It’s no real secret that since the beginning days of First Person Shooters like the original Wolfenstein 3D, I’ve been a fan and have watched them evolve over the years and see how they seemingly push the boundaries to our tech limits of the time. And my love for these games has exploited a consistent weakness of mine when it comes to wanting the full experience these games have to offer.
In 1993, at the ripe old age of 11, the original Doom came out to some extreme reviews that put it as a game changer for all First Person Shooters, and the hype was right. Nothing had ever been seen like this at the time and everyone wanted to get in on it. However, the age of personal computing and the full access to the Internet was still years away, even having a computer with enough power to run the game was asking quite a bit. For the longest time I had to resort to my friends, grandmother’s computer to play it. Eventually we did get a PC, but our first one wasn’t until 1997 (our first computer was a Mac) and by that time, the Doom glory had faded, though Doom II and Final Doom had made appearances and I think Doom II was the first game I played on our first PC. One could also argue that I was the reason we got the PC because of situations like this one, just wanting to play a game that I couldn’t anywhere else.
Then, in 2004, at the age of 22, the biggest remake to any video game franchise at the time was coming out! Doom 3 was promised to be the most advanced FPS of the past decade and for all accounts, Doom 3 remains to be one of my all time favorite games ever. But…all that excitement and next generation power required something that I yet again, did not have the ability to run. Starting college that year, I had bought myself a decent HP lap top for classes at the time, which only had integrated graphics and audio, which for the most part was fine. However, Doom 3’s specs for back in the day were astronomical, Requiring a P4 processor, a 256MB video card, 1 Gig of RAM and 2.2GB of Hard Disk Space, and also required Windows XP or 2000 to run. Cell phones from 4 years ago made those specs look archaic, but back then that required a beast of a machine to run. So again, I was going to have to resort to a friends machine or I could do something about it…and finally, at 22 years old, I could! This is where the trend started to get expensive and no other game can ever say it cost me over $2000 to play & own because the purchase of a copy of Doom 3 for $49.99 ended up tacking on a Dell P4 XPS Gen 3 tower with a Nvidia 6800 256MB Graphics card, and 19″ Flat Panel Display. I had finally found my “BEAST” of a machine, but the financial drain of a college student was tough and though I told no one, I actually bought most of this system with a student loan refund check…sorry mom. The rest was paid for by selling my old laptop…
So fast forward another 12 years and Doom 2016 has shown it’s gritty teeth in an all new re-boot of the classic Doom experience. Shedding the skin of the 2004 Survival Horror take to the franchise, 2016 brings the whole run and gun of thousands against one game play into the 21st century. And so far, my experience has been very positive, but again at the time of purchase, my system was under powered and so begins the trend again of upgrading my gear just to be able to play the latest Doom title to the fullest. This is why I’m glad my wife doesn’t read my blog posts all the way through.
The Cost of Perfection
Though now almost 34 and being able to get higher quality and more powerful hardware has been easier, I still did not have the “beast” of a machine I needed to run Doom 2016 to the quality and frame rate it was meant to be played at. However, this time, the investment to get to this point was reduced from a full PC tower set-up to simply a new Graphics card and new 4K monitor.
The Nvidia GTX 1070
The little brother to Nvidia’s GTX 1080, the 1070 is a powerhouse in it’s own right, rocking 8GBs of DDR5 Memory and is the most power GPU I’ve ever owned. As you can see, this thing makes the 2GB Nvidia GTX 750TI that came stock with my XPS 8700 a couple years ago look like a babies toy. And for all accounts, as far as today’s demand for GPU power are concerned, it really is. I’m not going to do a full review or get into the detailed specs, but though the GTX 750TI would run Doom smoothly, you could certainly tell it was straining to keep above 30 frames while only on High Quality graphics settings. But after putting in the 1070 and updating the drivers, the difference was instantly clear. At 1080p, the frame rate was well above 60FPS with all options maxed. Things were going to get better though, as the final upgrade was the addition of a new 27″ 4K Monitor that took this experience right over the top!
The P2715Q 27″ Ultra 4K Monitor
Arriving last night, I hooked this bad boy up and once again felt like Christmas! This was my first monitor upgrade in 3 years and coupled with the new video card, my PC gaming and 3D Modeling capabilities have been given a huge boost! I was instantly amazed at the smooth quality the combination of the two provided, even for a game as demanding as Doom.
All in all I’m very please with how these upgrades have taken the gaming experience up a a few levels and it’s that the release of a Doom game is the catalyst in taking the jump into higher, more powerful machines. Though it does cost me a bit of coin to experience, I think of them as capital improvements as well and for what this kind of tech would have cost just a couple years ago, patience has saved me a lot when getting me to a set-up I am happy with.