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Old 05-23-05, 11:50 PM   #1
Gallant Pig
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Console Wars: Tech/Specs Thread

I'd like to see some good discussion on next gen specs. That's sorta what the "inkling" thread was about, but this thread is only about specs.

So techies (belboz, etc) which guts look most promising & why? What I'm reading seems that the 2 announced consoles are very similar. Revo could come out & top all 3 (or not if they want to launch at $200).

The gist of it seems no one really knows which one is more powerful, we really won't know anything until launch games tell the whole story.
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Old 05-23-05, 11:58 PM   #2
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Oh & guys, please take it easy. No need for a pissing contest. Thanks
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Old 05-24-05, 07:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gallant Pig
So techies (belboz, etc) which guts look most promising & why? What I'm reading seems that the 2 announced consoles are very similar. Revo could come out & top all 3 (or not if they want to launch at $200).
I was thinking just the opposite, that the systems' architecture is so different that it's like comparing apples to oranges.
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Old 05-24-05, 07:30 AM   #4
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I read a news article yesterday which had a different take on the whole thing. They said that Microsoft is going with large amounts of pipes - similar to what Sony did with the PS2. They then said that Sony was going with less pipes done more efficiently, which was what Microsoft did with the Xbox. Very interesting perspective.

The described how both directions have their positives and negatives. I do think they are still very different machines - but they are more similar than the PS2 vs Xbox.
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Old 05-24-05, 07:48 AM   #5
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Will any of the three consoles have built in Wireless networking capabilities?

I was reading the EGM article on the Xbox 360, looks like it doesn't.
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Old 05-24-05, 08:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groucho
Will any of the three consoles have built in Wireless networking capabilities?

I was reading the EGM article on the Xbox 360, looks like it doesn't.
The 360 will require the purchase of a wireless adapter. The PS3 will include Wireless B/G, but it makes no mention if they will allow you to connect to the internet. I think its pretty much given - not sure how a PS3 could accept wireless communication from a PSP and not from a wireless router.
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Old 05-24-05, 08:05 AM   #7
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Looks like I'm leaning towards PS3 then.
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Old 05-24-05, 08:45 AM   #8
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The Revolution will have built in wireless as well.
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Old 05-24-05, 09:26 AM   #9
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Which is more powerful?
From a tech standpoint, both systems are so different it is really hard to determine a graphical winner by specs alone. Who knows on the Revolution. Sony looks like a winner on paper, but that doesn't always equal real world performance. (PS2)


As we know, system graphical power doesn't mean jack if a system can't be utilized.
Of all three systems the PS3 will be the hardest to program for. Before the Sony loyalists jump on my me, allow me to qualify that with Sony has pledged to make the cell architecture "transparent" to the developers, but they can only do so much. There will be a learning curve, especially when it comes to pushing the hardware. Sony has already had several developers chime saying the PS3 is easily worked on, for what that is worth.

The 360 and Revolution architecture are very similar to the Gamecubes in that they are based on PowerPC chips and ATI GPU's. Prior to the GC there was already a strong API for this interface, its even better now. Ironically, the 360 will benefit from Nintendo's Gamecube work the generation prior in this area. (To be fair, the Flipper [GC GPU] was designed really by ArtX, so ATI influence was limited) I'm sure Nintendo was thrilled when they heard that MS was switching to their selection of source suppliers this generation.


Don't forget time.
Just as the GC and Xbox were graphically better to the PS2 in part as a benefit of time, the PS3 and Revolution stand to benefit from later release dates. Is 6 months really enough time for Sony to revamp their hardware if the 360 is better? Not really. It does/did allow Sony to aim higher in their goals knowing their latter release date would lower prices. Nintendo allows benefits in same manner. The fact that we don't know any of the Revolution's specs leaves area wide open as to when and what to expect.


Power != Size
Some are quick to believe the revolution will be graphically inferior to the PS3 and 360 (Myself included for now). However, efficiency in design counts for a lot. Consider the Xbox and the Gamecube, the GC is nearly less then 1/4 the volumetric size of the Xbox. It runs quiter, consumes far less power, costs less, and graphically can produce images very close to the Xbox. To be fair the GC lacks no built in 5.1, eithernet, or power supply (Which MS later moved externally due to fires). To be fair yet again, examining the base of the GC you find lots of open space for addons that could have been used for these devices in reference the volumetric comparison.

The point is, don't write of the 360 because it somes in smaller then the PS3, or think the Revolution will be a lame duck when it arrives. The size of these devices depends on what is included, but what matters is how it is utilized by you the gamer.

Technically speaking, one reason I feel the PS3 will be graphically better is the Xbox 360 has 6 front ends and the system has shared graphics memory. So it needs serious amounts of memory bandwidth (good chance one of those threads is going to evict a cache line) and it's sharing it with the graphics card? Bad design. I digress...

Which one will win the console wars?
Sony PS3. (My feeling) But hey, maybe its ugly enough to put the 360 or Revolution on top, doubt it though.
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Old 05-24-05, 09:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshd2012
The 360 will require the purchase of a wireless adapter. The PS3 will include Wireless B/G, but it makes no mention if they will allow you to connect to the internet. I think its pretty much given - not sure how a PS3 could accept wireless communication from a PSP and not from a wireless router.
Still can't believe Microsoft is not giving you wireless internet out of the box. Guess that is the price to pay for the HDD being included. I'm defintely going to want a wireless hook up. I have nothing but headaches hooking up my PS2 to my router now. The router is in the other room and I don't have any long cables to run.

Hopefully the Xbox360 wireless addon will be cheap.
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Old 05-24-05, 09:51 AM   #11
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Would the wifi be built into the more bells/whistles version?
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Old 05-24-05, 10:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gallant Pig
Would the wifi be built into the more bells/whistles version?
The whole multiple versions has currently been put on the back burner, and MS will only ship one x360 setup this year.
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Old 05-24-05, 10:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkside
Still can't believe Microsoft is not giving you wireless internet out of the box. Guess that is the price to pay for the HDD being included.
I thought that was optional too?
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Old 05-24-05, 11:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groucho
I thought that was optional too?
They scrapped the separate versions idea and all Xbox360s will now ship with the 20GB HDD.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:12 PM   #15
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No WiFi out of box is odd, but given a choice I'd take the HDD first, so I can't complain.

Especially since I currently have no affordable broadband options. DirectTV, so no cable internet, and for whatever reason DSL isn't available at my address (kind of odd given I live smack in between DC and Baltimore).
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Old 05-24-05, 12:44 PM   #16
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So the PS3 is going to ship with wifi + HDD + bluray, while the 360 ships with HDD & only RJ45 eithernet? If they sell for the same price it's obvious Sony is taking the bigger hit early on for this generation. I'm guessing getting the rights to use CELL wasn't cheap either. They must be leveraging their success from last gen & taking a calculated price loss to fight off MS.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:55 PM   #17
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Sony can take a bigger loss as they have more 1st party games that are big hits (gran turismo, Jak, R&C, Sly and so forth) that they can put out and make big profits on.

Same with Nintendo, they know their first party series will always make a killing.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:59 PM   #18
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I'm pretty sure that the PS3 will have no hard drive. The specs say "Detachable 2.5" HDD slot x 1" which probably means it has a slot for a hard drive, but doesn't come with one. Of course, they could just be waiting to see if they need one before they say they will have one.

Its really a toss up. The official Xbox wireless adapter is $100 (as are most good wireless bridges) and a 20GB 2.5" hard drive is $60 (which can easily be made $100 with a game or service packed in). Either way, if you want both its going to cost you an extra $100.

For me, I see no need for a hard drive. Didn't need one on my PS2, so why would I need one now? My PSP holds my music and movies and photos fine on the memory stick - should be okay with the PS3 as well. And if I really need a hard drive, I'm going to want more than 20GB anyway. But wireless internet is a must. Cords are a thing of the past for Internet access.
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Old 05-24-05, 01:14 PM   #19
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Hard Drives will keep me from buying a memory card. Unless the PS3 takes CF memory, I'll have to buy something. I also suspect it's necessary for backwards compatability.

Wifi would be nice built in, but I already own a wifi bridge I have hooked up to a switch for consoles. No need to reinvent the wheel.

I'm guessing the add-on adapter will be cheaper than their current wifi bridge. Why? It won't be a bridge, it will be an external wireless adapter, they go for around $50 tops.
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Old 05-24-05, 01:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gallant Pig
I'm guessing the add-on adapter will be cheaper than their current wifi bridge. Why? It won't be a bridge, it will be an external wireless adapter, they go for around $50 tops.
Aren't they one in the same? The current Xbox Wireless Adapter is just a bridge, right? Doesn't anything less imply that some sort of wireless capability has to be built in?
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Old 05-24-05, 01:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gallant Pig
Hard Drives will keep me from buying a memory card. Unless the PS3 takes CF memory, I'll have to buy something.
According to the early specs, it does!
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Old 05-25-05, 10:59 PM   #22
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Sony owns the underlying patent for the Cell. IBM probably did all the heavy lifting in the design and definitely provided the process technology, so they're probably full partners. Not sure how Toshiba fits into it except that they're longstanding partners with Sony on chip technology. In any event, it's probably safe to assume that Sony's deal from IBM on the Cell is better than whatever Nintendo or MS are paying.

From what I've seen of the 360 specs, it looks like a good design for playing video games. I'm a bit leery, though, about the assumption many people are making that the 3 cores are pretty "full featured." My suspicion -- based on cost and power issues -- is that the cores in the 360 CPU are probably more similar to the PPE core in the Cell (narrow issue, in order operation) than they are to a G5 or G4 core. It'd still be a powerful processor, but not nearly what some people are making it out to be.

Sony seems to have dialed back on the Cell a bit. The presentation at the ISSCC described a 4GHz part with 8 operating SPE units that delivered 256 gigaflops. The part in the PS3 is 3.2GHz with 7 operating SPE units so its peak FP rate should be a bit under 200 gigaflops. Still an astounding figure, but it was probably necessary for cost reasons. Can video games put all those gigaflops on the screen? Probably not, but the Cell wasn't designed for just playing video games.

Overall, the PS3 is clearly designed to be an entertainment hub. The standard memory card slots are really surprising to me and hopefully it signals that Sony understands that media players need to be open and standards based.

I thought I saw 3 ethernet ports on the back, which is pretty interesting. It could just be for system linking more than 2 units without needing a switch, but you could do that with just 2 ports and having the systems daisy chain. I suspect that with a WiFi module standard, the PS3 may be able to act as either a wireless AP (for those that don't have one) or a bridge to help connect any other devices (like Tivos or network media players) to the network.

I'm not sure what to make of the two HDMI outputs. The safe bet seems to be that it's just being forward looking and expecting that prices for HD displays in 4 years will be low enough that dual screen gaming won't seem as extravagant as it does today.

It could also be to accomodate some kind of new display technology that requires more bandwidth than a single HDMI link can provide. For example, Apple's 30" LCD is a 4 megapix display that requires 2 DVI links. It could be that Sony has plans for a super HD display with twice the resolution of regular HD. Or one of the more "out there" ideas about this is that they have plans for some kind of HD stereoscopic 3D display.

I seem to be wandering off into wild speculation so I'll stop. As much as Sony and MS have revealed, there's still a lot that's uncertain so it's a bit early to make judgments. Nintendo hasn't really revealed squat about the technical specs of the Revolution, so there's almost nothing to be said about that at this point.
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Old 05-26-05, 12:01 AM   #23
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It's still too early to say for sure that 360 won't have wireless out of the box. The confirmation of the HD on all models has only just come out, and if MS thinks lack of wireless will be a sticking point for sales then I'm sure they will change their minds and eat the costs. I hope they do! But yeah, I'm for HD over built in wireless (mine would probably be plugged in anyway).

I can't imagine how Sony will match the cost of the 360 when they finally launch, there's just so much funky stuff they're jamming in that box (blueray, 2 dvi ports, all the memory cards), along with brand new cutting edge cpu and graphics. Add the factor that sony is less capable of taking a loss on their console than Microsoft, and I would expect a price difference of $100 between the 2 when ps3 launches (although the 360 launch price might be quite similar).

It's interesting that based on the current ps3 specs we will now only will have 1 cell. Early, completely unsubstantiated, rumours were talking 4, and then later 3 cells, running at up to 4ghz, in a single ps3 unit. To me, this is at least part of the reason why some people had the feeling that the PS3 would absolutely destroy all comers, performance-wise. Now with the actual specs out we have something that is maybe more powerful than the 360, maybe not.

I'm glad we finally have some decent ram in a console, with both going with 512 total. It always seemed stingy on the ps2 and even the xbox (32 and 64 system ram) where you are surely making the developers jump through a few extra hoops for a saving of what, $10 per console?
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Old 05-26-05, 07:16 AM   #24
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A couple things to note about PS3:

1) The Cell processor only has 7 of its 8 cores available because one of them will be running the background OS exclusively. Its not available for game developers to use.

2) It will use 7 controllers because that is the limit of the technology. BluTooth can support 1 master and 7 slaves - thus, 7 seven controllers.

3) There are 3 ethernet ports - one input and two outputs. It has been hinted at that Cells can only communicate at the Gbit transfer rate, so in order to connect Cells, you would need to connect them directly using this port. Thus, the PS3 should beable to connect to two other Cell operating devices - like a DVR or TV or Blu-Ray burner, etc.
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Old 05-26-05, 07:30 AM   #25
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No interest in a HDD here, after the one on my current Xbox crashed and I lost everything.
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