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[Amdahl Cube] A new webapp for understanding gaming hardware performance before you buy

TubeTube Administrator, ClubPA admin
The mods here were kind enough to let me post about an ongoing project for the PC gaming community. Amdahl Cube is a web app, focused on saving you time when you plan a new rig or upgrade an existing one. Like many of you, I enjoy the more technical aspects of PC gaming - I like talking benchmarks, optimizations, and architectures. However, sometimes you just want to know how well the part and rig can play games. That's where Amdahl Cube shines.

Amdahl Cube should look very familiar to gamers - it's all tiered loot, like what you'd find in Warcraft or Diablo. This is what a sample rig looks like:

9NL1Q0c.png

Greens, blues, yellows, and purples, which represent the performance tiers gamers build towards: [email protected], [email protected], and so on.

How it works

Match the components of the same color, and you get a rig that plays at that level. You can easily find a bottleneck if you see one component is from a lower tier than the others, so it's easy to see what your next upgrade should be.

The components are sorted between the ones that drive performance and the ones that are more functional or aesthetic. Compatibility is managed automatically, with only pieces compatible with equipped components able to be equipped.

Getting more technical

We just launched a new tool for helping gamers get even more insight about their about CPU choices too. You can read more about it here. In short, it's an interactive chart for comparing CPUs, like what you'd see here:

CEDUfZ5.png

We hope to bring this to GPUs soon.

Caveats
  • This is best on desktop. We want to be sure things are useful before implementing a mobile version.
  • We are using MSRP instead of live pricing. This helped us deliver this faster, but we do hope to offer both live pricing and MSRP views in the near future.
  • We are using data from Gamers Nexus. We tried to contact Gamers Nexus to get an OK to use this data but didn’t get a response. We’re not making money off this data, so we hope they will be ok with this. We are going to continue to try to contact them to get clearance, but I don’t want to do anything to upset them. They do awesome work and you should consider supporting them on Patreon.
  • Monitors, memory, power supplies, and storage are use generic products for now instead of real parts. Similarly, GPUs are rated based on the stock GPU, not the derivative products sold by manufacturers like Asus and Gigabyte. This is Rob’s fault and he feels bad.

How you can help us

Build a rig and share your comments here. We think this is a really transformative way of building gaming rigs, though we know it is not complete. Let us know if you think this is helpful and something you want more of.

Hobnail wrote: »
This forum has taken everything from me
MugsleyMcStabbyBouwsTdavidsdurionsUseR2006Rius

Posts

  • McStabbyMcStabby Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    I am one of the creators of the tool. I am a little late with this offer, but I'm also messing around with creating a pretty forum signature from the tool (as you can see in my own post). If you would like one, leave a comment here or message me with your build.

    McStabby on
    AYYUeD2.png
  • TubeTube Administrator, ClubPA admin
    @mcstabby those are actually a little outside of our sig restrictions I'm afraid

    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
  • McStabbyMcStabby Registered User regular
    Tube wrote: »
    @mcstabby those are actually a little outside of our sig restrictions I'm afraid

    Yikes, I realized the dimensions were slightly off and updated. The file size seems well below. Need something simpler aesthetically?

    AYYUeD2.png
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2017
    Some feedback...

    It doesn't seem like you've left room in your UI for multiple GPUs. (Or multiples of the same class of part in general, for example SSD + HD.)

    VR-tier is represented by white text and a black hexagon. Non-performance-enhancing gear is grey. This strikes me as confusing. I wouldn't expect black/white to be better than blue.

    Orange-tier is lower-performing than purple-tier. In Hearthstone (and last time I played WoW), orange is the highest tier and purple is next-highest.

    My expectation would be orange > purple > blue > green > white > gray. If you don't want to straight copy Blizzard you could do a rainbow (ROYBGIV) and leave white or grey for non-performance-enhancing gear..

    I don't like how I have to pick "core" parts before "secondary" parts. I understand why you've done that from a coding perspective, but it doesn't necessarily fit how I want to build. For example, in my latest build I started from the assumption that I wanted a MicroATX case and worked backwards from there.

    Is part compatibility checking supposed to work at all? It allowed me to combine NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX Titan X (2016 Pascal Architecture) with a 430W ATX power supply. NVIDIA recommends a 600W power supply with that card. It also let me put a full ATX motherboard in a Mini-ATX chassis, and DDR3 RAM on a DDR4 motherboard.

    Late edit: I don't really understand how parts are sorted in each list. They seem random. On the GPU list, 2016 Titan X is towards the bottom... near Radeon HD 5450. Why?

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    Big-picture feedback:

    Your primary competition IMO is PCPartPicker which means you're going to need to at least match their functionality regarding pricing and compatibility checking. You are offering performance data which PCPartPicker does not offer, so that's a good advantage, but you're trying to thread a pretty tight needle here: people interested in building their own PCs who need color-coded tier lists. Enthusiasts are going to do their own research on gamersnexus/tomshardware/anandtech/etc; while people who aren't into the nitty-gritty of computer builds are going to order a prebuilt from cyberpowerpc/ibuypower/etc or just follow some published build guideline. You're trying to shoot the middle, which isn't always a good place to be.

    However, if you can replicate enough of PCPartPicker's functionality regarding pricing and compatibility and add easy access to aggregated performance data, then that might be an alluring combination.

    Keep in mind that many PC builders aren't just interested in speed, they're interested in thermal performance too. This is not going to be quite as easy to aggregate, but a possible long-term goal might be to give your users a heat view, too. For example, maybe I click a button and the colors change to blue/green/yellow/red based on how much heat they put out.

    Also, people who are colorblind are going to have a hard time with your site. That's only 5% of the population so it wouldn't be a top priority, but you might want to think about a possible colorblind mode for the future. An easy way to do this is use an Ajax dropdown to change the stylesheet to one where tier text ("[email protected]") is emphasized.

    Maybe you could even just add very blatant tier labels. "Tier 1" "Tier 2" etc.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • McStabbyMcStabby Registered User regular
    Thanks for the feedback! We're aware of many of the situations. I'll address in-line, but keep in mind we wanted to start with the smallest problem set out there.
    Feral wrote: »
    Some feedback...

    It doesn't seem like you've left room in your UI for multiple GPUs. (Or multiples of the same class of part in general, for example SSD + HD.)

    We deliberately wanted to get single GPUs right. The number of systems using dual GPUs is so small and the returns are still diminishing. I know enthusiasts love exotic three screen setups, but based on Steam's hardware survey, it's still an extreme minority of systems.
    Feral wrote: »
    VR-tier is represented by white text and a black hexagon. Non-performance-enhancing gear is grey. This strikes me as confusing. I wouldn't expect black/white to be better than blue.

    VR tier has been messy and we are considering pulling it out as a tier and making it something else. We experimented with other colors there, but few worked. Based on the pixel requirements for VR, they're very similar to 1080p120 and 1080p144, so we might end up repurposing the whole layer and either using a different shade of blue or picking something else.
    Feral wrote: »
    Orange-tier is lower-performing than purple-tier. In Hearthstone (and last time I played WoW), orange is the highest tier and purple is next-highest.

    My expectation would be orange > purple > blue > green > white > gray. If you don't want to straight copy Blizzard you could do a rainbow (ROYBGIV) and leave white or grey for non-performance-enhancing gear..

    We will take that into consideration.
    Feral wrote: »
    I don't like how I have to pick "core" parts before "secondary" parts. I understand why you've done that from a coding perspective, but it doesn't necessarily fit how I want to build. For example, in my latest build I started from the assumption that I wanted a MicroATX case and worked backwards from there.

    We debated that one for a while. I'm inclined to turn people loose, as I know people may want to start with a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX case. The big thing holding us back was just developer time in implementing all of the constraints. We will build in basic constraints, but I'm still concerned about recommending a GPU that might be too long for a mini-ITX case, and knowing the internal clearance of all the cases was a huge amount of effort that we wanted to devote to understanding performance.
    Feral wrote: »
    Is part compatibility checking supposed to work at all? It allowed me to combine NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX Titan X (2016 Pascal Architecture) with a 430W ATX power supply. NVIDIA recommends a 600W power supply with that card. It also let me put a full ATX motherboard in a Mini-ATX chassis, and DDR3 RAM on a DDR4 motherboard.

    It's incomplete. There's no chassis or PSU checking. I'm surprised it let you put DDR3 in a DDR4 motherboard, as that check is in place for both CPU and motherboard. Let me know what that motherboard was and we'll investigate.
    Feral wrote: »
    Late edit: I don't really understand how parts are sorted in each list. They seem random. On the GPU list, 2016 Titan X is towards the bottom... near Radeon HD 5450. Why?

    There's no sorting implemented, which was another sacrifice for getting this beta out. We're going to spend some time on QoL improvements like that, but we were hoping the filters would be sufficient for now.

    AYYUeD2.png
    Feral
  • McStabbyMcStabby Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Big-picture feedback:

    Your primary competition IMO is PCPartPicker which means you're going to need to at least match their functionality regarding pricing and compatibility checking. You are offering performance data which PCPartPicker does not offer, so that's a good advantage, but you're trying to thread a pretty tight needle here: people interested in building their own PCs who need color-coded tier lists. Enthusiasts are going to do their own research on gamersnexus/tomshardware/anandtech/etc; while people who aren't into the nitty-gritty of computer builds are going to order a prebuilt from cyberpowerpc/ibuypower/etc or just follow some published build guideline. You're trying to shoot the middle, which isn't always a good place to be.

    However, if you can replicate enough of PCPartPicker's functionality regarding pricing and compatibility and add easy access to aggregated performance data, then that might be an alluring combination.

    Let me start with the fact that we love PCPartPicker. They're awesome and have provided a great service to the community in organizing pricing information for discussion and purchase. We view the biggest gap in buying a PC as understanding exactly how a system will perform and how each component contributes towards that, which is why there's so much discussion with PCPartPicker info - gamers aren't sure if that's the best rig for their budget. From our research, it takes gamers over 2 weeks to make a purchase, be it an upgrade or a new system altogether. Those are usually experienced gamers, but frequently not the guys reading every article on Gamers Nexus and Tom's. They just want to play games, not learn why HBM2.0 is on everyone's roadmap and what the optimal number of shader cores are. So we want to deliver that information as quickly as possible. And if we're delivering personalized information incredibly efficiently, it will help everyone.

    How will we make money? Affiliate links seem to be the obvious, but our guiding principle is to do what's in the users' best interest that is going to make owning and upgrading a PC as easy as possible.
    Feral wrote: »
    Keep in mind that many PC builders aren't just interested in speed, they're interested in thermal performance too. This is not going to be quite as easy to aggregate, but a possible long-term goal might be to give your users a heat view, too. For example, maybe I click a button and the colors change to blue/green/yellow/red based on how much heat they put out.

    That sounds a like a good idea, especially adding in noise, which nobody takes into account until it's running in their home.
    Feral wrote: »
    Also, people who are colorblind are going to have a hard time with your site. That's only 5% of the population so it wouldn't be a top priority, but you might want to think about a possible colorblind mode for the future. An easy way to do this is use an Ajax dropdown to change the stylesheet to one where tier text ("[email protected]") is emphasized.

    Maybe you could even just add very blatant tier labels. "Tier 1" "Tier 2" etc.

    I'll keep that in mind, I feel bad it wasn't part of our initial design requirements but I do expect it to be a tool for everyone.

    AYYUeD2.png
    Feral
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    Thanks for listening to my feedback!

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • McStabbyMcStabby Registered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    Thanks for listening to my feedback!

    Thank you for giving it. I know the hardware community's expectations are always high, so I appreciate the patience and feedback until we get it right.

    AYYUeD2.png
  • McStabbyMcStabby Registered User regular
    We've made some advances in our quest to simplify PC gaming via http://amdahlcube.com. We wanted to make getting predictions more straightforward, so we just dropped them onto our main page. I'd really appreciate this community's feedback - it's super helpful to know if this kind of data and applications are useful.

    It works by selecting a CPU and GPU, and you get a "health" bar that represents framerate. The CPU drives the max framerate. GPU drives the actual framerate you'll see at your resolution of choice. Gif example:

    SHF1vjZ.gif

    FWIW it only has components available for it now in there, as those are the easiest to get framerate data for. If you're interested in more parts or games, let me know.

    AYYUeD2.png
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