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February 14, 2006

Forget Your Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

Cliff Edwards

Is Xbox 360 oh, so last year? And PlayStation 3 just another notch in Sony's tech-prowess belt?

There's no quicker way to ignite a debate among gamers than to proclaim your love for one over the other, but consider the real entertainment revolution both Microsoft and Sony are promising may be happening in an entirely different industry altogether: telecom.

Most of us can't leave home without our cell phone, a fact that has dawned on wireless carriers who desperately need their customers to fork over more cash each month, if they want to recoup their multi-billion dollar investments in high-speed data networks now being rolled out worldwide.

That's why you're seeing a slew of announcements this week at 3GSM, the wireless expo in Barcelona, in which mobile games play a central role. The most notable comes from some of the industry's biggest names. Electronic Arts, which recently bought Jamdat, is joining a consortium with Activision, middleware companies Ideaworks3D and Tao, Konami, MontaVista, Nokia, Samsung, SK Telecom, Square Enix, Symbian OS, Tao, and Texas Instruments to create a common platform for developing premium 3D games.

Madden on your cell phone? Looks like that may be possible, as high-end phones use graphic chips and TI's OMAP processors to do some serious heavy lifting. So don't be surprised beginning in mid-2006 when the guy you're sitting next to on the subway suddenly starts blasting away and cursing amid the strain of trying to get to the next level of Doom 3.

The big question is, now that the big players are coming in, do games start to look pretty on the cell, but turn into more of the same stuff we're seeing everywhere else?

01:19 PM

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We are so close to all computer/communications devices becoming the same thing. Eventually there will be one portable device that we use as our central computer. This device will provide telephone service, TV, Games, Internet, home security, DVR, Music, and whatever else we can dream up for electronic devices. Just think of how many cross function devices/internet services we already have. As of today you can access the phone system wirelessly from the internet or the internet wirelessly from the phone system; It won't be long before you can make phone calls from your Ipod and we can already save songs on our phones; An X box promises to do all of the above and your Laptop already does. Who needs to buy satellite radio when the Internet already provides this service for free? All you need is a PDA/Cell phone and you can get portable digital music satellite radio style. So eventually the Xbox and the portable phone will be the same thing.

Posted by: Joe at February 21, 2006 03:48 PM

Hello all,

im just clearing things up which people seem no to understand that sony is again overhyping, but this time theyve done well to hide it.and its just a matter of time before it gets released.

First a bit on my background.

I have done an education for computer sciences with a major in 3D graphics development, and I am now working for my PhD.

Since this is so, I have worked quite a bit with hardware in terms of programming and graphics creation

Let me warn all of you, sony is overhyping it's product once again, like they have done before.

And I am amazed to see how biased several of the webpages and magazines are.

They all try to downsize Xeon and Xenon technology, but with the arguments and testcases that most of these sources come up with , Cell and RSX will often come out way worse, yet that's a thing they do not show us of course.

Many people don't seem to grasp that ATI's Xenon truly is a revolution in terms of pipeline architecture.

Unlike the RSX the Xenon is truly next gen,

Xenon revolutionizes powermanagement within it's core, so it doesn't need all the mhz's to create a massive output.

The unified shader architecture also gives developers way more playground, and the Xbox 360 will certainly be able to incorperate more ways of instruction for creating and rendering the graphics on screen.

The RSX on the other hand will have it's massive clockspeed, but it will use it in a less efficient way.

Anyway, with the specs of both consoles now fully released it is possible to do a REAL TIME comparinson of the 2 consoles,your about to see what most of the sony representetives didnt want you to see.

Comparing these two GPU's is like comparing Apples to Banana's.

RSX on paper will have certain advantages over Xenon, and Xenon will have certain advantages over RSX.

There is the element of co-operation with the CPU we also have to consider.

Ok, lets put up the specs for the RSX as published.

- 550 Mhz

- 51 billion dot products/sec count's for total system performance

- 300 Million Transistors

- 136 shader operations per clock

good now that's for the facts as presented to us, we have 550 MHz of power to work with

The Cell and the RSX together are capable to produce 51 billion dot products.

I think it is interesting to take a closer look at this claim especially, since I worked with this bit while the specs of both consoles first became public, the important thing is that mnay people just compare the seperate peices of each console to PS fanboys and PS3 no-it-alls it will be music to there ears, but to us who know about comoputers and know how to compare them,ill tell you one thing, sony has lost alot of its credibility ;).

Anyway.

Since the Cell will have 7 DSP's all being able to do a dot product per cycle, we have some numbers to work with, we can put the numbers in a small calculation.

7DSP * 3.2(ghz) = 22.4 billion dot products/sec for the CPU

since we had 51 billion in total , we will have to substract them to know what is left for the GPU.

51 - 22.4 = 28.6 Billion dot products

When you devide this number to the clockspeed of the GPU you will get 52 ALU operations per clock as they are called.

Now as stated before, the RSX's architecture is not that different from the GeForce 6800 and so it will use Vector4 standards.

Since ATI's architecture is done with Vector5s it will handle the material a bit different.

Now there also the Multiply Add instructions, in short MADD instructions to work with.

In plain English MADD means that the vector graphic will be recalculated to it's precise position, and the instruction always sort of double checks before we get output, that's why we have throw in the 2 value in the end calculation.

So, what we have here is this.

52 ALU ops * 4 floats (vector4s) * 550 (clockspeed) * 2 (MADD) =228.8

Gflops for the RSX and Cell as a team.

If we do the same with the specs of Xbox 360 we will find that it does the following, all the numbers provided through the same calculation though with the Xeon the dot products are devided over it's 3 cores.

48 ALU ops (less than PS3) * 5 floats (vector5s better than PS3) * 500 (less than PS3) * 2(MADD) = 240 Gflops for Xenon, and Xeon as a team

This is one example of how this Xenon GPU together with the Xeon does more with less, and in this case it will give slightly better graphics.

So in theory we have a more powerful RSX with more Mhz's at it's disposal which due to some limitations within the architecture can not be used to it's full potential.

overall the RSX basically is a current gen processor which is overclocked, since it's architecture is not that different from it's predecessors.

I think in the end it will most definately come to the creative sollutions of the game programmers..

Which is when the xbox 360 wins overall as What many people are missing is that the new architecture of ATI opens new ways in terms of graphical development, and the 3 core CPU helps greatly too,as the Cell has only one SPE to the IBM's Xenon's three, which means that developers will have to cram all their game control, AI, and physics code into at most two threads that are sharing a very narrow execution core with no instruction window.

which is why developers can now ponder new ways of programming, while for PS3 Developers will be bound to the more conventional ways of programming, and the power will be harder to effectively program.

So in terms of hardware the Xbox 360 definately will be able to deliver more performance.

Not to forget the price too. the ps3 will be $499 for the low grade and $599 for the premium grade,and the games cost $60-$80 each.But the thing that bothers me is that with the xbox 360 all you have to do with the core console is buy a hard drive and it wouild be a premium console,but for a low grade ps3($499) it has alot of features missing that you cant just buy that sony said the console will have,such as the low grade version($499) will not have HDMI for HDTVs, now ii dont think for the average person that they would pay that much for a console,

.Also the xbox 360 will be lowerd in price when the ps3 comes out.And also the PS3 will incorperate a blu ray player in there low grade console when it dosnt even have HDTV support so whats the point in putting a blu ray player when you cant use a HDTV on the console?

The internet service that PS3 are claiming is going to be free is agian a lie as there leaving that to the game designers, yep the GAME DESIGNERS!now would you think they will bother to set up a gaming service?no. Because sony are to lazy to setup a few servers and do it them selves, thats why there claiming its going to be free, whch of course its not even going to be available unless a very few minority a game designers companys decide to do this.

And the demos shown at E3 were all pre-rendered images as when they were designed, a prototype of the the PS3 wasnt even available and it was shown on a high end Mac gaming PC, so what you saw at E3 its not what you will on the PS3, so dont get your hopes up.

I am still shocked that many people still are falling for the sony hype, remember what they said last time? they claimed that the PS2 would match graphics of pixar animations such as toy story.And you can claim as much as you want about the PS3 having 5 more proessors than the xboxn 360 but just to let you know the cell was designed for multimedia not gaimng while the xbox 360's proccesor was desinged speciffically for gaming.

Posted by: computer enthusiast at May 18, 2006 05:49 PM

Very well said. :)

Posted by: FrostX at September 20, 2006 02:02 AM

I second that!! Well said!!

Ive been a gamer (if i can say that without sounding sad)for around 20 years. I have no biase for any company MS or Sony, but i have noticed Sony's hideous claims, through out the years.

Sony have constantly promised and failed to deliver, delay after delay for the overpriced PS3, and now Sony are set to miss out on sales at Christmas. Feels like ive been waiting for the PS3 forever!!

On a sweeter note, what has opened up a whole new level of gaming, for me, is xbox live!! My 360 is constantly online when im at home! Wither its downloading demo's, video's etc or playing live, i find this service outstanding. To here that Sony are leaving live gaming up to the game developers is a huge no no. Sony did the same with the PS2 and it fell flat on its face, ive tried to use the service but with no luck. To think that a next gen console will not have these live features is a massive deal breaker, XB live has re-kindled my faith in gaming.

A company like Sony who lies to its consumers & fails to deliver deserves a backlash, or should we let them get away with it!!

Fact stands that i will probably buy a PS3, eventually when it drops in price, but am in no hurry to get one. I thought i'd never say this but MS has done an outstanding job with the 360 for a great price, and has truely taken gaming (for me) to the next level with the services they provide.

Please note, its not all sunshine with MS, im on my second XB360, apart from that everything has been super sweet!! At least MS haven't lied to their fan base but have admitted and appologised offering compensation with regards to large problems with many of the launch machines !! Nuff Said!!

Posted by: Chappo at September 29, 2006 07:32 AM

graphics wise, i mean while playing the game... whose games will look better? ps3 or xbox 360...

Posted by: tom at October 5, 2006 01:52 PM

xbox 360... and it's cheaper, plus ms is getting huge exclusives on games away from sony, i think it's gonna be though for sony this time, microsoft could even lead this generation, they've done a really great job and their machine even though it's released a year earlier it's still more powerful than sony's machine...

Posted by: computer fan at November 24, 2006 03:40 AM


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