Devs React to DX 12 Doubling Xbox One GPU Speed; PS4 ICE Programmer: Be Suspicious of Claims

Doubling the speed? Not really, according to some developers.

xbox one amd

Microsoft’s DirectX 12 was recently showcased at this year’s BUILD conference. A recent article on Neowin saw founder and CEO of Stardock Brad Wardell talk about how it was a game changer for the Xbox One, with the claim that it would help double the speed of the next gen console’s GPU.

Wardell himself took to Twitter to clarify his statement of DX12 giving “every Xbox One owner a new GPU that is twice as fast as the old one”. “It’s not literally (it’s software, not hardware) but yes, dx12 games will likely by more than 2x as fast.”

Other industry professionals were much more skeptical though. Rich Forster, programmer on SCE’s R&D PhyreEngine team, stated that, “Well that made me smile: http://www.neowin.net/news/directx-12-a-game-changer-for-xbox-one … DX12 will push GPUs twice as hard leading to overheating.”

PS4 ICE Team programmer Cort Stratton added that, “New SDKs can significantly improve performance on the same hardware, yes. Dunno about DX12/X1 specifically, of course; not my dept.

He also said that people have a right to be skeptical about performance gains. “Good; always be suspicious of ANY perf. improvement claims. e.g. what *exactly* got 50-100% faster? Faster than what? Details!”

Treyarch software engineer Dan Olson had a less amused take. “Here’s an article… no idea why people go on record for stuff like this. http://www.neowin.net/news/directx-12-a-game-changer-for-xbox-one”

Programmer Dean Ashton found it downright hilarious. Either that or life-threatening judging by his response. “2x perf on Xbox One when using DX12? That article nearly made me choke on my cup of tea.”

Software developer for .NET and Windows Phone Kévin Gosse said, “RyuJIT/SIMD, DX12, Mantle…Moving back to lower abstraction levels. Programming is about rediscovering the same principles again and again!”

It’s perhaps Billy O’Neal’s response that is most telling, seeing as he is a C# and C++ developer at Microsoft. “Both major consoles have a large number of weak sauce CPU cores. Hence the motivation to optimize that case.” Would any one from the company really go on record and say that?

Regardless, it’s obvious that there’s a large amount of skepticism about DirectX 12 and the performance gains it can offer for the Xbox One. DirectX 12 will be available in the 2015 holiday season. What are your thoughts on the API and its performance gain claims? Let us know in the comments.


  • joe blogs

    Programmer Dean Ashton works for sony, Rich Forster works for sony PS4 ICE Team programmer Cort Stratton oh look another sony employee

  • Axe99

    While I’m a little sceptical of the claims, Wardell’s been making games for longer than most of us have been playing them, knows his stuff, and is not a shill for Microsoft. It’s worth noting that he thinks that DX12 could also lead to overheating issues in a number of video cards not designed for it, so it’s not all good news.

    • Xtreme Derp

      Wardell’s Star Swarm tech demo is very CPU bound. DX12 and Mantle and Nvidia’s new drivers reduce the load on the CPU, so he saw a big performance boost with his tech demo because the GPU was no longer as bottlenecked.

      The problem is most games aren’t anywhere near as CPU intensive as his tech demo and won’t see anywhere near 2x graphics performance.

    • Axe99

      Aye, but I think Wardell’s bright enough to have that in mind. Time will tell, I guess. I’m not on XB1, so I’m not particularly invested in it (I followed this story because I’m a Stardock fan, and was interested in what Wardell was saying), but Wardell has a history of saying smart things about the industry more broadly, and not just what he’s working on.

    • Xtreme Derp

      It’s a bigger deal for PCs with high end GPUs that might end up bottlenecked by the relatively weaker CPU.

      On next gen consoles it’s not as much of a problem. But any increase in CPU efficiency is nice, leaving room for the CPU to do other things.

    • Axe99

      Agreed, but he did specifically mention XB1. Either way, if it really is a 2x increase, it means MS really screwed the pooch with their launch APIs for XB1.

    • Xtreme Derp

      We know Xbox’s API has SOME of the DX12 CPU improvements, but not all of them. So they apparently have room to improve.

      PS4 meanwhile already has a low level API for devs to dig into. Xbox is playing catch-up.

  • Alexadelaide

    “Doubled” to me means going from 30fps to 60fps. Or from 60fps to 120fps across the board keeping everything else equal. Don’t think so, Microsoft.

  • Matthew

    Positive news about xb1 “hiss” ponies lets prance

    • Xtreme Derp

      You sound upset that Xbox will have inferior graphics to PS4 the entire generation. Why are MS fanboys so dumb and delusional and hate it when knowledgeable people state tech facts and reality?

  • You are flat out wrong

    You know the Xbot scum are butthurt when their King Idiot misterxmedia gives Reason Freeman an upvote!

  • Johnny

    Oh yes let’s ask Sony employees about DX12 I am positive they will dismiss the claims out right and not be bias at all. Hahaha hahaha

    • Xtreme Derp

      Console APIs like PS4s and Xbox One are already supposed to be low level. Unless MS seriously screwed up with their Xbox One API (which is called DirectX 11.x, a custom derivative of DirectX 11), the benefits are likely to be minimal. DX12 is still mainly a benefit to PCs.

      These low level changes mainly benefit the CPU. Which is why Mantle helps a lot with CPU constrained PC builds, but doesn’t do a whole lot if the CPU is already bulky enough to not bottleneck the GPU. Basically the only way you’d see “twice the graphics” is if the GPU was being severely bottlenecked by the CPU.

      Xbox One’s benefit depends on how low level the current API already is, and whether Xbox One games are CPU bottlenecked, as these low level changes are mainly a CPU benefit. Being able to run CPU code more efficiently will free up some CPU power, but that doesn’t have a direct relation to GPU rendering unless it was bottlenecked.

      PS4 will have better performing games for the entire generation as it has more powerful hardware, you can’t overcome a hardware gap with better drivers/SDKs. Any game running on Xbox One can be run with better framerate/resolution/visual effects on PS4.

      The bottom line is even if Xbox had a far more powerful CPU and 10000GB of 10000 GB/s memory, it’s ability to render graphics is STILL limited by the weaker GPU. There’s no getting around the weaker GPU, there’s no free lunch.

      If they’re both running at the same resolution the Xbox version will have lower framerate and/or visual effects, or the PS4 hardware isn’t being pushed.

      Wardell’s Star Swarm PC demo tends to be CPU bottlenecked on DX11, so running his demo using Mantle or the new Nvidia drivers shows a significant boost in performance. His tech demo features thousands of ships flying around the screen shooting at each other in space.

      Wardell is taking the results from his Star Swarm tech demo and extrapolating them to every other game, which is misleading because most of them aren’t particularly CPU bottlenecked and won’t show anywhere near “double” performance gains.

      Again how much DX12 benefits Xbox One graphics performance depends on 1. how low level Xbox One’s API currently is and 2. whether the game in question is CPU bottlenecked.

      Outside of graphics performance DX12 should still give the CPU more room to do things, and alleviate memory bandwidth somewhat.

      Here are two good articles on the subject:

      http://anandtech.com/show/7889/microsoft-announces-directx-12-low-level-graphics-programming-comes-to-directx

      http://www.redgamingtech.com/directx-12-low-level-api-analysis-of-xbox-one-game-development/

      Factual PS4 Hardware Advantages: +6 CUs, +560 GFlops (44% greater), +16 ROPs, +6 ACEs/CQs, better GPGPU support, better performing CPU, and faster unified memory. PS4 OS may also have less overhead or reserves.

      Both Sony and MS have world class coders that will extract every bit of performance out of their consoles with their drivers/APIs/SDKs. The difference is PS4 simply has more powerful hardware to work with, so it will always stay ahead in graphics performance.

      PS4 will have better performing games for the entire generation as it has more powerful hardware, you can’t overcome a hardware gap with better drivers/SDKs. Any game running on Xbox One can be run with better framerate/resolution/visual effects on PS4.

    • Johnny

      All though I can agree with some of your statement I find it suspect to try and place any kind of numbers(50%-40% more powerful) when comparing the two platforms. The reason being we just have not seen it. There is no reason to try and dismiss DX12 at this point and the claim about being 2×more powerful if you read the article is reference to how much of a jump he got after using Dx12 from the sdk he had previously worked with. You can’t just over come every hardware difference with software I completely agree with you. Exclusives is where that difference will show and shine for the PS4. Thanks for the links I will be checking those out. I would rather talk about what we do agree on then things we know we don’t and argue in a endless circle of stupidity( a good portion of that stupidity being my own).

      http://www.neowin.net/news/directx-12-a-game-changer-for-xbox-one

    • Xtreme Derp

      I’ve seen the benchmarks where Star Swarm tech demo gets 2x the framerate with Mantle compared to DX11. His results are real. I’ve run the tech demo myself on my PC, it’s pretty impressive. But you still can’t extrapolate that to other non-CPU bound games.

      MS should bring out lots of good exclusive games to lure gamers back which is good. Both consoles will have really good exclusive games.

      Yeah anandtech and redgamingtech are both good resources dig in.

    • You are flat out wrong

      Treyarch and Windows Phone programmers are Sony employees now?

    • Xtreme Derp

      They haven’t tasted the special sauce yet, bro. Soon they’ll be believers, SOON!

    • Johnny

      No I have and it’s delicious!

    • Dakan45

      exactly

  • Mark Reed

    Yep damage control time, the cpu will gain but the machine is as good as its weakest part, so better running engine….same gpu, there will be gains but once the gpu hits its physical limit…thats all folks.
    In a way its nice to see the XboxOne get left playing catchup, Sony had it with PS3 and they got it right with PS4, made them push for better, so with the next machines MS will push harder….and use better tech.

    • Xtreme Derp

      I doubt there will be another Xbox if Xbox One loses shareholders even more billions of dollars.

    • Dakan45

      lol if sony doesnt go bunkrupt in 2 years.

  • Samuel Herrera

    Last of Us Remastered confirmed for PS4! This is why we all picked up a $400 machine am I right!? HD versions of last year’s games FTW!!!

    • http://people.ign.com/jmckay117 jmckay117

      Actually I picked it up because it was 100 dollars cheaper and I was waiting till the xbox went down in price :P

    • You are flat out wrong

      A lot of people who wanted to play TLOU last year didn’t because they couldn’t justify buying a console for one game at the tail end of the gen.

      On the plus side, the current gen version will look distinctly better than the last gen version, unlike a certain EA multiplayer-only FPS.

    • Xtreme Derp

      Say that again when Halo 2 remake is announced, but add $100 to the price.

  • zakcole

    Pretty one sided quote pool.
    Is that because no dev has spoken out in favour yet?

  • XanderZane41

    All these devs listed above. Have they even used DX12 on the XB1 SDK at all? If not, how are they even able to answer the question? Are their execs wrong too?

    AMD’s Raja Khodury: “And it’s not a small benefit. It’s… like getting four generations of hardware ahead with this API.”

    Intel’s
    VP of Engineering, Eric Mentezer: “This is absolutely, I think, the
    most significant jump in technology in a long, long time.”

    Nvidia’s
    VP of Content and Technology, Tony Tamasi: “existing cards will see
    orders of magnitude improvements from DirectX 12′s release, going from
    hundreds of thousands to millions and maybe tens of millions of system
    draws in a second.”

  • XanderZane41

    So all these important execs are wrong about DX12? I don’t think so.

    AMD’s Raja Khodury: “And it’s not a small benefit. It’s… like getting four generations of hardware ahead with this API.”

    Intel’s
    VP of Engineering, Eric Mentezer: “This is absolutely, I think, the
    most significant jump in technology in a long, long time.”

    Nvidia’s
    VP of Content and Technology, Tony Tamasi: “existing cards will see
    orders of magnitude improvements from DirectX 12′s release, going from
    hundreds of thousands to millions and maybe tens of millions of system
    draws in a second.”

    • Xtreme Derp

      They’re not wrong, you just misunderstand what they say.

    • Dakan45

      sony pony logic!!

  • Frankenstein

    I am sure that Dx12 will help a little. What people seem to forget, however, is that the X1 doesn’t just have the less horse power, it also has a horrible api and development tools. Many developers have commented how Sony was far ahead in regard to the software. So while it might help, it’s something that should have been optimized from day one, just like Sony did with the ps4.

  • Pingback: DirectX 12 “Won’t Have Any Effect” on Umbra’s Occlusion Culling Tech, “Faster CPUs Help” « GamingBolt.com: Video Game News, Reviews, Previews and Blog

  • Vladimia Pootunia

    Stardock is correct. The Xbox One will most likely see serious performance improvements. Likewise, up to 40 percent of PC users right now running DX11 cards with multi core CPU’s will be DX12 compatible right from the start. People shouldn’t be saying a word about this, especially a PS4 developer who obviously didn’t see Microsofts presentation. The Xbox One GPU was built with DX12 in mind and was ahead of its game prior to the DX11.0 and 11.1 parts. The current DX11 api and it’s derivative the Xbox One is using is not tapping the full potential of the GPU at all. AMD and Nvidia both stated that users today using Keplar GPU’s will benefit from multi core setups as much as 40 percent gains will be seen. AMD said many of their DX11 cards are currently DX12 compatible and will see massive gains as well. Sorry Sony Microsoft just dropped the bombshell on you. This is quite similar to when Nvidia unravelled the “Detonator” drivers on 3DFX. IT boosted all of Nvidia’s GPU’s by a good 35-40 percent and then one year later 3dfx shut the doors. Microsoft just played the Nvidia card on Sony. Of course no one is shutting doors. But Nvidia likewise compared to 3dfx on paper it appeared the GPU was hardware wise slower than 3dfx’s Voodoo 5 series. That was until , again, Nvidia, unleashed Detonator drivers optimized exlusively for the hardware and it unlocked the full potential of the hardware. Effficiency became the name of the game not “my number is bigger than your number”. Congratulations Microsoft you just pulled an Nvidia on 3dfx.

  • iGigaflop

    The xbox one will always be weaker period, is a 770 ever gonna be faster than a 780, or for this conversation is a 7790 gonna be faster than a 7850 no not never not ever. Yes they might help close the gap marginally but its not possible with software alone, especially since the gpu’s are from the same family. I was a die hard xbox fan last gen but the devs did a couple of things wrong first using ddr3, 2nd because the slow memory bandwidth of ddr3 having to use esram, 3rd because of the esram using up precious die space using a smaller gpu.

  • N0GGZILLA

    Pc wins simple as that.
    It’s an expensive hobby but the difference is staggering.

  • Evan_Beezy

    XB1 vs PS4

    Xb1: 1.18 TF GPU (12 CUs) for games -56% less
    Xb1: 768 Shaders -50.5% less
    Xb1: 48 Texture units -50% less
    Xb1: 16 ROPS -100% less
    Xb1: 2 ACE/ 16 queues -400% less
    Xb1: 13.65GPixels/s -88% less
    Xb1: 40.90GTexels/s -40% less

    PS4: 1.84TF GPU ( 18 CUs) for games +56% more
    PS4: 1152 Shaders +50.5%
    PS4: 72 Texture units +50%
    PS4: 32 ROPS + 100%
    PS4: 8 ACE/64 queues 400%
    PS4: 25.60GPixels/s +88%
    PS4: 57.60GTexels/s +40%

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