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  • Microsoft’s version of Xbox360 vs PS3

    Posted on May 20th, 2005 Finster 4 comments

    Today, Major Nelson (whom I generally agree with and respect) posted a rather idiotic comparison of the PS3 and Xbox360’s performance specs. You can view my comparison here.

    So, let’s digest Major Nelsons charts…

    Figure 1:

    Major Nelson says:

    The Xbox 360’s CPU has more general purpose processing power because it has three general purpose cores, and Cell has just one.

    This is really beginning to make me angry inside. They ignore the fact that the Cell has 7 functional secondary processing cores. True, they aren’t parallel CPU cores like the other IBM chips in Xbox360 and Revolution, but they still run at 3.2 GHz. If you want to measure raw processing power, which is what REALLY counts, the PS3 wins. Big. The PS3, according to Sony, can do 2.18 Teraflops. Microsoft is claiming that the Xbox360 will do 1 Teraflop. (FYI, a Teraflop is 1 trillion floating-point operations per second and is one way to measure processing power of a computer.) I have a dual-processor Pentium III 500MHz at home. It’s still slower than my 1667 MHz AMD Athlon system. With Microsoft’s mentality, my dual-processor machine should be FASTER than my AMD machine. Guess what… IT’S NOT!

    If the Xbox360 processing model is faster using some other standard of measurement, then SHOW ME THE MONEY! Don’t just show a retarded chart showing “OMG! XBOX PWNS! IT HAS 3 AGAINST 1!”

    Figure 2:

    Major Nelson says:

    Cell’s claimed advantage is on streaming floating point work which is done on its seven DSP processors.

    True. So… SHOW ME THE MONEY!

    Figure 3:

    Major Nelson says:

    The Xbox 360 GPU has more processing power than the PS3’s. In addition, its innovated features contribute to overall rendering performance.

    Judging by Sony’s claimed 100 billion shader operations per second versus Microsoft’s claimed 48 billion shader operations per second, I have a hard time believing this one. However, as far as I know, Sony has not released any details regarding the clock speed of their GPU. If they have, I must’ve scanned right by it. So, it is possible that from a clock speed standpoint, the Xbox360 GPU is faster.

    It should also be noted that the number of shader operations given by Major Nelson’s table doesn’t match the official numbers given by Microsoft.

    Anyone who wants to read a really good break down of the Xbox360 and PS3 GPU’s, head over to Anandtech. Best article yet.

    Figure 4:

    Major Nelson says:

    Xbox 360 has 278.4 GB/s of memory system bandwidth. The PS3 has less than one-fifth of Xbox 360’s (48 GB/s) of total memory system bandwidth.

    This part is tricky. When speaking of bandwidth, Sony is talking about the actual bandwidth between the RAM and the Bus, and the direct access between the RAM and VRAM. Microsoft is talking about something completely different, as noted by Anandtech:

    Remember the 256GB/s bandwidth figure from earlier? It turns out that that’s not how much bandwidth is between the parent [where the GPU core lives] and daughter die [where the Embedded DRAM lives], but rather the bandwidth available to this array of 192 floating point units on the daughter die itself. Clever use of words, no?

    Pretty tricksy, Major Nelson. You’ll fool the fanboys, but not Top Of Cool.

    Parts 2 and 3 of Major Nelson’s post can be summed up thusly:

    Because Xbox360 has a dot product instruction (which Major Nelson believes does not exist in the Sony processor), the Xbox360 can theoretically perform many more dot product instructions. So, theoretically, the Xbox360 can perform 9.6 billion dot product operations. Sony is CLAIMING 51 billion over the whole system. Major Nelson makes the point that this is really far-fetched, and he’s right. I’m not quite sure what Sony was smoking on that one.

    In Part 4, Major Nelson discusses Memory Bandwidth again. I’ve pretty much covered that up above, so won’t do so again.

    Here’s Major Nelson’s conclusion:

    When you break down the numbers, Xbox 360 has provably more performance than PS3.

    That is still up for debate. It isn’t provable based on the numbers and charts Major Nelson gave us, that’s for sure.

    Keep in mind that Sony has a track record of over promising and under delivering on technical performance. The truth is that both systems pack a lot of power for high definition games and entertainment.

    However, hardware performance, while important, is only a third of the puzzle. Xbox 360 is a fusion of hardware, software and services. Without the software and services to power it, even the most powerful hardware becomes inconsequential. Xbox 360 games, by leveraging cutting-edge hardware, software, and services, will outperform the PlayStation 3.

    Very very VERY true. Sony likes to make big promises.

    Ultimately, as Major Nelson says, the hardware is only one small part of the big picture. But come on, this back-and-forth bickering between Microsoft and Sony is getting tiring. People from both companies have been exagerating, over-simplifying, rolling back features, and much more. I can’t take it anymore.


    Thank you, that is all.


    4 responses to “Microsoft’s version of Xbox360 vs PS3” RSS icon

    • Jay from suburbia

      Hey what is your opinion on ergonomics of the controlers and the general looks of each system. I USED to be a SOny guy with PS1 but then got xbox and have never been happier. I like the idea of the Blue Tooth Tech 2.0 sounds good but the limited 24 hrs of game time is a lil too much for me to continueally buy batteries. Also what is up with MGS4 (Metal Gear Solid 4) do u think it will come to the Xbox360? I heard that The differences in Prices are going to be huge, one number i HEARD this isnt a true number but i heard that the PS3 is going to be $500 while the Xbox360 is either $299 or the advertising gimmick of $360

    • I hate to say this, but I’ve read some reports that even sony admits that the 7 SPEs are only good for flops, so to include those into the compare of GENERAL PURPOSE processing doesn’t work, they did compare FLOPS processing differents in that report and sony has microsoft beat there. Now sony is going to have to create games that use more floating processing and less of the other types. That is their challenge now. I think it was very unwise of sony to take that step.

    • these r all lies the ps3 is way better than the xbox 360

    • When did this become a GameFAQs message board?