Final Words

It’s nearly impossible for the Xbox One not to be a substantial upgrade over the Xbox 360. The fact that Microsoft could ship a single integrated SoC instead of a multi-chip CPU+GPU solution this generation is telling enough. You don’t need to integrate anywhere near the fastest CPUs and GPUs to outperform the Xbox 360, something closer to the middle of the road works just fine.

Microsoft won’t have any issues delivering many times the performance of the Xbox 360. The Xbox One features far more compute power and memory bandwidth than the Xbox 360. Going to 8GB of RAM is also a welcome upgrade, especially since it’s identical to what Sony will ship on the PlayStation 4. As AMD is supplying relatively similar x86 CPU and GCN GPU IP to both consoles, porting between them (and porting to PCs) should be far easier than ever before. The theoretical performance comparison between the two next-gen consoles is where things get a bit sticky.

Sony gave the PS4 50% more raw shader performance, plain and simple (768 SPs @ 800MHz vs. 1152 SPs & 800MHz). Unlike last generation, you don't need to be some sort of Jedi to extract the PS4's potential here. The Xbox One and PS4 architectures are quite similar, Sony just has more hardware under the hood. We’ll have to wait and see how this hardware delta gets exposed in games over time, but the gap is definitely there. The funny thing about game consoles is that it’s usually the lowest common denominator that determines the bulk of the experience across all platforms.

On the plus side, the Xbox One should enjoy better power/thermal characteristics compared to the PlayStation 4. Even compared to the Xbox 360 we should see improvement in many use cases thanks to modern power management techniques.

Differences in the memory subsytems also gives us some insight into each approach to the next-gen consoles. Microsoft opted for embedded SRAM + DDR3, while Sony went for a very fast GDDR5 memory interface. Sony’s approach (especially when combined with a beefier GPU) is exactly what you’d build if you wanted to give game developers the fastest hardware. Microsoft’s approach on the other hand looks a little more broad. The Xbox One still gives game developers a significant performance boost over the previous generation, but also attempts to widen the audience for the console. It’s a risky strategy for sure, especially given the similarities in the underlying architectures between the Xbox One and PS4. If the market for high-end game consoles has already hit its peak, then Microsoft’s approach is likely the right one from a business standpoint. If the market for dedicated high-end game consoles hasn’t peaked however, Microsoft will have to rely even more on the Kinect experience, TV integration and its exclusive franchises to compete.

Arguably the most interesting thing in all of this is the dual-OS + hypervisor software setup behind the Xbox One. With the Windows kernel running alongside the Xbox OS, I wonder how much of a stretch it would be to one day bring the same setup to PCs. Well before the Xbox One hits the end of its life, mainstream PC APUs will likely be capable of delivering similar performance. Imagine a future Surface tablet capable of doing everything your Xbox One can do. That's really the trump card in all of this. The day Microsoft treats Xbox as a platform and not a console is the day that Apple and Google have a much more formidable competitor. Xbox One at least gets the software architecture in order, then we need PC/mobile hardware to follow suit and finally for Microsoft to come to this realization and actually make it happen. We already have the Windows kernel running on phones, tablets, PCs and the Xbox, now we just need the Xbox OS across all platforms as well.

Power/Thermals, OS, Kinect & TV
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Krysto - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    Seems like Sony has a winner here in terms of hardware and developer support, too.

    Any idea if PS4 does indeed use the full OpenGL 4.3 as rumored? And is it based on some custom Linux OS?
  • powerarmour - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    PS4 will likely run some form of libGCM similar to the PS3, this is another area the PS4 may easily have the upper hand in, software overheads...
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    All pretty much expected on the hardware side of things. And I like it as well, as a non-console gamer (I bought an Xbox 360 for the Kinect to introduce my wife and larger family to gaming... it's mostly left unused, since our living room is on the small side and we need to rearrange a lot to play). The current high end PC should be able to run all the games developed for the consoles very well, which is good. There is less chance of getting rubbish ports since all 3 consoles are so similar. All positives for me as a PC gamer.
    For the software/entertainment side, that doesn't interest me in the least. The Xbox could never be my media hub because I have an A/V receiver for that, as I expect many people do. And all the software stuff, streaming etc. I have my doubts about everything trickling down to the German market as they envision it. Plus, I'm not a TV guy or a rent guy. I like to own my stuff as much as possible.
  • Silma - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    It seems to me that the Microsoft approach is Superior to the Sony one if One + Kinnect is priced competitively or at not too big a premium with the PS4.

    Sony has a history of hacker-friendly internet platforms and it is often in denial. Would I trust the Playstation Network? No way.

    If consoles become the center of the TV/Entertainment center, if people will really use the console as a Skype terminal or as today use the Kinnect to excercise then I think the Microsoft offering is the more attractive one and that its features will interest buyers more than to know that one console has more shader units than the other.

    In addition, it would not be difficult for Microsoft to extend the Platform with byod features such as Skydrive access, Office 365 and so forth.
  • jonjonjonj - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    this annoys the hell out of me. who cares about power. i want performance. i want my console or pc so power hungry it trips a breaker. its obvious everyone wants a kinect instead of a better gpu. right? tv on xbox is useless. so i dont have to hit the input button on my remote? seriously? its not like you get the service from ms. you have to pay for xbox live gold and be a paying cable customer. it offers absolutely nothing. i have 2 360's but i have no plan on my buying this garbage cable box i already have a dvr. ill take that $500+ and buy a 27" 1440p monitor and another video card for sli. ms already proved to me over the past 3 years they don't care about the core gamers anymore and this just reaffirms it. i hope this console fails so miserably.
  • elitewolverine - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    because everyone wants a ps4eyetoy in their ps4 right? instead of a better gpu right?

    Oh wait...ps4 did the same thing.

    Everyone wants a camera with their laptop instead of a better cpu/gpu right? Oh wait...

    In my house hold finding the remote is an issue. Not because we forget but with 8 people in a home, each one grabbing at it at different times, this becomes an issue.

    You have a dvr? great, the xbox is not designed to replace it, in fact its already stated its working along side....any cable box.

    Why do people pay for TiVo? there is a service to be had, and its much better imo than comcasts dvr or the offering by Direct. I was skeptical about TiVo till my damn ex got me hooked on it.

    Not to mention how many times I have to tell my parents the channels of anything other than local news. Now they just have to, animal, history. They don't live with me, but they will be getting one. This is also a plus for me, as my kids don't have to worry about memorizing the channels, even though they do currently.

    Your mentality is what the losers of the tablet wars are facing...

    Why would people want a tablet? I have a laptop, pc, tv, ipod...the list goes on...

    Convenience and easy. This is what x1 is offering, along with cloud computing, dedicated servers, and games games games games
  • jonjonjonj - Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - link

    really? sony hasn't announced the pseye is going to be bundled with all ps4's. in fact there are links to sony videos that say "Playstation4 camera may be required and is sold separately". even if it is the ps4 has a 30% faster gpu then xbox so ms should have spent that kinect money on making the gpu more competitive. the 360 already showed kinect was a failure for gaming. unless you are a girl who wants to play dance central there is no reason to get a kinect. this is why bundling the kinect boggles my mind. it shows me ms either doesn't get it or doesn't care if the xbox is a gaming console.

    the best defense of xbox tv you can come up with is you constantly loose your remote? my remote is always in the room with the tv. not very hard to find.

    i know its not going to replace my dvr. that doesn't change the fact that i see zero benefit to using xbox and i still have to pay for my dvr. i forgot you can use voice commands and wave your hands around like an idiot. no thanks ill pass and stick to my remote.

    "games games games games"? i must have missed that part of the conference. when they announce their exclusives at e3 expect them to mostly be kinect and XBLA games not the non kinect AAA games everyone wants. just like they have over the last 3 years.

    i have a ipad and never use it. the only thing its good for is quickly checking email or watching a youtube video. beyond that my laptop or desktop is 10x faster and easier to use. people are buying tablets because it the cool thing to do and everyone already has multiple pc's and laptops. once everyone has a tablet sales will slow down.
  • BPB - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    It appears MS has dumped the WMC extender abilities. It's not a surprise, but I don't give two hoots about the DVR overlay. With my HTPC and extenders I save a lot of money not having a DVR. MS wants me to go back to a DVR, and I won't. Given all else it looks like PS4 for me with continued 360 gaming (which MS said will also get updated in some sort of way, won't know till E3 what that means). But pricing and other factors will be part of that equation too.
  • elitewolverine - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    im surprised you hooked up an htpc, considering you have a hard time understanding works along side your cable/dvr via infared. Meaning when you tell it to change the channel it will do so, at your cable box/dvr/htpc. I can understand how something so simple can be confusing...
  • BPB - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Wow, can't wait till I'm all growed up like you! Then I too can be a jackass.

    I watched the MS presentation live, and have followed many of the MS follow-up discussions about Xbox One. They've mentioned working with cable companies like Comcast for TV overlay, but oddly enough they haven't mentioned working with HTPC's running their own Windows software. Then again maybe they too have a hard time figuring all this out. Please post your phone number or email so MS can contact you and you can set them straight.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now