Battlefield 3 MP Beta Date and System Reqs

Above title says all. The beta will take place on Sept. 29th (next Thursday) and will be available for all three platforms (360, PS3, and of course the PC). Players will play in the Operation Metro map that’s set in Paris with the mode being Rush. It’s essentially attacking/defending of respective M-COM stations for those of you who haven’t played Bad Company 2. Here’s what EA had to say:

“Gamers who pre-order the digital PC version of the game at Origin (powered by EA) will be granted early access to the beta starting on September 27, 2011,” EA said Tuesday. “In addition, all customers that pre-ordered a Limited Edition of Medal of Honor will also receive early access to the beta starting on September 27, 2011.”

We instantly snapped a screenshot of the specs needed for the game when we saw it, and they should be nearly identical for the final release. Check out the beta landing page here for more details.

Upgrading Your Rig for Battlefield 3 (Feature)

We’ve been getting quite a few questions lately regarding whether your (VS)PCs are “Battlefield 3 ready”, so we decided to write up a feature article to address most of your concerns. First off is how the new Frostbite 2 engine looks from footage EA/DICE has been releasing of gameplay and it’ll surely keep everyone guessing whether they can run it without a hitch especially if you want the full experience (on DirectX 11, Tessellation enabled, etc.). Check out the latest trailer following if you haven’t already, BUT something to keep in mind is that they always mention that the actual gameplay footage is based on ALPHA code. This means that it has yet to be optimized for performance and cleaned up for final retail release.

 

So far we’re well under two months in before BF3 hits, and any system requirements for the game? No, not really. About a few months back in June, Atomic PC Magazine interviewed Patrick Bach – Executive Producer at DICE. He obviously wasn’t keen on going into the specifics at the time, but he did mention that the demo system used to run everything had “standard high-end components” and a single GeForce GTX 580 graphics card. Again this is being run on early code as mentioned before, so there’s definitely a direct correlation of better hardware being used to showcase the demo. Then he continued mentioning that if your PC is able to match the same “output” of current game consoles (we believe many modern systems out there would) then you should meet the minimum requirements.

GameStop almost had us when they released a set of minimum and recommended PC specs about two months back, but unfortunately they were deemed simply false. It started with DICE’s Senior Gameplay Designer, Alan Kertz just saying, “We have not announced any specs.” through Twitter when being asked about it. While Johan Andersson at DICE declared on the Beyond3D forum, “FAKE. We haven’t announced any system requirements yet.” He did later say, “But highly recommend a quad core, just as with Bad Company 2.”

Now for the question that we all wind up asking at the end of the day: “So, should I upgrade?”

What we know for sure is that the Frostbite 2 engine has no support for DirectX 9 thus Windows XP, so if you are still kicking the hardware/software then it looks like you’re due for quite an upgrade if you want to get in on the latest Battlefield action.

If you have an ATI Radeon HD 4800 series or NVIDIA’s GeForce 9800 family based card or later then you should be able to run the game on DirectX 10 settings, however the previous generation products for both companies also support the tech and are ones where they first introduced support for DirectX 10 – having those parts handling BF3 well is in fact questionable and somewhat out of the picture.

DirectX 11 performance on the other hand gets a little tricky with more variables and settings, a mid to high end graphics card like something from at least the ATI Radeon HD 5800 family or NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 460 series might be able to get you very reasonable frame rates. This also depends on the video settings in-game. Note that we can’t make any guarantees however at this stage yet, as it’s just our thoroughly analyzed forecast in terms of game requirements.

Bottom line is that you should sit tight if you are already running any of the above mentioned (or newer) video cards, and see how everything plays out as we get more info. As always, we’ll be striving to keep you all posted as this matter develops.

UPDATE: Some of you mentioned whether memory (RAM) was something to consider for an upgrade. While the minimum of 2GB and recommended 4GB requirements posted by GS are simply inaccurate, so we can’t base our feedback off of that. Although the amounts do similarly translate to the ideal memory capacities a typical system should have today, 2GB being the bare minimum and 4GB as the “de facto” or more common amount. With RAM prices at an all time low and continuing to drop throughout this year, upgrading shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

MSI Explains Their “Propeller Blade” Technology

On paper they claim that it allows 20% more airflow and wider ventilation angles in contrast to traditional designs, and it can reduce temperatures of up to 21 degrees. This means longer hardware life, more overclocking potential, and of course an overall cooler PC. So one might ask how all this works? For starters, there’s the curved angle and arched edges intended to enlarge the angle of airflow direction. There are also rounded edges that lowers noise. MSI says that grooves in the specially designed propellers increase airflow range, while small arcs generate more airflow. Lastly there’s a gloss coating which serves the purpose of reducing “wind” resistance.

So how do all these tweaks and enhancements stack up? The company said their very own R6870 Hawk with Twin Frozr III ran 21 degrees cooler and 7dB quieter than a reference version. Look for MSI’s Propeller Blade technology on new Twin Frozr III and Cyclone II video cards. Hit up the clip below.

NVIDIA Says Kepler GPUs Delayed Till 2012

Looks like Team Green fans won’t be able to celebrate an early Christmas this year, as its been about a year since NVIDIA said they would launch the new Kepler GPUs based on a 28nm process starting Q3 of this year. It’s the second half of 2011 already, and looks like the company broke out of their own silence and stated that Kepler won’t hit retail shelves until sometime in 2012. Here’s what NVIDIA spokesperson Ken Brown had to say,

Although we will have early silicon this year, Kepler-based products are actually scheduled to go into production in 2012. We wanted to clarify this so people wouldn’t expect product to be available this year

Absolutely no mention of poor yields, but looks like this new line of GPUs are suffering the game fate of it’s predecessor – Fermi. Would this delay the 2013 slated date for the Maxwell GPUs that are next on their roadmap? Only time can tell.

SSD Boost Manager and “Need More Space (or Speed) on Your SSD?” Recap

Chances are that if you’re using a SSD as a boot drive for your OS then you probably have run into many occurrences where space is a constraint. This is especially common if your SSD is lower in capacity, so a workaround for this nuisance is to prioritize and keep only a few programs or games on the solid state drive.

Well SSD Boost Manager moves programs or any data between a SSD and traditional HDD in just a few clicks. It allows you to move a file on or off the solid state, and lets you preserve the performance when you launch the allocated applications. SBM not only simply moves the files or folders, but also creates junction links to the new location – this way Windows will still think all files are still in the same location, while it’s actually on the slower drive or vice versa.

Few things to mention due to the native language of the program not being English are that after you carry out an install, you will have to start the junction program listed in the Start menu before launching SSD Boost Manager because it requires admin rights. Once the junction has started already, then initiate SBM and toggle the EN button on the top right on the Window so you get proper translations unless you’re good at French.

To move a new program:

  • Click on “Add” then pick a name, and in the “Directory” line, browse to its location (either on the SSD or regular drive)
  • Under “Dir SSD”, browse to the location you want to move it (again, either on SSD or HDD)
  • Keep the rest of the options on their default values unless you know what you’re doing

There is no limit to the number of profiles you create for the programs you move, and when you decide to move them back – just double click on their respective entries on their entry in SSD Boost Manager’s main window. The program will copy the files, create the junction, and now maintaining space on your SSD would be that much easier not to say this isn’t possible if done manually.

We included a link to the translated homepage here as well.

VSPC also showcased articles previously on how to optimize and improve usability of your SSD, check out the following links:

Specs for AMD’s Bulldozer CPUs Revealed

It seems like AMD is experiencing some difficulty with the yields of their chips that can hit clockspeeds of revisions B0 and B1, but we’re not certain whether it’s the base clockspeed or Turbo Core based on sources. Here’s the list of processors that the company is launching:

  • FX-8150: 3.6GHz (4.2GHz Turbo Core), 8-core, 8MB L2 cache, 125W
  • FX-8120: 3.1GHz (4GHz Turbo Core), 8-core, 8MB L2 cache, 125W/95W
  • FX-8100: 2.8GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Core), 8-core, 8MB L2 cache, 95W
  • FX-6120: Clockspeeds TBD, 6-core, 6MB L2 cache, 95W
  • FX-6100: 3.3GHz (3.9GHz Turbo Core), 6-core, 6MB L2 cache, 95W
  • FX-4120: Clockspeeds TBD, 4-core, 6MB L2 cache, 95W
  • FX-4100: 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Core), 4-core, 4MB L2 cache, 95W

All of these CPUs will have an 8MB of L3 cache and take DDR3-1866 memory, and something to note is that they’re based on a 32nm process. We should see them surface around August or September with varying time frames for the parts.

Windows 8 To Have Same System Requirements as Predecessors

Fret not, if you bought a machine that came loaded with Windows 7 or even Vista – it should run Redmond’s upcoming OS without a hitch. Here’s what Tami Reller, Window’s corporate VP said at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in California:

“In both of our Windows 8 previews, we talked about continuing on with the important trend that we started with Windows 7, keeping system requirements either flat or reducing them over time.”

“Windows 8 will be able to run on a wide range of machines because it will have the same requirements or lower,” she added. “We’ve also built intelligence into Windows 8 so that it can adapt to the user experience based on the hardware of the user. So, whether you’re upgrading an existing PC, or buying a new one, Windows will adapt to make the most of that hardware.”

System requirements for Windows 7 are:

  • 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1GB RAM (32-bit) or 2GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

AMD’s Dual-Core Llano Desktop APU Spotted

AMD recently launched two desktop (Llano) APUs which are available for purchase if you so desire, and there are four more different processors slated for the remaining of this year. According to some MSI marketing material, we got some idea of what kind of parts they’re brewing up. Our attention should be focused on the E2-3200 and is supposedly clocked at 2.4GHz bearing 1MB of L2 cache and has a TDP of 65W. It’s also to sport an integrated Radeon HD 6370D graphics solution clocked at 443MHz with 160 stream processors all on the same die. There is no Turbo Core and will be based on the FM1 package.

ADATA First to Market with Single 8GB Modules

Here’s something new and worthy of mentioning, and it’s ADATA’s new XPG Gaming Series memory. This, however, isn’t your typical RAM as they’re 8GB single modules and are low voltage (1.35V) with rated frequencies of 1333MHz. These modules have 9-9-9-24 timings and complies with JEDEC specs, while the company also mentions that every single memory chip on the module is also strenuously inspected.

“With the popularity of 64-bit operating systems, high-density memory is a prerequisite in many gamers’ minds. We are the first to launch DDR3L 1333G high-density 8GB memory modules, achieved in the XPG Gaming Series,” ADATA DRAM product planning department project manager Alex Wu explained. “This product adopts a 1.35 volt design, to offer gamers excellent stability and efficiency and also reduce waste heat and power consumption costs.”

Currently there’s no word on pricing, but these will come in single 8GB sticks or a paired pack.

Need More Space (or Speed) on Your SSD? – Part 3, Final (Feature)

As promised this will be the final of the three-part series we did for Need More Space (or Speed) on Your SSD?, also if you happened to miss our previous articles – check out Part 1 and Part 2 (respective links). A brief explanation of our following tweak, the Search feature in Windows indexes certain files and folders on your drive and the index itself is found in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search with the space consumed being about 10% of the total contents being indexed. The space consumption may not be worth it for some due to the already fast nature of SSDs since the search indexes are cached to RAM from the drive.

Disabling Superfetch and Search services

  • Type services.msc in the Start menu Search textfield
  • Scroll down to Superfetch then right-click and select Properties
  • For the Startup type drop-down menu, select Disabled then hit OK
  • Scroll down to Windows Search then right-click and select Properties
  • Click the Stop button, change the Startup type drop-down menu to Disabled and press OK

Disabling Prefetcher and Superfetch from the Registry

Reason behind it? Well, Superfetch is setup to cache files that are accessed frequently since SSDs already have fairly low seek times, so the particular function can be disabled. However if you did a fresh install of Windows 7 on a SSD to start with, Superfetch should already be disabled (may not be if you imaged your OS from an existing HDD). On the other hand, Prefetch loads parts of program files and by disabling this you can free up more of your system memory.

  • Type regedit in the Start menu Search textfield
  • Choose the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters path
  • Right-click on EnablePrefetcher and EnableSuperfetch
  • Choose Modify on each then change the value from either 1 or 3 to 0
  • Restart your system

We hope you all enjoyed our three-part series on SSD optimization and appreciated the extra space or performance boost. Until next time.

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