Xbox 720 Durango vs Playstation 4 Orbis Tech Specs Compared
The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 have been firmly established in the hearts and minds of gamers by now – and everyone is aware of what the consoles can do. Despite a few short comings of either console, they both are ‘roughly’ equal in performance. But, the PS3 and 360 are the old veterans, and people want to see the new princes that are just on the horizon. The PS4 and XBox 720 aren’t released yet, but that doesn’t stop blood from being drawn. Both systems have had their share of speculation, but recently we’ve had more and more glimpses of what the final specs for each system could be – and the good news if is for all concerned, the systems are going to be a monster step up from what we’ve got right now.
There are some things which both consoles seem equal in, and there are a bunch of other points where the two systems take completely different approaches – so let’s see how things shape up currently, shall we?
AMD JAGUAR The CPU of The Xbox 720 and Playstation 4
The CPU is one area that we know quite a bit about – and the CPU is (at least as far as we understand) the same across both systems. This is great for us as gamers, and for developers for numerous reasons, chiefly that it’ll help speed up the process of ports and getting the most out of the games (although not always the case, as we’ll discuss later on). The CPU for the PS4 Orbis and the XBox 720 Durango has been supplied courtesy of Intel’s rival, AMD. The Jaguar is a powerful, yet low energy CPU, producing low heat both capable of scaling very well with cores. The CPU is running at 1.6GHZ, and for those who know that the previous generation run at a more robust sounding 3GHZ, could seem underwhelming – but it isn’t just about raw clock speed any longer. The CPU’s are extremely efficient, and what’s more, it has 8 cores too. To be precise, there are 2 modules which make up the Jaguar for these systems, each of the 2 modules houses 4 cores (giving a total of 8). Each core has 32 KB of Level 1 cache, for instruction cache, and another 32 for data cache. Each ‘module’ of the AMD Jaguar features 2MB of level 2 cache, (giving 4MB for a total amount).
With two pipes per core, you’re looking 12.8TFlops of performance. That’s impressive stuff right? Yes, indeed it is. The difference between this and the current generation is profound, and I feel both Microsoft and Sony choose very wisely.
Memory – 8GB of slower RAM, or 4GB of really quick RAM?
This is the first point of debate between fans of both systems – and right now, it’s too early for any real ‘knowledge’ of which route is the better one. The Playstation 4 Orbis went the route of extreme memory bandwidth, 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, giving huge amounts of memory bandwidth, 176GB/s to be precise. This is a stark contrast to the route that Microsoft went with the Durango, where they decided to go for 8GB of DDR3 RAM. which nets them a mere 68GB/s. Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that the Playstation 4 Orbis, is rumoured to be keeping 512MB of its 4GB total in reserve for system functions (i.e. the operating system). The Durango on the other hand is also likely to take a similar approach, a figure of around 1.5GB reserved has been banded about, but it could be more. This memory is reserved allegedly for media functions, giving further evidence that Microsoft aren’t focusing their system on being purely for gaming only.
There were some rumours from Sony that they weren’t happy with 4GB of GDDR5, and instead were looking to bump that number up to either 6 or 8GB – but this is extremely unlikely. The cost of this RAM is high, and only clusters of 512MB are being made, which would mean that the mainboard would require 16 of them for the 8GB number. This would increase the size of the board, power requirements and a lot more – it’s not something that would be easy to simply ‘tack on’. Microsoft went with the ‘more is better’ approach, and while it’s true that 8GB of RAM is impressive, the issue isn’t just the amount, but how fast that data can be thrown around the board. In my video, I likened it to you wishing to move a group of people between two rooms. The rooms can be as large as you like, but if the corridor connecting these rooms is small, it’ll still take awhile to get them in there. Microsoft aren’t stupid, and have attempted to provide a sort of bandaid to the solution, with the addition of extra RAM that is connected directly to the graphics card (which we’ll get into later). This RAM can be accessed by the CPU too . This ESRAM runs at 102GB/s but has a downside, it is only 32MB in size.
The PS4 accesses its single memory pool of extremely fast GDDR5 ram and is all the happier for it. The XBox 720 Durango however can’t do this alone, instead it must access the 8GB cluster and the 32MB of ESRAM too. This does mean that the system (well, the CPU anyway) does have access to around 170GB/s of data, but one of those data pools is very small. It’s worth remembering that not all game data needs very very fast memory however. Since the Xbox 720 will be using DX11, an enhanced version no less, it’s possible that MS will have the rendering functions which need such quick RAM optimized automatically – however, time will have to tell.
Graphics Power – 18 GCN cores vs 12 and a strop over ROPS?
While the issue of RAM has been hotly debated, the issue of the GPU is another point of contention. The Playstation 4 Orbis and XBox 720 are going back to AMD yet again, this time to provide them with graphics power. Nvidia have been abandoned by Sony it seems. The Playstation 4 and XBox 720 both use GCN cores – the same type used in AMD’s Radeon 7XXX series. There is a marked difference between both systems, that at first
The Xbox 720 Durango doesn’t have such as setup, and instead its 12 GCN cores can be used however the developers see fit (including for Physics if they so wish), but right there you can see the issue – if they start taking away cores to do physics when Microsoft’s console is already at a graphical deficit, this could cause further performance issues. This means that even if there are no hardware physics in the games (which is somewhat likely on early games on both systems, many of which will likely be ports of games available on the XBox 360 / PS3) or for games which don’t require it, the PS4 still has 2 extra cores. IF heavy hardware physics is being used, this advantage would be even greater. glance would give the edge to the PS4. Both GPU’s run at 800MHZ, so let’s get that out of the way right now. There are two points of concern for MS at this point, the first would be that the PS4 boasts 18 GCN cores compared to the XBox 720’s 12. That’s a 50 percent advantage to the Sony camp, but as usual things aren’t quite that simple. It seems that 4 of the GCN cores from the Playstation 4 Orbis have been locked out and used exclusively for Compute Units, which would bring the number ‘available’ for graphics down to 14, or just over a 16 percent advantage to the Sony camp. So what the hell are Compute Units? They have a few purposes, but in gaming they are used for Physics.
An example of this would be Nvidia’s Hardware Physx which uses CUDA to do the same thing (and in an ironic move in Sony not using Nvidia again, hardware Physx is pretty much an exclusive Nvidia thing at this point for PC gaming). This would in theory mean that physics on the PS4 would be much better – or at least, less taxing on the CPU, particularly when handling things such as dust particles and debris.
Many assume that the Xbox 720 had a hidden weapon stashed on the die for the GPU, but this is looking increasingly unlikely.
A Teraflop or a terrifying flop?The next area the Orbis appears to have an advantage is that of ROPS (Render Output Units). The XBox 720 has half of the amount of the Playstation 4, 32 vs 16. The more ROPs you have, the higher resolution you can output (in a basic sense), and this comes into its own with Antialising. 1080P and 16ROPS will be fine, so that begs the question – why does the PS4 have 32? Is it an insurance policy by Sony, is it for better image quality, super high levels of AA< textures? Or could it be something more, steroscopic 1080P for instance? Or perhaps even the new 4K resolutions of TV’s of the future? Well, right now who is to say? But the Orbis is apparently designed for 1080P screens – but that doesn’t mean much really, it’s only rumours and even if it was and is true, things can change over time.
1,23TF vs 1.84TF – that’s the figures that have caused a huge uproar. The advantage, the Orbis. Some argue they are meaningless numbers, but they are good for one thing – assessing the rough basic hardware abilities of two devices.
It’s likely that both systems will be fantastic with media, such as handling video. It’s also pretty much a certainty by now that both machines feature custom audio hardware, designed to output tremendous surround sound that gamers expect – demand actually. They also will feature support for hardware de-archiving of LZ compressed assets. If you’re at a loss (no pun intended) at what that is, think of them as ZIP files. The idea is that it is lossless compression.
So there you have it – a rather interesting blend of technology is going to be at hand for us in our living rooms…. only time will tell on the war of the XBox 720 Durango and the Playstation 4 Orbis, but there are two things which are a certainty – it’ll be fun as hell to play them, and that RedGamingTech will be there to tell you of all the latest news!The Durango features a ‘Data Move Engine’ which carries out hardware compression and decompression of data, with support for JPEG too. Perhaps some camera functionality?
Orbis Specs at a glance:
Central Processing Unit:
- Orbis contains eight Jaguar cores at 1.6GHz, arranged as two “clusters”
- Each cluster contains 4 cores and a shared 2MB L2 cache
- 256-bit SIMD operations, 128-bit SIMD ALU
- SSE up to SSE4, as well as Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX)
- One hardware thread per core
- Decodes, executes and retires at up to two intructions/cycle
- Out of order execution
- Per-core dedicated L1-I and L1-D cache (32Kb each)
- Two pipes per core yield 12,8 GFlops performance
- 102.4 GFlops for system
- GPU is based on AMD’s “R10XX” (Southern Islands) architecture
- DirectX 11.1+ feature set
- 18 Compute Units (CUs)
- Hardware balanced at 14 CUs (4 dedicated to Compute)
- Shared 512KB of read/write L2 cache
- 1.843 Tflops, 922 GigaOps/s
- Dual shader engines
- 18 texture units
- 8 render backends
- 4GB unified system memory, 176GB/s
- 3.5GB available to games (estimate)
- High speed Blu-ray drive (single-layer 25GB or dual-layer 50GB discs)
- Partial constant angular velocity (PCAV)
- Outer half of disc 6x (27 MB/s)
- Inner half varies, 3.3x to 6x
- 1Gb/s Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth
- Audio Processor (ACP)
- Video encode and decode (VCE/UVD) units
- Display ScanOut Engine (DCE)
- Zlib Decompression Hardware