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All Posts by Quizzical

All Posts by Quizzical

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Thanks for the answers.  It sounds like I should give the game a try, then.

I've been playing TERA lately, and the combat system is nice in itself, but simply scaled wrong for difficulty, as you kill mobs in about two hits and mobs kill you in about 20.  The only real challenge is in soloing the 5-man group content, and that doesn't always scale well to solo (because it isn't designed to!), so it can be anything from easy to impossible.

I didn't want to buy the game only to find that when people complained that it was "hard", they meant "you have to do something stupid and trivial ten thousand times in order to level" or "you have to spend a majority of your time trying to assemble large raids"--both of which are what some people will mean by a game being "hard".  I tend to prefer faster leveling over slower, but that's vastly less important than how interesting the content is along the way.  Slow leveling is fine if there's plenty of content for it and it doesn't degenerate into "and now you go kill 1000 of mob X to gain a level".

Do you start raiding at low levels or are you talking exclusively about endgame?  I'm mostly interesting in what sort of difficulty applies at lower levels, as that's the overwhelming majority of the content in virtually every MMORPG ever made.

I'd make an exception to that if Wildstar took a Guild Wars 1 approach of everyone gets to level cap fast and then most of the content is at the cap.  As far as I'm aware, that's unique to GW1 or very nearly so in the entire genre.

The consensus seems to be that Wildstar is a hard game, at least as MMORPGs go.  But different people use "difficult" to mean wildly different things in referring to MMORPGs.  For example:

1)  "WoW vanilla hard":  if you schedule your life around a game (e.g., always present for guild raids at 7 pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), you get your epics, even if you're otherwise bad at the game.  And if you don't, you don't.

2)  "Lineage hard":  Leveling up requires an enormous time investment, as you have to kill ridiculous numbers of mobs.  The content of what you do in that time may only require you to halfway pay attention--or less, however.

3)  "Spiral Knights hard":  If the human sitting at the computer isn't very good at the game, he's going to die early and often.  And even if he is fairly good, he'll probably still die some.

These aren't mutually exclusive, of course:  a game could be "hard" in more than one sense.  Spiral Knights is more obscure than the other two, but probably the best example of "PVE combat depends on the skill of the player" that I could think of.  WoW vanilla and Spiral Knights were each "hard" in only one of the three ways; I'm not sure about Lineage, as I've long avoided games with ridiculous grinds.

So, which of the three types of difficulty is Wildstar?


In a related question, when does the difficulty start?  WoW vanilla wasn't at all hard in the first sense until the level cap.  Spiral Knights is hard in the third sense the moment you step into the third tier--which is far from having full five-star gear.  It's got a fair bit of difficulty in the third sense as soon as you reach second tier, even, and that only takes a couple of hours or so.

Integrated graphics chips aren't built into motherboards anymore, and haven't been in new products for several years.  Rather, they're built into the same chip as the CPU.

Hearthstone is a 2D game, which isn't demanding on graphics at all.  WoW is 3D at least, but nearly a decade old, so it's likewise not terribly demanding.  Still, integrated graphics have gotten massively better than they used to be, so most games would probably be playable on your integrated graphics--and not necessarily just at low settings.

You're using Intel HD 4600 graphics.  Recent Intel graphics tend to be passable at low settings, but fall apart--and fall far behind AMD integrated graphics--at higher settings that are more demanding on shaders.  The graphics chip you have has 20 "execution units"; for comparison, AMD's best integrated graphics has 512 shaders.  I'm not sure what an execution unit is, and Intel isn't terribly forthcoming on details of their graphics architecture; my guess is that it's the equivalent of several shaders and a TMU.

Unlike AMD and Nvidia, Intel tends not to be keen on supporting the latest graphics APIs.  For example, the first Nvidia card to support OpenGL 3.3 was the GeForce 8800 GTX, which released in 2006.  The first AMD card was the Radeon HD 2900 XT, which released in 2007.  The first Intel GPU to support it was Intel HD Graphics 4000, which released in 2012.  The oldest Nvidia card to support OpenGL 4.3 was the GeForce GTX 480, which released in 2010.  The earliest AMD card was the Radeon HD 5870, which released in 2009.  The oldest Intel GPU to support OpenGL 4.3 is... well, there isn't one yet.  Give Intel a few more years and they might get there.

Intel has often had video driver problems, and doesn't always update their drivers for very long, especially in less popular configurations.  For example, if you run Vista, it looks like Intel's last video driver update for you came 2 1/2 years ago.  For Linux, it's been just shy of a year, and for XP, it's been nearly a year and a half.  Even if you do still get updates, they aren't necessarily very frequent; even for Windows 7 or 8, Intel has only released one video driver update in the last 8 months.  If you're using Intel graphics and run into a driver bug, it's not going to be fixed fast, and might not be fixed ever.  AMD and Nvidia are a lot more aggressive about pushing out bug fixes.

If a higher monitor resolution means that less stuff gets culled for being off the screen, that can create more CPU work per frame.  The amount of CPU work it adds is proportionately massively less than the GPU work, however.

The only other reason I can think of off hand for the CPU-side code to care about the monitor resolution is placing 2D stuff like menus intelligently--which doesn't add to the computational load.

Let's see the full specs of what you already have, not just the CPU.  A sensible upgrade to one system might be completely stupid or not even work on another.
Originally posted by Ridelynn
The hardware has to come to market, the API has to be implemented (and nVidia doesn't usually start out with open-source generic APIs), developers have to use those to actually write games, and then consumers have to buy them to push developers into using more.

That's nothing unusual - we see it in PC and console hardware now. But I am if the opinion that even if more advanced graphics hardware ships that ~hardware specs~ specifically isn't what moves tablets, and it becomes even more irrelevant with regard to gaming with streaming.

The graphics API is already there.  It's OpenGL--and Tegra K1 supports the full OpenGL 4.4, the latest and greatest version.  The same Kepler GPU architecture already supports it on Windows and Linux.  OpenGL is already ubiquitously used for graphics on Linux and Mac OS X, and sometimes but less commonly for Windows.  It's a superset of OpenGL ES, which is the graphics API already used on Android and iOS.  The graphics API is not a meaningful barrier here.

There are still issues of, will developers write games that not enough hardware supports, and will hardware support greater capabilities without games to take advantage of them.  But that's always been an issue with computers.  It's been an issue with every new version of every graphics API ever made.  It's been an issue with every new OS and every new console ever made.

Granted, some of them did flop.  But operating systems and CPU architectures and consoles that flopped did so because competitors captured most of the market share.  Outside of Windows, the only real alternative to moving forward with OpenGL 4.4 and its successors is pretending that it's 2006 forever and never moving forward.  That might happen for a while, but I don't think it's going to happen forever.

Originally posted by Ridelynn

The caveat is a big one - what games indeed. This being the only vendor and SKU in a huge, diverse lineup of Android devices, I think that's likely to stay the case for a very long time. We will probably see a very small, select batch of "AAA"-esque titles that showcase what the Tegra can do, those will all be funded by nVidia marketing, and not compatible with any other device - so they will have terrible sales for their developers and won't be enough to drive Shield hardware adoption.

First, the Nvidia Shield Tablet is not going to be the only tablet capable of running a higher tier of demanding games.  Any tablet based on the Tegra K1 and its successors will be similarly capable.  Any Android tablet running the ARM chip with GCN graphics that AMD is working on will probably be similarly capable.  Imagination--traditionally a major mobile graphics vendor--might be interested in joining that party, too, with their own modern graphics architecture.

Yes, if only one tablet can run modern graphics, there isn't going to be many games for it.  But what if several can?  What if 10% of the market can?  How about 30% of the market?  What if it's 10% of the market, but 30% of the market from people who really want to play demanding tablet games?

What I think will happen is that some relatively undemanding games built originally for PC/Mac/Linux with low system requirements will be ported to Android.  If you've already got all of the artwork and sound done, you're a long way toward having a completed game.  We've already seen a little bit of that, e.g., Vendetta Online.  As tablets become more capable, I think we'll see a lot more of it.

Originally posted by AlBQuirky


Originally posted by Aeander

Originally posted by AlBQuirky

Originally posted by Jemcrystal
The new trend is action and I hate it.  If feels like another cop out; where devs became obsessed with something they could handle instead of doing anything I would have liked in future mmo's.  I almost can't blame them tho.  No one could solve the problem of lag on our shitty PC's so they focused on something else.  A "how can we make mmo's different but still easy to make" board meeting.

Agreed. What I used to enjoy about MMORPGs is totally ignored by "action combat." I do not play them to test my reaction/mouse and keyboard mashing skills. I play them to be someone else. Action combat totally ignores this aspect.

What, exactly, does the game's combat system have to do with "being someone else?" Action combat doesn't ignore immersion and role-playing. It simply has nothing to do with it - and neither does "tab target" combat. 


A player's connection to their character is created through roleplaying, story, exploration, visual customization, and build customization. How does action combat "ignore" any of that?

The combat system has everything to do, since that is 80-95% of current games. Random Number Generation is the key. Ever hear of that? Action Combat lacks this feature, making the player's "skill" decide hits and misses, not the character's skills, developed in the game by choices the player makes.


When I create a character in an action combat game (any game), I am NEVER connected to it. The phone rings and I jump, moving my mouse at the wrong at an inopportune time. *I* (AlBQuirky) messed up, not my character (Joe Blow). If I "fat finger" my keyboard (which happens A LOT for me) hitting wrong keys, or unintended keys, *I* (AlBQuirky) messed up, NOT my character. Nothings takes me out of the "illusion" of being someone else faster than action combat. If I miss a dodge, AlBQuirky killed the character, not that character's skill in dodging. When *MY* skill trumps my character's, RPG is gone for me. Other player's mileage may vary :)

I know that not everyone agrees with me, or even if they do, may not enjoy MMOs the same as I want to. There needs to be action combat MMOs for players who enjoy that. BUT... contrary to popular belief, action combat is not the "neatest thing since sliced bread" as many players would have others believe. To me, it is a cancer started by Console FPS/Sports Game players that has infected the MMORPG genre.

The above is only my opinion and preference.

Action combat games need an awful lot of random number generation, too, you know.  I can't think of any game ever made in any genre that wouldn't have benefited from a hefty dose of random number generation, though sometimes you can get it implicitly from perturbations in the timing of when players do things.  A lot depends on what you do with said random numbers.

Originally posted by monochrome19
Originally posted by Entropy14
OR simply go do some odd jobs for a couple weekends and then you wont be on such a strict budget :-p

Haha, I would but I'm kinda busy atm. I'm still enrolled in summer semester (ends tomorrow) and next semester starts in a few weeks. Even if I wanted to I cant squeeze a job in the next few weeks because I'll be out of the country. So I'd like to purchase everything now, and when I come back be fully equipped to start class :D

Taking delivery when you're out of the country can be a problem.


If you've already got a legal copy of Windows, then try my build above with the upgrade to the quad core.  That's $354, before $30 in rebates.  Do be warned that it only has 120 GB of SSD space, though if you're not a gamer, that should be plenty unless you need to store a bunch of movies that you make or some such.

Originally posted by FelixMajor
Originally posted by ElRenmazuo

I would find Devil May Cry style combat very tiring with a keyboard and mouse too.  With a gamepad I could grind all day laid back and my hands would never feel tired doing over 50 different skills one after the other in the blink of an eye switching between weapons on the fly.  And all without any hotbars filling up my screen.

I even found Final Fantasy XIV more comfortable to play with a gamepad and that game has traditional tab target hotbar combat.

If these recent action MMOs all had controller support, they would be much more popular.  It is way more enjoyable and comfortable to play a twitchy action oriented game with a game pad 100%.

When games try to offer built-in controller support, it usually doesn't work, anyway.  Maybe they can make it work right for a few particular gamepads, but there are so many out there that it isn't practical to test for everything.  Rather, you rely on support from the controller vendor, as they can make software work right for the few pieces of hardware that they sell.  I've played Champions Online, Guild Wars 2, TERA, and FFXIV with a gamepad just fine.  Ranged attacks in TERA are the only thing notably awkward of those games.

If sufficiently determined, you can make considerable portions of a lot of games work with a gamepad.  I've done so with Civilization IV and Uncharted Waters Online, for example.

Originally posted by Adamantine

The main problem I see with the MMO concept and concepts not based on RPGs is that with the former, you can have cooldowns and you can do attack routines etc. Such things allow for ping tolerance. Somebody who sits in Europe and plays on a server in the USA can still play pretty well.

With Action games, you can do online, but you need very short ping times. Because of the laws of physics, you have limits to what you can allow in the distance department. A europe-USA ping of 500ms is not exceptionally slow, and 300ms is already close to the limits. But this is half a second reaction time that a european player will lose over an US based, which makes them unable to compete if the game is action based and thus no longer has cooldowns.

That's a big problem for PVP.  But you can cover up any fixed amount of latency for PVE purposes by giving mobs a reaction time of sorts during which information is transmitted.

Originally posted by borghive49

I don't understand this obsession to combine a FPS style of game play into a MMO. I've played Wildstar, GW2, Tera and ESO while they all have some neat systems these combat systems in my opinion don't function very well in a group setting.  I personally don't think action combat works well for traditional MMOs. I'm not entirely against it I have just yet to see a good version of it implemented into a game. 

What does FPS have to do anything?  Don't people realize that there were tons of action combat games on the NES, SNES, and Genesis when they could barely do anything in first person?

Group combat works much better in GW2 than in any Trinity game I've seen, though that's partially because ArenaNet put considerable effort into making it practical to find a group and most MMORPGs don't.

Originally posted by Mkilbride

Action MMORPGS require alot of physical and mental effort, while Tab Target does not. So the difference between 5 hours of a game like Vindictus, or WoW, in those 5 hours in Vindictus, it feels like 10. You can't just kinda  "Blank out", during the boring parts. So people end up taking breaks. But with a subscription, I mean, the breaks aren't all that appealing, yet you don't want to play either, so obviously you won't subscribe to a game that is like that. Hence why you see these types of MMORPGS getting alot of excitement at release

Playing a game for 5+ hours straight without a break is neither normal nor healthy.  Well, at least not unless it's the sort of game that you can leave running while only intermittently paying attention to it--which few MMORPGs are.

Originally posted by monochrome19

Thanks Jd and Syn,


as far as what I expect, I just want to be able to run Source without any hiccups. Here are the sys reqs for Source:


OS: Windows 7 / Vista (Windows 7 64 bit suggested)
Processor: 3.0 GHz P4, Dual Core 2.0 (or higher) or AMD64X2 (or higher)
Memory: 2GB (4 GB suggested)
Hard Disk Space: At least 15 GB of Space
Video: NVIDIA GeForce 200 series card or better, or AMD Radeon 3000 series or better (NVIDIA GeForce 400 series or AMD Radeon 5000 series preferred)
Monitor: 1366 x 768 (1920 x 1080 suggested)
Audio: DirectX 9.0c compatible
USB headset with mic (suggested)


Besides that, I dont really expect much. I just want to be able to do my work with it. If it takes a long time to render or load thats fine as long as everything I'm doing WITHIN the program is fluid/ not laggy. Some nice folks on reddit helped too, which do you think is the better option. I should be fine going a little over $350, maybe even to $400.

CPU Intel Core i3-4130 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor $119.97 @ OutletPC
Motherboard ASRock H81M Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard $59.99 @ Mwave
Memory Crucial 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $36.99 @ Newegg
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $54.98 @ OutletPC
Case Cooler Master N200 MicroATX Mid Tower Case $42.99 @ NCIX US
Power Supply Corsair Builder 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply $29.99 @ Newegg
  Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available $344.91


CPU AMD A10-7850K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor $169.96 @ OutletPC
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-F2A55M-S1 Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard $34.69 @ Newegg
Memory Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $74.99 @ NCIX US
Storage Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $49.99 @ Amazon
Case Rosewill RANGER-M MicroATX Mini Tower Case $29.98 @ Amazon
Power Supply EVGA 430W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply $19.99 @ Newegg
  Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available $379.60

Both of those build have the glaring flaw that there's no OS.  No Windows means Source Filmmaker won't run.  If you can get a cheap, legal Windows license, that's great, but if you can do that, you should say so.

An A10-7850K is ridiculous on your budget.  The system requirements make it sound like it wants OpenGL 4.x, and relying on Intel video drivers is risky.  AMD and Nvidia update their drivers to support the latest versions, but Intel is typically years behind the curve on API support.

Let's see what we can do:

That comes to $303 before $30 in rebates.  But there's no OS, and adding $103 for a Windows license puts you over budget:

You might want to see if you can get a cheap Windows license through your university.  Linux obviates the need for this and will work fine for Blender, but apparently Source Filmmaker isn't available for Linux.

If you're willing to spend an extra $51 to double your performance, you can replace the combo deal by this:

Originally posted by ThumbtackJ
Originally posted by Quizzical

The caveat is, of course, what games?  It's not like there are a lot of graphically demanding games for Android; there previously wasn't any hardware that would be able to run them, anyway.  But if the hardware is there, then maybe games will follow--and maybe more PC games will be ported to Android now that there is Android hardware that can handle them.

This was my initial thought as well. Now, Android uses the Linux kernel, correct? If that's the case, would Linux versions of games be compatible with Android? If they are (or could be made so) then having the Steam For Linux client available on Android would make this much more enticing, IMO. 


The price tag of $300 sounds decent to me. Obviously I don't know much about tablets and their usual costs, but $300 is what the iPad mini 16GB costs currently, and I assume that has less powerful hardware. 


Anyways, awesome write up as usual Quizzical! :D

Using Microsoft tools that are Windows-only certainly shouldn't be a barrier between porting something from Linux to Android, whether DirectX, C#, Visual Studio, or whatever.  But even apart from that, porting code from one OS to another isn't necessarily a trivial matter.

The game I'm working on uses OpenGL and Java, so it should theoretically run on the Nvidia Shield Tablet without modifications apart from grabbing an Android file from JOGL instead of a Windows one.  It's probably got enough power to run the game decently, too.

But "should theoretically run" and "actually does run" are two very different things.  Do I really trust Google's Java interpreter for Android to invariably work exactly the same as Oracle's does for Windows?  In a word:  no.  Hence the slogan:  write once, debug everywhere.

Unfortunately, using the Shield Tablet as an actual shield will probably void the warranty.


Basically, Nvidia is betting that people will care about GPU performance in an Android tablet.  The main chip is the new Tegra K1.  Paired with four Cortex A15 cores, Nvidia offers a single Kepler SMX.  Yes, the same Kepler as in the GeForce 600 and 700 series cards.

It supports the latest OpenGL 4.4, DirectX 12, and any other APIs that one may reasonably care about.  Note that I'm excluding Mantle as an API that one may reasonably care about; I'm inclined to exclude CUDA as well, though the Tegra K1 does support CUDA.  Not that anyone should care.

This makes it the first modern GPU in an Android tablet.  As I see it, unified shaders are the mark of the modern era in GPUs.  Before that time, there were only two programmable shader stages:  vertex shaders and pixel/fragment shaders.  The shader stages had very different needs.  Vertex shaders typically processed geometry and needed high precision to avoid glaring holes or flickering, but were run fewer times.  Pixel/fragment shaders tend to process color data, which tends to need far less precision as your final output is red, green, and blue values that will rarely have more than 8-bits of precision, but they have to run each frame for every pixel that you want to draw.

GPU makers dealt with this by having different hardware for different types of shaders.  The arrival of DirectX 10 in early 2007 brought geometry shaders, an additional programmable shader stage.  Two more programmable shader stages for tessellation were supposedly to be added then as well, though they ended up being delayed until DirectX 11 in 2009.

Furthermore, some game developers moved to deferred rendering, which made it impossible to use both types of shaders simultaneously.  The vertex shaders all had to complete to compute the geometry before any pixel/fragment shaders had anything to do.

The solution was unified shaders:  all shaders would be capable of processing everything that any stage could ask for, and all shaders could thus handle whatever shader stage was needed.  Thus, if you wanted all of your shaders to be vertex shaders one moment and all to be pixel/fragment shaders the next, they could all be busy and do what you need.  In desktop parts, Nvidia made this transition in late 2006, and ATI did so in early 2007.

Sound like ancient history?  Well, mobile GPU vendors (Qualcomm, Imagination, ARM) generally still haven't made that transition.  That's why they only support OpenGL ES, which lacks geometry shaders and the tessellation stages, and not the full OpenGL.  If they mention support DirectX, it likely involves the whole "feature level" nonsense that translates to "Microsoft will let us call it DirectX 11, but it's really only 9.0c".  One could perhaps support the full OpenGL, but four programmable shader stages in which nearly all of your shaders have to sit idle is a recipe for embarrassingly poor performance if you're using the modern API properly.

AMD has already brought the latest GPU architectures to Windows tablets, but not Android--or at least not yet, as AMD is working on ARM chips.  Now Nvidia is bringing the latest GPU architectures to Android.

Some would argue that tablet power consumption needs to be so low that you can't run high end graphics on them, anyway.  But that has the situation exactly backwards:  tablets have so little power available that using it as efficiently as possible is vital.  One critical way to do this is to offload GPU-friendly work to the GPU as much as possible.  Archaic APIs and GPU architectures greatly reduce your ability to do this, and running GPU-friendly computations on a CPU is not a recipe for energy efficiency.

So what about the tablet itself?  The specs don't disappoint:  it's an 8" tablet with a 1920x1200 IPS monitor, the aforementioned Tegra K1 SoC, and a $300 price tag.  The controller ($60) and stand ($40) come separately to keep the base price tag down, and there's a 32 GB option with added LTE support for an additional $100.  2 GB of memory isn't much by desktop standards, but it's plenty for an Android device that won't have the OS plus random vendor-installed bloatware eating up most of 2 GB before you get to software that you actually care about.

The downside of higher performance is that it tends to mean higher power consumption.  That's an area that Nvidia has traditionally struggled with--and I'm referring to previous generations of Tegra here, not the Fermi debacle.  I don't know how well Kepler reduces power at idle, but I'd bet that it's not nearly as well as weaker mobile GPUs that are built for low power consumption, not for high performance.  It's surely not a coincidence that Tegra K1 is a tablet chip, not a cell phone chip.

So it really comes down to what you want in a tablet.  If long battery life is your priority, I'd be surprised if the Shield Tablet is anything better than mediocre here.  But if you want an Android tablet that you can play demanding games on for a few hours at a time, this is far and away the best option today and will probably be the best option on the market for quite some time.

The caveat is, of course, what games?  It's not like there are a lot of graphically demanding games for Android; there previously wasn't any hardware that would be able to run them, anyway.  But if the hardware is there, then maybe games will follow--and maybe more PC games will be ported to Android now that there is Android hardware that can handle them.

Why do you ask?

The right game engine for a game depends on the budget, the technical capabilities of the people making the game, and the fine details of what they want the game to do.  The art style tends to be a rather less important consideration unless you need to do something really unorthodox in shaders.

Originally posted by Dihoru
Not where I live, the build I am working on is 1050 euros with AMD(includes transport, no OS) and a flat upgrade in terms of CPU throws about 100 more euros on top and I assume he will need an OS as well. Again all parts I know are good bang for your buck and from good brands. This though is including peripherals and extra luxuries ( secondary hard drive for video editing so I do not throw the principal one like I did with the laptop, R9 280 from sapphire in lieu of a serviceable 270x,etc ). Yes he can continually go for low end solutions and upgrade or tweak every 3-4 years or he can do like me (and one of my friends in 09 ) and spend a little more and not have to worry this side of 2020.

Oh and in about 3-4 years DDR4 will hit the mainstream so...either go big or chuck out most of the truly expensive bits in a Intel build and rebuild it. I know which way I am leaning.

GPUs are going to make steady improvements for years to come, so it's not like you can get a video card now that will be competitive with a $200 gaming card five years from now.  Processors, on the other hand, aren't improving much anymore, so if you get a Core i5-4670K today, it will probably still be decent enough a decade from now.

DDR4 is coming very soon, and will probably the dominant memory standard in desktops and laptops within two years.  How long was it between the launch of the first DDR3 part and DDR3 becoming cheaper per GB than DDR2?  Six months?  DDR4 has already been very delayed, and memory manufacturers have probably been planning for quite some time for the new process nodes to heavily focus on DDR4 as opposed to DDR3.  That would explain why DDR3 prices haven't been falling.

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