1. Keith Wallace's Avatar
    It's obviously a good chunk of speculation, and sources aren't reported/verified, but this is a pretty interesting explanation of how the Xbox One's hardware issues exist:


    It sounds a little like Sony got REALLY lucky with the RAM it was able to gather, as they were initially going for just 4 GB of GDDR5. That, and there's a real question of IF developers will put in the extra effort to figure out the ESRAM, and to what extent it can improve things (also, of course, how long before the improvements become noticeable/1080p).
    11-03-2013 08:44 PM
  2. trainplane's Avatar
    On paper, XB1's 1.3 TFLOPS and PS4's 1.84 TFLOPS aren't that different so it must be something else like RAM speed or ROPS to account for the 100% greater resolution. If the PS4 had 4 GB GDDR5, it probably could still produce COD at 1080p with maybe reduced texture quality. Supposedly the 8 GB GDDR5 was a last minute decision but COD was developed long before that.

    What I would find interesting with this whole 720p fiasco is whether it was more of an engineering failure or a business decision. We probably won't know until some sort of "Inside the Xbox One" tell-all is published.

    Since 2010 or so, when people started getting antsy for next gen, we've been more or less expecting 1080p as the new standard. MS must have some idea of what hardware it takes to get there in modern games with all their DirectX experience. Did their business and numbers guys just decide they didn't want to build around that to keep costs down or did their engineering group create a system that has some severe bottlenecks and inefficiencies to not be able to take a game like a 2013 COD to 1080p? In their prototyping phase they must have had some idea that they couldn't hit 1080p/60 fps in in modern games.
    11-03-2013 10:02 PM
  3. Keith Wallace's Avatar
    Except the One isn't getting that full 1.3 TFLOPS. The system and the Kinect get 10% of it reserved off of the bat, so I think the number came out to 1.18 TFLOPS of game-available resources. If the full 1.8 TFLOPS of power is available to the PS4's games, we're talking 34% more power.

    I'm guessing you didn't read that article though, just wanted to add thoughts to the discussion (not calling you out, just asking)? The article does seem to cover that the ESRAM might be a big issue, as it takes extra work developers weren't necessarily ready for to get that used. It's separate from the DDR3, so I'm guessing they have to direct different instructions to the ESRAM and the others to the DDR3? If so, it's hard to blame them for not having the ability to do that just yet. It apparently took a lot of time to get the Cell processor figured out on the PS3 (Rockstar said part of why GTA V is current-gen only was because they were just getting the hang of the development process--releasing so few games might be a factor for them).
    11-03-2013 11:24 PM
  4. trainplane's Avatar
    I read the article. It's no different from what others have said in Digital Foundry and different places. 32 MB ESRAM is small and their DDR3 RAM can't output enough for 1080p. This has actually been more or less known since 2012 when rumors about the hardware were flying about.

    1.18 TF vs 1.84 TF still isn't that big of a difference in the scheme of things. It'll account for better SSAO, better AA, lighting and other things that rely on floating point math. So theoretically, the XB1 could have the same resolution with less IQ just based on teraflops. But they couldn't do it as we now see. So it's not a teraflop problem. It's a bandwidth problem.

    Honestly, I don't know if the memory issue will ever really get solved. The PS3 did have development issues early on and got better but they've never gone from something like 720p to 1080p in terms of improvement. That's a huge difference and is usually reserved for a hardware upgrade. If they XB1 can even manage to do 1000p without sacrificing IQ in future COD games, that would be almost a miracle. If they even get to 980p/60 fps or something, I think much fewer people would care.
    11-03-2013 11:51 PM
  5. Keith Wallace's Avatar
    If you think it's a bandwidth problem, then ESRAM familiarity would probably help a great deal. While they have the DDR3 bandwidth around 68 GB/s (the PS4's GDDR5 is around 175 GB/s), the ESRAM is something just north of 200 GB/s (according to Microsoft). So while that ESRAM might be small in quantity, it's pretty darned fast, and if it can get through its work that quickly, we'd could see improvements, and that was the apparent intention for that memory setup in the first place. I guess it's just a question of even if the RAM is that fast, is it enough (in quantity, not speed)?

    I'm not exactly a hardware expert, so I'm not sure if it's something where the ESRAM has to handle its load 100% on its own, or if the goal is simply to get it flowing quickly and into the 8-GB pool of DDR3 (well, more like 5 GB because of what the system takes off the top) or what.
    11-04-2013 03:12 AM

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