A new report citing a cadre of anonymous developers claims that the Playstation 4 is 50 percent faster than the Xbox One due to difficulties using the Xbox One’s ESRAM and a faster Arithmetic Logic Unit on the PS4.
Analysis and commentary of which next-generation console has more silicon power is not in short supply in the blogosphere. Microsoft and its fanboy press has gone to great lengths to dismiss reports about the Playstation 4’s technical might, while Sony and its affiliated press have put out a number of reports about how the PS4 might have the technical edge in the upcoming console wars. Now, some independent anonymous third-party developers say Microsoft may have lost the horsepower race entirely.
Speaking to EDGE, a UK-based game magazine, one developer says the Xbox One’s hard-to-use ESRAM and a faster Arithmetic Logic Unit on the PS4 means that a multi-platform game build can run at around 30 FPS at 1080p on the PS4, but it’ll run at “20-something” FPS at 1600×900 (approximately 720p) on the Xbox One.
Microsoft isn’t ignorant to the problem, and as VR-Zone previously reported, has upped the clock-speed on the Xbox One.
The clock speed update is not significant, it does not change things that much,” one developer said. “Of course, something is better than nothing.”
“Xbox One is weaker and it’s a pain to use its ESRAM,” concluded another.
Despite the variations in clock speeds, there are hardware-specific ways on the Xbox One to work around a clock speed ceiling and get results that may be comparable to the PS4.
“Let’s say you are using procedural generation or raytracing via parametric surfaces – that is, using a lot of memory writes and not much texturing or ALU – Xbox One will be likely be faster,” one developer said.
But everyone the magazine spoke to said that the graphics drivers for both consoles had not been finalized yet, though one source says Microsoft is behind Sony on the progress of its drivers. Considering that developers are currently working with early versions of the respective drivers, it may take a few release cycles to get games looking their best. Good graphic drivers and smart code engineering can bridge a lot of technical gulfs. Consider how good Grand Theft Auto V looks on the dated hardware that is the Xbox 360 and PS3 — and how both versions of the game look roughly similar despite the technical advantage one console has over the other.