The final transcript of Digital Foundry's discussions on the Xbox One architecture with two integral members of the team that helped create the hardware.
Well Mr Leadbetter decided to finally give us the full picture. This is only after cherry picking parts of this interview and making 3 previous hit seeking articles. *slow clap*
At least this is a new fact filled piece with real journalistic work as opposed to the amateur blog hit seeking flamebait and clickbait articles with lots of mis-informed information being passed around here as top news stories essentially spreading FUD! I applaud Mr Leadbetter for great job on getting real information right from the horses mouth, but I'm sure you would rather have the latter, because it serves your cause. @Gamingcapacity: No, this is a detailed hardware architecture discussion that you probably don't get, so to you it might be secret sauce.
Shout out to Richard and the Xbox hardware reps for providing one of the best pieces I've seen on Xbox ONE since..ever. Salute Eurogamer for not crumbling under the fake power of the SonyGAF PR pressure to not give those guys a platform to speak on their next gen decisions. This article has me more excited for my XB1 preorder than any of the 'speculative' rumor stuff on Mister's site. Although Mister's site is pretty entertaining and strangely addicting. Forget the endless comparison loop, MS was right all along, the latest Ryse gameplay vid is ridiculously stunning and makes a lot of the best 3rd person graphics this gen look like cartoons. If what they learned from post 360 that 'balance' is the key to amazing games then they can say it 50 times in the interview. Give me Forza 5, Ryse (holy surprise after the weak E3), TitanFall, and Halo 5, on this system and I'm happy. That I until Last guardian or Naughty's next masterpiece arrives and I cry like a baby as I pick it up and my PS4 umm next year? Life is sooo good these days for console gamers period. Silly console war or not. Evil
"we've measured about 140-150GB/s for ESRAM. That's real code running. That's not some diagnostic or some simulation case or something like that. That is real code that is running at that bandwidth. " Straight from the horses mouth fellas! Wow!! 204GB/s is peak and 150GB/s from ESRAM ALONE is it's achievable bandwidth. That is solid sustainable bandwidth. Then you add on to that 50-55GB/s from DDR3? Great design indeed Microsoft. I know I'll get flak for this (stating facts), this is N4G. No biggy. I'm free riding from here until launch, and my assumption was right after all. Very well balanced Microsoft, bravo. EDIT: Also forgot to mention, memory coherency confirmed between ESRAM and DDR3 via a cross bar. probably the black line there: http://images.eurogamer.net... I wonder how Black Tusk Studios will utilize that whopping 200GB/s solid bandwidth. And also the hardware's technology. Or even Halo 5!
@PowerVr oh good you still dont understand how the esram works, the problem with it its just 32mb it doesent work as normal memory, it can ony be used to small things, like render skys, targets etc and thats not a bad thing, the target system on killzone alone uses 800mb. So no xbox doesent have more memory speed its like you use 5% to process graphics at 150gb/s and the other 95% at 68gb/s. do you have a brain?, if you could use the 32mb of esram to process everything they wouldnt had 8gb of ddr3. but its a good console
^ Render target and depth buffers are not small tasks my friend. And if anything it would be mainly for Render Target Texture(RTT). Efficient memory usage, and lower storage space. Textures takes up more than 70% of a typical 20GB triple A game, and is the largest uptake of memory than other factors in 3D graphics. So if ESRAM potentially be used for textures, you can pretty much get the idea. EDIT: @computersayno "On paper Xbone has more memory bandwidth, in practice it needs it and possibly more just to do the same things PS4 can do in its unified architecture." Bandwidth is bandwidth. You don't need more of anything just to do the same thing on another platform. If you have that amount of bandwidth, then that is simply what that available bandwidth is to the developers in what they can do with. I agree, that it is a more complex than PS4 and why they had to rely on low latency hardware. But be fair, Microsoft ALWAYS provide the best tools for developers...they're developers for crying out loud. They won't put anything on the market if they didn't have the know how, *cough*...Cell...
The bandwidth thing was always an interesting point but their figures are still based on the assumption you will always read and write at the same time and you are always doing that. Read alone is still limited to 109GB/s maximum from the ESRAM and its impossible to ever do more. The beauty of Sony's setup is they can dump everything into one pool which is less complex, you don't actually have to use read/write cycles to move memory between a main pool and the ESRAM like Xbone will have to. That will always be a waste of resources but just how it is when you split your memory into small n fast, large n slow. You can just drop data in the 8GB GDDR5 and not even waste a write cycle because basically the system doesn't necessarily have to move data if another part of the system wants to access it, it can just effectively 'relabel' it while it remains there saving more read/write bandwidth. On paper Xbone has more memory bandwidth, in practice it needs it and possibly more just to do the same things PS4 can do in its unified architecture. You can split your code to improve the efficiency between ESRAM and the DDR3 but you are always fighting to achieve the perfect balance all the time, nothing will run fast unless you do the juggling. PS4 just won't be nearly as difficult to optimise more of the time.
@ BF4x1 Please quote me where I said Read/Write simultaneously is a downside? All I said is that the maximum read you can ever do in the ESRAM is 109gb/s. What if you want more? Well you have to shuttle to the main memory. You have to split up your code. The machine stalls otherwise. This is a similar sort of thing where PS3's maximum video memory was only ever going to be 249mb. What if you wanted more? Its not possible. But Xbox 360 having a unified architecture you could (and devs did) have a memory split favouring more video memory. So games could use 280mb for video easily. The point being that PS4's memory architecture is blatantly more flexible. On Xbone you have a way of making the code work well set in stone, and if you don't get that juggling perfect between the split pools it'll never be fast. Developers much prefer a big pool of resources they can just do whatever they want with. They want a big blank canvas and then they can design it however they please. Its been that way since forever. Xbone's fancy memory setup looks clever n all, but there no denying that the simplicity of PS4's setup is preferable to pretty much any developer you'll talk to. @ P0werVR Bandwidth is bandwidth even if you using it to read from main memory, and then writing to ESRAM, and then reading from ESRAM to move data out, and writing to system memory. You are going to HAVE to do this at some point. 32mb of ESRAM means you'll be shuttling data in and out. Xbone means you'll try desperately to avoid doing too much because its bandwidth wasted going to moving data to get it in the right pool at the right time. This uses bandwidth that PS4 doesn't even have to use. Data will just be written once into main memory and sit on its ass without moving and chewing up more cycles.
I'm just telling you how it is, and you're not liking what Im saying. Thats not really my problem, its yours. Developers prefer more straightforward, flexible memory architectures. They prefer not having to balance their memory usage, juggle split pools and try to keep a small fast pool fed. They will do it if they have to, but it'll never be as flexible as just one unified pool and it'll never be as efficient. It never was in PS3 compared to 360, and it never will be in Xbone compared to PS4. Being an SoC is totally irrelevant. I was obviously talking about read/write between the ESRAM (inside the SoC) and the main memory, which is obviously NOT on the same chip, its on memory modules on the motherboard. Efficiency is always a key word when programming. Hitting a higher efficiency on seemingly slightly less bandwidth chances are is going to easily beat having an average or poor one on a bit more memory bandwidth system wide. It depends on the programmer. But flexibility and ease of use rules, not to mention early on makes companies want to lead their games on the easier machine and the better selling one. So we'll see.
@BF4X1 what kind of desperate response is that? "Are you lead architect" Facts are facts. Lead architech was told to make a cheaper machine. Did best he can. Result is a weaker machine. All I am hearing is Xbox fanboys complaining media is overan by PS fanboys. No. Media is just general view and Xbox fanboys just blaming all their problems on media. Regardless. No secret sauce. Significant Power difference is confirmed.
@GameNameFame "All I am hearing is Xbox fanboys complaining media is overan by PS fanboys. No. Media is just general view and Xbox fanboys just blaming all their problems on media." So what you're saying is that Xbox fanboys from next generation are the same as PS fanboys from this generation?
@ POwerVR This, this, this : X1 GPU: 1.18 TF GPU (12 CUs) for games 768 Shaders 48 Texture units 16 ROPS 2 ACE/ 16 queues PS4 GPU: 1.84TF GPU ( 18 CUs) for games + 56% 1152 Shaders +50% 72 Texture units +50% 32 ROPS + 100% 8 ACE/64 queues +400%
@ imt558 How are you getting disagrees for stating facts? lol
Was secret sauce mentioned?
the secret sauce is ....saying *balance* 25 times in the interview
The "secret sauce" IS balance. Like cars you NEVER perceive architectures in general as if it's a 1:1 score. It's all about making use of that raw power and achieving the highest performance. Okay, you have the numbers, now what can it do?
Even if they did manage to get a perfect 1:1 relative power score, if the PS4's worst component is at 1.5 then it still wins
Seem like selected questions to me. They never asked or answered regarding HSA.
Sigh, always the "balance." I don't doubt Xbox one has a smartly engineered SoC but its mainly because they had to solve a problem they themselves created, namely using slow system memory. He says that the 8GB choice was made early on, which instantly locked them into using DDR3 (only modules large enough at the time of the decision) So, you are then trying to resolve the problem of having insufficient memory bandwidth for even the very modest GPU in the class they have selected. To patch up this shortage of memory bandwidth, they devoted an absolutely enormous amount of the available SoC die space to this absolutely enormous ESRAM cache. We are talking at least one third of the transistors used inside Xbox one are just the ESRAM cache. To me, thats a huge blow. You are giving up a vast amount of available transistors to solve a problem you created by using DDR3. Sony never created this problem to engineer around. They just made a chip with the biggest GPU they could get away with and they see the gains as a result. It was a gamble using GDDR5 but it totally paid off big time when they realised they could jam 8GB in there. Sony may have gotten lucky in having large enough GDDR5 modules at the last minute, but that sort of gamble won the power war. Now we have Microsoft trying to explain their system in articles like this, while Sony sit back not saying a word knowing that they have the much faster machine which is easier for developer to exploit. Sony's lack of talk speaks volumes to me.
@vulcanproject: What if that GDDR5 gamble didn't pay off? After all, Sony was very very close to putting in 4GB of GDDR5 until otherwise convinced by Gearbox developers. Fact of the matter is, MS decided couldn't afford the gamble, and Sony wasn't planning on it, just stumbled upon it. So to call it even a gamble for Sony is to give too much credit. "Sony may have gotten lucky in having large enough GDDR5 modules at the last minute, but that sort of gamble won the power war." That could have easily have backfired and illustrates how Sony was developing a purely gaming machine. With 4GBs of RAM, there is hardly any memory space for the OS as everything as to be dedicated to the games.
What if? The what if didn't happen. It did pay off. It paid off hugebigtime. If Sony were building a console aimed more at games and that helped their gamble pay off, then more kudos to them. More win for them from me, as a gamer who wants a games console not a media box with compromised gaming hardware in it. If I wanted a media box I would have one which was incredibly more powerful and much more flexible and open than the one Microsoft chose to build. Its called a PC, by the way. But anyway, I digress. Sony won by gambling and it'll pay off in the next generation of consoles from start to finish.
@Nuke You make it sound that developers having input on how the PS4 was fortunate for Sony. Sony has made it clear that they actively made a console based on what developers wanted and used their input. The whole design was made with the developers in mind. They didn't just stumble on developer input, they looked for it.
Well said, Chaostar. Well said.
@necroo91 u dont have idea of what u talking about dont u?:D the esram can do everything that the rest of ram could do if the data r fitting well
Does anyone else think its odd that after 24hrs this has only reached 290 deg on N4G?
No, why what are you suggesting?
They use the words balance and balanced only 25 times in the entire interview.
Did not count the number of the word balance or balanced but I tend to agree balancing your system it is an important factor in performance. (25/7500) that's les than 1% about 0.3% of the entire interview.
They actually used the words balance 44 times but hey whos counting :P.
They got the point across though. You are taking about it. Did overuse it though.
Question... So is the X1 a balanced machine? =p
How about a recent article, there has been some changes since June! smh
To what changes do you refer? Something GPU related? Just curious.
So ps4 better in all areas nice to know
Except for online multiplayer
Everyone knows that! We do not need to bring that up ;)
care to.. elaborate?.. I have both 360 and PS3 and so far i've had more issues regarding online on the 360 and I even play it way less.. so that's more issues with less play time... so how you come to that conclusion is beyond me. I feel like all Xbox fanboys think "oh i'm paying for it so it must be better"
People compare power and specs too much I think. Look at Vita and 3DS. Vita has the power but 3DS has the better games. I own both and use my 3DS a lot more often than my Vita I'm getting both for the exclusives
That's a completely different comparison.
Not too much. Some people like Xbox exclusives, so their probably buying an Xbox one regardless of specs.
Persona 4 Golden, UC:GA, Gravity Rush and LBP, KZ:M all say hi.
I have all of those except KZ:M
Ocarina of time says hi. Because ten years from now that game will still be remembered by gamers, unlike say, killzone mercenaries. -_-
Wheres The secret sauce..I wonder if it taste good on burgers.
"....Having more of them doesn't necessarily improve the actual throughput of the system - indeed, just like a program running on the CPU, too many concurrent threads can make aggregate effective performance worse due to thrashing. We believe that the 16 queues afforded by our two ACEs are quite sufficient...." WTF????
Digital Foundry: The GPU compute comparison seems to be about Xbox One's high coherent read bandwidth vs. raw ALU on PS4. But don't the additional ACEs added to PS4 aim to address that issue? Andrew "....Having more of them doesn't necessarily improve the actual throughput of the system - indeed, just like a program running on the CPU, too many concurrent threads can make aggregate effective performance worse due to thrashing. We believe that the 16 queues afforded by our two ACEs are quite sufficient...." WTF???? Sry, double post!
Just once I'd like to see mature comments on N4G regarding a positive Xbox One Article like this one...
If that happened, it would be the sign of the end of the world....and we would never have gotten the chance to experience the consoles. :-P Its just so comical that some people can never say anything positive about the competition.
Teleport back to 2008.
It won't take long for the N4G Devs who think they know than the people working on the console to spin this article into something negative... Of course Microsoft are gonna have a far better optimized console than Sony.
You have no way of knowing this. We will only find out after the launches. And even then it may take months or longer for systems to become fully optimised. Remember there is physical power, OS optimisation, drivers, game engines, and not forgetting the most important - developers.
if you go look on google for mark cerny's interviews you hear him say they will be unlocking powe down the road for devs to tap into later in the ps4 life cycle .the ps4 has alot of tricks up its sleaves.
@Palaven "It won't take long for the N4G Devs who think they know than the people working on the console to spin this article into something negative... Of course Microsoft are gonna have a far better optimized console than Sony." so: first you start off by saying this: "It won't take long for the N4G Devs who think they know than the people working on the console to spin this article into something negative... " and than with full blown Arrogance, you than state this: "Of course Microsoft are gonna have a far better optimized console than Sony" and yet you are telling people that, So where is Microsoft saying exactly that their console will be far better Optimized Than Sony's? the Answer your looking for is No where, they may have an Opinion like you do , that does not mean that they are right or Correct.
^Here comes the Sony Defense League... Microsoft have proved in past that they are superior over Sony when it comes to optimizing and balancing a console. The PS3's extra power didn't count for nothing because the 360 was easier to develop on. Sony took the easy route with the lower price, if the prices matched the PS4 would have no chance against the Xbox One.
I have to sit down, this changes everything! /s
comment 'win' trophy goes to you.
lol at people who think 32mb esram > 8gig GDDR5
"lol at people who think" they know what they're talking about.
the ps4 uses 8gb of gdrr5 at 176gb/s if cerny added edram it would achieve 1000 gb/s but if you think that small amount of esram can be used to process everything you see on screen youre retarded. the 32mb are only used for small part like targets, sky, etc. the worst things about fanboys is that you cant even understand what you just read
Something that is inferred in many interviews with people on both sides but is never spelled out clearly. While the ps4 is running more CUs, it seems that because of "balance" devs will generally not use them all and use four of them for compute tasks. What I wonder is if devs can just use all of them of they want to or a bottle kneck kind of limits them to using what they can use and sticking compute functions on the remainders?
Nobody ever said the PS4 can't use all the CUs. It has more bandwidth and more ACEs to keep the CUs running. It is suggestive from MS (and only them) that the sweet spot is their 12...but all this means is, it is the sweetspot in the XOne (and this with reason); otherwise we would just see a fixed amount of CUs through all graphics cards, but we don't now, do we? And I fully agree, more CUs can fill gaps using compute when not all are utilized using rendering. PS4 has compute headroom, XOne doesn't. Simple.
Once again all of this went way over my head. The technical stuff usually does. Nevertheless it was a very good detailed interview. The fun factor & awesomeness of a good game is what helps me in deciding my console of choice. Xbox One has the games I want to play & I trust Xbox live to consistently give me a quality online experience.
I have even more confidence in MS and the Xbox One after reading this :) I didn't know gpu's had that many bottlenecks it sounds like they've really focused on efficiency for both the gpu and cpu The 4 move engines allow for the gpu to not be froze on specific renders Ryse, Forza, Killer Instinct, and DR3 are all coming along nicely 11/22 can't wait!!!
Their is more under the hood ....they still will not give power output of power supply ....and a quick google around on 4k gaming Microsoft have said the xbox one can support native 4k and upscale to 4k ....you need more hardware than they Are letting on right now to do that ...!
I don't care one way or the other and what I do know is in about 6 to 7 weeks these will be out and bechmarked and there won't be anymore hiding for PR sake. If I were a betting man I would bet PS4 with better performance. Microsoft has never said the X1 is more powerful than PS4 cause they know that's not true or at least I have not seen anything where they have. All the talk has been from behind to make the case that the X1 can be competitivewith the PS4, which I have no doubt it can. But it's NOT going to outperform, it doesn't have the parts, where as 32mb of ESRAM is a bandaid not the solution.
LMAO! Cute downplay of PS4, all the while ignoring rather relevent information about the competition. See you all in November.
Great read on the article time to read another