Watch_Dogs specifications suggest many-core focus
October 3, 2013 // 9:54 a.m.
Ubisoft has revealed the specifications required to run the PC port of its upcoming Watch_Dogs third-person shooter, following the accidental early publication of a Uplay listing for the game.
Due to launch next month on Windows, PlayStations 3 and 4, Wii U, Xboxes 360 and One, the cross-platform title sees the player take on the role of Aiden Pearce in a stealthy shooter where a futuristic smartphone accessory becomes a weapon: players can hack into everything from traffic lights and electrical substations to cash machines, while an augmented reality (AR) overlay provides mission and background information.
According to specifications posted in a Uplay listing, since removed, the PC port of the game will require a 64-bit Windows install - with no 32-bit support whatsoever - with 20GB of free hard drive space and a DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card. Those willing to crank down the settings are told they can get away with a DirectX 11-compatible graphics card with 1GB of VRAM, 4GB of system RAM and a quad-core CPU - the latter of most interest, given that traditionally games have seen little real-world improvement moving from two to four CPU cores. Suggested setups for this level include Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 and AMD Radeon HD 5770 graphics cards, and Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 and AMD Phenom X4 9750 CPUs.
To hit Ubisoft's recommended level, you'll need 2GB of VRAM, an eight-core CPU and at least 8GB of memory - again suggesting that the Watch_Dogs engine can scale very well on multi-core processors, which could be taken as early evidence of the use of eight-core chips in both the PS4 and Xbox One next-generation consoles helping to push developers into making better use of similar PC setups. Here, Ubisoft recommends at least an Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti or AMD Radeon HD 7850 graphics card, and an Intel Core i7-3770 or AMD FX-8350 CPU.
Finally, there's the ultra level: to play the game with the graphics settings cranked right up high, Ubisoft is recommending gamers invest in a Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 or AMD Radeon HD 7970 card or better, alongside an Intel Core i7-3930K or AMD FX-9370 CPU.
Ubisoft's heavy focus on pushing eight-core - and, the company's notes suggest, even more cores where possible - could spell the beginnings of AMD's return to form: while the company's current processors fail to compete with Intel's offerings in terms of instructions per cycle, they do typically offer more processing cores. The AMD FX-9370, for example, features eight processing cores to the Intel Core i7-3930K's six. Should Watch_Dogs prove to be the vanguard of a new generation of many-core-friendly highly-scalable game engines, the PC gaming market could be about to get a serious shake-up.