Nitrous Engine Dev: eSRAM Provides Massive Speedup for Certain Operations, Requires More Work

Partner Dan Baker talks about the benefits and detriments of eSRAM.

Posted By | On 24th, Nov. 2013 Under News

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Oxide Games is in an interesting place in the gaming industry. Full of veterans, Oxide had announced its new Nitrous Engine which is geared towards next gen consoles and aims to do things not thought possible till now. GamingBolt had a chance to speak Oxide Games’ partner Dan Baker and get his opinion on a rather interesting topic – the Xbox One’s eSRAM.

Is eSRAM an advantage or a bottleneck? Does it really boost performance and will Oxide be integrating Nitrous with it? Baker stated that he cannot comment specifically on the Xbox One’s technical specifications but he did explained the pros and cons of using an embedded RAM.

“We can say that there are pros and cons of having embedded RAM in general. The primary limiting factor for an embedded GPU on a CPU is certainly going to be bandwidth. On the PC side, the memory bandwidth to the GPU is going to be your limiting factor in most cases on a typical PC with DDR3 memory.

“In fact, on certain Haswell configurations, Intel has added 128MB of embedded RAM for exactly that reason. For certain operations, this can be a massive speedup. On the negative side, it is always more work to use configurations where there are different memory banks with different speeds, and sometimes it is not always possible to fit your dataset into them.”

Though this is a more general observation about eSRAM, it certainly applies to the Xbox One who’s main concerns have been memory bandwidth. Like the Xbox 360’s eDRAM, there is a school of thought that believes it’s only a matter of time before devs take advantage of it. As for when exactly that happens, we’ll need to wait and watch.

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  • luke

    Yeah except Xbox One has 1/4 of the SDram they’re talking about in the article. Only having 32mb means a lot more is going through the low-bandwidth DDR3 memory.

    • willhe

      if you read up on the durango leak specs it mentioned esram being used for tile resource pools. that being said they crammed over 30gb into 16mb. the question then becomes when will developers put it to use.

    • JerkDaNERD7


      The basis of the argument is when?! What needs to be considered is that this is Microsoft taking a risk with this technology and have the resources for such risks.

      Carmack took a risk with this technology through a software implementation of it with RAGE and created a cult following but the game didn’t turn out as good.

      Now that there is a hardware implementation of it, it is then going to be a huge factor for Microsoft’s first party studios. I wouldn’t be surprised if the new Halo or Black Tusk studio’s game utilizes it. If you noticed both trailers from E3, it emphasized a sense of epicness and huge scale. Only one thing explains that, and that is Tiled Resources.

      They attempted the technology years ago with “Microsoft Talisman” but the manufactures didn’t support it and was fairly too early, simply because it was the verge of GPU hardwares getting better on it’s own. Now we hit a certain plateau and are emphasizing on optimization now, the technology is FINALLY here. So Microsoft knows what they’re doing.

    • Matt

      Microsoft doesn’t know what they are doing… The whole company is dictated by their share holders. They’re starting to take a dive south due to their money grabbing efforts which have left a sour taste in all but their most naive of customers mouths.

      Here’s a short list:
      -Win 8’s metro interface and lack of a start menu
      -Hiding DX11 features behind Win 8 as a money grab on the PC gaming crowd
      -Having to bring back a start menu for Win 8 through an update which is taking forever to release
      -Initial online DRM policy for XB1
      -Backtrack on everything that was announced for XB1 at E3
      -$500 price point for weaker hardware and bundled camera

    • JerkDaNERD7

      You have pretty much stated irrelevant and moot points. Simply because your intentions are obvious.

      Why not argue the points I made, which are facts. Instead of making up your sad attempts. Respect Sony’s PS4, but in my opinion I was expecting true next gen. Sony has taken a “proven” route that Microsoft could have easily taken and there is no denying that. They have finally given the opportunity to implement technology that will make graphics and AI truly amazing. And we’ve noticed the AI part with Forza 5.

      Microsoft has stated time and again this year that they’re investing more into their first parties. They are releasing at the same time, the first ever between the companies. Microsoft is coming in with everything and have the resources to do so and are paving a new genre of gaming with television and gaming.

    • Matt

      Uh-oh… seems like your spewing the same garbled bullshit as every other person who’s been deepthroating Microsofts PR cock. All I’m hearing from you is a bunch of skin flapping, chocking noises and wet sucking sounds… I feel sorry that you not capable of removing it on your own without the permission from Microsoft… I’m sure they tell you they love you but only when you put out and toss them money.

    • cozomel

      Thank you, these fanboys cant see past their own wishes and fantasies. The X1 is inferior, deal with it!

    • JerkDaNERD7


      If anything, you are the one drinking the kool-aid fountain Sony has been serving up with their deceitful PR tactics and boy I applaud them. Like a herd led off the cliff. Nice work.

      All I can do is state facts and let it shows it’self as this new generation continues and won’t be surprised when amazing games on the Xbox One reveals itself. Guess what?! Starting next year.

      People asked for next gen and Microsoft has provided, now they want specs. If you want to talk specs let’s compare PC build, other than that I expect anything out of a hardware in a box to have innovative features for gaming. So far…which is not too long. Microsoft has proven the benefits of Azure with Forza 5. Imagine their next first party games.

      PS4 does have powerful specs, but be real. It’s not that signficant. I run all visuals and effects turned on with maxed AA at an average of 40 frame rates with most games with my CF R9 290s. Now that is something to debate or boast about.

      You’ll see starting next year in how shameful PS4 will be compared to Xbox One and boy is it going to be funny.


      Matter of facts, starting December 7th.

    • Matt

      CF 290’s… your room must be an inferno. 40FPS seems rather low. What res are you running at? My single 680GTX is managing 1080p on BF4 between 40-60 FPS(40fps when it stutters. Win7 problem from what I’ve read) on ultra so I’m assuming you’re at least running 1440p at the minimum.

      I don’t bother myself with toys… and with that setup I don’t see why you’re bothering as well. I used to like Microsoft back when Xbox initially released but I’ve slowly lost interest over the 360’s lifespan to the point where I had no problems giving up the ability to play COD with my dumb friends when I traded my 360 for a year membership to a gym. Sony is no better… It’s marketing hype to the max with them as well whether it be a misleading use of words or an over exaggerated description of a simple function. I hate Mark Cerny because he doesn’t actually do anything but charges in to take the credit for the massive R+D team working below him.

    • willhe

      umm $500 price point for weaker hardware and bundled camera. the price point don’t have nothing to do with the “weaker” hardware so that argument has always been something only stupid people regurgitate. bundled camera yes.

    • Shu

      eSRAM > GDDR5


    • kreator

      Good question so, 204 > 176 ?

    • Shu

      ? > ?

    • Matt

      Theoretical < Proven

    • kreator

      You know what I’m talking about moron!

    • Matt

      It was 3gb… and all it does is stream textures by LOD instead of loading the full texture and holding it in ram.

    • willhe

      regardless this is a better presentation of it

      it’s just not as simple as just stream textures. if the developers can get there shit together it will be good for xbox one. i got the 30gb from the guy talking about the planes

    • JerkDaNERD7

      It does not just “stream” textures by LOD. In fact I doubt it has anything to do with LOD.

    • Matt

      Not rendered LOD. Should’ve said AF… Texture LOD.

    • Faisal Munayam

      you have a lot to learn… Basically the theoretical peak of esram can beat gddr5 if it’s attainable, mosy likely it’s realistic rating will match gddr5, esram when utilized is very powerful, it’s also great in low power state modes.

      the problem is launch games are lower resolutions because they haven’t utilized esram properly, which is why ps4’s gddr5 is easier to develop on, having said that it has already been utilised in forza 5 the only exclusive title to be 1080p 60fps.

  • Matt

    What is that picture of because it’s definitely not a console…


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