First downplays the importance of hardware comparisons, only to later diss the PS4 spec by spec
With Sony abandoning the PS3’s Cell architecture in favor of a more conventional x86 setup and Microsoft also opting for something similar, it is far more easy to compare the specs of the Xbox One and the PS4 than was the case with their greatly disparate predecessors. Despite Microsoft bumping up the Xbox One’s specs recently, the PS4 still seems to be the stronger of the two (at least on paper), with reports putting the gulf between the two at between 30-50 percent. But what does Microsoft have to say about all this?
Microsoft’s director of product planning Albert Penello is not overly concerned. When Rev3Games’ Adam Sessler broached the topic of the Xbox One’s specs during a recent interview (video), he responded by dismissing this whole practice of comparing hardware specs as being "meaningless."
“They [Sony] are doing things in their hardware to make it the best that they can, we’re doing things in our hardware to make it the best that we can,” he said. “I don’t believe the difference between these two platforms is significant as comparing individual components.”
He later took to NeoGAF to make his point: “People do understand that Microsoft has some of the smartest graphics programmers in the world. We created DirectX, the standard API’s that everyone programs against. So while people laude [sic] Sony for their HW [sic] skills, do you really think we don’t know how to build a system optimized for maximizing graphics for programmers? Seriously? There is no way we’re giving up a 30%+ advantage to Sony. And anyone who has seen both systems running could say there are great looking games on both systems. If there was really huge performance difference – it would be obvious.”
According to Penello, despite the fact that Sony has claimed to have the more powerful machine during each of the last two console generations, games on Microsoft’s systems have “looked the same or better.”
Penello’s post on the forum caused quite a stir, with the discussion, as he put it in a subsequent post, quickly devolving into one about his credibility rather than the consoles. This forced him to return to the site a few days later with some further clarification:
“So, here are couple of points about some of the individual parts for people to consider:
18 CU's vs. 12 CU's =/= 50% more performance. Multi-core processors have inherent inefficiency with more CU's, so it's simply incorrect to say 50% more GPU.
Adding to that, each of our CU's is running 6% faster. It's not simply a 6% clock speed increase overall.
We have more memory bandwidth. 176gb/sec is peak on paper for GDDR5. Our peak on paper is 272gb/sec. (68gb/sec DDR3 + 204gb/sec on ESRAM). ESRAM can do read/write cycles simultaneously so I see this number mis-quoted.
We have at least 10% more CPU. Not only a faster processor, but a better audio chip also offloading CPU cycles.
We understand GPGPU and its importance very well. Microsoft invented Direct Compute, and have been using GPGPU in a shipping product since 2010 - it's called Kinect.
Speaking of GPGPU - we have 3X the coherent bandwidth for GPGPU at 30gb/sec which significantly improves our ability for the CPU to efficiently read data generated by the GPU.”