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Xbox 360

AnandTech has a thorough analysis of the CPU performance of both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, including some choice information from confidential developer sources.  The verdict?  Looks like the CPUs in these two upcoming game consoles are severely hamstringed by a deeply pipelined CPU architecture and poor branch prediction.

Xbox 360’s CPU uses three custom-designed IBM PowerPC cores.  While the PlayStation 3’s “Cell” processor only uses one of these same cores, the rest of the chip is dedicated to an array of SPE units that end up being fairly useless in practice.  Of the two, apparently the developers are finding the Xbox 360’s Xenon CPU the more useful of the two.  The real killer comes on page four of the analysis, when the revelation comes that if either console maker had used an Athlon X2 or Pentium D CPU, they’d have far better performance.

The saving grace in both cases are the rocket-fast GPUs, which will allow the games to look fantastic, and that’s all most gamers will end up caring about once the console is hooked up to their computer monitor or high-def TV.  But it appears that any advances in physics or AI will be delayed for another console generation.

Read More | AnandTech*

*AnandTech has pulled the article sourced here from their website due to concerns that it may have compromised one of their confidential sources.

Gallery: Next-Gen Console CPUs?  Not So Fast


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Xbox 360 HD-DVD It’s hard to tell for certain, several months before the launch of Xbox 360, what Microsoft has planned for their “2.0” console.  However, recent statements made by none other than BillG himself point to a console that will be constantly evolving in terms of specs and capabilities ... something that has spelled danger for consoles past.

At a recent event in Tokyo, held jointly with HD-DVD standard bearer Toshiba, Microsoft reiterated their commitment to the standard.  Microsoft and Toshiba have a cross-licensing deal which extends back to April of this year, which has resulted in Toshiba being one of the leaders in Media PC and Tablet PC development.  The stakes in the next-generation DVD battle are huge, and having Microsoft as an ally would certainly add a certain amount of credibility to the format.

At this same event, Bill Gates stated that while the initial shipments of the Xbox 360 would contain a standard DVD drive, they are considering putting HD-DVD drives in future versions of the console, as well as other alternatives.  “We are looking at whether future versions of Xbox 360 will incorporate an additional capability of an HD DVD player or something else.”

Typically, consumers don’t like to hear that it’s possible that their hardware will be obsolete the moment it is released, and is part of the reason why Sony is throwing as much hardware at the PlayStation 3 as possible and eating the cost, including Blu-Ray support, the other format competing with HD-DVD as the standard for high-definition movie content.  By including the drive at launch, not only does Sony “future-proof” the machine, but they can possibly propel Blu-Ray to the forefront in the standards race, giving them an competitive advantage.  The success of the PlayStation 2 is widely credited towards including DVD movie playback.  In fact, in the first year of the PlayStation 2, more movie content was attached to PS2 sales than were game software.  It also helped that the PS2 was a fairly inexpensive DVD player upon its release.

What is baffling is that considering what is at stake, and Microsoft’s close ties to Toshiba, why Toshiba is not supplying the drives at no- or low-cost to Microsoft, in an effort to simply get the hardware into consumers homes and get a head start on Sony.  Given Microsoft’s willingness to add the hardware at a later date, potentially skewing the installed base and giving no competitive advantage to Toshiba, it is truly strange that Toshiba isn’t willing to eat the cost now to guarantee themselves an early leadership position.

It’s important to note that this won’t necessarily impact people planning to use the Xbox 360 solely for game play, but for those buying into Microsoft’s philosophy of turning the game console into a media component in the living room, it’s a potentially hazardous decision.  Announcing the decision this close to the Xbox 360 launch may even cause some consumers to wait until the HD-DVD capability is included, by which point Sony may already have the Blu-Ray capable PlayStation 3 in the marketplace.

This is not the first time that confusion has been expressed over the specs of the Xbox 360.  Initial photographs released indicated a 40GB hard drive attached to the machine, but the final specs released at E3 showed the storage device as 20GB, but that the drive is upgradeable to higher capacities later.

Read More | GamesIndustry.biz

Gallery: Microsoft Planning to Split Xbox 360 Userbase?


Tiny PS3 ControllerThe forums over at Gamespot are abuzz with a new photo of the Sony PS3 controller. The shot makes it look like the controller is about half the size of most of todays controllers. There is a lot of discussion as to if this is all a trick perspective shot, with the gloved hand lending to that theory. Is it a farce, or could the PS3 controller end up being half the size of the Xbox 360’s?

Read More

| Gamespot

Gallery: Tiny PS3 Controller


Xbox 360 PS3 ATi After E3 many people, including myself, said it looked like the PS3’s graphics would be better than the Xbox 360. Well, ATi claims that the 360 will out perform the PS3 because Nvidia’s RSX chip is lacking the unified shader architecture that the Xenon chip has.  If this is the truth than Microsoft made a good deal switching to ATi for their next-gen. Read more for a more technical breakdown.

“It’s way better than I would have expected at this point in the history of 3D graphics,” said Huddy of the Xbox 360 hardware. “The unified shader architecture alone is capable of giving a performance increase of a factor of nearly two over the hardware that we have in PCs today. That’s because we see many cases, and this is particularly true on consoles, where games are limited by one of the two groups of engines in the graphics chip, either the vertex engines or the pixel engines. With a unified pipeline we can now devote 100% of the hardware to which ever task is the bottleneck.”

Read More | GameDaily

Gallery: Will Xbox 360 Games Look Better Than The PS3?


PS3 Hard Drive

One of the PS3’s strong points is that Sony wants it to be known as an “entertainment supercomputer”, hence the announcement from Ken Kutaragi stating that the PS3’s hard drive will be running Linux.  With Kutaragi’s comments in an interview he seemed to convey that the system will not come with the hard drive, but it will be available as an add-on.  They have added a hard-drive bay for the item so most likely it will end up like the PS2, where it is a separate add-on device. This does make sense though - why would the drive run on a Windows OS? Then it would just be an Xbox. To read the whole interview and Gamespot’s take on the whole thing read more.

Read More | Gamespot.com

Gallery: PS3 Hard Drive Add-On To Run Linux


Gears of War

This week I had a discussion about the impending PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Revolution where I emphasized over and over again “We play the games not the specs sheet”. Having gotten that mantra out of the way there are some fascinating possibilities that this massive shift in computing and graphical power would bring to the video game world.

Click to continue reading Future Eye Candy and Game Play Goodies of the PS3, Xbox 360 and Revolution

Gallery: Future Eye Candy and Game Play Goodies of the PS3, Xbox 360 and Revolution


PS3 Turns out that the Playstation 3’s RSX processor is not done; not only is it not done but its not even near done. According to NVIDIA’s CFO, Marv Burkett, the RSX processor’s silicon is not even taped out, meaning it’s being finalized now and will be ready by Christmas – in time for a spring 2006 launch. That being the case, what were the Sony guys showing us at E3? They were boasting left and right about what the RSX processor can do, but there is no processor yet.  According to Burkett, the technology demos were being showcased in an upcoming new desktop product with similar capabilities of the RSX. As bit-tech.net puts it, “So, if NVIDIA’s upcoming part is capable of all that we saw demonstrated at the press conference, what is RSX capable of?” Seriously, when will we really see what these things can do?

Read More | Bit-Tech.net

Gallery: PS3’s RSX Processor Not Done


E3Just because you couldn’t attend the all exclusive press events from the top three names in the industry doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them from the comfort of your own home. Big thanks go to E3Insider and Spike TV for providing the unfortunate public a look at the events. The videos are of the highlights instead of boring you with every single second of the event. These videos are great, because they focus on the most interesting parts of the events and provide a nice look on the inside to the general public. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could provide some goodies to really show the E3 experience? Check out the videos and tell us what you think. We will have our initial impressions of the big three soon.

View | Sony Highlights

View | Microsoft Highlights

View | Nintendo Highlights

Gallery: E3 Press Events


Playstation 3

Sony plans to launch their next generation console in the spring of 2006 – be it in the US, Japan or Europe is unknown at this point. However, details on what powers the Playstation 3 are now available courtesy of Kotaku. Check out the full details after the jump.

Click to continue reading Detailed PS3 Information

Gallery: Detailed PS3 Information


So you’ve seen the new console and have seen what powers this next generation console; so what can we expect to be playing on it? Big ups to Gaming Horizon for putting a list of games together based on the demonstration on Monday’s conference. Many are titles we were already expecting (Metal Gear Solid for example), but others are unknown at this point. We’ll have some actual screenshots for you to drool over soon enough.

  • Fight Night 3 (EA)
  • Final Fantasy 12 (Square Enix)
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 (Konami)
  • Devil May Cry 4 (Capcom)
  • Formula 1 (Liverpool)
  • Tekken (Namco)
  • Gundam (Bandai)
  • Untitled sequel to Red Dead Revolver? (Rockstar)
  • Killzone (SCEA)
  • Vision Gran Turismo - GT5 (Polyphony Digital)
  • I-8 (Insomniac)
  • NioH (KOEI)
  • Eyedentify (SCEJ)
  • Fifth Phantom Saga (Sega)
  • Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory)
  • Warhawk (Incognito)
  • Killing Day (UbiSoft)
  • Motostorm (Evolution Studios)

Read More | Gaming Horizon

Gallery: Playstation 3 Games


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