Found this while researching the PS2 Graphics Synthesizer.

Fenris

Superior Member
Sep 30, 2005
631
0
0
47
#1
Good read if you want to understand how the PS2 is still able to hang with and in some instances surpass the X-box four years later.

http://www.gadgetaddict.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1113

Author Message
Makaveli_786
Moderator


Joined: 22 Jun 2004
Posts: 337

Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 2:16 pm Post subject: REAL PS2 and Xbox specs...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LOL I remember I wrote this about 3-4 years ago, thought it would be interesting to read again(no its not a cue for fanboys to declare war on each other).

XBox vs. PS2

The CPU

Of course, the Central Processing Unit, the heart of every computer or console. Most of the calculations take place here. The XBox has a Intel processor which runs at a clock-speed of 733MHz. That's a lot higher than the 300MHz at which the PS2 CPU is running. But does that make the CPU better? Nope.

Here's why the PS2 CPU (Emotion Engine) is a lot more powerful:
-Data bus, cache memory as well as all registers are 128 bits on the PS2 CPU while the XBox CPU is 32 bits.
-It has a maximum performance of 6.2GFLOPS while the XBox CPU can only do a bit over 3 GFLOPS.
-It incorporates two 64-bit integer units (IU) with a 128-bit SIMD multi-media command unit, two independent floating-point vector calculation units (VU0, VU1), an MPEG 2 decoder circuit (Image Processing Unit/IPU) and high performance DMA controllers. Yes, this is all ON THE EMOTION ENGINE ITSELF.

Okay now what does this mean? It means that the PS2 can handle heavier physics and 3D engines (and can do more accurate realistic visual effects like splashing water and explosions). It also means that the PS2 can handle a lot more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence programming so that you have intelligent human-like opponents. And with a floating-point calculation performance of 6.2GFLOPS/second, the overall calculation performance of this new CPU matches that of a super computer. This is a completely new CPU architecture especially designed for sophisticated graphics and physics while the architecture of the XBox CPU is pretty old and simple and looks a lot like the architecture of the 486 CPU from back in the early '90s. The architecture of the Emotion Engine really is very sophisticated so I'm not going to explain it in detail here. But simply put the main advantage of the PS2 CPU is that it is subdivided into lots of other tiny powerful processors, all of them designed to do a special task and almost all of them can work independently from each other.

And another thing... the processor inside the box does not say "Pentium III" anywhere. It simply reads "Intel". The XBox's processor is NOT an Intel Pentium III, as Microsoft would have you believe, but in fact a Celeron II. It is a 700mhz Celeron, complete with 128kb of L2 cache (P3 coppermines actually have 256kb L2 cache), but overclocked to a 133mhz FSB, resulting in PIII/Celeron hybrid. What makes it a Celeron II is the fact that it is still using a Coppermine Core, with 8 way set associative L2 cache rather than your typical Celeron 4 way set Level 2 cache. What it ultimately comes down to is that this Coppermine core, which allows Microsoft to market the XBox as a PIII Coppermine, is about a 10% speed increase over the Celeron equivalent of this processor. Is the XBox CPU a Celeron? Not really. Is it a Pentium III CPU in the sense that everyone thinks of a PIII Coppermine? Nope. It's somewhere in between.

The Graphics Chip and VRAM

This is where the images are rendered. The XBox uses an Nvidia Graphics Processing Unit running at 250MHz and the PS2 uses the Graphics Synthesizer running at 150MHz. Again, judging by these specs the XBox looks better. The XBox GPU has a few advantages (or maybe not) over the PS2 GS, for example:

-The XBox GPU can do 125 million polygons while the PS2 GS can only do 75million polygons
-The XBox GPU has a max. Resolution of 1920x1080 and the PS2 GS can do 1280x1024 The rest of the graphics chip will be comparable to NV-20 chip, there are a lot of neat effects the XBox GPU can do with its hardware, but all those effects can be done by the Emotion Engine in software too (while the XBox' CPU is not powerful enough to do complex visual effects in software).

But the catch is that these advantages (talking about higher resolutions here) don't make a lot of difference on a TV screen, even on an HDTV screen the difference would be barely noticeable (when the console's hardware is used properly). So, is the XBox Graphics Processing Unit better than the PS2 GS? It doesn't look like it, the architecture of the PS2 GS looks far more advanced. For example, PS2 has a parallel rendering engine that contains a 2,560-bit wide data bus that is 20 times the size of leading PC-based graphics accelerators. The Graphics Synthesizer architecture can execute recursive multi-pass rendering processing and filter operations at a very fast speed without the assistance of the main CPU or main bus access. In the past, this level of real-time performance was only achieved when using very expensive, high performance, dedicated graphics workstations. There is a 48-Gigabyte/sec memory access bandwidth achieved via the integration of the pixel logic and the video memory on a single high performance chip. The quality of the resulting screen image is comparable to high quality pre-rendered 3D graphics. (that is once the game developers have learned how to use it properly) There has also been a misunderstanding about the VideoRAM on the PS2. The VRAM is included in the 32MB of main RAM on the CPU (the developer chooses how much of it he wants to dedicate to VRAM). Everyone thought the 4MB of memory on the GS was the VRAM while that is just a buffer in which all the rendering is done so no external bandwidth is needed (only for texture streaming). Another rumor that's been spread by several gaming sites is that the XBox is capable of texture compression and full scene anti-aliasing while the PS2 isn't. This is simply not true. The PS2 can compress/ decompress textures and do full scene anti-aliasing without causing as much slow-down as on the XBox. And although the XBox GPU can do a lot of effects that are not 'built-in' in the PS2 GS, the PS2 can do all these effects and more in software mode (but at least at the same quality) through the Emotion Engine.

Now let's take a look at how Microsoft got the idea that their graphics chip can do 125 million polygons...

The PS2's Graphics Synthesizer has the highest pixel fill rate of the next generation of consoles. Most remeber the 4.0 GPixels on Microsoft's spec comparence sheet. Well, Microsoft was nice to include a "(anti-aliased)" next to it. What does "4.0 GPixels (anti-aliased)", mean? It's misleading. The Xbox has hardwired 4x FSAA, when this is turned on the actual total of 1.0 GPixels is re-rendered 4 times to remove aliasing. Another possible reason for Microsoft to say Xbox's fill-rate is 4 GPixels per second. Is that the 1 GPixels is with 2 texture layers, if it is NOT used Xbox would not gain any performance and if it is used Xbox wouldn't lose any performance. It remains 1.0 GPixels w/ 2 textures, so what MS possibly did was it doubled the fill rate twice. Trying to compare it to PS2's fill rate w/ no texture. What MS did was it came up with misleading numbers. The Xbox can't go higher than 1 GPixels per second.

The NV2a in the Xbox has 4 pixel units running at 250 MHz, that's 1 billion pixels/second. While the GS in the PS2 has 16 pixel units running at 150 MHz, which is 2.4 billion pixels every second.

Now let's talk about polygons. Right here I'm talking about polygon rendering and not polygon transformations. To calculate polygon rendering performance, you take the pixel fill rate, and write it in millions. So PS2s pixel fill rate is 2400 Million. When Sony says polygons, it is referring to 32 pixel polygons. Divide 2400 Million by 32. You get 75 Million (32-pixel) polygons per second. That is raw and doesn't include textures, they use up pixels also. Now let's take Microsoft's alleged pixel fill rate of 4000 Million, which MS has on it's spec sheet and divide it by 32, you get, yes you guessed it, 125 Million (32 pixel) polygons per second. Here's the problem, the NV2a doesn't have a 4000 M fill rate but a 1000 M fill rate. So it's 31 Million (32 pixel) polygons per second. This isn't raw, since there's also 2 texture units for each pixel unit. So that's 31 million with 2 texture layers, the PS2 is around 38 Million with 1 texture layer and 20 million with 2 texture layers. The Xbox maxes out at 31 MPolygons per second, if textures aren't placed on those polygons- Xbox will not gain a polygon rendering increase in performance. The PS2's Graphic Synthesizer could render 75 MPolygons per second with no texture. The NV2a in the Xbox can't render higher than 31 MPolygons per second at all.

Okay now take that all into account and then check out the following...

"Is the XBox graphics chip the same as a GeForce 3 card? Not quite. The NV2A chip that powers the XBox is quite similar to the GeForce 3, but isn't quite a GeForce 3. The GeForce 3 is a 64mb card with 350mhz RAMDAC. The XBox's NV2A is a card that SHARES it's memory with the XBox's system RAM and has a 250mhz RAMDAC. The NV2A compensates for this by having a Second Vertex Shader, as opposed by the GeForce 3's single vertex shader. However, Microsoft claims that this second vertex shader instantly bumps the XBox's theoretical max poly count from the 31 million that Nvidia lists for the GeForce 3, all the way up to 125 million pps. According to most experts, the area that will actually see the most improvement from this will actually be in Bump Mapping. Microsoft has yet to explain how the second vertex shader yields an additional 94 million polygons per second."

I don't know enough to go more in detail about this but this is definitely an interesting point, and either way you turn it, it doesn't seem like the XBox has the advantage here.

I can understand that this is all a bit confusing if you're not a real tech-freak. It comes down to this: when developers have learned how to use the power of the PS2 GS properly they'll get a lot more out of it than XBox developers will get out of the XBox GPU. The PS2 GS combined with the EE can do a lot more advanced visual effects than the XBox GPU combined with its CPU.
 

Silas

Forum Elder
Dec 19, 2005
2,791
0
0
30
#2
That is quite enlightening, i didn't know that the PS2 was actually better, in some respects, than the Xbox. I was lead to belive, by Xbox fans, that the Xbox was superior in every way. I guess they were wrong. I'm going to have a smug look on my face when i show them this. :lol:
 

Steroyd

Elite Sage
Jun 17, 2005
10,578
2
0
35
#3
Okay now what does this mean? It means that the PS2 can handle heavier physics and 3D engines (and can do more accurate realistic visual effects like splashing water and explosions). It also means that the PS2 can handle a lot more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence programming so that you have intelligent human-like opponents. And with a floating-point calculation performance of 6.2GFLOPS/second, the overall calculation performance of this new CPU matches that of a super computer. This is a completely new CPU architecture especially designed for sophisticated graphics and physics while the architecture of the XBox CPU is pretty old and simple and looks a lot like the architecture of the 486 CPU from back in the early '90s. The architecture of the Emotion Engine really is very sophisticated so I'm not going to explain it in detail here. But simply put the main advantage of the PS2 CPU is that it is subdivided into lots of other tiny powerful processors, all of them designed to do a special task and almost all of them can work independently from each other.
Wow that sounds soooo familiar.

everybody party like it's ninety ninety nine. :snigger
 
Nov 10, 2005
4,420
0
0
#4
Quote:
Okay now what does this mean? It means that the PS2 can handle heavier physics and 3D engines (and can do more accurate realistic visual effects like splashing water and explosions). It also means that the PS2 can handle a lot more sophisticated Artificial Intelligence programming so that you have intelligent human-like opponents. And with a floating-point calculation performance of 6.2GFLOPS/second, the overall calculation performance of this new CPU matches that of a super computer. This is a completely new CPU architecture especially designed for sophisticated graphics and physics while the architecture of the XBox CPU is pretty old and simple and looks a lot like the architecture of the 486 CPU from back in the early '90s. The architecture of the Emotion Engine really is very sophisticated so I'm not going to explain it in detail here. But simply put the main advantage of the PS2 CPU is that it is subdivided into lots of other tiny powerful processors, all of them designed to do a special task and almost all of them can work independently from each other.


Wow that sounds soooo familiar.

everybody party like it's ninety ninety nine.
lol the past where is says the emotion engine is divided into smaller processors sounds alot like the cell. Yes but even so you can't explain how the xbox has better graphics i've seen halo and killzone pictures next to each other killzone holds it's own but halo win even though it looks plasticy.
 
Apr 28, 2005
2,837
4
0
Maryland
#5
Silas said:
That is quite enlightening, i didn't know that the PS2 was actually better, in some respects, than the Xbox. I was lead to belive, by Xbox fans, that the Xbox was superior in every way. I guess they were wrong. I'm going to have a smug look on my face when i show them this. :lol:
Special effects (i.e. particles) is where the PS2 really shines.
 
Jan 5, 2005
4,814
0
0
#6
now I feel alot better. I thought the xbox was better all around but reading this show that the ps2 is better then the xbox in some parts.
 

tien

Apprentice
Nov 10, 2004
379
0
0
#8
I actually have hat saved in a wordfile from 2 years back and read it religiously to use in my x-box fanboy arguments.

I will say it again, despite x-box's HDD. IF all three current gen systems had the same RAM. In order power woudl be:

PS2(hands down, look at what it doing with 32MB of RAM, and people still saying tourist trophy is an x360 game, serious, only ONE person out of 20 guessed right)

Gamecube
X-box

Only thing PS2 lacked was RAM. On the X360 side of this forum, folk are drooling over SC4 supposed real-time pic(will need to see them play it, it does lokk frickin awesome, cut-scene or real-time).
All I hope is that Ubisoft takes advantage of PS3 and builds it from the ground up. i really wish gates woudl have used a blu-ray format, I dont want any excuses when the ass-whupping ensues.
 
Nov 13, 2005
327
0
0
#9
Wow, that's pretty cool, I also always thought the Xbox was better then PS2 because of the graphics it put out, but if you look at some of the new games, you can see that's not true. The Xbox reached its potential a long time ago, but games like God Of War and DMC3 show that the graphics for PS2 are comparable to Xbox graphics.
 

LT1FUN

Superior Member
Dec 31, 2005
566
0
0
41
www.cardomain.com
#10
So let's say for the sake of arguement, the article is true and PS2 was indeed the more powerful of the two consoles, why did xbox games have better graphics?

I can't think of a single game that was made for both the xbox/PS2 that didn't look much better on the xbox.

Furthermore, why is it that xbox had a more than 30 titles in either 1080i or 720p while PS2 only had 1 ?? (Gran Turismo I believe)


The only thing this article proves is that system spec's don't always mean better graphic's.

This article states that PS2 was more advanced in a lot of area's, but it's common knowlege that even the GameCube was capable of better Graphics then PS2. (ie. RE4)

If game developers can't harness all the power or figure out how best to use it, they'll never get the most out of the system.

That's why the games on the origional xbox looked better. It was an easier system to develope for. :)

My 2 cents.
 

watashi

Elite Member
Aug 1, 2004
1,547
0
0
#11
The PS2 is not stronger in the "VISUAL EYE" department we all know. However, if the Xbox was released right by the same time with their own graphics of what was available, I am sure that the PS2 would've been better. As this notes that some of the things are said different. So, for me, even if PS2's specs are stronger the visual eye contact is what most gamers attach to...Xbox.
 

Silas

Forum Elder
Dec 19, 2005
2,791
0
0
30
#12
LT1FUN said:
So let's say for the sake of arguement, the article is true and PS2 was indeed the more powerful of the two consoles, why did xbox games have better graphics?

I can't think of a single game that was made for both the xbox/PS2 that didn't look much better on the xbox.

Furthermore, why is it that xbox had a more than 30 titles in either 1080i or 720p while PS2 only had 1 ?? (Gran Turismo I believe)


The only thing this article proves is that system spec's don't always mean better graphic's.

This article states that PS2 was more advanced in a lot of area's, but it's common knowlege that even the GameCube was capable of better Graphics then PS2. (ie. RE4)

If game developers can't harness all the power or figure out how best to use it, they'll never get the most out of the system.

That's why the games on the origional xbox looked better. It was an easier system to develope for. :)

My 2 cents.
It's saying it was better in other departments ie: Physics
 

Silas

Forum Elder
Dec 19, 2005
2,791
0
0
30
#15
It's already began i think, The problem is there is nobody is on Xbox's side. As soon as i say this though, there will be lots of Xbox fanboys.
 
Nov 22, 2005
8,517
9
0
35
#16
This is very quite interesting, I should probably show this to my roommate, mainly because he is a person that believes that the Xbox is the best system, better graphics than the PS2, and he also believes that the X360 will rule the market & the PS3 will not come out. (On a side note, he hates all democrats).
 
Jul 13, 2004
484
0
0
#17
LT1FUN said:
This article states that PS2 was more advanced in a lot of area's, but it's common knowlege that even the GameCube was capable of better Graphics then PS2. (ie. RE4)

Graphics = one area, read what you posted again.


EDIT: Scratch that. Graphics are a lot of areas, and PS2 was very good in a lot of these like particle effects, and transparent polygons(or was that PS1).
What I mean is their are a lot of things that go together to make a game look good, take Shadow of the Colossus, Ken K has said he can't believe some of the effects that were put into that game, he didn't think the PS2 was capable of it, now does that show the PS2 is a well built machine.


EDIT: Also doesn't Burnout look better on the PS2 than the xbox because of the better particle effects and stuff?
 

surtur

Super Elite
Oct 5, 2005
2,134
0
0
40
#18
Well i thought it was well known that the Emotion engine was powerful and even more so then the Xb1 but the gpu was a diff story and is what caused most of the headaches with Devs but i still think no matter what the games look like PS2 was well worth my money :)
 

Mastur Debater

Superior Member
Jun 14, 2005
973
0
0
#19
This may all well be true, but as was said before the graphics on the Xbox just look better. Well, at least to me and most other people. The Xbox was also easier do develop for, and thus got more out of its processors than the PS2 developers got out of the PS2.
 

FizzeL

Superior Member
Nov 22, 2005
553
0
0
32
www.jisto.com
#20
So you guys are sayng if the PS2 had the same graphics and the same amount of RAM as the Xbox. The PS2 would have been the most powerful current gen system out now...not including xbox 360? :lol:
 

tien

Apprentice
Nov 10, 2004
379
0
0
#21
FizzeL
Trainee


User Profile

Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 29
Posts per day: 0.45

Skill Points: 196
Items:
Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:42 am

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So you guys are sayng if the PS2 had the same graphics and the same amount of RAM as the Xbox. The PS2 would have been the most powerful current gen system out now...not including xbox 360?
DOnt be an UTTER dumbass. You know we are talking about THIS generation. Looking at things now, you will see the only chink in the PS2 armour was RAM. Back then people beat the proverbial horse and made it out that man other things were wrong. Well , That VU0 cannot be fully realized in it;s potential either. And given all of that, look what the PS2 is doing. Hell Forza looked shitty to GT4. Imagine with 64MB of RAM, whew.
 

Silas

Forum Elder
Dec 19, 2005
2,791
0
0
30
#22
tien said:
FizzeL
Trainee


User Profile

Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 29
Posts per day: 0.45

Skill Points: 196
Items:
Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:42 am

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So you guys are sayng if the PS2 had the same graphics and the same amount of RAM as the Xbox. The PS2 would have been the most powerful current gen system out now...not including xbox 360?
DOnt be an UTTER dumbass. You know we are talking about THIS generation. Looking at things now, you will see the only chink in the PS2 armour was RAM. Back then people beat the proverbial horse and made it out that man other things were wrong. Well , That VU0 cannot be fully realized in it;s potential either. And given all of that, look what the PS2 is doing. Hell Forza looked shitty to GT4. Imagine with 64MB of RAM, whew.
Calm down man, the guy is just trying to make a point. Albeit its not a very good one but thats no reason to go off your head at him.
 

tien

Apprentice
Nov 10, 2004
379
0
0
#23
It was so simple for him to get the point. He deserved worse. I need to steer him to the PS3power forums, where I can be unfethered in tearing him a new one.
 
A

axia777

Guest
#24
Nice read, proves all my arguments with the resident X-Box fanboys at my art college were completely right. PS2 continues to amaze. I think they passed the tech demos they first showed when PS2 launched in 2000. Snake Eater and Shadow of the Colossus prove that wholeheartely. I can't wait for PS3.