Hardware Behind the Consoles - Part II: Nintendo's GameCubeby Anand Lal Shimpi on December 7, 2001 3:44 AM EST
- Posted in
Both the GameCube and Xbox are clearly superior to the PS2 in terms of the quality of the graphics seen in games available today. The transition from PS2 to GameCube and/or Xbox is a fairly large leap, but going between GameCube and Xbox is a bit less dramatic.
From what we've seen based on the launch titles that are currently available, the Xbox takes the crown in terms of visual appeal from games today. Titles such as Rogue Squadron II and Super Smash Brothers Melee for the GameCube do show off some of the Cube's power but the graphics quality does not match what titles like DOA3 are able to produce on the Xbox.
It's entirely too early to crown one platform a winner but based on specifications alone, Xbox is the more powerful console overall. Although the Flipper GPU's use of 1T-SRAM embedded into its die improves performance considerably, the overall package is not as powerful as the Intel/NVIDIA combination beneath the Xbox hood. Features such as real-time Dolby Digital Encoding as well as a very powerful programmable T&L core whose instruction sets have been publicly available for the past year now are only the tip of the iceberg. The inclusion of isochronous channels within the Xbox's HyperTransport link guarantee uninterrupted bandwidth to those tasks that require it which is very important when dealing with something like DD encoding, streaming off of the hard disk or network accesses.
What Nintendo has going for themselves is a console with tremendous amount of support, a history of great first party titles as well as a tremendous focus on gameplay and quality. The GameCube is very efficiently designed and is undoubtedly cheaper to manufacture because of the Gekko/Flipper chips; with the exception of the Xbox it is leaps and bounds beyond the other consoles and should be a healthy competitor in the future as well.
On the desktop side of things, Xbox gave us a preview of what to expect from the next-generation NVIDIA part but what does ArtX's Flipper design tell us about the direction ATI will be going in the years to come? It's clear that ArtX's technology could have benefited from ATI's intervention, but ATI acquired the company for a reason and it's what ArtX can contribute to ATI that we are most intrigued with.
As usual, only time will tell the outcome of this and many questions we've asked throughout this article and series. We hope you've enjoyed our coverage on both Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube.