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PlayStation 4 GPU Performance Compared To Xbox One: What The Differences Mean

PlayStation 4 GPU Performance Compared To Xbox One: What The Differences Mean

The PlayStation 4 GPU performance is compared to the Xbox One fairly often but few understand what these numbers will mean for the games.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a PlayStation 4, Xbox One hardware comparison shows game developers will have access to the same features set. This pretty much amounts to a draw and PC video games should benefit from the similarities provided by AMD.

But what exactly do these PlayStation 4, Xbox One hardware comparisons mean in real life? To understand the performance differences we’ll first look back at the Xbox 360 and PS3 as an example since they also had a significant GPU performance difference. In general, most high end games on the last generation were never natively rendered at the high definition resolution of 1920 x 1080. Most games didn’t even run at 720p and a hardware upscaler chip would convert whatever resolution was drawn into 1080p, which results in blurriness.

But as game developers got used to the hardware they were able to optimize dramatically, increasing both the frame rate and visuals. For example, Halo 3’s native resolution was 640p while Halo 4 was 720p. Halo 4 did this by implementing faster dynamic lighting algorithms, FXAA, a much more noticeable Level of Detail (LoD) system, and dropping certain motion blur effects. There were other tradeoffs related to the resolution at which certain shader effects were applied. Still, the overall result was (arguably) a better looking game on the same Xbox 360 hardware.

PlayStation 4 VS Xbox One

Both newer consoles share almost the exact same hardware features, from BluRay drives to the CPU. But a PlayStation 4, Xbox One visual comparison might be more noticeable since the difference in overall theoretical GPU performance favors the PlayStation 4 significantly.

The Xbox One GPU is 853 MHz and has 768 shader cores and 48 Texture Mapping Units (TMU) capable of 1.33 TeraFLOPS (trillions of FLoating-point Operations Per Second). The PlayStation 4 GPU boasts 1152 shader cores, producing 1.84 TeraFLOPS. The Xbox One provides 68.3 GB/s and 102 GB/s of memory bandwidth, while the PS4 once again wins with 176 GB/s. But the Xbox One features high speed memory embedded directly into its core, which one game developer says will favor the Xbox One over the PlayStation 4 in certain scenarios where low memory latency is important:

“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.”

For games on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 there would be differences in shader effects and native resolution, but few could pick out the differences except by analyzing screenshots. But the PlayStation 4’s GPU performance and higher memory bandwidth will favor it in the majority of situations. But, unless you count the Wii U, the Xbox One will be the lowest common denominator so video game developers will try and create art assets and shader effects both systems can handle at a smooth frame rate.

For example, Watch Dogs is confirmed to run at 30 frames per second on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But the Watch Dogs creative director wouldn’t say what the native resolution would be for either platform. But let’s assume the PS4 could handle full 1080p. That means the Xbox One would likely have a native resolution of 1600 x 900 combined with reduced resolution shader effects like shadow mapping. Or, considering the PlayStation 4 isn’t that fast compared to the latest GPU technology, it’s possible the PS4 is doing 1600 x 900 while the Xbox One is stuck at 720p or some other oddball native resolution.

But one major Xbox One, PlayStation 4 hardware difference stands out. The Kinect 2.0 will always come with the Xbox One while the PlayStation 4 camera is optional. This means the Kinect 2.0 should be more heavily supported by game developers compared to the original Kinect. Another hardware factor is that the original Kinect was heavily limited in its capabilities by the Xbox 360 CPU performance and 512MB of memory. The Kinect 2.0 will not have these issues and if you’ve ever checked out PC-based Kinect tech demos it’s possible we’ll see some very creative Kinect 2.0 games in the future.

The PlayStation 4 release date is right around the corner, coming to the United States on November 15, with the Xbox One release date about a week later. Which will you choose?

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5 Responses to “PlayStation 4 GPU Performance Compared To Xbox One: What The Differences Mean”

  1. Robert Madsen

    the raytracing thing about the xbox if you wiki ray tracing it will say its not good for video games..

  2. Patrick Frye

    As a complete replacement for rasterization via polygons, correct. The Xbox One/PS4 can't handle it and neither can the latest PC video card GPUs.

    But variants of lightmapping are still used in modern video games in addition to dynamic lights, shadow mapping, etc. I could be wrong but I believe the Halo series used photon mapping?

    Then there's Epic's PRT (precomputed ray transfer) tech in Unreal Engine and Crytek's cascaded light propogation in CryEngine. In any case, the Xbone/PS4 have the potential to dynamically update baked lightmaps in non-realtime using a limited number of ray bounces. This would be useful for lighting conditions that tend to be mostly static (sun/moon) and which can be updated slowly in the background with a low priority thread.

    You can check out more information on those techniques in relation to cloud computing here:

    And procedural generation is referring to procedurally generated textures.

  3. Stevon Kline

    Like this article. ..not the usual xbox one suck crap we hear.

    Ps4 maybe can pump out a little more graphically…but seeing screenshots…I cant really tell the difference. ..

    Im getting the xbox one for its innovation….the kinect is sweet…and bf4 is going to use it…so u can lean around corners…which I think is awesome…no more running into gay corner campers.

  4. Callum Hurley

    Halo 4 made Xbox 360 a better looking console? Someone clearly didn't see The Last of Us or Beyond Two Souls. Despite what people say, the numbers DO actually mean what they say. A stronger GPU WILL RUN BETTER than a Weaker GPU. Simple as that. Yes, devs will find ways to create the illusion of better graphics on a weaker GPU, but they can do the same with the Stronger one.

  5. Donny Graham

    sony and xbox haven't released the actual hardware spec! what they have given us DOES NOT tell us what GPU ps4 or Xbox on has… so yeah WE JUST DONT KNOW YET!!

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