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  1. #176
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    PS4 will use its unified architecture to pound Xbox One into the dust Ė eventually



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    News from the European gaming convention Gamescom implies another PR win for Sony. According to AMDís senior product marketing manager, Marc Diana, the PS4 is the only console that will support the companyís next-generation heterogeneous unified memory architecture (hUMA). When AMD announced hUMA earlier this year, it emphasized that it views the technology as essential to the future of high performance computing ó and now it seems that the capability will debut on just one console.
    This difference in capability is being touted as one reason why the PS4 is reportedly seen as far ahead of the Xbox One in terms of its raw performance. German IT magazine Cít, which spoke with Diana, also states that numerous developers believe the PS4 is far ahead of the Xbox One on raw compute power. Thatís particularly interesting given John Carmackís comments on this topic a few weeks back. During his three-hour dissertation on the universe of gaming, Carmack talked about the gap (or lack thereof) between the consoles, saying: ďItís interesting ó itís almost amazing ó how close they are in capabilities, how common they are, and how the capabilities they give are essentially the sameÖ the bottom line being that theyíre both multicore processor with AMD graphics.Ē
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    Itís actually the very first topic he touched on in his speech, and in doing so he seems to throw cold water on the idea that the PS4 is going to be the breakout winner come November. Granted, John Carmack is not the God of gaming ó but heís at least a major power. How do we square these seemingly contradictory statements? By taking a closer look at what hUMA and HSA can and canít do ó and putting a bit of context around Carmackís remarks.
    HSAís uncertain ramp-up Ė and long-term promise

    The first thing to understand about hUMA/HSA is that adapting these technologies to any use-case is non-trivial. The end goal of allowing CPU and GPU to share main memory pointers and data directly sounds simple. AMDís HSA whitepaper makes it clear that making that happen is anything but. The platform is designed to support multiple languages, all of which are translated into HSAIL (HSA Intermediate Language) for code that runs on the GPU. The CPU side of the equation remains in native code. Thereís a specific block of hardware thatís used to manage the unified memory, dubbed the HMMU, and shown below.
    Hereís the really important bit. AMDís description of HSAIL emphasizes that HSAIL is ďfocused purely on compute and does not expose graphics-specific instructions.Ē In other words, most of the publicly available data on expected HSA implementations doesnít apply to gaming in particular. Nevertheless, the whitepaper makes it clear that in order to function effectively, moving data and workloads between CPU and GPU has to be an efficient, low-latency operation. The CPU and GPU need to be able to schedule jobs for the other to complete, which means you need a task scheduler thatís capable of understanding how to prioritize a job for the GPU vs. the CPU.

    This kind of optimization work is non-trivial. A non-HSA program wonít take inherent advantage of HSA or hUMA ó itíll have to be optimized for the task. Most of the papers reporting benefits of HSA optimization have been focused on workstation applications or tools like Mathematica, where the ability to leverage the GPU more efficiently is seen as a huge potential boost for its compute aspects, not its gaming focus.
    Thereís one other thing to keep in mind when it comes to considering the benefits of HSA for gaming. Ever since the dawn of 3D acceleration, gaming has been a combined effort between the CPU and GPU. Game developers have a great deal of experience when it comes to minimizing latency and the impact of CPU-GPU data sharing on conventional architectures, which means taking advantage of HSA to deliver improvements on the standard way of doing things is going to take time.
    With multiple studios rushing to finish games, itís unlikely that HSA/hUMA will serve as the distinguishing technological features on display come launch day. Instead, I suspect that the early titles will rely on the PS4′s higher-end GPU for any attempt to one-up the Xbox One. Thatís more likely to be true for the studios working on bringing up game versions for each console; studios that have committed to exclusives may have more time to spend on the topic. Sony is likely betting on HSA/hUMA in much the same way that Microsoft is betting on cloud offloading ó as a long-term differentiation mechanism that could offer gamers unique benefits that the other console canít duplicate.
    But back to Carmackís comments: Is the PS4 more powerful than the Xbox One or not?
    Next page: Console convergence


    Console convergence

    Carmackís comments on similarity make a great deal more sense if we consider how consoles have evolved in the past 20 years. In the PS1/N64 era, Sony and Nintendo pursued opposite storage capabilities and built consoles with very different strengths. The PS2 implemented a hybridized version of the MIPS III/IV architecture with a lot of custom work, the GameCube was based on a PowerPC processor, and the original Xbox was an x86 chip. Disc-based games were one of the few common components of the three consoles.
    Last generation, the Xbox 360 and PS3 were both derived from a common CPU heritage (the Xbox 360 used three of Cellís Power Processor Elements, or PPEs), but had very different GPUs, different requirements for local storage, different storage mediums (dual-layer DVD vs. Blu-ray), and different amounts of RAM available to the CPU. The PS3 implements two blocks of 256MB of RAM for the CPU and GPU individually, while the Xbox 360 dynamically allocates memory.
    Compared to the consoles that have come before them, the PS4 and Xbox One are far more alike than different. They both rely on AMD processors and GCN (Graphics Core Next)-based GPUs. They both use Blu-ray, they both have similar video decode capabilities, operate at similar clock speeds, and use the same underlying CPU instruction set. Both are far closer to being conventional PCs than any console has ever been, which means programming tools and developer software should be far easier to leverage. At a low level, the Xbox One and PS4 are more alike than any two consoles have ever been, and I suspect that fundamental similarity is what drove Carmackís comments on their relative position.
    Even granting that Microsoft has been incredibly sensitive to the consumer response on the Xbox One, a fundamental hardware change at this late date would be truly unprecedented. That means the PS4 is going to ship with more raw power under the hood. Whether that translates into a meaningful game benefit that also translates into higher sales is anyoneís guess; Microsoft has its own vision for the Xbox One and customers donít always prefer the system thatís capable of pounding out the highest-quality graphics. Still, Sony has done a better job positioning itself for the upcoming generation by keeping the conversation focused on gaming, while Microsoft has been stuck cleaning up an enormous mess. As we head into the home stretch, itís hard to argue that the PS4 isnít leading the race.
    Update (8/22/2013)
    AMDís corporate vice-president of marketing, John Taylor, has since contacted us regarding the comments Marc Diana made to Cít. AMDís official response is as follows: ĒDuring a recent Gamescom 2013 interview, an AMD spokesperson made inaccurate statements regarding the details of our semi-custom APU architectures. AMD will not comment on the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PS4 memory architectures and will not speak for Microsoft, Sony or other AMD customers.Ē
    Our follow-up discussion with Taylor indicates that Dianaís comments were either misunderstood or mistaken to some degree, but AMD cannot contractually make disclosures on Sony or Microsoft products.
    After further review of available evidence, as suggested by some readers, I think itís clear that the PS4 has some degree of HSA-like functionality. It may or may not implement HSA in all the particulars as defined by AMD, but many of the specific capabilities that HSA allows have been confirmed as present on the PS4. The degree to which the PS4 will leverage these capacities for gaming is still unknown, but I continue to believe it will take awhile for such capabilities to emerge.
    As others have pointed out, itís possible that the Xbox One contains certain hUMA/HSA capabilities. This remains uncertain. HSA is more than a model for ensuring cache coherency or I/O coherency between CPU and GPU. Microsoft has yet to clarify which HSA capabilities the Xbox One does and does not implement in particular.

    http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/16...ust-eventually


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  2. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatSpaceKoaster View Post
    Quote me where I criticized Sony FOR bragging? I'm not having it both ways.

    Here:
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatSpaceKoaster View Post
    If Sony is only gonna clarify and brag about stuff only joe aveage cares about, then apparently talking about the architecture, bandwidth and work arounds for the GDDR5 memory latency are things joe average care about... otherwise why would have Sony sent Cerny on a PR tour to talk about it? They are only gonna talk about stuff joe average cares about....right?

    And if joe average apparently cares about architecture, bandwidth and work arounds for the GDDR5 memory latency..... then by that logic, certainly they care about HUMA and OS footprint size too!

    Just saying. I'm not really into arguing little details though. *shrug*

    If you wanna keep arguing, be my guest, I've prepared something for you:

    Enjoy.

    #IndieStation4 and proud of it.

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  4. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by admartian View Post
    Here:



    Just saying. I'm not really into arguing little details though. *shrug*

    If you wanna keep arguing, be my guest, I've prepared something for you:

    Enjoy.
    Yeah.... I know what I typed. What part of that quote has me criticizing Sony for bragging? Type out the words......BOLD the words in the quote....something to show where I was on Sony's ass FOR bragging!! Cuz I was never on Sony for bragging. I was only questioning Sony as to their LACK OF bragging on the hUMA statement when Sony has never held back on bragging on other PS4 related stuff compared to their competition. That was my whole angle on it.... quiet.... a little too quiet for Sony on something that would help...not hurt them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatSpaceKoaster View Post
    Yeah.... I know what I typed. What part of that quote has me criticizing Sony for bragging? Type out the words......BOLD the words in the quote....something to show where I was on Sony's ass FOR bragging!! Cuz I was never on Sony for bragging. I was only questioning Sony as to their LACK OF bragging on the hUMA statement when Sony has never held back on bragging on other PS4 related stuff compared to their competition. That was my whole angle on it.... quiet.... a little too quiet for Sony on something that would help...not hurt them.
    Im not sure Sony has been boasting any more than MS has been about there hardware. Its a pretty even spread on what specs we know. 8 core APU with a customised GPU, 8GB ram, HDD standard, Blu-ray. Stories and articles focusing on Sony's GPU and RAM advantage are more people just reporting on rather than Sony continually putting out new information. All the nitty gritty tech talk on hUMA, bus setups and clock rates has been mostly fan generated.

  6. #180
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    #PS4, that is all.

    Don't care about hUMA or no hUMA.

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    So no huma.

  8. #182
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    I'm confused here. Sony made it public that they had a unified memory pool back during their reveal in feb. Who cares that they didn't call it hUMA?

    also:
    @Lefein's sig
    Arnie: "It's not a hUMA!"

    Come find me on Twitch.tv!


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    Gpu is stronger in ps4. Its Like saying radeon 7790 is the same as 7870. There is a spec and performance difference, whether you like it or not, even if its 0.6 teraflops or a slight advantage. Your not gonna see the x1 out performing the ps4. Also the ram.

  11. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by almusmonk View Post
    Gpu is stronger in ps4. Its Like saying radeon 7790 is the same as 7870. There is a spec and performance difference, whether you like it or not, even if its 0.6 teraflops or a slight advantage. Your not gonna see the x1 out performing the ps4. Also the ram.
    They said the same about the PS3 and 360 CPUs but we saw how that turned out.

  12. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soldier 95B View Post
    They said the same about the PS3 and 360 CPUs but we saw how that turned out.
    Yup. Never saw real-time ray-traced clouds on a 360 game like Warhawk had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shepard View Post
    I'm confused here. Sony made it public that they had a unified memory pool back during their reveal in feb. Who cares that they didn't call it hUMA?

    also:
    @Lefein's sig
    Arnie: "It's not a hUMA!"
    I'm confused too.

  14. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soldier 95B View Post
    They said the same about the PS3 and 360 CPUs but we saw how that turned out.
    like how ps3 exclusives shat all over 360 exclusives? yep it'll be like that but even worse for the xbone

    xbone - the underpowered, overpriced, anti consumer console

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  16. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefein View Post
    Yup. Never saw real-time ray-traced clouds on a 360 game like Warhawk had.
    Wasn't more of a ray-cast? The light shone from behind the clouds never interfered with, or reflected off of anything below the cloud line?

    It was a neat effect, but I don't think it was ray-traced in the way that a lot of people use that word.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soldier 95B View Post
    They said the same about the PS3 and 360 CPUs but we saw how that turned out.
    Im pretty sure the exclusives talk for themselves. Uncharted's, last of us, gow 3 etc etc.

    The 360 had better ports because the system was easier to develop for and easier to port from PC. So of course they were better ports. Sony made a booboo. But they've corrected that.
    Development and porting for 3rd party companies will be the same for PS4 and X1 by base architecture. You cant argue with that.
    For sake of argument I wont mention supposedly its easier to develop for PS4 and more powerful.

    Dont confuse 1st party games with ported or 3rd party games.

    now back to my original comment. Whats more powerful, radeon 7790 or 7870. Im not saying there not modified for the consoles but out of the graphic cards. You cant say all graphic cards are born equal?
    If the cpu and ram are the same, again for sake of argument, wouldnt the pc with the slightly stronger graphic card be better?

    MS has said they didnt try to be the most powerful console. They wanted to be more multimedia. Hence TV. The only reason your not hearing TV TV TV TV, is because of the fans and sony fans making fun. Otherwise it would be mentioned like hot cakes and MS wouldn't think any different. just like DRM and always online and kennect were. Till the 180's. It was meant to be the online game/tv multimedia machine not games console with multimedia features. And lol at paying xbox gold for netflix.

  18. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuguy View Post
    Wasn't more of a ray-cast? The light shone from behind the clouds never interfered with, or reflected off of anything below the cloud line?

    It was a neat effect, but I don't think it was ray-traced in the way that a lot of people use that word.
    Nope. They were volumetrically ray-traced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefein View Post
    Nope. They were volumetrically ray-traced.

    i have heard both ways... so I was genuinely asking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuguy View Post
    i have heard both ways... so I was genuinely asking.
    It's all good. I was just clarifying. There have been quite a few examples where Cell gave the PS3 an advantage. The PhysX acceleration was quite a bit better as one small example. A lot of the heavy compute stuff that was being off-loaded to DX10 era graphics cards was stuff that the Cell was being used for (albeit, on a much smaller scale, not lying to kick it) and the 360 had no answer to other than to just do it more slowly on it's general purpose cores.

    At any rate. The comparison between Cell and the PS4s GPU is a non-sequitur entirely. The parts have been benchmarked and the number of CUs is a known quantity. Even without throwing GCGPU into the equation, those cores can and will be used for rendering games. People can mystify and demystify Cell to whichever degree that suits their argument. The GPU in PS4, on the other hand, doesn't belong in a shroud of unique technology. To suggest otherwise is borderline trolling and sidetracking the dialogue into a last-gen console war.

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  22. #193
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    lol console warz. i see fanboys on both sides quickly hop onto a claim that suits their console agenda while rejecting anything that runs counter to their agenda. i'm not believing any of these claims, just let the games do the talking. i'll judge upon seeing BF4 and watch dogs running side by side on ps4 and xbox one.

  23. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by rene2kx View Post
    lol console warz. i see fanboys on both sides quickly hop onto a claim that suits their console agenda while rejecting anything that runs counter to their agenda. i'm not believing any of these claims, just let the games do the talking. i'll judge upon seeing BF4 and watch dogs running side by side on ps4 and xbox one.
    Using multiplats to compare power? lol ok...

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    Quote Originally Posted by PS4THEWIN View Post
    Using multiplats to compare power? lol ok...
    yes. no doubt ps4 shall have some amazing looking exclusives few years down the line (so will xbox one), but multiplats should give a decent indication if all those claims of ps4 being '50% more powerful' are true or just plain bs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rene2kx View Post
    yes. no doubt ps4 shall have some amazing looking exclusives few years down the line (so will xbox one), but multiplats should give a decent indication if all those claims of ps4 being '50% more powerful' are true or just plain bs.
    Not sure if that's true. Many teams are already mentioning they can't fully leverage the power of the PS4 for their multiplats, because they have to maintain a certain level of equality across all platforms. So, there's lots of things they could do with their multiplats on PS4 that they just won't do, because it would end up pushing it too far beyond Xbone.

    So, it'll be best to use exclusives as an indication of the power gap between the 2 systems. Sure, there'll be little differences you'll notice here and there of multiplats looking better and performing better on PS4, with even higher framerates or resolution. It would also be easier to compare if you are using the same game running at the same place in a side by side, but it's not gonna show the full power discrepancy between the two at the level exclusives will.

  26. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by PS4THEWIN View Post
    Using multiplats to compare power? lol ok...
    Well you got to use the same game otherwise it isn't fair.

    FPS test I use Quake 1 on my mid ranged PC but you use Crysis 3 on your super high end SLI monster, I get probably double the frame rates what your system gets so mine is more powerful right.

    Wrong! obviously so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XtraTrstrL View Post
    Not sure if that's true. Many teams are already mentioning they can't fully leverage the power of the PS4 for their multiplats, because they have to maintain a certain level of equality across all platforms. So, there's lots of things they could do with their multiplats on PS4 that they just won't do, because it would end up pushing it too far beyond Xbone.
    if some multiplat game looks better than ps4, the hardcore ps loyalists would be using it as a bragging point of how the ps4 is more powerful. so no, using multiplats as the base to judge wouldnt be wrong, especially those ones where ps4 would be the lead platform. and there's nothing ps4 could do that would be 'far beyond' xbox one's reach. you are just another victim of the console warz lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rene2kx View Post
    if some multiplat game looks better than ps4, the hardcore ps loyalists would be using it as a bragging point of how the ps4 is more powerful. so no, using multiplats as the base to judge wouldnt be wrong, especially those ones where ps4 would be the lead platform. and there's nothing ps4 could do that would be 'far beyond' xbox one's reach. you are just another victim of the console warz lol.
    I'm just going off what certain multiplat devs have said. I don't see how that makes me a victim of console wars, but ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatSpaceKoaster View Post
    Yeah.... I know what I typed. What part of that quote has me criticizing Sony for bragging? Type out the words......BOLD the words in the quote....something to show where I was on Sony's ass FOR bragging!! Cuz I was never on Sony for bragging. I was only questioning Sony as to their LACK OF bragging on the hUMA statement when Sony has never held back on bragging on other PS4 related stuff compared to their competition. That was my whole angle on it.... quiet.... a little too quiet for Sony on something that would help...not hurt them.
    That must be why MS is hiding their spec. They do not want to advertise the fact their they have a lot weaker console.

    This move by MS to hide their Spec and word vaguely with transistors just emphasis even further that console is in fact far weaker.

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