Monday, September 16, 2013

XBOX ONE vs PS4: The Real Story




As I sip my herbal mint tea this early Monday morning, once again I find myself looking across the vast horizon of tech news feeds looking for something to grab my attention. And there they are once again in all their infinite glory: "PS4 is 50% Faster than Xbox One, Claim Developers" "I'd be Skeptical of Reports about PS4 being 50% Faster" "Console Wars Round Two goes to Sony" "Xbox One wins over Families"

The console war cycle is once again upon us, and glorious it is in my eyes. As a technophile, I consider myself pretty up to date on the current console war.  In fact for the last 9 months, I have checked daily for any news regarding either console and consume the information with much prejudice. But with the constant influx of new hardware information, game news, predictions, theories, and some major service updates/changes, honestly the facts have been illusive indeed. 

I thought it would be nice to have a clear, concise CURRENT feature set for each console in one location, and a brief discussion about the merits of each. 

50% FASTER: IS IT TRUE?

Let's look at the origin of this theory. 

              PS4                                                     XBOX ONE

CPU:     8 Core AMD/(unknown speed)          8 Core AMD/1.75Ghz

GPU:     1150 Shaders/(unknown speed)         770 Shaders/853Mhz

RAM:    8Gb GDDR5/176Gb/s                        8Gb DDR3/70Gb/s 
                                                                          32Mb ESRam/204 GB/s

This right here is the crux of the argument. On paper it looks fairly skewed towards the PS4 having outright more power, while slightly less speed. 1150 vs 770 GPU shader cores, roughly 49% more. 176Gb/s vs 70Gb/s RAM bandwidth is a significant increase in the information pipeline going between the processors and the RAM read/write. Xbox One makes up for this difference with some supercharged silicone called ES RAM that moves info at 204Gb/s. You cannot just add the two together and call it 274Gb/s vs 176Gb/s of bandwidth however, as there is only 32Mb of this RAM to use, hardly enough for many large textures to use for the read/write pipeline, however it does give the Xbox One an advantage in some circumstances. For instanace one developer said "“Let’s say you are using procedural generation or raytracing via parametric surfaces – that is, using a lot of memory writes and not much texturing or ALU – Xbox One will be likely be faster,”

It should be mentioned, that I'm leaving the TFLOP count completely out of this equation. The reason being, as the numbers we have heard in regards to both systems are completely theoretical. Most of the numbers we have been receiving on Sony's end in actuality are leaked info and calculations based on info that may or may not be true. Rumors for both consoles have touted 1.8 TFLOPS for one console with 1.5 for the other, all the way up to 3 or 4 TFLOPS in a single console. Until Sony is more forthright about their consoles 'innards' it is mostly a moot discussion. 

OTHER FACTORS

There is however much, much more to the story in regards to the console war. When it comes to the differences in the consoles, shaders, CPU cores, and Ghz are only the half of it. 

                   PS4                                      XBOX ONE

Drivers:      DX11                                   DX11.2

OS:             Updated XMB                     Triple OS with Snapping features

RAM use:   3.5Gb OS - 4.5Gb/games    3Gb/OS - 5Gb/games 

Latency:     3x Latency of DDR3            No Latency

Price:          $399                                      $499

Social:        Dedicated app                       Skype

Camera:      Not Included                         Kinect2/Included

HDD:          500GB removable                500GB permanent

Ext HDD:    No game installation            Game installation allowed

Wireless:     Bluetooth 2.1                        Wifi Direct

HDMI:        HDMI out                             HDMI out/HDMI in

IR Blast:     None                                     Powerful IR Blast/device control

Devices:     Vita ($199)                            Smartglass (iOS, Android, WP8) 

Cloud:        15k servers                            300k+ servers

Release:      11/15/13                               11/22/13

Now I'm going to clarify, the above is just the differences between the consoles. Both consoles have a plethora of next gen quirks and tech advances that they both tout with much resilience. Blueray players, remote access and downloads, subscriptions, region lock free, wifi, download as you play, all of these great services both consoles support. 

The differences are where real comparisons can start being made however. 

DX11 VS DX11.2

Does that .2 mean much? It's a good question and most haven't really given it much thought as it is such a small number. There would probably be more clamor about it if it were a drastic change, such as DX11 to DX12. But this is only an incremential update, one that is exclusive to the Xbox One and Windows 8.1. 

The main changes between the drivers is explained here as Tiled Resources.  "Tiled Resources" allows for significant enhancement of in-game textures by making it possible to simultaneously access GPU and traditional RAM memory and create a single large buffer where large textures can be stored. This technique was demonstrated with a model of Mars which displayed a 3 GB texture using just 16 MB of GPU memory and in Graphine’s Granite Flight Simulator that showed "a remarkably detailed island with gliders constructed out of 64 megapixels."

Now this might seem like a relatively minor enhancement until you factor in the Xbox One's architecture. 32MB of ES RAM that read/writes faster than GDDR5 RAM with a much higher bandwidth. If this driver can make a 3Gb texture take less than 16Mb of allocated memory usage, suddenly things start to make a lot more sense for the Xbox One. Even larger textures can start making use of that supercharged bandwidth pipeline, and the GDDR5 advantage of the PS4 starts looking smaller and smaller, especially when factoring in the latency cost. 

RAM USE AND OPERATING SYSTEMS:


PS4 and Xbox One have both shown off their OS systems which can be seen here and here. Sony and Microsoft have also given fairly detailed statements on the power usage of each. 

The gist of the matter is both have very streamlined and updated user interfaces that look to be far more intuitive than their predecessors. The look and feel debate is really just a matter of subjective preference. However there are a few debatable tidbits that still leave much for gamers to argue about.

PS4's OS will use up almost half of the system RAM just to function properly, leaving only 4.5Gb of RAM for game developers to use for their software. Sony brought up a point on this that there may be a way for developers to access an additional gig of virtual RAM if needed, but the process sounds a little convoluted, and is by no means clear and concise. Xbox One's OS on the other hand will use up approximately 3Gb of the 8Gb, leaving a hefty 5Gigs of RAM for Developers to use. That is a little blow to Sony in regards to amount of RAM left for gaming. Especially when looking at the 3 OS system Xbox One will be using, which is designed to be primarily voice controlled, and also allow apps to snap view letting the user accomplish multiple tasks at once.  

The edge for intuitive design really goes to Xbox One on this front and will likely be more apparent as time goes on. 

RAM LATENCY:

One very little talked about subject is the inherent latency in RAM, the higher the bandwidth goes. This subject has been debated on multiple tech threads, with most agreeing the latency won't be a factor in gaming. 

There is however a different side to the story. The argument that GDDR5 latency (which is approximately 3 times that of DDR3) will not effect game consoles is mostly stemmed from the fact that PC graphics cards use GDDR5 without any problem as a game doesn't need much compute speed to complete its tasks. PC's, even the most powerful gaming rigs you can buy (for $14,000+ in some cases) use DDR3 RAM, with GDDR5 only accessed by the GPU. Why is this? 

Well, the fact is when compute is factored for other processes than running a game, the latency does in fact make a difference. OS, background tasks, scripting, many things the new consoles are starting to make use of. And this could very well make a visible difference in the upcoming console experiences. 

There was a time when all a console was used for was popping a cartridge in and playing the bits and shaders on the television. The consoles have evolved however, and both are touting many more general tasks than playing games. Browsing internet pages, streaming video, swapping services on the fly, voice activation, connecting to social media, both consoles are planning to make use of a lot more than shader processing. For this reason, the DDR3 set up may have an edge over the GDDR5 setup Sony is planning. 

IS THE PRICE RIGHT?

Well here we go with some real subjectivity. $100. It's real, its a fact, and it's the "in your face" price difference between the consoles. Kinect2 being bundled with the Xbox One is the main point of argument on why there is such a price difference. In fact that argument turns into "I don't even want the camera, why are they making me pay $100 for it?" in many cases. 

This however is a fallacy in logic. Here's why. 

More than half of the features Xbox One brings to the table involve the Kinect2. Voice control, IR blaster, Controller detection, facial recognition, even heart rate monitoring, all involve the Kinect2. Gamer sentiment is that they hate using camera gesture controls as a game mechanic. That is valid. But that is an argument for the original Kinect and it's less than stellar install base and lack of supporting games. Microsoft has repeatedly said the Xbox One is the Kinect2, and the Kinect2 is the Xbox One. The fact that the device turns on all of your entertainment hub peripherals at the single beckon call of your voice, really starts to turn that argument on it's head. It is obvious the Kinect2 is much more than a 'camera' meant to provide gesture controlled games to the masses.

It is much more logical to assume the $100 additional price is for the Triple OS, IR Blast features, Voice Control, Wi Fi Direct, HDMI in, along with the supercharged camera and gesture control features for good measure. It's telling, that Microsoft is planning to sell the Kinect2 alone for $350, roughly $150 less than the Xbox One. The $100 Kinect2 argument doesn't hold much water when you start looking at the big picture. 

SKYPE:

Who uses skype? Well, a lot of us do already. In fact, 89% of businesses globally reported using Messenger as a communication protocol in 2012. All of those businesses are now starting to use Skype. My office included. It is also a very common communication app used in the home and private sector. My family uses it almost exclusively, and I know many others doing the same. 

This is probably one of the biggest pro's for the Xbox One in the social and communication side of the feature list. As more and more homes begin using Xbox One and find Skype integrated, it will become second nature for families and businesses to simply say "Xbox, call soandso" and have a conversation right there from the home or office with any number of mobile devices including iOS, Android and Windows. The outreach is tremendous. 

PS4 version of this is unclear. They will likely have a dedicated app for talking with PSN friends and family, but nothing even closely as integrated as Skype is in the current market. There are rumors touting PS4 may get Skype integration eventually, but it seems that if those rumors were true, Sony would have shouted this from the hills day one. 

EYE VS KINECT2

There have been quite a few demos recently featuring the uses of the PS4 Eye and the Kinect2. The demos are definitely impressive, ranging from rangling tiny fireball shooting robots out of your controller to full face and body scans implemented right into your game so you can play digital versions of yourself and compete with your friends. It's all quite futuristic and mesmerizing in a 'TRON' sort of way. 




What it really boils down to here, is an upgraded Eye camera for PS4 with two cameras for a stereoscopic 3D view of the world in 720p, versus a behemouth upgrade to the Kinect, with a single stereoscopic camera lens at 1080p, IR blaster, Infrared sensors that can view you and the room regardless of light, and light sensors sensitive enough to see your heart rate by the blood pulsing beneath your facial skin,

The potential of both cameras really goes to infinity and beyond, but it's not much of a contest between the cameras as to which is better currently. 

STORAGE AND HDD AVAILABILITY:  

At first look, it's definitely a plus for Sony and kind of a bummer for Microsoft that the PS4 allows HD swapping and Xbox One does not. As both systems will come stock with a 500Gb hard drive, it seems there will need to be more wiggle room for space in the coming digital age. But looking further into the situation, all is not as it seems. 

Xbox One devs have confirmed that installing games to an external hard drive via USB 3.0 ports will be possible. Essentially, this makes grabbing a 5TB external hard drive and using it to store everything you need including game installs a piece of cake. Run out of Terrabytes? Go get another. 

PS4 on the other hand, when asked if this type of functionality would be availble for PS4, Yoshida simply tweeted "No". Apparently the entire internal hard drive will need to be replaced once the 500Gb cap is reached (which in this day and age can be reached quite fast). Once again, making PS4's boon a little more of a bummer than in the case of Xbox One.

BLUETOOTH VS WIFI DIRECT:

One of the most mind boggling aspects of the next gen console decisions is Sony's opt in to stick with last gen's gadget connection bandwidth. Bluetooth has made some tech advances leaps and bounds better than where they were last gen. Regardless, PS4 is coming with Bluetooth 2.1, an almost 10 year old technology, to connect wireless headsets and controllers. Xbox One in contrast will be using Wifi Direct technology for the same purpose. Right around a %350 increase in connectivity for control and wireless voice. 

This coupled with the fact that both consoles will include headsets for game chat, PS4 with an ear dongle with reportedly low quality, and Xbox One with a more traditional style headset and mic with supposedly better quality than last gen's headset, may make waves once the consoles are actually released and gamers get a sense of what kind of quality difference they will have between the consoles chat function. 

HDMI IN AND OUT:

HD is the current consumer benchmark, and most consumers have an HD flatscreen sitting in their living room or den. That's not to say better quality monitors are not available, with 4k and SHD on the horizon. But as for the here and now, HD is where it's at. Both consoles offer the HDMI out as a standard feature for entertainment display. 

The hidden gem within Xbox One's side of the console war however is the HDMI IN port. This feature is designed mostly to allow the connection of your television cable/dish network to connect directly through the console and allow television to be streamed directly through a single device without having to find another controller, change inputs on your television, and then use a separate controller to find what you want to watch. Everything, seamlessly integrated into one device, the Xbox, and controlled by your voice or hands. No switching inputs, no controller diving, all of that put behind us as very distant 'manual analog controller' past. I can see this becoming quite catchy as a feature.

There is more though. A lot of us, my family included, have moved on from the old cable network television watching. We watch videos on demand, Netflix, HBOGO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, almost any content worth watching is found in places other than a Dish Network, and with little to no commercials to boot. What good does that HDMI IN port do for us? Well, apparently any device with an HDMI out will work with the Xbox One via the HDMI IN port. 



Xbox One is going to make it so your old PS3, 360, or HPC is not irrelevant and tossed to the wayside. Want to play your Playstation Network library of games without switching inputs? Just say "Xbox, playstation" grab the PS3 controller and your on your way. Want to keep your 360 digital library accessible? Plug it in. Maybe you just want to get on steam and play some of your old titles that haven't been ported to the Xbox One. Well, it's an option, all thanks to that little slot in the back of the box that says "IN". This could be a big deal, especially with 360 and PS3 titles really ramping up in the next couple of years while Xbox One and PS4 titles are more scarce.

IR BLAST:

Everyone needs this. At some point in the future, this is going to be a must have feature for every home. One device that turns on everything in the media hub. How clunky and clumsy it is to fumble through a stack of asymmetrical round edged controllers sitting up on a shelf, or on the coffee table, or have to go 'diving' for that missing link that's hiding under the couch, or in the toybox, or in the kitchen that's the only thing keeping you away from your entertainment module of choice. 

With a powerful IR Blaster integrated into the Kinect2, Xbox will be able to turn on all your media hub devices, and control inputs, volume, power, and even change the channel from Syfi to Spike TV, all without lifting a finger. In fact, it will be much more akin to talking to the computer in Star Trek, your living room becoming your own personal captains deck on the Enterprise. 

VITA VS SMARTGLASS:



It's no secret that the next gen gaming consoles will feature second screens. Wii U included it with every box. PS4 is really pushing it's PSVita, as an amazing machine capable of stunning graphics and streaming gameplay from the PS4, and Xbox One has Smartglass. 

The devil in the details here is the price of the Vita vs the Price of Smartglass. Approximately $199 vs, well, free - if you already own a mobile device with iOS, Android, or WP8. Chances are, you have a smartphone like most of the tech world now, and it runs one of the most popular mobile OS on the market. Since the marketshare is into the billions, it's safe to say most of us will have a device, phone, or tablet capable of running Smartglass. 

What this entails for actual gaming purposes? It's really yet to be seen how far developers can go with the technology. But it is an exciting prospect to keep an eye on. 

THE POWER OF THE CLOUD:

It's almost a running gag the statement Microsoft has been making about "the power of the cloud". On gaming forums and tech sites alike, gamers have been calling Microsoft out on this so called 'power' and haven't really been able to grasp anything tangible. 

Mostly, it is looked upon like a fabled mystical sorcery that will somehow make the Xbox One games graphically better than PS4 or even PC, for years to come. 

Technophiles from all sides have come to a consensus that internet bandwidth is just not there yet, so there is no way for the 'power of the cloud' to increase performance graphically to games without major rubberbanding or ping suspension hickups. Despite claims from developers at Respawn entertainment (Titanfall) and Forza 5 Developer, Dan Greenwalt, that the Microsoft Azure server cloud really making a difference in the AI, scenery and even looks of the game, gamers seem mistified to buy into this theory. 

Personally, I think the fact that MS has invested in 300k servers for gaming, and Sony only about 12 to 15k servers at this point, is going to make a major difference in user experience. It seems best explained by eurogamer in that the technology is there, but bandwidth needs to catch up. 

Cloud is just a buzz word for Server Farm really. Azure uses it to power corporate offices, PS4 will use theirs to power Gaikai and stream games, Xbox One will use theirs to add power to games, including AI, online worlds, and eventually compute and display purposes when the tech allows. It's not an impossibility, just a gradual progressive technology that won't change things overnight. 

Heaven knows, Microsoft have invested heavily into it. Reportedly $700 million heavy. That is nothing to scoff at. 

RELEASE DATE:

At long last, our dreams and wishes of a next gen gaming future are about to come true. November 14, in the case of the PS4, November 22, for anyone looking at buying an Xbox One. 

Will a week of difference make or break the system? Although there are articles aplenty spelling doom for the system for waiting a week beyond Sony, My cards are on "NO", and it seems most gamers feel similarly. Microsoft actually made an interesting launch point in the console equation. In the US, it releases on the exact birth day of Xbox 360. A sentimental approach that puts it one week later than the PS4. In the UK, it releases one week prior to the PS4. So any headway actually made by that additional week in the states, Xbox One now has the same headway outside of the US. 

This is an interesting proposition, as the majority of the Xbox fanbase is already in the US, and those loyal to the brand won't be changing for the most part, since friends, family and subscriptions all carry over. Waiting an additional week won't be changing those kind of minds. 

On the other hand, those sitting on the edge of fence for the Xbox One or PS4, might be swayed with the waves of hype that will inevitably coincide with the launch of the consoles. PS4 being first in line may pick up the wishy washy in the US, while the Xbox One could do the same in the UK and outlying countries. 

Indeed, exciting times are coming in the very near future.

GAMES:

One of the biggest factors in the console vs console argument, is the list of titles that come packaged with a neat little bow attached to that console. Games matter. Thats the fact of it. This time around, it really looks like Xbox One has the lead here. Luckily for all Gamers, a nice list of amazing looking multiplatform titles is going to be available:

MULTIPLATFORM:
  • Watch Dogs
  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  • Wolfenstein New Order
  • The Crew
  • The Division
  • Battlefield 4 (DICE)
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)
  • Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft)
  • Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions)
  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (TT Games)
  • FIFA 14 (EA Sports)
  • Madden NFL 25 (EA Sports)
  • NBA 2K14 (Visual Concepts)
  • NBA Live 14 (EA Sports)
But what about the games that really make the console shine? At launch, there will be several for each, though this is where Xbox One starts to show its colors:

                 PS4                                     XBOX ONE

                 Drive Club                          Forza 5

                 Killzone: Shadowfall          Dead Rising 3

                 Knack                                  Killer Instinct

                 The Play Room                   Ryse: Son of Rome

                                                             Crimson Dragon

                                                             Fighter Within

Then of course there are smaller 'Indie' games that look very promising for each:

                 PS4                                      XBOX ONE

                 Blacklight: Retribution        Loco Cycle

                 War Thunder                        Peggle 2

                 Resogun                               Powerstar Golf

                 Warframe                             Zoo Tycoon

Personally, to me, the most exciting prospects are the 'LAUNCH WINDOW' titles, that will likely come around Christmas or early 2014. 

                 PS4                                    XBOX ONE

                 Infamous Second Son       Titanfall

                                                           Kinect Sports Rivals

                                                           Project Spark

And then later a few other games have been announced.

                 PS4                                    XBOX ONE

                 The Order 1886                 Halo Xbox One

                 Deep Down                       Dance Central Xbox One

                                                           Sunset Overdrive

                                                           Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

Now, we know of course there are games coming that have yet to be announced. A next gen Media Molecule title is confirmed in the works (Next Gen Sackboy), Quantic Dream and Naughty Dog (Heavy Rain, Uncharted) have yet to announce their next gen titles. And let's not forget the Next Gen HALO that is in the works. 

WHO WINS?



What does it all mean? Well, some have boasted the power difference between the consoles being varied as much as 1080p at 60fps on one console with 720p at 30fps on the other, to as little as 4 to 5% difference in frames per second in any situation. But as always in the non confirmed spec's point of view, we will have to wait and see. 

Who wins? Well as all matters of opinion, that is entirely subjective. There are differing opinions going both directions from gamers and developers alike. Even the Legendary John Carmack stated that according his own experience developing thus far on each console, they are nearly 'identical'. 

THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING

The one true source that all of us as gamers are going to need to look to, is time. Only time will tell how much variance in power the consoles really have. And that doesn't mean 'November'. 5, 7 or 10 years down the line, the consoles will likely be in a position very similar to current gen consoles - Neck and Neck. Who will be ahead is anybodies guess. 

Analysts keep telling us gaming sales are going down and mobile gaming will take over. Personally, I think the increased pre-sales of consoles compared to last gen is very telling. Mobile gaming in my opinion isn't closing the door to traditional gaming, it is in fact the opposite. It looks more to be paving the way for new casual gamers to learn to appreciate the gaming universe in ways they hadn't considered before, opening up doors for millions to accept and traditional gaming. Such has been the case for my own wife, to my delight lol. 

Personally, I will be getting both consoles as I am very excited for Exclusives that will be announced in the coming years for both. I will likely plug my PS4 into my Xbox One, so I can tell everything to turn on at once with the Kinect2 IR Blaster, and play my next gen Uncharted game with the simple voice command of "Make it so". Fun times ahead :)


33 comments:

  1. Which are you leaning towards more? I know you said you're getting both but I'm sure one is more attractive to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have always been a Sony fanboi, since PSX.

      But this November, I will be getting the X1. I will be getting the PS4 when a more compelling game captures my interest. Right now, there's not a whole lot to be excited about from my view.

      Delete
    2. Something I wanted to add - PS4 looks less compelling right now largely due to the fact that I am far from being finished with my PS3. I have a large library of games for it, and have preordered PS3 titles that I plan on enjoying for some time to come.

      I really do like the fact I can continue playing my PS3 library through the X1 interface while still enjoying all the next gen enhancements of the X1 IR Blast, skype, and snapping features.

      Delete
    3. I would like to add something that relates to your points about the xbox dx drivers and the gddr5 latency. That is Sony is using an architecture that supports hUMA. Which, if I read it correctly, basically does at a hardware level what the dx 11.2 drivers do at a software level. It allows the gpu and cpu to access the same memory and pass data back and forth directly saving quite a bit of time in the process and IMO more than making up for the latency of the gddr5 memory.

      http://www.vgleaks.com/playstation-4-includes-huma-technology/

      Also, if you read this article below you will see that even the xb1 wont support installing games on an ext hdd at launch. That will come later at an unknown date and time.

      http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/165586-ps4-and-xbox-one-wont-support-external-hard-drives-for-now

      As you can see PS4 ALSO supports second screen via iDevices and android devices, not just the vita as you insinuate:

      http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/20/4011668/sony-playstation-app-for-ios-and-android-adds-second-screen

      Delete
    4. Also, according to some devs the ESRAM is just a pain to even utilize:

      http://hothardware.com/News/Developers-Claim-Xbox-One-Much-Weaker-Than-PS4-We-Evaluate-The-Evidence/

      Delete
  2. Rubbish article.

    Full of false information. And is missing a lot of information.

    Straight away, from looking at the games comparison,
    I can see you left out some PS4 games;

    The Order 1886
    Rime
    Shadow of the Beast
    MLB 14: The Show
    Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
    Deep Down

    and a whole bunch more.


    Although I can see you put a lot effort in.

    Oh well, it is not your fault if someone reads this as if it is the 100% truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry you feel that way. I don't know what missing information you are referring to.

      If it's just games you are talking about, no I didn't list all of the revealed games for the PS4. Same for the X1, I didn't mention Sunset Overdrive, Garden Warfare, several others. I might go put those in.

      As for the smaller indies, and such, I really don't care much to mention those. The Order and Deep Down I will probably put in there since those look to be AAA games, but they are definitely not 'launch window' games.

      Thanks for your input. But take off the Sony shaded glasses once in a while. Both consoles have a lot to offer. :)

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Shadow of the Beast
      Rime

      Looks very pretty and neat games.

      Delete
    4. Actually Lon, The Order 1886 IS a launch window game:

      http://www.ign.com/wikis/playstation-4/PlayStation_4_Launch_Titles

      Delete
  3. Playstation 4 isn't using DirectX 11.

    It uses OpenGL it can't use DirectX as it is a Windows Graphics API, and seeing as Playstation uses a modified FreeBSD operating system it just isn't possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.geek.com/games/sony-iimprove-directx-11-for-the-ps4-blu-ray-1544364/

      Here is some reading for you.

      Delete
    2. Sony never said they will use DirectX, They said they created an API which has more features(extensions) than features specified in Opengl4.0 spec and directX11 spec. This doest mean its is directX11.1 or less capable than directX11.2 or more capable than directex 11.2.

      PS3 uses highly modified opengl version of graphics API which you shouldn't even call it as opengl :) . Which i believe they will do similar thing with PS4

      DirectX is a specification given to hardware vendor to implement. If a silicon is capable of performing certain features specified by directx. Than its not mandatory to have directx api installed to get similar effect at similar efficiency. instead of calling a function abc()(in directX) you can call it xyz()(in opengl) and get the exact output(not literally but close enough).

      To my knowledge as a game developer(mobile though). The graphics performance mostly depend on hardware than software( it has its weight)
      Sony being in console hardware for these many years may not be so incompetent to develop very very less optimized GPU driver that, having 50% more GPU core wont even give atleast 25% better performance .

      To prove my point. I give you an question.
      Why games on windows mobile not prettier than iphone games?

      Delete
    3. if sony had been using opengl.. then we would be playing games on linux pc ...

      Delete
  4. Great article, only thing I miss is Destiny, it might not be a launch window game, but it one of thoose that seem to be a great game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ya, should probably add that in the multiplatform area

      Delete
  5. Great article, I appreciate your input. I can't wait to get my XB1 this November and PS4 Summer 2014!

    ReplyDelete
  6. PS4 will also have an Mobile app. Here is some info about one of the cool features.

    http://www.imore.com/ps4-companion-app-ios-buy-new-game-and-have-it-waiting-you-home

    Your mention of PS4 memory usage is disingenuous:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/ps4-memory-usage-rumors-addressed-by-sony

    Not sure why everyone cares if PS4 uses direct x or not. It is not the end all be all of graphics apis. From what I have read it appears that Sony uses its own and it supports the hardware well. Which is all that matters. Sony can make there own api do whatever direct x does in terms of what you see on screen. So I don't get what the big deal is. Is it just a porting thing? People are afraid since they don't use it that the games when ported won't be as good? I don't really think anyone has anything to worry about.

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  7. Great read, thank you for the effort you put in compiling this information.

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  8. Well gotta say that was the most Biased and Un-balanced post I have read since a EuroGamer Leadbetter article, not to mention full of wholly in-accurate information and skewed figures.

    One quick question do you have any Technical knowledge on this subject?

    As I wont go into the detail and I prefer to just highlight a few of the issues/omissions with it.

    1) eSRAM is in NO WAY any advantage, this is and always has been a plaster to fix the Bandwidth issues created from the old DDR3 solution, simply put this will be a bottleneck in perfomance and will mostly be used as a Framebuffer (like X360 was) which will limit the amount of Resolution output the render can handle. Hence why you will see any game that uses it will be sub 1080p, this is already evident.
    2) PS4 DOES NOT and WILL NOT use DX11 or otherwise for games end of. This is a MS API and PS4 API(s) GNM and GNMX use OpenGL (which in itself is far superior to DX AND the only benefit of the .2 Texture boost is already present and has been for years in GL it is called MegaTextures).
    3) The O/S overhead of the Windows HyperVisor set-up takes 2 cores away from games from the CPU. Add in the fact that the CPU is always having to handle the Data processing from the Kinect device. Right now the PS4 overhead is not confirmed
    4) The PS4 will allocate UPTO 5.5GB to games CURRENTLY but rumours are that this will reduce.
    5) You missed the fact that the X1 has 8GB of Flash ram (Most probably used for the OS store and for the Hibernation state/resume) which would be a real tangible benefit to the experience for the fast Snapping and suspending. How much research did you do.
    6) The Latency of the GDDR5 is far outweighed by the speed and fact that the OS will reside in Ram with simpler calls to function than any Windows environment it will not affect the performance greatly/ Added to the fact that the eSRAM is the biggest single Bottleneck in the system.
    7)And the BIGGEST omission or dodge is the single GPU difference. Simple fact is the PS4 is simply 50% faster, twice the ROPS/6 more CU/ Near 50% more shaders. Not to mention the hUMA advantage and the 48 ACE's for GPGPU work along. The ALU is simply a better designed and powered device for Games being fed by a much,much faster bandwidth. This does not mean 50% more performance but it does mean at the beginning the PS4 will take alot less work to achieve the Developers Targets (Most likely being set at the lowest denominator the X1) and the game will most likely being slightly nicer and have a more stable frame rate. As time goes on and both deliver better API's the difference will only look more pronounced especially in 1st Party Games towards the PS4.


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    1. Most of your post is based on leaks or rumored tech, unconfirmed by Sony.

      Your post is also quite biased towards Sony, as you immediately write off the ES RAM coupled with DX11.2 tech. Megatextures, is not the same as DX11.2 Tiling. do some research.

      The point of this article is to show 'power' is a subjective matter. And pulling out your shader count and yelling 'we are the best' is pretty much what every fanboy is trying to do just like your last paragraph - while, as explained above, PS4 is actually offering far LESS than the Xbox One. At least at this point.

      It will be interesting to see what Sony really has to offer once they actually reveal their consoles innards.

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    2. But that is my Point I am not Quoting rumours as fact. I have stated FACT and then added in some rumours.

      hUMA is not a rumour the Onion and Onion+ is fact which is hUMA.

      I am not writing of ESRAM no-more than any coder will tell you (I am a coder myself just not games) so am aware of how hardware/bandwidth and Memory all work. But at least you agree you are biased in your post which is good.

      Trust me I am no fanboy (I even quoted a big plus FACT in my point towards the X1 that you missed). Power is not and never is subjective it is fact, how that power is used is subjective.

      Comparing a Console to a PC (Even though these are more pc Like) is unfair and wrong. But comparing 2 Like for Like systems (Closed Box/Low Level API/ Similar chipset etc etc) is and what is fair and the PS4 wins on all counts.

      If we enter into service's than other than vapourware what have MS got over Sony. Arguably the EyeToy has shown a better more Technical demo of its powers and integration (PlayRoom) over anything seen on the Kinect, do you not think if there is a Killer App that proves why kinect is great over and above the OS use MS would show it? Anything else is just a wait and see approach which is what you are basing your FACT's on.

      Also I am not yelling anything, I am simply stating you have ignored a huge reason like this along with the Price Difference which clearly is in Favour of Sony there is no Doubt. The difference is will MS give us something with that that Sony Cannot? Who knows, not you, not me or anyone so right now on what we know PS4 is the better offer. And that is all you can base a choice on.

      There is no debate with Power and ease (Far too many back tracks and drops from MS, far too many On-record quotes from Developers to ignore that).

      Finally please research some more into your articles/DX/OPEN_GL and Megatextures and tiling before posting an article that is wholly weighted to support your view.

      I give you it is well written, just not from a independent view.

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    3. Your mistake here is I am biased towards gaming. Not towards X1 or PS4.

      If Sony was giving me better reasons to buy the PS4 than the X1, I would be on the other side of the fence, completely. I've always been on the Sony side as a matter of fact, as Playstation generally has had the better prospects for gamers.

      This time around, against all odds, Sony is offering less. Which is why it costs less.

      I find it funny you consider Sony's Playroom to match anything Kinect2 has to offer. The facial recognition, mood software, heartrate monitor, and 3d ir lighting is going to put that tech to shame in my view.

      Honestly, I was hoping Sony was going to come out swinging with something more advanced than the Kinect and IR Blast. But they are behind in the innovation tech. Far behind.

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    4. Im sorry, but you come off as absolutely xb1 biased and your blog, while semi informative, is filled with misinformation. posted above regarding those points.

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  9. The simple fact is MS built a Media Centred device and had a Plan to manage the device and market like Apple, this fell through and they are planning catch up. All the pointless and public up-clocks to gain <10% to try and claw some performance back is staring any blind Fan boy in the face. The X1 will have great games and great looking games but simply lying or twisting the truth to suit your argument/opinion is wrong and this blog is wrong in so many ways.

    You want the X1 and have made your choice which is fine (I am buying both) but this article will be used to convince others of things that are simply untrue. The PS4 is Better/More Powerful and cheaper than the X1 This is FACT not Point Of View. Games/services etc are benefits only based on your own views they are not and cannot be fact unless they are like for like comparisons on price/performance or a other fair comparison.

    I think this line sums up the Biased status you write this from:-
    "There is however a different side to the story. The argument that GDDR5 latency (which is approximately 3 times that of DDR3) will not effect game consoles is mostly stemmed from the fact that PC graphics cards use GDDR5 without any problem as a game doesn't need much compute speed to complete its tasks. PC's, even the most powerful gaming rigs you can buy (for $14,000+ in some cases) use DDR3 RAM, with GDDR5 only accessed by the GPU. Why is this? "

    Answer because you CANNOT buy anything other than DDR3 for system ram on ANY PC. Sony played a game to wait it out and see if they got to 8GB affordable Ram (Hence why they only announced 8GB in Feb, all games made and seen thus far were made with 4GB).

    I thank you

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    1. Dark, I appreciate your sentiment on the matter, but you are largely reading the article from a 'Sony shaded glasses' perspective.

      "The PS4 is Better/More Powerful and cheaper than the X1 This is FACT not Point Of View."

      Is the most telling sentence in your post.

      "Better" is completely subjective. "More Powerful" is also subjective. "Cheaper" is relative, and I would agree, the PS4 is cheaper, in both cost and features.

      Let me explain.

      Better - better at what? Gaming? no. They will be pretty much on par with one another. Xbox One will definitely be better at recognizing you when you enter the room, or better for playing your old game library with a simple voice command. PS4 doesn't offer those features.

      More Powerful? If you mean More shader cores, sure PS4 has more. But as the article explains, there is a lot more to the consoles than a few shader cores. Xbox One will be more powerful as a media device. It will be more powerful as an IR Blaster, turning everything on for you with a simple command. It will be more powerful at multitasking with its snapping functions and flash memory.

      Lastly, I want to touch the latency subject. PC's will not use GDDR5 as their core RAM component. Not ever. Components will move to DDR4 which is coming soon, and maybe a decade down the road, DDR5 will be developed. GDDR5 as it stands today just has too much latency for the general tasks a PC has to perform. It's great for parallel tasks a GPU normally performs, but not the sequential tasks modern CPU's perform. This is probably one of the biggest hurdles devs will have to overcome as the PS4 releases and have to figure a way to allow the system room to do more than just render games. You can read all about it on Tomshardware or Anandtech sites.

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    2. There is some technical info I thought relevant to your post, one of my friends recently shared with me. I thought I would quote him here.

      “The PS4 is theoretical 42.6% faster than the Xbox One, but in real
      world applications the difference is 13%-25% assuming the eSRAM is putting out the bar minimum of a 109 (GB/s) r/w per cycle. In additon, the Xbox One has DDR3 which is a 128-bit bus and the PS4 has a GDDR5 256-bit bus, but GDDR5 has higher latency than DDR3. This is where the anonymous developer gets his 40-50% from.

      Xbox One : 8 GB of DDR3 68 (GB/s) peak r/w per cycle + 32 mb of eSRAM 204 (GB/s) peak r/w per cycle PS4: 8 GB GDDR5 174 (GB/s) peak r/w per cycle

      Now, Let's get into the CPU.

      The PS4 CU and the Xbox One's CUs are directly comparable because they come from the same vendor and is of same generation. The PS4 APU has 18 CUs, 10 of which are for rendering and 8 are for OpenCL compute tasks. The Xbox One's GPU has 12 CUs, all of which are dedicated to graphics rendering. Microsoft chip's secret sauce is in the CPU whose FPU is much more powerful than the Jaguar's FPU and run compute tasks directly on the CPU instead of CU shaders.
      The Xbox 360 CPU suffered from horrible 500 cycle stalls(Worse than CELL's stall) upon an L2 cache miss. The Xbox One CPU has wonderful 32 eSRAM to make that L2 cache miss only a few cycle stall. Furthermore the Xbox One's CPU cores are "Microsoft Custom" with 6 ops/cycle, vs 4 ops cycle normal "Jaguar" used in the PS4 APU. The difference is that while the Xbox One does its physics on the CPU, the PS4 offloads them to the 4 Compute Only CUs.

      The eSRAM is not directly managed by a programmer; it is managed at the OS virtual memory manager and should be invisible to a programmer. It is sort of like virtual memory; frequently accessed main memory pages are mapped to eSRAM pages. Developers need not worry.

      Less heat generation due to lots of CU idling(Xbox One's CU's run at
      near 100% efficiency due to eSRAM) and low power Jaguar Cores(Xbox One's 6-ops/cycle "Microsoft Custom" CPU is 50% wider).

      Games won't have anything other than a tree-traversal based AI this
      gen unless you outsource it to cloud like Microsoft's proposing.

      That, no one's worried because of the heavy optimization on the Xbox One's GPU. The embedded memory historically has done wonders for console graphics, making it twice as efficient as a GPU relying on external memory.

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    3. "Why you may not see the PS4 outrunning the Xbox One in multiplatform games.

      1. GDDR5 : GDDR5 is a high-latency memory which is particularly bad for CPUs where an L2 cache miss will result in a stall of hundreds of cycles, especially since there is a memory contention with the GPU. The Xbox One not only has lower-latency DDR3 to begin with, but the CPU can access data from memory faster because there is less memory contention to main memory thanks to the eSRAM.

      2. PS4 has only 14 graphics CUs vs 12 graphics CUs for the Xbox One : Contrary to a popular misconception it is not 18 vs 12, but 14 vs 12 because the PS4's CU is 14 graphics + 4 compute only CUs. Couple this with the effect of eSRAM and the Xbox One may actually outrun the PS4 in graphics performance. The PS4 will definitely outdo the Xbox One in physics heavy games, but not in regular kind of games.

      3. Xbox One has dedicated Kinect processing hardware, while the PS4 must use

      4 Compute CUs for the next-generation Move censor processing : The Xbox One has a definite edge over the PS4 in motion sensor based games where the PS4 versions will slow down.
      The Xbox 360 suffered from a 500 cycle latency in case of an L2 cache miss which in turn caused a CPU stall, and this problem was particularly worse for the Xbox 360 than the PS3 because of GDDR3 with high latency. The problem was so bad that IBM included L2 cache prefetch instructions in the Xbox 360 CPU instruction set, so that the compiler can schedule the L2 cache load.

      With the Xbox One's memory set up, the CPU L2 cache can be filled
      quickly due to the combination of eSRAM removing 90% of GPU bandwidth requirement and low-latency DDR3, while the PS4 APU's CPU cores will now stall like the Xbox 360's CPU cores did due to a bandwidth contention with the GPU and the high latency of the GDDR5 memory." - This is why sony does not bother talking about the cpu:) Every interview they praise the gpu and EVER/RARELY talk about the cpu? Who cares about a stupid cpu right?"

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    4. HI,

      Ok just to end this as you are on a roll with Microsoft and no matter what I say you will not change that view (which is your opinion) but if we go for some quick basics to end this conversation.

      You linked to a post stating that PS4 will be worse than X1 due to is using DX11.1 rather than .2. Now this is not true at all (As I posted in my first post) so wrong/Disingenuous.

      You stated the PS4 allocated only 4.5GB when infact it is 5.5 (although a lot of this is rumour, the only confirmed point is that Sony have said there is 1GB of "flexible" memory and this is always for the game even if 512MB could be a page file.

      The 18 v 12 CU is not confirmed as to how the split is with is possibly being 14 + 4 or open for the developer to decide.

      The CPU's on both are weak, Games do not use anywhere near the limit of current CPU's, GPGPU is where everything is going. And by designing a system with 48 ACE's to handle the work load in for compute and Shaders the Latency from the CPU is bypassed considerably by using the second path to snoop the data, effectively lowering the 100's of dropped cycles you get now from Flush and copy from GPU - CPU. Not to mention we still do not know how many IPC's the CPU has on either.

      Power is not subjective it is absolute, if a bike has 200bhp and another has 150bhp there is no doubt that bike A is more powerful, IF that bike is FASTER is subjective based on the rider. You seem to be missing this with you fingers in your ears "lah lah" attitude to it.

      As for the above info taken from another site also on the defence of the X1 it is again full of holes/hopes and alterations of truth, lets leave it at the fact that whichever you choose you will be happy with, and when we know what is confirmed in the PS4 we can compare like for like, As it stands now on what we know the PS4 is Cheaper and More powerful a GAMES CONSOLE which is what they are first and foremost. When we know all any Tech people can be happy or sad dependant on which fence side you fall!!


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    5. darkkwaknight has it in a nutshell. As things are the PS4 is (ON PAPER) more powerful. Super quick cache may help bits, but its still only 32MB, the size of my very first usb flash drive. - woop!

      As he mentioned, when it comes down to it, the power is a factor, as is "the rider". - Obviously meaning how easy it is to program / code for the machine. This is where the xbox360 ran circles around the PS3. The PS3 was apparently a NIGHTMARE to code for (as was the N64 back in the 90s)

      The big kick in the nuts in this "pre-console-war" for me would be the whole "I dont give a damn about your privacy" Microsoft. Constant online DRM. Camera watching your every move, mic listening to you shag, etc. "We won't do that anymore" - Yeah, they won't do it now, but will add it into the "contract" secretly later on. Pfft, screw that. PS4 all the way.. . . Or I may give it a miss and just stick to the PC. Safe!

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  10. Good Blog, I don't think the experiences will be different in terms of graphics, but what the systems deliver in customer service online services and interface. Hell, I'm happy with my Wii U and both the XBOXone and PS4 are way more powerful than it, but there is a difference between both of them.

    From my own personal experience, I love the XBOX controller, but everything else about the system is less than stellar.

    The red disc of death killed two of my XBOX360, so I am already biased against the XBOX. Not only that but I really hated having to fidget around the XBOX dashboard so I could play a simple game, it was so annoyingly complex, complete with pop-up windows. Finally the XBOXlive service... This thing was $60 bucks a year yet all it did was create a wall for advertisement, delivering nothing more but adds and charging me for something Sony did free.

    On the other hand Sony has a lot going for it because I am a fan of their products already. The PS3 delivered a better online experience for free, had a simple interface layout and worked flawlessly for the last 8 years without breaking down on me.

    Finally, E3 really made my decision simple. Don Mattrick, Adam Orth and Major Nelson did more for the PS4 than anyone else. They insulted gamers for more than two months, questioning our intelligence, saying classist and elitist things and just acting like a bunch of ass hats. To me anyone buying or defending the XBOXone has battered wife syndrome. Especially when people are saying both systems have equal power and are equal in every way. They are not equal.

    One is $100 more and has a history of bad customer service and the other is $100 cheaper and has always proven itself as a superior product.

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  11. lol the playstation "free" online experience is no where near as impressive as xbox live, to say its "better" its ridiculous. There is a reason even though its 59.99 a year , people will pay to get that service. ... haha... sorry that just made me laugh....and didn't playstation start charging for premium online services? that had game downloads etc? will that change for the PS4?

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  12. I agree though, good blog, I see the upsides to both systems, the writer is clearly a bit biased, but does give evidence to support why both consoles are powerful machines, its like pitting two cars against each other and talking about horsepowers, torque, aerodynamics and expecting the specs of the vehicle to win the race. Lets just see them perform. Thats when it really matters.

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