both looking to be day one buys.
Which means I will probably not buy a next generation console myself.
( I agree, why waste the cash. when a PC upgrade will bring me and UDK that much close to cinematic levels of realtime rendering )
Till that console... No thanks! ( even then, I suppose altered reality would be the holy grail )
But when even Carmack is admittedly crippling Rage with console concentration. Console hardware is a huge concern for the PC gaming community. For some developers ( many who are just fine with lo poly and small worlds ) console concerns shape how exciting the few highend jobs available are.
Even Phones and Tablets are in a technology war. In some ways far dynamic than PC and Console lifecycles! Looking at Samsung and Nvidia tegra action alone. In a couple years it will not matter if consoles die. Your phone will be the console. ( hopefully ) Phone? Tablet? who cares? The race is far from over.
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# 480 cores more powerful than 448 fyigodrilla 2012-03-15 06:53
480 cores more powerful than 448 fyi
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# RE: 480 cores more powerful than 448 fyiclaydough 2012-03-15 07:27
seems to go back and forth between games...
check out the benchmark I linked to where the 570 which is ruffly a 80 equivalent is frequently beat out by the 448.
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# RE: RE: 480 cores more powerful than 448 fyiclaydough 2012-03-15 07:28
480 equivalent
( sorry my 4 button needs cleaning )
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# RE: RE: Consoles...Just Die Already!godrilla 2012-03-15 06:55
Marvell launching their 3rd gen ssds soon I would wait its cheaper and faster as per marvell! I have the c300 too I'm waiting for those to upgrade
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# RE: RE: RE: Consoles...Just Die Already!claydough 2012-03-15 07:32
Thanks,
I am reading the Anand article published today.
very sexy news. I love crucial and intel dependability.

anandtech.com/show/5676/marvells-3rd-generation-88ss9187-ssd-controller
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# Correction...Hatetank 2012-03-15 04:30
Apologies, the 560ti 448 that I referred to was evga's classified card... The reference 560ti 448 has its own PCB layout. Sorry for the confusion guys.
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# RE: Correction...claydough 2012-03-15 06:56
An awesome card nonetheless :-)
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# truegodrilla 2012-03-15 07:00
More powerful than the next xbox apu which will even be beaten by trinity intergrated graphics in a few months a year or two before it launches!
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# fyigodrilla 2012-03-15 07:29
There are game very limited that were made 1st for PC
Crysis 1, bf3, witcher 2, total war games, civilization games, I'm probably missing a few
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# another fyi sorry for multiple postsgodrilla 2012-03-15 07:39
Epic games said originally it will take 3 gtx 580 to run unreal engine 4 with all its glory, but then an updated version was able to run on one gtx 680 kepler gpu.

Meaning with tweaking the code you can get better perfomance hence this gen consoles squeezing so much into 6 year old hardware.
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# Needs factsWolfram23 2012-03-15 11:35
I think this editorial is fairly accurate in a few areas, but wrong in others. Yes, when new consoles launch they will bring up the low-bar for graphics and that will of course translate over to PC as well.

What is very misleading though is the numbers. Console games sell better than their PC counterparts, but they are not played more. No, the truth is there are far more PC gamers out there... just, they don't pay for their games. PC gamers by and large shoot themselves in the foot with pirating games. No matter the reason for pirating, no matter whether it is a lost sale or not, devs/publishers will look at the numbers and draw conclusions.

I mean look at this:
##gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/06/22/portal-2-sales-top-3-million-copies.aspx
#torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-games-of-2011-111230/

Portal 2 sells 3 million copies by June 2011... and is pirated 3.24 million times.

PC pirating is also more than 3x more common than on Xbox or Wii, and on PS3 it's almost non existent. No wonder devs don't want to bother making quality PC games.
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# yada yada yada PC will die again...fd 2012-03-15 16:06
The new console launch are already outdate in their ambition compared to PC.

Much switched to Console because companies payed insane amount of cash to the devolopers and microsoft completely boicoted PC gaming during some years until for most XBOX was a real option.

As for Piracy, most of piracy are asiatic and hence they wouldn t buy the game anyway for lack of fund.

The real problem is he fact console gamers usually set for real lower standart than PC gamers.

BF3 is a good example of money making with PC, but as anything only the top of the piramyd get real reward this happen on Console too.

PC game won t die, its being said such since 4 console genration.
Always the same yadayadayada.
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# console fanboys are retards they dont ewven play on they consoles they have no lifen7 shepard 2012-05-09 08:20
i will not give my money some company that replaces pcs eve if pc gamings i say console fanboys can suck my ... sorry they leave me no other choice but hate console fanboys
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# RE: XBOX720 and PS4 Consoles To Revive PC Video Gamesjames braselton 2012-06-17 07:13
hi there n the internet they leaked some specs that xbox 720 and ps4 will have confirmed 2 drives a 320 gb hdd / 16 gb ssd soo for mass storage you have 320 gb hard drive and for hard core gaming we have the second solid state drive 16 gb of flash storage
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