Gamespot has a comparison of graphics quality among the XboX 360 vs PS3 vs PC. They took several games that are available on all three systems and tried as closely as possible to take a screen capture at the exact same spot to make a reasonable comparison. They chose Fallout 3, Dead Space, Call of Duty: World at War, and Grand Theft Auto IV. I found it interesting for a few reasons:

  • If you have a favorite game, but no console yet, you might choose a console based on which one plays your favorite game better
  • The Wii is nowhere to be found :)
  • For all the hoopla about the PS3, and it’s Cell processor, and fancy hardware, and Blu-Ray, and BIG price tag… I think it looks worse than the Xbox 360. Your mileage may vary

I personally don’t have a console, and likely won’t anytime in the near future. I can’t really justify paying at least $300 (for an Xbox, PS3 is even more) just to play the occasional game. I really only play once in a while, I’m just to busy otherwise. I still haven’t finished Gears of War (for PC) which I purchased over a year ago. So for me, it’s much more efficient to play games on my computer and just upgrade the video card every few years. I will say that there are a few games that have made me *consider* a console. They are Gears of War (I and II), Halo (all 3), and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. All but SW: TFU have or will be available for PC.

I find it infuriating that LucasArts won’t port Star Wars: The Force Unleashed to the PC (link). They say that they don’t want a huge variation in gameplay between high-end computers and low-end computers. Bullocks. Don’t tell me that, and then port the game for the PS3/Xbox (high end) and THE Wii (very low end). That is the ultimate in hypocracy. Just like every other game out there, you put some minimum requirements on the box and that solves that problem.

Look what happened with Crysis for the PC. When that game first came out, nobody could play it at a medium level, much less a high level. So what happened? Everybody went out a got new CPUs, new video cards. For the amount of eye-candy in the Force Unleashed, I’m sure you would get a nice big Christmas “thank you” basket from each of Intel, AMD, ATI and Nvidia for increasing their sales.

Unsurprisingly (to me anyway), the PC comes out ahead in most of the screenshots. Any up-close objects are fairly similar, but the draw distance on a PC is massivly better, some of the effects such as smoke and water are much better, and things with a lot of fine detail (bushes) are better. I’ve always maintained that you can get much better quality from a PC than a console. Especially when you consider that most consoles are outputting to a TV and most PCs are outputting to much higher resolution monitors. If you couple that with the fact that you can easily upgrade your computer down the road to take advantage of better hardware, it’s a no-brainer to me.

However, I do have some issues with the way they made the comparison even though it ultimately didn’t affect the outcome…

They used output from the PS3 and Xbox360 in 720p. Yet, for the PC they output at 1080p and then resized the image to 720p and called it fair. It isn’t. However, the fact that the PC still comes out ahead speaks volumes about the difference in performance I think.

The other issue I have is that they point out that a PC system “costs three to four times more than either of the consoles”. Say WHAT?!?!

I agree that you can’t get a computer for $300 that will do better than an Xbox 360, but for the $600 that the PS3 costs, you can build a pretty nice machine. I looked up a few prices quickly at and came up with a total of about $385 for a PSU/Case combo ($75) , motherboard ($100), 4GB of RAM ($35), DVD burner ($25), hard drive ($50), and OEM version of Vista ($100). Add in a video card for about $150 (decent midlevel card from either ATI or Nvidia, many options in this range) and that brings you to $540. Get a 2.6Ghz AMD dual core (Athlon 64 X2 5000+) for $55 and you are ready to game having spent only $595 total. That midlevel video card will do very nicely at lower resolutions… such as 720p… which would equate to a 1280×800 computer monitor, and definitely push it at much faster than 60fps (which is what 720p is). You can then use the computer to do all the other stuff that a computer does like, you know, actual work ‘n stuff.

If you wanted to kick it up a notch, you could push that budget a little further and be able to play games at 1080p (which the consoles can NOT do). Add an Intel 3Ghz Core 2 Duo e8400 for $165 (instead of the $55 AMD), and get a <$250 Nvidia Geforce GTX 280 or ATI HD4870 instead. That will bring your total cost to just over $800. This is WAY LESS than “three to four times” the cost of a console.