Today there was supposed to be a review of Dark Souls PC edition. There isn’t. Partially this is down to a paucity of time available for writing on my part. Mainly, though, it’s down to the port performing so utterly terribly on my 3-4 year old computer (some of the bits are 3 years old, some of the bits are four years old) that it’s unplayable. As you may have heard the PC port of Dark Souls is one of the worst PC ports in history, with a fixed resolution and no graphics scaling and performance issues even worse than those experienced by console players. Frame rates regularly dip into single digits (especially in the foresty bit) and since Dark Souls is a game where a player relies in large part on their quick reactions to get them through a fight it’s nigh impossible for me to play. If I reviewed it I’d be reviewing this horribly broken piece of crap and not what the game is supposed to be, and while that would carry a delicious sense of schadenfreude it’s hardly news that the PC port of Dark Souls is terrible and you should be prepared to put up with more than your fair share of awfulness even if you have a good computer.
The thing is, it’s not just Dark Souls. I’m running into more and more games that my ageing piece of kit just can’t cope with. Mechwarrior Online and Planetside 2 both suffer serious slowdowns when a fight starts making those unplayable too, and while those are betas with their own performance issues it’s becoming obvious to me I can’t just get by on avoiding the graphically intensive stuff any more. I’ve enjoyed the lack of progress in the console market keeping system requirements static for the last couple of years or so, but they’re starting to push forward again as developers refocus their efforts on the PC as the cutting edge. So despite swearing that I would never ever do this again, I need some computer component advice.
Last time I built a computer I ended up with what I’ve got sitting in front of me. It’s worked reasonably well up until now, with the minor niggle that the ATI Radeon HD5700 has some weird incompatibility with another bit of kit inside the computer (my money is on the RAM) and so throws up a bluescreen a couple of times per week depending on what drivers I have installed. Before that I had a 4850 that fried itself inside of a year, and as a result I’m establishing a single rule for this exercise: no ATI graphics cards allowed. They’re more trouble than they’re worth in a custom build. Besides that I need recommendations for the following:
- A modern processor.
- A motherboard for it to go in.
- A mid-range NVidia graphics card that provides a nice balance between budget and performance.
- RAM. RAM is nice and uncomplicated as you just pick the one that goes into your motherboard, but the catch here is that I’m going to need eight gigs of the stuff as I don’t trust what’s currently jammed into my machine any more (and I also don’t think it’d be compatible with a new motherboard either).
- Possibly another hard drive, as this one is full. This isn’t essential, though, especially with the recent-ish floods in Thailand pushing hard drive prices up in response to the cut in supply.