Xbox One Chip Slower than PlayStation 4

After bagging chip supply deals for all three new-generation consoles -- Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U, things are looking up for AMD. While Wii U uses older-generation hardware technologies, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 use the very latest AMD has to offer -- "Jaguar" 64-bit x86 CPU micro-architecture, and Graphics CoreNext GPU architecture.

Specs of the PlayStation 4 chip, co-developed by Sony and AMD, which was announced this February, rattled analysts. It turned out to be a feat of engineering that could only be fantasized. The chip combined 8 "Jaguar" CPU cores clocked at 1.60 GHz, with a high-grade Radeon GPU, featuring 1,152 stream processors, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface clocked at 5.50 GHz, which belts out 176 GB/s of memory bandwidth. This interface would hold 8 GB of memory, which would be used as both system- and graphics-memory, with no set partitions along the lines of UMA (unified memory architecture). Graphics memory would be treated as just another item stored on the memory, and so it could even use up a majority of the 8 GB.

Microsoft's newest Xbox One console uses a similar, but slightly scaled down chip. It features the same 8 "Jaguar" CPU cores clocked at 1.60 GHz as PlayStation 4 chip, but a slightly cut down GPU that packs just 768 stream processors, and a quad-channel DDR3-2133 MHz memory interface, holding 8 GB of it. Quad-channel DDR3-2133 MHz gives the system 68.3 GB/s of bandwidth. To compensate for the low bandwidth, the chip will use 32 MB of fast SRAM cache, that can operate at 102 GB/s, and at extremely lower latency than GDDR5. Microsoft engineers are spinning this off as "200 GB/s of memory bandwidth," where they're clubbing memory and cache bandwidths.

Another major difference between the two platforms is software. While PlayStation 4 uses a *nix-derived operating system with OpenGL 4.2 API; Xbox One has the luxury of Microsoft's greatest works for the last two decades -- a Windows NT 6.x kernel-based operating system, and DirectX 11 API.

Despite these differences, the two consoles have a lot in common, and their similarities should cut down multi-platform production costs for game developers by a lot.