I have decided to build a new computer. I wish to use a lot of the same tools that Alan Kay created for the Smalltalk-like language Squeak. A lot of these tools are able to be run natively in Pharo, which is the default open source Smalltalk development environment.
I cannot remember the specific names of the packages or development environments of which I am speaking, but they concern making virtual 3D environments – I find a lot of them really attractive for making walking simulators, or 3D sandbox games.
ANYWAY - that’s not the purpose of this blog post. This post is my process for constructing a desktop computer that is supposed to meet certain requirements. For instance, several years ago, I constructed a computer around a CPU that was good for processing video files. It was built to a budget, and the computer was still functioning right up until I had to throw it away. That’s a long story.
Anyway this is how I designed this computer, which is essentially for both video game development, and for a desire to have the computer last a good long while.
Step One: Find Good Base Specifications
The game I am designing is a 3D, open world, sandbox game. The one I like the best is Fallout 4, so I decided to look up the developer/publisher recommended specifications for that game, which happened to be:
Recommended: CPU: AMD FX-9590 Video card: R9 290X (4GB RAM)
(when I saw this CPU specification my eyes boggled a little, this is a beast of a chip, the 9590)
Minimum Specifications: CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945 Video card: Radeon HD 7870 (2GB RAM)
Step Two: Transform These Specifications Into Benchmarks
Using the Passmark website for CPU and video card processing power benchmarks is fairly straight forward. I believe there are also other websites one can use to work out the relative processing power of computer components, but I have used this website for years, so I suppose I am a creative of habit.
Anyway these are the processing power figures extracted from the Passmark website:
|CPU Name||Benchmark score|
|AMD FX-9590||10 193|
|Phenom II X4 945||3 652|
|Video card name||Benchmark score|
Step Three: Compare Current Available Components to These Figures
The rough figures we have to work with in order to create a PC capable of processing the graphics needed for a fairly intensive sandbox 3d game are obviously:
CPU -> 4 000 to 10 000 on the Passmark score system
Video card -> a score of 4 000 to 7 000
The Components Available to Me
|CPU Name||Passmark score||Price (AUD)|
|AMD Athlon 3000G||5410||80|
|Ryzen 3 2200G||7333||119|
|Ryzen 3 2300X||8309||145|
|Ryzen 3 3200G||7901||125|
|Ryzen 5 2400G||9326||179|
|Ryzen 5 2600||13511||185|
|Vega 11||2272||CPU internal|
Step Four: Tabulating The Performance Relationship
Best Video Cards Against Worst CPUs
Here we sacrifice CPU performance against video card performance. We are here using the mathemathical formulat that Passmark uses to combine the scores obtained from video cards and CPUs on their own, to give an overall score of the combination of the two.
In this comparison, I have held constant: (a) the RAM score; and (b) the Hard Disk score.
|Overall System Score||Vega 56||RX 580||RX 570|
Worst Video Cards Against Best CPUs
|Ryzen 5 2600||Ryzen 5 3400G||Ryzen 5 3600|
Median Video Cards Against Median CPUs
|Ryzen 3 2200G||3500|
|Ryzen 3 3200G||3500|
Step Five: Tabulating the Optimum Value
|Vega 56||RX 580||RX 570|
|A4-5300 APU||2600 / 300 = 8.7||2600 / 300 = 8.7|
|A6-9500 APU||2600 / 300 = 6.7||2600 / 300 = 6.7|
|Athlon 200GE||2000 / 265 = 7.5|
|Ryzen 5 2600||Ryzen 5 3400G ($215)||Ryzen 5 3600 ($305)|
|RX 550||3800 / 290 = 13.1||3700 / 320 = 11.6||4000 / 410 = 9.8|
|R7 240||2800 / 240 = 11.7||2800 / 234 = 11.9||2900 / 360 = 8.1|
|Ryzen 3 2200G||3500 / 304 = 11.5|
|Ryzen 3 3200G||3500 / 310 = 11.3|
So there you have it! It turns out the combination of Ryzen 5 2600 CPU, and Radeon RX 550 is the most cost effective.
The best CPU combined with the best video card only really yields an overall system score of around 4000, and at a combined price of $443, this turns out to be incredibly cost ineffective (around 0.9 score units per dollar) - and this is to be expected - the best CPU and the best video cards are usually horribly cost effective and inefficient at delivering good performance. They are a horrible rush to the bottom in terms of diminishing marginal returns of unit of computing power per unit of currency.
The Fallout 4 Minimum system requirement Passmark system score: 2600 The recommended specifications score: ~4000