PS4, Xbox One won't have better graphics than PCs, says Nvidia exec
- Posted September 25th, 2013 at 06:53 EDT by Michael Harradence
The senior vice president of Content and Technology for Nvidia has claimed that modern video game consoles have no chance of matching the visual quality achievable in high-end PCs.
Speaking with PC PowerPlay (via VideoGamer), Tom Tamsai observed that PCs have come into their own in the current generation of consoles, whereas back in the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 days, home computers weren’t capable of producing quality visuals .
"It's no longer possible for a console to be a better or more capable graphics platform than the PC," said Tamasi. "I'll tell you why. In the past, certainly with the first PlayStation and PS2, in that era there weren't really good graphics on the PC. Around the time of the PS2 is when 3D really started coming to the PC, but before that time 3D was the domain of Silicon Graphics and other 3D workstations. Sony, SEGA or Nintendo could invest in bringing 3D graphics to a consumer platform. In fact, the PS2 was faster than a PC.
"By the time of the Xbox 360 and PS3, the consoles were on par with the PC. If you look inside those boxes, they're both powered by graphics technology by AMD or NVIDIA, because by that time all the graphics innovation was being done by PC graphics companies.
"NVIDIA spends 1.5 billion US dollars per year on research and development in graphics, every year, and in the course of a console's lifecycle we'll spend over 10 billion dollars into graphics research. Sony and Microsoft simply can't afford to spend that kind of money. They just don't have the investment capacity to match the PC guys; we can do it thanks to economy of scale, as we sell hundreds of millions of chips, year after year."
Tamasi went on to say that consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox are limited by power supply, an area where PCs easily surpass home consoles.
"The second factor is that everything is limited by power these days," explained Tamasi. "If you want to go faster, you need a more efficient design or a bigger power supply. The laws of physics dictate that the amount of performance you're going to get from graphics is a function of the efficiency of the architecture, and how much power budget you're willing to give it.
"The most efficient architectures are from Nvidia and AMD, and you're not going to get anything that is significantly more power efficient in a console, as it's using the same core technology. Yet the consoles have power budgets of only 200 or 300 Watts, so they can put them in the living room, using small fans for cooling, yet run quietly and cool. And that's always going to be less capable than a PC, where we spend 250W just on the GPU. There's no way a 200W Xbox is going to be beat a 1000W PC.
"The technology that we're applying to PC graphics is literally state of the art, at the limits of semiconductor technology. That's why I don’t think it’s possible any more to have a console that can outperform the PC,” he added.
Ask any gaming PC aficionado and they’re bound to assert their belief that Sony and Microsoft’s new home consoles will be outdated in just a few years time. However, in PS4’s case at least, Sony has crafted the most powerful home console ever conceived, and developers are going to be tapping into its potential for many years to come, just as they did with PS3.
PS4 is due out in the U.S. on November 15 and in Europe on November 29, while Xbox One arrives in both regions on November 22.----