AMD: Calling PS4 And Xbox One “PCs In A Box” Is Patently Untrue

Though it does remain to be seen how PCs and consoles compare in terms of visual quality.

Posted By | On 25th, Aug. 2013 Under News


We recently spoke to PR Lead for Gaming and Enthusiast Graphics at AMD Robert Hallock about upcoming technology for PCs, and how close these would sync up to games that we’d be seeing on the Xbox One and PS4. Will we see better visuals than the next generation is promising, for instance?

Hallock responded, “People often compare the hardware of the next-gen consoles and the PC, compare specs on paper, and conclude that these consoles must be “PCs in a box.” That is patently untrue. While there are many commonalities, there were platform architecture decisions made for the consoles that set them apart from the PC in a significant way: how developers access the hardware, the Xbox One’s ESRAM, and the PlayStation 4’s UMA are all powerful examples of such decisions.

“It remains to be seen how PCs and consoles will compare from the perspective of image quality–the consoles haven’t launched, after all–but we can certifiably say that the industry’s baseline image quality will make a quantum leap with the arrival of DirectX 11 in the mainstream. These next-gen consoles are working with state-of-the-art hardware: programmable shaders, large vbuffers, significant GPU compute resources and so much more.”

We also asked Hallock about what the future holds in the next 5-6 years since the big three console manufacturers are all using AMD technology.

“It’s tremendously difficult to predict where things will go in 5-6 years, but we can talk about the near-term with more confidence: the game development industry now uses AMD Radeon graphics for six shipping platforms: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox 360, Microsoft Xbox One and the PC. For five of those six platforms, Radeon is the only choice in the development process.

“And coming into this latest generation, our flagship Graphics Core Next architecture is the common fabric for any game developer looking to publish. It’s all a bit oblivious to believe or assert that this situation won’t have a positive and obvious effect on the overall level of optimization games demonstrate for AMD architectures.”

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  • PC4ME

    “PS4 And Xbox One “PCs In A Box” Is Patently Untrue”

    I agree because if they Xbox One and PS4 were “PCs In A Box” they would support Mouse, Hydra and STEM…

    And therefore, more people would be interested in buying an Xbox One and PS4 .

  • Matt

    What about “Lablet in a Half shell”…

    • Axe99

      Disagree on fundamentals, but very funnily said :).

    • Matt

      Apu’s are only going to shine on a laptop and in consoles… the modular design of PC is the best thing about PC but at the same time it’s also the weakness. I’ll play all sides… which is what everyone who’s informed about the tech industry should play as well. The tablet CPU will be the bottleneck next gen but it’s multicore so it won’t be that bad but desktop CPU’s will be and are already better. I’m really interested in your input if it contrasts my own!

    • Axe99

      Totally agree in terms of performance, but most PC games are GPU-limited rather than CPU-limited at the moment, so pushing the resources to relatively more powerful GPUs in the console design looks sensible at the moment (I’ve got an i7 3770 in my PC, and it doesn’t work up a sweat, it’s the GTX 660 that’s the main limiting factor in terms of performance).

      But the disagree was that it’s going to give tablet/laptop performance in a gaming sense – you’ll get far better than that from next-gen consoles, at least around launch – most of the examples we’ve seen of next-gen games in action compare favourably with all but the highest-end PCs (with the exception of BF4 on PS4 seen at Gamescom, but I’d wager this is unoptimised code). I still think it was wittily put :).

    • Matt

      Haha… the CPU in the PS4 and XB1 was specifically designed for tablets by AMD. Is that bad… not really, considering the computations per watt with is really what matters with consoles. Video games don’t require that much CPU power and it’s all benchmarks for PC anyways but as time goes on it might be more beneficial in terms of AI or Physics but games are looking to be tied more towards the GPU than the Cpu in the long run… There’s no telling the future.

  • Axe99

    It’s all getting a bit semantic. A “PC” is just a personal computer – it needn’t run an x86 CPU, it needn’t have a GPU at all, it’s just a relatively small computing device. In this context, every console, ever, has been a PC. On the other hand, people making direct 1 for 1 comparisons between the performance of the HD 7850/HD7790 in PCs and suggesting it will be the same in consoles are off the mark as well, and that’s clearly what the AMD rep is addressing. This has also been the case for a very long time, it saddens me that people haven’t woken up to it yet.

    • Matt

      x86 is the basic language coders know… what I see from next gen are completely hackable systems without any force fields at all. I mean it saves both Sony and microsoft resources in accepting that fact since both the PS3 and Xbox 360 were unable to thwart the efforts of hackers regardless of the massive amounts of effort put into preventing it. The real effort will be in the firmware for the online functionality just the way it is now which is pretty effective just as long as it’s constantly being updated… I’m not biased at all but being honest there can’t be any direct comparisons with current desktop cards considering there are no APU’s that can compete with whats in the PS4 (it’s the most powerful between XB1/PS4). The direct communication between the CPU and GPU are what the main points of interest are in consoles but PC’s are capable of out powering that advantage depending on the tech in your computer… Consoles will be able to keep up but PC will ultimately retain the graphics crown overall.

    • Axe99

      I’m not sure how easy they’ll be to hack, per se – that depends a lot on the operating system and finickity things in the hardware I don’t know enough to comment on ;). But totally agree with what you say. You find some “PC Master Race” types talking about how you could build a machine with equivalent parts for $400 so why buy a console, and that’s what I think he’s addressing (as you can’t in any event, and even if you could there’s no way you’d get console-equivalent performance).

    • Matt

      You can’t build a $400 PC that will outdo the PS4… that’s the main point of the consoles. I would gladly throw out that amount for that power even as a PC enthusiast… you’d be stupid to think otherwise for the next couple of years.

    • Axe99

      Totally agree, but if I had a dollar for every time I’d seen a PC fanboy post that on message boards, it’d cover the cost of a PS4 and XB1 ;).

    • Dan

      No $400 PC bought new is going to come close to the power of a new $400
      PS4 (which includes a $50 Dualshock4 controller). To build your own PC
      you will need nearer $900, or >$1000 from a manufacturer. A recent
      Steam survey show the vast majority of PC gamers have PC rigs which are
      much less powerful than the next gen consoles. So just ignore the
      trolling from PC Elitists.

  • Abba Okoro

    Too bad Xbox one use directx LOL

    • Matt

      not really… as much as I hate microsoft they do hide some advantages behind it that open cl/gl don’t possess. Are they game changers… absolutely not.

    • Abba Okoro
    • Matt

      Why did you link me to that OXM article?

      There’s almost no difference in the capabilities of DX11 vs OpenGL 4.x. DX has built in optimizations that anyone coding for OpenGL would have to write themselves taking up development time. OpenGL works faster in certain area’s on PC but the DX version being used in the XB1 will be optimized for one set of specs instead of having to go through a universal layer. There’s no real benefit in favor of either API.

    • Abba Okoro

      DX is for Windows Derp

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