Xbox One Patch Could Unlock GPU, But Will It Beat The PS4?

The Xbox One GPU could be unlocked with a possible patch, but would the performance increase be enough to rival the PlayStation 4?

In a related report by The Inquisitr, Microsoft is considering selling a cheaper $399 console by removing the Xbox One disc drive and increasing the size of the hard drive. The idea would be to force gamers to purchase digital games but some analysts think that’s a bad business strategy at this time.

A PS4, Xbox One hardware comparison shows the two consoles are almost identical in most respects. They both have a 1.6 GHz 8-core Jaguar CPU, 8 GB of memory, a 500GB HDD,Blu-ray drive, WiFi, HDMI ports, and USB 3.0. But Sony chose to go with a GPU with significantly more streaming processors and also higher bandwidth GDDR5 memory. Microsoft, on the other hand, chose to offset the GDDR3 bandwidth with the Xbox One eSRAM, which offers both high bandwidth and low latency in a 32MB package attached directly to the CPU and GPU via a SoC design.

While discussing the differences can get quite technical, long story short is that the Xbox One GPU offers a max of 1.33 TeraFLOPS/s versus the PS4 GPU performance of 1.84 TeraFLOPS/s. Xbox One provides 68.3 GB/s and 102 GB/s of memory bandwidth, while the PS4 once again wins with 176 GB/s. In practice, what these hardware differences mean is lower resolutions, performance, and sometimes slight tweaks to certain effects.

Call Of Duty: Ghosts was famously limited to 720p on the Xbox One while the PS4 was able to handle the full 1080p experience. More recently, it was proven there were major differences between the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for Xbox One and PS4.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be an apples vs oranges comparison because two different studios did the ports and the Xbox One was framerate capped at 30 FPS while the PS4 was capped at 60 FPS. This means the average FPS results are useless for comparison, but the lowest, or minimum, framerate is another story. The Xbone posted 27 FPS while the PlayStation 4 was 32 FPS. Hands-on tests cite the Xbox One experience as being more consistent, leading some to wish their was an option on the PS4 version for a 30 FPS cap.

Assuming this particular scene isn’t being bottlenecked by the CPU, this also allows us to compare the Xbox One GPU and PS4 GPU at a point where they are both under stress. Despite the PS4 theoretically being much faster on paper the minimum results don’t show the expected difference. This either means the Xbox One is performing better than expected or the Tomb Raider game is indeed CPU bottlenecked. Some also claim the Xbox One drops down to 900p for certain cutscenes, which would explain a lot. There’s also the potential for optimization issues with the PS4’s LibGNM API but some developers claim the Xbox One driver is still in need of work, as well.

This also brings up the potential for a Xbox One patch that unlocks the GPU from the Kinect. Apparently, Microsoft currently demands that eight percent of the GPU is reserved for Kinect video and another two percent for Kinect voice. This means that when a game doesn’t use the Kinect at all about 10 percent of the Xbox One GPU is sitting idle. Worse, one industry insider named Pete Todd claims Microsoft purposefully chose to go with a cheaper/slower GPU because of the cost of the Kinect although they couldn’t have known Sony was shooting so high with the PS4 GPU.

Although this Xbox One patch hasn’t been confirmed or denied by Microsoft, it’s been said that game developers have been clamoring for access to the unlocked potential of the GPU. What do you think Microsoft should do?