Valve: Intel's Sandy Bridge is "a game changer"

By on January 6, 2011, 1:13 PM
Gabe Newell, Valve's co-founder and managing director, took the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 and called Intel's Sandy Bridge processors "a game changer." Since the Sandy Bridge family puts a bigger emphasis on visual performance, thanks to an integrated 32nm GPU, higher-end graphics performance on laptop devices could potentially help Valve's scalable Source engine.

"Sandy Bridge is awesome," Newell said on stage. "We've been using it for a couple of months. Sandy Bridge really does give us the great features and performance that we need to develop great customer experiences for gamers. Sandy Bridge cannot only run today's games, but even the next generation of games. It's a real game changer for us. This allows for a console like experience on the PC."

It's not clear what he meant by the last part about Sandy Bridge being more console-like. We would speculate that he was referring to a more universal baseline standard that helps developers optimize their games. Newell's team at Valve has been working with the technology to optimize performance in one of the company's upcoming games, Portal 2, which is slated for release in April 2011 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Mac.





User Comments: 23

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Guest said:

Too bad more and more games are played on consoles and they're less and less incentive to produce PC games

princeton princeton said:

Too bad valves games look so graphically bad that sandy bridge's gpu could run em fine. Maybe valve should notice that hardware is becoming increasingly fast and ditch the horrible looking source engine. Oh and possibly hire a REAL texture artist.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm assuming Portal 2 will be built on a new Valve engine?

princeton princeton said:

TomSEA said:

I'm assuming Portal 2 will be built on a new Valve engine?

Ok I admit portal 2 does look good. Valve has said it is still source so they better have made some gpu optimizations. Like not doing all the work on the cpu instead of the gpu.

Guest said:

Quote "This allows for a console like experience on the PC"

This made me go huh!?

Guest said:

Isn't this the CPU that has built in drm in the hardware?

Pirating games?! We will shut down your computer forever!!

Newgate.

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

Isn't this the CPU that has built in drm in the hardware?

Pirating games?! We will shut down your computer forever!!

Newgate.

Not quite :P. It has built in theft protection so if someone steals your laptop you can have Intel remotely fry the CPU.

Guest said:

That is the most brutal thing I have read all day. You cut to the bone.

DokkRokken said:

princeton said:

Too bad valves games look so graphically bad that sandy bridge's gpu could run em fine. Maybe valve should notice that hardware is becoming increasingly fast and ditch the horrible looking source engine. Oh and possibly hire a REAL texture artist.

Valve churns out games that provide tons of gameplay and fun. I'll happily take that in lieu of glitzy graphics, as I can easily get wowed by flora and fauna by stepping outside the house. Besides, Valve's relatively 'aged' engine works in its favour, as it can appeal to a broader playerbase.

Guest said:

Quote "This allows for a console like experience on the PC"

This made me go huh!?

He means that PC gaming has just become far more accessible. Sandy Bridge, and AMD's 'Fusion' enable people to play PC games at decent settings, without the need for a hardware upgrade. Console's sell on their relative simplicity, whereas PC's are perceived to be complex. Eliminating that notion, and allowing people to immediately begin playing non-casual games satisfactorily will help revive PC gaming.

Guest said:

If you want a console experience why not go out and buy an Xbox 360 or a PS3. It will be cheaper than buying a gaming PC.

princeton princeton said:

DokkRokken said:

princeton said:

Too bad valves games look so graphically bad that sandy bridge's gpu could run em fine. Maybe valve should notice that hardware is becoming increasingly fast and ditch the horrible looking source engine. Oh and possibly hire a REAL texture artist.

Valve churns out games that provide tons of gameplay and fun. I'll happily take that in lieu of glitzy graphics, as I can easily get wowed by flora and fauna by stepping outside the house. Besides, Valve's relatively 'aged' engine works in its favour, as it can appeal to a broader playerbase.

Guest said:

Quote "This allows for a console like experience on the PC"

This made me go huh!?

He means that PC gaming has just become far more accessible. Sandy Bridge, and AMD's 'Fusion' enable people to play PC games at decent settings, without the need for a hardware upgrade. Console's sell on their relative simplicity, whereas PC's are perceived to be complex. Eliminating that notion, and allowing people to immediately begin playing non-casual games satisfactorily will help revive PC gaming.

That's the problem. Source does most work on the cpu. And even worse is that it can only use 2 cores. So the whole "it scales down" argument is completely invalid.

DokkRokken said:

princeton said:

That's the problem. Source does most work on the cpu. And even worse is that it can only use 2 cores. So the whole "it scales down" argument is completely invalid.

I can't speak for the Source engine, but seeing as the article states that Valve is optimizing Portal 2 for Sandy Bridge, I'd assume that means the engine will soon be harnessing GPU power to a greater extent.

I don't think Gabe is just talking about his own engine, but PC gaming in general. APU's will only continue to get more powerful, and soon, it could be entirely possible to run a game like Modern Warfare 2 or Dragon Age on a netbook or small form factor desktop. That's good for consumers, and good for PC gaming, as the market would grow considerably once people start hitting up their PC and Steam for their games, in lieu of a console.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Quote "This allows for a console like experience on the PC"

Doesn't "console like" equate to dated by years now? And I agree, Valve's games running well on them doesn't really impress me. They may be the best Intel has ever done, but I'll take dedicated ATI or Nvidia any day over integrated Intel graphics...

princeton princeton said:

DokkRokken said:

princeton said:

That's the problem. Source does most work on the cpu. And even worse is that it can only use 2 cores. So the whole "it scales down" argument is completely invalid.

I can't speak for the Source engine, but seeing as the article states that Valve is optimizing Portal 2 for Sandy Bridge, I'd assume that means the engine will soon be harnessing GPU power to a greater extent.

I don't think Gabe is just talking about his own engine, but PC gaming in general. APU's will only continue to get more powerful, and soon, it could be entirely possible to run a game like Modern Warfare 2 or Dragon Age on a netbook or small form factor desktop. That's good for consumers, and good for PC gaming, as the market would grow considerably once people start hitting up their PC and Steam for their games, in lieu of a console.

Then that's good. Provided companies don't start making valve quality graphics because most pc people run integrated gpus.

Yes I do try to take a jab at valve's texture and modeling skills whenever I can :P

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

If this became the standard for PC gaming then it really is dead bc than its just a 360/ps3. PC is unique and won't die bc of how unique it is, it will probably never be the most popular but the pc gaming audience don't care there paying for the highest quality. When they get GTA a year later, or Just Cause 2 there games aren't just graphical Superior but make 360s look laughable with all the tearing, tho i give them credit they do a good job with what they have. I don't see this becoming popular expect for WoW people, your not helping their addiction tho.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

mattfrompa said:

Quote "This allows for a console like experience on the PC"

Doesn't "console like" equate to dated by years now? And I agree, Valve's games running well on them doesn't really impress me. They may be the best Intel has ever done, but I'll take dedicated ATI or Nvidia any day over integrated Intel graphics...

I take that statement to mean console-like in the "it just runs" experience. Console users don't have to worry about constant updates to their hardware, constant driver tweaks, etc. To have computer hardware that a consumer can be confident will run a given game, even at lower settings, opens up the PC gaming marketplace to a wider audience than just the upgrade geeks and uber gamers. The idea is, it'll make it more accessible, more similar to a console in that respect. That could spell a widening of PC gaming, helping to slow (or reverse) the constant trickle of developers abandoning PCs in favor of consoles.

But, that's not to say that PC gaming will just roll over and settle for mediocrity. I think it's more of a general across-the-board widening of the audience. There will still be gamer jockeys with bleeding edge hardware constantly pushing the envelope of their computer's performance, and there will always be gaming companies churning out titles that will put that elite hardware to the test.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

My take on Gabe Newell's comments is that Sandy Bridge opens up the possibility of entry-level gaming to PC users who would otherwise not be willing to spend for a discrete video card either for their desktops or laptops. That would apply maybe to present day games and especially older games but I think he's being too optimistic about Sandy Bridge's GPU capabilities in tackling next generation games.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

fpsgamerJR62 said:

My take on Gabe Newell's comments is that Sandy Bridge opens up the possibility of entry-level gaming to PC users who would otherwise not be willing to spend for a discrete video card either for their desktops or laptops. That would apply maybe to present day games and especially older games but I think he's being too optimistic about Sandy Bridge's GPU capabilities in tackling next generation games.

Yep I agree. Also it is possible to write a scaled down version of a game that will run on the sandy bridge gpu even if it does look bad at least it will run. There are too many factors currently in onboard gpus to make it worth writing optimised code for lower speeds but perhaps you might see "sandy bridge compatible" modes on newer games if they become really common.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

yukka said:

fpsgamerJR62 said:

My take on Gabe Newell's comments is that Sandy Bridge opens up the possibility of entry-level gaming to PC users who would otherwise not be willing to spend for a discrete video card either for their desktops or laptops. That would apply maybe to present day games and especially older games but I think he's being too optimistic about Sandy Bridge's GPU capabilities in tackling next generation games.

Yep I agree. Also it is possible to write a scaled down version of a game that will run on the sandy bridge gpu even if it does look bad at least it will run. There are too many factors currently in onboard gpus to make it worth writing optimised code for lower speeds but perhaps you might see "sandy bridge compatible" modes on newer games if they become really common.

That was my take on his comment too. I'm no believer in Intel's GPU capabilities, but anything that will help mainstream users get some gaming performance for "free" is a good thing. What I'm really looking forward to is NVIDIA's ARM CPU and Windows 8's compatibility with ARM. With computers built around that platform, high-end PC gaming would become mainstream. Just look at Tegra 2 which is a year old MOBILE class SoC. Of course this all depends on ARM/x86 compatibility of programs, which, hopefully, Windows 8 will come with.

Zeromus said:

I'll wait till Nvidia decides to slap on SoCs on their fat cards to make teensy high performance PCs. Console? That is my PC D:

Guest said:

Sandy Bridge cpus have drm built in. It is called Intel Insider, supposedly only to allow protected video from Hollywood to stream to your computer display.

Guest said:

Just remember...if you boycot these DRM chips, the film industry will have to come up with something other than hardware verified streaming to prevent copying. Not like they can stop copying at the output anyway...by not buying this stupid chip, you send a message to Intel to focus thier efforts on something other than the Apple wishlist.

Guest said:

Ditto!

This is a BAD road they went down....the road that puts special interest group's needs and wants ahead of the consumer = horrible product to own.

FAIL

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