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Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by DaViD Boulet, Oct 10, 2006.
Yeah, but not very.
Sorry, been away.
PS3 uses the GeForce 7 architecture which does not support unified shaders, while the ATI design in the 360 does. A key feature just now supported on the PC side with the recently released generations of vid cards.
From there, bandwidth, memory, and speed are comparable to PC vid cards due to the architectural differences in a hardwired console vs a add-on card PC.
The key difference is the unified shaders which allow for a great deal more power and flexibility. The 360's vid card can achieve graphical effects alone that the PS3(Probably, haven't seen the dev kits) would require the system to dedicate at least some of the SPU's to doing the work. With unfied shaders, there's no issue with having vertex shaders overloaded while pixel shaders sit empty. You can fully utilize the GPU at all times without fail. But with GeForce 7's core, the vertex and pixel shaders remain seperate, and if you're tapped out of one you cannot tap into the other. The PS3 can try to use it's SPU's to assist and compete, but when it does so, it sacrfices other features.
Meanwhile, the 360 can still drop to any of it's 2 free cores at any time to boost graphical abilities further beyond today's features. While the PS3 has already tapped out it's potential because of the limits of the GeForce 7 architecture.
Remember, PS3 was supposed to be released when the GeForce 7 was still the top PC vid card. Now, it's behind both the 360 and the PC in tech abilities.
A link discussing the importance of unified shaders....
The vid card that PS3 is using is nearly 2 years old now. I built my computer Sept 2005, and used a GeForce 7800 GTX as my card. Meanwhile 360's vid card's features are just now appearing on PC's. Nor does the PS3 vid card have more in common with the GeForce 8's, it's design (RSX I believe it's called) was the building block upon which the GeForce 7 series was constructed, and at the time it was released was a major "Look at what the PS3 can do!" point for many PS3 supporters, as at the time it released a single 7800GTX was as fast or faster than two top end 6 series in SLI.
Three RSX articles
It's also important to note, the brag in the third article is that the RSX will be "More powerful than two 6800's combined. Not saying very much for it, as a single 7800 model is more powerful.
Hence, PS3 is behind, 360 is current.
Since the RSX and Cell work together to render as well, I don't see how something you tout as a 360 advantage somehow wouldn't work for the PS3. Its processor, coupled with the usage of XDR RAM (far faster), there will be differences.
Besides, it was nVidia who brought unified shaders to PCs first with the 8800. ATI hasn't yet. You also need DirectX 10 to take full advantage of that, and that comes with Windows Vista. The video capabilities of the ATI chip in the 360 is DirectX 9c at best. So implying that the PS3 is somehow behind the 360 is not correct.
And now back to our regularly scheduled program....
Watched Kung Fu Hustle and Ice Age BRs on the PS3 and they were spectacular. The PQ in Ice Age is top notch as expected but the sound was lacking. I had to turn the volume up quite high but after playing around with the menu I found the Volume option and turned it up to +2 so I don't have to turn the volume up that much. I was actually quite surprised with Kung Fu Hustle. The PQ was much better than I expected but what was really unexpected was the surround sound. It was really good with each speaker being used a lot. I have 3 more BRs to watch and will be ordering more. Need to catch up with my HD DVD collection.
So far my main reason for getting the PS3 as a BR player has worked out. As a game system, it currently does not deliver.
Let me see if I can explain myself more clearly, hoping I get this right...
With the PS3, if the vertex shaders or the pixel shaders are tapped out, the console is forced to drop down to the SPU's in order to assist with video processing, rather than using excess shaders of the other type that isn't being consumed. Not a problem, the SPU's are extremely good with math ops, and are quite capable of handling it. Except most of the engines today already exceed the GeForce 7's abilities, Oblivion for example has features on the 360 that the PC version can't handle due to hardware constraints with the GeForce 7 series that was common on it's release.
With the 360, if the vertex shaders or the pixel shaders are tapped out, the console can access the other type of shader and use the excess instead of dropping down to the core.
Is it having an effect now? Perhaps. I've seen head-head comparisions like the ones on Gamespot that range between calling it a draw, to pointing out missing graphics features on the PS3. Could be nothing, could be the difficulties of adjusting to a new processor, could be the lack of Dev Kits from Sony, could be indicitave of the RSX processor.
Will it have an effect down the road? Most definitely. As graphics engines progress, and gameplay progresses(Specifically physics), the PS3 is going to have problems. If it needs to tap into the SPU's to shore up the graphics processing, it's going to have an increasingly difficult time finding the resources to handle other processing, like the equally math-hungry Physics processing. Each core consumed for the PS3 is a problem, It's only got 6 SPU's available(One is reserved for the OS), and potentially it's gotta handle both Physics and shader overflow with them, in addition to all other duties like collision detection, AI, and other chores. Can it do it? Certainly. But it shouldn't have to do it, not at this point in time, it should be able to use the Universal Shaders. If it had Universal Shaders, it'd be a much more impressive piece of hardware and it'd be able to do a great many things the 360 can't. But it doesn't, and it's gotta handle the overflow from the shaders, seriously limiting it's power.
Meanwhile, the 360 has the benefit of the shared shaders, and still has potentially two free full fledged cores. It can easily drop Physics processing to one of those cores, and use the last core to shore up the graphics engine further if necessary.
As far as XDR goes, I want to see some tests done with it before I pass judgement on it's speed. The last Rambus piece of technology I saw was clocked at something on the order of 800mhz or 1ghz, but it's latency was so bloody high that a low end DDR chip unthinkably slow by today's standards was able to meet or exceed it's performance.
It doesn't matter much anyways though, even if XDR is as fast as they claim, the PS3 has so little of it that the gain from the speed is lost by the need to constantly refill it. Everything I've read has declared there's no memory advantage for either console because the 360 has larger slower memory and is able to store more textures, while the PS3 has smaller faster memory but needs to constantly restock it. Which becomes a problem because at that point the speed of the memory is limited by the speed of the source of the textures, presumably the HD. Advantage is lost. Sony made a major error in going with Rambus, they have a tendency to charge a premium, Sony could've knocked dollars off the price and gotten the same speed by sticking to GDDR or DDR2.
The PS3 is behind the 360, as far as the GPU goes. It lacks features that may prove critical down the road. The RSX is two year old hardware missing a critical feature for it's purpose. It also contributes to making it slower to develop for, and harder to port to other platforms since most other platforms have progressed beyond it's GPU specs, which limits it's appeal to developers.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying "The PS3's a horrible console that's good only for a paperweight!", we all know that's not true. But I am saying that it lacks features found on other platforms that may easily prove to be critical and limiting in the future. There is a reason why so many developers who were formerly exclusive are now multi-platform, what that reason is, I don't pretend to know. It could be anything from the Hardware, to Sony's very poor communication with dev's, to it's slow roll out of the Dev Kits this year. Heck, MS might have dropped 10 mill in each of their bank accounts for all I know. But something is happening.
The gaming horizion is changing, rapidly and drastically. Some things are going to go in the next couple of years. MS, PC, PS3, Nintendo, they're all candidates. Personally, it's my opinion that due to Sony's missteps with the PS3, the shake out will leave the market as Xbox and PC, with Nintendo turning publisher/developer and getting out of hardware.
But, the potential does exist for it to go the other way and it to be PS3 with Nintendo as a publisher/developer and MS and the PC buying the farm as gaming markets.
Mark my words though, this is the last console war. Just look at the numbers both MS and Sony have lost, no-one's going to be trying to fight this battle again.
I don't have either the 360 or the PS3, but from the sounds of this discussion they are both shit and worthless down the road so I will just stick with my "old" consoles and be happy. These types of threads always end up in some sort of pissing match and makes for good entertainment for those who don't take it quite so seriously.
Moved this thread to the Blu-Ray area.