Valve Software: Intel's Sandy Bridge Brings "Console Like Experience" to PC

Game Developer Considers Intel's New Chip A Game Changer

by Anton Shilov
01/07/2011 | 01:30 PM

Chief executive officer of Valve Software, a leading developer of video games that created such titles as Half-Life and Counter Strike, said that Intel Corp.'s new Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" is a game changer for the company and it will redefine the mainstream PC gaming experience forever.


"It is a real game changer for us. This allows for a console like experience on the PC," said Gabe Newell, chief executive of Valve, adding that the forthcoming Portal 2 video game is developed to run on Intel's new chips.

This is by far not the first time when the head of Valve praises hardware companies. Years ago Mr. Newell was a part of ATI Technologies' and Nvidia Corp.'s discrete graphics chips marketing campaigns, nowadays he is on stage with Intel to promote relatively fast, yet morally outdated integrated graphics processor.

Intel's new G3000-series graphics processor features twelve stream processors (which Intel calls execution units) at up to 1350MHz (in TurboBoost Mode) that provide performance level comparable to entry-level discrete graphics processing units, such as ATI Radeon HD 5400-series solution. Unfortunately, the Intel HD Graphics 3000-series core only support DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3 capabilities, whereas all modern graphics processors support DirectX 10.1, OpenGL 4, OpenCL 1 and various GPGPU technologies.

While it is clear that the vast majority of modern games rely on DirectX 9 application programming interface (API) since its feature-set is present on Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 video game systems, leading game designers still indicate their commitment to modern technologies like DirectX 11. By contrast, Mr. Newell admits that Valve's forthcoming title will be aimed at a DirectX 10.1-class integrated graphics, a rather unprecedented move for a game designer. While Portal 2 is definitely not a leading-edge title, it is expected from a PC game developer to promote leading-edge technologies, not a graphics core that sports features from 2007.

It is noteworthy that according to Valve's own hardware survey only 6.2% of PC gamers use graphics solutions from Intel, whereas about 92% utilize discrete and integrated graphics based on ATI Radeon and Nvidia GeForce technologies.