PlayStation 4 and Xbox One: compared the hardware




PlayStation 4 and Xbox One: compared the hardware

Introduction: High time

Microsoft released its first Xbox console in 2001, and the Xbox 360 followed in 2005. Competitor Sony has been around for longer and spent a generation earlier even though a console, the first PlayStation was published in 1994, followed in 2000, the PS2 and the PS3 came out in 2006. Looking at the number of years between generations, notes that it is high time for a new generation. Comes just in time for the holidays both Microsoft and Sony’s new console, the Xbox and PlayStation One 4 respectively. The PS4 is from November 29 in the Netherlands for sale, on the Xbox One, we have to wait until the spring of 2014.

“Are the new consoles, the waiting time of seven and eight years worth?”

We will both consoles extensively reviewing this year, where we will discuss the case, the controller, the new features and of course the launch line-up. Before that we dive into the history and the guts of the new consoles and their predecessors. We look at the changes in the hardware and what that means for the performance, games and developers.

However, we have quite a battle to hold the arm, the hardware is (spoiler alert!) Although almost similar to that of a PC, but the performance of a console to a never-to-one translation from PC to console. Nevertheless, we will see which manufacturer on paper the fastest console and how it relates to a gaming PC. Are the new consoles, the waiting time of seven and eight years worth of hardware improvements are of secondary importance?

Xbox One en PS4 History: third and fourth generation

Sony released in 1994 its first game console on the market, in the form of the PlayStation. The CPU in the console consisted of a RISC processor running at 33.87 MHz, complemented by a geometry transformation engine for calculating 3D graphics and motion decoder to handle fmv video. The GPU was used primarily for drawing 2D graphics and supported resolutions up to 640×480 pixels. In total, 3MB of memory: 2MB for the CPU and 1MB VRAM for the GPU. Performance Figures flops are not available, only the cpu numbers in a more generic mips-listing are known and come out at about 176mips.

“The PlayStation 3 marked another significant step for the console”

Launched in 2000, PS2 was a big step forward with its Emotion Engine, a processor with eight units, one RISC CPU core and two GPU cores. The processor running at 294MHz or 299MHz, was linked to 32MB RDRAM and 6.2 Gflops could supply power. The GPU was clocked at 147MHz and contained 4MB embedded dram. Most games were played at 480p, but a handful, including Gran Turismo 4, had a special HD mode, which yielded 1080i output. Vier PlayStation-generaties

The PS3, which since 2006 has sold meant another big step for the console. Sony developed with Toshiba and IBM, a new processor, which communicates with 256MB of memory and is combined with a separate GPU that is created. Nvidia CPU and GPU are good for a combined computing power of such 400Gflops and there was support for 1080p screens.

“The Xbox was clearly based on PC hardware on a technical level”

Microsoft made a faster development. The American company got its Xbox game console in the market until 2001. The Xbox was clearly based on PC hardware. Technical level The console had an Intel Pentium III 733MHz CPU on board, coupled with 256MB of memory and a GPU from Nvidia, and turned on a combination of Windows NT and XP. Most games turned in 480p, but some also support 720p and 1080i supported a few.

Xbox 360 followed in 2005 and the interior was Microsoft this time with IBM, which makes a tricore-CPU PowerPC-based. The GPU is somewhat similar to a desktop component and is made by ATI, now AMD. The 360 ​​has 512MB of memory and 10MB of eDRAM once on the GPU. Games of the 360 ​​can be rendered at 1080p, with a power of more than 350Gflops.

Xbox, Xbox 360 en Xbox One

Which brings us to the latest game consoles: the eighth generation, but Microsoft and Sony, respectively, the third and fourth generation. What do both manufacturers changed their consoles? Sony’s PlayStation 4

When the PlayStation 3 was released in 2006, had a console for PC gamers completely unknown processor architecture on board with a single GPU. The CPU is based on IBM’s Cell architecture, which features Power Architecture cores, as known from older Apple systems. The single-core Power Processing Element is combined with six synergistic processing elements, mainly vector calculations and multimedia account for. An additional spe-core is reserved for the operating system and security. The GPU is made more traditional, with a G70 GPU from Nvidia as a base, along with 256MB of GDDR3 memory.

The new Sony console has gotten a little more traditional approach, where the hardware rubs a lot closer to that of PCs. The core of the PS4 is accellerated processing unit which, like the processor in the Xbox One, made ​​by AMD and is based on the x86 architecture. The APU PlayStation 4 consists of a custom system on a chip, which is based on the latest generation of hardware.
Specifications PlayStation 4
Processor Architecture AMD 28nm Jaguar
Cores and clock speed 8x 1.6 GHz
CPU cores (stream processors) 1152
GPU clock speed 800MHz
GCN geometry engines 2
GCN rop s 32
GPU computing 1.84 Tflops
Memory 8GB GDDR5
Memory clock speed 5500MHz
Memory 256bit
Memory Bandwidth 176GB / s

The processor cores of the PS4-soc consist of Jaguar modules. These modules are a further development of the Bobcat cores, which were developed for efficient laptops. Soc on board for a total of eight cores. Jaguar two modules, each with four cores, The two modules are each provided with 2MB L2 cache, 4MB total so.

The APU also has 18 compute units that next-cores consist of graphics core. We know that AMD’s graphics cards from the last two years. The number of stream processors should thus reach 1152 units, some with a clock speed of 800MHz would be 1.84 Tflops well. This puts the GPU at the level of an AMD Radeon HD 7850 to 7870. The gnc architecture, however, was what changed. Thus saith the GPU part of AMD’s humani-engineering the memory directly, without the intervention of the L1 and L2 caches, on a 256bit wide bus.

Die-shot van PS4-apu

The APU features, combined, for both the CPU and GPU cores, 8GB of GDDR5 memory on eight chips on the top of the PCB and the same number of chips at the bottom. This memory can be called equivalent, so that the total computing power of the processor can be better utilized. By the CPU and GPU The memory bandwidth is 176GB / s and the clock speed is 5500MHz.

Besides the apu the pcb of the PS4 contains a chip for network connectivity, which means the PS4 an energy-efficient sleep mode ‘always connected’. The built-in Bluetooth receiver has a single antenna, the WiFi module uses print gates on the pcb as an antenna. Microsoft Xbox One

Microsoft has its Xbox One mostly walked the same path as a competitor Sony. The Xbox One, like the PS4 a custom APU from AMD on board. Compared with the Xbox 360 is the One much more shifted to the PC. The 360, like the PS3 CPU based. On the PowerPC architecture The three produced by IBM cores support hyperthreading and are assisted by a Xenos GPU that is created. ATI The Xenos is clocked at 500MHz and is similar to the Radeon HD 2000 series.
Specifications Xbox One
Processor Architecture AMD 28nm Jaguar
Cores and clock speed 8x 1.75 GHz
CPU cores (stream processors) 768
GPU clock speed 853MHz
GCN geometry engines 2
GCN rop s 16
GPU computing 1.31 Tflops
Embedded memory 32MB esram
Memory clock speed 2133MHz
Memory 256bit
Memory Bandwidth 68.3 GB / s
Memory 8GB DDR3
Memory clock speed 2133MHz
Memory 256bit
Memory Bandwidth 68.3 GB / s

Xbox One, like the PS4, a semi-custom-soc AMD on board, which consists of Jaguar modules and a GCN GPU. The Jaguar modules are similar to those in the PS4. Two quad-core modules form the CPU part, but Microsoft has chosen to bells than those in the PS4. Cores just faster Xbox One cores clocks at 1.75 GHz, 1.6 GHz compared to that in the PS4. That gives a little more CPU power, but by and large, the PS4 and Xbox One in this regard virtually identical.

That does not apply to the GPU. Although Microsoft uses AMD’s GCN cores, sit in the apu of Xbox One ‘only’ 12 compute units, accounting for 768 stream processors. That in the PS4 1152 units, but Microsoft overclocked the GPU cores with 853MHz slightly higher. 18th respectively The commitment of half the number of rops However the One serious disadvantage, but higher clock that captures something.

Xbox One blokdiagram

Microsoft not only faster CPU cores, but also by a different memory configuration. Compensates its lower number of GPU cores, namely Where the PS4 uses 8GB of 5500MHz GDDR5 memory clocked with 176GB / s of bandwidth, the shared memory of 8GB Xbox composed of slightly slower DDR3 memory at 2133MHz clocked. That memory is more economical, but only 68.26 GB / s of bandwidth. That is, however, just like the Xbox 360, offset by a piece of very fast memory that is integrated on the processor.

That embedded sram or esram, the One 32MB large, not only has a total effective bandwidth of 204GB / s, but also lower latencies than the DDR3 memory. However, the optimal use of the combination of esram and DDR3 memory puts more pressure on the developers, but they should be, the Xbox 360 used, which after all has 10MB eDRAM on board. The biggest differences: Memory and GPU

The specifications of the PS4 and Xbox One are largely the same, as is apparent from the two previous pages. Yet there are crucial differences between the two consoles. How exactly that affect performance, remains to be seen, as developers are somewhat accustomed to the consoles.

Both consoles is that they can get over the previous generation, thanks quadrupled or quintupled computing. Much more graphic detail on the screens Especially the much improved GPU with massive memory bandwidth have higher resolution, high-res textures, and advanced lighting and particle effects as possible.

“The greatly improved GPU’s to make higher resolutions possible”

One of the biggest differences is the system memory used. The PS4 is GDDR5, while used in the Xbox One DDR3 is. GDDR5 has a lot more bandwidth than DDR3, as the figures show, the PS4 has 176GB / s of bandwidth, while DDR3 Xbox One 68.26 GB / s supplies. However, that is, the comparison is not complete. Ddr3 who will also have a higher latency than GDDR5, partly offset by the higher clock speed also.

Xbox One soc

Something the Xbox One does have one major advantage, it is embedded SRAM. That memory is placed on the chip, so that it can communicate. With the apu very quickly along with the APU The specified bandwidth esram is 204GB / s, much faster than DDR3 and also faster than GDDR5 so. It combines high memory bandwidth with low latencies, making the GPU can exchange data with the rather fast. It esram can be used to buffer data and in-depth information, information about objects and lighting. However, developers are free to any desired data, such as textures, buffering. Esram in Thus they have more options than the Xbox 360, which could be dram for z buffers or render targets. Use only

“The 16rops Xbox seem a bit thin to generate a 1080p image”

The integration of that in the High-Speed ​​esram which has the effect that the GPU in comparison with that of the PS4 about one-third less compute units and only about half of the ROPS disposal. The latter are responsible for outputting the rendered pixels and cu contain the stream processors. The lower number of close ups and consequently lower number of stream processors is not likely to soon become a limiting factor, but the 16rops Xbox seem a bit thin to generate. 1080p picture The higher clock speed of the Xbox GPU can not quite catch. Programming: question of optimizations

The hardware is only part of the equation. Developers and programmers need to know the available computing power to exploit. Although the hardware of Xbox and PlayStation is largely the same, wait programmers a challenge.

First, they have to get used to programming for x86. The previous generation was based on the PowerPC architecture, which has a different isa than x86. What can make this transition easier is the fact that game developers who program for the x86 architecture PCs are already accustomed to, so write code for the new consoles which is easier.

PS4 pcb

Optimizing code for the eight cores of the two Jaguar modules may be more difficult to achieve. Multithreading code is notoriously difficult and was why many PC software could not make the transition from single core to multicore processors. This expertise has now been increased, but especially Xbox developers make a big change from three PPC cores to eight x86 cores. In addition, they must learn to exploit optimally. Esram

“Only after months or years, the maximum squeezed out consoles”

PlayStation developers were using the Cell processor already accustomed to eight cores, though that of course PPC cores instead of x86 cores and were spe were not comparable with a normal CPU core. Some of the cores can be not only used for the games, but also to process. Things as sensor data from Kinect Camera or

A final hurdle in optimizing for Xbox or PlayStation’s time. Initially games have yet to be released on both the old and the new generation, which for many games means real nextgen features are not yet fully exploited. Moreover consoles have always a learning curve, after months or years, the maximum squeezed out. Finally,

Somewhat remarkable that the eight CPU cores together less raw processing power seem to have the cores of the previous generation. The Cell processor of the PS3 and to a lesser extent, the Xenon / Xenos Xbox were technical feats, while this generation a more modest approach was chosen. Nevertheless, they must provide the computing power to calculate things like physics and artificial intelligence and take. Different elements like motion on their behalf This should lead to realistic movements and worlds.
Model PS4 PS3 Xbox One Xbox 360
Processor AMD APU (28nm) CPU + GPU (90nm-45nm) AMD APU (28nm) Xenon CPU + Xenos GPU (90-45nm)
CPU 8x 1.6 GHz (x86, Jaguar) 1 ppe @ 3,2 GHz
7 spe-cores (PPC) 8x 1.75 GHz (x86 Jaguar) 3x @ 3.2GHz (PPC)

1152 sp ‘s @ 800MHz (18 cu s)
Nvidia G70 @ 550MHz 768 sp ‘s @ 853MHz (12 cu s) 1152 sp ‘s @ 800MHz (18 cu s)
Memory 8GB 5500MHz GDDR5 @ 256MB XDR DRAM @ 3,2 GHz
256 @ 700MHz GDDR3 8GB DDR3 @ 2133MHz
32MB esram 512 @ 700MHz GDDR3
10MB eDRAM @ 500MHz
Memory Bandwidth 176GB / s 22.4 GB / s 68.26 GB / s (DDR3)
204GB / s (esram) 22.4 GB / s (gdd3)
32GB / s (eDRAM)
Computing 1.84 Tflops (GPU)
102.4 Gflops (cpu, sp) 176Gflops (GPU)
230Gflops (cpu, sp) 1.31 Tflops (GPU)
112Gflops (cpu, sp) 240Gflops (GPU)
115.2 Gflops (cpu)

Compared to a desktop PC, the consoles in theory the best papers. The GPU is comparable to a midrange graphics card and the CPU, although many cores feature, meant for laptops and quite low clocked. However, cooperation between CPU and GPU in AMD’s APU is as yet unknown. Only when introducing the Kaveri-APUs, in January 2014, this technique will also be available for other products. Moreover, for consoles barely overhead and can be programmed much closer to the hardware. AMD would also bring this technique with his Mantle Project incidentally to the desktop.

“What ultimately is the ‘better’ console will not lie to the hardware”

Sony currently seems to be the PS4 to have slightly more powerful console, or at least the console’s hardware at this time can most easily be utilized. Thus, the PS4, thanks to its more powerful GPU Battlefield 4 render with 1600×900 pixels, while the Xbox One version remains stabbing at a resolution of 1280×720 pixels. Also in Call of Duty Ghosts know the PS4 to achieve a higher resolution. However, these are multi-platform games, which are not made specifically for the new consoles.

What ultimately is the ‘better’ console from Microsoft or Sony will lie not so much in the hardware, which is too very similar. The games and services around it are rigged to make a difference, especially with the game developers have an important job. From which they can console the best images and more importantly, from which they can console the best gameplay presses?



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